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deny him; and those who know, love, and serve the God of the Bible, the Father of Mercies. These divisions include, severally, “the darksouled atheist;" the blinded heathen; the deceived professor; and the enlightened saint. And when reading of these we entreat the reader not to turn his thoughts towards others, but to fix them upon himself, and to examine with all fidelity, to which of these classes he belongs. Perhaps thou wilt say thou believest there is a God; and if this be true thou doest well; but remember, the devils also believe and tremble. Thy soul would probably shudder at the blasphemy of the atheist, who employs the breath which is lent to him by God, only moment after moment to shout, “no God," in the face of millions of witnesses to the falsehood of his blasphemy; but didst thou ever tremble at the practical atheism of thine own heart, ever loath thyself for thine enmity against thy great benefactor ? Again, thou wilt say thou art not an heathen; certainly thou art not, for the blaze of eternal truth surrounds thee; but didst thou ever seriously consider that thy soul, if it should enter eternity unenlightened with the light of life, must for ever possess the dreadful consciousness of having " loved darkness rather than light ?" Hast thou hitherto remained unimpressed by the consideration, that the beams of the sun of truth which have shone upon thee and not upon the heathen, if they do not penetrate to thy soul so as to renew it in God's image, will render thy natural impurity and corruption more loathsome than that of the besotted heathen, and thy body, soul, and spirit fitter fuel than his for the fire of God's eternal wrath to feed upon ? Thou mayest congratulate thyself that thou dost not worship gods of gold, of wood, or of stone, but inquire of thyself, and let conscience make true answer, is thy soul prostrate before the shrine of mammon, of fashion, or of worldly pleasure, or does it rise in strong desires to God, thirsting for his presence, burning with zeal for his glory? În a word, what effect has that knowledge of God which thou possessest, produced in reference both to him and thyself? Is it life, life eternal ? John xvii. 3. Is it energy, is it bliss, life from God, life on God, life tending towards God? If thou canst indeed so affirm, then hath mercy visited thee, hath quickened thee together with Christ, and thou art and wilt still continue to be borne on mercy's almighty wings, through all thy pilgrimage here, and eventually, from all thy sorrows to the fruition of God in glory.
That God is, and that he is rich in mercy, are truths which to us as creatures, and as responsible and sinful creatures, are of immeasurable importance. The former, his works plainly declare; and to the latter, his word bears ample testimony. The universe furnishes not a more complete demonstration of his eternal power and Godhead, than does the word of truth of his boundless grace and everlasting mercy. What an atheist is amidst creation, with its thousand tongues proclaiming God's existence, that also is an unbeliever amidst the invitations and promises of God, making known his power and willingness to save. Both are monsters ; the aim of both is to blot out God's name to give God the lie;
and both must perish in their own deceivings. Only imagine a being, exhibiting in himself a thousand proofs of the divine skill and power, taking his stand on the brow of a mountain, and after gazing on the heavens above, and the earth beneath, lifting up his voice and saying, “ there is no God!" Fool, wouldst thou not say, look above thee, witness there orb after orb rolling majestically in unbounded space - look around thee, see every thing teeming with life, and mark the beauty and the harmony of the whole
- look within thee, doth not thine heart beat, and thy blood circulate within thy veins ? Arouse thy attention and deny if thou durst, that ten thousand thousand voices issuing from nature's wonders bear testimony to the falsehood and madness of thy assertion. Get thee down and “ go learn of the beasts, and they will teach thee, of the fowls of the air, and they will shew thee wisdom.” It would seem almost impossible to suppose another scene so humbling and distressing as that we have just contemplated; and yet such is human nature in its corrupted state, that it can and doth furnish in real life a spectacle equally grievous and humiliating. Such an exhibition is presented to the gaze of the universe in the existence of a sinner, who, although he hath a thousand times over been awakened to a sense of his responsibility, hath as many times quenched convictions, and stifled the witness within him, and still turns away with cool contempt from a book written with God's own finger of love, or cons it over with chill indifference, neither fearing its awful sanctions, nor welcoming its gracious announcements. Alas! what will such do in that day, when those awful words shall be fulfilled : “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him : the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." John xii. 48.
Whether man receive or reject the testimony of God, it is undeniably true that “God hath magnified his word above all his name," Psalm cxxxviii. 2; and as certainly as the starry firma. ment bears untiring witness to his creative power and excellence, despite of the ravings of the atheist; even so, not to say more, does the book of God give ceaseless utterance to his free, boundless grace and mercy, notwithstanding the pride and unbelief of man. The glowing arch of heaven, the teeming earth, the varied seasons, and the diversified kinds of creatures, all reveal God's name, and are eloquent in praise of his wisdom, power, and goodness; but when a voice within is heard, which saith, against this great being thou hast sinned, thou must meet him in judgment, and his power to destroy is as great as his power to create, then these glorious displays of God's name produce no joyous sensation, but become as it were shrouded under a pall of darkness, and the soul turns away despondingly from the otherwise lovely scene. Far different, however, is the effect, when in the midst of the whisperings of the upbraiding conscience, the mind is enabled to apprehend, in some faint measure, that more glorious discovery which Jehovah has made of his name in his Word that storehouse of mercy for trembling sinners - that volume of love on which is inscribed The GLORIOUS GLAD-TIDINGS OF THE BLESSED God. * Then the all-engrossing questions with the soul will be, can this glorious God receive sinners into his friendship ? Will the honors of his character and government permit him to pardon transgressors ? Is there a probability of my meeting the great Judge without being consumed by his wrath? And, when reading onward and diving more deeply into the word of God, the sinner finds that the one great object of that blessed book is to give full and satisfactory information on all these points, and to lead sinners like himself through the majestic portal of pardon, to the beauteous temple of holiness, there to possess and to reflect God's image, and herald his praises eternally, then he will humbly but exultingly sing, “ Thou hast (O God of love) magnificd thy word above all thy name. Boundless space is a shallow rivulet compared with the ocean of thine eternal mercy — the glorious sun is darkness compared with the more glorious cross and the stars lose their lustre when compared with the promises which glisten in the firmament of truth. O enable me henceforth to study nature with my Bible in my hand; • thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and thy
*“ Socrates doubted whether it were possible for God to forgive sin, and in my view expressed the real ultimatum of reason on this subject. The sins of men are so causeless, so numerous, and so great, as to leave a sober man solemnly considering this subject, little else beside a fearful looking for of judgment. To relieve this distress and despondency, the Bible comes to our aid, and holds out to our view the most unequivocal proofs, not only of the existence, but also of the extent of this divine attribute.” Dwight.