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salutary convictions, which, if cherished, might have resulted in their eternal salvation! To them, of a truth, the fear of man has been a snare, from which their soul will in vain struggle to escape.
The criminality of this fear of man consists in the distrust of the divine care and goodness which it implies. Our Heavenly Father never places us in a situation in which the renunciation of principle becomes imperative. The evil apprehended is often more imaginary than real, and with the temptation there is a way of escape that we may be able to bear it. Even in the most difficult and trying cases, the divine promise, of strength sufficient for our day, is an ample support.
My soul, cast off the fear of man, which bringeth a snare, and put thy trust in the Lord, that thou mayest be safe. Regard
Regard no temporal advantage, not even life itself, as an equivalent for the loss of the divine favour. Remember that what may be gained by proving unfaithful to God and his truth, will be transient and unsatisfying, whilst in the sacrifice of a good conscience, thou mayest expect future remorse and eternal self-accusation.
COUNSEL is mine, and sound how can a man then understand wisdom : I am understanding ; bis own way? I have strength.
The Lord hath made all things By me kings reign, and princes for himself: yea, even the wicked decree justice.
for the day of evil. By me princes rule, and no- A man's heart deviseth his bles, even all the judges of the way : but the Lord directeth his earth.
steps. The eyes of the Lord are in Many seek the ruler's favour: every place, beholding the evil but every man's judgment comand the good.
eth from the Lord. Man's goings are of the Lord ;
THERE is one Lord and Supreme Governor of the universe. By his almighty word the world was created, and to his continued care it is indebted for its preservation. His providence or government extends to objects and events the most minute, as well as to concerns the most grand and magnificent. It is he who imparts motion to the orbs of heaven, and the light dust which floats in the air; by him alike, the destiny of empires and the fate of a sparrow are decided. His providence rules over all.
Human governments are subordinate and subsidiary, while the great pervading Spirit, which directs and controls all human affairs, is God. Mysterious and incomprehensible as many things may be, both in the history of the Church and the world, yet of this we may be assured, that nothing happens by chance; but every thing is in accordance with a superior and controlling agency, developing and perfecting the plans of the great Creator and Governor of the world. Rulers and subjects; the righteous and the wicked ; events calamitous and prosperous, have all their subordinate places in his scheme of providence. When he has a purpose to accomplish, the means are ever at hand; he rules and overrules; human improbabilities become certainties, and certainties, impossibilities; the counsels of the most sagacious statesmen are converted into follies, and the victory is wrested from the hand of the most skilful and heroic captain.
When he wills it, the ungodly may triumph, and the virtuous be oppressed. Those whom he has called and chosen with a holy calling, and who are dear to him as the apple of his eye, may endure many and grievous afflictions, and the Church, his peculiar heritage, may be made to pass through the fiery ordeal; yet the mystery will soon be solved, and when his purposes are unfolded, their wisdom will be displayed.
Solomon was a wise and powerful sovereign, to whom millions were subject; and yet he was aware that his elevation was from God, and that all the acts of his government, in which his will seemed supreme, were dependent on an overruling Providence. How important that all, both rulers and subjects, should be impressed with the same truth, that they might see the futility of their wisest arrangements, when made without reference to the divine will !
Remember, my soul, that thou art a subject of a divine government, and that he who manages thy affairs is the all-wise God. Art thou in covenant with him, and canst thou address him as Abba, Father ? If thou canst, neither life nor death, nor things present,
nor things to come, can separate thee from his love. Fixed on this rock, convulsions may shake the world; empires may decay and crumble into ruin ; poverty may bring its discomforts, and pain its restless tossings; friends may prove false and enemies conspire thy ruin ; and even death, the last enemy, may execute his commission, and yet all shall be well. The Lord thy Saviour, the Holy One of Israel, who possesses the treasures of everlasting might, will so overrule all events, that instead of harming thee, they shall work together for thy good. Rejoice then and be glad, for the Lord reigns !
The king that faithfully judg- ) praise the wicked: but such as eth the poor, his throne shall be keep the law contend with them. established for ever.
When righteous men do reThe king by judgment estab- joice, there is great glory: but lisheth the land: but he that re- when the wicked rise, a man is ceiveth gifts overthroweth it. hidden.
The prince that wanteth un- When the wicked rise, men derstanding is also a great op- hide themselves : but when they pressor: but he that hateth cov
perish, the righteous increase. etousness shall prolong his days. To have respect of persons is
It is an abomination to kings not good : for, for a piece of to commit wickedness; for the bread, that man will transgress. throne is established by right- A wise king scattereth the eousness.
wicked, and bringeth the wheel If a ruler hearken to lies, all
over them. his servants are wicked.
It is not good to have respect When the righteous are in au- of persons in judgment. thority, the people rejoice ; but It is not good to accept the when the wicked beareth rule, person of the wicked, to overthe people mourn.
throw the righteous in judgWhere no counsel is, the peo- ment. ple fall: but in the multitude of Righteousness exalteth a nacounsellors there is safety. tion, but sin is a reproach to
They that forsake the law any people.
How much wisdom is compressed in these brief sentences ! Civil government is an ordinance of God, and the duty of reverence and obedience to rulers is explicitly taught in his word. It is a peculiar blessing to live under that form of civil administration which best secures the liberties and rights of the people; and such a government, in a pre-eminent sense, is that under which we live. Still it may be readily conceived, that the general principles of a government may be unexceptionable, and its administration prove subversive of