Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

upon the arms of Jehovah, in all the successive moments of its duration, as it did the first instant of its being brought forth. He upholdeth all things by the word of his power ; and by him all things consist. Preservation is, therefore, on the whole, as much greater work, than that of creation, as the same work, continued on through an indefinite number of ages, is greater, than when it begins and ends the same moment. Now, a work of so much difficulty or magnitude among men, as to be any trial of their strength at the outset, will, by and by, if pursued, become too burdensome for their faculties. "Though they may go on with it, for a time, with some degree of ease ; yet, at length, they grow weary, and sink under the task. And will he, who was able to make a world, be certainly able to bear it upon his shoulders, until duration itself shall have run out? Will he never become weary of sustaining the mighty load ? Concerning him it is said, that he “ fainteth not, neither is weary.". He is subject to no failure of strength, or patience, to proceed in watching over and keeping in repair the stupendous machine, which he has contrived for the illustration of his own character, and in which he is eventually to shew the most admirable specimen of his own eternal excellency. On this truth saints and angels repose themselves as the anchor of their confidence, and the firm basis of their bliss.

Thirdly. Deity must have power to use

his creatures in exact subserviency to the end, for which he made them. Among all the inventions and labours of men, we shall find nothing undertaken by them without design. However trivial and childish their views

may often be ; yet we never can find an instance of a man's acting entirely with out regard to an object. If such an one were to be found, we should all say he had fallen far below the estate of a nian. And if it be essential to the dignity of our nature, that we act only in view of motives, or with reference to some end ; we certainly cannot impute less perfection to God, by supposing he may act without end or design. His superior excellency to ours arises principally from his acting from higher and nobler views than we. And if so, he must aiin at some very precious and desirable end in all his works. On this principle is grounded that observation so often repeated, that nothing is made in vain. All the creatures of God, how. ever various or multiform, have obtained a place in the system, because their existence could not be dispensed with, but to the prejudice of the general weal. That God made them, or any of them, purely to fill up a blank, or that the portion of space they fill might not be left unoccupied, is a supposi. tion, that would be infinitely derogatory to his character. It is such trifling as no wise man would be guilty of. Though there is an almost endless diversity of things, the u. tility of which we cannot perceive ; yet we

I

are not hence to infer, that they are a real cypher, that they were made for no good purpose, or that they will fail of an import, ant influence in the vast and wonderful scheme of providence. To bring them into existence, a positive and direct exercise of divine power was as necessary, as to produce other things, whose value and importance we seem to have some affecting sense of. And it would argue nothing less than wantonness in Deity to use his power indeterminately, or without aiming that it should be to some good account. But a general view to profit, is not enough to be supposed in this case. He must have had a particular purpose and use for every article of workmanship, whether great or small. Superflui. ties, or things to spare, he has none. In building, men sometimes stock themselves with materials, more than they are certain they shall want ; that in case of unforeseen necessity they may have a supply at hand. In such case, the supernumerary articles are for general use, or to go in wherever they may be needed.

None of God's creatures have so vague a standing, in his kingdom, as this implies. Each one has his particu. lar assignment, as much so, as each bone or sinew has in the animal machine. Every individual particle of created substance, and every motion of body or mind, has a particular spot, or situation, provided for it in the counsels of God; and into this it must be introduced in order for its compassing the

great build,

end, for which it was chosen. However faint to us appearances of consistency and regularity may be, in the world at large, as governed by the supreme arbiter and king ; we may, nevertheless, be certain that Jehovah acts systematically. He establishes causes and effects, antecedents and consequents, only where they are wanted to contribute to the strength and grandeur of the great ing. And having ordained a certain determinate use for every creature, he niust have power to make the intended application, or, the vessel will be marred in the hands of the workman. In a world of mutable and

perishable things, as ours is, nothing is so difficult among men, in the affairs of this life, as to make one thing fit another; so that the various comforts, conveniences, and delights of life may be acquired with dispatch, and maintained without loss. One instrument and another fails, when brought into use, and the work proceeds heavily ; and is, perhaps, never brought to such maturity as was hoped and expected.

And if men cannot use such things as God has put into their hands to be used, but under manifold inconveniences and disadvantages, owing to feebleness and frailties attending them; will not persons be almost apt to question, whether their usefulness may not be almost too small, even in the hands of God ? Men often experience serious disadvantages from the weakness and inactivity of their own

limbs. It cuts them off from business, and, in this way, curtails them of such temporal supplies, as are the reward of labour. And, viewing the same things in a still higher relation, víz. as they are means, by which God is operating in his providence, and some would, perhaps, say, they ought to be sound and full of vigour to be capable of the best service here. If things have, indeed, so degenerated, or become so corrupt, or so en. feebled, that they are no longer fit for the use, to which God intended them, there is cause of serious alasm to the subjects of his kingdom. For how can he do right, when the means of his own providing have failed, or are going into disuse ?. But it should be remembered, that “the things, which are lrighly esteemed among men, are abomination in the sight of God.” And that a God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise ; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound. the things which are mighty ; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are ; That no flesh should glory in his presence.' There is not a creature in existence, but was made for some kind of instruinen. tality in the vast economy of providence. In this consits all the beauty and utility there is in creation. And if the great disposer of all things is not able to keep them in the order he has allotted them, and to subordinato

« EdellinenJatka »