Page images

authority, we must not only be able to comprehend ourselves, but be able to explain it in a manner that will enable others to comprehend it. But what is asserted on the testimony of God rests on that testimony, and on that testimony must be received. We must believe what we cannot fathom, as fully as that which we are able clearly to understand. That may be true which we cannot comprehend, and must be true, if God testifies to its truth. Our business, in that case, is not to spend our time in attempts to fathom what is incomprehensible, but to ascertain the true import of the statement, according to the legitimate laws of language. The passage before us exemplifies this observation. “ The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water : he turneth it whithersoever he will." Here the heart of man is represented as completely under the direction of the Lord, as the waters of the rivers. The resolutions, then, of kings, in all their extravagance, as well as in all their wisdom, are in the hand of the Lord. This shows the continual agency of God in his Providence.

What an amazing thought! All the thoughts of all men on earth are, in one sense, the Lord's ; for they could not think without his immediate power. They think in him, and live in him, and move in him, and exist in him. Yet all their thoughts, as well as their words and actions, are their own, for which they are responsible. Human perspicacity cannot discern the boundary line that renders these two things consistent; and therefore the arrogance of man will reject one or other, according to his predilection: “ That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out ?"_" Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known." ?" For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work : I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not, neither doth a fool understand this." Philosopbers, in the pride of their wisdom, reject the testimony of God with respect to the deep things of his government. They are called wise men by. this world. But the Spirit of Inspiration here designates them as fools, and even as brutish men. It is true wisdom to believe God, like Abraham, on his own testimony: it is the extravagance of folly to question his testimony.

The whole history of the Bible, especially God's dealing with the people of Israel, and the nations with which they were connected, is nothing but a history of Providence. From the moment of creation, God is seen in constant agency. All the mighty works performed by God in favour of his peculiar people are proofs of this. Miracles do not properly come under the head of the usual Providence of God; but they are equally proofs of the working of God in Providence, and they show that God is the Governor of the world, not merely as he is the author of the physical laws which usually regulate his works, but that he suspends, or regulates, or modifies these laws according to his pleasure. He

can burn a sacrifice by fire from heaven, after water is poured abundantly on it, and on every thing that surrounds it, as easily as he can inflame gun. powder with a spark. He can open the eyes of the blind by applying clay and spittle, as well as by couching them by the hands of the surgeon.

But the philosopher will say, “This mode of arguing is unphilosophical. With the theologian you may argue the nature of Providence from the Bible; but with the philosopher you must reason only on the foundation of the light of nature.” Sir, this is your ignorance. Sound philosophy cannot refuse to admit evidence that is in proof, whatever may be

he source of that proof. A thing cannot be true from one source of truth, and false from another. If the Bible is the word of God, its testimony must be admitted on every subject on which it deigns to speak. You must renounce the Bible, or you must admit its testimony as paramount on every subject. The Scriptures are our proof, and must be recognised as a first principle in all philosophical doctrines as well as in doctrine considered as theological. Does a heretic, who dignifies his fanatical speculations with the designation of philosophy, know more of the ways of God than God does himself? Doctrines on any subject that contradict Scripture ought not to be called philosophy, but lunacy. The man who will presume to inquire, after God has given his answer, is not only impious, but mad.


[ocr errors][merged small]

PROVIDENCE, as Unfolded in the Book of Esther. 2d Edition.

W. Carson, Dublin. ls.


of ERNESTI, AMMON, STUART, and other Philologists. 3s.

REFUTATION of DR HENDERSON's Doctrine in his late work

on Divine INSPIRATION, with a Critical Discussion on 2 Timothy üi. 16. 2s.

REVIEW of Dr BROWN, on the Law of CHRIST respecting Civil

Obedience, especially in the Payment of Tribute. Is. 6d.

THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS, the Most Excellent of the Sciences.

3s. 6d.

« PreviousContinue »