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submission to the will of his heavenly Father, yet freely and voluntarily, generously and disinterestedly. And if we feel as we ought, the value of such grace and favour, conferred at such an expense, and from such motives, our warm and grateful affections, thus excited, will not rest till they reach the summit of goodness, of glory and of bliss-the pure, eternal, inexhaustible source of light and love, in the contemplation, enjoyment and adoration of whom we hope they will be employed through eternal ages.
I shall close the subject with an inference or two. 1. We may gather, from the very terms and tenor of the first and second commandments, the utter improbability that it should be true, as is sometimes asserted, that our nature is "made opposite to all good, and prone to all evil, and that continually." Would our Maker have commanded us to walk without having given us feet, or insisted upon our seeing without having formed the eye? With as much reason might he have done these, as expect us to love supreme excellence, and to be grateful for distinguishing favours, if we had been naturally incapable of exercising these virtuous and amiable affections.
My friends, this is a mistaken representation of human nature; although it must be confessed that it has some lamentable defect when it can find gratification in drawing such a distorted picture of itself. It has, doubtless, its wants and its weaknesses, which Christianity was intended to supply and to cure-But how?-If it be said that almighty and supernatural grace works in us that instantaneous change by which we become what we were not before, or that we are of the number chosen from all eternity to holiness and happiness, it is obvious to reply, that either of these
supposed cases is utterly inconsistent, both with coinmand and obedience, for they imply the nonexistence of that free agency without which law would be an absolute nullity-a term without a meaning. The divine operation in this case, is not that of irresistible power or capricious partiality, but of measures consistent with justice and mercy, and adapted to the faculties of rational beings, by calls, invitations, promises and hopes-by faithful warnings, and representations of the opposite consequences of a virtuous and a vicious course of conduct. But I correct myself I admit the interference of an influence, hard if not impossible to be resisted-for how can it be, that a creature, made for immortal existence and endless happiness, should deliberately choose to consider himself as utterly disqualified for any bonourable or laudable exertions-as averse from moral beauty or excellence-as dead to every ingenuous feeling, and as capable of, and inclined to, every thing shocking and detestable? No! let it rather be believed that when bodily infirmities do not prevent, he CANNOT resist the united, the benign, the sweetlyconstraining impulse of parental authority, unmerited love, boundless mercy, unceasing beneficence; inspiring sentiments and inciting to actions the most generous, commendable, lovely and of good reportthus opening all the sources from whence flow the purest joy, the most durable pleasure, and that peace which passeth understanding, and whereby the man is exalted to the nearest resemblance of his Creator. We may infer,
2. That if our love to God is to be supreme, and religious worship be one of the proper expressions of
that love, such worship ought to be addressed to him alone.
We bow in all things to the prescriptions of Christ, as the authorised expositor of the Divine will. He has given everlasting permanency to the first and great commandment of the law; and has also recognised the validity of the parallel precept, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." In perfect consistency therewith, he taught and practised the worship of the Father; himself claiming no titles or honours that were in reality divine, or that he might not lawfully receive as a prophet and messenger of the Most High; nor did his apostles afterwards speak of him in any terms but such as well became his exaltation at God's right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour. Let none then condemn us that we dare not divide our religious adoration any more than our supreme love, between the Lord our God and any other being whomsoever. Most cordially do we wish-most fervently do we pray, that the time may soon arrive, when in the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess him to be Lord, but primarily and expressly to the glory of God the Father Almighty,
who is above all, and through all, and in all,”—For "THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD."-Unto him therefore be ascribed the kingdom, the power, the glory and the praise, for ever and ever. Amen.
THE DIVINE BEING CONSIDERED UNDER THE METAPHOR OF LIGHT, AND AS THE FOUNTAIN OF NATURAL AND REVEALED LIGHT.
GENESIS, i. 3.
God said let there be light—and there was light-
compared with 2 Cor. iv. 6.
God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ
and 1 John, i. 5.
God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
If we could travel backward in imagination to the period when the materials which compose the planet we inhabit were a rude and shapeless mass"dark, waste, and wild, beneath the frown of night," -we might form some adequate conception of the glorious, the amazing scene which presented itself, when, after confusion had been reduced to order by the silent, but irresistible energy of the divine spirit, the veil was all at once withdrawn, and the "rising birth of nature" was beheld advancing towards the perfection of beauty and harmony. An effect so instantaneous, wrought by power so far beyond comprehension, it is impossible, by any effort of human language, to describe in terms equally expressive, as
in that simple and concise, but truly sublime and majestic sentence- God said-let there be light-and there was light." If, again, we could, with the fine imagination of a Milton, figure to ourselves an human being, in the full possession and maturity of his bodily and mental powers, but an entire stranger to this material system, at once introduced to a view of the illuminated face of nature, what a flood of delight and astonishment would rush upon his senses! In what a rapturous perturbation would they, for a while, wander from object to object! One however, would, ere long, powerfully and principally arrest his attention-even that BRILLIANT ORB which seems to look from his sole dominion" like the sovereign dispenser of life and joy. And if, divinely instructed, he should rise from the contemplation of created glory to the Great Maker himself in goodness and in power pre-eminent," "invisible, or but dimly seen in these his lowest works," how must he be lost in wonder, love, and praise !"
When, through the corruption and degeneracy of mankind, the knowledge of Him to whom religious homage exclusively belongs, was lost, that which was paid to the host of heaven was certainly the least inexcusable and absurd. The indispensable necessity of their influences, particularly those of the Sun, to human existence and comfort, yet so far beyond the reach of human controul, seemed to call for every thing that gratitude could pay, or supplication procure, for their continuance. When, by slow degrees, the intellect of man began to return towards the original state of dignity from which it had fallen, and to exercise that wonderful faculty it possesses of giving force and impression to abstract ideas by the aid