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His character? Do you know nothing of this benevolent regard for God and the interests of His kingdom? Do you find your happiness in yourself, or out of yourself? Do you rejoice merely in the hope of your personal interest in God's favor? or do you rejoice in the hope of His glory? Can you unite your feelings with His, your joys with the joys of His people, and share in the blessedness which results from beholding the Ever-Blessed God completely and for ever glorified?
What has your experience taught you of the love of gratitude to God? Do you behold God in all your mercies? Do you feel that you live in God's world? that you breathe God's vital air? that you are upheld by God's powerful hand? Do you delight to feel the sweet and tender obligations that bind you to the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you seen the seasons when the abundant goodness, the infinite grace of God towards you, a polluted sinner, seemed enough for ever to fill your heart with love, and your lips with praise?
Is your love to God supreme? Does it rise superior to the attachments of flesh and sense? What, whom, do you love more than the Everlasting God? In whose character do you behold more beauty? Whose blessedness is an object of warmer desire, or more vigorous exertion? To whom are you more grateful? Do you love God more than father or mother, wife or children, houses or lands? Do you love Him better than yourself? “If any man
come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, HIS OWN LIFE also, he CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE."
There may be danger, but surely there can be no necessity of being deceived in a case so plain. Supreme love to God, is decisive evidence of the renewed heart. When the soul is ushered from the darkness of sin into God's marvellous light, it beholds God in an infinitely different light from what it ever beheld Him before. Now, God is every where. There is an inexpressible beauty, a mild glory in almost every object, because it is the work of His hand, and reflects the excellence of His nature. The language of those who love God is that of the rejoicing Church, I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall be joyful in my God. They think how excellent a being God is, and how exalted would be the happiness to enjoy Him to perfection, and to be swallowed up in Him for ever. To see and to love that which is infinitely lovely, to behold and to adore that which is supremely adorable, is the character and the blessedness of the heavenly world. The early dawn of this spiritual light, the first glow of this pure affection, is the glimmering of that sacred fire, which will burn with a purer and a brighter flame throughout interminable ages.
Does the reader then love God? If so, the question as to his own good estate is at rest.
If you are a friend to God, God will be an everlasting friend to you. Nothing shall separate you from His love, “Neither angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus your Lord.”
THE fall of Adam involved both himself and his posterity in sin and ruin. From the moment of the first transgression, sin challenged universal empire. From that fatal hour, it began to assume dominion, with the certain prospect of swaying its sceptre over every climc and every heart. But blessed be God, though its empire is universal, it is not in all its extent everlasting. There is One who taketh the prey from the mighty. The conqueror is vanquished. Though sin reigns unto death, grace reigns unto eternal life.
A mere glance at the ruin and recovery of man is enouglı to convince us, that of the religion of fallen beings, repentance forins an essential part. It is alike significant of the character and indispensasle to the bappiness of a CONVERTED SINNER, to be penitent.
In the order of gracious exercises, repentance follows love to God. An affectionate view of God, prepares the mind to take a just view of sin. As it is impossible to repent of having sinned against a God that we hate; so it is impossible not to repent of having sinned against a God that we love. When the heart has been renewed; when the soul enlightened by the Divine Spirit, sees the beauty, the loveliness of the Divine characterit cannot seriously reflect upon a life of sin without unfeigned grief. “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
Genuine repentance is that sorrow for sin which arises from a sense of its intrinsic turpitude.
It is essential to the nature of godly sorrow, that we possess a settled conviction of the evil of sin. It is not enough to have merely a transient view of our sinfulness; we must possess a settled conviction of the great evil of sin. The real penitent, though he has reason to lament that he is never so deeply affected with the view of his sin as he should be; seldom so much so as he hoped to be; and very frequently not affected at all; yet at some favored seasons, he is ena, bled to view it in a measure as it is. Не sees its detestable nature. He is deeply impressed with a sense of its turpitude as a
violation of law. This is the definition which the Apostle has given of sin. It is (avojus) the transgression of law. The God who made all worlds, and who alone is qualified to govern the worlds which He has made, has given a rule of action to His creatures, which is the result of infinite wisdom and goodness. The precept and the sanction of this law are perfectly equitable. The highest authority has pronounced them to be holy, just, and good.
To violate this law, is an evil. To violate this law, is nothing less than an attempt to sunder the bond that holds the moral world together. It is therefore a great evil. Every violation of this law, is an effort to resist the salutary effects of a perfect rule of action. It is a virtual opposition to all the good which that rule of action, if obeyed, would eventually secure. Could the evil nature and tendency of sin therefore be fully expressed; could this enemy of all righteousness be clothed with the energy of omnipotence; all that is good, all that is happy, would be cbased away, and the world that once smiled under the beneficent band of its Maker, would be left bare of the last vestige of bliss. The same accursed foe that hurled the Angels from the highest heavens; that drove our first parents from Paradise; that deluged the world by a flood; that laid waste the cities of the plain; that has multiplied its trophies in slaughtered thousands; that has