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therii. To those who requested his advice, he cheerfully and freely gave it: and out of many instances I select the following; not only because the subjects to which he adverts are in themselves of all others the most interesting, but as it marks in a very striking point of view the readiness with which he endeavoured to impart instruction and counsel even to a person, of whose name and condition he had no knowledge, but who it seems, had consulted him on various religious difficulties, to which the perusal of Mr. Wilberforce's " Practical View" had given rise. The importance and excellence of the letter will compensate for its length.
"Although I sincerely wish that you had applied to a more able adviser in matters of so much importance, yet as, I trust, I can afford you some consolation, and to a great degree, if not entirely u 4 remove remove the fears and apprehensions, which press so heavily upon your mind, I think it an act of common humanity to give you the best opinion I am able to from on the subject, from a very attentive perusal of Mr. Wilberforce's book, and a very diligent examination of the Sacred Writings.
M And, first, there can be no doubt that the love of God and of Christ is a most indispensable duty; and when we consider the very forcible words made use of with respect to the former,— * Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength ;'— and when we reflect, that with regard to the latter, it is said—* If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maran-atha/—that is, as Doddridge explains it,' he will lie under
the heaviest curse that an Apostle can pronounce, or God inflict/—it is evident that a very high degree of love, of reverence, of attachment, and of gratitude to our Maker and our Redeemer, is expected from us; and that this command is utterly inconsistent with a cold, lifeless, languid indifference towards them. It is also true, that it is our duty by frequent meditations on the perfections and the goodness of God, by pious contemplation, by frequent and fervent prayer, and by imploring the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to animate and enliven and invigorate these holy affections in our souls, and to raise them to as great a degree of warmth and ardour as we can. Yet still the degree of that ardour must very much depend on the different tempers, constitutions, dispositions, and habits of different men; and therefore
cannot be expected to be the same in all. Mr. Wilberforce himself allows this to be the case. He says expressly, that a difference in natural disposition, in the circumstances of the past life, and in numberless other particulars, may occasion a great difference in the predominant tempers of different Christians: but that, in a greater or less degree, a cordial complacency in the sovereignty, an exalted sense of the perfections, a grateful impression of the goodness, and a humble hope of the favour of the Divine Being, are common to all. ......
"Now of all these sentiments and affections, in a certain degree, you seem to be possessed. He siys also, that the only infallible criterion of a sincere love of God, is an active discharge of, the several duties of life, and a conscientious obedience to the laws of the Gospel; and this proof you humbly trust you can give, In fine, he asserts, that in this, and all other. Christian duties, it is the trilling mind, the sincere wish and endeavour to' do our best, which is principally required. Where that is found, every man will be judged, 'according to what he hath, and not according to what he hath not/
"If we look into the Scriptures themselves, we shall find that the definition, which they give of the love of God, contains nothing that need alarm a really serious and pious mind. They make it to consist solely in obeying God's commands. 'This is the love of God/ says St. John,, ' that we keep his commandments:' and . again—' He that hath my commandments and keepeth them/says our Saviour, *. he it is that loveth me i-rr',, Ye are my friends/ he says/ if ye do whatsoever I command you / and again,