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Interpositions of Divine Providence, which produce, from apparently trivial and often disregarded `events, the most interesting and beneficial results. Who could have conceived, that out of the simple circumstance of David's taking provisions to his brethren in the camp, a train of the most important and glorious events was about immediately to follow to himself and to the nation of Israel; that this apparently trivial occurrence was a link in that wonderful chain of Providence, which ultimately placed him on the throne, and made him so inestimable a blessing to Israel? Or, who would have supposed, that through the accidental remark of a little captive maid, Naaman was not only to be cured of the leprosy of the body, but to become acquainted with that great salvation by which sin, the leprosy of the soul, can alone be healed?
How joyful to the heart, and how full of consolation are the numerous proofs which the Scriptures supply of the preservation of individuals and families in seasons of danger and general calamity. In each recorded event, how evidently do the Lord's especial love and providence appear?
In every advance we make in this truly delightful subject, we discover new cause for gratitude; and, surely, if there be one feature of the providential care of God towards us more heart-cheering than another, it is that which is seen in extri
cating us from difficulties and in over-ruling persecutions, and other discouraging events, and causing them to work together for our good." How critical was Jacob's situation when his prosperity had awakened the envy of his kindred! In what perilous circumstances was he placed through the sinfulness of his children! What a train of unprosperous events was over-ruled and made to produce a combination of the most beautiful results; till, by a series of remarkable providences, we at length behold Jacob embracing his long-lost Joseph !
In smiling, as well as in frowning providences we see the Lord continually regarding all the actions of men; remembering and rewarding, with a Father's love, the smallest action of kindness done for one of the least of his children; and visiting with just and awful retribution, the evil done or intended to be done against his people. In the punishment of Ahab, in the destruction of Pharaoh and his host, of Haman and of the adversaries of Daniel, we alike behold the special love and the protecting goodness of God towards his "little flock," his defenceless people.
The Lord is ever watchful over all the interests of his church and people. "His eyes behold, his eyelids try the children of men." He is acquainted with every secret evil of the heart, and
often restrains the wrath of men, overruling their evil designs. How memorable was that occasion, when the Lord interposed and turned the curse of Balaam into a blessing; and made that wicked man, who was eager to obtain the “ wages of sin," the instrument to pronounce the most enlarged and exalted blessings! What language could be employed more calculated to inspire confidence, and to assure his people of their eternal security and happiness, than that which was reluctantly uttered by Balaam : "How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied? Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his! God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent. Hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Behold, I have received commandment to bless; and he hath blessed, and I cannot reverse it."
The Interpositions of the special Providence of God, are remarkably manifested in convicting men of sin, in withholding from the commission of sin, and in the punishment of the finally impenitent. Though the tender mercies of the Lord are in themselves unlimited, yet the period of their
manifestation is limited. A time will come when the rejecters of Divine mercy will no more hear its voice. In the punishment of Nadab and Abihu, when offering strange fire before the Lord; in the detection and punishment of the sin of Achan; in the rejection of Saul because he had rejected the word of the Lord; in visiting with death the unbelieving nobleman; and in the fearful punishment of Ananias and Sapphira; in all these fearful judgments, we have the strongest proof of the evil and bitterness of sin; and that though the Lord is "merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, He will by no means clear the guilty."
A new and lovely feature of the Divine character here meets us: "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." "He will not always chide, neither will he keep his anger for ever." In the midst of judgment we behold the Lord remembering mercy. When the hand of the destroying angel is stretched over Jerusalem, the heart of Jehovah relents and melts into tenderness; he remembers Jerusalem and spares the beloved city. And when Israel, in the fierceness of their rage, had destroyed Judah, because of their sins, and had taken their children for bond-men and bond-wo
men, the Lord graciously interposed: their hearts are softened, and they can no longer retain them as captives, but with gentleness and kindness they restore them to their brethren. How often has the Christian experienced the loving-kindness of the Lord, in "staying his rough wind in the day of his east wind !"
"The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will."-When the set time had arrived, which had been predicted by the prophets for the restoration of the Lord's ancient people from the Babylonish Captivity, we behold Cyrus issuing a proclamation for their return. Once more with a rejoicing heart they take their harps from the willows, and again the songs of Zion are heard in Jerusalem; their "mouth is filled with laughter and their tongue with singing." The Heathen, on beholding their wonderful deliverance, cannot but exclaim, "The Lord hath done great things for them." Their hearts respond the gladdening truth, "The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad." Who can read of the sudden and wonderful restoration of Jehovah's ancient people, without experiencing the liveliest emotions of joy and gratitude, and offering up a silent prayer, that the time may speedily arrive, when the "Lord shall set his hand again the second time to