Imatges de pÓgina


With nought in charge, he could betray arguments which should enable them no trust;

bravely to face and cheerfully to bear And if he fell, would fall because he the sufferings and hardships to which

they would be exposed. Among other If love reward him, or if vengeance things, he reminds them of the provistrike,

dence of God, than which no consideHis recompence in both, unjust alike."*

ration is better suited to fortify the I. L.

minds of good men against the evils

and calamities of life. Are not two Sir, f you think the following essay, of them shall not fall to the ground I

sparrows sold for a farthing? and one which remains among the papers of the Rev. John Holland, of Mobberley, hairs of your head are all numbered :

without your Father ; but the very (of whom see Vol. V. p. 327,) may read with some advantage by those fear not, therefore, ye are of more

value than many sparrows.”

As if he engaged in the present discussion on

had said, “Be not discouraged by the Providence, it is at your service.

V. F.

prospect of those sufferings of which I

have forewarned you; for nothing can That all events, both great and happen to you but under the cognismall, are appointed by the providence Zance and by the appointment of God. of God, is indisputably the doctrine His care extends to all affairs, bowof the Holy Scriptures. The history ever minute and inconsiderable. Bewhich they give us of the Jews and ings, much inferior in dignity, and other nations, the incidents relating things which seem of the most trifling either to societies or to particular nature, fall under bis inspection, and persons, are constantly mentioned as

are ordered and conducted by his proproceeding from God, who is fre- vidence. Be assured, therefore, ibat quently mentioned by our Lord him

you, and what concerns you, will not self, and by all the sacred writers, as be overlooked. He knows every thing directly concerned in whatever hap, that concerns you; and how should pens. We are apt, indeed, to regard be but know it, since he was the orithe affairs of our own race, as of peo ginal cause of it? As he is acquainted culiar importance; and therefore as

with your sufferings, you cannot doubt worthy, in an especial manner, of the but he will reward you for them; and Divine care and superintendence. But

as they proceed from his wise and the Scriptures assure us, that not only just appointment, you ought to bear the concerns of mankind, but those them with cheerfulness and patience." also of the most inconsiderable orders

In illustration of these words I shall of existence, are managed by the Fa- endeavour to shew, that the providence ther of all. “ These all wait upon of God extends to all things, however him, and he giveth them their meat minute, and seemingly of a trifling in due season ; he openeth his hand, nature. And this appears to me the they are satisfied with good.” “Be

more necessary, as I am afraid it is hold the fowls of the air ; for they a truth not much believed, and less sow not, neither do they reap, yet our attended to by the generality of manheavenly Father feedeth them.” Nor kind. For it is now become somewhat is his goodness confined to living crea- unfashionable, and regarded as the tures; he forms and cherishes the work of a vulgar and superstitious very grass and flowers of the field, and mind, to search for providence in the clothes them with inimitable excel- daily occurrences of life, and to ascribe lence and beauty. But this doctrine of an universal Divine Power. There is, indeed, no

common and ordinary events to the providence is, perhaps, most strongly occasion that we should be perpetually asserted in our Saviour's instructions talking of God and providence ; this to his disciples, when he was sending might look like hypocrisy and affectathem out to preach the gospel. After tion, and might give reason to suspeet warning thein of the persecution and that we are desirous to seem very cruel treatment they should meet devout, whether we really are so or with, he proceeds to suggest several not. But though it may not be pro

per that God should be in all our • Corper's Prog. of Error. discourse, yet we ought to keep him

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An Essay, by the late Rev. J. Holland, on the Providence of God. 511 in all our thoughts, and to bear upon influence of the heavenly bodies; the our minds an habitual and constant state of the air, the surface of the regard to him; if it be actually true, earth, and the due provision of the as I shall now attempt to prove, that necessary juices ? Thus the care of all the common events of life are re one thing includes in it the care of a ferred to him, and that nothing can thousand. An attention to what is of happen to us, or to any other being, greater importance, supposes also an but by his appointment.

attention to what is of less; nor could That there is a God who created the whole, or the more considerable the world and presides in it, is plain parts, of nature, be governed and prefrom the harmony, order and beauty served, while particular beings, and of nature; that this Supreme Being is what concerns them, were overlooked powerful, wise and good, appears from and neglected. If but one of the the amazing grandeur and exquisite movements in the vast machine were contrivance of the several parts of the suffered to stand still, if one small universe, and from the conspiring ten- spring did but cease to act, or acted dency of all particular beings to the in an undue or irregular manner, the welfare and perfection of the whole. whole would presently be thrown into Al present I shall not enlarge upon disorder, and might justly be said to the proofs of this principle ; but, want guidance and direction. We taking for granted the existence and must either, then, deny a Providence perfections of God, and his direction altogether, or acknowledge that this of the greater parts and revolutions of Providence is universal. the world, I would endeavour to shew In like manner, the changes which that, as certainly as these principles happen in the world are not a number are true, so certainly the Divine care of independent events, of which one, reaches to the most minute affairs, or a few, might be neglected without and to those events which seem to be prejudice to the rest; but are conof less consequence.

nected together, so as to form one This will appear to be highly pro- immense and beautiful scheme, which, bable, if it be considered, that the if the least were undirected, the world is not a collection of loose and whole would be disturbed and broken.

separate beings, but one connected Every thing springs from a mixture of · plan and regular system, all whose various causes, of different importance

parts, both great and small, are joined and efficacy ; and every particular bein the strictest union to the whole and ing, however inconsiderable, contrito one another. The vegetable crea- butes its share to a multitude of eftion sustains the animal, and both fects, and often to such as are readily depend upon the earth and other ele- acknowledged to be of great imporments. This globe, with whatever tance. What is now present is the belongs to it, is connected with the offspring of the past in a long ascendsun, and with its fellow-wanderers the ing series, and will be the parent of planets. Now, in a system whose what is future, in an indefinite departs have so extensive an influence, scending succession; and that which and such infinite mutual ties and rela- is present in one place may affect and tions, is it possible that the general be affected by a vast number of other concern should be tolerably conducted things in different places. Now, in and provided for, if no regard be had this complicated scene of causes and to the least things in it? For these effects, what bounds can we assign to being neglected, and suffered to run at the Divine Providence? Or where is random, may bring disorder and con- the precise point, concerning which we fusion

upon the greatest. If this earth may with any reason pronounce, that of ours be worthy of the Divine notice just hitherto it goes, and no farther? and concern, is it not chiefly for the Those who are assured that it has its sake of its living inhabitants, which limits, must certainly know where would inevitably perish, were not the they are. Let such describe these plants and trees produced to support limits exactly, and we then shall yield them? And if the Divine care ex- up the point.

Does God concern tends to the formation of plants and himself about mankind ? If not, it is trees, must it not also be employed in not worth our while to dispute whethe revolution of the seasons, and the ther there be any Providence at all or


not, interesting itself about other be- rect and conclusive reasoning. Such ings, for what is that to us? But if as, in the present case, the following mankind be the object of the Divine appears to be. care, so are the particular nations of The same reasons which we have to the earth, and so, too, are the indivi- believe that Providence is concerned duals that compose them: for the hu- in the great affairs and revolutions of man race is nothing but a number of the universe, evince with equal cerindividuals; and, therefore, to say that tainty that the Divine influence exevery one is neglected, is the same as tends also to the most minute things. to say that the whole are so. Taking it for why do we imagine that God for granted, therefore, that the Supreme governs the sun, moon and stars, mind vouchsafes to direct the affairs but because of their beauty, order, of you and me, what circumstances of regular motion and beneficial effects ? our being are disposed by him? What And are use, beauty, order, seen only shall we say as to our place, our du- in 'the heavenly bodies ? Are they ration, our company, and the part not as clearly discerned in all the

are to act? Are all, or some parts of nature, in every being with only, of these appointed by God? which we are acquainted ? The sea If only some, which are they? and is beautiful, the streams and rivers why they more than the rest? Nay are also beautiful Beauty is diffused rather, since all the events of life are over the face of the whole earth. It 80 strangely interwoven with each is found in the barren deserts and other, how is it possible that one wilds of nature, as well as in the part of them should be ordered, and cultivated plains. It appears on the all the rest be undetermined ? Each rugged rocks and bleak mountains, of us, therefore, and all his affairs, in the stately forest and shady grove. is comprehended in that compass It lives through all life, both animal which Providence takes in. But this and vegetable. It appears in a high could not be, unless the affairs of degree in those beings which are enother beings, to whom we are related, dowed with sense and mind : and in were also contained in the divine the highest in such as are blest with order. It were easy to carry this reason and moral sentiments. But point farther, and to trace down Pro- in some measure it is communicated vidence from the stars of heaven to to the least and meanest of nature's the most inconsiderable affairs of this works. Every tree, plant and flower, lower world. But what has been every beast, bird, fish and insect, said may suffice to shew, that if we partake of it. Symmetry, order, a be once fairly brought to acknowledge nice adjustment of parts to each a Providence at all, we can never find other, and of the whole inward and where to stop, till we have allowed outward structure to its circumstances that this Providence extends to all and mode of life, obtain in every beings, the lowest as well as the creature. highest.

And as grace and beauty are every Perliaps it may be said, there may where shed abroad, so every being is be limits to the Divine Providence, of some use and service, and conthough on account of the weakness tributes in its place to the general of our faculties we may not discern good. The elements furnish the maand cannot distinctly apprehend them: terials, and are made to assist in the and therefore these arguments are formation and growth of vegetables calculated rather to perplex than and animals, which no sooner die satisfy the mind. I grant it; and for than their bodies tend to dissolution, that very end this reasoning was here and hasten to prepare for other serapplicd, that any were prejudiced vices. Plants and trees at once adora in favour of the contrary opinion, the earth, and support the various they might see that it also has its tribes of living creatures, which difficulties. For when he who has enjoy life themselves, and administer been positive in an opposite belief, to the welfare and preservation of can once be made to doubt and hesi- each other. The very lowest class of tate, he is come half way to convic- them is not useless, and could not be tion, and placed in the best situation wanted without some harm to the for discerning the force of more di- general system. Now since order and


An Essay, by the late Rev. J. Holland, on the Providence of God. 513 use are aimed at and effected, as in then, that the power and wisdom of the more magnificent, so also in the God are equal to the direction of the least and most inconsiderable parts of most minute affairs, however numenature, have we not as good reason to acknowledge the hand of God in If, therefore, he do not dispose and the one as in the other? Wherever govern them, it must be because he beauty appears, and the general wel will not. But that he will direct all, fare is consulted, there God is pre even the minute and inconsiderable sent, there he acts. But these ends affairs, may easily be shewn, if we are every where pursued, in all the will only admit this principle, that regions of nature, in all kinds and he will always do what is best. And degrees of life, in earth and air and what can induce him to act otherwise ? sea, and in the make and disposal of Not sloth or cowardice: for sloth each particular being.

proceeds from some uneasiness in actIf God, at the same time that he ing; and cowardice from a sense of directs and manages the universe in weakness and a fear of danger. But general, yet takes no care of minute the Divine nature acts without diffiaffairs and particular beings, it must culty, and is not obnoxious to any be either because he cannot, or be- fear ; every object yields to its will, cause he will not. That he cannot, and immediately assumes that very we shall scarcely affirm : for which is nature, place and form, which he easier, to create worlds, and keep would have it. “He speaks, and it them in rapid and regular motion, is done; he commands, and it is esor to form and dispose of a single tablished.” Neither can he, like inan, plant or animal? You acknowledge be drawn aside from doing what is that he is able to effect the former ; best, by selfish views of any kind : he must therefore be equal to the for what interest can the universal latter, which requires no greater ex- mind possibly have, inconsistent with, pense of power.

or even different from, the interest Nor need we be concerned lest the and good of the whole ? But here it Deity should be perplexed by attend- is needless to enlarge; since we are ing to such a vast multiplicity of now reasoning with those who accreatures and events, or lest he knowledge that God is perfectly good; should neglect some of them, because and a Being perfectly good will conhe cannot, or not without difficulty, tinually do what is best. oversee them all. This would be to And now to complete the argumake man the standard of God, and ment. If God will do what is best, to measure an infinite mind by our he will concern bimself in those affairs limited and imperfect powers.' And which may seem to us of the least yet even our minds, narrow as they consequence. For can it be best, are, can with ease comprehend many that, while great things and events are things at the same time. We, who directed, smaller affairs should be are confined to so small a part of left at random? Were it not better space, can view at once a large pros- that all things, small as well as great, pect, and take in all its varieties of should be appointed and ordered by hills and plains, woods and rivers, to the Supreme Wisdom? Let us cona considerable distance. And can we sider what is the case in matters diimagine that the Divine mind, which rected by human art or prudence. is every where present, is not able to Ask the mechanist, whether his clock see all things every where and at or watch will be more perfect, if all once? We can, in an instant, ob- the parts of it are made and adjusted serve the affairs of different persons, in the exactest manner, or if none societies and nations : and is it likely but the principal movements are accuthat be, from whom these minds of rately wrought, and justly disposed. ours are derived, and who infinitely So it is in the government of the exceeds all his creatures in every kind Universe, which being as closely of perfection, cannot with ease com- united into one system, and composed prehend the affairs of the whole uni- of parts as intimately connected as verse, and attend at once to all beings, the most curious and complicated nations and worlds ? It is plain, machine, the whole of it cannot be


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administered in the best manner, un- free will and philosophical neces.

less the Divine Providence extend to sity;" but I may be allowed to state all beings and events, however trivial that the views which I wish to lay and inconsiderable they may some of before you are in my own case des thém'appear to us.

rived from a full and I trust practical Our reasoning, on the whole, stands belief of the latter doctrine. I do thus. The Divine Being can direct 1.not, however, conceive that such a the most minute affairs and events : belief is by any means necessary to he will do what is best : but it is best, their reception. 1,." He who advocates that all affairs, as well the less as the 5 the plainest and most intelligible bymore important, should be directed; pothesis, is best co-operating with the and therefore he both can, and will, Deity in teaching mankind their vathat is, he actually does, appoint and rious duties and their future expectadeterinine the smallest 7 things and tions.??.. Such I believe, to be the most inconsiderable events. i-gh 4 tendency of the opinions which I

Upon the whole, then, we icon- entertain. They appear to me calcuclude, that froin God all things pro- yelated beyond any others, to illustrate ceed, and by him all things are go- silbercondition and circumstances of verned. Nothing is left out of the iman, and the moral government of scheme of his providence. Whatever v Godoun nano tud! we meet with in the world, whatever y That the Supreme Being, the Crecompany or accommodations we find, ator of the universe, is infinite in whatever we do or suffer, makes a power and in knowledge, will be gepart of the divine order.. God grant , nerallyi admitted ; and it follows that that;' as 'all things 'proceed from him, the must, from the beginning, bave we may refer all things to him ; and known and consequently willed, every receive both the blessings and af- event which should take place in his flictions of life with becoming piety creation throughout eternity. Reand veneration ; remembering whence specting the system on which he rethey come, and for what end they gulates its concerns, there are various were designed. '-! !!*;;

opinions. It is maintained by some CESTRIENSIS POSTHUMUS. that he did at the first impress upon

the universe certain laws, by which

Bristol, Ball its motions and changes, natural Sir,

June, 1823. and moral, are continually regulated, correspondent Mr.Luckcock, in his independently of his own immediate remarks on' a Particular Providence, controut Others suppose that the (pp. 286_292;) so far as they respect' more important concerns of the the tendency of that doctrine to con- world are under the Divine direction,

fine our ideas of the moral govern- but that the general current of events "ment of the Deity, and the pernicious is left to form its own channel, reconsequences it is calculated to pro ceiving at times such impulses as duce on the dispositions and conduct- suit the views of Almighty Wisdom. of those who entertain it. But 1. There are those again who believe cannot' accord' in his observations re-that every partiof the creation is under lating to the universality of the Di- the constant direction of the Deity, vine administration ; and it is in the rvby whoin the whole is maintained and hope of placing this subject in all regulated, and whose influence is felt juster light, that I am induced to instalike throughout every instant of time, trude the following remarks' upon and every corner of the universe. your notice. In so doing let me not What Mr. L's view is, I cannot exbe thought to undervalue the spirit actly discover, but the last he deof practical utility and benevolent cidedly opposes. Yet it is this which intention which distinguish Mr. L.'s alone appears to me consistent with communication

*, what we know of the Almighty, and I ain not more desirous than your with what we observe around us. correspondent, "of “ entering the "Mankind too generally found their boundless and thorny field of contro conceptions of the Divinc nature, versy, respecting fate, predestination, upon what knowledge they possess

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