« EdellinenJatka »
SERM. V the Fowls of the Air; for they few not, neither do they reap, nor gather into Barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them: Are ye not much better than They? He, whofe overflowing Bounty has fupplied the Birds of the Air and the Beafts of the Field with whatever is fuitable to their Natures, will provide for Mankind in a Way fuited to the Condition of the rational Nature. He openeth his Hand and filleth all things living with Plenteousness: And fhall he not answer the various Occafions and Circumftances of Man, the Mafter-piece of the vifible Creation ?
4thly, Those who admit a general Providence, but deny a particular one, feem to forget that Generals are nothing but a Collection of Particulars; they are nothing but the Sum total of Individuals. And confequently as Generals include Particulars; a general Providence muft imply a particular one. If the Whole of worldly Affairs and Concerns be the univerfal Chain of Providence; then each Man's private
· Concerns are one Link of that Chain which
is affixed to the Throne and directed by the
there may be; the fupreme Law, to which SERM. V. all the reft must give Way, is the Intereft of the Whole: And the Intereft of the Whole cannot be promoted without a constant Regard to the Parts, of which the whole is compofed. Now if a fixed, determined and unchangeable Courfe of Nature could be made to correspond to the various Interests and Exigencies of free and mutable Agents; there would be no: Occafion for any Interpofition of the Deity, who may have made Provifion for particular Cases in his original Conftitution of Things. But if this be, as perhaps it is, impoffible, if many beneficial Events of the highest Importance may be brought about, and much needlefs Mifery sometimes prevented by a particular Direction of Matter, which cannot, of itself, change it's Line of Direction; it is derogatory, one would think, to God's Goodness to imagine, that He would, merely for the Sake of acting fimply and uniformly, without other End in View, make Mankind or any Part of Mankind undeservedly and unnecessarily unhappy or that He, who can order Matters fo, that his Footsteps shall not be known, should never go out of the common Road of his Providence to avert E
SERM. V.vil and produce fome confiderable Good, which could not otherwise be produced. There must be then an Adjustment of the State of the natural World to that of the rational and intelligent, Creation. All the Arguments, which prove that God, governs the World in general in a Manner which fuits best with Reason, prove likewise that he takes Care of particular Cafes in the fame Manner. For God can no more act contrary to Reafon in any particular Cafe, than he can, in general do fo. The Time, the Manner and Condition of each Man's Exiftence must be determined by Him, upon whom each Man's Existence depends; which cannot be done without defcending to Particulars.
5thly, The furprizing Discoveries of Murder, the Fall of the Wicked into the Pit, which they made for others; the strange and judicial Infatuation of Men wife at all other Times, when fome great Event was to be brought about, which can only be refolved into his Power, who maketh the Knowledge of the Wife foolish, and turneth their Counfels backwards; the Indifcretion of others fucceeding, when well concerted Plots have failed; the Difproportion
portion of the vifible Means to the Effect; SERM. V. thefe are fo many Arguments to prove a particular Providence at the Helm, who has a perfect View of all Things, whether great or fmall, at all Times, and in all Places, with infinitely more Ease; than we can attend to one Thing at once.
There is great Reafon to think, that God often breaks the fine fpun Threads of human. Policy, and brings the most unpromifing Projects to bear. Were the Soul divested of the Body; the might find herfelf as much mistaken about feveral Turns of Affairs; as the Trojan Hero was, who was enraged at the Grecians, whom he thought the fole Authors of his Country's Ruin: But when the Mift was removed which dimmed his mortal Sight, he faw the Deftruction of the City, in which he thought human Agents were only concerned, was caufed by Beings of a much fuperior Nature.
We have a pregnant Inftance in Scripture, that God vouchfafed to fit at the Helm of the Jewish State. For when all the Males three times a Year were obliged to go to the Temple at Jerufalem, and confequently left the Frontiers of their Country
SERM. V. Country unguarded; what could hinder their Enemies, (and no Nation had more Enemies,) who used to defy the Armies of the living God, from making a Defcent upon a naked and defenceless Country? What, but He, who in the Language of Scripture boweth the Hearts of a WHOLE Nation, as the Heart of ONE Man? When God has fome great Defign in View, He giveth one univerfal Bent of Inclination to a whole People with the fame Eafe, with which a Gust of Wind inclines all the Tops of Corn in a waving Field the fame Way.
This, you will fay, is only a Proof of a national Providence; it facilitates, however, our Belief of a Providence extending to each Individual. What follows, directly proves it, as to the better Part of us, our Souls. God is every where prefent; and to fuppofe that an infinitely good' Being can be invifibly prefent to the Soul, without awakening in it pure and virtuous Notices, and exciting it to the Pursuit of Piety, not indeed by irrefiftible Force, but by rational Motives, would be to entertain a worse Notion of an all-gracious God, than we do of a pious Man. For any good Man, who is continually prefent with us, will be