Page images
PDF
EPUB

other high and divine things can be. It is as clear for instance, as the divine Eternity, or Omniscience. Every common Christian professing Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to be so distinct as not to be one another, and so united as to be one God, has as clear an idea as when he says, Our Father which art in heaven, or as when he repeats after the Psalmist, Thou are about my path, and about my bed, and spiest out all my ways. The thing is plain and intelligible in either case, but in the general only. Ask how three are one, and probably the Catechumen and Catechist will be perfectly at a nonplus: or ask, how God is in heaven, and how about our path, or our bed, and they will both be equally confounded. But, by the way, let it be here considered, whether common Christians may not often have clearer ideas of those things, than the bolder and more inquisitive, because they are content to rest in generals, and to stop at what they understand, without darkening it afterwards by words without knowledge. The notion of eternity, for instance, is a notion clear enough to common Christians; but to a person that perplexes himself with nice inquiries about succession, or past duration, that very first notion which in the general was clear, may become obscure by his blending perplexities with it. The like may be said of omnipresence ; the general notion of it is competently clear; but when a man has been perplexing his thoughts with curious in. quiries about a substantial or a virtual presence, about extension or non-extension, and the like; I question whether at length he may come away with so clear or just ideas of the main thing as may be found in any common Christian. So again, as to divine foreknowledge and free-will, they are both clearly understood, as far as they need be, by every plain Christian; while many a conceited scholar, by darkening the subject with too minule inquiries, almost loses sight of it. In like manner, to apply these instances to our present purpose, common Christians may sometimes better preserve the true and right general notion of the doctrine of the Trinity, than the more learned inquirers: and it is observable, what Hilary of Poictiers, an honest and knowing man of the fourth century, testifies, that the populace of that time, for the most part, kept the true and right faith in the Trinity, when several of their ministers, by prying too far into it, had the misfortune to lose it.

“I cannot omit an artifice much made use of by those who would depreciate the doctrine of the Thnity, as not clear enough VOL. I.

43

to be an important article: they first enter into all the niceties and perplexities with which subtle disputants have ever clogged the subject, and then ask, whether common Christians can see through them? No certainly ; nor need they trouble their heads about them. It is one thing to understand the doctrine, and another to be master of the controversy. It is not fair dealing with us, to pretend it necessary for every common Christian, if he believes in the Trinity, to form just conceptions of it in every minute particular; for, by the same argument, it might as well be pleaded that they are not obliged to believe in God, nor indeed in any thing. God is without body, parts, or passions ; according to the first Article of our Church. How many minute inquiries might be raised upon the three particulars now mentioned. And who can assure us, that common Christians may not be liable to entertain some wrong conceptions in every one of them? Must we therefore say that the general doctrine of the existence of a Deity is not clear enough to be an important doctrine, or that common Christians are not bound to receive it as a necesary article of their faith? See how far such objections would carry us."

“ The Anti-trinitarians, says bishop Bull, can never produce å demonstrative reason, to prove that it (the Trinity) cannot be, and divine Revelation assures us, that it is.” To the same purpose speaks Mr. Howe, a man of eminent piety and uncommon talents; 66 That there is a Trinity in the Godhead, of Father, Son, (or Word) and Holy Ghost, is the plain, obvious sense of so many Scriptures, that it apparently tends to frustrate the design of the whole of Scripture Revelation, and to make it useless, not to admit this Trinity, or otherwise to understand such Scriptures.” “And, saith the eminently pious and learned Professor Frank, of Halle, addressing those who opposed the doctrine of the Divine Trinity; though you allow the Scriptures of the New Testament, you nevertheless boldly and arrogantly contradict the truth, clearly shining before your eyes, and ex. press testimonies proposed in such simple and plain words that even a child may read and understand them.”

ROW GOD HAS PROVIDED FOR THE NOURISHMENT OF ANIMALS, 339

[ocr errors][merged small]

HOW GOD HAS PROVIDED FOR THE NOURISHMENT OF

ANIMALS.

From Sturm's Reflections.

FROM the Elephant to the Mite, there is no terrestial animal that can live without food and nourishment. From the Eagle to the Gnat, there is no Aying creature that can exist without it. From the Leviathan to the smallest Worm, there is no reptile which can subsist without eating. From the Whale to the Oyster, there is nothing in the waters to which nourishment is not necessary. But, in forming these creatures, so that they have all need of food, God has provided at the same time such an abundance and diversity of aliment that every creature may receive that nourishment which is most proper for its subsist. ence. As many different species of animals as there are, so many different kinds of food are destined for their support: sq that there is not a creature found upon the earth wbich has not got that food which is suitable to its nature.

In respect to this, we may divide animals into three principal classes. The first includes all those who live on the flesh of others : some of these, as the Lion, like quadrupeds only ; others fowls, as the Polecat ; others fish, as the Beaver ; and others insects, as different kinds of birds. In these, however, there are many exceptions ; but in general it is certain, that every species has suitable aliments, which the great Creator has destined for

it.

The second principal class includes those animals, which seek their nourishment in the vegetable kingdom. Almost every species of plants is the peculiar food of some particular animal. Some prefer grass, others the fruit of trees. Even among those who like the same plant, a remarkable difference is found. Some only take the root; others the leaves, some the stalk, others the pith, seed, or the whole fruit : and some are found who eat the whole plant.

The third principal class, includes those animals which are nourished by the mineral kingdom. The greater part of these

[ocr errors]

340 HOW GOD HAS PROVIDED FOR THÈ NOURISHMENT OF ANIMALS,

and bird these crenimals live od lodging ano

are insects; and on this account it is difficult to determine what the aliments are which are suitable to each species in particular; for these animals being so small, they are not so easily observed as others. It is known, however, that some live in earth, others in stones. And if we consider, that there is scarcely any plant, or animal which does not serve for nourishment to some other animals; we shall find no difficulty in supposing that it may be the same in the mineral kingdom, in which there is nothing found which does not serve directly, or indirectly, for nourishment to some insects.

We may now understand these words of Dávid: All creatores look unto thee, and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thy hand, and satisfiest all things with that which they desire. Psa. cxlv. 15, 16, These cares of Divine Providence, are a very sensible proof of that eternal goodness which is extended ever the universe. Let us reflect on the prodigious number of animals which exist. How many thousand genera of insects and birds, and how many hundreds of thousands in each genus ! All these creatures find daily support. How many thousands of terrestial animals live on all parts of the globe! How many hundreds of thousands find lodging and food in the forests, in the fields, on the mountains, and in the vallies ; in the caverns, and in holes of the rocks ; upon, and in trees, in clods of earth, and in stones - What innumerable hosts inhabit the ocean! What immense shoals of fish swim in seas, rivers, and brooks ! All these creatures find daily means of support. What an inexpressible multitude, what an astonishing diversity of insects encompass us every where! What millions of millions! Insects in the air, in plants, on animals, in stones, and upon other insects! Each finds continually its daily food. But how amazing is the wisdom of the Creator in the manner in which he nourishes these animals ! He gives to each that food which is most suitable to its nature. Every kind of food cannot agree with all. There is one sort for quadrupeds, another sort for fowls, another for fishes, and another for insects. This distribution of aliments is a mean very wisely ordained by the Creator, not only for the effectual support of every species of animals, but that no species of food which the earth brings forth may be useless, but that her whole produce may be exactly consumed.

Now if God take such care of animals destitute of reason, what will he not do for men ? This is the inference which the reader may and ought to draw from observing the arrangement which the Divine Providence has made, to give all the creatures of the earth the things necessary for their support, O thou of little faith! Thou who art impatient, anxiously careful and disa contented, go and consider with what goodness the Lord has provided for the life of animals; and let this teach thee to be contented, and to trust in God. "See the fowls of the air, the wild beasts in the rocks and caves of the earth, the fish in the sea, and the different animals of the fields and the forests; all find sufficient nourishment; all find a convenient habiyation. Great in little things, as in great ones, God has not disdained nor neglected the smallest worm! Can it then be possible, that MAN should be the only creature that is not the object of his paternal care !!!

THE GRACE OF GOD MANIFESTED.

A SHORT MEMOIR OF MRS. ANNA NICKERSON,

Late Wife of Mr. Warren Nickerson, of Orrington in the County of Penobscot, District of Maine, by E. Mudge, in a Letter

to the Rev. J. Soule.

(Concluded from page 308." In the month of October, 1816, she was attacked with the same disorder, which eventually terminated her life. Calling on her one day while she was confined, and finding her alone with her bible in her hand, she called me to the bed side and requested me to sit down, as she had something important to say to me. “Now, said she, my dear child, I am about to leave you, which fills my mind with a degree of anxiety for my dear family. I may get about again, but this disorder I am persuaded will sooner or later be the cause of my death; and I can truly say, that I long to depart and be with Christ. But I cannot help feeling anxiety for your dear father and the family. I want you to be prepared to give me up whenever God shall see fit lo call

« PreviousContinue »