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October 16, 1832.
. For the Hopkinsian Magazine.
. [Concluded from page 492.]
U. Why God takes so much care of his people in this world. And here, several plain and good reasons may be assigned for his constant, particular, and effectual care of his people, while passing through the dangerous scenes of this life.
1. Because he has graciously bound himself by covenant to do it. This he signified to Jacob as the reason of his employing so many agents and instruments for his safety and protection. “Behold, the Lord stood above the ladder reaching from earth to heaven, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac." God was the covenant God of those patriarchs. He repeatedly and solemnly engaged to be their God, their shield, and great reward. And he has equally covenanted with all his people to be their God, and to take effectual care of them through their pilgrimage here on earth.
The apostle says, “ When God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he swore by himself, saying, Surely in blessing I will bless thee; and so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is to them the end of all strife. Wherein God willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath : That by. two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." And the same apostle says again to christians, “ Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have. For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man can do unto me.” God always remembers his covenant with his peo
ple, and will never suffer his faithfulness to fail. He has en gaged to be their God, which implies that he has pledged himself to employ all his perfections for their safety, protection, and benefit. It is, therefore, morally impossible, that he should ever forget or neglect to take a constant, particular, and effectual care of them, so long as they tabernacle in flesh.
2. God takes such peculiar care of his people, because they are continually exposed to innumerable evils and dangers in this evil and dangerous world. He has determined that the wheat should grow with the tares, until the harvest. He knows that all the men of the world are heartily opposed to them, and wish and endeavor to destroy their eternal good. He kuows that Satan, the god of this world, and all his legions, are continually going about as roaring lions, seeking whom they may devour. His people now, as formerly, live in their enemies' land, who are all combined against them, and leave no means unemployed to injure their present peace and comfort, and prevent them from obtaining that everlasting rest which remains for them in another world. Hence, says the apostle, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are heirs of the promise. But as then, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is nore." God sees abundant occasion to keep his eye and heart fixed upon his people in this militant state, who need his care, assistance, and protection, every moment. Accordingly, he takes a thousand times more care of his little kingdom here on earth, than of all the other worlds he has made, and employs ten thousand times more agents for guards and benefactors of his people in this world, than in any other part of the universe. He governs heaven and hell by his own eye and hand; but he keeps all intelligences in motion, and the actual service of his church, which is always in flames, and would be burnt and consuned, were it not for his effectual care.
3. God takes peculiar care of his people here in this world, because he intended from eternity to make the brightest display of all his perfections in his conduct towards them. He created all things by Jesus Christ, - 'To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to his eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Agreeable to this original and gracious purpose, God has paid peculiar regard to his people in this world from
the beginning of time to this day. He made this world for them, and has preserved it for their sole benefit. He has spared bis Son from his bosom, and given him to suffer and die on the cross, to redeem them by his blood. He has sent down his holy Spirit to form them into his image, "and make them his peculiar people. He sent down vast inultitudes of angels to be ministering servants to them. He has raised up and put down kingdoms and nations for their benefit. And he is still overruling all the affairs and concerns of the whole world for their final peace and prosperity. And the reason of this care and attention, is, that he means to inake the brightest display of all his perfections, through the medium of his church. The heavenly hosts have long been desirous to look into the mystery of his providence towards his people in this world. And they frequently see occasion to adore and praise him for the astonishing displays of himself on earth. They often say one to another, “ Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of bis glory.” This world is the theatre upon which God has done, is doing, and will do, the most glorious and important things. We know of no other part of the universe where so many agents have been, and still are, at work, as here in this world. And they are all at work for God's peculiar people, whom he intends to present to all intelligences in the most amiable and glorious light. It is not strange, therefore, that he exercises such a constant, particular, and effectual care over such a peculiar people, placed in such peculiar circumstances.
REFLECTIONS. 1. God values his people very highly. His conduct confirms the strongest expressions of his regard towards them in his word. He calls them his elect-his sons—his portion-bis inberitance-bis treasure-bis jewels, and the excellent of the earth. He says he has set them as a seal on his heart, and on his arm. And his conduct has been correspondent to all his kind and endearing expressions. He has taken a constant, particular, and effectual care of them. He has governed heayen, and earth, and the regions of darkness, to promote their highest good, and is still doing, governing them to the same · end.
2. It is a peculiar mercy to be united to the people of God; for it is only in connection with them, that any can hope for the peculiar care of heaven.
3. God must be justly displeased with his people whenerer they distrust his care and kindness. This they have often done. Jacob did-Elijah did. But this is very displeasing to God, when he has given them such manifestations of his care, in his word and providence.
4. The enemies of God's people are extremely blind. They have viewed them as just like themselves, in poiot of danger; and have, therefore, confidently opposed them with hopes of success. Pharaoh did the nations of Canaan did-and the world now do. They deny that God has a peculiar people, and that he takes peculiar care of them, though he has done so much for them--wrought miracles—and exerted all his perfections for their good.
5. The enemies of God's people never can prevail against them, nor destroy one of them. Omnipotence is on their side. What can fallen men, or fallen spirits do unto them?
6. God's people ought to take peculiar care of one another. They all belong to the same holy society-are members of the same spiritual family ; and should, therefore, love as brethren, and be followers of God as dear children ; looking, not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
For the Hopkinsian Magazine.
He that “ hath a dream let him tell a dream."-Jer. xxiii, 28.
[We insert the following, at the request of our discerning correspondent; who seems to be almost as coherent and sensible in his dreams, as some writers are when awake. If any of our readers should think, that his wild fancy has conceived what never was, and never will be; we hope they will consider, that dreams are made of such stuff,' and that it would be childish to take offence at the vagaries of imagination. We have only to say farther, that if any other correspondent, awake or asleep, has had, or shall have, a dream, resembling or diverse from this, which he thinks more like reality, and wishes to have recorded, that it may go down to posterity and pass the test of timo, our columns are open for its insertion.- Editor.]
Mr. Editor-Whether the perusal of dreams has a tendency to make one dream, I am not certain. But immediately after perusing a late vision, containing a chapter of our ecclesiastical history, to be inserted in the records of 1980, I fell asleep in my rocking chair and had a dream. It made such an impression upon my mind that I thought possibly it might have
been, either in part or in whole, inspired. And I feel some anxiety to have it go upon record with the one alluded to, that we may see whether any dreams in the nineteenth century may be depended on. From the knowledge you possess of the taste and capacities of your readers, if you think. there is “just debate enough” in it " to sharpen their faculties, without producing irritation,”* I hope you will overlook any minor defects and give it an insertion.
I dreamed that a little band of true pilgrims of Zion, sick of intolerance and of clerical domination, had concluded to abandon their country and fly into the wilderness. Well knowing the importance, and having some just views of the nature of that liberty wherewith Christ makes his followers free, they chose to deny themselves the comforts of life, rather than live and die, and leave their posterity in religious bondage. Being favored by Divine Providence they soon greatly increased, and formed congregational churches upon the true faith and order of the gospel. They established schools and planted colleges, as well as religious institutions, all of which they protected and supported. Being persons of stern integrity and inflexible moral courage and principle, they gave an impetus to their inDuence which carried their principles, undiluted, to several generations. Having been taught by sad experience what man is, what satan is, and what sin is, they watched all human conduct and principles with the eyes of Argus. They “ augured misgovernment at a distance, and snuffed the approach of danger in every tainted breeze." Their union in the truth, and their moral courage, made them invincible to their foes. They were exceedingly watchful and jealous of the rights of conscience and the rights of man, to secure which they had made such sacrifices. In matters of expediency they were very yielding—but in matters of principle they knew no compromise. Whatever they believed to be truth or duty, both preachers and people maintained against all earth and hell. If you could convince them that any thing was true and right, you were sure of their co-operation ; but if the contrary, of their decided opposition. Their sons, intended for the ministry, they sent to learn theology and pastoral duties, under the watch, and care, and instruction of those distinguished luminaries of the church, who taught them to stand firm upon the ground of truth and principle, instead of popular favor-who tauglit them to lay hold of truth, “tliough held forth by a child or an enemy." To make them acute and thorough divines, was a very promineni object of their instructions, for they had read and they believed the words of inspiration, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Walking with Christ, and in the truth, they were at "peace among themselves.” But the peace they cultivated, and so long and highly enjoyed, was the spirit of war with error, and sin, and latitudinarianism in every form. At least, this was a general feature of the early
* See Spirit of the Pilgrims, for August, page 470