Images de page
PDF
ePub

human invention. It can rationally be ascribed only to the wisdom of God.

2. Though, in the works of nature, we see nothing similar to the redemption of man, yet we see great preparation made for him, and great goodness exercised toward him; and hence we may conclude, that he is an object of God's special

care.

The provision made for our present accommodation, might as well be said to be disproportioned to the end, as that which is made for our future happiness; for there is at least as much difference in the ends, as there is in the means.

If we consider man in relation to the present life, What is he? He is born, grows up, eats and drinks, labours and sleeps, provides him a successor, and soon retires to be seen on earth no more. Yet behold what God has done for him. Here is a spacious world for his habitation; numerous tribes of animals subjected to his dominion; a mighty sun kindled up in the heavens to enlighten and warm him; a vast firmament stretched over his head, and thousands of luminaries scattered through it for his comfort and convenience; the clouds deposite their treasures, and the sun cmits its beams to fructify the earth for his support. Is it not strange that such mighty preparation should be made for so inconsiderable and transient a creature as man? Strange it would seem indeed, if his existence ended with his life. But we see, that all this is done for him. Other purposes may probably be answered by these works; but the good of man is one purpose which they evidently answer, and one purpose for which they were certainly designed. When I consider thy heavens, says the Psalmist, the work of thy fingers; the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that thou

visitest him? For thou hast made him little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour; thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet, the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fish of the sea. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

This vast preparation for so small and unworthy a creature, the Psalmist considers, not as an objec tion against the wisdom of Providence, but as an evidence of its boundless goodness.

Now if God has done all this to accommodate man, during the present short term of his existence, Is it incredible that he should do much more for his happiness in the future, eternal state of ex istence? Is the work of redemption more dispro portioned to man's importance, as an immortal creature, than the works of providence seem to be, when we consider him only as a mortal creature? The works both of providence and of grace, are marvellous. When we trace them, we meet wonders, which astonish us. But let us remember, they are the works of God. While we admire the works, let us adore the author and rejoice in his wisdom and goodness.

3. Though man considered in relation to this world, may seem but a contemptible creature, yet, considered in relation to another world, he is a creature of vast importance.

Let us contemplate him in this light, and surely it will not appear strange, that a God of infinite wisdom and benevolence should do great things for his redemption.

Here is a creature formed by God's own hand, inspired with his breath, and endued by him with an intellectual mind. This mind, made for immortality, is capable of continual improvement through all the ages of eternity. Though this creature is

now small, yet who can conceive the extent to which his capacity may be enlarged; the dignity to which his nature may be raised; and the degree to which his virtue and happiness may be improved, in some distant period of his existence? Man, considered as a rational and immortal creature, rising and continuing to rise, in the scale of being forever and forever, has a kind of infinity annexed to him.

If one rational and immortal soul is so important, What shall we say of the human race at large? When we view men as mortal, they appear in a diminutive figure; but this mortality, which seems to lessen the importance of the individual, increases the importance of the race; because the race is multiplied by this quick succession. Contemplate the vast number, which composes one generationconsider how soon one generation passes away, and another comes-reflect how many such successions must already have passed-look forward, and think how many more will follow in the unknown ages, that the world will continue-realize that all these beings will exist forever in happiness or miserythat eternal misery is the natural consequence of incurable vice, and that happiness can result only from a holy and virtuous temper-contemplate these things, and then say, Whether the redemption of mankind was a business too small to be undertaken by the Son of God?-Is not the end to be accomplished so amazingly great, that we may believe a divine Saviour would be employed in the work ?— Is not the work too great and arduous to be undertaken by a feebler hand?

When we consider the Saviour as dying for the redemption of a mortal creature, there seems to be a disparity between the means and the end. But when we consider this mortal creature as having an immortal soul, which will exist through

eternity in happiness or misery; and consider also, that there are innumerable millions of such creatures, and will be innumerable more of the same kind, and in the same condition; then our views must be altered. It can no longer seem a thing incredible, that God should redeem the world by his Son.

4. We know not but the human race is essentially connected with other parts of the moral world; and their redemption productive of interesting consequences to other beings. And doubtless it is so.

In that part of the creation which falls within our notice, we see a dependence of one thing upon another. If one part was struck out, confusion would immediately follow. We see an easy gradation from the lower creatures to higher, until we come up to man. We are told, that, above man, there are intelligent beings, and that among these there are orders and degrees. The gradation may probably be continued beyond all our conceptions. However we may view the human race, when we consider it by itself, yet if we consider it in its relation to other beings, and to the creation of God, we must think it to be of infinite importance. Should this link, in the chain of God's works, be broken, the whole order of the system might be destroyed.

God certainly had some wise and great end in making such a race: The preservation of the race, when made, and the redemption of it, when fallen, might, in the plan of God's government, be as necessary as its creation.

We are assured from scripture, that the redemption, though it immediately relates to man, is a work in which other intelligences have some concern. Our great Redeemer has all power given him in heaven and earth; principalities and powers are made subject to him; the multitude of the heavenly host rejoiced and sang praise at his birth; anVOL. 1. H

gels, on divers occasions, ministered to him; they aided him in his persecutions-strengthened him in his temptations-attended him at his resurrection and ascension-and are subject to him in his kingdom; they learn from the gospel dispensation the 'manifold wisdom of God; they join with those who are redeemed from the earth, in songs of praise to him who sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb who was slain. The work of redemption is far more important than we are apt to conceive it, when we consider it only in relation to ourselves.Though it primarily relates to us, yet we have reason to believe, that it is adapted to answer other great purposes in the moral world. And until we know how many and how great these purposes are, let us not pretend to say, The means are unsuitable or disproportioned to the end. When we enter into another state, new scenes will open; new displays of divine wisdom and goodness will be made. Then we shall see and admire that proportion in the works of God, which now lies beyond our search.

5. When we consider the works of God we should remember what a being he is.

Does it seem strange, that so great a Being should do so much for so small a creature as man To an Infinite Being all things are alike easy; and the exercises of his power will always be guided by his perfect wisdom. But how perfect wisdom will judge, we can no more determine, than we can comprehend what infinite power can do. Man, small as he is, was formed by God's hand; and a creature which was not too small for him to make, is not too insignificant for him to preserve. There are innumerable creatures below us. These are al

so the objects of his care. A sparrow falls not to the ground without him. We are of more value than many sparrows. The hairs of our head are numbered. Will our souls be neglected? A rational soul is of more value than the world.

« PrécédentContinuer »