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train of objects; and which is the receptacle! Since I have been arrived at a state of maof my acquired ideas : reflec'ion and under turity, how many are the blessings I have enstanding to combine and perfect those ideas: joyed? Has not the earth brought forth her lastly, reason or intelligence by which I am increase, and been constantly covered with enabled to discover truth, increase my store an astonishing profusion and variety of of knowledge, and elevate my mind to the blessings? How manifold are those arising sublime contemplation of my Creator: it from the arts and sciences, and from the comprehends that sensibility of heart to which industry of men! and amidst the general some have given the appellation of moral comforts of social life; how many private sense, which naturally inclines the mind to blessings have I experienced in my particular love, and pursue good, as far as it can trace calling! it; and above all to love God as its supreme

But I have also said, that the providence good. By all these faculties which are the of God, constantly watches over and supplies gift of God, he has made me susceptible of the wants of my soul. When my eyes first pleasure and joy; and capable of an ever in- opened upon the light, I possessed a living creasing felicity. To sum up all in a word, soul; but that soul was in its lowest state. It he has made me after his own image: my in- contained the essence of all its future faculties, tellectual nature conformable to his, by a ca- but torpid, inactive, destitute of a single idea, pacity of becoming a parlaker in the divine of any knowledge whatever, scarce sensible nature, by holiness, perfection, and happiness. of existence; how deplorable would have What excellence, what dignity then has he been its condition, had it not been upheld by bestowed upon me; for as St. Paul says, am the hand that made it! When I compare my I not also his offspring ? is he not my father; present state with the first dawn of reason, I am I not his child, and does not this creative behold in the progress and improvement of act of his will, give me the most solemn and my faculties, a subject of gratitude and sacred pledge of his immutable love and good praise; for however slow, however impercepness ? for he is a faithful Creator, who will tible have been my advances, yet in every not abandon the work of his hands.

step I have made towards perfection, I have How various, how extensive then, are the experienced the blessing of Providence in afbenefits resulting from creation! Existence, fording helps and means to those superior a body fearfully and wonderfully made ! An faculties, which are destined hereafter to be! intellectual soul, capable of knowing, loving, come the sources of my perfection, and feliciand resembling its Maker! and a pledge and ty. Destitute of such means and assistance, assurance that infinite goodness will never my soul must have remained in a state little forsake his creatures. • Bless the Lord then, better than that of the brutes. It is therefore O my soul, and let all that is within me, bless to the goodness of God, and to his watchful his holy name!"

providence, that I owe all these mercies. After enumerating the blessings of creation, But this is not all; greater benefits remain I may rank ander the second class, those of yet to be told; for while my animal powers Providence. And what is providence? With were acquiring strength and maturity, and my relation to me, it is the continual care with intellectual and rational faculties improving; which divine goodness has watched over my sin, that destroyer of my perfection and hapbody and soul.

piness, has manifested itself. The lively imHave I ever been forgotten or neglected pressions made by external objects on my for a single instant amidst the immensity of senses, and imagination, have excited in my the works of God? Has not his wisdom in soul a perverse will, together with violent and every varying circumstance, constantly pro- unruly passions, which soon becoming habi. vided and dispensed, that which was fittest tual, would have totally corrupted my soul and best for me?

with vices alike odious and fatal; had not the My body, which at first was an impercep- paternal care of divine Providence attached tible atom, must have perished in its germ, to sin, a restraint calculated to suppress its had not divine providence perfected and sus- depredations. tained it. Those who are most conversant And what is this salutary restraint capable with the human frame, most acquainted with of stopping the ravages of sin ?' It is death, its developments, and revolutions; know the which has passed upon all men, for that all have amazing care, the wonderful wisdom requisite cinned; it is also all the numerous evils attendto bring it to perfection. "I will praise Thee, ant upon a state of mortality, by which infinite O Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully wisdom checks the progress of sin, and promade; marvellous are thy works, and that my vides its necessary remedy. Physical evil, soul knoweth right well. My substance was or sufferings, he has attached to sin, and not hid from thee, when I was made in made its wages death, to stem the torrent of secret; and curiously wrought in the lowest moral evil. Had my soul been onited to an parts of the earth : thine eyes did see my sub- immortal body, and this world my lasting restance yet being imperfect, and in thy book sidence, I had been lost. My passions would all my members were written, when as yet have become ungovernable, and reduced me there were none of them. How precious alsg to the horrible slavery of vice. But the wisare thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great dom of my Creator has prevented this evil, by is the sum of them! if I would count them, connecting sorrow and death with this infant they are more in number than the sand.” state of being, and thereby made it a state of

education. Placed as I am here, a stranger loved me prior to my existence ; since long and a pilgrim; uncertain of sojourning another before it took place he gave his Son for me, day; every object is transitory to me, and and thereby executed the eternal purpose wall is vanity". Is not this calculated to which he purposed in Christ Jesus our repel the force of my passions, and to excite Lord ?" my desires after permanent life, and solid This gift is called redemption, because it is good! But lest this should be insufficient, the price, or ransom by which deliverance and the evils I experience from without, and from salvation were procured. What a ransom! within, damp the ardour of my passions, sus- the Son of God, only begotten and well-beloved, pend their career, give me time for recollec- in whom the Father was well pleased ; a being tion, that reason and reflection may find perfect and excellent, “was delivered up to entrance into my mind, and incline me to death, even to the death of the cross; was seek the Lord, if haply I might feel after him numbered with transgressors," and expeand find him, though he be not far from every rienced the ignominy and cruelty, of a shameone of us.”

ful and agonizing death. How astonishing, But though the means of which I have how incomprehensible is the love of God to been speaking, are absolutely necessary, to sinners! it surpasseth knowledge: must it remedy the evil of sin; they are nevertheless not then infinitely surpass the powers of exinsufficient for our salvation. God has there- pression ? and can the utmost efforts of a fare in his mercy given to us the assistance creature to celebrate the goodness of the of his written word, made his laws the rule Lord, ever exaggerate its inconceivable magof our conduct, and his redemption by Jesus nitude? Christ, the foundation of our hope. This re- On me, an unworthy, miserable sinner, derelation, absolutely necessary to the human graded, and dishonoured by my departure race, will no doubt, one day become universal. from God, in a state of actual rebellion against In the mean time, since by the grace of God him, whose laws I had violated, and whose Fe are blessed with its light; let us make a image I had effaced in my soul; on me, and proper improvement of our privilege, and not on a race of beings like me unworthy; was Faste our time in inquiring, why so great a this precious gift bestowed: he considered portion of mankind are deprived of its advan- not my demerit, but he saw my misery; and tage3, certain as we may be, that their mer had compassion on it. eifal Creator, loves them as their eternal It is not for mortal man to penetrate into Father; and that he will enlighten and save the depth of the divine counsels; but in the them, in the time and manner, which his death of the Son of God, I discern two imwisdom sees most proper. I shall therefore portant things, of which it was necessary I sontinue to recapitulate the blessings of Pro- should have the clearest assurance. The first sidence towards me, which every Christian of these is salvation : and the second, the way reader may apply to himself upon the same to attain it. This is the life, the immortality foundation.

brought to light by the gospel; by whose asTo the blessings I have received in the or- sistance I am enabled to deny ungodliness and dinary course of Providence, I must add those worldly lust, and to live soberly, righteously and of a soperior order, which I owe to that godly, in the present world; where I must wonderful economy of grace, under which it walk by faith, in those magnificent and grahas been my happiness to be born. Hitherto cions promises, which are confirmed by the I have confined my views to the natural bene- death, the resurrection, and ascension of my fits of creation and providence; I will now compassionate and glorious Redeemer. eonsider such as are superadded to nature. It does not become us to inquire, why no

I shall rank under a third class, the blessing other than this sacred and holy being was of redemption. Redemption is the gift which sufficient to accomplish this great work. For God has bestowed upon me in his Son, in since the adorable goodness of the Father has order to my salvation. And here two sublime bestowed upon us his excellent and beloved sbjeets offer themselves to my consideration; Son; we may be assured, that no inferior the salvation to which I am called, and the nature was capable of accomplishing the imgift of the only begotten Son of God who has portant task. Was ever charity like thine, brought the glad tidings of peaco; and is be- merciful Saviour! who loved us and gave ecme the captain of our salvation to lead us thyself for us ! all to happiness.

This work of redemption, is the utmost I refer my reader for a full discussion of extent of divine love. It is thus represented this subject to the preceding chapter; where by the Supreme Being himself, who makes it it has been treated, in order to draw two as it were the criterion of his willingness to proofs concerning the infinite goodness of God. confer upon us, whatever else may be needful I shall therefore confine myself to some de- for our happiness. If his compassion for the tarbed observations on the unspeakable bene- sinful children of men, is such, that he afflicts ft of redemption.

them only if need be ; if judgment on the In the first place, it was a gift prepared for guilty, is his strange work; may we not rabe many ages before it took place, and pre- tionally infer, that he would not have required eeded my birth more than seventeen cen- such uncommon and painful sufferings, from taries. May I not say that divine goodness so pure and excellent a being, had they not 7



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been necessary to the accomplishment of a frighteousness, sanctification, and complete scheme of benevovence, proportioned to the redemption." grandeur of the means ?

By faith, I become united to my Saviour, The fourth and last class of benefits, which from whom I derive continua! light. His I have received from the infinite good ness of spirit dwells in me; and with it, all necessary God are those of revelation, which with rela- | assistance to work out my salvation. As a tion to me, are the supernatural means by master he commands me what I am to perwhich God in his word enlightens my under- form; and will hereafter judge me concerning standing and fortifies my faith.

my obedience. As a physician he adminisRevelation, contains all that which “God ters relief to the maladies of my soul. He at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake is that sun of righteousness which has arisen in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,” upon me, with healing on his wings. He is together with what he has “ in these last days an example, a model for my imitation, a conspoken by his Son.” How gracious is that ductor and guide, who will never forsake me providence which has preserved and handed in life, or in death: and to the praise and down these valuable oracles which are ad- glory of his grace I can affirm, “that without dressed to me, in consequence of my being him I can do nothing." Let us therefore be born and educated in the church of Christ. full of thankfulness to God for the knowledge When I compare my privileges, I who from a he has given us in this life, of the benefits rechild have known the holy scriptures, with served for us hereafter, and conveyed by that those of a poor savage, who has no hope, and word, full of grace and truth, which was is without God in the world; how greatly made flesh and dwelt among os, of whose fulought I to estimate them!

ness we have received grace for grace. Revelation, by the light of faith, illuminates Let me conclude the enumeration of the my reason, it gives me the knowledge of manifold benefits of Divine Grace, with the God, my Creator and Father, and of eternal recollection of the succours and means of insalvation to which I am called. What ob-struction and improvement it affords, and jects for thy contemplation, O my soul! in a which surround me under various forms. And being perfectly excellent, and an immortality first his word, his sacraments, and public orperfectly blessed! without these hopes, what dinances. In his word ! possess all that is were life ? and with it, what are its greatest profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correcevils ?

tion and instruction in righteousness." Let I can now “ look to Jesus, as the author me never cease thankfully to acknowledge the and finisher of my faith ;” in him I behold goodness of Providence, who has preserved “ God manifested in the flesh;" he not only this valuable treasure, and transmitted it to announces to me eternal life, by his promises; me, through so many ages. but as my forerunner he enters into it, by his Nor ought I to be unmindful of those audeath and resurrection, and calls upon me, to thentic monuments, which the great Mediator follow him. Thus is he become “ the way, of the new covenant established in his church, the truth, and the life;" and if I possess faith for the confirmation and edification of his folin him, I may with St. Paul, “ determine not lowers. In baptism, I see represented that to know any thing, save Jesus Christ, and purification from the uncleanness of sin, which him crucified ; counting all things but loss, is the end of the evangelical covenant. Ja for the excellency of his knowledge." the Lord's supper I behold the mean of this

But here it may be inquired, whether faith purification held forth, in the death of the Son alone is sufficient for my salvation and sancti- of God. fication, which is a gift of divine grace, not How great also is the privilege I enjoy in absolutely necessary! since “ without holi- the appointment of ministers and pastors to ness, no one shall see the Lord.” To this I celebrate divine service and preach and exreply, “that faith in the only begotten Son plain the word of God. How solemn and of God” is suficient, since we are assured edifying is public worship, where with one that “whosoever believeth in him, shall not heart, and one voice, an assembled multitude perish, but have everlasting life;" because join to present their adorations, praises, and sanctification is a necessary effect of this thanksgivings; their bumiliations, prayers se faith, which is the substance of things hoped and supplications; to their merciful Creator, for, and the evidence of things not seen;" and universal Father; who in wisdom and and an entire ve-snasion of their reality, will goodness set apart one day in seven for the necessarily sanctify, transform, and renew our suspension of worldly cares, and the prosecuhearts. Can I know the extent of divine tion of the more important concerns of our goodness, and not love God with my whole immortal souls. heart, and my neighbour as myself? Can I Such are the general succours of divine perceive the benefit of eternal salvation, and grace, established in the church of Christ. not joyfun selinquish every thing in this What shall I say of those which are partiworld that may stand opposed to it? Thus cular, and which are constantly at hand, were does faith in Christ Jesus, comprehend all I disposed to improve them. Every valuable those virtues and graces, by which sin and production of human understanding, every the world are to be subdued, and my sanc- book capable of enlightening, and leading me tification and salvation completed; for Christ to good, I owe in some measure to the light


san, spreads its penetrating rays far and wide; life eternal; and will be the dispenser of eterna alightening even those who neither perceive, glory, of immortality. Secure of this promise, bor own its influence.

what is to me the instability of earthly things: I must not omit one observation more, What the frailty of my body, or the short spar before I terminate this long list of gospel of human life?' for when arrived at immortalı benefits; viz. That every dispensation in the ty; death with respect to me will be swase ordinary course of Providence, borrows a par- lowed up in victory. ticular and salutary efficacy from this econo- It is worthy of observation on this subject my. Suppose, by way of illustration, some that scripture never expresses its magnificen: calamitous event, adapted to convince me of promises by the terms happiness or felicity; the vanity of the world ; this, were I a pagan, never assures us of eternal happiness, bui or what is yet worse, a Christian without reli- simply of eternal life, of immortality. The gion, whose hopes are all centred in the reason of this singularity may arise from these world, would fill me with desolation and promises being addressed to poor mortals, despair; but assisted by the light of the gos- whose transitory existence here is liable to so pel this event contributes to detach me more many miseries, which accompany them to the and more from the world; and to give vigour grave. To beings thus circumstanced, a and solidity to my future hopes. Would to promise which contains an exemption from God I had constantly availed myself of the these afflictions, and from death, is in effect multiplied assistance which Divine Grace has an assurance of perfect happiness; for it is afforded me! how many sins should I have easy to conceive, that beatitude must be inavoided, how many errors in conduct should separable from an eternal life, in the presence I have escaped! How many good works of God. Here, I am "alienated from the life should I have performed, which alas! I have of God;" but hereafter, I shall be united to Deglected; and how much greater would him, shall live by his life, and be happy in have been my progress in sanctification and his happiness : what a reason is this for love! happiness.

With relation to the nature of celestial hapHaving thus concluded the review of those piness, we can know but little here. It is benefits which I have hitherto received from therefore easier to describe it negatively, by the infinite goodness of God, and which ex- excluding all the evils with which we are accite in me a love of gratitude ; I come now to quainted; than positively, by a detail of its consider in the second place the promise of enjoyments. We know however that they future and eternal happiness, which produces will be of an intellectual nature, that our in nie an interested love. Let not any imagine minds will derive satisfaction from external the terin interest to be misplaced here; for a objects, and from their internal feelings; tha: sordid interest, an ill directed attachment to the glory of the divine presence will manifest the perishable things of this world, is alone itself to us, that our society will be composed reprehensible. It was this carnal self interest of holy and happy spirits, and that where our with wbich our Lord reproached the multi. Saviour is, there we shall be also. tudes that followed him : " verily, verily I When I next consider the Divine Being in say unto you, ye seek me, not because ye saw himself, and behold all his attributes and the miracles, but because ye did eat of the qualities consistent with, or founded upon perleaves and were filled.” But we do not per- fect goodness; it produces, thirdly, a love of ceive that Simon Peter met with any reproof attachment. But as I have been led in the when he said, “ Lord to whom should we go? course of this work to an ample detail on this thou hast the words of eternal life." Let us subject, I shall avoid repeating what has therefore not fear to own that our love to God already been said. It is sufficient to observe, is founded on interest; “but by a patient that the highest conceptions we can form, fall continuance in well doing, seek for glory, infinitely short of the excellence of the Divine konoar, immortality," and God will bestow Nature. If our tranquillity and happiness in upon us, “eternal life.”

this world, increase in proportion to our Eternal life! this is the benefit yet reserved knowledge and love of him; what must b6 for me! and it contains all those blessings, the felicity of a state where we shall see him as which the goodness of my Creator will show- he is, and where he will be all in ail. er down upon me for ever and ever.

To conclude. My love to God is founded The first character which distinguishes the on gratitude for benefits received; it is foundblessings of heaven, and which gives them so ed on interest, because connected with life ano superior a value, is, their eternal duration. immortality; it is founded on attachment, bem We are told that "the things which are seen cause it relates to a being infinitely excellen. are temporal, but that the things which are and amiable; consequently infinite goodness, not seen are eternal :" And this is alone suffi- is the only solid foundation of love. cient to give us the highest idea of their in- If it were possible that in the Deity, any comparable value. Happiness, however ex- thing inconsistent with goodness, could exist. alted, or durable, cannot be perfect if it is not were he implacable and cruel; power migh everlasting; as it is constantly verging to make him a just object of terror to his wean wards its end, and therefore will become to dependent creatures; but he could never o the possessor, but like a vain dream, which the object of their love. It is goodness alon mast forever vanish. Not such is the perfect can produce this sentiment, even in creaturegift of God. He is the origin of life, and of comparatively evil.

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I come now to shew that this love to God, confidence, is in the rock of ages, who can comprehends every pious and devout senti- never abandon us. How superior is this trust ment, and predominates over every inferior to any we should dare repose in ourselves; affection. It disengages us from the world, it for where is the mortal who should presume produces an entire submission to God, and to assert that he can never forsake his Maker? confidence in him; it creates in us an ardent The fatal and frequent experience we have desire to obtain his approbation and favour; had of our own weakness, should create in us whence proceeds a salutary fear of offend- a proper diffidence, and a constant vigilance, ing: on each of these I must make a few ob- hut it must not rob us of our confidence in servations.

God, who “will do exceedingly more for us In the first place, where the love of God is than we can ask or think.". founded on a conviction of his infinite good- Fourthly and lastly. Where the love of ness, it swallows up every inferior attach- God prevails, a desire of pleasing him, must ment, and disengages us from the world ; prevail also, and thence a filial fear of offendwhose love is incompatible with it. St. John ing. Sentiments of gratitude for past benefits observes that "if any man love the world, the will make us look with detestation and horror, love of the Father is not in him.” We may on every act that might incur his displeasure. reverse this proposition and say, if any man And if we are convinced that our own bappilove God, the love of the world is not in him; ness is promoted, or injured, in proportion as because in one or other of these, and not in we obey, or violate his commands; we shall both, is happiness to be sought: and sure I not dare to prefer our will to his. Beholding need not remind any one how imperfect, how him as a being infinitely amiable, we shall unsatisfactory, how transient is the happiness desire to be imitators of him as dear chil. of this world, “at its best estate it is alto- dren;" and thence must naturally proceed a gether vanity.” But when the love of our fear of becoming odious and hateful in his Creator prevails, temporal things are esti- sight, by any opposition to his perfect and mated according to their real value; and “our acceptable will.” Thus do gratitude, interest, hearts are set on the things that are above," and pleasure, conspire to penetrate the heart where our hidden treasure is. We may in- with a godly fear of offending, and to raise in deed with cheerfulness enjoy the blessings of us a desire of approaching and resembling life, as a wise traveller benefits by every com- him, on whom our happiness ever has, and fort he meets with on the road; but we shall ever must depend ; and who is the most amianot suffer our journey to be impeded by them, ble and most excellent of beings. But if ever or our souls to be cast down or disquieted by we should deviate from the right way, and their privation. We shall learn with the great our love should war cold; should we thence apostle, “in whatever state we are, there become habitual and hardened sinners; then, with to be content; how to be abased and as I have already shewn when treating the how to abound, to be full and to he hungry, subject of Divine Justice, may we justly apto abound and to suffer need." This is the prehend that formidable branch of perfect temper by which alone we can enjoy any goodness; which being exempt from all comfort even in this world; and which will weakness, will not relent, but pour down enable us to say at our departure out of it, upon us “indignation and wrath, tribulation " that though we walk through the dark val- and anguish ;" from which no power in the ley of the shadow of death we fear no evil, universe shall be able to screen us. Where for the Lord is with us, his rod and staff, they then is the security, where the pretence which comfort us."

can authorize any one wilfully to offend his Secondly, if we love God for his infinite Maker. goodness, we must delight in bis will; whence These various sentiments of piety, which arises perfect submission. Convinced that his I have regarded as so many branches of love laws, and all his dispensations are wise and to God; such as detachment from the world, good ; can we have any wish but to render submission, confidence, and filial fear; these him the most faithful and cordial obedience; constitute a state at once the most perfect and the most sincere acquiescence and humble happy, which is attainable on earth, and even resignation, of which our imperfect natures a foretaste of celestial happiness; because are capable?

they produce a state of union with God; a Thirdly, it is not difficult to perceive that union similar in nature, though inferior in defrom a love like this, confidence in God must gree, with that for which our Saviour prayed necessarily flow. Convinced that our happi- to “his Father, and our Father," in those ness is in the hands of a being, who has the remarkable words preceding his death; where will, and the power to effect it; we may re- he supplicates, not only for his disciples, but pose an unlimited and unshaken trust in him; for all who should believe through their and though the waves of trouble should roll word; " that they all may be one, even as the over us; though distresses of every kind Father was in him and he in the Father, that should assault ns, our courage will never fail; so also they might be one in them.” Justly and despair, that worst of enemies, will never may our hearts be animated by so sublime a approach us, even in the most discouraging privilege, to disregard the perishable and circumstances ; "against hope, we shall be childish toys of life, and to glory that "we lieve in hope;" because we know that our are not of the world,” even as our Saviour

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