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creation, which were before unheard of, that the world we inhabit shrinks into one remote and solitary province of this wide monarchy. Tell me, then, if, in any one field of this province, which man has access to, you witness a single indication of God sparing himself-of God reduced to languor by the weight of his other employmentsof God sinking under the burden of that vast superintendence which upon him-of God being exhausted, as one of ourselves would be, by any number of concerns, however great, by any variety of them, however manifold; and do you not perceive, in that mighty profusion of wisdom and goodness, which is scattered every where around us, that the thoughts of this unsearchable Being are not as our thoughts, nor his ways as our ways?
"My time does not suffer me to dwell on this topic, because, before I conclude, I must hasten to another illustration. But, when I look abroad on the wondrous scene that is immediately before me—and see, that in every direction, it is a scene of the most various and unwearied activity and expatiate on all the beauties of that garniture by which it is adorned, and on all the prints of design and of benevolence which abound in it-and think, that the same God, who holds the universe, with its every system, in the hollow of his hand, pencils every flower, and gives nourishment to every blade of grass, and actuates the movements of every living thing, and is not disabled, by the weight of his other cares, from enriching the humble department of nature I occupy, with charms and accommodations of the most unbounded variety-then, surely, if a message, bearing every mark of authenticity, should profess to come to me from God, and inform me of his mighty doings for the happiness of our species, it is not for me, in the face of all this evidence, to reject it as a tale of imposture, because astronomers have told me that he has so many other worlds and other orders of beings to attend to—and, when I think that it were a deposition of him from his supremacy over the creatures he has formed, should a single sparrow fall to the ground without his appointment, then let science and sophistry try to cheat me of my comfort as they may-I will not let go the anchor of my confidence in GodI will not be afraid, for I am of more value than many sparrows." (P. 106-111.)
In this manner does this vigorous champion of the truth expand his inferences, and adorn his subject. It is thus that he presents to us the Deity travelling in the greatness of his strength, and prosecuting the details of his mercy; the Lord dwelling on high, yet humbling himself to behold the things," the least things that are in heaven and earth;" "the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity," at the same time "dwelling with the contrite, and reviving the spirit of the humble;" stretching his wonder-working hand beyond the bounds of sight, however aided, or thought, however raised or depressed in the great and in the little; scattering through immensity the blazing testimonies of his power, yet pervading all with the intimacy of his
presence, and the local regards of his providence; in nothing comprehended, in every thing felt,-over all, above all, and in
When once the difficulty is surmounted, if difficulty it be, of supposing the Almighty Mind capable of comprehending all the parts of his creation distributively and collectively at the same time, and of extending his concern to the lowest and the least without exhaustion or confusion, the Christian has nothing to fear from astronomy, but may look, not with unconcern merely, but with holy rapture, though the telescope of Galileo, and discern in the magnificent scene which it opens to him, new reasons for exclaiming in the spirit not of doubt, but of gratitude, "Lord, what is man that thou art mindful of him; and the son of man that thou visitest him!" To this view of the subject Dr. Chalmers, after a full developement of what may be called the mechanical proofs of God's protecting care of the minutest of his productions, proceeds with confidence to the mighty work of love and condescension unfolded in the Christian dispensation.
"It is a wonderful thing," says Dr. Chalmers," that God should be so unencumbered by the concerns of a whole universe, that he can give a constant attention to every moment of every individual in this world's population. But, wonderful as it is, you do not hesitate to admit it as true, on the evidence of your own recollections. It is a wonderful thing that he, whose eye is at every instant on so many worlds, should have peopled the world we inhabit with all the traces of the varied design and benevolence which abound in it. But, great as the wonder is, you do not allow so much as the shadow of improbability to darken it; for its reality is what you actually witness, and you never think of questioning the evidence of observation. It is wonderful, it is passing wonderful, that the same God, whose presence is diffused through immensity, and who spreads the ample canopy of his administration over all its dwelling-places, should, with an energy as fresh and as unexpended as if he had only begun the work of creation, turn him to the neighbourhood around as, and lavish, on its every hand-breath, all the exuberance of his goodness, and crowd it with the many thousand varieties of conscious existence. But, be the wonder incomprehensible as it may, you do not suffer in your mind the burden of a single doubt to lie upon it, because you do not question the report of the microscope. You do not refuse its information, nor turn away from it as an incompetent channel of evidence. But to bring it still nearer to the point at issue, there are many who never look through a microscope, but who rest an implicit faith in all its revelations; and upon what evidence I would ask? Upon the evidence of testimony-upon the credit they give to the authors of the books they have read, and the belief they put in the record of their observations. Now, at this point I make my stand. It is wonderful that God should be so interested in the redemption of a single world, as to send forth his well-beloved Son upon the errand, and he, to accomplish it, should, mighty to save, put forth
all his strength, and travail in the greatness of it. But such wonders as these have already multiplied upon you; and when evidence is given of their truth, you have resigned your every judgment of the unsearchable God, and rested in the faith of them. I demand, in the name of sound and consistent philosophy, that you do the same in the matter before us-and take it up as a question of evidence-and examine that medium of testimony through which the miracles and informations of the Gospel have come to your door-and go not to admit as argument here, what would not be admitted as argument in any of the analogies of nature and observation-and take along with you, in this field of inquiry, a lesson which you should have learned upon other fields-even the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God, that his judgments are unsearchable, and his ways are past finding out." (P. 117-119.)
The reflections to which we have above directed the reader's attention, very naturally conducted Dr. Chalmers to the deductions and reasonings of which his fourth discourse consists, by which our views are directed to the probable existence" of the knowledge of man's moral history in the distant places of the creation. If we know little or nothing of the moral and theological economy of the other planets, we agree with Dr. Chalmers that "we are not thence to infer that the beings who occupy these widely-extended regions, even supposing them not higher than ourselves in the scale of understanding, know little of ours." The Bible intimates that the history of the redemption of our species is known in other parts of the universe, and allows us to conjecture that other worlds may be concerned in the mysterious virtue of the atonement. If we can properly say that any thing collateral can heighten the interest, which, as the heirs of corruption and the inhabitants of a sinful world, we feel in the Divine scheme of charity under which we are redeemed, we may draw a very natural pleasure from considering the rest of the intelligent creation as taking a sympathising part in the reconciliation wrought for our rebellious little world by an act of Divine grace, rendered so much the more stupendous and amazing by comparison with the diminutiveness of the object. If haply there be any unfallen worlds, or if all be pure from sin and sorrow except this little spot of forfeited bliss; if, among all those vast and distant habitations which to our natural or assisted vision show themselves in the dark blue profundity among those receding vistas which give to the senses an impression of eternity, all be love and innocence and holy joy; if God in his fulness be there felt and worshipped; still something might be wanting to attest the moral excellence of the Deity, something of that attractive beauty in the character of the creation into which angels might desire more especially to look, had not this lapsed portion
of the universe, little indeed, but not too little for all-searching Goodness, afforded a platform on which a work might be done more stupendous than all besides in moral magnitude;—an act of crowning grace and mercy, enrapturing the spheres of an harmonious universe, and making the sons of God and the firmament itself to shout in a chorus of thanksgiving.
"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-Oh! with what desire must they have pondered on his ways, when amid the urgency of all these demands which looked so high and so indispensable, they saw the unfoldings of the attribute of mercy-and how the Supreme Lawgiver was bending upon his guilty creatures an eye of tenderness-and how in his profound and unsearchable wisdom he was devising for them some plan of restoration—and how 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 how 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 the Divine character untarnished, be re-admitted into fellowship with God, and be again brought back within the circle of his loyal and affectionate family." (P. 141, 142.)
Looking thus to the essential quality of the great act of redemption, and, if we may so express ourselves, to its moral excellence, rather than to the area on which it has been displayed, we are soon taught to feel the absurdity of estimating God's works by geometrical measurement. If we can talk of difficulty in the achievements of an Omnipotent Being, the difficulty in this case lay in reconciling his mercy with his justice, his pardon with his immutable character, and in giving to the unclean an access to the fountain of purity. The salvation of the whole universe could not have demanded a greater sacrifice, and for no spot in that whole universe could a less satisfaction have sufficed. This being the real magnitude of the transaction, we can hear without amazement that the Lamb who was slain for our world, if for our little world alone that precious blood was poured, is surrounded by the acclamations of one wide universal empire; that the might of his wondrous achievement 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."
The case put by Dr. Chalmers, of an earthly potentate celebrated for his mighty deeds, illustrious in counsel and in arms, yet eclipsing the renown of all his other achievements by an act of a single day, in behalf of a single family; by a soothing visit of tenderness to a poor and solitary cottage; or by a noble effort of self-denial in generously forgetting the fault of a man who had insulted and aggrieved him, by way of parallel, allowing for an infinite distance in degree,-to that of the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, surrounded by the splendours of an everlasting monarchy, turning himself to our humble habitation, hither bending his mysterious way, and sojourning as a servant under the roof which canopies our obscure and solitary world, is drawn and contrasted with all the peculiar beauties and powers of expression which this writer has at command.
Thus the infidel argument drawn from the narrow boundary of the space on which the great event of our redemption has been accomplished, after reading the work before us, if ever it was formidable, ceases to be so. We think we may say that it has been made to appear contemptible. But we can scarcely suppose an objection to arise in any rational mind from regarding the time expended in accomplishing the work of salvation. We really do therefore think that Dr. Chalmers, in dealing seriously with this argument, has clothed it with too much importance. To suppose that the Almighty could not have afforded the time assigned to this object without deducting a disproportionate share of his attention from his other works, his other worlds, and the general charge of the universe, proceeds upon a ground of such gross and heathenish conceptions of the Deity-such grovelling materialism, that the objection scarcely deserved to be refuted with any powers of language or argument. If any thing could invest this argument with danger, it must be the gravity with which such a man as Dr. Chalmers condescends to treat it. We could almost smile at the solemnity with which the preacher states the supposed objection. "It is the time," says he, " 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 they feel to be out of proportion to the number of other worlds, and to the immensity of the surrounding creation." Was it necessary, in order to secure us against the attacks of this notable argument from the divine economy of time,—an article truly of prodigious value to an eternal Being! to remind us that
VOL. X. NO. XIX.