Chapter 01 – The Wisdom, Order, and Harmony of the Government of God – The Government of God

The Government of God by John TaylorThe Kingdom of God is the government of God, on the earth, or in the heavens. The earth, and all the planetary systems, are governed by the Lord; they are upheld by his power, and are sustained, directed, and controlled by his will. We are told, that “by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Collos. i. 16, 17.) If all things, visible and invisible, are made by and for him, he governs and sustains all worlds to us known, together with the earth on which we live. If he governs them, they are under his dominion, subject to his laws, and controlled by his will and power.

[Footnote A: I wish here to be understood, that at present I am writing to believers in the Bible. I may hereafter give my reasons for this faith; at the present I refer to the Scriptures without this.]

If the planets move beautifully, and harmoniously in their several spheres, that beauty and harmony are the result of the intelligence and wisdom that exist in his mind. If on this earth we have day and night, summer and winter, seed time and harvest, with the various changes of the seasons; this regularity, beauty, order, and harmony, are the effects of the wisdom of God.

There are two kinds of rule on the earth; one with which man has nothing directly to do, another in which he is intimately concerned. The first of these applies to the works of God alone, and His government and control of those works; the second, to the moral government, wherein man is made an agent. There is a very striking difference between the two, and the comparison is certainly not creditable to man; and however he may feel disposed to vaunt himself of his intelligence, when he reflects he will feel like Job did when he said, (xlii. 6.) “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

In God’s government there is perfect order, harmony, beauty, magnificence, and grandeur; in the government of man, confusion, disorder, instability, misery, discord, and death. In the first, the most consummate wisdom and power are manifested; in the second, ignorance, imbecility, and weakness. The first displays the comprehension, light, glory, beneficence, and intelligence of God; the second, the folly, littleness, darkness, and incompetency of man. The contemplation of the first elevates the mind, expands the capacity, produces grateful reflections, and fills the mind with wonder, admiration, and enlivening hopes; the contemplation of the second produces doubt, distrust, and uncertainty, and fills the mind with gloomy apprehensions. In a word, the one is the work of God, and the other that of man.

In order to present the subject in a clear light, I shall briefly point out some of the leading features of the two governments.

The first, then, is that over which God has the sole control, such as the heavens and the earth, for “He governs in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath.” It may be well here to say a few words on His moral government, in the heavens. All we can learn of that is very imperfectly set forth in the Scriptures. It would seem, however, that all was perfect order, for “He spake, and said, Let there be light, and there was light; and He divided the light from the darkness.” “He spake, and the waters were gathered together, and the dry land appeared.” And in the creation of the fish, the fowls, the beasts, the creeping things, and man, it was done in the councils of God. The word was, Let us do this, and it was done. It would seem, then, that that government is perfect in its operations, for all the mandates of God are carried out with the greatest exactitude and perfection. God spake, chaos heard, and the world was formed.

We find also that transgression is punished; when Satan rebelled he was cast out of heaven, and with him those who sinned.

Here, then, in these things consummate wisdom was manifested, and power to carry it out.

The plan of redemption was also made thousands of years ago. Jesus is spoken of by the prophets as being “The Lamb slain from before the creation of the world.” The future destiny of this earth is also spoken of by prophecy; the binding of Satan; the destruction, and redemption of the world; its celestial destiny; its becoming as a sea of glass; the descent of the new Jerusalem from heaven; the destruction of iniquity by a power exercised in the heavens, associated with one on the earth; and a time is spoken of where John says—”Every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Rev. v. 13.) But I shall let this pass for the present, and content myself with saying on this subject, that in the councils of God, in the eternal world, all these things were understood: for if He gave prophets wisdom to testify of these things, they obtained their knowledge from Him, and He could not impart what He did not know; but “known unto God are all his works, from the beginning of the world.” (Acts xv. 18.) God, then, has a moral government in the heavens, and it is the development of that government that is manifested in the works of creation; as Paul says, “The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” (Romans i. 20.)

But when we speak of the heavens, we mean also the planetary system; for the world, and other worlds are governed by principles independent of man. The power that causes this earth to roll on its axis, and regulates the planets in their diurnal and annual motions, is beyond man’s control. Their revolutions and spheres are fixed by nature’s God, and they are so beautifully arranged, and nicely balanced, that an astronomer can calculate the return of a planet scores of years beforehand, with the greatest precision and accuracy. And who can contemplate, without admiration, those stupendous worlds, rolling through the immensity of space at such an amazing velocity, moving regularly in their given spheres without coming into collision, and reflect that they have done so for thousands of years. Our earth has its day and night, summer and winter, and seed time and harvest. Well may the poet say that they—

“Proclaim for ever, as they shine,
The hand that made us is divine.”

And here let me remark how different is this to the works of man. We see, then, the power of God manifested in their preservation and guidance; but when we reflect a little further, that while our planetary system rolls in perfect order round the sun, there are other systems which perform their revolutions round their suns; and the whole of these, our system with its center, and other systems with their centers, roll round another grand center: and the whole of those, and innumerable others, equally as great, stupendous, and magnificent, roll round another more great, glorious, and resplendent, till numbers, magnificence, and glory, drown the thought, we are led to exclaim with the prophet, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgements, and His ways past finding out!” (Romans xi. 33.) Without referring again to the motions of our earth, and the beautiful regularity and precision of the whole of this elegant machinery, we will turn our attention a little to the works of creation as found on the earth. The make, construction, and adaptation of each for its proper sphere, are the work of God; and they are all controlled by His wisdom and power, independent of man. In the conformation of the birds, the beasts, the fishes, the reptiles, the grains, herbs, plants, and trees, we see a striking exemplification of this fact. No matter which way we turn our attention, the same order and intelligence are displayed. The fish in their organization are peculiarly adapted to their proper element; the birds and beasts to theirs; the amphibious animals to theirs. The nicely organized machinery of their bodies; their bones, muscles, skins, feathers, scales, or hair; the formation of their bodies, their manner of living, together with the nature of their food, and their particular adaptation to the various elements and climates which they occupy, are all so many marked evidences of skill, forethought, intelligence and power. We will here notice a few examples. Plunge bird, beast, or man, into the water, and let them remain there, and they will soon die; take a fish out of the water, and death ensues; yet all are happy, and move with perfect enjoyment in their proper spheres. Elevate a man, beast, or fish, into the air, and let them fall, and they will be bruised to death; but the bird, with its wings, light bones, and fragile body, is peculiarly adapted to the aerial element in which it moves, and is perfectly at home; while the brute creation and men feel as much so on the earth. Again, their habits, food, coatings, or coverings, digestive powers, and the organization of their systems, are all peculiarly adapted to their several situations. The same principle is developed in their arrangement and position on the earth. Those that inhabit a southern climate are peculiarly adapted to that situation; while those that inhabit a northern are equally fitted for theirs.

Take the reindeer and polar bear to the torrid zone, and they would be out of their proper latitude, and would probably die. Remove the elephant, lion, or tiger, to Iceland or Greenland, and leave them to their own resources, and they would inevitably perish.

We will notice for a moment the construction of their systems. Each one is possessed with muscular strength, or agility, according to its position, wants, or dangers, and there is a beauty, a symmetry, and a perfection about all God’s works, which baffle and defy human intelligence to copy. An artist is considered talented if he can make, after years of toil, a striking likeness of any of those things, either on canvas, or in marble. But when he has done, it is only a dead outline; remove a little paint, or tear the canvas, and its beauty is destroyed; break the arm of a statue, and we see nothing but a mutilated stone. But take a man, for example, and remove the skin, there is still order and beauty; remove the flesh, there is still workmanship and skill, and the bones, the flesh, the muscles, the arteries and veins, and the nerves, and the lungs, not to forget the exquisite fineness of the sensitive organs, manifesting a skill, a forethought, a wisdom, and a power, as much above that of man as the heavens are above the earth.

We see the power, wisdom, and government of God, displayed in the amazing strength of some of the largest of the brute creation; as also in the fineness and delicacy, of the arrangement of the smaller. And while we admire the stupendous power of the elephant, we are equally struck with the fineness, delicacy, and beauty of some of the smaller insects. The prescience, and intelligence of God, are as much manifested in arranging the bones, muscles, arteries, and digestive organs of the smallest animaculæ, as in the construction of the horse, rhinoceros, elephant, or whale. I might touch upon the organization of plants, herbs, trees, and fruits; their various compositions, modes of nourishment, manner of propagating their kind, &c.; but enough has already been said upon this subject. It is one that no one will dispute upon; Jew and Gentile, black and white, Christian and Heathen, philosopher and fool, all have one faith on this subject.

I have briefly touched upon it for the purpose of presenting in a clear light the imbecility and weakness of man; for wherever we turn our attention, we see power, wisdom, prescience, order, forethought, beauty, grandeur and magnificence.

These are the works of God, and shew His skill, workmanship, glory, and intelligence. They reflect His divine power, and shew in unmistakable characters the wisdom of his government, and the order that prevails in that part of creation over which He has the sole and unlimited control.

We can perceive very clearly that what God has done, is rightly done. It is not governed by instability and disorder, but continues from eternity to eternity to bear the impress of Jehovah.

# # #

Source: Chapter 1 of the The Government of God, by John Taylor (1852)

Table of Contents: The Government of God: Chapters: One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten | Eleven | Twelve

By , On .