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quently insisted on than either His justice, His might, or His majesty. We find ourselves invited to "praise the Lord for His goodness;"" to taste and see how good the Lord is, and how great are His tender mercies on them that call upon Him'." Jehovah too sometimes condescends to reason with His unthankful people, and to appeal to the men of Judah themselves, whether more could have been done than He had done for His vineyard?? And in that dreadful moment when God Himself came down to give forth His laws to men, and by a discovery of that holiness which He requires from His servants, to open men's eyes to their own guilt and their need of the promised Intercessor; even then, from the midst of thunderings and darkness, and surrounded with every circumstance of majesty and terrour, the Almighty makes His strongest appeal to their love, and not to their weakness, and He lays claim to their obedience as their Deliverer and their Friend, "the God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."

And since, by the Jews themselves, the principle of love and thankfulness, the love of God, and, for God's sake, the love of our neighbour, were recognised as the sum and substance of the law; since these were the two commandments which its other precepts, and its external ceremonies, served only to defend and illustrate; and since these were in a still more conspicuous manner enforced and con2 Isaiah v. 3, 4.

1 Psalm cvii. 8. xxxiv. 8.

3 Exod. xix. 16-19. xx. 2.

firmed by the Messiah, we might, perhaps, from this admitted truth alone, establish the truth of our Lord's declaration, that He came to fulfill and not to change the precepts of the ancient covenant; to make its promises more blessed and its duties more easy by a clearer discovery of those hopes and privileges which were dimly shadowed out before; and by replacing with stronger motives and more powerful spiritual assistance, those sacrifices and ceremonies on which the ancient Israelite relied for the expiation of his sins, and the constant recollection of his duties. Yet still, and now more than ever, the claims of God are founded on our love and thankfulness. He expects them, indeed, no longer from a single favoured race, as the God who had broken their chains, who had led them from a land of slavery, and loaded them with many temporal advantages; but He has laid on all the nations of mankind a more precious and extensive obligation, as their Maker, their Redeemer, and their Sanctifier, their Deliverer from that fear of death under which all nature, till His coming, had languished; and from that bondage of sin which is ten thousand fold more terrible than the fetters of an earthly tyrant.

It is thus that the message which the Only Begotten brought into the world was proclaimed both by Himself and His angels to be "good tidings of great joy." It is thus that the nature of the Al

'St. Luke xi. 10.

mighty is described in the New Testament as love, in its fountain and original; and that we are called on to behold and return that regard which He has shown to mankind in that, while we were yet sinners, He gave His only Son to die for our salvation.

This obedience, indeed, of affection, this freewill offering of ourselves is, so far as we are able to judge, the most material distinction between the best and the worst, the happiest and most miserable among the creatures of God, the angels who have kept their first estate, and those spirits for whom everlasting fire is prepared. Those guilty and most unhappy beings have faith, we know, for they "believe and tremble1." We know likewise that, when in the exercise of their malice towards mankind, they were checked by the commanding voice of the Messiah, they too could pray to Him for a little longer forbearance of punishment; they too made haste to relinquish their victims at a word, and yielded to the injunctions of their conqueror an immediate and terrified obedience.

But they are not prayers like these, they are not services of this description which, in the nature of things, can be well pleasing or acceptable to the Almighty. Which of you would choose such obedience in a servant? In a son, which of you would endure it? The fear of God is indeed, in the words of Solomon, "the beginning of wisdom"."

1 St. James ii. 19.

2 Prov. i. 7.


knowledge and of faith it is the first fruit, and the primary foundation of active and habitual holiness. But if our knowledge and our faith bring forth no further increase; if our holiness advances no higher in its Heavenward progress, so far will be such a faith from availing to our salvation, that better had it been for our souls had we never known nor believed!

Nor is it only as affording a noble and more acceptable principle of action than fear, that the love of God is thus valuable in God's eyes, and thus indispensable to those who call themselves His servants. Those actions which proceed from love, however powerless in themselves (as powerless all our actions must be) to contribute to the happiness, or augment the glories of Him whom the angels serve, and whose praise all creation shouts forth with her ten thousand voices, have yet in the nature of things, and judging from the analogy of the visible world, a claim on Him to whom they are offered. We feel ourselves that the affection of a servant or a child, endears to us and renders valuable in our eyes, even the poorest and humblest effort by which that affection is expressed or manifested. Nor can we doubt that infinite as is the distance between man and his Maker, yet by Him to whom all His works are known, the love even of His weakest servant must be regarded with a similar complacency, and that the affection which we feel within ourselves towards our unseen and Almighty Benefactor is reflected back from Him towards

ourselves with an intenseness so much greater than our own, as God excells us in the clearness of His views and the benevolence of His nature. It is faith which enables us to contemplate God, but it is love which diminishes the distance between God and ourselves; and it is love alone which, under Christ, can bring us to Heaven, or, when we are entered there, can make Heaven a place of happiness.

But enough has been said to show the necessity and value of a genuine love for God; and I would now proceed to point out, to the best of my ability, the most probable and efficacious means of awakening such a love within ourselves; as well as the effects which it may be expected to produce on our thoughts, our tempers, and our daily and hourly actions. And to obtain a knowledge of these, little more, perhaps, is necessary than to examine the causes which produce and increase in us an affection for earthly objects; inasmuch as, notwithstanding the mysterious nature of many of God's dealings with us, and more particularly of that spiritual and sanctifying influence which He exerts over our minds, and without which, it must never be forgotten, no amiable or holy principle can be generated in our breasts; yet in this love, whensoever derived, there is in truth nothing mysterious; and the love which we feel for God can differ from the love which we feel for an earthly parent in nothing but the intensity of its obligation, and the infinite worthiness of its object.


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