« AnteriorContinuar »
revolutions of the empires of the world, which prophecy reveals and describes as destined and directed by heaven, were generally effected by the armies of contending powers. Before the beloved disciple, in holy vision, was unfolded the history of the church of Christ. He is informed of those who shall make war with the Lamb, Rev. xvii. 14:' it is added, "and the Lamb shall overcome "them, for he is the Lord of Lords and u King of Kings, and they that are with him "are called and chofen, and faithful." His description is more particular and striking, and sublime, in the xix. 11. "I saw heaven w opened, and, behold! a white horse, and "he that sat upon him was called Faithful "and true, and in righteousness he doth ** judge, and make war. His eyes were as a "flame of fire, and on his head were many "crowns, and he had a name written which "no man knew but he himself, and he was "clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, and u his name is called the word of God: and "the armies which were in heaven follow"ed him upon white horses, clothed in fine "linen, white and clean: and out of his f* mouth goeth a sharp sword that with it he
V should "should smite the nations: and he shall rule ** them with a rod of iron, and he treadeth "the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath "of Almighty God. And he hath on his "vesture and on his thigh a name written, "King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
When we believe and inculcate this truth, that wars are under the control and direction of heaven, we most readily admit that the origin of wars is in the wicked passions of the human heart: we leave not out of view the schemes of the governors of the nations of the world: much is justly reasoned and asserted of the abilities, and of the imperfections of commanders; of the courage, skill and exertions ; or of the cowardice, feebleness and confusion of armies: much is justly ascribed to ground, to station, to wind and weather, as explaining victory and defeat: we question, and deny, nothing respecting the merit or demerit, the glory or disgrace of fleets and armies, of soldiers and sailors, of those who command, and of those who obey: but let us ever look higher than human sagacity or praise or blame, let us ever remember the ruling and controling
providence providence of God. AU are his servants: sire and hail, snow and vapour, stormy winds, fulfil his word: he rules the raging of the sea; he stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people. The wicked are his hand, his sword to execute his purpose: be maketb the wrath of men to praife him.
This text of Scripture suggests our second observation for quieting the troubled in the time of wars and rumours of wars.
2. By wars the Lord fulfils his purposes, and manifests his glory.
What is true of the more immediate interpositions of God, in the cafe of Israel, is true of the wars of all nations, and of their effects: they are the instruments he employs in the government of the world, for reproof and correction, for the manifestation of his justice and faithfulness; and of his goodness also: for, by Wars, the interests of humanity, of liberty, of order, of security, and of enjoyment, have been promoted and established.
P p >vhb
Whether we perceive it at the time or not, we are assured that, in all his dispensations of what kind soever they are, God will be justified in the end, to use a scriptural manner of speaking, as holy, just and good. The divine holiness and justice, and goodness, are easily traced; are indeed conspicuously displayed, in the histories of the commotions of nations, as preserved especially by the pen of inspiration. He is the same yesterday to-day and for ever. He will carry on his plans: he will fulfil his pleasure. As it has been formerly it will be now, it will be hereafter: good may arise out of evil, order from confusion, peace from war; and, from desolating judgments, tranquillity and enjoyment. The demolition of antichrist, the disgrace and ruin of irreligion, the spreading and triumphs of the everlasting Gospel, may be forwarded, prepared for, or effected, by the wars of the present time.
On this subject permit me to suggest lo you, that these two cautions are ever to be remembered. In the first place, we are not to imagine that success in war, either in detail or in result, is always a proof of the approbation probation of Heaven to\ the successful, or to the objects of the leaders of nations or of armies. There is a strange disposition in many to believe and aver that, success is the seal of Heaven to those who prosper. God hath indeed permitted them to prosper, that is, to gain their object: but how often have we read and heard of the way of the wicked prospering, their strength is firm, they have no bands in their death, &c. &c.? But does God approve of the wicked, the deceitful, the bloody? Are robbers, plunderers, murderers, approved of Heaven ?—By this blasphemous doctrine, Judas Iscariot and the murderers of the Son of God are approved. Say not the French leaders or armies have the approbation of Heaven. We have heard of the crimes of the revolution, of the impieties of their public men, in public places: we cannot think of their atrocities or repeat their blasphemies without horror: knowing what we know, and what they are at no pains to conceal, for they have gloried in their shame, can we call them the servants of God, the approved of Heaven, in any other sense, than that storms and conflagrations, earthquakes and deluges, are also his servants?