Imatges de pÓgina

as the Creator has thought fit to reveal them) is unquestionably his; and he has an undoubted right to dispose of what he has made, as it may please him. God certainly desires our happiness, because it is agreeable to the attribute of his Goodness to desire it. To those only, who make God their constant study, and whose constant hope it is to attain the requisité degree of perfection, is it given, to comprehend man, and all creation, as existing, and contributing to the glory of the Creator. Self-love is ever supposing that our happiness, and our concerns, are the first objects of God's care ; but it was another principle which dictated those words of the Apostle,

" Whether we live, we live unto the Lord ; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord; so that living and dying, we are his only.”

6. We fear to examine the truths of the Gospel, lest we should find them too strong to resist. We first presume to doubt them, and then we endeavour to persuade ouro , selves, that since we doubt, we ought not to take any step towards God, lest we fall into error, and be deceived in our belief. It is not, however, that in reality we doubt the truth of the Gospel Revelation, for then we should willingly endeavour to be convinced; but we make use of this pretence for continuing in our sins, and giving ourselves up to the world. But we do not know the consolations of Religion when we argue in this manner. We look upon

the gratifications of sin, which it forbids to us in this world, without thinking of those joys which it promises in the next. We

exaggerate our present sacrifices, without considering the inability of this world to make us happy; were it sufficient to do so, it would be a better master than it is. Religion, by subliming our ideas, renders us superior to the disappointments of the world, and leaves no void in our hearts. Our Saviour came into the world to call sinners to repent


with us.

Let us

ance; and for his sake, God will bear

He will prepare our minds by his grace, and soften our hearts by his love, if we will only turn to him : we do not deserve the patience, the long-suffering, which he shews towards us. not dare, then, to doubt our Creator, but let us distrust our own frailty; and though we may have too much reason to dread the Justice of the Almighty, nevertheless, if the wretched sinner humbles himself before his Maker, and calls upon him for help, God will not despise the sincere and contrite heart.

7. It is not possible for those to love and serve God, who will not know their Maker, or own his laws. The generality of mankind content themselves with

saying, they believe there is a God; but of what nature his Power is, or for what reasons they are to believe in it, they do not trouble themselves to enquire. In the worship which they pay to their Creator,

they are satisfied with what is rather an assent to an established and public sentiment, than a firm and settled conviction of his Divinity. Through fear, or indifference, they will not examine his Attributes ; and continually led away by their passions, towards worldly objects, they know not God, they think not of him, but as something wonderful, mysterious, and far removed from them. They flatter themselves, that their actions are beneath the notice of such an awful Be· ing; and therefore they willingly shake off all fear of ever being accountable for them. Or, if they suppose themselves present to his view, they regard him as a powerful and severe Master, whose slaves they are, who demands from them the perpetual sacrifice of every passion, and from whose terrible judgment they would hide their heads. They dread him as an angry Judge, but do not love him as a beneficent and merciful Father. Miserable and mistaken sinners! who do not

know that God is Love, and that those who do not love God, cannot know him; for to know and to love him, are one and the same thing.

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8. O Lord God Almighty! awful as thou art, and yet so easy to be approached, who sittest so high above this earth, and yet makest thyself lowly to thy poor sinful creatures ; boundless in Power, above the universe, and yet preserving it with thy constant care-so just and terrible in thy wrath, yet so gracious and merciful to all who sincerely turn to Thee! how long shall weak and erring mortals forget Thee! and how can I, a wretched sinner, speak thy praise !-Oh, for a prophet's tongue, to awaken this hardened and insensible generation! and to call my

fel. low-creatures to repentance and salvation !—If I warn them to turn to Thee, O Lord, and to seek Thee in their own hearts, they know not what I say; for, to vain and profligate men, their own


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