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themselves: since they were expressly assured, that the same vices would draw upon them the same displeasure, expose them inevitably to the same calamities, and drown them in the same perdition. The history which has passed under review, affords a striking exemplification of divine fidelity and purity, and of the harmony and success of all the designs of God. Whatever is difficult and obscure, this is plain and luminous: whatever in Providence is calculated to impress awe and terror, this excites only the emotions of admiration and delight. It is pleasant to observe, amid the caprices, and the fluctuations, of human purposes, the undivided, and unshaken plans of Jehovah, hastening with undeviating perseverance to their completion. Man commences operations to-day, which he abandons to-morrow. Either the difficulties that present themselves are insurmountable, or he is weary of the length of way which is between him and the attainment of his wishes, or some new object is started, or he is interrupted by death: from some cause or other, it is seldom that his purpose is accomplished. He began to build, but either he had not counted the cost, or not well chosen the ground, or through lack of materials, or workmen, the tools fell from his hand, and the unfinished edifice stands a lasting monument of the folly, the poverty, or the caprice, of the architect. It is not so with the Deity. No difficulty can impede his designs: he commands, and the mountain becomes a plain. No length of time can frustrate his wishes: for time is swallowed up before him. That which his will purposes, is, in his estimation, accomplished: for, to him, the distance between the plan and its execution, is annihilated. A thousand “years with the Lord are as one day”—“a thousand ages, as yesterday when it is past.” No new object can distract his attention, and lead him aside from his original purpose: for “he is of one mind, and who can turn him?” and “he seeth the end from the beginning.” Death cannot interrupt his operations: for with him is “neither beginning of days nor end of life.” He counts the cost, and lays the foundation of the edifice, deep and lasting: he furnishes materials, and raises up workmen to prosecute his designs; and although these “cannot continue by reason of death,” as they drop the tools, he puts them into the hands of others! One strikes a blow or two with the hammer, and drives a mail: another spreads the mortar, places “one stone upon another,” leaves it to cement, and falls asleep: a third pursues the process; and amid the removal of the laborers, the building of God continues to rise, till “the topstone is brought forth with shouting.” It is pleasant to see the Deity superintending the deliberations of those who acknowledge him not, and from their chaos causing a beautiful creation to spring to light. In the midst of senates, of privy councils, and of camps, the invisible God presides. The conqueror knows him not, and the assembly think not of him, who is in the midst of them. Short-sighted and bewildered in their plans, their schemes are dictated by the exigencies of the moment: but he is making them the instruments of fulfilling his pleasure. They wish to shake the power of this and that empire, to check the insolent rapacity of an unprincipled tyrant, to extend their own political interests, or to add such a tract of country, and such a distant possession, to their own dominion. They form alliances, and project enterprises: he sanctions, or crushes, these, as he sees fit—still pursuing his own eternal purposes.
It is pleasant to see the gradual developement of his plans, and the regular succession of events, which accomplish them. He is “a God of order, and not of confusion.” Nothing is premature, nothing is retarded, nothing is out of place. All is concord, co-operation, utility, beauty, stability.
It will be pleasant hereafter to see the accomplishment of the whole scheme. So transient is our present existence, that a very small portion of the divine plans can fall within its narrow compass. In a few instances, like the present, the records of truth enable us to form some conception of the operations of God, and the his. tory is the counterpart of the prediction. But when we shall have subdued our enemies, and completed our wanderings in the wilderness: when we shall have passed Jordan, and taken possession of our heavenly Canaan: we shall compare the prediction, the event, and its consequences together: and with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, raise the shout of triumph in the kingdom of God!
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE JEWS-INCLUDING THE THEOCRACY AND MONARCHY, TO THE BUILDING OF SOLOMON’S TEMPLE: WITH A CONFIRMATION OF SOME SUBORDINATEFACTS,
1 SAM. viii, 6–10 & 19, 20. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, give us a king to judge us: and Samuel prayed unto the Lord; And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods; so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit, yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people, that asked of him a king. —Nevertheless, the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay, but we will have a king over us: That we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
ACTS VII. 44–48.
Our Fathers had the Tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. Which also our fathers that came after, brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David. Who found favor before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands.
IIEB. xi, 32–34. And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Sampson, and of Jepthat, of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets. JWho through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, wared valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
WHATEVER be the views of man respecting the veracity of the scriptures, it must be admitted that the subjects of which they treat, and upon which they promise elucidation, are to the last degree interesting and important. If there be a God, it is of the first consequence, that we should understand our relation to him, the duties which we owe him, and the service which he requires. The question whether revelation has given us just views on this subject, cannot be solved, except it be in the first instance seriously received, and cautiously examined; and professing to give us decisive information upon these points, it demands respect, it should awaken interest,