« ForrigeFortsæt »
I cannot conclude this subject more properly than in the words of that divine prophet, who rejoiced to see, in spirit, the things which we see, and those which are yet to come to pass The Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side-the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee-I will inake the place of my feet glorious—The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee, but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory-A little one shall become a thousand and a small one a strong nation-I the Lord will hasten it in his time.”. Amen! So wait we, in faith and hope, for thy salvation, O Lord !
THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE ACKNOWLEDGED IN THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE CIRCUMSTANCES OF LIFE.
DELIVERED 31st DECEMBER, 1809.
2 Cor. i. 9, 10.
That we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead; who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver; in whom we trust that he will yet deliver.
WHAT an astonishing instance of the changes of disposition and situation, to which mortal man is liable, does the history of the writer of these words afford! In the earlier part of his life he had been a. student of the law under one of the most celebrated of its professors. He stood high in the confidence of the great men of his nation. He ranked among those who were possessed, in the estimation of the multitude, of a superior degree of sanctity, and whose influence over them was most extensive; and the zeal he discovered against the tenets which were most obnoxious to bis sect, together with his natural talents, might have elevated him to the highest dignity in their power to confer. The occasion of that total and wonderful alteration which took place in his character and pursuits, is too well known to all who
hear 'me, to make it necessary to relate the circumstances of it in detail. Its consequences, however, call for our particular attention. Having counted those things which were gain to him, loss for Christ, he tells the Corinthians (1st, iv. 11.) « Even to this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwell. ing place; we are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” And (2d, xi. 23.) • In labours I am more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent—in deaths often, (v. 26.) in. journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” Nay (2 Cor. i. 8.) “ sometimes he was even pressed out of measure, above strength, despairing of life, and had the sentence of death in himself.” Here is an accumulation of woes a load of distresses, under which one would think it scarcely possible for the human mind or body to bear up. But do we find him uttering the language of despondency, or sinking under the burden? By no means.To others indeed he might appear to be sorrowful, poor, destitute, dying; yet in reality he was always rejoicing-rich, having wherewith to make many so; although troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but pot utterly destroyed. Yes! there was a principle of inward support, which rendered him not merely equal, but superior to all. So thoroughly was he convinced of the truth, and persuaded of the impor
tance of the work he had undertaken, that to have declined it would have been, in his estimation, to incur a sorer wo than any or all others beside; and, so that it were carried on with success, it was indifferent to him whether it were to his honour or dishonour, by evil or good report, by his being accounted a deceiver or a preacher of truth. In every character, whether imputed or real-whatever the world thought of him, still he had the testimony of his conscience in his favour. But the grand source from which he drew the most effectual consolation, and to which all others were ultimately referable, was a firm trust in the superintendence of the divine Providence, and the animating hope of a resurrection. " We trust in God who raiseth the dead who did deliver, who doth deliver, and in whom we trust also that he will yet deliver.” « From him having obtained help (says this glorious confessor in the cause of truth, when standing before rulers and kings,) I continue unto this day.”
That the Deity is intimately acquainted with, and exercises a constant inspection over all the works of his hands, is a principle, the certainty of which, like that of his eternal existence, we are constrained to admit, although we know not the manner of its operation. Unless we can prove that the beautiful and regular series of causes and effects, which is constantly exhibited in the course of nature, springs from blind fate or promiscuous chance (which it were absurd to say are the causes of any thing) we must ascribe them to infinite power under the direction of infinite wisdom. Nothing can be more evident than that power and wisdom did not stop at the mere point of creation, nor than that they are continually and