And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.—Ezek. 1:26.
It forms the most satisfying consideration to the breast of the faithful, that every event and every providence concerning the people of God is as much directed, arranged, and determined, as the purposes of redemption themselves. The covenant is “a covenant ordered in all things, and sure.” He who hath undertaken and completed salvation for them, hath no less secured the means that shall infallibly accomplish the end: and all things, how unpromising soever on the first view, shall work together for good to them that love God. When the Holy Ghost would graciously lead the Church into the proper apprehension of this great truth, the Prophet is directed to the contemplation of a vision by the river Chebar, which opened before him. There were living creatures moving in a straight direction upon wheels, wheel within wheel, attended with a noise and a voice; hereby intimating, as it should seem, that the government of every thing, in the kingdom of providence and grace, was regulated by an unerring standard; and that the prophet’s mind might farther understand the vision, he was led to see, above the whole, the likeness of a throne, and the appearance of the likeness of a man upon it. Nothing could be more gracious, by way of teaching the Church that the government of all things is in the hand of Jesus, and the most minute circumstances of his people subject to his control. Amidst numberless improvements to be made of this doctrine, there is one, my soul, which, in the exercises of thy warfare, thou wilt find perpetual occasion to apply: for what can be more blessed than to contemplate this government of thy Jesus, as continually exercised in his sin preventing providences, whereby the Lord keeps back his people from presumptuous transgressions? How often, how very often, might a child of God discover those sweet restraints of the Lord, when hedging up his way with thorns, that he may not find his paths? How often hath some outward affliction, or inward sorrow, sickness in ourselves, or death in our houses, acted in a way of prevention to this end? There is a great variety of ways, by which indwelling corruptions would manifest themselves, and break forth in their several disorders, but for restraining grace. What a beautiful instance was that of David, in the case of Nabal, and what a gracious sentiment to this amount the Psalmist expressed upon it! When Abigail came, in the seasonable moment to check his anger, David discerned the Divine hand in the appointment, and brake out into a devout acknowledgment: “Blessed be the Lord, and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, that hath kept me this day from shedding blood.”—(1 Sam. 25:32.) And who shall say, amidst the ten thousand occurrences of life, what multitudes of instances to the same purport are going on, to restrain the children of God from the commission of evil. Oh! how blessed it is to see Jesus as well in providence as grace, and, like the Prophet, to keep an eye to that throne, and to see one like the Son of man sitting upon it, regulating and ordering all things for his own glory, and the salvation of his people. Precious Jesus! keep me in the hour, and from the power of temptation. Do thou order my steps by thy word, so shall no iniquity have dominion over me.