Imágenes de páginas

whole intricacy of their movements to the on the forehead of the resolute and hardy simple and sublime agency of one com-artificer, who can list his menacing voice manding principle. . But he had too much against the priesthood, and, looking on the of the ballast of a substantial understanding Bible as a jugglery of theirs, can bid stout about him, to be thrown afloat by all this defiance to all its denunciations. Now, success among the plausibilities of wanton under all these varieties, we think that and unauthorized speculation. He knew there might be detected the one and unithe boundary which hemmed him. He knew versal principle which we have attempted that he had not thrown one particle of light to expose. The something, whatever it is, on the moral or religious history of these which has dispossessed all these people of planetary regions. He had not ascertained their Christianity, exists in their minds, in what visits of communication they received the shape of a position, which they hold to from the God who upholds them. But he be true, but which, by no legitimate eviknew that the fact of a real visit made to dence, they have ever realized--and a pothis planet, had such evidence to rest upon, sition which lodges within them as a wilthat it was not to be disposted by any aerial ful fancy or presumption of their own, imagination. And when I look at the steady but which could not stand the touchand unmoved Christianity of this wonder- stone of that wise and solid principle, in ful man; so far from seeing any symptom virtue of which, the followers of Newton of dotage and imbecility, or any forgetful- give to observation the precedence over ness of those principles on which the fabric theory. It is a principle altogether worthy of his philosophy is reared ; do I see that of being laboured-as, if carried round in in sitting down to the work of a Bible Com- faithful and consistent application among mentator, he hath given us their most these numerous varieties, it is able to break beautiful and most consistent exemplifica- up all the existing infidelity of the world. tion.

| But there is one other most important I did not anticipate such a length of time, conclusion to which it carries us. · It carand of illustration, in this stage of my ar- ries us, with all the docility of children, to gument. But I will not regret it, if I have the Bible; and puts us down into the attifamiliarised the minds of any of my readers tude of an unreserved surrender of thought to the reigning principle of this Discourse. and understanding, to its authoritative inWe are strongly disposed to think, that it formation. Without the testimony of an is a principle which might be made to ap- authentic messenger from heaven, I know ply to every argument of every unbeliever nothing of heaven's counsels. I never heard -and so to serve not merely as an anti-of any moral telescope that can bring to dote against the infidelity of astronomers, my observation the doings or the deliberabut to serve as an antidote against all infi-tions which are taking place in the sancdelity. We are well aware of the diversity tuary of the Eternal. I may put into the of complexion which infidelity puts on. It registers of my belief, all that comes home looks one thing in the man of science and to me through the senses of the outer man, of liberal accomplishment. It looks another or by the consciousness of the inner man. thing in the refined voluptuary. It looks But neither the one nor the other can tell still another thing in the common-placeme of the purposes of God; can tell me of railer against the artifices of priestly domi- the transactions or the designs of his subnation. It looks another thing in the dark lime monarchy; can tell me of the goings and unsettled spirit of him, whose every forth of Him who is from everlasting unto reflection is tinctured with gall, and who everlasting ; can tell me of the march and casts his envious and malignant scowl at the movements of that great administration all that stands associated with the esta- which embraces all worlds, and takes into blished order of society. It looks another its wide and comprehensive survey the thing in the prosperous man of business, mighty roll of innumerable ages. It is true who has neither time nor patience for the that my fancy may break its impetuous details of the christian evidence-but who, way into this lofty and inaccessible field; . amid the hurry of his other occupations, and through the devices of my heart, which has gathered as many of the lighter petu- are many, the visions of an ever-shifting lances of the infidel writers, and caught theology may take their alternate sway from the perusal of them, as contemptuous over me; but the counsel of the Lord, it a tone towards the religion of the New shall stand. And I repeat it, that if true Testament, as to set him at large from all to the leading principle of that philosophy, the decencies of religious observation, and which has poured such a flood of light over to give him the disdain of an elevated com- the mysteries of nature, we shall dismiss placency over all the follies of what he every self-formed conception of our own, counts a vulgar superstition.

and wait in all the humility of conscious And, lastly, for infidelity has now got ignorance, till the Lord himself shall break down among us to the humblest walks of his silence, and make his counsel known, lise; may it occasionally be seen lowering by an act of communication. And now,

resolute and hardy nis menacing voice and, looking on the heirs, can bid stout nunciations. Now, ies, we think that ed the one and uni

we have attempted thing, whatever it is ed all these people of

sts in their minds, in n, which they hold to by no legitimate evier realized-and a po

vithin them as a wimption of their own,

ot stand the touchund solid principle, in

that a professed communication is before the doctrine, and all the piety of the Bible, me, and that it has all the solidity of the away from it; and has infused the spirit of experimental evidence on its side, and Antichrist into many of the literary-estanothing but the reveries of a daring specu- blishments of the age; but it is not the solid, lation to oppose it, what is the consistent, the profound, the cautious spirit of that what is the rational, what is the philoso- philosophy, which has done so much to phical use that should be made of this doc- ennoble the modern period of our world ; ument, but to set me down like a school- for the more that this spirit is cultivated boy, to the work of turning its pages, and and understood, the more will it be found conning its lessons, and submitting the in alliance, with that spirit, in virtue of every exercise of my judgment to its infor- which all that exalteth itself against the mation and its testimony? We know that knowledge of God, is humbled, and all lofty there is a superficial philosophy, which imaginations are cast down, and every casts the glare of a most seducing brilliancy thought of the heart is brought into the around it; and spurns the Bible, with all captivity of the obedience of Christ.


On the Extent of the Divine Condescension. "Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high? Who humbleth himself to behold the things

that are in heaven, and in the earth ?"-Psalm cxiii. 5, 6.

- followers of Newton

the precedence over ciple altogether worthy as, if carried round á ent application among

eties, it is able to break nfidelity of the world.

other most important ait carries us. It car docility of children, to

us down into the attied surrender of thought

to its authoritative inut the testimony of un er from heaven, I know

counsels. I never heard Ecope that can bring to

doings or the delibera
king place in the sun
al. I may put into the
ief, all that comes home
senses of the outer man
isness of the inner man
le nor the other can tell
; of God; can tell me di

the designs of his sub
an tell me of the goings
is from ererlasting into
:ll me of the march and
hat great administration
I worlds, and takes into

prehensire surver the
imerable ages. It is the

In our last discourse we attempted to ex-) who could take in the whole, but the disap-
pose the total want of evidence for the as- pearance of a little speck from that field of
sertion of the infidel astronomer--and this created things, which the hand of his om-
reduces the whole of our remaining contro- nipotence had thrown around him.
versy with him to the business of arguing But to press home the sentiment of the
against a mere possibility. Still, however, I text, it is not necessary to stretch the im-
the answer is not so complete as it might | agination beyond the limit of our actual dis-
be, till the soundness of the argument be at- coveries. It is enough to strike our minds
tended 10, as well as the credibility of the with the insignificance of this world, and of
assertion-or, in other words, let us admit all who inhabit it, to bring it into measure-
the assertion, and take a view of the reason- ment with that mighty assemblage of worlds,
ing which has been constructed upon it. which lie open to the eye of man, aided as

We have already attempted to lay before it has been by the inventions of his genius.
you the wonderful extent of that space, When we told you of the eighty millions
reeming with unnumbered worlds, which of suns, each occupying his own independ-
modern science has brought within the cir- ent territory in space, and dispensing his own
cle of its discoveries. We even ventured to influences over a cluster of tributary worlds:
expatiate on those tracts of infinity, which this world could not fail to sink into little
lie on the other side of all that eye or that ness in the eye of him who looked to all the
telescope hath made known to us to shoot / magnitude and variety which are around
afar into those ulterior regions which are it. We gave you but a feeble image of our
beyond the limits of our astronomy-to im- comparative insignificance, when we said
press you with the rashness of the imagina- that the glories of an extended forest would
tion, that the creative energy of God had suffer no more from the fall of a single leaf.
sunk exhausted by the magnitude of its ef-than the glories of this extended universe
idris, at that very line, through which the would suffer, though the globe we tread,
art of man, lavished as it has been on the" and all that it inherits, should dissolve."
Work of perfecting the instruments of vision, | And when we lift our conceptions to Him
nas not yet been able to penetrate: and who has peopled immensity with all these
upon all this we hazarded the assertion,wonders--who sits enthroned on the mag-
that though all these visible heavens were nificence of his own works, and by one'sub-
to rush into annihilation, and the besom of lime idea can embrace the whole extent of
the Almighty's wrath were to sweep from that boundless amplitude, which he has
the face of the universe, those millions, and filled with the trophies of his divinity: we
millions more of suns and of systems, which cannot but resign our whole heart to the
le within the grasp of our actual observation Psalmist's exclamation of “What is man,

that this event, which, to our eye, would that thou art mindful of him, or the son of leave 80 wide, and so dismal a solitude be-man, that thou shouldest deign to visit und it, might be nothing in the eye of Him him!"

ay break its impetuous

and inaccessible feld; vices of my heart which ions of an ever-shifting

their alternate smar counsel of the Lord, i I repeat it, that if the iple of that philosophr, uch a flood of lightorer ature, we shall dismis conception of our om, 2 humility of consciou Lord himself shall break ike his counsel know, munication. And now,

Now mark the use to which all this has be the right answer to this objection, let us been turned by the genius of infidelity. previously observe, that it goes to strip the Such a humble portion of the universe as Deity of an attribute which forms a wonderours, could never have been the object of ful addition to the glories of his incompresuch high and distinguishing attentions as hensible character. It is indeed a mighty Christianity has assigned to it. God would evidence of the strength of his arm, that so not have manifested himself in the flesh for many millions of worlds are suspended on the salvation of so paltry a world. The it; but it would surely make the high attrimonarch of a whole continent, would never bute of his power more illustrious, if while move from his capital, and lay aside the it expatiated at large among the suns and splendour of royalty, and subject himself (the systems of astronomy, it could, at the for months, or for years, to perils, and / very same instant, be impressing a movepoverty, and persecution; and take up his ment and a direction on ail the minuter abode in some small islet of his dominions, wheels of that machinery, which is workwhich, though swallowed by an earthquake,ing incessantly around us. It forms a nocould not be missed amid the glories of só ble demonstration of his wisdom, that he wide an empire; and all this to regain the gives unremitting operation to those laws lost ailections of a few families upon its which uphold the stability of this great unisurface. And neither would the eternal Son verse; but it would go to heighten that of God-he who is revealed to us as having wisdom inconceivably, if while equal to the made all worlds, and as holding an empire, magnificent task of maintaining the order amid the splendours of which the globe that and harmony of the spheres, it was lavishwe inherit, is shaded insignificance; neither ing its inexhaustible resources on the beauwould he strip himself of the glory he had ties, and varieties, and arrangements, of with the Father before the world was, and every one scene, however humble, of every light on this lower scene, for the purpose one field, however narrow, of the creation he imputed to him in the New Testament. Im- had formed. It is a cheering evidence of possible, that the concerns of this puny ball, the delight he takes in communicating hapwhich floats its little round among an in-piness, that the whole of immensity should finity of larger worlds, should be of such be so strewed with the habitations of life mighty account in the plans of the Eternal, and of intelligence; but it would surely or should have given birth in heaven to so bring home the evidence, with a nearer and wonderful a movement, as the Son of God more affecting impression, to every bosom, putting on the form of our degraded did we know, that at the very time his bespecies, and sojourning among us, and nignant regard took in the mighty circle of sharing in all our infirmities, and crow- created beings, there was not a single famiing the whole scene of humiliation by the ly overlooked by him, and that every indidisgrace and the agonies of a cruel martyr-vidual in every corner of his dominions,

was as effectually seen to, as if the object This has been stafted as a difficulty in of an exclusive and undivided care. It is the way of the Christian Revelation ; and our imperfection, that we cannot give our it is the boast of many of our philosophical attention to more than one object at one infidels, that by the light of modern disco- and the same instant of time; but surely it very, the light of the New Testament is would elevate our every idea of the persececlipsed and overborne; and the mischief |tions of God, did we know, that while his is not confined to philosophers, for the argu- comprehensive mind could grasp the whole ment has got into other hands, and the amplitude of nature, to the very outerpopular illustrations that are now given to most of its boundaries, he had an attentive the sublimest truths of science, have widely eye fastened on the very humblest of its obdisseminated all the deism that has been jects, and pondered every thought of my grasted upon it; and thehigh tone of adecided heart, and noticed every footstep of my contempt for the Gospel, is now associated goings, and treasured up in his rememwith the flippancy of superficial acquire-brance every turn and every movement of ments: and, while the venerable Newton, my history. whose genius throw open those mighty fields And, lastly, to apply this train of sentiof contemplation, found a fit exercise for his ment to the matter before us; let us suppowers in the interpretation of the Bible, pose that one among the countless myriads there are thousands and tens of thousands, of worlds, should be visited by a moral who, though walking in the light which he pestilence, which spread through all its peoholds out to them, are seduced by a com- ple, and brought them under the doom of a placency which he never felt, and inflated law, whose sanctions were unrelenting and by a pride which never entered into his immutable; it were no disparagement to pious and philosophical bosom, and whose God, should he, by an act of righteous inonly notice of the Bible, is to depreciate, dignation, sweep this offence away from the and to deride, and to disown it.

| universe which it deformed---nor should we Before entering into what we conceive to wonder, though, among the multitude of


to this objection, let us
that it goes to strip the
e which forms a wonder-
glories of his incompre-

It is indeed a mighty
ength of his arm, that so
Vorlds are suspended on
rely make the high attri
more illustrious, if while
rge among the suns and
stronomy, it could, at the
t, be impressing a more
ction on all the minuter
hachinery, which is work
round us. It forms a no-
n of his wisdom, that he

g operation to those laws e stability of this great uniould go to heighten that rably, is while equal to the

of maintaining the order

the spheres, it was lavishcible resources on the beay

ies, and arrangements, of - however humble, of eter er narrow, of the creation be

is a cheering evidence of zkes in communicating hapwhole of immensity should with the habitations of life ence; but it would sureir

evidence, with a nearer and impression, 10 every bustin, hat at the very time his be took in the mights circle of

other worlds from which the ear of the Al-discovery, which should hasten our every mighty was regaled with the songs of conception of God, and humble us into the praise, and the incense of a pure adoration sentiment, that a Being of such mysterious ascended to his throne, he should leave the elevation is to us unfathomable, is to sit in strayed and solitary world to perish in the judgment over him, aye, and to pronounce guilt of its rebellion. But, tell me, oh ! tell such a judgment as degrades him, and keeps me, would it not throw the softening of a him down to the standard of our own paltry most exquisite tenderness over the charac- imagination! We are introduced by modern ter of God, should we see him putting forth science to a multitude of other suns and of his every expedient to reclaim to himself other systems; and the perverse interpretathose children who had wandered away tion we put upon the fact, that God can from him--and, few as they were when diffuse the benefits of his power and of his compared with the host of his obedient goodness over such a variety of worlds, is, worshippers, would it not just impart to his that he cannot, or will not, bestow so much attribute of compassion the infinity of the goodness on one of those worlds, as a Godhead, that, rather than lose the single professed revelation from Heaven has anworld which had turned to its own way, nounced to us. While we enlarge the prohe should send the messengers of peace vinces of his empire, we tarnish all the glory to woo and to welcome it back again ; and, of this enlargement, by saying, he has so if justice demanded so mighty a sacrifice, much to care for, that the care of every one and the law behoved to be so magnified province must be less complete, and less and made honourable, tell me whether it vigilant, and less effectual, than it would would not throw a moral sublime over the otherwise have been. By the discoveries goodness of the Deity, should he lay upon of modern science, we multiply the places his own Son the burden of its atonement, of the creation; but along with this, we that he might again smile upon the world, would impair the attribute of his eye being and hold out the sceptre of invitation to all in every place to behold the evil and the its families?

| good; and thus, while we magnify one of We avow it, therefore, that this infidel his perfections, we do it at the expense of argument goes to expunge a perfection from another; and to bring him within the grasp the character of God. The more we know of our feeble capacity, would deface one of of the extent of nature, should not we have the glories of that character, which it is our the loftier conception of him who sits in part to adore, as higher than all thought, high authority over the concerns of so wide and as greater than all comprehension. a universe? But, is it not adding to the The objection we are disclissing, I shall bright catalogue of his other attributes, to state again in a single sentence. Since say, that, while magnitude does not over- astronomy has unfolded to us such a numpower him, minuteness cannot escape him, ber of worlds, it is not likely that God would and variety cannot bewilder him; and that, pay so much attention to this one world, at the very time while the mind of the and set up such wonderful provisions for its Deity is abroad over the whole vastness of benefit, as are announced to us in the Chriscreation, there is not one particle of matter, tian Revelation. This objection will have there is not one individual principle of ra- received its answer, if we can meet it by tional or of animal existence, there is not the following position :-that God, in adone single world in that expanse which | dition to the bare faculty of dwelling on teems with them, that his eve does not dis- a multiplicity of objects at one and the cern as constantly, and his hand does not same time, has this faculty in such wonderguide as unerringly, and his spirit does not ful perfection that he can attend as fully Watch and care for as vigilantly, as if it and provide as richly, and manisest all his lormed the one and exclusive object of his attributes as illustriously, on every one of attention.

| these objects, as if the rest had no existence, The thing is inconceivable to us, whose and no place whatever in his government muds are so easily distracted by a number or in his thoughts. For the evidence of this of objects; and this is the secret principle position, we appeal, in the first place, to the of the whole infidelity I am now alluding personal history of each individual among 10. To bring God to the level of our own you. Only grant us, that God never loses comprehension, we would clothe him in the sight of any one thing he has created, and impotency of a man. We would transfer to that no created thing can continue either to buis wonderful mind all the imperfection of be or to act independently of him; and then, our own faculties. When we are taught even upon the face of this world, humble by astronomy, that he has millions of worlds as it is on the great scale of astronomy, how 10 took after and this add in one direction widely diversified and how multiplied into 10 the glories of his character; we take many thousand distinct exercises, is the ataway from them in another, by saying, that tention of God! His eye is upon every each of these worlds must be looked after hour of my existence. His spirit is intiimperfectly. The use that we make of a mately present with every thought of my

there fras not a single fame y him, and that crery indiy corner of his dominus ally seen to. as if the object ? and individed care is on, that we cannot gire our lore than one objęt at ook nstant of time; but sure) our every idea of the perfet', hid me know, that while has' mind could grasp the whole Dature to the very mulerMilaries, he had an sentire I the very humble of its 03 Jcred every thought our ticed every footstep of my Casured up in his reinen. urn and every movemento,

to applr this train of sent
atter before us; let us s07
mong the countless nurims
ould he visited by a DTA
ch spread through al is per
it them under ile donum oli
ictions were unrelenting and

were no disparagement
e. br an act of righteous
p this offence anar in the
it delormed--por should be
1, among the multitude d

heart. His inspiration gives birth to every | wide monarchy. Tell me, then, if, in any purpose within me. His hand impresses a one field of this province, which man has direction on every footstep of my goings. I access to, you witness a single indication Every breath I inhale, is drawn by an en-of God sparing himself-of God reduced to ergy which God deals out to me. This languor by the weight of his other employbody, which, upon the slightest derangements of God sinking under the burden ment, would become the prey of death, or of that vast superintendence which lies upon of woful suffering, is now at ease, because him-of God being exhausted, as one of he at this moment is warding off from me ourselves would be, by any number of cona thousand dangers, and upholding the thou-cerns, however great, by any variety of sand movements of its complex and delicate them, however manifold ? and do you not machinery. His presiding influence keeps perceive, in that mighty profusion of wisby me through the whole current of my dom and of goodness, which is scattered restless and ever changing history. When every where around us, that the thoughts I walk by the way side, he is along with of this unsearchable Being are not as our me. When I enter into company, amid all thoughts, nor his ways as our ways? my forgetfulness of him, he never forgets My time does not suffer me to dwell on me. In the silent watches of the night, when this topic, because, before I conclude, I my eyelids have closed, and my spirit has must hasten to another illustration. But sunk into unconsciousness, the observant when I look abroad on the wondrous scene eye of him who never slumbers, is upon that is immediately before me—and see, me. I cannot fly from his presence. Go that in every direction it is a scene of the where I will, he tends me, and watches me, most various and unwearied activity-and and cares for me; and the same being who expatiate on all the beauties of that garniis now at work in the remotest domains of ture by which it is adorned, and on all the Nature and of Providence, is also at my prints of design and of benevolence which right hand to eke out to me every moment abound in it and think, that the same God, of my being, and to uphold me in the exer- who holds the universe, with its every syscise of all my feelings, and of all my faculties. tem, in the hollow of his hand, pencils

Now, what God is doing with me, he is every flower, and gives nourishment to doing with every distinct individual of this every blade of grass and actuates the world's population. The intimacy of his movements of every living thing—and is presence, and attention, and care, reaches not disabled, by the weight of his other to one and to all of them. With a mind un- cares, from enriching the humble departburdened by the vastness of all its other ment of nature I occupy, with charms and concerns, he can prosecute, without distrac- accommodations, of the most unbounded tion, the government and guardianship of variety—then, surely, if a message, bearevery one son and daughter of the species.- ing every mark of authenticity, should proAnd is it for us, in the face of all this expe- fess to come to me from God, and inform rience, ungratefully to draw a limit around me of his mighty doings for the happiness the perfections of God ?-to aver, that the of our species, it is not for me, in the face multitude of other worlds has withdrawn of all this evidence, to reject it as a tale of any portion of his benevolence from the one imposture, because astronomers have told we occupy ?-or that he, whose eye is upon me that he has so many other worlds and every separate family of the earth, would other orders of beings to attend to-and, not lavish all the riches of his unsearchable when I think that it were a deposition of attributes on some high plan of pardon and him from his supremacy over the creatures immortality, in behalf of its countless gene- he has formed, should a single sparrow rations?

fall to the ground without his appointment, But, secondly, were the mind of God so then let science and sophistry try to cheat fatigued, and so occupied with the care of me of my comfort as they may--I will not other worlds, as the objection presumes him let go the anchor of my confidence in God to be, should we not see some traces of ne-1-I will not be afraid, for I am of mort glect, or of carelessness, in his management value than many sparrows.. of ours? Should we not behold, in many a But thirdly, it was the telescope, that by field of observation, the evidence of its mas- piercing the obscurity which lies between ter being overcrowded with the variety of us and distant worlds, put infidelity in poshis other engagements? A man oppressed session of the argument, against which we by a multitude of business, would simplify are now contending. But, about the time and reduce the work of any new concern of its invention, another instrument was that was devolved upon him. Now, point formed, which laid open a scene no less out a single mark of God being thus op-wonderful, and rewarded the inquisitive pressed. Astronomy has laid open to us so spirit of man with a discovery, which serves many realms of creation, which were before to neutralize the whole of this argument. unheard of, that the world we inhabit shrinks This was the microscope. The one led me into one remote and solitary province of his to see a system in every star. The other

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