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government ;-some, to encourage and bless his rational creatures, -- and some, to punish them and make them suffer, for their iniquities. Men who accustom themselves to these enquiries, can easily and with pleasure find out, at least to their own satisfaction, where God has providentially interposed, either to protect or to punish themselves individually, or others of his rational creatures. Too little philosophy, when used in such speculations, puzzles the minds of many, and makes them sceptical ; — but a larger share of it opens new scenes to the understandingand the visible operations, if carefully examined and traced, lead them onward to the invisible Author and Disposer of those operations.
Let us now bring this view home, if possible, to the bosom of every individual,-reminding him, that, as a rational creature subject to God's moral government, he is under the inspection of that Providence, which will, on the one hand, interpose in his favour when goodness requires it, and, on the other hand, will thwart and afflict him, when it is required for a just and salutary purpose.
And what need is there of abstruse or dry arguments to prove a truth, which every good man feels to be strong and lively in his own mind,—that all God's creatures are, collectively and severally, objects of his unceasing providence ; and that this providence particularly watches over and regards mankind, to defend the good and innocent, and to punish the wicked. God is endued with infinite knowledge and infinite goodness :- and on
this basis will stand the great, important truth which so nearly concerns us all ;—on this basis will it stand, till some over-refined genius can subvert it, by proving, that though his knowledge is boundless, yet he cannot be acquainted with all the ways of men, that, though his goodness extends through the universe, yet he will not condescend to protect and assist virtue,-and though his power is unlimited and ever active, yet he will not exert it to punish vice in any of his accountable creatures. But gloomy and cheerless must be the mind of that man, who would do bis utmost to banish the Almighty, as it were, from controlling his own works, and to exclude from the human heart the sense of his providence. Far indeed, from a benefactor to his species must he be, who would rob his fellow-creatures of the most comfortable and most solid thought that enlivens and invigorates their breasts ;-a thought, without which, men neither would contend resolutely with the disappointments and calamities of life; nor would they, in prosperity preserve an evenness of temper, so as to be free from levity and arrogance,—the sources of ingratitude to God and of contempt for their less-favoured brethren.
To reason from the sensations of our nature and the inward consciousness of our souls, is the most obvious and convincing method. A mere profession of wisdom will cause us to falter and stumble at almost every step. The largest share of philosophy attainable by man, with all its general laws deduced from observation, and connecting its chain of secondary causes, can make but small advances. Some difficulty soon appears, which cannot be solved, without admitting the interposition of a supreme directing mind. In our knowledge of matter, we are, at best, but ingenious novices; but in the knowledge of mind and spirit, we can make no progress at all, without the supposition of a Providence. For instance,--a man is environed with great distress ;-his condition is exceedingly deplorable ; – he is plunged in the deepest sorrow and dismay ;--for no relief appears, and all his prospects are dark and gloomy. At the bare recital of his case, a stranger, a person at a remote distance, interests himself in his cause ; and, by a surprising turn of incidents in his favour, gives him an effectual redress. Cases like this have not unfrequently happened. They are such as every mind must acknowledge, that has the least experience in life, or that makes any observation upon it. Men of sober reflection and of candour will join with the bulk of spectators and hearers in ascribing them to a particular providence : but there arises, perhaps, some sullen or conceited sophist, who affects to unravel the whole process, by ascribing it all to the laws of matter and motion. Now, if this sophist's explanation or solution of the case is the true one,how happens it (we may ask) that all men are not equally mild, compassionate, and benevolent ?-or why, when numbers of them are hard-hearted, is one single individual moved with tenderness ? Is it not
WORKS OF THE LORD GREAT, AND SHEW HIS
Psalm cxi. 2.
The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all there that
have pleasure therein.
The worship of God consists of two branches,prayer and thanksgiving. In prayer, we address ourselves to Him in the language of supplication, and entreat his favour and love, that we may be blessed with good or delivered from evil. By thanksgiving, we express our gratitude for the mercies and benefits which, in his goodness, he has conferred upon us.
It is to the performance of this duty of thanksgiving, that the author of this Psalm invites us, and, as it were, takes the leading part in the Chorus. He begins with a devout hallelujah, or psalm of praise, to the Almighty. He exerts the whole force of his affections, the whole energy of his soul, in extolling
the Great Creator “in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.” Throughout this divine hymn, he expresses and acknowledges his devout sense of God's providence in the government of the world,—in those works especially which give the greatest pleasure and satisfaction to a mind that traces and searches them out ;-those works which manifest, in the clearest and most convincing light, the honour and glory of Him whose “righteousness endureth for ever.” The works of the creation are evidences principally of his Almighty power, his immense knowledge, and his all-perfect wisdom. These, as they are in themselves most stupendous, and as they tend strongly to excite our reverence and adoration of the God and Father of all things, are continually present to our observation, and press themselves, at every moment, on our remembrance. But the works of providence represent the Deity to us in a still more amiable light. They exhibit Him as gracious and full of compassion,-giving meat, or daily support and comfortable subsistence, to them that fear him,-ever mindful of his covenant to protect the honest and the good,-assuaging the malice, and by his power disconcerting the schemes, of the wicked,—displaying verity and judgment in every instance of his dealings with mankind ;—and doing all things in truth and righteousness. To fear him, therefore, by acknowledging his paternal and allpresiding providence, is, as the Psalmist further observes, “the beginning of wisdom ;” and they