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to ameliorate the interests of religion, as we have that he is " proud of governing' France."—The French finances appear to be in a very flourishing state; and there is a prospect that the publick debt will be refunded, at a reduced rate of interest—Great exertions are also making to increase the naval force of the kingdom.
Spain.—All the French troops left Madrid on the 20th of December, except two Swiss regiments, which amount to 3000 men. The capital it is said remained tranquil, except some alarms caused by a report that the Constitutionalists had landed a force at Alicant—About 200 had actually landed on the coast of Valencia, and after killing a few royalists who opposed them, reimbarked. There was a report, which we fear is not true, that the king intended to abdicate his throne, and retire to the Escurial with his queen. Petitions were presented to restore the Court of the Inquisition. The French are adding to the fortifications of Cadiz. There is a deficit in the Spanish finances for the ensuing year of 590,000,000 reals. The Constitutionalists are still persecuted with the most relentless severity. A new treaty between France and Spain, it is said, was signed at the Escurial on the 10th of December last.
Greeks Anb Turks.—The successes of the Greeks are uninterrupted. They have nearly annihilated the Egyptian fleet, since destroying that of the Captain Pacha; and their cruisers now freely range the Archipelago for Turkish prizes; and make incursions on the coast of Turkey, and plunder with little opposition. If the European monarchs would only continue to let them alone, we verily believe they would drive the Turk out of Europe, and out of a considerable part of Asia Minor.—But measures are plotting and planning to limit their triumphs and their influence.— The Sultan, by a Firman of the 12th of August last, has prohibited the sale of the Bible, or the Psalter and Gospels published separately, in his dominions. This is only another indication, that his power is hastening to an end.
Tim Nobth Of Europe. It appears that in the month of November, last, a very unusual and awful tempest commenced on the shores of England and Ireland, and swept over the whole North of Europe, spreading desolation in its course, both by land and sea. At Gottenbuig, Viborg, Jutland, and Stockholm, its ravages were tremendous; but at St. Petersburg it produced acomplete inundation of the city; and the destruction of property, as well as of human life, was most awful. Some accounts say, that 7000 persons were found dead in their houses—other accounts reduce the number as low as 500.
ASIA AND AFRICA.
From these quarters of the globe, the month past has given us nothing new; except some details of an action with the Burmese, in which they suffered considerable loss; and some accounts of an epidemic fever at Calcutta, very general, but not very mortal.
It appears that Bolivar has been successful in Peru; and that the account of his discomfiture by Cantei ac, was without foundation.—We have not left ourselves space to notice some important concerns in our own country. They will claim attention in the ensuing month.
We have heretofore intimated, that a communication which does not reach us before the 20th of the month preceding the publication of a particular number, cannot appear in that number. We have had some urgent requests to depart from this rule. We assure our correspondents that we would do so, if doing it were a mere matter of courtesy, or of slight inconvenience. But it is not.—It is a matter of serious inconvenience, and would, if done, hazard the seasonable publication of our work. We must, in almost all cases, abide by our rule. Some valuable communications shall appear the next month.
ERRATA IN OUR LAST NUMBER.
Page 7, line 17 from bot., before conceive insert adequately.
34, do. 4 do. do. (in some copies) for special read particular.
47, lines 2 and 3 from top, dele collected and.
r.F.CTUHES ON THE SHORTER CATECHISM OF THE WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES ADDRESSED
A very important anil interesting subject, my young friends, now invites your serious attention, in the eleventh answer of our catechism— "God's works of providence are his most holy, wise and powerful, preserving and governing, all his creatures and all their actions."
In discussing this subject, we shall, as heretofore, pay a particular regard to the several clauses in the answer recited; yet we shall not take them in the exact order, in which they are there placed. Our method will be—
I. To show the nature, and prove the existence of the divine providence—It consists in preserving and governing the whole creation.
II. To consider the extent and operations of this providence—It reaches to all the creatures of God, and to all their actions.
HI. To dwell a little on the character of this providence—It is most holy, wise and powerful.
IV. To make a few miscellaneous remarks, chiefly of a practical kind, on the whole subject.
I. Then, I am to show the nature, and prove the existence, of the divine providence—It consists in preserving and governing the creation.
It has been ably argued by some excellent writers, that the preserva
tion of the universe is a continued exercise of creative power. Their supposition seehis to be, that creature existence is a kind of forced state. That as matter rose out of existence at the command of the Deity, so it would fall back, or return to non-existence, if not constantly sustained in being, by the very same power or energy which first produced it:—In a word, that preservation is equivalent to a constant creation. They suppose that this theory is, at least, countenanced by scripture. Thus, in the first chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, the inspired writer connects together the creation of the worlds by the Son of God, and hia "upholding all things by the word of his power,"—in such manner, it is supposed, as to represent the latter as a continuance of the former act
But whether providence or preservation, imply a constant creation or not, it seems plain that there must be a continual exertion of divine power, in order to those movements and operations which constantly take place in the material world. Matter is of itself inert. This is always considered as one of its essential properties. Yet it moves incessantly, and is continually receiving innumerable new modifications, or changes of form. The established order in which this takes place, we call the laws of nature. But what do we understand by the laws of nature f If we"do not mean by this exN
pression the will and agency of the Creator, it will be hard to affix any determinate meaning to the words. The laws of nature must, ultimate:s/, be nothing else than that known and settled order of the divine agency, in which he immediately operates, or exerts his power, on the material world. Thus the laws of gravitation, and the laws of the various other kinds of attraction—of magnetism, of electricity, of cohesion, of aggregation, and of the numerous chemical affinities—set bounds to our knowledge in regard to the motion of matter. We know that it uniformly moves in these ways, which we call its laws. But we know no more. We perceive not the proximate cause of these motions. Possibly there are several causes, nearer than any yet known, to the first cause. But suppose that there are, and that several of these still hidden causes should be discovered, the ultimate first cause must, after all, be the will and agency of the Deity. His agency, extended throughout the whole material world, directing and guiding all its movements and modifications, and throughout the whole sentient world, sustaining and governing it, and providing for the propagation and continuance of all animated nature—is what we mean, in general, by the providence of God. That the providence of God really produces these effects, is a part of natural religion; and is almost as well laid down and illustrated by some of the heathen moralists, as by any other uninspired writers. To suppose that the wonderful revolution of the heavenly bodies, the succession of the seasons, the products of the earth, the principle of life in animals, and the preservation of every function of the animal economy in its proper office—to suppose that all this is the effect, either of chance, or of any principle in matter, considered by itself, is as contrary to reason and sound philosophy, as it is to scripture. We have no evidence of the fact, and all analogy is against it. To the eye of contemplative and sober reason, willing to discern its
Creator, a present God is recognised in all that we behold. " In him we live, and move, and have our being." "No words (says Doddridge) can better than these, express that continual and necessary dependance of all derived things, in their existence, and in all their operations, on their first and almighty cause, which the truest philosophy, as well as theology, teaches." St. Paul, in using these words, addressed to the Athenians, referred to one of their own poets: and if the heathen notion that God is the anima mundi, or soul of the world, had implied no more than this, the notion would have been just.
Divine revelation is full of the doctrine we inculcate. The wonderful "order and harmony, among such a vast variety of creatures in the world, continuing, for so many ages, notwithstanding their different and opposite natures; the orderly return of seed time and harvest; the rise, and fall,and revolutionsof kingdoms; the accomplishment of future events, exactly according to the prediction of them long before; and the preservation of a church on earth, in opposition to all the powers of darkness, and the malice and efforts of wicked men"—these the sacred scriptures teach us to consider, as evidences of the existence of a superintending Providence: And .whoever considers them attentively, cannot fail to see in them, the truth of this important doctrine of religion. The civ. Psalm contains throughout, a most sublime and impressive description, both of the creating power and constant, superintending providence, of Jehovah. We proceed to consider—
II. The extent and operations of the divine providence—It reaches to all the creatures of God, and to all their actions.
There are not a few who readily admit, what they call a general providence, but deny that which is particular. They admit that God governs the world by general laws, and yet will by no means admit that his agency—scarcely that his noticeextends to minute events and occurs
rences. They seem to suppose that it is unworthy of God, to take such a notice of inconsiderable objects. But alas! these objectors to a particular providence, are the very men who think unworthily of God; and who speak most unworthily of him, when they represent him as inattentive to the least of his creatures, or to their concerns. It does indeed require a painful effort, and it is esteemed a degrading employment, for men to attend, in detail, to minute concerns. But the very perfection of the Deity consists in his being ile, with perfect ease, to order all concerns of his boundless domiTo him, indeed, no creature be considered as either great or II; because to an infinite being, all finite things are as nothing. Yes, all our comparisons and proportions, sink to nothing before the infinite God—
" To Him no high, no low, no great, no small,
He fills, he bounds, connects and equals all.
• • • • •
He sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall;
Atoms, or systems, into ruin hurl'd,
And now a bubble burst, and now a
On the doctrine of a particular providence, the scripture is most explicit . Our blessed Saviour taught it, in the most impressive manner, to his disciples. He taught that "the very hairs of our head are all numbered;" that "a sparrow falleth not to the ground without our heavenly Father." Yes, my young friends, you are to consider your sex, your situation in life, your endowments of body and mind, your prospects of wealth or of want, every event that has befallen you, all the mercies and all the chastisements that you have ever received, all your preservations from death and danger, all your Christian privileges and all your hopes for eternity—all, all, are to be considered, as having been meted out to you by the God of providence. To him you are to be
thankful for your mercies; to him you are implicitly to submit under all afflictions; to him you are to look in all your necessities; and to him you are permitted and invited to flee for refuge, in all your dangers and distresses—Against him you are never to murmur, fur he doth all things well: And, if it be not your own fault, all that God orders for you, will turn out for your happiness in the end.
In considering the extentand operations of divine providence, we meet with the very same difficulty, as in considering the decrees of God. This, indeed, is only a continued or varied view of that subject. It is by his providence that God executes his decrees. The providence of the Most High, without interfering with the freedom of man, or in the least diminishing his responsibility, does certainly extend to all creatures, and to all their actions. The sun never shone on another deed so tremendously impious, as the crucifixion of our blessed Redeemer. Yet hear what is said of this,—Acts ii. 23— "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain."— Again, in the 4th chapter—"For of a truth, against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, and the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together; for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be clone." Here this voluntary, awful, guilty act, is said to be, " by the determinate counsel, foreknowledge, and hand of God." We do assuredly know, that God does, in no sense or degree, lead men into sin. The apostle James warns us on this subject— "Let no man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed." Here, you perceive, are, distinctly, the two principles so repeatedly noticed by us of late—The wicked fulfilling the purpose and providence of God, and yet acting with perfect freedom, and with all the guilt of their actions on their own heads. Now, although, as we have shown, this is, as to the manner of it, inexplicable by us at present, yet it is surely comfortable to know, that all wicked beings are in the hand of a good, righteous, and holy God; that, as in the case of Job, they can go no farther than he permits; and that he will make the wrath of men to praise him, and restrain its remainder.
One other important idea to be noticed in this division of our subject is, that there is no such thing, under the divine government, or providence, as real chance, or accident. What is so called by us, and what, in conformity with our habits, or modes of expression, is so called, in one instance, in holy scripture, where it is said that "time and chance happen to all," is still directed, with as much certainty, by the providence of God, as any events whatsoever. Nothing can be more a matter of chance than a lot. Yet of this it is explicitly declared—"The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord." This, surely, is a most comfortable doctrine. What could be more gloomy, than to believe that our clearest interests, even life itself, might lie at the mercy of blind, or misguided chance? On the contrary, how con-soling to know, that nothing can befal us, nothing injure us, without the direction, or permission, of our heavenly Father. We are now
III. To consider the character of the divine providence;—that it is most holy, wise, and powerful.
Litis most holy. All the providential acts or dispensations of God, are, like himself, perfectly righteous, equitable, just and good. This, as a general truth, we have just now noticed. But I wish, in this place, to direct your attention, particularly, to some appearances that seem hostile to this truth. Id every age of
the world, there have been a number of providential dispensations, both in regard to communities and individuals, which, to human view, have seemed difficult to reconcile with equity and goodness. Some of these dispensations, have appeared to be in violation of all that was just and right.—The wicked anil oppressive, have seemed to be smiled upon and prospered, and the good and deserving, to be frowned upon and made to suffer. It was this that proved so sore a temptation to St. Asaph, as may be seen in the 75d Psalm. We ought to solve this difficulty or temptation, as Asaph did, by calling to mind that the present is a state of probation, and not of reward—That God will eternally bless his people in a better world, and make all their sufferings increase, their future happiness ; while the wicked shall be punished for all their wickedness, and especially for the abuse of their prosperity. It has been well observed, on this subject—"that God sometimes punishes the wicked, in a signal manner, in the present life, to show that there is a providence; and sometimes permits them to go wholly unpunished, to show that there must be a future state."
It should, however, be noted here, that adverse providences, are sometimes wonderfully reversed and overruled for good, even in the' present life. We know that it is recorded of Job—the greatest mere human sufferer, of which we have an account in sacred story—that "the Lord blessed the latter end of Job, more than the beginning." And thousands, in every age, have borne testimony to the truth, that crosses and disappointments for a season, have been the means of lasting prosperity and happiness afterwards; while on the contrary,-temporary success, or gratification, has proved in the end, the greatest and most lasting calamity. This topick has been most strikingly illustrated, even by a heathen poet. The tenth Satire of Juvenal—so admirably imitated,