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cied security will only serve to render him the fairer mark of divine vengeance. Then he will discover his fatal mistake. Then his heart will tremble. Then his hopes will die within him. That which has been bidden, shall be made known. The mask will be torn off; the secrets of the heart shall be unfolded; nothing shall remain unveiled. 6. There will be no darkness nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. The sinners in Zion shall be afraid; fearfulness shall surprise the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”
LOVE TO GOD.
In the preceding Essays, I have exhibited as I proposed, a variety of views, feelings, and practices, which cannot be relied on with safety, as conclusive evidence of Christian Character. In the subsequent ones, I propose to give a brief view of those, which may be relied on without the danger of deception.
It is the excellence of the Cbristian religion, that it makes a claim upon the affections. “My son, give me thine heart. Love is the fulfilling of the law. Though I give
all my goods to feed the poor; and give my body to be burned; and · bave not love; it profiteth me nothing.”
At first view, there appears to be some difficulty in understanding with clearness, what it is to love God. Men are in the habit of placing their affections upon beings that are the objects of sense. God is invisible. To profess to love a being that is not perceptible to our senses, appears to some, to savor more of the ignorance and wildness of enthusiasm, than of the sober deductions of enlightened and sanctified reason. But though no eye bath seen, or can see, the Infinite and Eternal Spirit, yet He hath not left himself without witness. There is a power in the human mind, which enables it to form just notions of persons and things that cannot be perceived by sense.
We need no other method of ascertaining the nature of love to God, than the nature of love to man. The mode of reflection is in both cases the same. The process of compounding, comparing, and abstracting, is the same. Seri. ously considered, there is precisely the same difficulty in conceiving of the nature of love to man, that there is in conceiving of the nature of love to God. You know what it is to love
And yet it is not the mere external form, it is not the animal, unani. mated by the living, acting spirit, that you love. But this is all that is perceptible to your senses. You see the motion, you bear
the voice of your friend; and from the nature of what you see and hear, you form the idea of his character. The soul, that which is characteristic both of the man and the friend, is invisible. What you see and hear, is not that which you love; though it discovers to you something which is lovely. That which is the object of your senses, suggests the existence and character of that invisible, thinking being, which is the object of your affections, and which you either love or hate, as it pleases or displeases you.
You may as easily know what it is to love God, therefore, as you may know what it is to love your friend. The sensible signs by which He has communicated, and is every hour cominunicating His character, are vastly more significant than those which manifest the character of any other being in the universe. God is every where. The Infinite Mind is ever active. It is the great agent throughout all worlds, “The beavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy-work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor_language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out throughout all the earth and their words to the end of the world.” God has expressed His divine excellence in the work of His hands, and has exhibited the lustre of His glory in the word of His truth. Every act that He has performed, together witle. every word that He las spoken, is al une
quivocal declaration of His character. It is easy to conceive that this character must be loved or hated, and that the Invisible Being which this character unfolds, must be the object either of complacency or aversion; of benevolence or malignity.
Love to God involves complacency in His character, benevolence toward His interest, and gratitude for His favors.
It involves complacency in His Character. You see something in the character of your friend, which to you appears pleasing and amiable. You see something which is lovely; and this loveliness is the foundation of your attachment. Thus the excellence of God is the foundation of all holy love. True love to God is a firm and steady principle, which draws its motive and its sanction from His own intrinsic loveliness. It is delight in His. excellence. Those who have put on the new man, which after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness, love God because He is just such a God as He is; because His power is irresistible; His wisdom unerring; His purity spotless; His justice inflexible; His goodness universal; His grace infinite; His designs eternal and immutable. Here holy love begins.
Wicked men are apt to consider God altogether such an one as themselves. They clothe the Divine Being with such attributes, and such only, as suit their depraved taste; and then it is no difficult thing to fall down
and worship Him." But it is not God that they worship; it is not God that they love. It is an image that bears no resemblance to that Glorious Being whom all heaven adores; it is a mere idol of their own imagination. Genuine complacency in God, therefore, is delight in his true character. The love which arises from delight in the character of a false god, is enmity toward the true God.' The eneinies of God may love him for what they imagine Aim to be; none but the real friends of God love Him for what He is.
Supreme attachment to the character of God for His own inherent excellence, draws the line of distinction between that love which is merely mercenary, and that which is disinterested. A man may be supremely selfish in the exercise of a certain kind of love to God. In all his love, he may have no ultimate regard, except to his own happiness. He may delight in God for what He is to him; while he takes no delight in Him for what He is in Himself. Such is not the love of the new-born soul. The enmity of his heart toward God is slain. He is reconciled to the Divine Character as it is. God is the. object of delightful contemplation to his devout mind. In his most favored hours, fris views are diverted from himself. As his eyeglances at the varied excellence of the Deity, he does not stop to ask the question, whether God is a being who will at all events regard his interest; it is enough for him that: