Delivered on September 20, 1857 (two days after the steamship ‘Central America’ sank during a hurricane. 560 of the 626 people on board lost their lives!)
Upon the whole history of this solemn event, is stamped the record of the absolute sovereignty of God. It is not an enemy who has done this! God is sovereign, and this is the hand of God!
All that occurs in His wide empire, from the falling of a leaf — to the extinction of a race; from the death of a sparrow — to the blotting out of a star; is only the fiat of Him, who is from everlasting to everlasting God — whose counsel shall stand and who will do all His good pleasure.
God is sovereign on His throne! All the powers and processes of nature, are but the ministers who do His pleasure. Rising above the roaring of the ocean, above the moaning of the blast, above even the shrieks of drowning men — is heard the solemn voice of the Almighty, saying in tones of overwhelming majesty, “Be still and know that I am God!”
Let us enthrone above these scenes of apparent disorder and arbitrary infliction — a Sovereign God, a God of wisdom, a God of power, a God of love, who sees the end from the beginning, and orders all things according to the counsel of His will — and here at least we have an anchorage for Faith, a place where she can cling, and look up amid the jarring elements, and say, “Even so, Father, for so it seems good in Your sight!”
Who would not prefer, if called on to submit uncomplainingly and absolutely to the most trying circumstances and dealings — that these should be ordered by a wise, just and good Being — one whose infinite wisdom enabled Him to devise the best things, whose infinite power enabled Him to accomplish them, and whose infinite goodness disposed Him to exert that power. Who would not choose that a Father’s hand should pour the bitter cup which he was to drink even to the dregs?
Oh! to be taught that a Sovereign God rides upon the billows, and directs the storms which have swept all our idols away and left us beggared and forlorn — is a lesson worth to the tried and tempted soul of man, all that it costs to learn it. “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” Daniel 4:35