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majesty, the power, and the perfections of God; or direct them within and around us, to trace the vestiges of human weakness, and survey the monuments of human folly; one sentiment nust continually press on every just and reflecting mind;--a sentiment of self-abasement; a feeling of imbecillity; a consciousness of unimportance; a deep and growing amazement at the wonders which surround us; a conviction that God is every thing, and man nothing.

It would have been happy if this truth had been as universally recognized in practice, as it is in theory natural and obvious. The most eminent among the opposers of Revelation have not ordinarily commenced their speculations, wherever they may have ended them, with questioning the existence of a God, or the moral government of the universe. These are tenets which the enemies, as well as the advocates of Christianity, have generally treated as indisputable; and though a few of the hardier and more acute disputants, vexed with the consequences which pressed upon them, or confounded by their own presumption, have ventured ultimately to assail the foundations of all Religion, there can be no doubt that a large majority of those who have rejected Christianity, have in all ages admitted the first great articles of our faith-a Deity, and his Providence. Had these men duly considered what are the obligations which even so short a creed involves; had they reflected that Modesty, Docility, and a just Diffidence in our own understandings, are duties as plain and peremptory, even to those who question the truths of Revelation, as to those who admit them; it is highly probable that their inquiries would, in many instances, have conducted them, though by a route somewhat circuitous, into that very path which they despised for its obscurity, and which we believe to be the highway of Truth and Happiness. It is certain at least, that such considerations conscientiously regarded, would have destroyed in the birth all those profane and blasphemous writings, which, both in this country and upon the continent, have been the disgrace of the eighteenth century; which have shocked the pious, alarmed the weak, and corrupted the ignorant and unstable. Certainly it would be no mean blessing, could we be deeply persuaded, that Pride, Presumption, and Temerity, whether in speculation or practice, are contrary to our very condition as Men; condemned by every system of Faith, and every theory of Morals; and taking refuge only in that profligate Scepticism which confounds all opinions, all sentiments, and all actions in one common Chaos.

Nor are these considerations unworthy the attention even of those who profess to be directed by the highest principles. A frequent contemplation of the majesty and perfections of God, has a powerful tendency to humble as well as exalt the mind. If the ordinary emotions of Nature, the pealing Thunder or raging Ocean, the shock of an Earthquake or blaze of a Volcano, are sufficient to fill us with amazement, so that we have need of an effort to collect our scattered spirits, and stand astonished at the sense of our helplessness; what must be the sensations that will press upon the soul, in approachjug that awful Being, whose Word peopled the Heavens with unnumbered worlds, and clothed with glory this bright Creation; whose touch can dissolve in an instant the mighty arch which He erected, and sweep away for ever its glittering fragments, like the memory of a dream that is past ! If the contemplation of the great master-pieces of human

art or genius, has so affected the minds of men capable of appreciating their excellence, that they have turned away with a mingled sentiment of admiration and despondency*, what adoring humility, what self-abasement exalted into rapture must touch the soul which becomes familiar with God, the source of all excellence, the mirror of all beauty, the centre and the end of all perfection. It is probable that those Beings, who by the dignity of their nature, are placed nearest to the throne of the Almighty, are so penetrated with a sense of their immeasurable distance from the original and self-existing Glory, that they are of all crea. tion at once the highest and the most lowly. The vapours of vanity float only in our earthly atmosphere, they cannot ascend into a pure and etherial region.

But the chief sources of Christian Humility are certainly to be found in Christian principles. Pride is opposite to our nature as Men; what must it be, then, to our condition as Sinners! The Gospel is an offer of free mercy to penitent offenders; but it “pre-supposes the charge of guilt.” It opens wide the gates of Salvation to the mightiest and the meanest, to the most amiable and the most odious; but it exacts from all a conviction and confession of sin as the indispensable terms of admission. · Amid the cares and pleasures of life, Christians are apt to forget the nature of their profession, and to contemplate the Gospel practically, (whatever be the creed they acknowledge), chiefly as an economy instituted for the perfection of Man by the promotion of virtue, overlooking its more pe culiar character of a dispensation established and promulgated for the recovery of a fallen race from guilt and condemnation. The consequence of this declension in principles, (from which none are safe who think themselves secure), is almost always found to be a similar declension in practice. The springs of holy action are relaxed. Humility more especially, the nurse of every other virtue, sensibly languishes; and, in the place of devotedness to God, and a growing conformity to his will, which are of the very essence of Religion, is substituted a poor, heartless, unprofitable system of life, which is termed decent, only because in this world there are but too many who are interested to keep it in countenance. But the Christian who duly appreciates the greatness of the salvation wrought for him, will be careful not to be too much occupied with the scenes around him, but will often cast his eye backward to survey the region that is behind; he will frequently, and with deep humiliation, consider that he was “by nature born in sin;" that he, like others, was “sometime foolish, disobedient, deceived;" “but after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his great mercy, he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” What powerful motives to lowliness and self-abasement are suggested by such a passage as this! How are the flattering suggestions of vanity stifled, and the lofti

* Plato, we are told, gave up all thoughts of excelling in Epic Poetry in consequence of reading Homer. A young Flemish Painter of some promise, actually died of despair and mortification on seeing one of the chefs d'oeuvres of Raphael. I knew a gentleman of good parts, who intended, at his entry into Parliament, to have spoken fre; quently, but relinquished the idea after hearing Mr. Pitt.

ness of presumption dethroned, by the recollection of the condition from which we have been rescued, and the freedom of the mercy bestowed upon us ! We have read of some men who, having been raised from a mean origin to an exalted station, have carefully preserved memorials of their early distress as the best counsellors of their greatness*. Let us cherish with equal diligence the remembrance of our first estate, and as we still bear but too many traces of that diseased and miserable condition, le them remind us from whence we have been raised, that with a deep and growing humiliation of heart, we may receive the bounties of our Creator and Saviour, confessing in our lives as with our lips, that we are not worthy of the least of all his mercies.”

But it would indeed be happy, if hereditary corruption or early wickedness were the only causes for self-abasement. We are sinners, not merely by the transmission of an evil nature or the imputation of past offences, but by daily and habitual practice. “In many things we offend all.” And though the measure of guilt be exceedingly different according to our respective advances in holiness, and in some, it may reasonably be supposed, no longer very heinous, yet the charge of sin is general, nor are those probably the freest from its pollution who are the least conscious of its power. The best are naturally

* When Richelieu, in the latter part of bis life, was erecting a magnificent palace near the place of his birth, he spoiled the symmetry of the building, for the sake of including in it a part of a very humble mansion in which his youth had been spent. The late Countess Shimmelman, whose husband, from having been a petty tradesman, became one of the first officers of state in Denmark, always kept in her private scrutoire the scales and weights which she had used behind the counter.


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