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is founded on the highest of all host by number (He calleth them titles, that of creation. A belief all by their names) by the greatness in God as the Maker of all things, of his might ; for that he is strong in is a fundamental article of our re- power, no one faileth." If we look ligion ; for « through faith we un- beneath, we see him year after year derstand that the worlds were fram, replenishing the earth with his treaed by the word of God, so that sures: “ He causeth the grass to things which are seen were not grow for the cattle, and herb for made of things which do appear. the service of man, that he may Indeed, it is the very first declara- bring forth food out of the earth, tion of Scripture, that " in the and wine that maketh glad the heart beginning God created the heavens of man, and oil to make his face to and the earth." When nothing as shine, and bread which stengtheneth yet existed, he willed, and he spake, man's heart." Though he has conand the universe came into being, trived all his works with infinite No one, therefore, can dispute with skill, he has not so made them that him the first claim to a right and they should continue without his property in all things ; all things constant care. The Psalmist David being made by him, and for him. beautifully describes this never ceas* O Lord of hosts, thou art the ing dependence of all things upon God, even thou alone, of all the him. « These," that is every living kingdoms of the earth; for thou thing, the inhabitants of the air, hast made heaven and earth. of the earth, and of the waters,
The universe, thus created by these all wait upon thee, that his power, he upholds by his con- thou mayest give them their meat tinual providence. Who would have in due season. That thou givest skill to reign over this vast and com- them they gather : thou openest plicated creation, but its Almighty thine hand, they are filled with and infinitely perfect Author? Who good; thou hidest thy face, they could guide the stars in their courses, are troubled ; thou takest away their and raise and support the successive breath, they die and return to their races of the vegetable and animal dust; thou sendest forth thy Spirit, tribes; and, above all, who could they are created, and thou renewest rule in the armies of heaven, and the face of the earth." Especially amongst the inhabitants of the earth, is his providential care visible with but He whose wisdom and power respect to mankind. He describes brought all creation into existence? himself in his word as looking down Even man, though endued with from heaven to behold all that conreason, and master of many arts cerns them ; as numbering the very and sciences, could not preserve hairs of their head. «Thou know his own life a single moment, with- est," said David, my downsitting out the providential care of his gra- and mine uprising ; thou undercious Creator. No creature is, or standest my thoughts afar off; thou can be, independent of him : he compassest my path and my lying sustains us in life, he clothes us, he down, and art acquainted with all feeds us, he shelters us, he wards my ways.
Nor is he a mere spec, off disease and danger, and he fol- tator, but an active disposer and lows us with his loving kindness and agent in our affairs. It is he that tender mercy. He reigns
in every maketh poor and maketh rich: he department of his creation. If we appoints our stations in life; he look to the heavens above, it is he allots to us our portion of health, who “ telleth the number of the and strength, and the ordinary stars, and calleth them all by their bounties of his providence. He names. “ Lift up your eyes on promised the Patriarch Abraham high, and behold who hath created that his posterity should enjoy the these things, that bringeth out their land of Canaan, and he accomplish
ed his promise, though at that time King of kings and Lord of lords, no event appeared less' probable. and of his dominion there was to He taught Jacob to acknowledge, be no end. In this view of the with heartfelt gratitude, that all his subject, the Creator reigns in the prosperity was derived from the souls of men, in a new and
pecusame infinite source : « O God of liar manner. The throne of the my father Abraham, and God of human heart had been yielded to my father Isaac, the Lord which an usurper ;' for Satan is described said unto me, Return unto thy coun.
as the god of this world, reigning try, and unto thy kindred, and I without opposition in the children will deal well with thee; I am not of disobedience. His evil domiworthy of the least of all the mer- nion is marked by whatever is uncies and of all the truth which thou holy and unlike God, whether in has shewed unto thy servant.” Da- word, or thought, or action. But vid, in like manner, in his thanks- it was the office of Christ, as a giving, when the people had offered conqueror, to expel this enemy willingly of their substance to build of souls, and to re-assume the reins the temple, said, “ Blessed be thou, of government in the hearts of men : Lord God of Israel our father, for he died to purify to himself a peoever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is ple zealous of good works. His the greatness, and the power, and kingdom is love, and joy, and peace, the glory, and the victory, and the and holiness. He dwells in us by majesty; for all that is in the heaven faith, and shews the efficacy of his and the earth is thine : thine is the dominion, by causing us to abound kingdom, O Lord, and thou art in the fruits of repentance, and in exalted as head above all. Both every good word and work, to his riches and honour come of thee, praise and glory. He inclines us by and thou reignest over all." We his Holy Spirit willingly to submit might bring forward almost innu- to him as our rightful Sovereign, merable other passages of Scripture, and to banish from our hearts whatof the same nature, all shewing the ever opposes his hallowed sway. He strong sense which devout men reigns, subduing our evil passions, in every age, and, above all, the calming our unchristian tempers, sacred writers, have entertained conquering pride, self-will, and of the presence and dominion of worldliness, and exciting in us love, God.
to God and to our neighbour, and But, most of all, he reigns in whatever is lovely and of good rehis kingdom of grace; and to this port. Nothing can more striking.
the Psalmist appears particularly toly prove the presence and power of refer in the text, the whole Psalm G than such a change of chabeing considered to be a prophecy racter effected in a fallen and guilty of the conversion of the Gentiles, creature like mankind. Not more and the spiritual dominion of the certainly did he reign in his provipromised Messiah. The knowledge dence, when he made the stars in of the one true God, and of salva- their courses to fight against Sisera, tion through the sacrifice and death or when he discomfited the Philisof Christ, which had hitherto been tines, or put to flight the army of confined to the Jewish people, was the Assyrians, or levelled the walls to be at length diffused through of Jericho, or caused the sun to out “ the multitude of isles:" the stand still upon Gibeon, and the “ isles were to wait for his law :" moon in the valley of Ajalon, than " the Sun of Righteousness was to rise he does in his spiritual kingdom, with healing in his wings," and “the when he thus regenerates and sancGentiles were to come to his light; tifies a human soul, and builds up and 'kings' to the brightness of his his church, a spiritual dominion, rising." The Messiah was to reign rescued from the midst of apostacy CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 274.
and impending destruction. And one hand, a sceptre of mercy and this spiritual kingdom is but the forbearance, and, on the other, of beginning of that universal domi- righteous judgment and rebuke: nion, which he will one day assume, In these various departments of when the kingdoms of this world his creation, he adapts the form of shall become the kingdoms of our his goverment to the character of Lord and of his Christ; and he shall those whom he governs ; but in all reign for ever and ever, all enemies with an unfailing consistency with being subdued, and the whole uni- his own Divine perfections, which verse acknowledging his rightful nover vary amidst all the changes supremacy.
and exigencies of his creation. Now, But our text, in the second place, with regard to our own world, viewspeaks of the dominion of God over ing the fallen character of mankind, his creation, and especially in the we may judge what a scene of evil affairs of his church, as a subject and inextricable confusion would of gladness and rejoicing. He has ensue were there not an all-wise not left us to our own skill or wis- and all-powerful Disposer, who sits, dom, or made us dependent upon as it were, at the helm, and guides our own frail and feeble energies. the vessel amidst the storms and He has not consigned us to th contentions of human life. Were lominion of chance; or, what would it not that he mercifully restrains be still worse, to the wayward pas- the evil passions of mankind, the sions and desires which sin has in- world would be one vast field of troduced into a fallen world. He misery and every evil work, without exerts a constant providential go- any abatement or mitigation. Lookvernment for our advantage; and ing then no farther than this, we it is only in proportion as we volun- have cause to rejoice that the Lord tarily withdraw ourselves from his reigneth, that he turneth the hearts sway, and seek for other lords to of men as the rivers of water, and rule over us, that he suffers us to maketh even their wrath eventually feel how sinful and wretched we to praise him. Happy is it for us are, destitute of his guidance and that we are under a better guidance protection.
and protection than our own; and We shall perceive abundant cause that a sinful and rebellious world is to rejoice in the government of God, not at once consigned to a state of if we consider the character of those justly merited banishment from the over whom he reigns, and the na- care of its offended Creator. ture of his dominion.
2. The character also of God's go1. Over whom and what does vernment is a just cause of rejoicing. he reign? He exerts an organizing He rules not feebly, or ignorantly, and disposing power over all the or unjustly, or unmercifully. Human elements of nature, without which governments are a blessing to coniconstant vigilance, the universe munities in proportion to the excelwould become a wreck, and no lence of their laws and the justice animated being could continue in of their administration. But the existence. But it is his moral go- laws of God are perfect ; like their vernment which we are particu- Author, they are holy, just, and good; larly called upon to consider; and and in keeping them there is great this extends to angels, to devils, reward. They are also administered and to men. In heaven and in hell as perfectly as they are planned. his government is of an unmixed God governs omnipotently; there character : in the former, it is in- is no event that he cannot control'; finite love and beneficence; in the nothing can impede his designs ; latter, unmitigated justice and ‘sė. he makes all things' work together verity. Upon earth he reigns with after the good pleasure of his will. a mingled-sway; exhibiting, on the He governs also with infinite wis
dom. All his plans are marked by sin;" he is the "rewarder of them unerring judgment : he can bring that diligently seek him:" though good out of evil; he“ disappointeth he is the Lord strong and mighty," the devices of the crafty, so that and is “provoked every day," he their hands cannot perform their yet bears with a sinful and apostate enterprise ; he taketh the wise in world; he is willing, even at the their own craftiness, and the coun, eleventh hour, to receive the returnsel of the froward is carried head- ing prodigal; he has no pleasure in long," “ With him is strength and the death of the wicked, but rather wisdom: the deceived and the de- that he should turn from his wickedceiver are his." Every part of his ness and live. creation displays this wisdom, and And is it not a subject for reespecially the human frame so "fear- joicing that we live under the sway fully and wonderfully made." His of a Being such as this ? Could we providentialgovernment as described choose so well for ourselves as he and illustrated by numerous can choose for us ? Could we in amples in his word, exhibits this any way be so happy for time or wisdom still more strikingly; and for eternity, as by submitting to most of all, the affairs of his spiritual his wise and good and righteous kingdom, his wonderful provision dominion? But, then, the imporfor the redemption of lost mankind, tant question arises, Have we really and his restoration of his degraded done so ? Are we by choice and and sinful creatures to his own self-dedication his obedient subimage in righteousness and true jects ? Let us examine our hearts holiness. He governs also with in- in this particular, for his governfinite justice. He has no designs ment is not to be trifled with. It but what are as equitable as they is not a subject of indifference are wise. We cannot understand whether we are classed among the the reason of all his proceedings; number of his friends or his enemies; his, government often appears, to among those who shall reign with our feeble conceptions, to be in- him in endless glory in heaven, or volved in much obscurity; but of those who shall be cast out from his this we may ever rest assured that presence into the blackness of dark“ the Judge of all the earth will do ness for ever. Let me then address right.” The future world will clear you on behalf of your Creator, Preup all doubts, and will shew that, server, and Benefactor. Do you though “clouds and darkness are acknowledge him as such, and this often round about him," yet that practically as well as in words? “ righteousness and judgment are Do you cherish towards him a rethe habitation of his throne.” He verent spirit, submitting to his disrules also with boundless goodness. pensations and humbling yourself His infinite wisdom and power are under his mighty hand? Do you not exerted for the injury, but for adore him; do you fear him; and the benefit of his creatures. To do you desire and endeavour to cease to be under his dominion love him with all your heart and would be their greatest calamity. soul and mind and strength? Do « The Lord is good to all ; his you shew an eagerness to serve tender mercies are over all his him; do you account his service works :" “ the earth is full of his perfect freedom; do you avoid goodness." His very, threatenings whatever interferes with your obeand punishments are intended in dience to his laws, and do you make mercy: they are designed, like the it the great study of your life to warning given to the Ninevites, to know and to do his will ? Do you bring us to repentance, that we acknowledge his mercies, and does may live and not die. He" par. an habitual sense of them bind
your doneth iniquity, transgression, and heart in grateful affection to him?
Do you view with admiration the su Somescholarshave supposed, that long-continued lenity of his govern- the popular ascription of miraculous ment towards you s that he has not propetties to human salida originated cut you, off in your sins, but has in its adoption as a connecting sigt given you a space for hope and re by our Saviour; but there appears pentance ? Do you, feel deeply no reason why Christ, sḥould spe-, thankful for his infinite mercy in cially select for this purpose a Christ Jesus ; iby which he permits, thing so repugnant to our ideas at yea solicits, you to return to your least of delicacy , and further I obedience, and promises pardon and should scarcely imagine, that tlie grace to all who accept his gracious superstitious heathen
would borrow invitation? Do you seek the aid of a practice - from one whom they his Holy Spirit, without whom you regarded with detestation and horror can do nothing, in order that you as the enemy of those- very gods, may henceforth live to his glory, as through whose blessing their charms al willing subject of his spiritual were to work. But waving these kingdom? Do you lament your considerations, we may by direct past disobedience, and pray for reference prove at once the existstrength to resist every temptation tence and the prevalence of the to wander from him in future ? By belief in question, at a period presuch inquiries may you, ascertain vious to our Gospel narrative. Varro, how you stand affected towards him. who fourished several years before. Submit then to his authority ; wield the Christian era, informs us*, that. no longer the arms of a feeble and amongst the Hellespontines saliva impious rebellion; but “ kiss the had long been employed as an antiSon, lest he be angry;" live con- dote against the bite of serpents. stantly under the dominion of his From Persius +, who was born about golden sceptre of mercy, and then, the close of our Lord's ministry,
may, for life or death, we incidentally learn, that the lusfor time or eternity, you shall be . trales salive had, from generation safe beneath the shadow of his to generation, been deereed highly almighty protection.
efficacious in counteracting the
noxious influences of fascinations, ، ، ،
&c. Pliny I, the naturalist, his * Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. contemporary, states at length the
various virtues, which, from time I ti I am tempted to request admittance immemorial, had been ascribed to for a few additional remarks, by way this singular specific ; and amongst of appendix to the short article in them he particularly notices its freyour Number for June, on a cir- quent application in disorders of the cumstance connected with the
It is evident, then, that our performed by our Lord on the blind
by its man (John ix.), and the deaf and
Apud Plin. Nat. Hist. vii. 2. dumb person (Mark vii. 33), &c.;
+ Sat. ii. 31–34. * x. 52. xxviii. 4. chiefly for the purpose of introducing
For these references I am indebted to an apposite extract from Blunt's, Mr. Blunt; who employs tbem to prove a. Vesliges of Ancient Manners in somewhat different point. To them may Italy. The subject may not seem be added the frequent notices of another of great moment; but, as connected superstitious custom amongst the ancients, with the sacred narrative, it deserves that of spitting into the bosom, by way of its share of consideration, especially averting any liarm that might arise from as such circumstances have been the sight of a bad omen, the utterance of
*** an' unlucky word,' thic glance of an evil made a very unfair use of by scep- eye, &e. See Theophrast:' Char. "Xvi.; tics and infidels, with a view to. Theocr. V. 39; ***: 12; Luciar Apolog. bring the Scriptures into disesteem de Mereed. Conduc "Petron, p. 331 ; and contempt. io condena e Casaub. Leet. Theocr. 8.sand Heins 2.