(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)
“O my people, listen to the words of the LORD! Have I been like a desert to Israel? Have I been to them a land of darkness? Why then do my people say: We are lords! We don’t need Him anymore!” Jeremiah 2:31
If men are indeed independent of God–then it may with safety be asserted that He is almost the only being or object in the universe on whom they are not dependent.
From the cradle to the grave, their lives exhibit little else than a continued course of dependence. They are dependent on the earth, on the water, on the air, on each other, on irrational animals, on vegetables, on unorganized substances.
Let but the sun withhold his beams, and the clouds theirshowers for a single year–and the whole race of these mighty, independent beings expires!
Let but a pestilential blast sweep over them–and they are gone!
Let but some imperceptible derangement take place in their frail but complicated mind–and all their boasted intellectual powers sink to the level of an idiot’s mind.
Let a small portion of that food, on which they daily depend for nourishment, pass from its proper course–and they choke and expire in agony.
An insect, a needle, a thorn–has often proved sufficient to subject them to the same fate!
And while they are dependent on so many objects for thecontinuance of their lives–they are dependent on a still greater number for happiness and for the success of their enterprises.
Let but a single spark fall unheeded or be wafted by a breath of air–and a city, which it has cost thousands the labors of many years to erect, may be turned to ashes!
Let the wind but blow from one point rather than from another–and the hopes of the merchant are dashed against a rock.
Let but a little more, or a little less, than the usual quantity of rain descend–and in the latter case the prospects of the gardener are blasted; while, in the other, his anticipated harvest perishes beneath the clods or is swept away by an inundation.
But in vain do we attempt to describe the extent of man’s dependence, or enumerate all the objects and events on which he depends. Yet all these objects and events are under the control of the great Jehovah! Without His superintendence and appointment–not a hair falls from our heads, nor a sparrow to the ground.
O how far is it, then, from being true–that man is not dependent on God!
“For in Him we live and move and have our being!” Acts17:28
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