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ing the deck clean, leaves none standing there but himself and a frantic mother ; nor is theirs the conso. lation of the mother who, reaching the shore with her living babe, presses it to her bosom, and holds herself compensated for all other losses. They are dead, cries the last messenger; they are dead, and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. Dead? We almost expect to see himself fall dead ; stunned, killed by this crowning, this overwhelming stroke. But no. Greatest of heroes, spectacle for angels to admire, pattern for believers to imitate in the hour of their most adverse fortunes, he arose and worshipped—arose as the ball which rebounds the higher the harder it is struck; as the eagle which reaches her loftiest flight not in serene, but in tempestuous skies. Owning the Providence in whose hand Sabean and Chaldean, fiery thunderbolt and roaring whirlwind, were only instruments, Job bows before the throne of God, and says, with a patience more uncommon even than his trials, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither : the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away ; blessed be the name of the Lord.
2. The history of God's church is filled with remarkable illustrations of marvelous, though not miraculous providences. “The wind bloweth where it listeth," said our Lord ; and when—now sleeping, now gently breathing, now sighing as in sorrow, now shrieking as in pain, now roaring in mad-like fits of rage, and now howling round the house—it shakes every door and window to get in, the wind seems as uncontrolled and uncontrollable a power as any in nature. But when, some three hundred years ago, it rose in its resistless might, and swept down in hurricane gusts from heaven to scatter the hopes of Rome and the pride of Spain, it was surely, to use the words of scripture," stormy wind fulfilling his word.” I believe that. In that crisis of the church's fate, Popery and secular despotism, ecclesiastical and political tyranny, united their forces, as they now threaten to do again. Their object was to crush the liberties of mankind, and to quench the light of the Reformation in the life-blood of its professors. Never had winds wafted, never, since keel first ploughed them, had the waves borne such a fleet as, armed for that purpose and confident of victory, came ruffling down in the pride of its power on the coasts of England. The hearts of many trembled ; and some were but little comforted by the noble attitude in which England rose, headed by her maiden Queen, to meet the danger in the name of God. Who could not fight could pray. Earnest supplications were therefore made continually, nor made in vain. And so, when the cannon's thunder pealed along the deep, and gun to gun, yard-arm to yard-arm, they fought the Spaniard in sight of their homes, One mingled in that protracted battle, as unlooked for by the foe as was the fourth person who walked the fiery furnace with the three Hebrew children in the brave days of old.
God descended into the fight. He did fly upon the wings of the wind, and with the black tempest swept the.enemy to destruction. Storm rose and roared upon the back of storm, scattering that boastful navy. Until, where it had ridden in its pride, nothing was seen but the crests of the angry sea; nothing heard but thundering breakers, and the scream of the wild seamew. And while the hurricane was pursuing them along our island, and strewing these northern shores with the corpses and the wreck of that proud Armada, the people of England repaired to the house of God to acknowledge his providence in this memorable de. liverance, and sing of the stormy wind fulfilling his word.
3. Again, the finger of God has been often marvelously revealed in the detection and punishment of crime. Men have stood astonished, and have been constrained to say—There was a providence in that. By some remarkable and unlooked-for circumstance, God himself has cleared away every doubt; and said, as it were, with his finger pointed at the confounded, trembling, wretch, Thou, thou art the man! One night, for instance, some years ago, a person in this city awoke to find that his house had been plundered. The alarm was raised, nor was it long ere the officers of
justice found a clue. The thief, wounding his hand as he escaped by the window, had left a red witness behind him. The watchman flashed his lantern on the spot. Drop by drop, blood stained the pavement. They tracked it on, and on, and ever on, till their silent guide conducted them along an open passage, and up a flight of steps-stopping at the door of a house. They broke in ; and there they found the bleeding hand, the booty, and the pale, ghastly criminal. Now, a shower of rain would have washed away the stain ; a fall of snow would have concealed it; the foot of some wretched street-walker, some midnight reveller, would have effaced it; but no, the crime was one of peculiar atrocity, and there God kept the damning spot. And, unless they be forgiven, covered by the righteousness, washed away in the blood of Jesus, so shall your sins find you out. Wash them
away in Calvary's fountain, or they wait to meet you at the bar of judgment. The step of divine justice may be slow, but it is sure, and I implore sinners to flee from the exposures and the wrath to come : for, what saith the scriptures, Whatsoever ye hare spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the house tops,—God shall bring every work into
judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.
Who should not own in such remarkable events the hand of providence? That man incurred double guilt, who, when passing dryshod through the sea between two crystal walls, thought no more of God than you or I, perhaps, have done, when, on a bright summer day, beneath the flickering shade of overhanging trees, and on a carpet of heath and wild flowers, we were threading some mountain gorge. He too, incurred double guilt, who, having risen with the dawn, and left his tent, ere the sun had shot one slanting ray across the desert sands, to gather food fallen fresh from dewy skies, thought no more of God than yonder merry band, that, with talk and songs and laughter, sweep down the golden corn, or, when sheaves are stacked and fields are cleared, with gleesome dances keep harvest-home. “Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her, for she is a king's daughter," were Jehu's orders; and doubly guilty were his messengers if, as they drove off the dogs that were crunching Jezebel's skull, and saw the curse of an avenging prophet, they thought no more of God's righteous judgments, than does the rude, brutal mob which executions gather from low lanes and alleys around a gallows-tree.
It is good to see God's hand in every extraordinary
event, but it is better to see his providence in every thing, saying with David, I have set the Lord always before me. How happy is such a frame of mind! I cherish the memory of one over whose chequered life it shed a perpetual sunshine. A widow with a helpless family, she had literally left father and mother, and house and lands, for Jesus' sake, and had had her full share of trials. Yet nothing came wrong to her ; nor did leaden cares ever sit long or press heavy on her saintly breast-hers, a bearing that often reminded me of the beautiful words of Luther, when, in an hour of alarm and anxious councils, he pointed his compan. ion to a little bird, that, perched on a bending branch, was pouring forth a gush of melody in the ear of evening, and said, Happy fellow ! he leaves God to think for him. Do that; leave God to think for you, and to care for you. Let clear-eyed Faith behold Christ on his throne, with the strong hand of a God, and the sympathies of a man guiding in heaven the helm of your fortunes, and you may go to sleep in the rudest storm. What storm should hinder him whose head is pillowed on Jesus' bosom, and who feels himself enfolded in the arms of providence, from fulfilling this high, this happy command, Be careful for nothing ; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Child of God! take your rest. He who keeps watch by you, never sleeps.
II. God in Christ presides over ordinary as well as extraordinary events.
By him all things .consist. Every object in nature