ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF MANS MORAL HISTORY
IN THE DISTANT PLACES OF CREATION.
"Which things the angels desire to look into. - l
Peter 1. 12.
THERE is a limit, across which man cannot carry any one of his perceptions, and from the ulterior of which he cannot gather a single observation to guide or to inform him. While he keeps by the objects which are near, he can get the knowledge of them conveyed to his mind through the ministry of several of the senses. He can feel a substance that is within reach of his hand. He can smell a flower that is presented to him. He can taste the food that is before him. He can hear a sound of certain pitch and intensity ; and, so much does this sense of hearing widen his intercourse with external nature, that, from the distance of miles, it can bring him in an occasional intimation.
But of all the tracts of conveyance which God has been pleased to open up between the mind of man, and the theatre by which he is surrounded, there is none by which he so multiphes his aquaintance with the rich and the varied creation on every side of him, as by the organ of the eye. it is this which gives to man his loftiest command over the scenery of nature. it is this by which so broad a range of observation is submitted to him. It is this which enables him, by the net of a single moment, to send an exploring look over the surface of an ample territory, to crowd his mind with the whole assembly of its objects, and to fill his vision with those countless hues which diveisify and adorn it. It is this which carries him abroad over all that is sublime in the inmensity of distance; which sets him as it were on an elevated platform, from whence he may cast a surveying glance over the arena of innumerable worlds ;which spreads before him so mighty a province of contemplation, that the earth he inhabits only appears to furnish him with the pedestal on which he may stand, and from which he may descry the wonders of all that magnificence which the Divinity lmas poured so abundantly around him. It is by the narrow outlet of the eye, that the mind of man takes its excursive flight over those golden tracks, where, in all the exhaustlessness of creative wealth, he scattered the suits and the systems of astronomy.
But how good a thing it is, and how becoming well, for the philosopher to be humble even amid the proudest march of human discovery, and the sublimest triumphs of the human understanding, when he thinks of that unsealed barrier, beyond which no power, either of eye or of telescope, shall ever carry him when he thinks that, on the other side of it, there is a height, and a depth, and a length, and a breadth, to which the whole of this concave and visible flrmament dwindles into the insignificancy of an atom - and above all, how ready should he be to cast every lofty imagination away from him, when he thinks of the God, who, on the simple foundation of His word, has reared the whole of this stately architecture, and, by the force of His preserving hand, continues to uphold it; and should the word again come out from Him, that this earth shall pass away, and a portion of the heavens which are around it, shall fall back into the annihilation from which He at first summoned them, what an impressive rebuke does it bring on the swelling vanity of science, to think that the whole field of its most ambitious enterprises may be swept away altogether, and still there remain before the eye of Him who sitteth on the throne, an untravelled immensity, which He hath filled with innumerable splendours, and over the whole face of which he hath inscribed the evidence of His high attributes, in all their might, and in all their manifestation.
But man has a great deal more to keep him humble of his understanding, than a mere sense of that boundary which skirts and which terminates the material field of his contemplations. He ought also to feel, how, within that boundary, the vast majority of things is mysterious and unknown to him - that even in the inner chamber of his own consciousness, where so much lies hidden from the observation of others, there is also to himself a little world of incomprehensibles; that if stepping beyond the limits of this familiar home, he look no farther than to the members of his family, there is much in the cast and the colour of every mind that is above his powers of divination; that in proportion as he recedes from the centre of his own personal experience, there is a cloud of ignorance and secrecy which spreads, and thickens, and throws a deep and impenetrable veil over the intricacies of every one department of human contemplation; that of all around him, his knowledge is naked and superficial, and confined to a few of those more conspicuous lineaments which strike upon his senses; that the whole face, both of nature and of society, presents him with questions which he cannot unriddle, and tells him that beneath the surface of all that the eye can rest upon, there is the profoundness of a most unsearchable latency; and should he in some lofty enterprise of thought, leave this world, and shoot afar into those tracks of speculation which astronomy has opened, should he, baffled by the mysteries which beset his footsteps upon earth, attempt an ambitious flight towards the mysteries of heaven - let him go, but let the justness of a pious and philosophical modesty go along with him - let him forget not, that from the moment his mind has taken its ascending way for a few little miles above the world he treads upon, his every sense abandons him but one - that number, and motion, and magnitude, and figure, make up all the bareness of its elementary informations - that these orbs have sent him scarce another message than told by their feeble glimmering upon his eye, the simple fact of their existence - that he sees not the land.scape of other worlds - that he knows not the moral system of any one of them - nor athwart the long and trackless vacancy which hes between, does there fall upon his listening ear the hum of their mighty populations.
But the knowledge which he cannot fetch up himself from the obscurity of this wondrous but untravelled scene, by the exercise of any one of his own senses, might be fetched to him by the testimony of a competent messenger. Conceive a native of one of these planetary mansions to light upon our world; and all we should require, would be, to be satisfied of his credentials, that we may give our faith to every point of information he had to offer us. With the solitary exception of what we have been enabled to gather by the instruments of astronomy, there is not one of his communications about the place he came from, on which we possess any means at all of confronting him; and, therefore, could he only appear before us invested with the characters of truth, we should never think of any thing else than taking up the whole matter of his testimony just as he brought it to us.
It were well had a sound philosophy schooled its professing disciples to the same kind of acquiescence in another message, which has actually come to the world; and has told us of matters still more remote from every power of unaided observation; and has been sent from a more sublime and mysterious distance, even from that God of whom it is said, that clouds and darkness are the habitation of his throne" and treating of a theme so lofty and so inaccessible, as the counsels of that Eternal Spirit, whose goings forth are of old, even from everlasting, challenges of man that he should submit his every thought to the authority of this high communication. Oh! had the philosophers of the day known as well as their great master, how to draw the vigorous land-mark which verges the field of legitimate discovery, they should have seen when it is that philosophy becomes vain, and science is falsely so called; and how it is, that when philosophy is true to her principles, she shuts up her faithful votary to the Bible, and makes him willing to count all but loss, for the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and of Him crucified.
But let it be well observed, that the object of this message is not to convey information to us about the state of these planetary regions. This is not the matter with which it is fraught. It is a message from the throne of God to this rebellious province of His dominions; and the purpose of it is, to reveal the fearful extent of our guilt and of our danger, and to lay before us the overtures of reconciliation. Were a similar message sent from the metropolis of a mighty empire to one of its remote and revolutionary districts, we should not look to it for much information about the state or economy of the intermediate provinces. This were a departure from the topic on hand - though still there may chance to be some incidental allusions to the extent and resources of the whole monarchy, to the existence of a similar spirit of rebellion in other quarters of the land, or to the general principle of loyalty by which it was pervaded. Some casual references of this kind may be inserted in such a proclamation, or they may not - and it is with this precise feeling of ambiguity that we open the record of that embassy which has been sent us from heaven, to see if we can gather any thing there, about other places of the creation, to meet the objections of the infidel astronomer. But, while we pursue this object, let us be careful not to push the speculation beyond the limits of the written testimony; let us keep a just and a steady eye on the actual boundary of our knowledge, that, through. out every distinct step of our argument, we might preserve that chaste and unambitious spirit, which characterizes the philosophy of him who explored these distant heavens, and, by the force of his genius, unravelled the secret of that wondrous mechanism which upholds them.
The informations of the Bible upon this subject, are of two sorts - that from which we confidently gather the fact, that the history of the redemption of our species is known in other and distant places of the creation - and that from which we indistinctly guess at the fact, that the redemption itself may stretch beyond the limits of the world we occupy.
And here it may shortly be adverted to, that, though we know little or nothing of the moral and theological economy of the other planets, we are not to infer, that the beings who occupy these widely extended regions, even though not higher than we in the scale of understanding, know little of ours. Our first parents, ere they committed that act by which they brought themselves and their posterity into the need of redemption, had frequent and familiar intercourse with God. He walked with them in the garden of paradise, and there did angels hold their habitual converse; and, should the same unblotted innocence which charmed and attracted these superior beings to the haunts of Eden, be perpetuated in every planet but our own, then might each of them be the scene of high and heavenly communications, and an open way for the messengers of God be kept up with them all, and their inhabitants be admitted to a share in the themes and contemplations of angels, and have their spirits exercised on those things, of which we are told that the angels desired to look into them; and thus, as we talk of the public mind of a city, or the public mind of an empire - by the well-frequented avenues of a free and ready circulation, a public mind might be formed throughout the whole extent of Gods sinless and intelligent creation - and, just as we often read of the eyes of all Europe being turned to the one spot where some affair of eventful importance is going on, there might he the eyes of a whole universe turned to the one world, where rebellion against the Majesty of heaven had planted its standard; and for the readmission of which within the circle of His fellowship, God, whose justice was inflexible, but whose mercy He had, by some plan of mysterious wisdom, made to rejoice over it, was putting forth all the might, and travailing in all the greatness of the attributes which belonged to Him.
But, for the full understanding of this argument, it must be remarked, that while in our exiled habitation, where all is darkness, and rebellion, and enmity, the creature engrosses every heart; and our affections, when they shift at all, only wander from one fleeting vanity to another, it is not so in the habitations of the unfallen. There, every desire and every movement is subordinated to God. He is seen in all that is formed, and in all that is spread around them - .and, amid the fulness of that delight with which they expatiate over the good and the fair of this wondrous universe, the animating charm which pervades their every contemplation, is, that they behold, on each visible thing, the impress of the mind that conceived, and of the hand that made and that upholds it. Here, God is vanished from the thoughts of every natural man, and, by a firm and constantly maintained act of usurpation, do the things of sense and of the world have an entire ascendancy. There, God is all in all. They walk in His light. They rejoice in the beatitudes of His presence. The veil is from off their eyes; and they see the character of a presiding Divinity in every scene, and in every event to which the Divinity has given birth. It is this which stamps a glory and an importance on the whole field of their contemplations; and when they see a new evolution in the history of created things, the reason they bend towards it so attentive an eye, is, that it speaks to their understanding some new evolution in the purposes of God - some new manifestation of His high attributes - some new and interesting step in the history of His sublime administration.
Now, we ought to be aware how it takes off, not from the intrinsic weight; but from the actual impression of our argument, that this devotedriess to God which reigns in other places of the creation;~ this interest in Him as the constant and essential principle of all enjoyment; this concern in the untaintedness of his glory; this delight in the survey of His perfections and His doings, are what the men of our corrupt and darkened world cannot sympathize with.
But however little we may enter into it, the Bible tells us, by many intimations, that amongst those creatures who have not fallen from their allegiance, nor departed from the living God, God is their all - that love to Him sits enthroned in their hearts, and fills them with all the ecstasy of an overwhelming affection - that a sense of grandeur never so elevates their souls, as when they look at the might and majesty of the Eternal - that no field of cloudless transparency so enchants them by the blissfulness of its visions, as when, at the shrine of infinite and unspotted holiness, they bend themselves in raptured adoration - that no beauty so fascinates and attracts them, as does that moral beauty which throws a softening lustre over the awfulness of the Godhead - in a word, that the image of his character is ever present to their contemplations, and the unceasing joy of their sinless existence hes in the knowledge and the admiration of Deity.
Let us put forth an effort, and keep a steady hold of this consideration, for the deadness of our earthly imaginations makes an effort necessary; and we shall perceive, that though the world we live in were the alone theatre of redemption, there is a something in the redemption itself that is fitted to draw the eye of an arrested universe towards it. Surely, where delight in God is the constant enjoyment, and the earnest intelligent contemplation of God is the constant exercise, there is nothing in the whole compass of nature or of history, that can so set His adoring myriads upon the gaze, as some new and wondrous evolution of the character of God. Now this is found in the plan of our redemption; nor do we see how, in any transaction between the great Father of existence, and the children who have sprung from Him, the moral attributes of the Deity could, if we may so express ourselves, be put to so severe and so delicate a test. It is true, that the great matters of sin and of salvation, fall without impression on the heavy ears of a listless ahd ahenated world. But they who, to use the language of the Bible, are light in the Lord, look otherwise at these things. They see sin in all its malignity, and salvation in all its mysterious greatness. And it would put them on the stretch of all their faculties, when they saw rebellion lifting up its standard against the Majesty of heaven, and the truth and the justice of God embarked on the threatenings He had uttered against all the doers of iniquity, and the honours of that august throne, which has the firm pillars of immutability to rest upon, linked with the fulfilment of the law that had come out from it; and when nothing else was looked for, but that God, by putting forth the power of His wrath, should accomplish His every denunciation, and vindicate the inflexibility of His government, and, by one sweeping deed of vengeance, assert, in the sight of all His creatures, the sovereignty which belonged to Him - with what desire must they have pondered on His ways, when, amid the urgency of all those demands which looked so high and so indispensable, they saw the unfoldings of the attribute of mercy - and that the Supreme Lawgiver was bending upon His guilty creatures an eye of tenderness - and that, in His profound and unsearchable wisdom, He was devising for them some plan of restoration - and that the eternal Son had to move from His dwelling-place in heaven, to carry it forward through all the difficulties by which it was encompassed and that, after by the virtue of His mysterious sacrifice He had magnified the glory of every other perfection, He made mercy rejoice over them all, and threw open a way by which we sinful and polluted wanderers might, with the whole lustre of theDivine character untarnished, be re-admitted into fellowship with God, and be again brought back within the circle of His loyal and affectionate family.
Now, the essential character of such a transaction, viewed as a manifestation of God, does not hang upon the number of worlds, over which this sin and this salvation may have extended. We know that over this one world such an economy of wisdom and of mercy is instituted - and, even should this be the only world that is embraced by it, the moral display of the Godhead is mainly and substantially the same, as if it reached throughout the whole of that habitable extent which the science of astronomy has made known to us. By the disobedience of this one world, the law was trampled on - and, in the business of making truth and mercy to meet, and have a harmonious accomplishment on the men of this world, the dignity of God was put to the same trial; the justice of God appeared to lay the same immoveable barrier; the wisdom of God had to clear a way through the same difficulties; the forgiveness of God had to find the same mysterious conveyance to the sinners of a solitary world, as to the sinners of half a universe. The extent of the field upon which this question was decided, has no more influence on the question itself, than the figure or the dimensions of that field of combat, on which some great political question was fought, has on the importance or on the moral principles of the controversy that gave rise to it. This objection about the narrowness of the theatre, carries along with it all the grossness of materialism. To the eye of spiritual and intelligent beings, it is nothing. In their view, the redemption of a sinful world derives its chief interest from the display it gives of the mind and purposes of the Deity and, should that world be but a single speck in the immensity of the works of God, the only way in which this affects their estimate of Him is to magnify His loving-kindness-who, rather than lose one solitary world of the myriads He has formed, would lavish all the riches of His beneficence and of His wisdom on the recovery of its guilty population.
Now, though it must be admitted that the Bible does not speak clearly or decisively as to the proper effect of redemption being extended to other worlds; it speaks most clearly and most decisively about the knowledge of its being disseminated amongst other orders of created intelligence than our own. But if the contemplation of God be their supreme enjoyment, then the very circumstance of our redemption being known to them, may invest it, even though it be but the redemption of one solitary world, with an importance as wide as the universe itself. It may spread amongst the hosts of immensity a new illustration of the character of Him who is all their praise; and in looking towards whom every energy within them is moved to the exercise of a deep and delighted admiration. The scene of the transaction may be narrow in point of material extent; while in the transaction itself there may be such a moral dignity, as to blazon the perfections of the Godhead over the face of creation; and, from the manifested glory of the Eternal, to send forth a tide of ecstasy, and of high gratulation, throughout the whole extent of His dependent provinces.
We shall not, in proof of the position that the history of our redemption is known in other and distant places of creation, and is matter of deep interest and feeling amongst other orders of created intelligence - we shall not put down all the quotations which might be assembled together upon this argument. It is an impressive circumstance, that when Moses and Elias made a visit to our Saviour on the mount of transfiguration, and appeared in glory from heaven, the topic they brought along with them, and with which they were fraught, was the decease He was going to accomplish at Jerusalem. And however insipid the things of our salvation may be to an earthly understanding; we are made to know, that in the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which should follow, there is matter to attract the notice of celestial spirits, for these are the very things, says the Bible, which the angels desire to look into. And however listlessly we, the dull and grovelling children of an exiled family, may feel about the perfections of the Godhead, and the display of these perfections in the economy of the Gospel; it is intimated to us in the book of Gods message, that the creation has its districts and its provinces; and we accordingly read of thrones and dominions, and principalities and powers - and whether these terms denote the separate regions of government, or the beings who, by a commission granted from the sanctuary of heaven, sit in delegated authority over them - even in their eyes the mystery of Christ stands arrayed in all the splendour of unsearchable riches; for we are told that this mystery was revealed for the very intent, thiat unto the principalities and powers, in heavenly places, might be made known by the church, the manifold wisdom of God. And while we, whose prospect reaches not beyond the narrow limits of the corner we occupy, look on the dealings of God in the world, as carrying in them all the insignificancy of a provincial transaction; God Himself, whose eye reaches to places which our eye hath not seen, nor our ear heard of, neither hath it entered into the imagination of our heart to conceive, stamps a universality on the whole matter of the Christian salvation, by such revelations as the following - that he is to gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are in earth, even in him - and that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things wnder the earth - and that by him God reconciled all things unto himself, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
We will not say in how far some of these passages exten4 the proper effect of that redemption which is by Christ Jesus, to other quarters of the universe of God; but they at least go to establish a widely disseminated knowledge of this transaction amongst the other orders of created intelligence. And they give us a distant glimpse of something more extended. They present a faint opening, through which may be seen some few traces of a wider and a nobler dispensation. rrhey bring before us a dim transparency, on the other side of which the images of an obscure magnificence dazzle indistinctly upon the eye; and tell us, that in the economy of redemption, there is a grandeur commensurate to all that is known of the other works and purposes of the Eternal. They offer us no details; and man, who ought not to attempt a wisdom above that which is written, should never put forth his hand to the drapery of that impenetrable curtain which God, in His mysterious wisdom, has spread over those ways, of which it is but a very small portion that we know of them. But certain it is, that we know so much of them from the Bible; and the Infidel, with all the pride of his boasted astronomy, knows so little of them, from any power of observation - that the baseless argument of his, on which we have dwelt so long, is overborne in the light of all that positive evidence which God has poured around the record of His own testimony, and even in the light of its more obscure and casual intimations.
The minute and variegated details of the way in which this wondrous economy is extended, God has chosen to withhold from us but He has oftener than once, made to us a broad and a general announcement of its dignity. He does not tell us, whether the fountain opened in the house of Judah, for sin and for uncleanness, sends forth its healing streams to other worlds than our own. He does not tell us the extent of the atonement. But He tells us that the atonement itself, known, as it is, among the myriads of the celestial, forms the high song of eternity; that the Lamb who was slain, is surrounded by the acciamations of one wide and universal empire; that the might of His wondrous achievements, spreads a tide of gratulation over the multitudes who are about His throne; and that there never ceases to ascend from the worshippers of Him, who washed us from our sins in his blood, a voice loud as from numbers without number, sweet as from blessed voices uttering joy, when heaven rings jubilee, and loud hosannahs fill the eternal regions.
"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne; and the number of them was ten thousand thes ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, for. ever and ever.
A king might, have the whole of his reign crowded with the enterprises of glory; and by the might of his arms, and the wisdom of his counsels, might win the first reputation among the potentates of the world; and be idolized throughout all his provinces, for the wealth and the security that he had spread around them_and still it is conceivable, than by the act of a. Single day in behalf of a single family; by some soothing visitation of tenderness to a poor and solitary cottage; by some deed of compassion, which conferred enlargement and rehef on one despairing sufferer; by some graceful movemnent of sensibility at a tale of wretchedness; by some noble effort of self - denial, in virtue of which he subdued his every purpose of revenge, and spread the mantle of a generous oblivion over the fault of the man who had insulted and aggrieved him; above all, by an exercise of pardon so skilfully administered, as that, instead of bringing him down to a state of defencelessness against the provocation of future injuries, it threw a deeper sacredness over him, and stamped a more inviolable dignity than ever on his person and character : why, on the strength of one such performance, done in a single hour, and reaching no farther in its immediate effects than to one house, or to one individual, it is a most possible thing, that the highest monarch upon earth might draw such a lustre around him, as would eclipse the renown of all his public achievements - and that such a display of magnanimity, or of worth, beaming from the secrecy of his familiar moments, might waken a more cordial veneration in every bosom, than all the splendour of his conspicuous history - and that it might pass down to posterity as a more enduring monument of greatness, and raise him farther, by its moral elevation, above the level of ordinary praise; and when he passes in review before the men of distant ages, may this deed of modest, gentle, unobtrusive virtue, be at all times appealed to, as the most sublime and touching memorial of his name.
In like manner did the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, surrounded as He is with the splendours of a wide and everlasting monarchy, turn Him to our humble habitation; and the footsteps of God manifest in the flesh, have been on the narrow spot of ground we occupy; and small though our mansion be, amid the orbs and the systems of immensity, hither hath the King of glory bent His mysterious way, and entered the tabernacle of men, and in the disguise of a servant did he sojourn for years under the roof which canopies our obscure and solitary world. Yes, it is but a twinkling atom in the peopled infinity of worlds that are around it - but look to the moral grandeur of the transaction, and not to the material extent of the field upon which it was executed - and from the retirement of our dwelling-place, there may issue forth such a display of the Godhead, as will circulate the glories of His name amongst all his worshippers. Here sin entered. Here was the kind and unwearied beneficence of a Father, repaid by the ingratitude of a whole family. Here the law of God was dishonoured, and that too in the face of its proclaimed and unalterable sanctions. Here the mighty contest of the attributes was ended - and when justice put forth its demands, and truth called for the fulfilment of its warnings, and the immutability of God would not recede by a single iota from any one of its positions, and all the severities He ever uttered against the children of iniquity, seemed to gather into one cloud of threatening vengeance on the tenement that held us - did the visit of the only begotten Son chase away all these obstacles to the triumph of mercy and humble as the tenement may be, deeply shaded in the obscurity of insignificance as it is, among the statelier mansions which are on every side of it_yet will the recall of its exiled family never be forgotten, arid the illustration -that has been given here of the mingled grace and majesty of God, will never lose its place among the themes and the acclamations of eternity.
And here it may be remarked, that as the earthly king who throws a moral aggrandizement around him by the act of a single day, finds, that after its performance he may have the space of many years for gathering to himself the triumphs of an extended reign so the King who sits on high, and with whom one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, will find, that after the period of that special administration is ended, by which this strayed world is again brought back within the limits of His favoured creation, there is room enough along the mighty track of eternity, for accumulating upon Himself a glory as wide and as universal as is the extent of his dominions. You will allow tim most illustrious of this worlds potentates, to give some hour of his private history to a deed of cottage or of domestic tenderness; and every time you think of the interesting story, you will feel how sweetly and how gracefully the remembrance of it blends itself with the fame of his public achievements.
But still you think that there would not have been room enough for these achievements of his, had much of his the been spent, either amongst the habitations of the poor, or in the retirement of his own family; amid you conceive, that it is becauso a single day bears so small a proportion to the the of his whole history, that he has been able to combine an interesting display of private worth, with all that brilliancy of exhibition, which has brought him down to posterity in the character of an august and a mighty sovereign.
Now apply this to the matter before us. Had the history of our redemption been confined within the limits of a single day, the argument that Infidelity has drawn from the multitude of other worlds would never have been offered. It is true, that ours is but an insignificant portion of the territory of God - but if the attentions by which He has signalized it, had only taken up a single day, this would never have occurred to us as forming any sensible withdrawment of the mind of the Deity from the concerns of His vast and universal government. It is the time which the plan of our salvation requires, that startles all those on whom this argument has any impression. It is the time taken up about this paltry world, which thiey feel to be out of proportion to the number of other worlds, and to the immensity of the surrounding creation.
Now, to meet this impression, we do not insist at present on what we have already brought forward, that God, whose ways are not as our ways, can have His eye at the same instant on every place, and can divide and diversify His attention into any number of distinct exercises. What we have now to remark is, that the Infidel who urges the astronomical objection to the truth of Christianity, is only looking with half an eye to the principle on which it rests. Carry out the principle, and the objection vanishes He looks abroad on the immensity of space, and tells us how impossible it is, that this narrow corner of it can be so distinguished by the attentions of the Deity. Why does he not also look abroad on the magnificence of eternity; and perceive how the whole period of these peculiar attentions, how the whole the which elapses between the fall of man and the consummation of the scheme of his recovery, is but the twinkling of a moment to the mighty roll of innumerable ages? The whole interval between the time of Jesus Christs leaving his Fathers abode to sojourn amongst us, to that time when He shall have put all his enemies under His feet, and delivered up the kingdom to God even His Father, that God may be all in all; the whole of this interval bears as small a proportion to the whole of the Almightys reign, as this solitary world does to the universe around it; and an infinitely smaller proportion than any the, however short, which an earthly monarch spends on some enterprise of private benevolence, does to the whole walk of his public and recorded history.
Why then does not the man, who can shoot his conceptions so sublimely abroad over the field of an immensity that knows no limits why does he not also shoot them forward through the vista of a succession, that ever flows without stop and without termination? He has stept across the confines of this worlds habitation in space, and out of the field which hes on the other side of it has he gathered an argument against the truth of revelation. We feel that we have nothing to do but to step across the confines of this worlds history in time, and out of the futurity which lies beyond it can we gather that which will blow the argument to pieces, or stamp upon it all the narrowness of a partial and mistaken calculation. The day is coming when the whole of this wondrous history shall be looked back upon by the eye of remembrance, and be regarded as one incident in the extended annals of creation; and, with all the illustration and all the glory it has thrown on the character of the Deity, will it be seen as a single step in the evolution of His designs; and long as the the may appear, from the first act of our redemption to its final accomplishment, and close and exclusive as we may think the attentions of God upon it, it will be found that it has left Him room enough for all His concerns; and that, on the high scale of eternity, it is but one of those passing and ephemeral transactions which crowd the history of a never-ending administration.
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