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COMING TO GOD.
BY REV. A. G. LAURIE.
O that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat."--JOB xxii. 3.
So exclaims Job under the pressure of his great calamity. The successive and crushing disasters, so dramatically related, which had rapidly brought him down from the height of prosperity and enjoyment, and overwhelmed him with wretchedness, though all of them, immediately traceable to merely material agencies, were clearly and truly recognized by him, if not as the operations of divine grace, at least, as the ordinations at a Divine Providence. Unlike too many of ourselves, with all the advantages of a Christian instruction, Job could look through and
beyond the action of intermediate and secondary causes, to him who is the prime cause of all; and whether the occurrences of his life were conducted through a prolonged series of visible media, or were the results of those viewless forces, whose effects are more readily seen to be the workings of Omnipotence, he felt good and evil, — the prosperity of his former, and the various misery of his subsequent state - to be attributable finally to God? 66 Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil ? ” is the response to his wife, in which he at once vindicates God's justice, and acknowledges His sovereignty.
This distinct and direct apprehension of God, as the Author and Conductor of all the arrangements of the world, is undoubtedly, to some extent, to be attributed to the imperfection of physical science in the early ages. The Indian of our own Continent, the partially civilized man in all lands where a Deity is owned and worshipped, feels himself in closer contact with God by the absence of all those interposing processes of which he knows nothing, than the partially instructed resident of a more enlightened land.
We do not say that his piety is so intelligent, but it is more prompt and unquestioning, more credulous, to be sure, but more confident and devoted, too. While we have little sympathy with that pusillanimous faith which deprecates the advance of scientific discovery, as if the triumphs of science were the calamities of Christianity, we cannot be blind to the fact, that a superficial progress among the disclosures of science, unless accompanied by a corresponding cultivation of the devotional sentiments, and a more vigorous grasp of the principles of religion, has a tendency to alienate the mind and heart from God, by the obtrusion of such a multitude of intermediate agencies, as increase our distance, and divert our attention, from the primal Originator and Author of them all. It is true that much of this arises from our previous ignorance, and from the sudden and surprised sensations with which we find ourselves displaced from our fancied contiguity to God, — the intermediate space becoming occupied with material dispositions and arrangements, of which we had not dreamed, - while our eye, yet unaccustomed to the larger sweep now necessary to include him,