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unto good," to bring to pass, as it is this day, to preserve much people alive.
"God meant it unto good." He meant the good of Joseph. ing appointed him to an eminent station in the world, it was necessary that he should be prepared for it, by a series of sufferings, that he might feel for the afflictions of others, and be dis. posed to treat with tenderness those who might be subject to his power; and that he might typify the Messiah, who was to come for the salvation of the world.
"God meant it unto good" in respect to the Egyptians and neighboring nations; for he had appointed Joseph to be the instrument of their preservation during a seven years' famine.
"God meant it" also for the "good" of Jacob and his numerous family; nay even of those guilty brethren, who sold Joseph into Egypt to prevent the accomplishment of his prophetic dreams. The very means their envy adopted, were overruled by God to accomplish what they wished to prevent, and at the same time to preserve the whole family from destruction. How affecting this thought must have been to them, when suggested by their brother, at the time they were supplicating his forgiveness. "God meant it unto good," not only to Joseph, to the Egyptians, and neighboring nations, to Jacob and his family, but also to the great family of mankind. By thus sending Joseph into Egypt, God preserved the family from which the Messiah was to come into the world, in whom "all the nations of the earth were
blessed." All the blessings which have been enjoyed by Jews or Gentiles through the Messiah, and all that will be enjoyed to the end of time or to eternity, were implied in the good which "God meant" to bring about by the afflictive event of Joseph's being sold into Egypt.
Moreover, the history of Joseph, being written and transmitted from age to age, and dispersed among the nations, has been a means of instruction and comfort to millions of pious people in times of perplexity and affliction. When they have been oppressed with grief and anxiety on account of distressing events, and have been ready to say, as Jacob once did, "All these things are against me," the result of Joseph's afflictions has occurred to console their minds, and to excite them to confide in Joseph's God.
All the friends of God in their various trials and perplexities, may derive support from the sentiment, "God meant it unto good." They may not be able at all times to discern, how their afflictions are to be made subservi ent to good; but a little reflection will convince them, that Joseph's God still lives and reigns, that his wisdom, power, and goodness are unchangeably the same; that the course of Providence cannot in any case be more dark, mysterious, and perplexing to them, than it was at some periods to Jacob and Joseph, and that what they know not now, they may know hereafter to their joy, as those patriarchs did.
Are we afflicted by pain, sickness, or the loss of friends? Are
we brought into poverty and want? Are we made the subjects of envy or reproach, for follow ing the Lord, of doing our duty in any particular case? In all these and all other trials, we may have this consolation, God means it unto good-for good to us, or to others. There may be something in our temper or conduct which needs to be corrected, and which may render our afflictions necessary to our ultimate happiness; or God may have designed the affliction to prepare as for greater usefulness, or for an admonition to some of our connexions, to our friends, or our enemies. Under all kinds of affliction it should be the care of the Christian to profit by the chastening of God. He should examine his temper and his life, and inquire what is amiss, what there is to be corrected, that he may h be more conformed to the precepts and example of our Savior, and be more extensively useful in the world. Even the most bitter censures and reproaches, or the most unkind treatment, may thus be converted into means of benefit and spiritual improvement.
The history of Joseph is particularly adapted to the benefit of Christians in regard to the example he gave of a benevolent, forbearing, and forgiving temper, towards his cruel brethren, who
had been guilty of selling him for a slave. A more inhuman piece of conduct has seldom been recorded. Most of the injuries which Christians of the present day receive, one from an other, or from any of their fellow men, are light when compared with the treatment Joseph received from his brethren; and seldom has it been more within the pow. er of any person to revenge a wrong, or to render evil for evil with impunity, than it was in the power of Joseph. But it was his temper to "overcome evil with good." Instead of inflicting what others would have called exemplary vengeance, on those who had abused him, he was all tenderuess and compassion towards them. He was disposed to nourish both them and their children, while they were strangers in Egypt. Although this was prior to the Christian dispensation, it may not improperly be termed truly Christian or Christlike conduct; and it is worthy to be imitated by all who bear the Christian name.
How powerful and how benig nant would be the influence, if all who name the name of Christ
would "Go and do likewise?” Then would they shine as lights in the world, and others, seeing their good works, would be led to glorify their Father who is in heaven.
EVERY thing we can say of the immensity of God may be resolved into this-he is every Vol. IV.
where present by his agency and his knowledge.
Let us contemplate God as the
universal Agent. He is the mover of every thing we see in motion. Pause and contemplate the boundless frame of nature. What an arm is that on which hangs the weight of creation! What a power is that which moves the system of the world! These are contemplations which wonderfully exercise the human mind; we try to grasp the subject, and the mind sinks exhausted.
We say that God pervades, adjusts, sustains, and agitates the whole of nature; because it is impossible to assign a reason why he should be excluded from one place rather than another, and because wherever there is motion, there must be a mover, and wherever there is life, that life must be supported. All around us is life and motion uninterruptedly continued. When we take up a body and send it, our strongest effort carries it only to a little distance; it then falls, and is motionless. But those vast balls, which sweep along the field of heaven, have been moving more than 5000 years within the records of human knowledge, and that too with inconceivable velocity. Will you say that this regular and unceasing velocity is the result of the laws of nature? But these motions are effects, and effects suppose power, and power an agent. A law is not an agent, nor can it execute itself. Law without power is a sound, a notion, a nonentity. The phrase, the laws of nature, when applied to the motions of the universe, expresses only the uniformity and régularity, according to which the inexplicable motions are conducted. To find the power
which impels, we must travel on from cause to cause, but we must arrive at last to the throne of Jehovah, and rest upon the arm of an uncaused being,
In the motions of inanimate matter it is perhaps sufficiently evident, that the agency of God must be continually exerting itself. But it is said, the world is full of life and intelligence, as well as motion; we see creatures who without any other agency appear to move themselves, and appear to move unconscious of any influence from God. should however be remembered, that moral freedom does not imply independence, and that in God we all live, and move, and have our being.
"Thou God seest me," is a doctrine strictly practical, a plain proposition, not to be obscured by explanation or perverted by ingenuity. It is also a truth which we cannot be puzzled to apply. To the good man it is a truth pregnant with consolation. He who can look up to God as a father, and on whom God can look down as upon a son, rejoices that his path and his lying down are compassed with the infinite knowledge of his God. Hence all about him is open and serene. He seems to enjoy the perpetual company of omniscience. him solitude brings no weariness or terror; nor does the business of life so engross or dissipate his thoughts that he cannot recur instantly to the recollection of an omnipresent Being. To him every spot is consecrated ground; for God is there. In the darkness of the night his path is illumined by the presence of
God. In the stillness of the evening he feels the all surrounding influence of divine power. When he mixes with the throng in the business of the world, an eye which cannot be eluded seems to pierce into his employments, a hand which cannot be entangled unravels all his motions, and lays open his progress. The integrity of such a man is sure and unimpeachable. You may build upon it as upon a rock of granite. His conversation is that of one talking upon oath-his witness is in heaven, his record is on high.
Who can describe the consolation which is found in being able to appeal from the false and eruel judgments of men to the decisions of him who knoweth all things; to fly from the peltings of calumny, and shelter one's, self in the secret place of the Most High; to escape from the suspicions and treacheries of man, and lean upon the unfailing promises of God; to seek relief from the false opinions of those we love, by pouring out at the feet of an impartial God the secrets of the soul, crying, like Peter, "Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest I love thee!" On the other hand, when the wicked attempt to flee from the observation of Omniscience, how vain is the attempt! Follow the guilty man in his restless wanderings. See him plunging into the crowd and bustle of the world, as if he thought he might be unobserved in the confusion; but in vain; an eye seems to follow him, and to mark him out from among the throng. He resolves to seek for rest by remov
ing from the scenes of guilt and remorse. He takes the wings of the morning, and flies to the ut termost parts of the sea; but he finds evidence that God was there before him. Is there no one of the innumerable worlds out of the reach of an offended God? The guilty wretch tries the experiment. He rushes, O God, out of this world, makes his bed in hell, awakes, and "behold thou art there!"
An indescribable interest is thrown over the doctrine of the omniscience and omnipresence of God, when considered in connex. ion with the judgment which is to follow. He who now observes every determination we form, will be himself our Judge. Every moment is the testimony taking under the eye of heaven which is to acquit or condemn us here. after. Nothing less than Omniscience perpetually exercised, is capable of deciding upon such mixed characters as ours, and of assigning to the infinite multitude of moral agents unchangeable places of abode, without confusion and without injustice.
To the man who believes in the constant presence and superintendance of Deity nothing is uninteresting. All history is a roll, inscribed with the name of God. When he sees how unexpectedly, and how easily events rise out of events; how intimately every thing is connected with all other things by innumerable links and dependencies, when the counsels of the prudent are perplexed, and the predictions of the discerning are falsified, how inestimable to such a man is the assurance, that there is ONE BE
ING, to whom all this is plain, who discerns the end from the beginning, who explores the fu, ture with greater ease than we read the past, and who not only comprehends in his instantane ous survey the grand events of every period; but is concerned in every motion, however inconsiderable, in the system of nature.
summit of Christian excellence, the perfection of Christian piety.
But if in the universe of which we make a part, there exists a Being who fills all space, who possesses all power, whose goodness has no bounds, whose discernment cannot be eluded, whose will cannot be thwarted, and whose existence cannot be terminated; what person can or ought to reflect, without trem. bling, that he has lived a year, a day, of his rational life, regard less of this mighty Spirit, or that he has engaged in any enter prize or indulged any passion, in which the idea of such a Being was insupportable or alarm, ing!
It is difficult to conceive how the sentiment of supreme love to God can be maintained with that intensity which the language of scripture requires, except in the mind of one who is accustomed to view God in every thing, to see, and hear, and feel his pre sence as habitually as he perceives by his senses the objects which surround him. In this manner whatever attachments such a man may feel to his friends, his children, his country, or his favorite pursuits; the idea of God, as the author of all he enjoys, is so inseparably connected and completely mingled with all his thoughts, that in loving them he loves their author; and every separate affection unites and coalesces in the all-embraced and he be seen "from seeming ing idea and sentiment of affec- evil still educing good," "and tion towards God,every where pre- better thence again, and better sent and doing good. This is the still, in infinite progression." B.
Let us then always commit ourselves and one another to God, by the spirit of Christian prayer, as to a faithful Creators beseeching him to lead us safely through the temptations, the darkness and confusion of the present state, to a region where we shall enjoy his unclouded pre sence; and where the mysteries of his providence shall be unfold
THE REVIVAL OF JESUITISM.
by them in former ages. In our sketch of Ganganelli, in Number nine of the last Volume, we stat
In the Christian Observer for March 1815, we have a Review of "A brief account of the Jesuits," in which is giv-ed the fact, that he abolished the en a striking description of Institution of the Jesuits. the principles of that order of men, and of the mischiefs done
But notwithstanding the infal libility of popes, they can con