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provision has God made for the sus- , whisperings; in all of these the power tenance of all his creatures from the of the divine artificer is equally congreat Leviathan of the ocean, to the spicuous. It is as much an act of meanest insect that crawls upon the Omnipotence to form the grain of face of the earth. Not one has escaped wheat, as to establish the towering or is beneath his notice. The same mountain. The same Almighty voice sun that gendereth the fodder for the which speaks to us in the thunder, cattle, furnishes the most insignificant calls the vegetable world into existreptile with the means of subsistence. ence, and bids the “earth bring forth But more especially is man the last grass, the herb yielding seed, and the and best of God's created works, the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind;" object of his fostering protection. it requires the same Almighty effort to Take a survey of all that is lovely and unstop the bottles of rain, and to difuseful under the canopy of heaven : fuse them in a fructifying shower over see the hills studded with their ten the face of the earth, as it did at first thousand flocks, while the vallies be- to place the sun in the firmament to low are undulating with their golden be the great source of light and heat. crops—see the various occupiers of When then you meet with a grain of the woods arrayed in all their beautiful wheat, cast it not from you as a thing plumage, tuning their throats to cele- of no reputation; think of the power brate as far as they are permitted their which was requisite to accomplish its Creator's praises-see the vast bosom formation, and “behold your God.” of the deep teeming with its innume- You hold in your hand a most conrable tenantry, taking their pastime vincing proof of the existence of a therein; ask wherefore all these were divine being; for what man, with all called into existence, for whose sake his combined energy could not effect, they are and were created ? The an- God called into life by speaking the swer is for the service and benefit of word only; “ let the earth, said he, man. Wherefore? what cause can bring forth the herb yielding seed,” be assigned for a display of such mu- and his mandate was instantly obeyed. nificence? None whatever, except that Fourthly, on surveying the rich proit is a testimony of God's love and fusion of luxuries which has been so goodness towards his rebellious fa- unsparingly distributed throughout the mily, the overflowings of divine boun- land, we see God witnessing of his ty: the only reason that we can give is Son; attesting by unequivocal signs that “God is love.” Every argument his divine existence. We should enmight be used why this boon should deavour to view, not only all celestial, have been withheld; our apostacy would but also all terrestial objects through fully have justified such a denial; but the medium of the spiritual telescope; mercy triumphed over justice. Well to discern, if possible, the hidden Samay we exclaim with the enraptured viour who lies concealed in every Psalmist, “Lord, what is man that thou thing. Though it is true that God art mindful of him, and the son of man made all things for himself, yet it is that thou visitest him ?” Thou hast, also equally true that he made them indeed, set thy glory not only above by his Son, that “ in all things he the heavens, but also upon the earth. may be glorified by Jesus Christ.”
In the third place, let us view the An inspired writer, in speaking of return of a fruitful season as an act Christ says, “ thou Lord in the bewhereby God testifies of his power. It ginning hast laid the foundations of is true that his power is more magni- the earth, and the heavens are the ficently displayed in some of the more work of thy hands.” We find the stupendous works of creation. The beloved Evangelist corroborating this lightnings blaze to his honour, and declaration by saying, “ in the beginthe thunder roars to his praise, and ning was the word; all things were the floods clap their hands with much made by him, and without him was louder applause than the gentle mur not any thing made that was made." murings of the waving corn-fields: So that we recognise Christ as the but the still small voice of God is image of the invisible God, making heard in these comparatively silent the world, and upholding all things
by the word of his power. What an tion rendered condusive to man's additional interest does this throw happiness and God's glory; see him around the whole face of creation ; to giving us all things richly and freely reflect that to the Redeemer, you are to enjoy, sustaining our souls by himindebted for all those blessings which self, as the bread of life.” In paryou enjoy, which spring either from taking then of the bounty of God, in the prolific earth, or descend from the every enjoyment, receive it as profertilizing cloud. By the first Adamceeding from your Redeemer's love, we lost and forfeited our title to the and as the purchase of his agony ; comforts and luxuries of life, and to think that the author of them all exthe fruits of the ground: but in Christ, pired on the cross for you; then you the second Adam, we recovered our will eat your food with gladness and alienated privileges, and by virtue of singleness of heart; discontent will be our alliance with him, we are put into banished from your dwellings; the possession of our estranged inheritance. coldest bosom must glow with gratiHe himself paid the price of their re- tude, and adopt the ecstatic landemption at the expense of his own guage of the Psalmist, bless the life, and presents them unto man as Lord, O my soul, and forget not all the fruits of the sacrifice of himself his benefits.” upon the cross. By him, and for him It would be an unreasonable tresall things consist; he sustains not pass upon your time and patience, only our souls in life, but likewise all were I to enumerate all the particulars the substance of the vegetable world, in which God may be said to witness upholding all things by his invisible of himself in reference to the fruitful hand. He hath received gifts for seasons ; but I must solicit your atmen temporal as well as spiritual, and tention for a short space only, while I imparts them severally to every man proceed to show, the effects which this according as he wills. He it is who testimony of God ought to produce invests our gardens with all their
on your conduct. beauty and fragrance; so that even First, of all let it lead you to the yet some traces may be discovered of recognition and acknowledgment of a primeval paradise. If the ground God, as the author and giver of all has been cursed for man's sake, it good things. There is a proneness in has been blessed for the Redeemer's human nature to regard human events sake; so that it still continues to con as the result of secondary causes; to tribute to the comfort and happiness overlook entirely the secret and inviof him who is designed to cultivate it, sible hand which puts into motion the though in the sweat of his brow; | whole machinery of the universe; to thorns and thistles are not its only ascribe to itself the successful issue of produce; but at the command of the any enterprize, rather than to assign Saviour it becomes the prolific willing the praise and glory thereof to the parent, to administer to all the wants great God, who though his mind and delights of man. Does bread | takes into its comprehensive grasp, strengthen your heart, and prove to immensity and all its wonders, takes you the staff and support of your life? such cognizance of an individual man, Who, fashioned the grain of wheat, as if he were the single object of his then bid it vegetate and produce "first attention. In surveying the fields as the blade, then the ear, then the full we have lately done, so richly mantled corn in the ear?” Who fills the garners with their golden ornaments, we ascribe with all manner of store, so that it is the appearance to the superior skill of necessary sometimes to pull them the husbandman ; we are apt thoughtdown, and build greater to enable lessly to impute the increase of corn them to contain their exuberant trea- to the fertility of the soil, or to the
“Hath the rain a father, or who excellence of the cultivation which hath begotten the drops of dew ?” has been bestowed upon it; we forget See in Jesus Christ the Lord of heaven at whose command the seed hath and earth, the great mainspring of the germinated in the clods; who hath universe; see through the efficacy of watered it with the early and latter his mighty atonement, the whole crea rain, or who hath warmed it with the
invigorating fructifying beam. This does so feebly and inadequately exunmindfulness of God hath ever press the sense of his obligation to his been taken up by him as a ground of munificent benefactor; he quarrels complaint against his people. Speak- with himself for the languid and lifeing by the mouth of his prophet less sentiment of gratitude which alHosea, with reference to Israel's apos- most reluctantly distils from his lips ; tacy, he says, she did not know that he would, if it were possible, pour I gave her corn, and wine, and forth his whole soul in a perpetual suoil, and multiplied her silver and perabounding torrent of adoration. gold, which they prepared for Baal; Nor is this the mere momentary ebutherefore will I return, and take away lition of excited feelings ; he endeamy corn in the time thereof, and vours that his whole conduct should my wine in the season thereof." We be vocal, and speak the wonders of fear that this charge may with the his creation, preservation, and resame propriety be adduced against the demption ; that all his energies should Israel of modern days : our prayerless be pressed into the service of his families, and graceless tables warrant maker, his object being to show forth this conclusion. Innumerable bless. his praise not only with his lips, but ings are introduced daily into our in his life! While partaking of God's houses, but where are the daily emo- temporal benefactions he would contions of gratitude in our hearts ? Man secrate them to the service of the alone, though “ he is afraid of a feldonor, not convert them into instrulow man, who should die, seems to ments of licentiousness; accordingly forget the Lord his maker;" and while he “ deals out his bread to the hunall creation resounds with the praises of gry,” he “ makes the widow's heart the Creator, man alone either remains to leap for joy,” and invites the poor mute and insensible, or else still more and needy to feed with him out of the impiously blasphemes the name of his lap of his abundance ; he lives not for God. Not so, however, the Christian himself but for the benefit of his felman: in every event however appa- low man, and for the glory of his rently trifling; in every transaction God. however minute; whether in adver- But while these testimonials of the sity, or in prosperity, he recognizes love of God call loudly upon us to an onnipotent ruler, and endeavours, praise him for the past, they admonish " whether he eats, or whether he us, Thirdly, to trust in him for the drinks, to do all to the glory of God.” future. Why should ye doubt, O ye He follows the direction of the wise of little faith, of all essential requisites man of old, “ in all his ways to ac- for your situation? With all the reknowledge God,” feeling confident sources of omnipotence within his that under such circumstances he will reach, having the key in his posses
sion of all the rich storehouses both in But it is not sufficient that there heaven and in earth, will he not supshould be merely the recognition of ply your puny wants out of his abunGod, we must in the second place, dance? Will he who so providently approach him with the sentiment of caters for the sparrow, and hears the praise and thanksgiving. Whoso cry of the young ravens who call upon offereth me praise, says God, he him, be deaf to your supplication, and honoureth me." The heart which is refuse to permit you to gather up the a stranger to praise, we have no hesi- crumbs which fall from his table ? tation in declaring to be a stranger to Will he who clothes the lily of the God. It is an act by which he is field with such splendour as to surespecially glorified, and in which the pass Solomon even in all his glory, Christian will more especially delight. will he, I ask, withhold from his He will rejoice in every opportunity of faithful people bread to eat, and rai. magnifying the name of God, and of ment to put on? It cannot be. declaring his mercies to himself in still then and know that the Lord he particular, to his family, and to his is God," that he will never leave country; he will only lament that he you, nor ever forsake you." Have
direct his path.
you not the Saviour's assurance that given in vain) by the busy interestyou are of infinitely more value in ing scene of harvest just now brought the estimation of his Father, than all to a conclusion, to carry forwards our the grass of the field, or the fowls of imagination to that great harvest, the the air : if he clothes the one and in-gathering of souls, to be celebrated feeds the other with more than pa at the end of time; when angelic rental solicitude, will he neglect his reapers will be commanded to thrust children as objects in which he has their sickle into the field; and to colno concern ? If he has invested you lect together into one congregated with the garments of salvation, and mass all its contents, whether they be prepared for you the robe of righteous- good or bad. Then will the final seness, will he withhold from you suit paration be made between the righteable apparel to conceal your nakedness ous and the wicked. “ Gather the in this present state of existence? He wheat into my barn,” is the mandate will liberally supply you with all that of the great husbandman to his heamay be necessary to carry you through venly labourers; but “ gather together time to eternity; “ put thou thy trust the tares, and bind them in bundles to in God, and be doing good, and verily burn them." We as spiritual workthou shalt be fed. What though men are now employed in sowing the God at this moment is wielding the good seed; but the enemy is also emrod of chastisement, and smiting us ployed in sowing, and that not less with the pestilential scourge, as the diligently, the tares. In this little just punishment for our numerous spot which is assigned to our cultivaand aggravated iniquities; still as if tion, we would wish to have nothing to show that in the midst of anger he before us but plants of a heavenly remembers mercy, that he hath not growth, springing up into eternal life. entirely cast off, or forsaken his peo- Whether such is the case, thou ( ple, he hath been more than usually God, alone knowest. I know not. bountiful in the distribution of his All, however, must grow together untemporal blessings; he has “ filled us til the harvest. The infallible judge with the flour of wheat," at a time alone must assign to each of you his when a famine or even partial scarcity station ; I judge no man; no discriof bread would have favoured the minating powers have been imparted spread of the withering malady, which to me to determine absolutely between seizes with peculiar avidity on the the tares and the wheat ; I may have poverty-stricken and the profligate : my suspicions, but were it entrusted
peace is still within our borders, and to me to weed this plantation, I should plenteousness within our palaces ;' possibly root up the wheat with the and I trust that it shall be recorded of tares. I appear before you in the our“ poor, that they shall eat and be character of a sower, not of a reaper. satisfied.” Away then with the cry I can only pray, and that I do most of murmuring and discontent; let the fervently, that the seed which I and voice of complaint be turned into a my fellow-labourers scatter within this song of praise and thanksgiving: let enclosure, may spring up abundantly the harp, hung up upon the willows in and richly in each of your hearts, and token of mourning, be now strung to return into our bosoms an increase of celebrate our creator's goodness, for a hundredfold. I can only beseech he hath “reserved to himself the ap- Gon, which I do with all the fervour pointed weeks of harvest;" he hath of devotion, that “ you may come to been mindful of his covenant; the your graves in full age, like as a shock earth has yielded more than her usual of corn cometh in in its season;" that increase, and “God, even our own you may be gathered into the eternal God, hath blessed us.” “Let every treasure-house of your God, having thing therefore that hath breath, praise ripened for the full enjoyment of the Lord.”
glory through Jesus Christ our Lord. Lastly, We are admonished, (and - Amen. O, that the admonition may not be
AT CAMDEN CHAPEL, CAMBERWELL, SUNDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 21, 1832.
Isaiah xxix. 13.--" And their fear towards me is taught by the precept of men."
It would appear that at the time when built altars for all the host of Heaven these words were uttered, there was in the two courts of the house of the no lack, among the Jews, of outward Lord. So that the restoration of the attention to the ordinances of religion. true religion under Hezekiah, was The preceding part of the verse speaks just a temporary impression, lasting of the people, “as drawing near to only while the sceptre was in the hand God with their mouth, and honour of the righteous, and proceeded not ing him with their lips, though the from any change in the character heart, all the while, was removed far of the people. The matter-of-fact from him.” Therefore, God's con- would appear to be, that the nation troversy with the nation, was not be conformed itself to the disposition of cause of the bold throwing off of their the ruler, being idolatrous, or antiallegiance, and his determination to idolatrous according as the throne of do among them the marvellous work David was possessed by a patron of of destruction, sprung not from their the false worship, or an upholder of open adjurement of his service; on the truth. We are told that, “in the contrary, it was the keeping up every several city of Judah, Ahaz the appearance of loyalty in the midst ' made high places to burn incense to of actual rebellion, it was the show of other gods;" so that, it is unquesobedience without the reality which tionable, he carried the nation with moved him to the taking a vengeance 'him in his apostacy. And Mannasmore than common. The throne of seh made “ Judah and the inhabitants Judah was at this time occupied by of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse Hezekiah, a prince, pre-eminent in than the heathen;" so that here, piety and zeal for the honour of Jeho- again, it is beyond doubt, the people vah. He had been preceded by an followed the leading of the prince. idolatrous father, and was succeeded Between these idolatrous monarchs by an idolatrous son. Ahaz, who arose Hezekiah ; and when he swept reigned before him, sacrificed to the the land clear of the high places and gods of Damascus and Syria ; and groves, and repaired the temple, and Mannasseh, who reigned after him, summoned his subjects to the keeping