صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Maker. By the blessing of heaven upon parental faithfuluess, they become savingly acquainted with the way of life. With respect to these and many other circumstances that might be mentioned relative to our birth, the providence of God is to be acknowledged. Our times are in his hands. The time and the place of our nativity, with their respective advantages, and disadvantages, are under the control of him, without whose knowledge and permission, no event can take place. It is obvious to the eye of reason that he who creates us, must know and determine the time and all the other circumstances of our entrance into the world. And the inspired Psalmist asserts the same. Adoring the omniscience and omnipresence of God, he thus addresses his Maker, "Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." Ps. 139. 16. Several persons are mentioned in the scriptures; the time and many circumstances of whose births were not only known to God, but predicted for the benefit of his people, long before they come into existence. And undoubtedly, God controls the time, place, and all the circumstances, of the birth of every individual of the human race, though he has not seen fit to reveal them to us. "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Acts 15.18.

The period of man's nativity is an all-important season to him. He then enters upon an endless state of existence. The present life will indeed soon pass away, but we shall not at death cease to be; eternity is before us. In this world also, each individual is destined to pass through interesting scenes. What we shall in particular experience in our journey through life, no man can tell before hand. No one knows, but that Being, who comprehends the end from the beginning, whose understanding is infinite.

We observe, therefore,

II. That our times are in God's hand, as our condition in this life is respected. It frequently happens that through the controlling influence of events purely providential, the place of a man's residence and his occupation, with its advantages and disadvantages, are widely different from what he anticipated. Time was when Jacob little thought that he should ever descend with his family into Egypt and sojourn, and die in the land of Ham, leaving his posterity to be enslaved by the Egyptians. When Joseph was cast into the pit by his brethren, and afterwards sold by them for a slave; he knew not that in this way, God was preparing to advance him to great authority in the court of Pharaoh.

In fact; human life is, for the most part, little else than a series of disappointments. No man can say absolutely what course he shall pursue

through life, nor determine whether success shall attend, his efforts or not. A thousand unforeseen events, over which he can have no control, may take place, which will deeply affect his interest, and change, perhaps, all his plans of operation. It is not at our option, whether prosperity, or adversity, health, or sickness, riches, or poverty, the favour, or the frowns of men, be our lot. Our times are in God's hand. He orders out all the circumstances of our lives.

We are to acknowl

edge his hand in every event. What man calls accidents are under his direction. If we enjoy prosperity, the bible teaches us to ascribe it to the blessing of God; and to give him the praise. From him cometh down every good and perfect gift. It is the blessing of the Lord that maketh rich. Prov. 10, 22. Unless God succeed his labours, all man's efforts to acquire wealth will be fruitless. The same is true with respect to every other object of his pursuit. He is entirely dependent upon God for success. The race is not to the

swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all." Ex. 9. 11.

A man may have a fair prospect of success in an undertaking, and yet be disappointed, as his best concerted plans may be frustrated by some of those numerous unforseen events, which seem to come by chance, but which are, in reality, the appoint

ment of God. Job acknowledges an overruling providence in his own case, both when favoured with prosperity, and when brought into adversity. Reduced from affluence to indigence, and deprived of all his children in one day, he exercised the greatest submission to the divine will. He acknowledges the hand of God in his sore affliction, and said: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1. 21. The truth now under consideration, is confirmed by a great variety of facts and declarations found in the scriptures, all concurring to show that all the circumstances of our lives are under the management and superintendance of the Almighty. But it is not necessary to enlarge in proof of a point so plain.

Let us, therefore, see the hand of God in all the changing scenes, through which we are called to pass. If prosperity be our lot; if we escape those peculiar trials which chequer the lives of others, let us give God the praise: On the other hand, if adversity be our lot; if we meet with sore trials and disappointments; if in the book of divine providence, bitter things appear to be written against us, we must labour to possess our souls in patience, and to realize that it is God, who sinks our comforts low. Affliction does not spring from the dust; nor troubles rise by chance. Though we cannot fathom, we should humbly reverence and adore the dispensations of providence, as dictated and con2

trolled by infinite benevolence. Then, like the Psalmist, we shall be able, in every situation, to trust in the Lord, and say, "Thou art my God.— My times are in thy hand." Then, in infinite wisdom and goodness, dost manage all the concerns of my life, so that I must not fear, in whatever circumstances placed.

III. Our times are in the hand of God, as our spiritual birth is respected.


Resignation is indispensable to the salvation of In our natural state of alienation from God, we are totally unfit for the kingdom of heaven. Without a change of heart we must be miserable for ever. It is the declaration of Him who cannot lie, that, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3. 3. An inspired apostle has likewise positively asserted, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Heb. 12. 14. But for this spiritual birth, this change of heart, this renovation of nature, man is dependant upon God. This is expressly taught in many passages of the bible, and is abundantly manifest from the whole tenour of scripture. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1. 12, 18. "God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened

« السابقةمتابعة »