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disappointed, and thy heart is ready to despair ; when virtue is oppressed, and the wicked prosper, around thee; in those moments of disturbance, look Him who .created the heaven and the earth; and confide, that he who made light to spring from primæval darkness, will make order at last to arise from the seeming confusion of the world.
Had any one beheld the earth in its state of chaos; when the elements lay mixed and confused ; when the earth was without form and void ; and darkness wus on the face of the deep; would he have believed, that it was presently to become so fair and wellordered a globe as we now behold; illumined with the splendour of the sun, and decorated with all the beauty of nature ? The same powerful hand which perfected the work of creation, shall, in due time, disembroil the plans of Providence. Of creation, we can judge more clearly, because it stood forth at once; it was perfect from the beginning. But the course of Providence is progressive. Time is required for the progression to advance, and before it is finished, we can form no judgment, or at least a very imperfect one, concerning it. We must wait until the great æra árrive, when the secrets of the universe shall be unfolded ; when the divine designs shall be consummated ; when Providence shall be brought to the same completion which creation has already attained. Then we have reason to believe, that the wise Creator shall appear, in the end, to have been the wise and just ruler of the world. Until that period come, let us be contented and patient; let us submit and adore. Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him : therefore trust
thou him. * This exhortation will receive more force, when we,
III. CONSIDER creation as a display of supreme goodness no less than of wisdom and power. It is the communication of numberless benefits to all who live, together with existence. Justly is the earth said to be full of the goodness of the Lord. Throughout the whole system of things we behold a manifest tendency to promote the benefit either of the rational, or the animal creation. In some parts of nature this tendency may be less obvious than in others. Objects, which to us seem useless or hurtful, may sometimes occur ; and strange it were, if in so vast and complicated a system, difficulties of this kind should not occasionally present themselves to beings, whose views are narrow and limited
It is well known, that in proportion as the knowledge of nature has increased among men, these difficulties have diminished. Satisfactory accounts have been given of many perplexing appearances. Useful and proper purposes have been found to be promoted by objects which were, at first, thought unprofitable or noxious.
Malignant must be the mind of that person ; with a distorted eye he must have contemplated creation, who can suspect, that it is not the production of infinite benignity and goodness. How many clear marks of benevolent intention appear every where around us? What a profusion of beauty and ornament is poured forth on the face of nature? What a magnificent spectacle presented to the view of man?
* Job, xxxv. 14.
What supply contrived for his wants ? What a variety of objects set before him, to gratify his senses, to employ his understanding, to entertain his imagination, to cheer and gladden his heart? Indeed, the very existence of the universe is a standing memorial of the goodness of the Creator. For nothing except goodness could originally prompt creation. The Supreme Being, self-existent and allsufficient, had no wants which he could seek to supply. No new accession of felicity or glory was to result to him from creatures whom he made. It was goodness communicating and pouring itself forth, goodness delighting to impart happiness in all its forms, which in the beginning created the heaven and the earth. Hence those innumerable orders of living creatures with which the earth is peopled ; from the lowest class of sensitive being to the highest rank of reason and intelligence. Whereever there is life, there is some degree of happiness ; there are enjoyments suited to the different powers of feeling; and earth, and air, and water, are with magnificent liberality made to teem with life.
Let those striking displays of creating goodness call forth, on our part, responsive love, gratitude, and veneration. To this great Father of all existence and life, to Him who hath raised us up to behold the light of day, and to enjoy all the comforts which his world presents, let our hearts send forth a perpetual hymn of praise. Evening and morning let us celebrate Him who maketh the morning and the evening to rejoice over our heads ; who openeth his hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing. Let us rejoice, that we are brought into a world, which is the production of infinite goodness, over which a
Supreme Intelligence presides ; and where nothing happens, that was not planned and arranged, from the beginning, in his decree. Convinced that he hateth-not the works which he hath made, nor hath brought creatures into existence merely to suffer unnecessary pain, let us even in the midst of sorrow, receive with calm submission whatever he is pleased to send ; thankful for what he bestows; and satisfied, that without good reason he takes nothing away.
Such, in general, are the effects which meditation on the creation of the world ought to produce. It presents such an astonishing conjunction of power, wisdom, and goodness, as cannot be beheld without religious veneration. Accordingly, among all nations of the earth, it has given rise to religious belief and worship. The most ignorant and savage tribes, when they looked round on the earth and the heavens, could not avoid ascribing their origin to some invi. sible designing cause, and feeling a propensity to adore. They are, indeed, the awfulappearances of the Creator's power, by which, chief, they have been impressed, and which have inte duced into their worship so many rites of dark superstition. When the usual course of nature seemed to be interrupted, when load thunder rolled above them in the clouds, or earthquakes shook the ground, the multitude fell on their knees, and, with trembling horror, brought forth the bloody sacrifice to appease the angry divinity. But it is not in those tremendous appearances of
power merely, that a good and well-instructed man beholds the Creator of the world. In the constant and regular working of his hands, in the silent operations of his wisdom and goodness, ever going on throughout nature, he delights to contemplate and adore him.
This is one of the chief fruits to be derived from that more perfect knowledge of the Creator, which is imparted to us by the Christian revelation. Impressing our minds with a just sense of his attributes, as not wise and great only, but as gracious and merciful, let it lead us to view every object of calm and undisturbed nature, with a perpetual reference to its Author. We shall then behold all the scenes which the heavens and the earth present, with more refined feelings, and sublimer emotions, than they who regard them solely as objects of curiosity or amusement. Nature will appear animated and enlivened, by the presence of its Author. When the sun rises or sets in the heavens, when spring paints the earth, when summer shines in its glory, when autumn pours
forth its fruits, or winter returns in its awful forms, we shall view the Creator manifesting himself in his works. We shall meet his presence in the fields. We shall feel his influence in the cheering beam. We shall hear his voice in the wind. We shall behold ourselves every where surrounded with the glory of that universal spirit, who fills, pervades, and upholds all. We shall live in the world as in a great and august temple, where the presence of the divinity who inhabits it, inspires devotion,
Magnificent as the fabric of the world is, it was not, however, intended for perpetual duration. It was erected as a temporary habitation for a race of beings, who, after acting there a probationary part, were to be removed into a higher state of existence. As there was an hour fixed from all eternity for its