Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

prepared and put together the machinery of a clock, or other such piece of mechanism, leaves it to operate by the energy of its own powers. But let the clock-maker retire into a corner, where there is no divine influence to ground his art upon, and there let him construct his machine, and put it in motion, with power in itself to continue said motion; then we shall have a case, by which to prove, that when things have begun to exist, they may continue on without a fresh exercise of power to preserve them. God's resting upon the seventh day, was not a cessation from all exercise, as it is with a man, who folds his arms to sleep, after the fatigues of the day. He ceased only from his work as Creator, which does not imply, but that at least as great a work was still going on. the preservation of things is a work in no respect inferior to that of creating them, Upon this point we may adopt a thought of President Edwards; that preservation is no other than an act of creation continued. The same power, or exercise of will, which gave things their being, in a moment, is, every moment, put forth so long as their being lasts. In any other case, they must cease to exist. If you assign the power of God as a reason for the existence of any particular thing, the first moment; the same must be given the next, and so on, until the whole term of its being has expired. Crea tion, therefore, in its whole mass, and in its minutest parts, hangs with the same weight

Nay,

upon the arms of Jehovah, in all the successive moments of its duration, as it did the first instant of its being brought forth. He upholdeth all things by the word of his power; and by him all things consist. Preservation is, therefore, on the whole, as much greater work, than that of creation, as the same work, continued on through an indefinite number of ages, is greater, than when it be gins and ends the same moment. Now, a work of so much difficulty or magnitude among men, as to be any trial of their strength at the outset, will, by and by, if pursued, become too burdensome for their faculties. Though they may go on with it, for a time, with some degree of ease; yet, at length, they grow weary, and sink under the task. And will he, who was able to make a world, be certainly able to bear it upon his shoulders, until duration itself shall have run out? Will he never become weary of sustaining the mighty load? Concerning him it is said, that he "fainteth not, neither is weary." He is subject to no failure of strength, or patience, to proceed in watching over and keeping in repair the stupendous machine, which he has contrived for the illustration of his own character, and in which he is eventually to shew the most admirable specimen of his own eternal excellency. On this truth saints and angels repose themselves as the anchor of their confidence, and the firm basis of their bliss.

Thirdly. Deity must have power to use

his creatures in exact subserviency to the end, for which he made them. Among all the inventions and labours of men, we shall find nothing undertaken by them without design. However trivial and childish their views may often be; yet we never can find an instance of a man's acting entirely without regard to an object. If such an one were to be found, we should all say he had fallen far below the estate of a man. And if it be essential to the dignity of our nature, that we act only in view of motives, or with reference to some end; we certainly cannot impute less perfection to God, by supposing he may act without end or design. His superior excellency to ours arises principally from his acting from higher and nobler views than we. And if so, he must aim at some very precious and desirable end in all his works. On this principle is grounded that observation so often repeated, that nothing is made in vain. All the creatures of God, how. ever various or multiform, have obtained a place in the system, because their existence could not be dispensed with, but to the prejudice of the general weal. That God made them, or any of them, purely to fill up a blank, or that the portion of space they fill might not be left unoccupied, is a supposition, that would be infinitely derogatory to his character. It is such trifling as no wise man would be guilty of. Though there is an almost endless diversity of things, the u tility of which we cannot perceive; yet we

I

are not hence to infer, that they are a real cypher, that they were made for no good purpose, or that they will fail of an important influence in the vast and wonderful scheme of providence. To bring them into existence, a positive and direct exercise of divine power was as necessary, as to produce other things, whose value and importance we seem to have some affecting sense of. And it would argue nothing less than wantonness in Deity to use his power indeterminately, or without aiming that it should be to some good account. But a general view to profit, is not enough to be supposed in this case. He must have had a particular purpose and use for every article of workmanship, whether great or small. Superfluities, or things to spare, he has none. building, men sometimes stock themselves with materials, more than they are certain they shall want; that in case of unforeseen necessity they may have a supply at hand. In such case, the supernumerary articles are for general use, or to go in wherever they may be needed. None of God's creatures have so vague a standing, in his kingdom, as this implies. Each one has his particular assignment, as much so, as each bone or sinew has in the animal machine. Every individual particle of created substance, and every motion of body or mind, has a particular spot, or situation, provided for it in the counsels of God; and into this it must be introduced in order for its compassing the

In

.

However

end, for which it was chosen. faint to us appearances of consistency and regularity may be, in the world at large, as governed by the supreme arbiter and king; we may, nevertheless, be certain that Jehovah acts systematically. He establishes causes and effects, antecedents and consequents, only where they are wanted to contribute to the strength and grandeur of the great building. And having ordained a certain determínate use for every creature, he must have power to make the intended application, or the vessel will be marred in the hands of the workman. In a world of mutable and perishable things, as ours is, nothing is so difficult among men, in the affairs of this life, as to make one thing fit another; so that the various comforts, conveniences, and delights of life may be acquired with dispatch, and maintained without loss. One instrument and another fails, when brought into use, and the work proceeds heavily; and is, perhaps, never brought to such maturity as was hoped and expected. And if men cannot use such things as God has put into their hands to be used, but under manifold inconveniences and disadvantages, owing to feebleness and frailties attending them; will not persons be almost apt to question, whether their usefulness may not be almost too small, even in the hands of God? Men often experience serious disadvantages from the weakness and inactivity of their own

« FöregåendeFortsätt »