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Auence of the tenets which Dr. receive my spirit.' St. Thomas, who, Priestley so confidently reduces to in the public service of the synaa inere nullity?

gogue, had been accustomed to “ A mind exercised," says the hear Him, whom they expected as Bishop of St. David's, “ by afflic. the Messiah, called the Mighty tion, is tenderly alive to the impres. God,' and the Lord our Rightesions of religious truth. In such ousness,' when he saw his Lord seasons, the emptiness of earthly after his resurrection from the dead, comforts, and the want of some exclaimed, in a transport of conconsolation which the world cannot viction and joy, • My Lord, and give, prepare it effectually for the re- my God!' ception of those promises of light and “ Nothing but belief in Christ's aid which the Scriptures abundant- Divinity-his omnipresent influence ly supply. How sweetly then are and omnipotence could have induced those passages of David and Isaiah his Disciples and Apostles to honour in unison with the feelings of a re- him with Divine worship, and to ensigned and believing spirit! • Tarry dure the privations, indignities, and thou the Lord's leisure ; be strong, sufferings which they underwent and he shall comfort thine heart; for his sake. The Divinity of Christ and put thou thy trust in the Lord.' was not with them a • speculative • Who is he that feareth the Lord, notion,' a disputable dogma, as that obeyeth the voice of his ser- ' the Unitarians represent it, but a tant, that walketh on still in dark- great practical principle, which inness, and hath no light? Let him fluenced their whole conduct, and trust in the name of the Lord, and infused into their minds a fortitude stay upon his God.'

and constancy which made them “ Our beneficent Creator, who, rejoice that they were counted worfor the wisest purposes, has implant- thy to suffer shame and death for ed in us affections and sensibilities,

• To die, and to be with which attach us closely to those Christ, they counted better than whom we respect and love, but which life.' • What things were gain,' in by the loss of such connexions give a worldly sense, they counted lous occasion to the most acute and pain- for Christ; yea, they counted all ful trials; has also blessed us with things loss, for the excellency of the à religion, which, above all other knowledge of Christ Jesus.' means, can mitigate the visitation “ Their belief in Christ's Divinity which deprives us of them. I need their confidence in Him, as God not remind you of His promises, ever present to sustain them in all who said, • My grace is sufficient difficulties—was the governing prinfor you ;' nor bring to your recol. ciple of their minds through this lection that those consolatory words life ; and their trust in his Atone were in answer to St. Paul's request, ment was the ground of their hope addressed in prayer to our Saviour. of happiness in the next. They Such trust in his assistance, Christ knew, that the blood of bulls and had encouraged by his promise, of goats could not put away sin ;' • Whatsoever ye shall ask in my and the Psalmist bad long before name, I will do it;' and · Lo I am declared, that man was utterly unwith you always, even unto the end able to redeem his brother. But in of the world. And, therefore, St. Christ, who ' was with God, and John said, “This is the confidence was God,'' who was over all, God we have in him, that if we ask any blessed for ever,'-their great God thing according to his will, he and Saviour,'_ God manifest in heareth us.' The same confidence the flesh,'—who was made fesh;' in Christ's Divine power to hear and and · came in the flesh,' that lie to save, induced St. Stephen to say, might, by his death, be a propiin his last moments, Lord Jesus, tiation for the sins of mankind ;' in CHRIST. OBSERY. No. 271.

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his name.


Him they trusted, as a Saviour, blessings, voluntarily incurred the

able to save to the uttermost all loss of them all, and, without rewho should come to God by him.' pining, thought himself abundant

“ Their belief in that truth, which ly recompensed by the peace of his Christ himself declared, which his mind, and his future prospects. How contemporaries testified, proclaimed strenuously, then, should we exert and arraigned as blasphemy, and for ourselves to make the best use of which Christ was crucified ; which the liberty we enjoy! Deus nobis the Apostles preached and record- hæc otia fecit." ed; which the primitive church received, and transmitted to succeeding generations ; was their warrant

FAMILY SERMONS.--No.CLXXXVII. for the reception of the other great doctrine, which their sins and im

2 Thess. iii. 5.- The Lord direct perfections, and their inability to

your hearts into the love of God. save themselves, had rendered necessary for their salvation."

When Naaman, the Syrian, angrily It is singular enough, that with refused to wash in the river Jordan, innumerable averments of this na- for the cleansing of his leprosy, his ture upon record, from the lips of attendants remonstrated with him; believers in the Divinity and Atone- “ My father, if the prophet had bid ment of Christ, such men as Dr. thee do some great thing, wouldst Priestley, who boast that they build thou not have done it? How much their moral as well as physical phi- rather then when he saith to thee, losophy upon ascertained facts, and Wash and be clean ?" And thus not upon hypotheses, should affect oftentimes it is that the very easito account for the supports and con- ness of God's commands causes solations experienced by saints, con- mankind to slight them. Had the fessors, and martyrs, upon the vague forgiveness of our sins, and an eterprinciples of we know not what, nal reward of glory in heaven, been. generalized Christianity—a Christi- promised to us, upon condition of anity which has nothing distinctive some severe act of penance, who or worth the name.

But we are

would be so careless or insensible far better pleased with the follow- to his own highest interests as not ing observations of Dr. Priestley ; to be willing to undergo its rigours? in which he exhibits with much feel. We see by the austerities which ing, one of the important lessons to misguided men have imposed upon be learned from such narratives as themselves in various ages and counthat under consideration.

tries, by the painful rites of heathen" When I am sitting,” he re- ism and superstition, how great samarks,“ in a cheerful room, by a crifices of this kind persons will comfortable fire-side, with my fa. make, to secure, as they suppose, mily about me, attending without an infinitely greater good, or perrestraint to any pursuit of philo- haps even for the mere sake of grasophy, theology, or general litera- tifying their ambition and love of ture for which I have inclination, worldly applause. Yet, when our visited by my friends, and corre- Creator addresses us sponding with whom I please; when “ What doth the Lord thy God reI see the cheering rays of the sun, quire of thee, but to fear the Lord and the fair face of nature, and thy God, and to walk in all his make what excursions I please, and ways; to love him, and to serve the in what manner I please, to distant Lord thy God with all thy heart and places, as health, convenience, or with all thy soul, and to keep the pleasure, may require; I think of commandments of the Lord;" and M. de Marolles, who, after having when he tells us further, that this been accustomed to enjoy all these very requirement iạcludes our best

and says, interest, our highest welfare ; that it, and their promises of Divine his yoke is easy and his burden assistance to incline our hearts to light; that the service of the world, its performance. The text grounds and sin, and satan is toilsome, and upon the duty a fervent wish and its end everlasting ruin,—but that prayer ; “ The Lord direct your the service to which he mercifully hearts into the love of God;" a invites us is perfect freedom, and prayer which would be superfluous, its reward an eternal weight of glory, if there were not an averseness in we slight the offer and refuse to obey the heart of man to this sacred printhe command. Though our Al- ciple, and a consequent necessity mighty Benefactor has made the that it should be implanted in us by ways of heavenly wisdom ways of the power of the Holy Spirit, inpleasantness, and all her paths peace, clining us to new and heavenly afwe too often shun them as if they fections. were beset with thorns and dangers, In reflecting upon the words and prefer to them the world's broad of the text, several points present way that leads to certain destruc- themselves for our consideration ; tion. Surely we may be asked, had which we shall now proceed to exGod required of us some severe rite amine. as an atonement for our sins, would 1. In the first place, then, we find we not have practised it? how much that the Scriptures inculcate the more then should we obey him when love of God in the form of an exhe asks our love and gratitude, and press command.It is the first incommands, for our purification from junction of the Moral Law : “ Thou our spiritual leprosy, only that we shalt love the Lord thy God with should wash in the Fountain opened all thy heart, and with all thy soul, for sin and for uncleanness; that we and with all thy mind, and with all should make our robes white in the thy strength.” The whole tenour blood of the Lamb? Is it then so of the Old and New Testament is, painful a sacrifice to love and serve “ My son, give me thy heart.” All the best and highest of all Beings, the dispensations of God towards the infinite Creator, the God of our his chosen people Israel were, “ to life, our Guardian, our Friend, our prove them whether they would love Protector as well as our Lawgiver, him with all their heart and with all our Saviour and Comforter as well their soul.” The great complaint as our Judge, that it should be ne- made against sinners is, that the cessary so often and earnestly to love of God is not in their hearts ; enforce the duty, and point out the and a constant exhortation to the blessedness of complying with this faithful in Christ Jesus is to advance command? We might have sup- in this Divine grace.

“ Take good posed that to love God would be heed,” said Joshua to the people of our constant wish and prayer and Israel, “ that ye love the Lord your effort ; that to inculcate this love God.” This is called the great comupon us would be needless, for that mandment; great in its dignity, as it would spring up naturally in every referring to the high and holy one breast ; that it would entwine itself who inhabiteth eternity; great as with all our feelings; and that no- involving the highest duty of his thing could root it out of our hearts. rational and accountable creatures ; But such, alas! is not the testimony and great as the foundation of all of experience; and the sacred Scrip- other virtues; for though we could tures also shew how far distant we speak with the tongues of men and are from such a pure and devout of angels, though we had the gift of state of the affections, by the fre- prophecy, and understood all mysquent mention made in them of this terics, and all knowledge, and delightful obligation, their remon- though we had all faith, so that we strances with us for our neglect of could remove mountains, and had

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not the principle of love to God cious Creator, Preserver, and Beneshed abroad in our hearts, and at. factor did not thus suffer his purtended by love to our neighbour poses of mercy to be frustrated : he for God's sake, it would profit us devised a way of salvation; he re. nothing.

vealed it to us in his word; and he 2. But, further, love to God is freely invites us to become partakers not only enjoined upon us as a com- of it. To sum up all, his Holy Spimand, but is shewn to be our rea- rit is promised to renew our hearts; sonable service.-God deserves our so that, through faith in Christ, we love as the infinite fountain of all may be made inheritors of his everthat is good and worth our aifec. lasting kingdom of glory. These tions. We should love him with are his benefits towards us; beneall our heart and mind, for what fits bestowed not upon meritorious he is in himself; just as we regard and thankful creatures, but upon with affection the amiable qualities those who were guilty and unworof a fellow-creature, none of whose thy, who were both ungrateful to excellencies bear the most distant God and blind to their own best proportion to the perfections of God. interests, Ought we not then to But still more will love to him appear love him who is thus bountiful and to be a reasonable obligation, when patient towards us; who spares us we consider what he is to us. It was when we deserved instant punishhe who gave to us our being; who ment; who lias provided for us the breathed into our nostrils the breath means of reconciliation with his ofof life, and endued us with all our fended Majesty, and of restoration capacities for enjoyment. We are to his image ; and wbo demands of his

, therefore, by the highest possible us nothing, in return for his gifts, but title, that of creation; all our facul- that we should believe in him, love ties, our affections, our services are him, and serve him all the days his of right, and to alienate them of our lives? Is not this a reasonfrom him is to defraud him of able command ? Is it not the height what he created for bis own glory, both of folly and ingratitude to reand what no rival has any autho- fuse to comply with it? rity to claim. The life and powers 3. But still further, love to God thus communicated, he mercifully is not only enjoined upon us, and a sustains, and thereby adds a new bounden and reasonable obligation, demand upon our gratitude and obe- but it is also connected with our dience. Nor is, this all; for conti- own highest welfare.--Do we wish nued life might have been but ag- our nature to be raised from the gravated wretchedness : he there state of degradation into which it fore shelters us from evil, and be- was plunged by the Fall ? what is stows on us innumerable comforts there so elevating, so ennobling as and blessings. Above all, he de.

Above all, he de. the love of God? Whatever we serves our love for benefits of a still habitually cherish in our minds with higher nature ; for in this was the affection and delight has a tendency love of God towards us chiefly ma- to impart to them corresponding nifested, that he gave his Son to die tastes and feelings. We may enfor us. By our sins we had poison- deavour to engraft into ourselves ed all former blessings : our crea- what we admire in another, till by tion and preservation, which were long habit our character and dispointended to open the way to innu- sitions may become strikingly changmerable enjoyments, had been made ed. And thus the love of God fosby our transgressions the forerun- tered in the heart leads its possesners of eternal destruction. Had sor to imitate him; to approve what we remained in this state, it had he approves, to hate what he hates, been well for us had our existence and to perform with pleasure what never been bestowed ; but our gra- he enjoins. He becomes, in part at least, and progressively, holy as But it is impossible to enumerate all God is holy: he is thus raised above the benefits which flow from the the ruins of his fallen nature, and prevalence of this principle in the enters on a state of new and heaven- soul; and the only subject for surly privilege. He now enjoys com- prise is, whence it happens that a munion with God : he thinks no duty so reasonable, an obligation duty burdensome which is laid upon so authoritatively enjoined, a privihim by the great object of his ar- lege so enviable, should yet be aldent affections ; and he enjoys the most universally neglected. Why, humble consciousness that his ser- it may be asked, should it be nen vices, imperfect and worthless as cessary so frequently and earnestly they are in themselves, are merci. to insist upon love to God; why fully accepted by Him who can dis- should the Apostle pray in the text, cern the secrets of his heart, and that the hearts of those to whom to whom he appeals with St. Peter, he was writing should be directed “Lord, thou knowest all things, thou into it; when our reason and our knowest that I love thee.” Does affections, our hopes, our fears, and he labour to suppress every wrong our enjoyments, would seem all to desire, to bridle his tongue, and to unite to render it our constant wish guard his conduct? Does he en- and effort to live under the domi. deavour to live above the vanities nion of this blessed principle ? of life, to crucify the flesh with its 4. Let us then inquire, Why do affections and lusts, and to endure not all mankind love God ? It is not hardship as a good soldier of Jesus because they do not know that it is Christ? Does he wish and strive a duty; for this all will allow, and to be pure and heavenly minded; most will even acknowledge that it gentle and self-denying ; lowly in would be well for them if they comhis own eyes ; full of love to God plied with the command. But unand to his neighbour ; and in all happily their sins separate between things to adorn the doctrine of his them and God: they are alienated God and Saviour ? This is to him from bim by wicked works ; they no unwilling task ; for he delights set their affections upon rival obto do the will of his heavenly Fa- jects: they do not love his comther, whose law is in his heart as mands, because his commands are well as merely in his memory and holy, while they are deliberately atunderstanding. Such are the bless- tached to their own evil ways: they ed effects of this divine principle dread his threatenings; and even upon his character. And besides, his promises awaken in them no the presence of this principle fur- grateful emotions, because they are ther shews the genuineness of his conscious they belong not to them, Christian profession, of which love at least while they continue in their is the cardinal grace; and his meet- present ungodly state, which state ness for the heavenly world, where they have as yet no wish to change. love reigns in its best and brightest Here then is the solution of the dominion. The diffusion of this difficulty: man is a fallen and sinful grace in his heart also indicates not being, and he naturally delights in only his love to God, but God's his sinfulness; whereas God is inlove to him; for if we love God, it finitely holy, and of too pure eyes is because God first loved us. It to behold iniquity without abhorbrings him also within the sphere of rence. Like Adam, therefore, after the Divine declaration made “ to his transgression, the sinner would them that love God,” that all things gladly conceal himself from the eye shall work together for their good; of God: he dreads that omniscience and it proves his title to that "crown which discerns all his sins; that jusof life" which “ the Lord hath tice which threatens punishment on promised to them that love him.” account of them ; and that infinite

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