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pass before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out that was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me (I pray thee) drink a little water of thy pitcher. “And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her. pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink, And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not. And it came to pass as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden ear-ring, of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold: and said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee, is there room in thy father's
house for us to lodge in? And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bore unto Nahor. She said moreover unto him, we have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in. And the man bowed his head and worshipped the Lord. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren *.” There is so much simplicity and nature, such evident traces of divine conduct in this little patriarchal story, that I could not forbear to recite it at length.
The providence of God in the ordinary course of the world, though less marked and conspicuous, is no less real; though it lie concealed under the operation of general laws, framed with such incomprehensible skill as to contain provisions for the smallest erents, or hide itself under the exercise of human policy and prudence, its efficacy is still the same; even the sins and follies of men, by its secret conduct, accomplish the ends of infinite wisdom and holiness.
* Gen. xxiv,
Thus the divine superintendance, though generally unperceived and disregarded, is unremitting and universal, comprehending equally the private affairs of individuals, and the general interests of nations. The scriptures represent the Most High as ruling in the kingdom of men, and giving it to whomsoever he will * ; as planting and building up a people, and again for their sins plucking up and destroying them t. And we have before seen, that it was usual with the most eminent heathen legislators, to preface their laws with observing, That every citizen ought first to be persuaded, that the gods are the masters and rulers of the world, and that all things are under their power and providence.
If men held a nearer converse with the Deity, they would enjoy a quicker perception of his hand in all things; where they now can see only nature and human agency,
* Dan. iv. 25.
+ Jer. xviii. 7-10.
they would discern the Lord of nature and the Sovereign of the world; the wheels of providence, as in the vision of Ezekiel, would appear full of eyes round about.
II. Upon these principles, a good man, such as we have above described, may live without anxiety amidst all the disorders of human life, whether they be of a private or public nature; since he may securely depend on the special protection of that Alinighty Being whose dominion is absolute and universal.
If, notwithstanding all his prudent diligence, he is poor and necessitous, he may confidently look to him who feeds the sparrores and clothes the lilies; if he is threatened with injury by soine potent enemy, it will create in him no great alarm when he considers, that He who has the hearts of all in his hands, can easily restrain the mischievous intent, or divert it into another channel; or if he has actually suffered wrong, he may quiet his mind with the reflection, that it could not have happened without his wise permission, who is able to convert it to his greater
advantage; nay, he has ground to be assured, that while he is walking in the ways of piety and virtue, all things, whether prosperous or adverse, are co-operating for his real and permanent benefit.
Such a sense of things, when pure and genuine, must powerfully tend to extinguish in him all discorstent, all envy, all resentment, all unmanly fear. He may say to his most formidable adversary,—Thou canst have no power against me, unless it be given thee from above. Thy malignity is indeed thine own, but is in itself impotent; and when armed with power, is under a superior control. I fear God, and fear none but him.
Of this heroic piety there have been eminent examples in all ages; and especially under the christian dispensation, the instances are innumerable of those who, supported by its promises, have undergone the most grievous trials with patience and cheerfulness.
Could we at this day look into the interior state of our own country, we should doubtless discover many examples of such