Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

to be instructed by God Himself? Throw we by unread, and as of no consequence, an unsealed letter sent to us from the Almighty?"*

The writer has endeavoured, in the composition of this work, to combine brevity with comprehensiveness ; but how far he has succeeded must be left to the decision of parties less interested than himself. The examples illustrative and confirmatory of his several positions, it will be observed, are deduced from the Scriptures; but on no subject does he profess to have cited all the examples that the sacred volume contains. This would have swelled his book to an inconvenient size, and have limited its circulation and usefulness; and he is anxious to assist, as far as possible, in counteracting that forgetfulness of God which is a disease of fallen human nature, and which so large an amount of modern literature is adapted to promote. His desire is, as much as in him lies, to lead people to think of Him who is about our bed, and about our path, and who spieth out all our ways. Happy they who see His hand in every object of nature, and in every event of life, and

; who study in all things to please Him in the strength of their Saviour's grace! Some of the Scripture facts, it will be observed, are referred to oftener than once; but as they are intended to illustrate different views of Divine Providence, it is hoped they will not be regarded as needless repetitions.

LONDON, February 22d, 1862.

* Dr. Young

THE

PROVIDENCE OF GOD.

CHAPTER I.

THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD VIEWED IN CONNEXION

WITH THE CREATION.

By the providence of God, generally speaking, is meant His care for every object of nature; so that His power is uninterruptedly exercised in upholding, controlling, and directing every person and every thing, rendering all subservient to His glory, and the accomplishment of His wise, holy, gracious, merciful, and righteous purposes. As He is everywhere present in all the perfection of His nature, nothing escapes the observation of His eye, and nothing takes place but by His agency, His appointment, or His permission; for every creature is at His absolute disposal. Inorganic matter is sustained in being by His power; the earth and the heavenly bodies perform their revolutions under His direction; in vegetable nature His hand is in constant operation; by His bounty the wants of the entire animal creation are daily supplied ; and mankind, created in His image, endued with understanding, and therefore under His moral government, are the objects

B

of His special regard, having the greatest share in His paternal love. It is in their behalf that He has made the most signal manifestations of His attributes and character.

Rightly to apprehend the providence of God, we must view it in its connexion with the act of creation, with the fall of man, with the redemption of the world by the death of Christ, and with a future state of rewards and punishments. When viewed apart from these subjects, the doctrine of Divine providence is involved in difficulties which no ingenuity can unravel; and the more deeply it is studied, the more dark and perplexing those difficulties become. But of the creation, the fall, redemption, and a future state, the Holy Scriptures are the only authentic record. To their teaching, therefore, as the undoubted word of God, we surrender ourselves through the ensuing pages.

That all things were created by an infinitely wise, benevolent, and almighty Being, is a truth suggested by enlightened reason, and for ever set at rest by Scripture testimony. Thoughtful men among the ancient heathen speculated on this vital question, and erred greatly in their opinions concerning it. * Some of them imagined that the admirable constitution of the universe was the result of chance; others, that it was necessary and eternal; others, again, that it bore undeniable marks of wisdom and benevolence, and must therefore have been made, but they failed to discover the unity of its Maker : a subject on which the testimony of Holy Scripture is explicit and unequivocal. The simplest student of the Bible, therefore, in respect of this first

* See note A, in the Appendix.

« ПредишнаНапред »