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with our souls when God withdraws the joys of salva. tion and the influences of his Holy Spirit. There is something wrong here? No. The Maker of all has made no mistake. Nor may Deist, Atheist, or sneering scoffer put his foot on that flower, and, to crush with its frail form our faith in providence, ask, Where is now thy God? Ask that plant its history ! It speaks with a foreign accent; the truth comes out that God never made it to dwell here ; an exile, it has been torn from its native home, and still clings, like other exiles, to the habits and memories of its fatherland. Belonging to a region where the day is longest when ours is shortest, where they pant under summer heat when we are shivering in winter cold, the flowers that it spreads on our snowy ground but show how correctly God had wound it up to blow in its proper habitat at the proper season, and how clearly his providence may be seen even in the fading blossoms of a flower. I say again, if God takes such care of plants, how may you trust yourselves and your families to him 2 What may you not trust to him, who spared nor pains, nor pity, nor care, nor kindness, nor even his beloved Son, but gave him up to death, that you might not perish, but live?
3. Let me select an illustration from the animal kingdom. Over the honeycomb, in which a vulgar taste, in common with the bear, finds only the means to gratify its appetite, the philosopher may bend with admiration and amaze. He can have little reflection who has not marked the beauty and delicacy of those cells, which, though built in the darkness of the hive, and the work of a humble insect, man, with his reason and the aids of art, attempts in vain to imitate. Yet there is here something more wonderful than beauty Examine them closely. See how each has the same number of sides with its fellow, and is its exact counterpart. In that a child could discern plain evidence of design; but there is a depth of wisdom there which only science can fathom. Repair to the study of a Newton, of one who is tracking that wandering comet on its fiery path into the far realms of space, or weighing, not the Alps or Andes, but worlds in the scales of science, and ask him—for no man else can solve the question, simple as it seems—to find out for you the form of the vessel which combines with the greatest strength the largest capacity ? Having wrought out this problem by a long series of abstruse calculations, he presents the result. How wonderful! You find such a vessel in the cell of a bee-hive I dare to say that he is a fool who ventures, in the face of such a fact, to deny a providence, or to assert that there is no God. Why, at a period in man's history when he was little better than a naked savage, when he was robbing the beast of his skin for clothing, and of his rocky den for a home, when he had no tools but such as he could fashion from a stone, nor vessels but of the rudest form and the coarsest clay, this humble insect was building the most beautiful fabrics from the most delicate materials, with the skill of an accomplished architect, and according to the laws of a high philosophy. What a proof of an over-ruling providence 2 and that He, who teaches birds as well as angels to sing, guides the movements of the meanest creatures—presiding in a hive as well as in heaven Why, then, should God's people ever despond? What can be too hard for them 2 too heavy for you to bear, too difficult for you to do He is with you, with
whom all things are possible. And if, by the most feeble creatures, he achieves works of such skill and beauty, how may you take heart to believe, that by the aids of his holy Spirit, and the help of the grace promised to earnest prayer, you shall work out even your salvation with fear and trembling; God working in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure?
4. Let me show a divine providence in the most common circumstances of life. Most people are ready to acknowledge the hand of God in such events as disease and death, births and burials, any remarkable escape from danger, some either very favorable or unfavorable turn in their fortunes. Who has not noted down certain occurrences in his history as plainly indicating a providence? Yet the largest number of men have their type in the son rather than the father, of whom this circumstance is told. They had parted in the morning not to meet again till nightfall. On meeting, the son said that he had been most wonder. fully preserved ; for his horse had thrown him, and but for God's good guardian hand, he had certainly been killed. Whereupon his father replied that he had met with a yet more remarkable providence, had still more cause to praise God; for, he added, addressing the other, whose curiosity was now wound up to the highest pitch in expectation of some strange and stirring story—I have travelled the livelong day, preserved from all alarm or accident whatever. Happy the man who thus sets the Lord always before him
Now, for an example of providence in the most common things, let me select sleep—our nightly rest. “He giveth his beloved sleep,” “Thou holdest mine eyes waking,” so says the Bible; and events occasionally place that truth very vividly before us. Do you remember a terrible shipwreck which occurred not many years ago on our west coast, and how those who were saved out of a large number that perished, owed their life to one wakeful man 2 He was no watchman of the coast-guard, no pilot on the look-out for homewardbound ships, but only an old, infirm Seaman, who had gone to bed with the rest of the world. He had courted sleep that night; but, for no reason that he could fancy, his eyes were kept waking. Weary of turning and tossing on a sleepless bed, he rose and walked the floor. With an old sailor's love of the sea, he drew aside the curtain of his cottage window to gaze out on the heaving deep. And while the sight of it was waking up the memory of former years, his eye, ere a landsman could have descried it, caught an object coming shoreward through the gloom. Horror seizes him. It is an ill-fated ship rushing, like a reckless soul bent on destruction, through the fog on that iron coast, right into the jaws of death. Many were hurried that night into a watery grave. Yet, but for the circumstance that sleep had fled the old man's couch, but for the alarm he gave, but for the boats that were launched to the rescue, many more had been drowned, and some, perhaps, damned, who, converted to God, are now living to his glory on earth, or, beyond the reach of all storms, safely housed in heaven. God held his eyes waking; he had work for that ancient mariner to do.
But, to take an example on a scale involving worldwide interests, I can show that not the life of individuals only, but the existence of a nation, and, since the Saviour sprang from that nation, the salvation of the world, once turned on a sleepless night. Strange, yet true! The king of Persia—like many other kings, a mere puppet in the hands of unprincipled ministers— has signed a decree to exterminate the whole Jewish race. Conscience, uneasy for the deed, does not keep him awake when he retires to rest in Shushan's palace. Her hand has planted no thorns in the royal couch, yet he cannot sleep; nor is there balmy virtue in silence, or wine, or music, to make his weary eyelids drop. It is strange that he cannot sleep; and yet more strange his choice of something to relieve the tediousness of night. He calls for the chronicles of his kingdom. Dry reading, one would think; yet you know the issue, and how the page turning up that related the story of Mordecai's forgotten service, these wakeful hours led on to the honor of the Jew, the hanging of Haman, and the preservation of the race from which our Saviour descended. Was there no providence in that? Was it accident or blind chance which kept slumbers that night from the downy pillow 2 Accident, that instead of music, the revel, the dance, the soft arms of pleasure, led a voluptuary to seek entertainment in the musty records of his kingdom? Accident, that opened the book where it recorded the story of Hebrew loyalty 2 No. I believe that God's own finger turned these leaves, and held the king's eyes waking. He had work for that king to do. These events draw aside the veil. We see all the reins that guide and govern the world gathered into the hands of God. We see Jesus standing by the helm of affairs; that there is no such thing as chance ; that his care of his people extends to the most common, minute, and apparently trivial matters; how even waking hours, or dreamless slumbers are links in