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and breath, and all things ; in the other, the objects are creatures of necessarily dependent existence, whose moral worth is limited, and mingled with numerous imperfections. They are, of course, to be loved in subordination to Him, from whom we cannot withhold the supreme love of our heart during every period of our being, without extreme injustice and criminality. The law which measures the extent to which this affection ought to exist, declares that it should occupy the whole heart and soul and mind and strength; that is, that it should rule and regulate all our powers and faculties in an entire and voluntary dedication of ourselves to the glory of God.
Love to God includes in it, complacency in the perfection of his character, good will to him, or delight in his happiness, and gratitude to him as the source of every blessing.
I. The boundless perfection of the divine nature and character is that which God himself views with complacency, and which he regards as his glory. This constitutes the riches, the fulness of the divine nature, the moral excellences in which God rejoices, and which he unfolds to the universe as entitling him to the supreme and continued affection of
every creature. To the request of his servant, “ Shew me thy glory," he replied, “ I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee. And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord ;-the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving
iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.” There is here an assemblage of all possible moral excellences, and each infinite in its extent-one sun of moral glory, which no man can approach unto, and which no man hath seen, in all its bright effulgence, nor can see.
The intelligent being who does not love this boundless perfection must be depraved. It is the object which every pure mind contemplates with complacency and joy. It awakens and draws to itself that affection of delight and admiration which the law declares should fill the whole heart and soul; and in the exercise of which God is loved as a being infinitely pure and lovely. Its expression is those words of the Psalmist, in which he seems to feel the inadequacy of language to give utterance to the emotion of his soul;—" Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.” This love of complacency in the moral excellences of God, I consider as essential to true virtue, or rather I would say, it is the essence of it.
II. Good will to God, or, delight in his happiness, is included in that love which is due to God. This is inseparably connected with complacency and delight in his moral excellences. It burns with intense fervour in many a mind not accustomed to analyze its own feelings and operations. That we cannot render God greater, or wiser, or happier than he is in himself, is most certain; but that circumstance does not make it less binding on every intelligent creature to cherish the affection of good will, or of benevolent joy
accountable creatures, supported in being by the God whom they practically disown, and carried on by his power and beneficence into eternity, while they are in the meantime changing his truth into a lie, and are worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator.
The duties which we owe to God may be comprehended under the following heads. First, an humble attempt, in the use of suitable means, to form just notions of his nature and attributes: Secondly, the cherishing of pious affections towards him: Thirdly, acts of public and private worship: Fourthly, obedience to his will.
I. It is a duty which we owe to God, humbly to attempt in the use of suitable means, to form just conceptions of his nature and attributes. A Being of infinite excellency, and who has given us all that we either enjoy or hope for, is surely entitled to this homage. We cannot adore his perfections with understanding, unless we take some pains in ascertaining what they are; and he who is a Spirit, and whose infinitude cannot by searching be found out, requires us to contemplate him in whatever way he condescends to make himself known. The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honourable and glorious; and his righteousness endureth for ever.
The admission of his being and perfections, and of his moral government and authority, implies that we are bound to acquaint ourselves with God; and that the noblest end of our faculties and pursuits is to know something of his perfections and counsels. This is necessary to