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us that “ heaven and earth shall pass away ;' and St. John, in his vision, “saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them.”
Since therefore these awful things are yet to come to pass, and we ourselves shall not merely be spectators of the scene, but most deeply concerned in the great events, since we shall either be swept away with “the besom of destruction," amid the flaming ruins of the world, or “snatched like brands out of the burning,” be“ caught up into the air," to dwell “ for ever with the Lord," in his glorious kingdom, it well becomes us to consider how far we are prepared for this grand revolution, and what our lot in it is likely to be. These are the reflections that St. Peter draws from the contemplation of the destruction and the renewal of the world. Having described the former, he says, -" Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be, in all holy conversation and godliness ?” and having mentioned the promise of new heavens and a new earth, he adds,“ wherefore, beloved, seeing ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in
peace, without spot, and blameless.”
Consider with yourselves the cause of that
dreadful ruin to which God has devoted this world that we behold. What quarrel has God with the work of his own hands? Is it not a fair and beautiful creation? Was not he himself pleased with it? Did he not “ see every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good ? And does not the whole universe, with ten thousand tongues proclaim his praise? Does it not in every place, and every moment, tell of his wisdom, and power, and goodness ? “ The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy work: “ O Lord, my God, thou art become exceeding glorious ; thou art clothed with majesty and power. Thou deckest thyself with light as it were with a garment, and spreadest out the heavens like a curtain."
“O Lord, how manifold are thy works, in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches : so is the great and wide sea also.” No one, who bas any heart for piety and the love of God, -no one, scarcely, who is merely so much elevated above atheism as to acknowledge the existence of God from the evidence of his works, can fail of entering in some measure into the feelings of the holy Psalmist, when he thus sung the praises of the almighty. For look where we will, if we are endued with any attentiveness to observe, or any comprehension to understand, or any taste to admire what is beautiful, or sublime, or harmonious, or wisely and skilfully contrived, we shall every where find cause for the deepest wonder, and the most exquisite enjoyment. We are most struck with the stupendous nature of the works of God, and with the infiniteness of his power, when on a clear night we look up to the heavens, and behold the firmament spangled with that multitude of brilliant lights, each a globe of vast size, and at an immeasurable distance; or if the full moon rises and sheds her mild light over the earth, and sea, and sky, who that beholds does not feel disposed to worship her great and good Creator? One can almost forgive those, who in their ignorance of God used to adore the sun as their deity, and those who still do so (for this superstition yet exists), because it is so splendid an object, the cause of so great benefit and enjoyment, so striking an emblem of him who is the fountain of light and life. But let us come down to the earth. What a dull soul must he have, who can gaze daily upon the beautiful scenery spread before his eyes, and not sometimes feel his heart “ burn within him " as he feasts upon the lovely prospect, and then lift it up to God, the author of all that he admires !
Be more minute, examine each particular work of God that comes within your reach; observe the construction, the mode of nourishment, the growth, the forms of trees, herbs and plants of all descriptions; the extreme beauty and delicacy and regularity of flowers; the extraordinary mechanism, instincts and habits of animals, both man and all others being “ fearfully and wonderfully made;" the form, the flight, the song, the colour, the plumage of birds; the extraordinary nature and formation of fishes and all animals that inhabit the waters, some hardly to be surpassed in beauty by those that dwell on the land ;-all the astonishing wonders of the little insect world, as worthy to be admired as any other part of creation ;-the texture and colour of many rocks and stones; the elegance and delicacy of the shells that are cast upon the sea shore; consider the vast number and varieties under every head that I have enumerated, to be found even in our own immediate neighbourhood; reflect to what an extent these varieties are multiplied, if we add the production of other countries ; remark how in every individual of any species the wisdom, power,
and goodness of God shines forth ;-his wisdom, in the very invention of all things, and in the exact adapting of them to the circumstances in which they are placed, and to the end for which they were designed;—his power, in the creation of them out of nothing by his mere word, and the continual preservation of them; his goodness in providing bountifully for the subsistence, and (according to their capacities) for the enjoyment of all living creatures, and especially for the comfort and rational pleasure of man.
I have said nothing worthy of the subject, but if you have dwelt for a moment on these few brief hints, you will acknowledge that this world abounds in objects calculated to kindle the most lively sentiments of admiration, delight, and thankfulness, and to draw forth the warmest expressions of pious praise to Him, the great and gracious author of all these wondrous works.
Yet the heavens and the earth, and all the works that are therein, are doomed to destruction; all this creation, which we so much admire, and which seems so adapted to promote the happiness of man, and to shew forth the glory of its Maker. What is the cause ?-let us ask again. What offence has God taken at the works of his own hand ? Has he then made all things for nought? The sinfulness of man is the ruin of the world; yes, and of himself also with it, if he does not repent and turn to God, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance,-.“ For the heavens and the earth that now are, by God's word are kept in store, reserved unto fire, against” — what time ?—"against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly