AUGUST, 1824.

NO. 8.

(For the Monitor.]

-non hæc sine numine Divům Eveniunt: nec te comitem asportare Creusam Fas, aut ille Sinit Superi regnator Olympi.

Virg. The ancient heathen entertained notions of Providential Divine Agency, which, though sufficiently crude, Auctuating, and polytheistick, are calculated to rebuke the semi-infidelity of many 'nominal Christians. The faith of Divine Providence-that, I mean, which is enlightened, evangelical, and vigorous-is vital to the existence of piety in the soul. Destitute of this most fational belief, the human mind is “ without hope and without God in the world.” Virtual Atheism is the mopal element in which that spirit moves, on whose gloomy vision the doctrine of Providence has never poured the day of its heavenly radiations. The only rational alternative, when we forego the theology of the Scriptures on this vast topick, is Atheism—that absolutely and madly irrational retreat of men whose treason cannot tolerate the existence of their Creator. Many who would startle at the charge of Atheism, little think how liable they are to its preferment, while they live, and calculate, and undertake business, just as if they were self-existent beings. 6 Go to now, ye

that say, to-day, or to-morrow,

we will go

into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain ; whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow : for what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this

or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James iv. 13--17. It will be more tolerable for the heathen in the day of judgment than for these voluntary, practical denyers of Divine Providence. In the motto prefixed to this article, Creüsa, the wife of Æneas, at the Trojan devastation by the Greeks, consoles him, in their desperate condition, by resolving the scene into the arbitration of eternal Providence. It may be thus paraphrased-perhaps translated.

Not there, my spouse, though sad events they are, Occur un-destined by supernal care : The power divine that gilds or glooms our life Now parts the husband and his bapless wife. O might that wife your fond companion be In future perils of the land and sea! Vain wish! the fates forbid th' auspicious bopeThat Sovereign Mind that fills th' eternal scope, The sire of gods and men, Olympian Jove, Has sealed our doom—not quenched our deathless love ! Adieu ! resign me, 'tis the mandate given ; Who can resist or change the will of heaven? That recognition of Providence which is fitful and periodical, not habitual and uniform, is false in its principle and sandy in its foundation. A correct and faithful perception of the nature of the eternal God, of his perfections, ways and works, and of the necessary dependence of all creation upon his will, is sufficient to establish the heart of a man in the unalterable and scriptural position that of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.” No event can occur without the will and agency of God. Whatever other agencies may modify and qualify the occurrence with respect to creatures, God sustains, directs, and energizes all. Men will acknowledge his hand when it takes a signal conspicuity, especially in the rescue of themselves or others from death or danger: but in the antecedents that made the dauger or occasioned the death, from which the escape is realized, they see no divine Agency at all A drayman in the city of Philadelphia was once driving foriously as Jehu, when a

« VorigeDoorgaan »