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Preached in the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church
vernors of the Benevolent Institution for the Delivery of
THE PROVIDENTIAL DELIVERANCE FROM THE
PSALM lxiv. 9.
They shall wisely consider of his doing.
The Psalm from whence these words are taken, is one of the proper Psalms appointed to be used upon this day; and well suited indeed it is to the occasion. A king in danger of being cut off by the secret contrivances of his malignant adversaries, prays to God that his life may be “preserved “ from fear of the enemy;" speaks of the “secret “ counsel of the wicked ;” of their shooting in secret, laying snares privily and “saying, Who “ shall see them ?" But he foretels that the Almighty, who surveyeth the darkest proceedings of the wicked, shall, in a moment, when they least expect it, blast all their designs ; “God shall shoot “at them with an arrow, suddenly shall they be “ wounded !” He intimates the manner-that their schemes should be discovered and betrayed by themselves; “So shall they make their own tongue to “ fall upon themselves;" and then follows the effect that should be produced in the hearts of others by
so awful an event, in the words of the text: "and “ all men shall fear, and shall deelare the work of “ God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing ;" that is, men shall ascribe such deliverance to the providence of God watching over them; and it will be their wisdom so to consider it as his doing, and not the work of man or of human prudence, much less that of what we commonly style fortune or chance.
It shall be the business of the following discourse to point out,
I. The necessity there is of attention and consideration, to discover the hạnd of God, and the manner of its working, in those events of which we are informed either by history or our own experience" They shall consider of his doing.”
II. The wisdom of thus considering-" They "shall wisely consider of his doings.”
III. Certain marks whereby we may at any time discern an especial Providence; applying them, as we pass, to the transactions of this day.
I. Consideration, and indeed no small degree of it, is necessary to discern the hand of God, and the manner of its working, in the affairs of men. Many there are who, for want of this consideration, have no apprehension at all of it, nor are affected with it. They are either too busy or too idle to attend to the history of Providence, and the marvellous things which God has wrought, and is now working in the world. Of some the prophet says, “ the
harp and the viol, the tabret and pipe, and wine,
are in their feasts; but they regard not the work “ of the Lord, nor the operations of his hands :"
that is, their minds are so sunk and lost in pleasures and diversions, as never to observe the remarkable occurrences of Providence.
Others see what passes, and, like the brute creatures, gaze a while at it, and turn away, making no careful reflection or inquiry into causes and effects. " A brutish man,” saith David,“ knoweth not, nei“ther doth a fool understand this." On one occasion he acknowledgeth himself to have been in this state: “so foolish was I, and ignorant; I was as a “ beast before thee."
Others there are,who pretend to consider and inquire freely, but all the wrong way. Instead of discerning and adoring the hand of God, they labour to deny, and shut it quite out, ascribing all that happens to human politics, or the working of men only. "How doth God know; and is there "knowledge in the Most High? The Lord doth
not see, neither doth the God of Jacob regard.” Such have been in all ages, and such (the more is the pity !) abound among the historians and philosophers (as they call themselves) of our own; who spare no time nor pains in attempting to exclude God from any inspection or influence upon our affairs.
Accordingly Some have been either so perverse, or so profane, that they would not "read Providence (as a learned writer well expresses it) in the fairest "print.” “ Lord, when thy hand is lifted up," and that ever so high, in the most stupendous miracles, “ they will not see;" such as those, of whom it is said, in the Psalm, “Our fathers under“stood not the wonders in Egypt:" such as those