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« Thus defeated every where in the parent-land of protestantism and liberty, our inveterate foes are making their last desperate push against our holy establishment, civil and religious, in these remote parts of the globe-But we trust in that same power which has appeared so signally for our fathers. Thou, OGod! shall be our trust; who hast purposed, through us, to extend thy saving knowledge to the uttermost parts of the earth. Thou, even thou, wilt be our protector against savage and popish foes, and this American world also shall behold thy salvation, the work of thy hand for the people whom thou hast chosen as thy heritage; and to thy name shall the glory be given forever and forever.”
THE HERMIT, No. VII.
I HAVE GIRDED THEE, THOUGH THOU HAST NOT KNOWN ME.
IN the course of my reflections upon human life, nothing has more frequently been matter of astonishment to me, than the heedlessness and inat. tention of man, with regard to the workings of Providence, and the gifts of grace. The frailty and dependance of our nature must necessarily appear to in
every pulse of life; and yet how seldom are we led to ascribe that glory to God which is due to his
exalted name? Not only in lesser matters, but even in the more signal dealings of Almighty Providence, we remain, as it were, blind, deaf and dumb; without marking the hand that executes, or adoring the wisdom that contrives, so many gracious schemes for human felicity!
In this, we seem even inferior to the ancient hea. thens, who were so sensible that every good gift and valuable qualification came from on high, that they always ascribed them, under one name or another, to some superior Being, or tutelar God. The fire of poetic genius, according to them, came from Apollo. The power of eloquence was from Minerva and Mercury. They were dazzled with the gifts, though their ideas of the donor, the one eternal true God, were groveling and gross.
As for us who enjoy the light of the Gospel, and are in so many ways called to acknowledge the divine grace and goodness, we remain inexcusable if we ascribe not the glory, to that Being to whom all glory is due. Of the truth of this we shall be fully convinced if we reflect ever so little on what the Almighty has done, and is yet doing, for us, of his rich and free Grace.
God, at sundry times and in divers manners, spake to the fathers of old; and in these last days hath spoken to us by his son Jesus Christ, as saith the apostle. He hath from age to age raised up prophets and instructors, inspired by a superior measure of his holy spirit, to admonish, reclaim and spread abroad saving knowledge among the nations; and has
at last completed the whole, by the marvellous grace of the glorious gospel dispensation.
In the first ages of the Christian church, his holy spirit conferred miraculous powers on certain of his chosen servants, to awaken the attention of the stupid world, and be a seal to the doctrines they enforced; and, from time to time, burning and shining lights have appeared in his church, to enlighten and support it against the powers of darkness and sin: To these he has given different talents and measures of his spirit, according to the different circumstances of times and seasons.
Some, like Apollos, are mighty in the scriptures. They reason clearly, instruct plainly, and convince gain-sayers. Others are powerfully warm, to captivate the soul, engage the affections and communicate a feeling sense of religion and goodness. Some are sent forth of a bold and fervent spirit, severe against sin, denouncing the terrors of the Lord and shaking the guilty soul with dread and confusion, till it returns to Christ its only refuge and city of rest. Others are made sons of consolation, winning the heart by endearing strains of love and condescension, and conquering all opposition through the power of rich and free grace. In short, as the apostle tells us, gives gifts unto men for the perfecting the saintsfor the work of the ministry and edifying the body of Christ."
But further, the hand of God is not only visible in conferring good gifts for the support of his church, and the maintenance of true religion, but he likewise gives different talents to different men for managing
the common affairs of life, and he cautions us against ascribing the success to ourselves even in these or. dinary matters—“Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses and dwelt in them, and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy sil. ver and thy gold are multiplied, and all thou hast is multiplied, then thy heart be lifted up and thou forget the Lord thy God, and say in thine heart—My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth"*_Even in such common instances we must not leave God our strength out of the question, nor be guilty of the idolatry of “sacrificing to our own net, and burning incense to our own dragt”.
Nay in the holy scriptures, the improyments of farming itself are ascribed to God—“ Doth the plough-man plough all day to sow, doth he
doth he open and break the clods, &c.—this also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in workingt.”-
To God also are we indebted for a mechanic spirit that gives men power over matter and motion; and instructs them in geometry, engraving, painting, architecture, and all the curious arts that serve either for ornament or use in life. The eternal wisdom of God claimeth the “ knowlege of witty inventionsţ”.
* Deut. chap. 8. V. 11.-17
The same spirit that teaches the bee, the spider, and silkworm, to build, to weave and to spin, was given in a superior degree to Bezalel and Aholiah to enable them to erect God's tabernacle; and to Solomon to raise his stupendous temple. The same spirit guided the illustrious Newton through the deepest researches of philosophy; and to it we are indebted for the geo, metrical labours of Euclid, and Archimedes, and Palladio and a thousand others, in all the various branches of wisdom and knowledge, who were truly enlightened with strong rays of wisdom from the father of lights and fountain of knowlege. He that formed the ant, and the bee, though void of reason. to a sort of inferior policy and government, has also in all ages bestowed a spirit of wisdom and government on chosen men, to enable them to plan and to execute wise laws and salutary schemes for the felicity of their species. Moses was, in a supernatural way, taught of God; and Solon, Lycurgus, Numa Pompilius and many others, even among the heathen, derived a ray of light from that eternal wisdom, mentioned, Prov. 8. above quoted, which says“ council is mine and sound wisdom. By me kings rule and princes decree justice”-From the beginning of time, God has given gifts to men, though in various measures and manners; and the best and wisest, in all ages, have not failed to discern and acknowlege these gifts.
But in a more especial degree, the hand of God is visible in the conduct of war and the fate of kingdoms. “ He is the Lord of hosts, the God of battles;