‘Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?’ Amos 3:6
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Samuel 5:6–6:9
There are still some found foolish enough to believe that events happen without divine predestination, and that different calamities transpire without the overruling hand, or the direct agency of God. What would we be, brethren, if chance had done it? We should be like poor mariners, at sea in an unsafe vessel, without a chart or a helm; we should know nothing of the port to which we might ultimately come; we should only feel that we were now the sport of the winds, the captives of the tempest, and might soon be the victims of the deep. Alas! poor orphans would we all be, if we were left to chance. No Father’s care to watch over us, but left to the fickleness and fallibility of mortal things! What would all that we see about us be, but a great sandstorm in the midst of a desert, blinding our eyes, preventing us from ever hoping to see the end through the darkness of the beginning. We would be travellers in a pathless waste, where there would be no roads to direct us, travellers who might be overwhelmed at any moment, and our bleached bones left the victims of the tempest, unknown, or forgotten of all. Thank God, it is not so with us. Chance exists only in the hearts of fools; we believe that everything which happens to us is ordered by the wise and tender will of him who is our Father and our Friend; and we see order in the midst of confusion; we see purposes accomplished where others discern fruitless wastes; we believe that, ‘the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.’
For meditation: God is never the author of sin, but he himself claims responsibility not only for pleasant things which we welcome, but also for unpleasant events which we may call ‘evil’ (Isaiah 45:7). The English language even calls them ‘acts of God’ rather than ‘acts of chance’.
N.B. This was a memorial sermon for Albert, the Prince Consort, who died on 14 December 1861.
Sermon no. 426
19 December (Preached 22 December 1861)