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man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
He, who made the elements and all material things, made them to be subject to him, to be his ministers, and the executioners of his will. The centurion hon. oured our Saviour, by entertaining this sentiment, when he besought him to heal his servant, who lay “at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof; but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man un. der authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh ; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.” If human authority, and that too, which is of a secondary and inferior kind, will accomplish such things, will set agoing and regulate many movements among inen ; much more will the control, which God has over all his works, be equal to the effectual application of them to the good purposes of his will. As he has a vast work to do, he will cause every part of his kingdom to contri. bute its aid to the accomplishment of it. To this subject Elihu calls the attention of Job in the following words : “ Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning un. to the ends of the earth. After it a voice
roareth : he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. God thundereth marvellously with his voice : great things doth he which we cannot comprehend. For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. He sealeth up the hand of every man, that all men may know his work. Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places. Out of the south cometh the whirlwind, and cold out of the north. By the breath of God frost is given ; and the breadth of the waters is straitened. Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud; he scattereth his bright cloud, And it is turned round about by his counsels ; that they might do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy. Hearken unto this, o Job ; stand still and consider the wondrous works of God." By such instruments does God work wonders, intending that principalities and powers in heavenly places should be taught by them his manifold wisdom that he knows how to make all things work together for good to the church, and to place bis people in the best possible situation, not only to behold his glory, but also to unite their iriuence with all other beings to promote it. The whole creation has, as it were, from the beginning, been travailing together i to bring forih praise to God. Though ore
part has seemed to be at war with another ; and the whole body in a state of general commotion ; yet, being in the all-disposing hand of God, and under the guidance of his anerring wisdom, deformity has been continually verging towards beauty, war towards peace, and confusion towards order ; or, in other words, the greatest jars and tumults in nature have had their use to make known the perfections of Derty, and have been paving the way for such glory to appear on the face of the divine character, as no other course of things could have been made to exhibit. No creature can claim the right of being a minister of God, to the exclusion of others. All have their share, a part alloted them, in the great drama. The very same things appear, on different occasions, to perforin directly contrary offices. That, which ministers life, at one time, at another, is used as an instrument of death. But this is no proof, that all things are not regulated by the counsels of God; or that they are not, in all cases, the instruments of his providence. The earth which receiveth the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for him, by whom it is dressed, or tilled, is the Lord's, subserving his will, neither more nor less, than if it bear briers and thorns. The same natural agents, for any thing that we see, are concerned in producing fruits, both the noxious and the salutary. And the things, which grow out of the same soil, under the beams of the same sun,
and from thesameseed, communicate health te one and disease to another. But this does not argue against their ministry, or usefulness, in the kingdom of God. Instruments of evil have their value in the hand of God, as well as instruments of good, since occasions for them do actually occur, as when “He cast upon them (the Egyptians) the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them." Those things may be termed evil angels, or messengers, which the hand of God uses as instruments in the inflicting of evil.
Such are many things, which, upon other occasions, are immediately subservient to great good. The rain of heaven, which, for huncreds of years, imparted fruitful fulness to the earth, so that man and beast were regularly and bountifully supplied with sustenance from the productions of the ground, God was, afterwards, pleased to use for the purpose of destroying both man and beast, even by causing a flood of waters 'to prevail and cover the face of the globe, so that all flesh died. Also, that fire from heaven, which is of known use to clarify a sultry and pestiferous atınosphère, and to purge it of its baleful and sickly vapours, for the préservation of life and health, was used, by an angry God, against Sodom and Gomorrah to punish them for their wickedness and consume them from the earth. And in Egypt, when a monument of divine power was to be raised up, and a striking testimony to be given of the
superiority of the God of Israel to all other gods, all the engines of nature seemed to be called into action, to make a strong iinpression upon the universe, that the Lord is God, that he is mighty to avenge the oppressed, to deliver them, and to subdue their oppres
The scene is finely depicted in the CV. Psalm. “ He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron, whom he had chosen. They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Hami He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word. He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish. Their land brought forth frogs in abundance in the chambers of their kings. He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts. He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land. He. smote their vines also and their fig.trees and brake the trees of their coasts. He spake and the locusts came, and caterpillars and that without number, And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.” In these several administrations of providence, we see the use which God made of natural things, of the elements, and of things animate and inanimate, to bring to pass his determina. tions against the enemies of his church, in fulfilment of a prediction to Abraham, some hundreds of years before, as in these words, “ Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall. 'serve them; and they shall afflict them four: