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delightful task of selecting materials for his former work, entitled the “Achievements of Prayer," the Compiler was particularly struck with the fact, which he then noticed, “ that the prayers of a numerous company of the holy and honourable of the Lord, had not been recorded ;" subsequently his attention was directed to the examination of several of those signal displays of providential mercies and deliverances vouchsafed to individuals whose prayers have not been specified ; and he distinctly perceived that some of the brightest and most remarkable displays of Divine Providence, occur where prayer, though implied, is not even mentioned. In the memorable trial of Abraham's faith ; in Daniel's trial, when cast into the den of Lions; in Jeremiah's extremity when sinking in the loathsome dungeon; in the persecutions of the three children when cast into the fiery furnace; in the eventful history of Joseph ; in the wonderful preservation of the Jews, when Haman had obtained a royal edict for their general destruction; and in many other instances, where the footsteps of Divine Providence are as distinctly seen; no mention of prayer is made ; and throughout the book of Esther, even the name of the Hearer of prayer does not once occur. In nearly all these instances, “the bright designs of never-failing skill” are more minutely detailed, than in those parts where supplication and providence are united. May not the gracious design of the Holy Spirit, in thus giving to Divine Providence and to the ordinance of Prayer a distinct and separate prominence, have been silently to lead us to the particular examination of each? that as we are assured of the power and efficacy of fervent and effectual prayer, we may be equally assured that its success entirely depends on the gracious Interpositions of Divine Providence ?
This consideration has mainly induced the Compiler to lay before the Christian World the present Volume, as an accompaniment to that which has been so favourably received. And he trusts, through the blessing of the Most High, that the
Interpositions of Divine Providence,” will add to the completeness and utility of the “ Achievements of Prayer."
The special Providence of God continually presiding over us, regulating all our concerns, supplying all our wants, warding off from us innumerable dangers, and shielding us in seasons of great extremity and affliction, is a doctrine most animating and consolatory. It is a lamp placed by the hand of the Lord to illuminate this dark valley, and to guide the feet of his children into the path of life. This blessed truth Jehovah himself taught that favoured family whom he had chosen as the depositaries of his truth. It was unfolded to Abraham. God has condescended, by appropriate emblems, to represent some of the loveliest parts of his character! The encouraging language addressed to Abraham was, “ Fear not, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Probably the full force of this beautiful emblem was but little understood by him, till that momentous period had arrived, that memorable trial of his faith, when the Interposing goodness of the Lord was so peculiarly manifested ; then were revealed to his astonished and enraptured mind, in the provided sacrifice, the glories of Redemption and the mysteries of Divine Providence. It was then “ Abraham rejoiced to see the day of the Son of God, he saw it and was glad.” This glorious doctrine was more fully communicated to Jacob on that solitary night, when, with a trembling hand, he took the stones for his pillows, and with an anxious and foreboding heart lay down to sleep. It was then, when exposed to surrounding dangers and inward sorrows, Jehovah graciously revealed to his mental eye, the mystic ladder set up on earth and reaching to heaven, with the angels of God ascending and descending upon it; a fit and beautiful emblem to represent the steps of Divine Providence, and the constant though invisible communication that exists between earth and heaven : thus proving to Jacob, that though a poor defenceless traveller, he had nothing to fear, for God was with him to guide and shield him from all the dangers to which he was exposed.
What a bright development of the especial Providence of God, does the delightful history of Joseph supply! How inimitable in simplicity! how touchingly descriptive are all the events recorded in it; and how gradual is the disclosure of God's special design of love and mercy to his highly favoured servant !
In the miraculous deliverance of the children of Israel by the hand of Moses, and in their subsequent preservation during their long abode in the wilderness, we have beautifully combined the especial love and providence of God towards a nation. We behold the Lord appearing for them, when “ their sigh and their cry by reason of their bondage, came up before him," bringing them out of Egypt with “a high hand and with an out-stretched arm, dividing the Sea, and causing them to pass through, and making the waters to stand as an heap : leading them in the day time with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire ; cleaving the rock in the wilderness, and giving them drink as out of the great depths; bringing streams out of the rock and causing waters to run down like rivers ; raining down manna
upon them to eat, and giving them the corn of Heaven : feeding them according to the integrity of his heart, and guiding them continually by the skilfulness of his hands."
O that this doctrine, so full of the sweetest and richest consolation, may drop as the rain, may distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass, because it publishes the name of the Lord, and ascribes greatness unto our God !"
But it must be remembered, that though the especial Providence of God, like the blessings of Salvation, is held forth to the belief of all mankind, it is not the common property of all, but the peculiar portion of a peculiar people; a people whom the Lord hath loved with an everlasting love ; whom he leads, instructs, and keeps as the apple of his eye.
This is a truth which cannot be concealed. “The tender mercies of God are over all his works;" but his especial and covenanted mercies can be appropriated by those only who have embraced him as all their salvation and all their desire."
Let not any individual say, If the special Providence of God is vouchsafed only to a peculiar people, how therefore can I partake of its extensive benefits? Is there really a desire to embrace the mercies of the Lord ? Are they indeed consi