Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ination of christians profess to hold the doctrine of fate, or chance ; yet they do profess to believe, that ten thousand events are contingent, and come to pass independently of any divine decree, or divine agency. , This opinion is totally inconsistent with the rational and scriptural doctrine of a univeral and particular providence. God determined from eternity to make just such a world as this, and to govern it just as he does govern it, by a particular providence. He determined to leave no creature, no person, no object, and no event to mere casualty or chance. As the world and all there is in it is always under his eye and in his hand; so he treats all creatures and all persons just as he originally intended, and brings about just such events, at just such times, and by just such means, as he originally intended. No contingent event ever takes place. Not an hair falls from the head, nor a sparrow falls to the ground contrary to his design, or without his agency. It is owing to his particular providence, that mankind enjoy so many, and no more favours ; and it is owing to his particular providence, that they suffer so many and no more evils. No good can come to them, and no evil fall upon them, but only under the direction and influence of his holy, wise, powerful, and particular providence.

2. If God exercises a particular providence over the world, and all that is in it; then he will certainly accomplisia his supreme and ultimate end in all the works of creation. As he made all things for his own glory, so he will make all things in the universe promote his infinitely wise and eternal purpose. As he exercises a particular providence over all the material, animal, and moral world, every object, every creature and every event, which he has brought, and will bring into existence, will be, some way or other, instrumental of accomplishing his great and good designs; because there is nothing in the universe can either designedly or undesignedly oppose, counteract, or frustrate the operations of his providence. As he has made nothing in vain, so he governs nothing in vain. There is not

[ocr errors]

one worthless or useless creature, or object in the whole circle of creation. Though there are ten thousand creatures and things, which appear not worth creation, preservation, or government in our view; this is not true in the view of God. He knows how to dispose of all created beings and objects so as to make every one of them serve some valuable and important purpose. This world viewed as in the hand of providence, is a most beautiful, valuable and important world. And could we see the ultimate end to which God is moving all things, we should not be slow of heart to believe, that he will finally accomplish all his designs ; that all his works will praise him ; that they will bring an immense revenue of glory to himself, and an immense revenue of holiness and happiness to his dutiful and obedient subjects. God, in governing this world, for nearly six thousand years, has caused it to produce great and astonishing effects. How many millions of rational and immortal creatures has God already raised up here, to exist for ever is a future state ? and how many millions more will he raise up here, for the same important purpose! And all the objects with which men have been, and will be surrounded here, and all the scenes of light and darkness, prosperity and adversity, through which he has called them, and will call them, have been and will be the means of forming their characters, and preparing them for endless bliss, or wo. While we live in this world, which is under the particular providence of God, we are living in a great, and good and solemn world. Every creature, every object, and every event is preparing the way for the final consummation of all things when we shall find, that God has not made an angel, a man, a worm, or a mote in vain, but all for his own glory.

3. The particular providence of God displays the perfections of his nature in the most grand and glorious light. His upholding, preserving and governing all things, by his universal and particular providence, gives the most exalted views of his eternal power and

Godhead. We measure the power of every agent by the nature, the number, and magnitude of the effects, which he has produced, or is able to produce. We admire the power of Sampson, who, by one effort of his strength, overthrew the house, and destroyed the lives of so many idolatrous Philistines. But what were those effects, in comparison, with the nature, variety and magnitude of the effects which God has, every moment, for thousands of years, produced ! He has upheld, preserved, and governed the heavens and the earth, and all the innumerable creatures and objects which they contain. To uphold and preserve one individual creature or object displays a power superiour to the united power of all created beings. But the power of God appears unspeakably greater and more astonishing in upholding and preserving every particle of dust in the earth, every drop of water in the ocean, every star in the firmament, and every creature in the universe. The number, variety, and magnitude of the effects, which God by his particular providence, has produced for ages, and will produce

, to all eternity, display his omnipotence in the most clear, amiable, and instructive light. His particular providence displays the immensity of his presence, as well as the omnipotence of his power. He is always present, wherever he always acts. He is always acts ing in heaven, in earth, and in all places; his presence therefore, fills heaven, and earth, and all places at one and the same moment, through every period of duration. And what an exalted idea does this exhibit of the divine omnipresence ! But God governs every created being and object, as well as upholds and preserves all things in existence.

He governs every particle of matter, every motion of every living creature, and every action of every moral agent, in subserviency to one supreme and ultimate object, which is his own glory. And to superintend and overrule all things in such a manner, displays infinite knowledge and wisdom. Nor does he make a less visible and glorious display of his boundless benevo

[ocr errors]

lence, by the multitude of his favours, which he is continually bestowing upon both his innocent and guilty creatures. His creatures are innnumerable, and the blessings which he bestows upon eaoh are innumerable. It is the particularity of divine providence that gives the brightest display of the immensity of the divine presence, and the infinitude of the divine

power, wisdom, and goodness. 4. It appears from the particular providence of God, that the whole world are under indispensable obligations of gratitude to him, for every favour they enjoy. Every good gift and every perfect gift cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning. By his particular providence, he has preserved them, watched over them, and provided for them every blessing that they have ever enjoyed. In Him, they have lived, and moved, and had their being, and to his almighty hand and benevolent heart, they ought to ascribe the great and innumerable blessings, which have fallen to their happy lot. In the exercise of his particular providence over the world, he has every moment exerted his almighty power, and infinite wisdom, and goodness, to satisfy the desires of every rational and irrational creature. Such displays of divine power, wisdom, and goodness God has made before the whole world of mankind, which have laid every individual under the most endearing obligations of gratitude to their creator, preserver, and benefactor. He has not left the heathen world without witness, in that he has done them good, and given them rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladness. He has given far brighter displays of his goodness before all the christian world ; and to no part of the christian world, perhaps, has he displayed The riches of his goodness and mercy so marvelously, as to our rising nation. We have been a people, emphatically saved of the Lord. We have been eminently the children of his care and providence. He. has given us both temporal and spiritual, civil and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

religious favours in vast variety, and extraordinary profusion. And in addition to these national blessings, he has bestowed upon every individual more personal mercies than can be reckoned up. But, alas ! instead of giving unto Him the gratitude and praise, which the riches of his goodness have merited and demanded, how have we abused them ! His goodness, instead of leading us to repentance, has led us to impenitence, unbelief, and rebellion. He has reason to complain of us, as he did of Israel—“ Hear O heavens, and give ear, 0 earth, for I have nourished and brought up children, but they have rebelled against me." 66 I beseech you, therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” God has spared your lives, and loaded you with his benefits another year, and now calls for his just reverence of gratitude and praise. But this you cannot pay him, without giving him the supreme affection of your hearts, and devoting your spared lives to his service. O consider in what a good world you have lived, in what a good land you have lived, under what a good providence you have lived, and under

, what pious parents many of you have lived. These great and singular favours, vastly strengthen, and increase your obligations to live pious' and grateful lives. But if any of you, whether young or old, .

, should refuse to give your hearts and your service to God, and continue barren and unfruitful, you have nothing better to anticipate, than to be cut down and destroyed, and that even before such an anniversary as this returns. Be entreated to spend this thanksgiving day gratefully and penitently, and if you may hope for the continuance and increase of every temporal and spiritual blessing, that infinite wisdom and goodness shall see best to bestow. Will not he that clothes the lily, and feeds the fowls; much more feed and clothe you, who confide in his providence, as long as you shall need these blessings, m your way to heaven?

you do,

« PreviousContinue »