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and without interference. "There was a wheel in the middle of a wheel." Their motions were all harmonious; they were all directed to the fame point, and guided in the fame course by the Spirit, which was in them.

In a complex machine, there is a number of wheels, all which have a relation to, and dependence upon one another. One wheel, put in motion, moves the next, and this another through the whole fyftem, till the main figure is exhibited, and the final object is accomplished. The scheme of providence is more complex, than any human defign. It is carried on by a greater number of movements. It is framed together by more exquifite wisdom. It is conducted with more exact regularity, and accomplishes its end with more infallible certainty.

We can see a part only of God's immenfe plan, We cannot discern his work from the beginning to the end. But we can fee enough to convince us, that there is a wheel within a wheel, and that one movement is produced by another. There is often in the scheme of providence, an obvious connexion, which we can trace through a long feries.

The act of Jacob's fons in felling their brother Jofeph into Egypt, led, by various fteps, to the prefervation of that country, and of the patriarchal-family in a time of extreme famine. It brought down this family into Egypt. The increase of the Hebrews awakened the jealousy of the Egyptians who, to check the growth of these foreigners, reduced them to cruel fervitude. The oppreffions which they suffered were the occafion of their feeking and obtaining deliverance from this land of idolatry. In confequence of their deliverance, a church was planted in Canaan,

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which had been long overfpread with ignorance, fuperftition and vice. From hence the knowledge of true religion was afterward communicated to other nations. The Jews often departed from the purity of divine inftitutions, and corrupted the religion, which had been taught them from heaven. For their defection they were punished with various calamities. For their impenitence under milder punishments they were given up to the power of their enemies, and scattered among furrounding nations. By means of their captivities and difperfions the knowledge of the facred fcriptures and of the ancient prophecies was diffufed in the world; notices of the future appearance of a wonderful Redeemer were conveyed to many nations; the Old Teftament became fo far known and regarded among the learned, that it was tranflated into the Greek, which was the moft common language of the day. Thus the world was, in fome measure, prepared to receive the gofpel, when it was preached by the apoftles.

When the Saviour appeared, the Jews rejected him. For their unbelief they were delivered into the hands of the Romans, and scattered into all parts of the empire. Their difperfion was the occafion of many vifits and epiftles from the apoftles to them, and to the gentiles among whom they dwelt. Thus the gofpel was more speedily and more extensively propagated. Things are now working, in the course of providence, for the recovery of that people, who have long feemed to be reprobated for their unbelief. "Have they ftumbled, that they should fall? By no means; but rather through their fall is falvation come to the gentiles. And if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them be the riches of the gentiles, how much more their ful

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ness? And what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead ?"

Within our own times we have feen fomething of this connexion in the wheels of providence. The late revolution in America awakened a revolutionary spirit in France. The fucceffive changes in that nation have placed at the head of government a man of deep policy, boundless ambition, daring enterprize, and diftinguished military talents, who has effected astonishing changes in Europe. The mighty convulfions, which have there been felt, are easily retraced to our own country. Here was a wheel in the midft of a wheel, When this was moved, others moved after it in fucceffion, till a great part of the world was feen in motion. Great events have already appeared; greater are ftill to follow.

However unhappy the wars and changes in Europe may have been in their immediate effects, fome confequences have followed, which good men defired. The credit and influence of popery in France, Italy, and other states, are much diminished. It does not indeed appear, that the nations are reformed; but the way is more open than formerly, to apply the means of reformation. The proteftant religion is now allowed, where once it was punifhable by law; and the preachers of pure Christianity are tolerated and encouraged,. where, not long fince, they would have suffered perfecution. Infidelity has indeed rifen on the declenfions of popery, as prophecy has warned us to expect; but its triumph cannot be long, because it is, in its nature, inconfiftent with the freedom, if not with the fubfiftence of civil society.

In a confiderable part of Germany the established religion is popery, and in that empire there will undoubtedly be great changes. The emperor

of the Gauls may probably be an instrument, in the hand of providence, to weaken the political power of the papal religion in other nations, as he has done in France; and when this inftrument fhall have accomplished its end, it will be laid afide.

IV. The text farther teaches us, that the ways of providence are often fecret and mysterious. One wheel is hidden within another. We cannot dif cern in what manner, and to what end, they are moved, until their motions are manifefted in the events produced.

"Clouds and darkness are round about God's throne. His judgments are unfearchable, and his ways paft finding out. His way is in the fea, his path in the great waters, and his footsteps are not known." When he works, there is "a hiding of his power."

God himself is invifible. We fee the operations, but not the hand, that performs and directs them. As Job fays, "We go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but we cannot perceive him; on the left hand, where he doth work, but we cannot behold him; he hideth himself on the right hand, that we cannot see him."

The events, which we obferve, often have an undifcerned connexion with other events, which we never expected nor imagined. Great calamities, and great deliverances, important changes and mighty revolutions are frequently the effects of caufes, which feemed indifferent, or tending to quite contrary refults. Men are fometimes raised from obfcurity and brought into publick life, to accomplish works, which we should not fuppofe they could ever have intended, or even imagined, and to which their wisdom, ability and education appeared utterly unequal. The

fairest means, by some unforeseen occurrence, fail of their end; and measures the moft unpromifing, by fome fecret influence, or by fome strange coincidence of circumftances, prove wonderfully fuccessful. Many of the great events, which take place in the political world, are brought about in an aftonishing manner, which mortals could not have contrived beforehand, nor can investigate afterward. Hence Solomon fays, "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the ftrong, nor bread to the wife, nor riches to men of understanding; nor favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all." Little incidents may lead to mighty confequences. Difappointments may be the occafion of great fucceffes. A defeat in battle may operate to a future victory, or victory to a total defeat. The cautious counfels of wife politicians may terminate in perplexity and confusion; the rash adventures of the bold and daring may, in the most complicated dangers, effect furprizing deliverances. The prophet, trufting in God's promised protection, bids defiance to the powers of the world. "Affociate yourselves, O ye people, and ye fhall be broken in pieces; give ear, all ye of far countries; gird yourselves, and ye fhall be broken in pieces; take counsel together, and it fhall come to nought; fpeak the word, and it shall not ftand; for God is with us."

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Our fubject fuggefts to us fome useful reflections.

1. It is matter of high confolation, that all things are under the government and fuperintendency of a perfect Being. "The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice."

There are many events, which give us anxiety. As we cannot foresee their confequences, we fear

VOL. V.

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