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state of being. For this life is no more S ER M. than the beginning of the mighty and me extensive plans of Providence. The
seeds are only now fown, of what is to - ripen and come forth, at the harvest of
the world; when the revolution of the
then face to face. Now we know in part; * but then we shall know even as we are - known. When that which is perfect is
come, then that which is in part shall be
Vol. IV. N o . of
* 1 Cor. xxiii. 10, 12. Psalm xxxvi. 9.
BËR M. Of good men is completed; and the in. IX.
tention of those steps of education, which once they could not comprehend, now becomes apparent. Why this man was prematurely carried away from the world in the beginning of a promising course; why that deserving family were left overwhelmed with grief and despair, by the loss of one who was their fole benefactor and support; why friendships cemented by tenderties were suddenly torn asunder by death : These are inquiries to which we can now make no reply; and which throw a dårk gloom over the conduct of the Almighty. But the spirits of the just above, who are admitted to a larger view of the ways of God, see the reafons of such counsels. They see that one man was seasonably taken away from dangers and evils to come, which unknown to him, were hovering over his head. They see that Providence was in secret preparing unexpected blefsings for the family who appeared to be lest disconsolate and hopelefs. They see that it was time for friendships
to be diffolved, when their longer con-SERM. tinuance would to some of the parties have proved a snare. Where we behold nothing but the rod of power stretched forth, they discern an interposition of the hand of mercy. . :
Let us wait till this promised hereafter arrive, and we shall in like manner be satisfied concerning the events that now disturb and perplex us. We shall then know why so much darkness and misery have been so long permitted to remain on the earth, and so much oppression and tyranny to prevail among the nations. We shall see rising, as from the ashes of the old world, a new and beautiful structure ; new heavens and a new earth ; wherein dwelleth righteousness. As wide as is the difference between the appearance of the world, when it lay in its primitive chaos, with out form and void, and the appearance it has now assumed, when resplendent with the light of the fun, and decked with the beauties of nature ; fuch is the difference between the divine plans
SERM. in their beginnings, and in their full IX.
completion. At the conclusion, and not till then, the glory of the Lord fhall become manifest to all; and, as it is described in the book of the Revelation, a voice Thall be heard from every creature which is in beaven and on the earth, and under the earth, saying, Blesing, and bonour, and power, and glory, be to him that fitteth on the throne. Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty ; just and true are thy ways, thou King of faints*.
APPLICATION of the doctrines that have been illustrated may be made to two classes of men.
First, To sceptics; who, from the present mysterious conduct of providence, haftily draw the conclufion, that no government is exercised over human affairs, but that all things are suffered indiscriminately to come alike to all men. I have shown that C.. . : ;
* Rev. t. 13.~XY. 3.
from the inadequate views which we SERM. are at present able to take of the general fyftem, fuch: mysterious appearances of Providence must be expected to take place. Not only so, but I have also shown, it to be fit and neceffary that this mixture of obfcurity should now remain; as, a full display of regu: lar justice and order would be inconfistent with the moral improvement of men in this life. Let me desire the sceptic to look to the state of the natural world. When he thinks of the order and magnificence that prevail in it, he will, perhaps, be unwilling to pronounce it the mere production of chance. He cannot but recognise the hand of Intelligence, and acknowledge it to have proceeded froni a designing Cause. I ask him, Whether in the natural world he discerns not as many myfterious and puzzling appearances as are to be found in the moral world? Are not destructive storms, burning mountains, uninhabitable deserts, as dif