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tears from thine eyes, where thy renewed spirit will be clothed with angelic purity, and feel, without any shade of mortal infirmity or doubt, the deep impression of the Goodness and the Love of God !—These, my brethren, are the considerations which seem the most conducive to awaken in our hearts that love of God which our Saviour declares to be the leading principle of Christian virtue. However feebly I have been enabled to suggest them to you, there can be none more deserving of your meditation, as there is no method by which we can be so powerfully led to love God, as from perceiving that “ God is love," and that “he hath first loved us.”
I am well aware that there are many avocations which tend to deaden this great principle in the human soul. The common business of the world, we all know, leads us away from higher views : I fear, likewise, that we all know the influence of vices and infirmities, in darkening the light of Piety in our hearts. Yet, surely, it is in our power to cultivate habits of Religious reflection—to open our eyes to the spectacle of love and goodness which is ever before us—to see the beneficence of God in the winning aspects of nature, in the course of our own lives, in the history of human affairs, in the grand discoveries of Revelation. Such meditations, so far from interfering with the business of the world, give to it a colouring of light and animation, while they connect together by the bond of Religion, the detached and insulated appearances of earthly things, and show that the least exertions, as well as the greatest, co-operate in the same splendid scheme of Heaven to the ultimate good of creation. There are hours, too, when the world need not occupy us.
There are hours when, in the public services of devotion, we are called to go into the gates of God's House“ with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise.” There are hours, likewise, of private piety, when we “may commune with our own heart and be still!" These hours naturally awaken the emotions of prayer and praise, and all that is required of us is to render these regular and habitual. Give scope, then, to those heavenly aspirations and practices of piety. They will raise you above the lowness and the pollutions of time, they will give you a foretaste of the perfections of eternity,-and, connected with the simplicity and uprightness of
a good life, they will enable you, in the beautiful expression of Scripture, to "walk with God," and to look to Him, almost as to a familiar Friend. It is then that, feeling our own hearts in unison with all that is good and gracious in the Divine dispensations, we are satisfied that “ God is love,” and are enabled to love in return “the Lord our God, with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind.”
ON THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.*
PROVERBS, ix. 10.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding
The impression of Intelligence in the universe, so superior to every thing that is called man, has been deeply felt by the human mind in every age; and wherever it is felt, it at once lays claim to be the governing principle of our being, to which all our inquiries and actions must ultimately be referred. In an unenlightened condition of the world, the sentiment of Fear, in the common acceptation of the word,
* Preached at the opening of the Session of College.
as implying blind terror and alarm, is the prevailing aspect of religious sentiment; but, under the dominion of Reason and Revelation, this fear of irresistible Power gives place to the veneration and sacred awe with which we conceive ourselves as ever in the presence of a Wise and Holy Being—all whose laws are directed to the good and highest happiness of his creatures. There can be no doubt, in such a view, that to carry this impression upon our minds is the best preservative against all moral disorders, and the greatest incitement to pure and elevated virtue. It is, therefore, the beginning of moral wisdom. We cannot raise our notions of excellence in conduct sufficiently high without it. There is no ultimate end to which we can aim, sufficiently distinct and comprehensive, to come in the room of Religious sentiment and belief; and it is only when we consider ourselves as acting in the sight of God, and refer all our conduct to His tribunal as our Lawgiver and Judge, that we can hope to act with that simplicity and dignity which can alone carry us happily and honourably through life. This sentiment, then, in a general view, at all times demands our serious meditation ; and more especially so