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cheerful and penetrating beams. Here, in the lively figures of the psalmist, “ Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth springs out of the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven." “ Herein is love, not that we loved him, but that he first loved us, and gave his son to be the propitiation for our sins.” If we truly desire to love God, let us view him through the medium of the gospel ; through the ministry and sufferings of his beloved Son, most freely offering mercy to sinners, and constraining us to accept it, and with it everlasting blessedness and glory. If we can consider God presenting himself to us in this attitude, and fail to love him, then how chilled and dead are our affections ; how cold, how hard our hearts, if this does not melt them!
To all other means of promoting the love of God in the soul, we must add
IV, Earnest and constant prayer. For we must remember that the love of God is an affection, to the production of which, his favour is necessary, although that favour is commonly dispensed in our behalf, in the diligent improvement of those means which I have been suggesting, and others of a similar efficacy to enkindle the affections. And, I add, it is the direct tendency of the duty of prayer, to promote the love of God in the heart. Prayer is converse with God. The soul, in that act, draws near to him, and discovers his glory and loveliness, and the light of his countenance is often lifted upon the kneeling suppliant.
Frequent converse and communion with a friend, is the life of human friendship. It is so also—with reverence would I say it-between God and the soul. Love to him will be in proportion to communion with him in prayer and pious meditation; as I believe many happy souls can testify. And none can long neglect prayer, or run over the duty in a formal and careless manner, who will not find their hearts cold and distant from God.
Thus I have suggested some of the best means of keeping ourselves in the love of God.” I briefly recapitulate them, and close with a word of exhortation. We must withdraw our affections from the things which oppose his attributes and will. We must strive to obtain just apprehensions of the divine character. We must consider his works and ways, especially that little portion of them, which comprehends our personal mercies; and to these means, and each of them, we must add our fervent and constant prayer for the divine favour, without which onr exertions will be ineffectual.
These are scriptural and highly important suggestions. Let us apply ourselves to the use of these means with holy zeal, and with the deepest solicitude, to attain and increase the love of God in our souls. It is God's good pleasure to help the active, and to consign the slugglish to the dreadful fruits of their own neglect.
Beloved hearers, consider, I beseech you, the infinite and eternal importance of the love of God.
You rejoice when you find a good and sincere friend, in a mortal as frail as yourselves. If you have found a wise, faithful, and unalienable friend, you exclaim with the sententious Young
A world, in purchase for a friend, is gain. And yet, such a one is but a feeble, destitute, sickly, dying friend. Tell me, then, what is the value of divine friendship? Here the friend is rich, omnipotent, unchangeable, everlasting. When you come to die, the arms of your human friend must resign you, and he will commit the body he loved to dust and corruption. But at that moment, when his love avails you nothing, God's love avails you most. When all things else fail, God is present. He cheers" the valley of the shadow of death”_66 he watches over the dust of his saints,”—and the spirit he assumes into his glorious presence above, to enjoy the everlasting fruits of his love. O let us aspire, with the strongest affection of our souls, towards God. Perceiving the emptiness of all creatures and their comparative vanity, let us give all, all up, when they interfere, that we may obtain the love of God. May God," who is love," breathe upon our cold hearts; purify them from corrupt affections, shed abroad in them the love of himself, by his spirit, and increase in us the holy and blessed affection, till it shall attain an inconceivable degree of purity and perfection, in the heavenly, in the eternal world. The joy, unspeakable and full of glory will be our's; but all the praise be his forever and ever. Amen,
HEAVENLY BLESSEDNESS THE CONSEQUENCE OF
FOLLOWING THE LAMB.
REVELATION xiv. 4.
There is a great deal in the book of the Revelation of St. John, which is exceedingly obscure, and which has been variously interpreted by those who have commented on this portion of sacred Scripture. Some of our ablest expositors on the other parts of the NewTestament, have stopped short of the Apocalypse, and forborn the attempt to explain any part, where so much was beyond the comprehension.
But, notwithstanding some parts of the book are dark, and those, especially, which relate to prophecies not yet fulfilled, others are clear and intelligible, and the whole book is interspersed with instruction, and precious promises, and such lively descriptions of heavenly blessedness, as cannot fail to interest and affect the reader.
It is observable in this book, that when some calamitous period of the church is foretold, there soon follows a description of the happiness of those, who have passed through it with christian integrity and firmness; a happiness, which is quite an overbalance for all the sufferings, which the faithful disciples of Jesus have been called to endure. Such prophetic representations of trials firmly endured, and of the happiness succeeding, as a gracious reward, have a tendency to prepare the followers of Christ, in other ages, to meet their own trials with fortitude, and to sustain them in moments when christian integrity and virtue are in the greatest danger. The wisdom and goodness of the great Head of the church are worthy of our thankful admiration, since by the spirit of prophecy he has made provision against the ill effects of persecution, and extends support and consolation to his faithful friends in those seasons, when, without this aid, they might faint and sink in the sharp conflict. The chapter, preceding the context, gives a representation of the rise and establishment of the papal power, and of the dreadful cruelties, practised by the man of sin. And what can sustain those who are called to bear the burden and heat of this day of persecution ? What, but a prospect of the blessedness of the high and holy place. To this, the enraptured apostle saw some of the faithful disciples of Jesus safely arrived; and the scene is described in the chapter connected with the text. In