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mense distance, operate on the earth to hold it in its orbit? Who, on mere physical principles, can answer these questions satisfactorily? To say that it is the property of one body, thus to affect, and another thus to be affected, is saying just nothing. To say that God originally gave it this property, and that it still possesses it by virtue of his creative power, is saying no more. For the inquiry is how one piece of matter, destitute of spontaneity and intelligence, can operate without the sphere of its own existence?

We may labour and theorise forever, but shall never be able to sulve satisfactorily the phenomena produced by the regular action of what are termed the laws of nature, if n we exclude the agency of God--the prime mover, the first cause, the supreme intelligence, the only independent Being. It may do in the structure of a dramatic poem to observe the rule of the poet,

Nec Deus intersit nisi nodus

Vindice judex—but if we exclude the agency of God in the support of material things around us we cannot proceed one step, till we are lost in utter and inextricable perplexity. Although we may not be able to understand the precise mode of that agency we attribute to God, yet we feel, that an adequate cause is assigned, in the fact of such agency: for all the effects we observe to be transpiring and the diversified modes of His agency, only serve to give us a more exalted idea of his

power and resources. To say, that the continuity of that agency militates against the dignity of His character, is altogether a mistake, for with God there is no succession. “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," so that, inasmuch as eternity with Him is an ever-present now, if we attribute to him at any one period of our existence, any particular agency, we need not fear, that we shall derogate from his

dignity, if we believe that agency to be continuous through the whole, and by a like mode of reasoning, of all other things.

These remarks may prepare the way for a reply to the inquiry from which we have digressed, whether the Spirit's agency, in the production of life, consists merely in an effort of creative power at the commencement, introducing all the different forms of life, which, by laws then ordained, should have power to propagate themselves in all varieties; or whether, there is still and continuously, an agency of the Spirit for the preservation and support life. The laws of re production are indeed established, and continual developements of life are conducted according to them, and have been from the very first period of creation. The fishes, the reptiles, the feathered tribe, the animals, and man, were all created in the full vigour and perfection of their being, not in an embryo state; and the trees and herbs, &c. were all planted in the ground, after they had been created, with the seed already formed, the germ of future growths distinctly organized and ready to commence the evolutions of life in a new individual.?

But it does by no means follow from these admissions, that the Spirit's agency ceased on the establishment of the laws of re-production. The whole developing process is under His immediate care. For, as what are called the laws of nature, are but modes of the divine agency--different indeed from the creative energy, but as real ; so the laws of re-production are but modes of the Spirit's agency--different indeed from that originally exerted in the formation of the first living creatures, but not the less real. In the one instance, the agency is direct, and the effect produced without the intervention of means—in the other through the instrumentality

1. Gen. ii. 5.

of what are termed second causes. These causes derive all their efficiency from the divine agency.

III. THE DEVELOPING PROCESS, HOWEVER PURSUED, IN THE PRODUCTION OF NEW LIVING BEINGS, OWES ALL ITS EFFICACY TO THE SPIRIT'S AGENCY. He presides over this immense and interesting department of the Creator's works. “He giveth to all life and breath and all things.

That there is some divine care extended to the works of the Creator's hands, must be admitted by all who acknowledge the truth of the sacred scriptures. Yet are there not a few, who profess to believe, that the providence of God must be administered only by general laws; for to suppose that his care extended to the minute creatures, and every individual form of life, and living substance, they think would derogate from his dignity. They can conceive of God's providence extending to systems, or of its being concerned in great signal revnlutions in the affairs of men, but as to any thing further they are incredulous,

“ The first Almighty cause " Acts not by partial but by general laws." But these are vain and ignorant objections. They are founded alike in ignorance of God and of his work. The infidel admits the providence of God in general, that is, it may extend to systems, and by general laws. But what are systems? What too is here meant by general and individual? Is there any being which is not a system with respect to some others? Man unites in himself several. One system of living beings is involved in another. The whole creation teems with life, and where to begin, or where to end, in our researches, we know not. In fact there is no such thing as absolute magnitude save in God. All greatness, of which we have knowledge, is relative. We estimate the magnitude of one object by comparing it with another. And shall adopt a standard of our own, and extend or restrict the agency of God according to our

decisions as to what is great or small? There is a world in the worm on which we tread, and yet our earth, the sun and planetary, worlds, are but a point compared with

Orb above orb ascending without end !

Circle in circle without end enclosed ! The eye of the astronomer peers through immeasurable and uncomprehended space, and losing sight of earth, and its associate worlds, he exclaims in utter overwhelming amazement,

What extent! What swarms
Of worlds, that laugh at earth! Immensely great!
Immensely distant from each other's spheres,
What then the wond'rous space through which they roll?
At once it quite ingulphs all human thought:

'Tis comprehension's absolute defeat. I then the agency of God extends to systems only, where shall it begin? And where shall it end? But how shall the whole system be preserved, if the different parts are neglected? The truth is the objection is altogether a rash one, and if it be carried out, and the principle be fully admitted, that individual beings are too low for God to notice, we must land in Atheism. For if it be beneath Him to preserve it is equally beneath Him to create. Let the objector who perhaps is not prepared to run with his objection to this extent, but who scoffs at the idea of God's care over the individual parts of his creation, tell us why He made a flea or even a philosopher. The whole force of the objection lies in this absurd assumption, that small things have a power to preserve themselves, and need no particular care and agency of God, but that great things have not.

It is rather singular that human pride should have betrayed itself so completely! The real secret, however, of all this opposition to God's intimate concern with the things of this world, is not, that these men have in reality

any greater reverence for the Divine Being, nor that they are more jealous of his honour than others, nor that they do design to exalt his character and excellence. Far from it; but because they do not " like to retain God in their knowledge." It is rather an unwelcome and painful thought that He is ever and every where present, “ beholding both the evil and the good.” Therefore they endeavour to impose on their own consciences, and persuade themselves, with the old Epicureans, that He has withdrawn from the earth, and left, with all his creatures, what is called a plastic nature, to regulate and preserve them. Thus, for ease of mind they take refuge in practical Atheism, and dignify it with the name of philosophy. “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God." " How doth God know, and is there knowledge with the Most High."3 The Psalmist will be found right, for whatever system men have devised, let them call it philosophy, or science, or rationalism, or what they choose, if they exclude the immediate cognizance, and care of God, from the affairs of this world, and deny any concurring co-operative agency on His part, giving efficiency to second causes, it will be found on a candid and careful examination to be mere folly. Common sense will discover absurdity marked and glaring, where the jaundiced eye of the Atheistical philosopher cannot detect it.

The idea does not seem to have entered the mind of these infidel philosophers, that there can be any particular providence, on the part of God, without a miracle or departing from the general laws of nature.

Shall burning Ætna, if a sage requires,
Forget to thunder, and recall her fires?
On air or sea new motions be imprest,
Oh blameless Bethel! to relieve thy breast?
When the torn mountain trembles from on high,

Shall gravitation cease if you go by?
1. Rom. i. 28. 2. Psalm xiv. 1. 3. Psalm lxxüi. 11.

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