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proach to that principle which alone is really pure and excellent. When, therefore, our hearts are filled with the remembrance of his loving-kindness to us, and we are thus constrained to obey and serve him, we are acting from a principle which has him alone for its object, and which he will graciously approve. Still, however, our gratitude to God is not that motive which leads to the highest attainments in religion. It may chiefly have respect to his temporal mercies. A man whom God has blessed with health and riches, whom he has distinguished from the multitude by an accumulation of prosperity, may feel the most grateful emotions to the Author of his happiness, and in the gladness of his heart may ascribe to bim glory and praise: he may be led to regulate his life by the precepts of his Benefactor, and rejoice to manifest his thankfulness by those occasional sacrifices which enhance rather than interrupt his felicity. Yet had it pleased God to withhold his temporal mercies, perhaps these feelings would have passed away, and murmuring and despair would have succeeded to this joyful obedience. Thus Satan objected, “Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath, on every side. Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.”—The complacency and satisfaction we feel in the blessings that surround us, and the gratitude they excite, are easily mistaken for religion. But true religion is of a much higher nature: it will bless the name of the Lord when he takes away, as well as when he gives. True Religion shines forth in holy confidence and love, when the heavens lower with blackness, when the face of God is hidden, when the storms of heaven beat around us with desolating fury, and lay waste every pleasant prospect and destroy every pleasing hope. Even then her voice is heard in songs of praise, her heart is filled with meek resignation and pious reverence. True religion forms such lofty conceptions of spiritual and eternal blessings, that those of time and sense are comparatively worthless in her esteem. She is grateful chiefly for the gift of Jesus Christ, for the influence of the Holy Spirit, for the guidance and consolation of the Scriptures, for the means of grace and for the hope of glory. She gives thanks to God for temporal prosperity; but considers it a dubious blessing, and rejoices with trembling.

V. Let us then proceed to contemplate the purest and highest motive to Christian obedience: a motive to which no exception can be made; which sanctifies the heart while it renders glory to God. It is the love of God;--a sense of gratitude not merely for his mercies to ourselves, but for those which he has vouchsafed to all the children of men; the love of his infinite goodness, and of his glorious perfections. This is the principle which inspired the breast of the Prophets and Apostles: this kindled the devout affections of the Patriarchs and holy men of old: this animated the martyrs to endure sufferings and death; this has glowed in the bosom of every member of the holy catholic church, and has disposed him to obey and serve God in a manner acceptable to him, and with a worship pure in its origin and excellent in its effects.

I would not be understood to assert, that a true Christian is never influenced by the other motives I have noticed. On the contrary, he is governed by them all in a greater or less degree: but he is chiefly influenced by that love of God which exceeds every other principle in energy as well as in purity. There are different circumstances in which each of these motives has its appropriate and salutary influence. When a sinner first begins to seek salvation, or when a Christian falls into sin, or when the conscience becomes stupified by repeated transgressions, the heart may be justly alarmed and roused by the fear of the judgments of God. At certain times, and on some occasions, this

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may be a more necessary and effectual stimulus than love. The denunciations of God against sinners may be required to rouse the dormant feelings of contrition and penitence, and to prepare the mind for the reception of higher and better motives. It is to administer poison to the soul to discourse to an impenitent sinner only on the love of God, or only to exhort him to gratitude for his spiritual mercies. The justice of God is that topic on which he should be led to dwell: the holiness of God is the attribute which immediately concerns him. The fear of Divine punishment is necessary to guard against the perversion or abuse of every higher motive. In his present state of corruption and infirmity, man could not safely be released from the restraints which the fear of Divine displeasure imposes. Hence St. Paul warned his disciples, as well as encouraged them; "warning every man, and teaching erery man.” Hence he admonishes the Hebrews to take heed, “lest any of them should be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin .... lest there should be in any of them an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God .... for we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end. . ... Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any should seem to come short of it."

In like manner, a regard for our own interest is an important motive, although subordinate to the love of God. It will have great influence at times; and it is never unimportant to be deeply convinced that we can find no happiness in the ways sin, that God is the only source of true and solid happiness, and that in keeping his commandments there is great reward. No opinion can be more just than this; none better calculated to keep the mind stedfast in its pursuit of religion, when tempted by apparent advantage to deviate from the right path. All such motives, although not the noblest and strongest principles of action, should be strengthehed and cherished. Thus, also, a sacred regard to

duty should be ever maintained and cultivated. Let not the liberty with which Christ has made us free degenerate into licentiousness. Let us not boast of higher motives, unless we feel the full force of those that are lower, but which perhaps, on that very account, are more imperiously binding on us. Conscience is God's vicegerent; and he who is not scrupulously upright in the faithful discharge of every branch of duty, does but deceive himself in supposing that he is influenced by the love of God. If a man say he loves God, and keeps not his commandments—or, in other words, does not do his duty conscientiously—he is a liar, and the truth is not in him. For if a man love not his brother whom he has seen, how shall he love God whom he has not seen?—Let us cherish also gratitude to God for his temporal mercies to ourselves as individuals. None should be passed by without regard. They are the gift of God; and though we deserve not the least of them, we are bound to enjoy them with thanksgiving. There is a gloomy kind of piety, which seems to think God honoured in proportion as the affections which he has planted in us are mortified, and the gifts he has bestowed upon us are rejected. There is an abstract piety, which would so exclude every selfish consideration as to require us to love God wholly for his own sake, without any reference to the benefits which we have received from Him. Such is not the piety which the Scriptures inculcate; nor is it agreeable to the nature of man, or likely to be beneficial in its effects. I grant the inferiority of that gratitude which is selfish: I grant the inferiority of those mercies which are merely temporal: but we are men, fallen and imperfect; and the religion which may suit the nature of angels and archangels, may not be the most proper for such creatures as we are. In a word, we require every aid, and should cherish every allowable motive to piety; yet always remembering, that the grand principle to which we should aspire, is the pure love of God, derived from the sense of his infinite goodness and glorious perfec

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tions. The real Christian, when advanced to an eminent stage of piety, admires, and loves, and adores God for his own sake. He has long contemplated his infinite wisdom, ordering and appointing all things for the best, and in the best manner;-his almighty power, pervading the universe, and accomplishing every object;his supreme and absolute authority, ruling over every creature of his hands-his boundless and unmeasured goodness, showering down blessings in inexhaustible profusion upon angels, upon men, and upon brutes, neither neglecting nor overlooking the least considerable of the works of his hands;—his unspotted holiness, which exalts him in the esteein of all intelligent beings; yet more than even his boundless power or infinite goodness, that holiness which preserves the universe in the order and happiness in which it was created; which cuts off misery in its source, by cutting off sin, the fruitful root of all evil.

Thus every perfection of the blessed God is acknowledged and adored. His is that character which the real Christian perceives to be most excellent, and most lovely; which contains in it all that men or angels could desire: and thus is he prepared by the love of God, pure though imperfect, to chant bis praises and to perform his will, in those blessed regions in which He will be better known, more fervently loved, and more faithfully obeyed, throughout the ages of eternity.

Therefore, my brethren in Christ Jesus, "I beseech you, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”—1 beseech you by his mercies: I do not threaten you by all the terrors of God. I might warn you by the dreadful punishment of the impenitent; set before you the lake which burneth with brimstone and fire; and alarm you by the tremendous sound of eternal judgment;-but these are the “strange works” of God. The Gospel addresses you by motives of a different kind:-"Now we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to

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