I. I argue the duty of systematic beneficence from the analogy of nature. The Author of nature is the perfection of order. Whatever he does, he does systematically. He proceeded in the great work of creation with regularity. Order moulded the planets, and every star that gems the evening sky; it launched them forth in their orbits, and guides their glorious way, producing “the music of the spheres.” Order stretched the very layers of the everlasting rocks like ribs around the earth, and shaped the crystals of the cavern. There is order in the structure of every spire of grass, of every flower and shrub, of every tree and trembling leaf; in the mechanism of every animal, from man in his godlike attitude, to the smallest microscopic tribes. All organic existences are preserved in being, nurtured, grow and mature, according to certain laws. Even the winds, that stir the petals of the flowers, breathing fragrance and health, and the tornado, that bows the forest and dashes navies, obey established principles. Now, shall there be order all around me, and in my physical frame, in the flowing blood, in the heaving lungs, and chiseled limbs, while the accountable actions of this finely-knit and symmetrical form, especially the loftiest actions for which it was made, the diffusion of good, are exempted from this universal law? Such an exception, how incongruous! It would be an excrescence on the very vitals of nature.
II. From the characteristic of Divine beneficence. The supply of our physical necessities and comforts comes in the order of those natural laws already referred to. Social and civil blessings result from certain principles of mental, moral, and political science. Method is equally characteristic of our spiritual blessings. No sooner had man fallen, than God began to unfold the remedial scheme. But he is influenced by no impulses in accomplishing the wondrous plan. He rushes not to the result with an impetuosity indicative of a zeal that flames along its course uncontrolled by reason. But there is a steadiness of onward movement, showing that unwavering principles of order preside over all his proceedings. The world, the intelligent universe, must be prepared for such a stupendous event as the incarnation and death of the Son of God; prophecies, promises, types, and ritual institutions must gradually open the scheme, ere the final development could be suitably made. After forty centuries of preparation, Christ came; and yet years must pass away, before, in that order of events which God had established, the crowning event of all could occur,—the propitiatory sacrifice be offered up. In extending the kingdom thus founded, the same order, the same adaptation of means to ends, is observable. The word of God, the Sabbath, the sanctuary, the workings of the Holy Spirit, and the co-operation of the individual reason and conscience, are all linked consecutively to each other, or work in beautiful harmony together. Thus, throughout the entire scheme of spiritual blessings, reaching from the opening promise of a Saviour to the incarnation; and from the incarnation to the judgment; and onward to eternity, everything is done systematically.