Page images

light, prevents me from examining that second wonder and glory of God's works where there is no room for argumentation, but all is love and mercy and grace unspeakable. I shall conclude


observations at this time with stating the moral influence of this doctrine, "that God is love,'

If God is love, if all his works declare his goodness, how careful ought we to be, to cultivate this principle, and to imitate so perfect an example ! If we wish to recover that image after which we were originally formed, if we are ambitious to gain the favour and approbation of that great Being who upholds all things by the word of his power, we must study to acquire a spirit of universal benevolence, charity and meekness ; we must be, daily, employed in works of goodness, in diffusing peace and joy and happiness around us by a kind and peaceable behaviour. Thus, only, can we resemble the great Parent of nature who is good unto all, and whose tender mercies are over all his works. To excite such dispositions, nothing can be better fitted than frequent meditation on the divine tove : For whoever contemplates the character of God must be struck with admiration of such infinite

perfection ; and from admiration, the transition to imitation is easy and natural. We find, that, we gradually acquire a resemblance to those with whom we daily associate and converse : we, insensibly, imitate their manners, and adopt their modes of thinking. And, surely, nothing can be more noble and more worthy of attention than that which tends to assimilate us to God, who is the source of all perfection. Besides, if God is love, how opposite to his character must be all malevolence, cruelty and oppression ? He abhorreth the bloody and deceitful man. None shall be admitted to his favour and enjoyment who have not, in this life, been at pains to cultivate that temper of benevolence and love which characterizes the inhabitant of the regions of eternal love.

Since God is so kind and beneficent to all his creatures, both in their original formation, and in the constant care which he exercises over them; since he has distinguished us above all his works, and daily loads us with his benefits, what strong obligations do we lie under to love and serve and praise him ! Gratitude is a feeling natural to the human mind. It arises, spontaneously, upon receiving a benefit,

[ocr errors]

and we cannot help esteeming in some degree, the man, however unworthy, who has been our benefactor. We behold with horrour that man who has received of our kindness, but who has made us no returns of love and regard.

If these are the principles which regulate our conduct and judgment concerning our fellow men, with how much greater force ought they to influence our conduct towards God! to whom we owe every thing which we enjoy, and who is every way worthy of our holiest esteem. If the obligation be increased in proportion to the favour ; if our esteem correspond with the merit of the object, what infinite obligations are we under to God! What friendship is like to that of the Almighty ?

the sons of men can be compared unto him? Neither are the returns which he requires grievous nor hard to be paid. They are no costly sacrifice nor offering ; but the simple incense of prayer and praise, and the sacrifice of a broken and a contrite heart. O! then, give thanks unto the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever. O! that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men ! Bless the Lord, O! my soul! and

Who among



forget not all his benefits who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies. Amen.



On the nature of repentance ; and the motives furnished by the gospel for engaging in this duty.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

BEFORE Jesus Christ, who came to finish transgression and to make an end of sin, appeared in the character of a publick teacher, the world was involved in the double night of ignorance and errour. The heathen nations were sunk in the grossest idolatry, superstition, and wickedness. Both the religion and the lives even of the favourite people of God were sadly corrupted. They were divided into innumerable parties and sects ; and, as, usually, happens, amidst their eager contentions for their own particular opinions, true religion and virtue passed unregarded. The Pharisees and Sadducees, the two principal sects, follow

« PreviousContinue »