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privilege, while at the same time he requires it from them as their duty;-a submission not of the act only, but of the heart, founded upon the deepest conviction of his wisdom, an entire trust in his providence, and a fervent love of his goodness. Such a submission, it is plain, is essentially different from a mere acquiescence in events which we have no power to control. It is the homage of the will, the natural and beautiful expression of the best affections of the soul, of gratitude, of veneration, of filial love and filial confidence.
I believe it happens to most men who are truly pious, to become, as they advance in life, less and less disposed to enter upon complicated schemes for the attainment even of those objects which appear to be the most reasonably desirable. They have found themselves so often mistaken in their estimate of what is really good; they have seen the events to which they are chiefly indebted for their happie ness in this life, brought about in a manner so original, by a course so unlike any they should themselves have
pursued, and often so independently of their own efforts, that they grow distrustful of themselves, and are tired of weaving plots which a single cross accident is sufficient to entangle; or which, after having been completed with the utmost skill and care, unravel of themselves, and end in nothing. Now this is a practical acknowledgment of the reasonableness of that duty which we are now considering. If our experience convinces us that we neither understand well how to choose events nor how to control them, is it not manifestly our best wisdom to resign them willingly into the hands of Him who is certainly capable of directing them properly, and who has declared that “they who seek the Lord shall want no manner of thing that is good?"
It seems, indeed, as if a wisdoin far short of that which Christianity teaches, would suffice to instruct us in the 19 vanity of earthly schemes, and to lay the foundation of a religious submission to God in the distrust of our own policy. Consider the most remarkable examples which his '* tory has recorded, of rare talents, and rare fortune, united for the accomplishment of some illustrious end. What are they, if read aright, but so many lessons of humility? Philip, the father of Alexander, was by far the most accomplished hero of his age. His birth was noble, his person graceful and dignified; his understanding of that rare class in which depth and facility are equally united, at oncé elegant and comprehensive, and embellished with all the learning that Greece in her best era could supply; his achievements in arms were great and brilliant, and his success was almost unvaried. It was Philip's chief ambition to live to future ages; and, that the triumph of his glory might be permanent, he was anxious to embody it in the literature and eloquence of Athens. For this end, he was content to pardon alike her insults and her injuries, and courted with unwearied assiduity the most considerable members of her commonwealth. But the eloquence of a single man defeated all his hopes. Demosthenes was his enemy; and that profligate demagogue has been able, by his matchless genius, to brand with unmerited infamy, during more than two thousand years, the illustrious prince who vanquished and spared him.
If the ancient world produced any person more deserving of admiration than Philip, perhaps it was his son.
It was his ambition to found a mighty empire, which should embrace both the eastern and western hemisphere, and foster, under one parent and protecting shade, the com
merce, learning, arts, and legislation of the world. The greatness of his design could be measured only by the extensive genius which conceived it; and his success was equal to both. In the very prime of youth he overthrew the most potent kingdom of Asia; he selected the position and laid the foundations of a city, which for a thousand years drew into its bosom the wealth of three continents; he carried his victorious arms into the heart of India; and, having fixed and fortified his eastern frontier, returned to Babylon to prepare for extending his conquests in the west. There, as he was retiring early to rest, he passed by a chamber where some of his young officers and friends were banqueting, and in a thoughtless moment, for he was by habit very temperate, he accepted an invitation to join their carousals. The rest, who does not know? In a few days he was laid in his grave; and in a few years, the great empire, of which he thought to have laid the foundations so deep that it should have stood for ages, was broken in pieces, and the fragments dispersed to the four winds of heaven.
I will mention but one example more, and that, like the two former, of the most vulgar notoriety. Cæsar desired to be master of the world. By the devotion of thirty years of his life to a single object, by the exercise of the most unrivalled taļents, and the perpetration of unexampled crimes, he seemed to have effected his purpose. He was declared Dictator. And how long did he enjoy his elevation? The ability which had raised him so high, failed him, when only a small portion of it was necessary to 'sustain him in his guilty eminence. He had fought his way to empire, at the head of legions who were devoted to him; and he had not the prudence to retain a mere body guard, to preserve what he had won.
He had sustained a character for moderation, during a long series of years, with consummate skill and hypocrisy; and when nothing but the language of moderation was possible or needful, he forgot to use it; and provoked a people who were jealous of the name of liberty, though they had surrendered the substance, by an avarice of silly titles. He had delivered himself repeatedly from the most complicated and overwhelming distresses, by his matchless sagacity and courage; and he was ruined at last by foolishly overlooking an irregular, ill-concerted conspiracy, which a child might have discovered. He had lived in the midst of a thousand dangers in the field, and he fell by the hands of assassins.
These instances, and numberless others, which are less striking only because they are less notorious, have been cited by the moralists of every age, and, after a few serious comments, dismissed, with a sigh over the vanity of earthly glory. They prove, indeed, its vanity beyond controversy; but they prove, also, much more. They express, in large and striking characters, that hopeless uncertainty which attends upon every scheme of earthly policy. What is true of great things is true of small. Private life has its Philips, and Alexanders, and Cæsars, without number, who are striving, with unwearied diligence, for the attainment of a commanding reputation, or brilliant establishments, or ascendency of station. The mere moralist can do little more than condemn their folly, and weep over it. But the Christian may surely be taught, by such examples, a lesson of far higher wisdom; and, touched with a sense of his own weakness, may learn to resign himself, without regret and without fear, into the hands of his beneficent Creator.
The necessity of submission is, in the nature of things, proportional to the infirmities of those who are called on to submit. All agree, even they who are the least disposed to exalt the parental authority, that in early childhood implicit obedience must be exacted. Let the propriety of submission to God be measured, then, by the ignorance and corruption of man. Yet, how inconsistent are we! Few, perhaps, read the history of our first parents without feeling amazed at their folly in forfeiting so great happiness for the pleasure of a single transgression. But what was their presumption compared with our own? Their understandings were not obscured by passions, warped by prejudices, or contracted by ignorance and neglect. We have derived from them a corrupt nature, and pur faculties are so weak that it is with difficulty we discover a few things immediately around us: yet we are fearless and confident as they, and ready continually to hazard the same fatal experiment which they too boldly hazarded, and “brought death into the world, and all our woe.”
Submission is a considerable branch of true faith. It is the Apostle's charge against the unbelieving Jews, that s going about to establish their own righteousness, they had not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.” They thought they were perfectly instructed in the way of salvation. They confided in their own wisdom, and the wisdom of their scribes and doctors; and they refused to come, as little children, to learn wisdom from those who were appointed of God to declare it. Thus it is with us in respect of the varying events of this life. They