« הקודםהמשך »
from the hand of its Creator, perfect in its kind, and was produced, not by growth, but by mediate creation, and was so constituted as to propagate its own species. (g)
Q. 10. What end had God in view in creating all things?
A. The gratification of His benevolence by exhibiting His own glorious perfections in the production of holiness and happiness. In the communication of holiness and happiness, God must necessarily display His perfections; and in displaying His perfections, He must necessarily communicate holiness and happiness. God had both these objects in view in creating angels and men, and all the works of His hands. The supreme glory of God, and the supreme good of the universe, are necessarily and inseparably connected. (h)
Providence. Q. 1. What is meant by the providence of God ? A. His upholding, governing, and disposing of all things, and directing all events, according to the counsel of His own will.
Q. 2. Ilow does it appear that God exercises such a providence in all the universe ?
A. 1. It appears from the consideration, that none
(g) Gen. i. 31. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good.-Gen. i. 11. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth.
(h) Rom. xi. 36. For of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom he glory forever. -Rev. iv. 11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.-1 Cor. x. 3i. Whether, therefore, ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Prov. xvi. 4. The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea. even the wicked for the day of evil.
but God, who created, can uphold, govern, and dispose of all things with the regularity, harmony, wisdom, and goodness exhibited in them; for it is obvious that preservation requires omnipotence. The supposition that a created being is independent, or exists of itself, is absurd. Independence is an incommunicable attribute. 2. The fact that the doctrine of Divine providence has been generally received by mankind in all ages and in all countries of the world, is an evidence of it. 3. This doctrine is taught most fully in the Sacred Scriptures. (a)
Q. 3. In what way does God'exercise His providence over the works of creation ?
A. He does it either immediately or mediately. He exercises an immediate providence by His own direct and immediate agency; and He exercises a mediate providence by the instrumentality of ineans or second causes. God is able to manage all the concerns of the universe with or without means.
Q. 4. Is the providence of God particular, as well as general ?
A. It is. His providence extends to the smallest insect, as well as to the most exalted angel ; to every individual, as well as to the species, or the whole collectively; to the falling of a sparrow, and the numbering of the hairs of our heads, as well as to the
(a) Heb. i. 3. Who, being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.-Col
. i. 17. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.-Ps. ciii, 19. The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.—Dan. iv. 34. 55. And at the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up inine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou ?-Ps. cxxxv. 6. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.
revolutions of empires or of worlds; to the thoughts, and affections, as well as to the external actions of intelligent creatures ; and to all these creatures, things and events, whether produced with or without means. Nothing in the whole universe of God, takes place by chance or fate. (6)
Q. 5. Are the smallest creatures and things objects worthy of God's notice in their preservation and government ?
A. Most certainly they are. If they were worthy of His notice in creation, they are worthy of His superintendence, or providential regard. And their preservation may, and doubtless does, contribute to important ends, as well as their creation.
Q. 6. Is it not derogatory to the character of the great God to suppose, that his providence is concerned in the trifling occurrences of life?
A. By no means. But it exalts and magnifies His greatness, and goodness, and wisdom, to suppose,
(6) Matt. x. 29, 30, 31. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not, therefore ; ye are of more value than many sparrows.- Isaiah xlv. 7. I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I the Lord do all these things.Prov. xxi. 1. The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will.-Gen. xlv. 7. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Jer. xxxi. 35. Thus saith the Lord which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; the Lord of hosts is his name.-Amos ix. 9. For lo, I will command, and I will sist the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, vet shall not ihe least grain fall upon the earth.--Job v. 6, 7. 17, 18. Although afficlion cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; yet man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward. Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth"; therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty! For he maketh sore and bindeth up; he woundeth, and his hands make whole.-2 Chron. xvi. 9. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him
that His providence is concerned in the most minute events, as well as those of the greatest magnitude, throughout His vast dominions. Frequently events, which at the time of their occurrence seem trivial, are afterwards found to be of the greatest moment.
Q. 7. What effect has the disbelief or denial of God's particular and general providence ?
A. It destroys the foundation of submission, trust, hope, and prayer, and leads directly to a neglect of these important duties.
Q.8. What effect has the belief of God's particular and general providence?
A. It leads us, 1. To see and acknowledge God in all things; 2. To feel our immediate, constant and absolute dependence upon Him, and obligations to Him; 3. To fear Him, to trust in Him, to be grateful to Him, to hope in Him, and to worship Him.
Q. 9. Has God a right to exercise a providence over the works of His hands?
A. He has. As all creatures and things are His by virtue of creation; so, He has an undoubted and inalienable right to exercise such a providence over them as His infinite wisdom and goodness shall dictate.
Q. 10. Is submission to the providence of God, at all times, a duty ?
A. It is. And this duty arises from the fact, 1. That God has a right to exercise a providence over all creatures, and, 2. That His providence is wise, holy, just, and good. Were any event to take place, in which the providence of God was not concerned, submission would not be duty. And in submitting to God's dispensations, we should view them connectedly, and not singly ;—in their designs and consequences, as well as in their nature. (c)
(c) Ps. cxlv. 17. The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.—Isaiah xxviii. 29. This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.–Rom. viii. 28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.—Ps. xxxix. 9. I
Angels. Q. 1. What is the evidence of the existence of angels?
A. 1. The light of nature suggests their existence. In the works of creation, we ascend step by step from lifeless, unorganized matter to man, the lord of this lower creation. Analogy and the nature of man lead us to suppose, that the scale of existence still continues. By his body, man is allied to the beasts that perish ; by his soul, he seems to be allied to spiritual and immortal beings. Hence we are led to think, that there are such.- In the works of creation, we behold a gradation of being, so far as our knowledge extends; and from analogy it would seem that this gradation continues, and that there are other beings, endowed with other and nobler powers.People of all ages, nations, and religions, have believed in the existence of spirits, possessing faculties and dignities vastly superior to man. This general belief is an argument in favor of their existence, wliether it arose from reason or from immediate revelation at first, which has been handed down by tradition, or fronj analogy, or from any other source. 2. The Bible gives us the fullest assurance of their existence ; for it speaks of them in more than a hundred different places.
Q. 2. With what nature did God create the angels?
A. He created them spiritual, immortal, holy, excelling in knowledge, mighty in power, active, and the most noble and exalted of His intelligent creatures. (a)
was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.Mait. vi. 10. Thy kingdom coine. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.-Matt. xxvi. 39. Novertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.
(a) Ps. civ. 4. Who maketh his angels spirits ; his ministers a flaming fire.--Luke xx. 36. Neither can they die any more,