Графични страници
PDF файл

ed into a fluid mafs. The land riseth into a flood. The prophet adds, “ It is he that buildeth his sto. ries in the heavens, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out on the earth ; the Lord of hosts is his name.” We have a similar description of God's power in the book of Micah. “ The Lord cometh forth from his place; he will come down and tread on the high places of the earth, and the mountains shall be molten under him, and the vallies shall be cleft; they shall be as wax before the fire, and as waters poured down a steep place." The same allusions we find in the book of Psalms. “ The Lord is very great ; he is clothed with honour and majesty. He covereth himself with light, as with a garment ; he stretcheth out the heavens like a curtain ; he layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters ; he maketh the clouds his chariot; he walketh on the wings of the wind. He laid the foundations of the earth; he covered it with the deep as with a garment ; the waters stood above the mountains. At his rebuke they fed ; at the voice of his thunder they hafted away." God's sovereign and absolute disposal of the mighty waters is adduced in the book of Job, as a demonstration of his supreme and universal dominion. Thus speaks the Almighty to his fervant ; “Who shut up the sea with doors ?-I made the cloud its garment, and thick darkness its swad. dling band. I brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, and said, Hitherto Ihalt thou come, and no farther, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” God's controuling power over floods and mountains was manifested in a peculiar manner to the Jews, in their deliverance from Egypt, and introduction into Canaan. This is grandly described in one of the Psalms. " When

[ocr errors]

Israel came out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from à people of a strange language, Judah was his fanctuary, and Israel his dominion. The fea faw it and fled ; Jordan was driven back. The moun. tains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. What ailed thee, O fea, that thou fleddeft; and thou Jordan, that thou waft driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams, and ye little hills like lambs! Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord ; at the prefence of the God of Jacob, who turneth the rock into ftanding water, and the flint into a fountain of water.” The prophet Jeremiah alledges, as a proof of the infidelity, and even brutality of the Jews, that they revered not God's presence, when they had before them the most striking evidences of it in the mighty swellings of the waters, and theeffectual restraints under which they were held. “ Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding, who have eyes, but see not ; and ears, but hear not : fear ye not me ? faith the Lord; will ye not tremble at my pres. ence ? who have placed the fand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it; and though the waves thereof tofs themselves, yet they cannot prevail ; though they roar, yet can they not pass over.'

Floods exhibit to us a grand and astonishing spectacle. They swell the mind with the idea of awful and irresistible power. They shew us the vanity and impotence of man. They demonstrate the presence of an invisible Being, who alone maintains a dominion over them. They admonifh us to revere his supreme majesty, and trust his continual care.

We see evidences of God's providence every where, and every day, but common and daily occurrences, being familiar to us, are easily over

looked, or foon forgotten. Floods which are more rare appearances, unite their novelty with their grandeur, to attract the attention, affect the imagination and folemnize the mind.

2. Floods call our attention to the wisdom and goodness, as well as to the power and majesty of God.

Settlements bordering on seas, or contiguous to large rivers, are subject to inundations, which sometimes spread wide devaftations. Ordinarily, however, the tides of the sea, and the fwellings of rivers are so disposed, as to be beneficial, not inju: rious to mankind.

The land of Egypt, where rains feldom fall, de pends on the annual flowings of its river for the fertility of its foil. Lowlands, bordering on large ftreams, are enriched by floods. These may sometimes “ wash away the things, which grow out of the earth;" but usually they render the earth more productive. And it is happy that, though they are absolutely beyond our controul, they are always under the direction of the great governour of nature.

If the vast quantities of snow, which fall in the winter on the mountainous parts of the country, should be diffolved by copious rains and a steady warmth, the rise of foods, and the impetuosity of streams would spread extensive ruin ; and the erection of bridges, mills and water works would be a fruitless labour. To prevent this calamity, the snow waters are usually drained off in a gentle manner ; vernal rains are short ; warm days are followed with cool nights ; the rising flood is checked by a change of weather. Thus the snows are taken off without imminent danger to man or material injury to property, and with fenfible ben. efit to the foil.

It is a kindness in providence, that high floods feldom come in that season of the year, when our fruits are in the field. Such repeated inun. dations, as we have seen of late, coming in midsummer, or in early autumn, would sweep off the fruits of our fields and meadows, and be follow. ed with extensive scarcity. And if such unseasonable floods were frequent, the rich intervales contiguous to rivers would be deserted, and our best lands lie uncultivated.

It is an instance of divine goodness, that floods are attended with some degree of regularity, so that ordinarily we know when to expect them, and what precautions to take for security against them.

Let us learn to trust that benevolent Being, who orders snows and rains, storms and floods for the benefit of the human kind.

3. Floods remind us of our own impotence, and of our dependence on God.

We fee, that it is not in our power to order the time when they shall come, or when they shall retire ; to prescribe the height to which they shall rise, or the extent to which they shall spread; to divert their course, or repress their impetuosi. ty. All these circumstances are directed by a fuperior power—by him who gathers the winds in his fifts, and measures the waters in the hollow of his hand. Equally dependent are we in every thing-equally impotent in every condition. But such scenes are now and then presented to us, that impressed with a sense of our weakness, and of God's governing providence, we may never trust in ourselves, but in all our ways may acknowledge him.

4. Floods,coming in an unusual time and manner, teach us the uncertainty of human designs and the precariousness of worldly property.

Floods though ordinarily disposed in mercy, may sometimes come for correction. So Elihu observes ; “ God by watering wearieth the thick cloud, which is turned about by his counsels to do whatsoever he commandeth on the face of the world ; and he causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for the land, or for mercy."

A general deluge was the judgment, by which God punished the wickedness of the old world. Partial inundations have often spread desolation to a wide extent on lands adjacent to seas and rivers. The swelling tide urged by violent winds has rushed in far upon the land, laid towns and cities waste, driven ships from their moorings far upon the folid ground, where houses and stores have stood; and, at the same time, has swept houses and stores with their treasures and owners into the ocean, where ships were moored. Rivers, raised by mighty rains or the sudden disso. lution of snows, have borne away with impetuous force the works and labours of men, their flocks and herds, their habitations and riches.

Such floods are to be regarded as calamities, not only to the immediate sufferers, but also to communities. They may, however, like other calamities, be useful in a moral view, to admonifh us of the vanity and inftability of earthly things, and to direct our thoughts to better objects. The late floods, coming in an unusual seafon, rising one after another in quick succession, and bearing on with them immense quantities of heavy and folid ice, have produced disastrous effects never before known, to such an extent, since our country was inhabited.

We fee how easily the hand of God can blast the expectations, frustrate the designs, and destroy the works of men. Let us seek a city which

« ПредишнаНапред »