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object we turn, there is love, because there is God; in the air we breathe, the light we enjoy, the food we partake of; in the first formation and structure of our bodies, as well as in their daily and hourly preservation. The same God of love “ whose tender mercy is over all his works,” upholds the frame of the universe, and sustains the sparrow's flight. The same glori. ous attribute which expands itself throughout the regions of infinite space, contracts itself also to the cradle of the infant. But it is in the page of Revelation, in those nearer though transcendent discoveries which He has made known of himself as a God of Grace, “reconciling the world to himself,” that we know, and feel, we intimately appropriate, and devoutly acknowledge, “ with angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven,” that “great love wherewith He hath loved us.” Without extending our conjectures to distant worlds, or enquiring what designs of love and mercy, God has vouchsafed to, or may yet have in store for, them; of this we are assured, this truth our faith confirms to us, every feeling of our renewed nature attests and realizes, that God hath so loved us, so identified himself (if I may so speak,) with us his fallen ereatures, as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. To search the stores of nature, inexhaustible as they are, for a God of love, for proofs of that truth which strictly belongs to, and has been reserved for revelation to make known to men, is to begin our enquiries where we ought rather to end them. In nature, as I before observed, we see indeed this principle every where displayed. In revelation we feel it. There we recognise it: here we appropriate it. Natural arguments inform the under-standing: the truths of revelation convert the heart. The former leave us little better than they find us, assimilate not with our fallen and corrupt nature. Here, “ we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Man,' fallen, alienated, weak man, can never properly magnify the Lord, till his spirit can rejoice in God his Saviour; as a God of love in his son Jesus Christ, pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin. Whereas, with this key of revelation in his hand, and faith in his heart, the christian appropriates whatever of love he beholds so lavishly displayed throughout the wonderful works of God. He sees all things with new eyes, and sweetly attuned affections. « The love of God in Christ being shed abroad in his heart by he Spirit,” every feeling and sentiment of his
renewed nature is in unison with the yoice of joy and melody as resounded by the whole creation of God. « God is love" becomes, through the hopes and promises of the gospel, that string within his breast which vibrates and responds to , the voice of nature. Hence the language and feelings of the inspired David are strictly and exclusively the true Christian's—“ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his Holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies. He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgres. sions from us." To worship a God of nature, rather than a God of grace, is to the unrenewed man, to worship a God of wrath, rather than a God of love. To admire Him in his works of creation, vast and wondrous as they are, and to overlook Him as even more wondrously made known, and scripturally revealed to himself, “ the chiefest of sinners ;” what is this but to follow the light of a taper, rather than that of
the sun : to “grope in noon-day as in the night," when Christ “ the true light shineth?"
As Christians, then, and not Deists, let us more particularly enquire, First, into the nature of that proof which the gospel furnishes for the doctrine contained in the text: and, Secondly, endeavour to enforce and apply the practical conclusion drawn therefrom by the holy Evangelist.
I. “God is love. In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Before we can form any just notions of this manifestation of the love of God in Christ Jesus, we must have a thorough knowledge of the cir. cumstances, and condition of the object which called it forth. These are implied in the above expressions used by St. John, namely, “ that we might live through Him;" and, “ that he sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” The apostle to the Ephesians, has joined together these two particulars : “ You,” says he, " hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses ind sins." The object then of God's highest nd last manifestation of love, was man; man in a state of death, and enmity with God. But it is from the Epistle to the Romans, that we derive the fullest information respecting the fall and restoration of our race. There we are told, that “ all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” By one man's offence death reigned by one.” “ By one man's disobedience many were made sinners.” “ Death passed upon all men, for all have sinned.” Words lamentably explicit, lamentably descriptive of that dire and dismal change which sin introduced into the noblest work of God—for immortality, death : death, properly so called, and as the penalty of sin, as well as a seal of, and prelude to, that death of the soul, and eternal banishment from God, styled by this same evangelist, in the Revelations, “ the second death.” Nor were the moral effects of man's transgression less ruinous. The heart and affections became depraved, and alienated from God, as was to be expected in persons in a state of guilt, and sealed up to condemnation. The understanding became darkened, incapacitated for knowing God, or distinguishing properly good from evil. The will was perverted, and incapable of rising to the author of all good. The stream of the affections was polluted with sin, at its very source, and prone to follow the