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Lord Jesus be received, inconsistency is avoided. The Deity of the Lord Jesus is distinctly revealed, as distinctly as the Unity of the Godhead.

These are lofty themes. Gracious Lord, grant us, in this world, knowledge of thy truth-increasing knowledge of thy sanctifying truth!

I. God is love. He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. The first and great commandment of the law is love. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love is the fulfilling of the law. The end of the commandment is love. The end of all true religion is love,— the love of God and the love of man.

1. It is commonly admitted that these two comprise our highest duties; but it does not seem to be commonly understood, that they also constitute our best happiness. Yet, this is strictly true, and will and must continue true to all eternity. To love God supremely, and to love one another sincerely and cordially, are the essential elements of the happiness of all intelligent creatures.

It is thus the holy angels are happy. Their exalted and pure affections are fixed with supreme devotion upon their great Creator and continual Preserver. There, at the fountain, each imbibes spiritual joy. The stream is happiness. And can the kindred streams be kept from union? No! emanating from the same divine spring, they flow together towards the one boundless ocean of the divine glory. The whole angelic host, with one feeling of happy love, and one voice of happy praise, enjoy and proclaim the perfections of their Maker and their God. If their happiness be capable of increase, it can only be by an increase of their love towards God, and towards each other;

or, by witnessing additional multitudes of intelligent creatures becoming partakers of similar happiness.

It is thus the disembodied spirits of all true Christian believers are happy. Thus the children of the glorious resurrection shall be happy, ὡς ἄγγελοι του θεοῦ ἐν οὐρανῶ, as the angels of God in heaven. And thus true Christians, now on earth, enjoy their measure of happiness. It must ever be in direct proportion to their love. Beloved, saith the Apostle John in his affectionate exhortation, let us love one another, for love is of God: and every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God.

O that my heart were filled with holy, humble love to my God, and overflowing with sincere, self-denying, active, persevering love to my fellow-men! This, my brethren, is a Scripturally-enlightened aspiration after genuine happiness. This is the true "Christian idea of salvation."* Perfected salvation in man, is perfected conformity to God.

2. But here the question arises, how is this salvation, this conformity, this happiness, this love to be attained? It is not natural to man thus to love. The affections of his heart do not rise in unbidden instinct to this supreme love of his God: neither do they expand to this comprehensive and disinterested love of his fellows. If they did, if such were the natural, the spontaneous action of his moral being; he would require no redemption, no deliverance from any evil or mischief. He would be whole at heart, and they who are whole need not a Physician, but they who are sick.

* That is, so far as the soul of man is concerned. In its more comprehensive sense, salvation includes the body also. So the Apostle writes :"Ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption-to wit-the redemption of our body."-Rom. viii. 23.

3. It is indeed natural to man to admit as a theory, that he ought to love God, and goodness. In accordance with this theory, he admires in sentiment, what he does not follow in practice. The celebrated classical confession of this has passed into a proverb. "Video meliora probo que, deteriora sequor," which has been Englished thus:

"To know the best, and yet the worst pursue."

This theory is the spring of all that poetical self-deception which leads men to think of themselves more highly than they ought to think. This theory is the source of those fictitious characters of imaginary excellence, which occupy the pages of the novelist, and beguile the fancy, excite the morbid sensibilities, and waste the precious time of the unwary reader. This theory is the secret basis of those anticipations of unbounded perfectibility in human society under an improved management, which animate and seem to ennoble the ambitious longings of the romantic philanthropist. This theory has sketched many an air-drawn castle, peopled many an enchanting island, and made many an amiable dreamer about Utopia appear, in his own eyes, a deliverer of his species.

4. It is painful to be compelled to bring the stern and stubborn testimony of fact and experience to bear against this fanciful elysium, and by the steady light of reality to dissipate the fantastic gilding of these lovely clouds. Poor fallen man is willing to be beguiled by a pleasant theory, and resents as unfeeling rudeness, the truth which pronounces his vision to be a dream, and the faithfulness which, preferring his permanent welfare, to his present ease, cries with a loud voice-"Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."

Together with this pleasing theory, that he ought to love God, there exists in man, by nature, a bitter conscious

ness that he does not love God. There exists at times a secret feeling (or at least fear) of having offended God; which induces a secret distaste for Him, and a secret willingness to postpone the inevitable, but dreaded meeting with Him. I said "at times." It is at times only: for there are seasons when this feeling is lulled asleep. But there are other seasons, in every man's experience, when there arises from the depth of his being, a secret apprehension that all is not well.

5. The theory of love towards his fellow-creatures is in like manner disturbed and overborne by the intrusions of selfishness. Self, directly or indirectly, is the idol of the natural heart. Self, not always terminating in the individual, yet seldom rising above or expanding beyond the family, or little circle or party to which the individual belongs. Selfishness is the bane of happiness. It is an attempt to shut up close what God has opened wide-to contract what God would expand-to circumscribe, within a favourite boundary, what God would diffuse over the length and breadth of creation. It is the rebellion, the high treason against heaven, which characterizes the inhabitants of the earth. It is blindness and wretchedness, defeating its own object: not condensing enjoyment, true enjoyment wont be condensed, but multiplying and magnifying disappointments, and vexations, and distresses.

6. Yes, man is a ruined creature, under the practical dominion of his carnal affections and appetites: bearing in his bosom a lurking troublesome witness against himself, a conscience which has been happily compared to a dethroned monarch, whose legitimacy is not theoretically disputed, but whose authority is practically disregarded. Imagine a disastrous revolution successful to that point of anarchy which has dethroned the lawful sovereign, but not yet advanced to the consummation which puts him to

death; and you have an image of the moral anarchy of fallen man. In some it would seem, indeed, as if the rebellious process had reached its fatal climax. Conscience is seared, as it were, with a hot iron, and the hardened creature given over to a delusion, to a reprobate mind, to believe a lie.

7. I will read to you an inspired description of the actual character of the human race in their natural unconverted state. They are "filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."* And again. "There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable, there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre, with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes." +

8. Is this too much? Do these words of inspiration exaggerate man's guiltiness? Surely not. Every word of God is true. If men do not acknowledge the justice of the description, it is not because of exaggeration in the charge, but because of infidelity in the accused. "The

Rom. i. 29-32.

Rom. iii. 10-18.

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