« AnteriorContinuar »
enter into alliance with the common enemy of man, the father of lies from the beginning, who by a lie brought death upon the human race. You partake of his likeness, drink of his spirit, give yourself up to his guidance, and are held captive by him at his will. With him you wage war against the spirit of truth, which cries loudly from your innermost soul, and thus you blaspheme against the Holy Ghost.-W. M.
A pure, an unconsuming fire, of holy love,
LESSON XXII. INSIGNIFICANCE OF THIS WORLD. Though the earth were to be burned up, though the trumpet of its dissolution were sounded, though the sky were to pass away as a scroll, and every visible glory which the finger of the Divinity has inscribed on it were extinguished for ever,--an event so awful to us, and to every world in our vicinity, by which so many suns would be extinguished, and so many varied scenes of life and population would rush into forgetfulness,—what is it in the scale of the Almighty's workmanship? A mere shred, which, though scattered into nothing, would leave the universe of God one entire scene of greatness and majesty. Though the earth and the heavens were to disappear, there are other worlds which roll afar; the light of other suns shines upon them; and the sky which mantles them is garnished with other stars. Is it presumption to say that the moral world extends to these distant and unknown regions ? that they are occupied by people ? that the charities of home and of neighbourhood flourish there? that the praises of God are there lifted up, and his goodness rejoiced in ? that there, piety has its temples and its offerings ? and the richness of the Divine attributes is there felt and admired by intelligent worshippers ?
And what is this world in the immensity which teems with them; and what are they who occupy it? The universe at large would suffer as little in its splendour and variety by the destruction of our planet, as the verdure and sublime magnitude of a forest would suffer by the fall of a single leaf. The leaf quivers on the branch which supports it, and lies at the mercy of the slightest accident./ A breath of wind tears it from its stem, and it lights on the stream of water which passes underneath. In a moment of time, the life, which we know by the microscope it teems with, is extinguished ; and an occurrence so insignificant in the eye of man, and in the scale of his observation, carries with it to the myriads which people this little leaf, an event as terrible and decisive as the destruction of a world. Now, on the grand scale of the universe, we, the occupiers of this ball, which performs its little round among the suns, and the systems which astronomy has unfolded, we may feel the same littleness and the same insecurity. I We differ from the leaf only in this circumstance, that it would require the operation of greater elements to destroy us.
But these elements exist. The fire which rages within, may lift its devouring energy to the surface of our planet, and transform it into one wide and wasting volcano. The sudden formation of elastic matter in the bowels of the earth—and it lies within the agency of known substances to accomplish this—may explode it into fragments. The exhalation of noxious air from below may impart a virulence to the air that is around us; it may affect the delicate portion of its ingredients; and the whole of animated nature may wither and die under the malignity of a tainted atmosphere. A blazing comet may cross this fated planet in its orbit, and realize all the terrors which superstition has conceived of it. We cannot anticipate with precision the consequences of an event which every astronomer must know to lie within the limits of chance and probability. It may hurry our globe towards the sun,-or drag it to the outer regions of the planetary system,-or give it a new axis of revolution,—and the effect which I shall simply announce, without explaining it, would be to change the place of the ocean, and bring another mighty flood upon our islands and continents.
These are accidents which may happen in a single instant of time, and against which nothing in the present system of things provides us with any security. They might not annihilate the earth, but they would unpeople it; and we, who tread its surface with such firm and assured footsteps, are at the mercy of devouring elements, which, if let loose upon us by the hand of the Almighty, would spread solitude, and silence, and death over the dominions of the world.
Now, it is this littleness, and this insecurity, which make the protection of the Almighty so dear to us, and bring with such emphasis to every pious bosom the holy lessons of humility and gratitude. The God who sitteth above, and presides in high authority over all worlds, is mindful of man; and though, at this moment, his energy is felt in the remotest provinces of creation, we may feel
the same security in his providence, as if we were the objects of his undivided care.
It is not for us to bring our minds up to this mysterious agency. But such is the incomprehensible fact, that the same Being, whose eye is abroad over the whole universe, gives vegetation to every blade of grass, and motion to every particle of blood which circulates through the veins of the minutest animal : that, though his mind takes into its comprehensive grasp immensity and all its wonders, I am as much known to him as the single object of his attention; that he marks all my thoughts; that he gives birth to every feeling and every movement within me; and that, with an exercise of power which I can neither describe nor comprehend, the same God who sits in the highest heaven, and reigns over the glories of the firmament, is at my right hand, to give me every breath which I draw, and every comfort which I enjoy.-Chalmers.