The contemplative mind will see, in the history of all nations, not excepting those of modern times, the evidences of an overruling Providence. They stand or fall as they stand in or out of God. When nations have obeyed him, they have lived. When they have forgotten him, they have been destroyed. To forget God is to sin. And all sin has in itself an element of self-destruction. It is internal disorganization and weakness as well as immorality. And it is not in the power of God, while it continues sin, and is thus placed out of the reach of his protection, to save it either from decay or sorrow. With no divine arm under it, it is prostrated by its own recumbence. But as it lies scattered and decayed in the ashes of successive generations, it shows the burning footprints of the divine displeasure.
Such is the true idea of Divine Providence; extending to all things which exist, to things animate and inanimate, organized and unorganized, to plants, and trees, and animals, to men, to families, to nations; wide as the universe, sleepless as the divine omniscience, effective as the supreme power; always holding in respect, however, the moral freedom of all moral agents, and inviting, without forcibly compelling, them to accept that daily bread of superintendence and love which is the true element of everlasting life.
— A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 6, Chapter 1.