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mated beings,—the elements of air and earth, of fire and flood,-“ kings of the earth and all people, princes and all judges of the world,”angels, and principalities, and powers in the heavenly places—all are but the tools with which He works,-the humble instruments of unsearchable Wisdom.
have said that the common course of things is maintained and conducted by general laws ; but there are times and occasions, which call for the direct and inimediate manifestation of a divine Providence. There are seasons, when “ the great King of all the earth” interrupts or changes the usual order and laws of His government, and by some signal act of justice or of mercy vindicates His authority, and shows that He is not an idle spectator of the world He has made, or indifferent to the ways and works of men. When His people are pursued by their oppressive taskmasters,—at His command the sea rolls back its waves, and leaves a dry and spacious road for the hosts of Israel to pass in safety; and when the shouting foe rushes on to overtake them, the over-arching billows fall back to their forsaken bed, and horse and chariot, prince and people, are overwhelmed in the returning flood. When a tyrant casts his guiltless servant into the lion's den, He stops the mouth of the hungry savage, changing its ferocious nature. When the sons of Israel are enclosed in the fiery furnace, He says to the consuming flame, “ Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” In these days, indeed, we do not behold such open, palpable miracles as speak the direct exertion of supernatural power; yet who can doubt that the hand of heaven was there, when “the stars in their courses fought against Sisera,”—when the invading army of the daring Corsican, in their hasty retreat from the regions of eternal cold, were overtaken by the iron gripe of winter? There, in that dreary and sterile land, the mighty Ruler of the elements “ giveth snow like wool, and scattereth the hoar frost like ashes;-He casteth forth his ice like morsels,”—and the hardy veterans, who had braved the burning sands of Afric, are not “able to abide His frost." An army, more numerous and lion-hearted, more inured to every kind of privation and endurance than had ever marched forth to terrify and subjugate the earth, dropt like autumnal leaves,strewing the icy soil with frozen carcases ;-a host,--at a blow, annihilated!—not by the sword
of war,—not by “ the arrows in the hand of the giant,” but by the more piercing arrows of a polar sky.
Great crimes demand great and exemplary vengeance. When the iniquities of nations render them ripe for destruction, and the measure of their guilt is full, “ God sendeth forth his commandment upon earth, and his word runneth very swiftly.” He saith to his legions of destruction,—“Go forth and destroy_make a full end; take away her battlements, for they are not the Lord's.” No winged angels descend from the clouds, with “ the flaming sword of the Cherubim,”—but the very elements, made to supply the wants, and to communicate blessings to mankind, become the ministers of wrath. The rushing whirlwind lays bare the forest, and sweeps the fruitful field; the spotted pestilence poisons the vital current in the veins; the withering blight devours the ripening produce of the year ; the heaving earthquake shakes, from every place of refuge, the trembling tenant of the cottage, and the terrified lord of the palace,“ or makes his house his grave." In the sublime language of our evangelical poet
“ God proclaims
And now, at this very time, have we not too much cause to apprehend that “wrath is gone out from the Lord;" and that He is now about to send one, at least, of his “four sore judgments” upon our modern and dissolute Jerusalem ? The sword is not at our gates, nor does famine stalk over our cultivated valleys; but the noisome beast of popular sedition seems about to be roused from his lair, and pestilence has already begun to contaminate the wholesome air. A dreadful malady, first rising from the muddy swamps of India, after traversing the plains, and desolating the cities of Asia, and the eastern borders of Europe, has found its wasting way to our remote island, threatening to depopulate a land, once distinguished by so many blessings. Shall we, now, presume to say of the blind idolators of the Hindoo tribes, the misguided followers of an impostor prophet, or the erring members of the Greek or Romish Church- These “ were sinners above all men ?” Nay-look to yourselves, ye professors of a purer faith! look to yourselves, inhabitants of this seat of reformed religion, and ask if the reformation you boast to have accomplished in doctrine, has been followed up by a correspondent reformation in life and manners. The clamour is loud enough for the correction of national abuses; the outcry is gone forth for political reform from all quarters, but where do we hear as vehement a demand for reforms in the principles and morals of every class of citizens ? What is the true state of religion among us, at this eventful period ? One half of our people, I fear, have little or none in their hearts, whatever they may wear on their foreheads; the other half have choked it with the thorns—the cares and pleasures of this life; or deformed and disgraced it by a wild and degrading enthusiasm, substituting orthodox farth for orthodox fidelity. I believe in no age has there been less public virtue among the great, less integrity and moderation among the middle classes, less content and sobriety among the