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and equally intelligible application to our | when this cordiality is turned, in one stream fellow-men. They, too, are the frequent of kindliness, towards myself; when the and familiar objects of this affection, and eye of friendship has singled out me, and they often are so, because they possess cer- looks at me with a peculiar graciousness; tain accomplishments of person and of cha- when the man of tenderness has pointed racter, by which it is excited. I love the his way to the abode of my suffering family, man whose every glance speaks an effusive and there shed in secrecy over them his cordiality towards those who are around liberalities, and his tears; when he has forhim. I love the man whose heart and given me the debt that I was unable to diswhose hand are ever open to the represen-charge; and when, oppressed as I am, by the tations of distress. I love the man who consciousness of having injured or reviled possesses such a softness of nature, that the him, he has nobly forgotten or overlooked imploring look of a brother in want, or of the whole provocation, and persists in a rea brother in pain, disarms him of all his gard that knows no abatement, in a well-, selfishness, and draws him out to some large doing that is never weary and willing surrender of generosity. I love There is an element, then, in the love I the man who carries on his aspect, not bear to a fellow man, which does not exist merely the expression of worth, but of in the love I bear to an inanimate object; worth maintained in the exercise of all its and which may serve, perhaps, to darken graces, under every variety of temptation the character of the affection I feel towards and discouragement; who, in the midst of the former. We most readily concede it, calumny, can act the warm and enlightened that the love of another, on account of the philanthropist; who, when beset with many virtues which adorn him, changes its moral provocations, can weather them all in calm character altogether, if it be a love to him, and settled endurance; who can be kind solely on account of the benefit which I deeven to the unthankful and the evil; and rive from the exercise of these virtues. I who, if he possess the awful virtues of truth should love compassion on its own account, and of justice, only heightens our attach- as well as on the account that it is I who ment the more, that he possesses goodness, have been the object of it. I should love and tenderness, and benignity along with justice on its own account, as well as on them.
the account that my grievances have been Now, we would have you to advert to redressed by the dispensation of it. On one capital distinction between the former looking at goodness, I should feel an affecand the latter class of objects. The inani- tion resting on this object, and finding there mate reflect no love upon us back again. ( its full and its terminating gratification; They do not single out any one of their ad- and that, though I had never stood in the mirers, and, by an act of preference, either way of any one of its beneficent operations. minister to his selfish appetite for esteem, How is it, then, that the special direction or minister to his selfish appetite for enjoy-of a moral virtue in another, towards the ment, by affording to him a larger share object of my personal benefit, operates in than to others, of their presence, and of all enhancing both the sensation which it imthe delights which their presence inspires. parts to my heart, and the estimate which I They remain motionless in their places, form of it? What is the peculiar quality comwithout will and without sensibility; and municated to my admiration of another's the homage they receive, is from the dis friendship, and another's goodness, by the interested affection which men bear to their circumstance of myself being the individual loveliness. They are loved, and that purely, towards whom that friendship is cherished, because they are lovely. There is no mix and in favour of whom, that goodness puts ture of selfishness in the affection that is of itself forth into active exertion? At the fered to them. They do not put on a sight of a benevolent man, there arises in sweeter smile to one man than to another; my bosom an instantaneous homage of rebut all the features of that beauty in which gard and of reverence;—but should that they are arrayed, stand inflexibly the same homage take a pointed direction towards to every beholder; and he, without any con- | myself, -should it realize its fruits on the scious mingling whatever of self-love, in comfort, and the security of my own perthe emotion with which he gazes at the son,-should it be employed in gladdening charms of some external scenery, is actu- my home, and spreading enjoyment over ated by a love towards it, which rests and my family, oppressed with want and pining which terminates on the objects that he is in sickness, there is, you will allow, by employed in contemplating.
these circumstances, a heightening of the But this is not always the case when our love and the admiration that I formerly fellow men are objects of this affection. I rendered him. And, we should like to know should love cordiality, and benevolence, and what is the precise character of the addition compassion for their own sakes; but let that has thus been given to my regard for your own experience tell how far more the virtue of benevolence. We should like sweetly and more intensely the love is felt, to know, if it be altogether a pure and a
praise-worthy accession that has thus come words, it may enhance my affection for
There is one way, however, in which emotions are, all of them, different in kind
may love goodness more than ever, on alas! in the degraded race of mankind, there its own account, since it has taken its spe was not one quality which could call forth cific way to my habitation, and that, just such an affection in the breast of the God. because I have obtained a nearer acquaint- / head. It was, when we were hateful to him ance with it. I mav love it better, because lin character, that in person and in interest I know it better. My affection for it may we were the objects of his most unbounded have become more intense, and more de- tenderness. It was, when we were enemies voted than before, because its beauty is now by wicked works, that God looked on with More fully unfolded to the eye of my ob-pity, and stretched forth, to his guilty chilservation than before. And thus, while we dren, the arms of offered reconciliation. It admit that the goodness of which I am the was when we had wandered far in the paths Object, originates within me certain feelings of worthlessness and alienation, that he dedifferent in kind from that which is excited vised a message of love, and sent his Son by goodness in the general, yet it may into our world, to seek and to save us. heighten the degree of this latter feeling And this, by the way, may serve to ilalso. It may kindle or augment the love Ilustrate the kind of love which we are rebear to moral virtue in itself; or, in other quired to bear to our enemies. We are re
quired to love them, in the same way in of kindness, when he cannot, from the nawhich God loves his enemies. A conscien- ture of the object, feel for us the slightest tious man will feel oppressed by the diffi- degree of the love of moral esteem. In the culty of such a precept, if he try to put it same manner may we feel, we are not say. into obedience, by loving those who have of- ing towards God, but towards an earthly fended, with the same feeling of complacency benefactor, the love of gratitude, when, from with which he loves those who have be- the nature of the object we are employed friended him. But the truth is, that the love in contemplating, there is much to impair of moral esteem often enters, as a principal within us the love of moral esteem, or to ingredient, into the love of complacency; extinguish it altogether. Is it not most naand we are not required, by our imitation tural to say of the man, who has been perof the Godhead, to entertain any such affec-sonally benevolent to myself, and who has, tion for the depraved and the worthless. It at the same time, disgraced himself, by his is enough, that we cherish towards them in vices, that, bad as he is, he has been at all our hearts the love of kindness; and this times remarkably kind to me, and felt many will be felt a far more practicable achieve- a movement of friendship towards my perment, than to force up the love of compla- son, and done many a deed of important cency into a bosom, revolted by the aspect service to my family, and that I, at least, of treachery, or dishonesty, or unprincipled owe him a gratitude for all this ---that I, at selfishness. There is no possible motive to least, should be longer than others, of disexcite the latter affection. There may be a missing from my bosom the last remainder thousand to excite the former : and we have of cordiality towards him,-that if, infamy only to look to the unhappy man in all his and poverty have followed, in the career of prospects, and in all his relations; we have his wickedness, and he have become an only to pity his delusions, and to view him outcast from the attentions of other men, it as the hapless victim of a sad and ruin is not for me to spurn him instantly from ous infatuation; we have only to carry our my door,-or, in the face of my particular eye onwards to the agonies of that death, recollections, to look unpitying and unwhich will shortly lay hold of him, and to | moved, at the wretchedness into which he compute the horrors of that eternity, wliich, has fallen. if not recovered from the error of his way, It is the more necessary, to distinguish he is about to enter; we have only, in a the love of gratitude from the love of moral word, to put forth an exercise of faith in esteem, that each of these affections may certain near and impending realities, the be excited simultaneously within me, by one evidence of which is altogether resistless, in act or by one exhibition of himself, on the order to summon up such motives, and such part of the Deity. Let me be made to unconsiderations, as may cause the compassion derstand, that God has passed by iny transof our nature to predominate over the re-gression, and generously admitted me into sentment of our nature: and as will assure the privileges and the rewards of obeto a believer the victory over such urgen-dience, I see in this a tenderness, and a cies of his constitution as, to the unrenewed mercy, and a love, for his creatures, which, heart, are utterly unconquerable.
if blended at the same time with all that is But to resume our argument, let it be ob- high and honourable in the more august served that the kindness of God is one of the attributes of his nature, have the effect of loveliest, and most estimable of the attri- presenting him to my mind, and of drawbutes which belong to him. It is a bright ing out my heart in moral regard to him, feature in that assemblage of excellencies, as a most amiable and estimable object of which enter into the character of the God contemplation. But besides this, there is a head: and, as such, independently altogether peculiar love of gratitude, excited by the of this kindness being exercised upon me, I consideration that I am the object of this should offer to it the homage of my moral benignity, -that I am one of the creatures approbation. But, should I be the special to whom he has directed this peculiar reand the signalized object of his kindness, gard,—that he has singled out me, and conthere is another sentiment towards God, beceived a gracious purpose towards me, and side the love of moral esteem, that ought to in the execution of this purpose is lavishing be formed within me by that circumstance, upon my person, the blessings of a father's and which, in the business of reasoning, care, and a father's tenderness. Both the should be kept apart from it. There is the love of moral esteem, and the love of gratilove of gratitude. These often go together, tude, may thus be in contemporaneous opand may be felt simultaneously, towards eration within me; and it will be seen to the one being we are employed in contem- accomplish a practical, as well as a metaplating. But they are just as distinct, each physical purpose, to keep the one apart from the other, as is the love of moral es- (from the other, in the view of the mind, teem from the love of kindness. We trust when love towards God is the topic of specthat we have already convinced you, that ulation which engages it. God feels towards us, his inferiors, the love! But, farther, let it be understood, that the
love of gratitude differs from the love of knowledgment of them; and so it may be,
do we perceive the one pointed to, as the And, indeed, when the same Being com- instrument for the production of the other. bines, in his own person, that which ought "Keep yourselves in the love of God, buildto excite the love of moral esteem, with ing yourselves up on your most holy faith. that which ought to excite the love of grati- | And here, it ought to be remarked, that a tude, -the two ingredients, enter with a man may experience a mental process, and mingled but harmonious concurrence, into yet have no taste or no understanding for the exercise of one compound affection. It the explanation of it. The simple truths of Is true, that the more appropriate offering the Gospel, may enter with acceptance into of the former is the offering of praise, the mind of a peasant, and there work all just as when one looks to the beauties of the proper influences on his heart and ehanature, he breaks out into a rapturous ac-racter, which the Bible ascribes to them: and
yet he may be utterly incapable of tracing theory of his faculties. It is well, that the that series of inward movements, by which simple preaching of the Gospel has its right he is carried onward from a belief in the practical operation on men, who make no truth, to all those moral and affectionate re- attempt whatever, to comprehend the metagards, which mark a genuine disciple of the physics of the operation. But, if ever truth. He may be the actual subject of these metaphysics be employed to darken the movements, though altogether unable to sol- freeness of the Gospel offer, or to dethrone low or to analyze them. This is not pecu- faith from the supremacy which belongs to liar to the judgments or the feelings of it, or to forbid the approaches of those Christianity. In the matters of ordinary whom God has not forbidden; then must it life, a man may judge sagaciously, and feel be met upon its own ground, and the real correctly while ardently ;-and experience, character of our beneficent religion be asin right and natural order, the play of his serted, amid the attempts of those who have various faculties, without having it at all in in any way obscured or injured it by their his power, either to frame or to follow a true illustrations.
Gratitude, not a sordid Affection.
“We love him, because he first loved us." --1 John iv. 19.
SOME theologians have exacted from an their contemplation from the objects which inquirer, at the very outset of his conver- are fitted to inspire it. In other words, sion, that he should carry in his heart what they have hesitated to entertain the free ofthey call the disinterested love of God. fers of salvation, and misinterpreted all the They have set him on the most painful ef-tokens of an embassy, which has proclaimforts to acquire this affection,--and that too, ed peace on earth and good will to men. before he was in circumstances in which it They think that all which they can possiwas at all possible to entertain it. They bly gather, in the way of affection, from have led him to view with suspicion the such a contemplation, is the love of gratilove of gratitude, as having in it a taint of tude; and that gratitude is selfishness; and selfishness. They are for having him to that selfishness is not a gracious affection ; love God, and that on the single ground and that ere they be surely and soundly that he is lovely, without any reference to converted, the love they bear to God must his own comfort, or even to his own safety. be of a totally disinterested character; and Strange demand which they make on a thus through another medium than that of sentient being, that even amidst the fears a free and gratuitous dispensation of kindand the images of destruction, he should ness, do they strive, by a misunderstood · find room in his heart for the love of com- gospel, or without the gospel altogether, to placency! and equally strange demand to reach a peace and a preparation which we make on a sinful being, that ere he admit fear, in their way of it, is to sinners utterly such a sense of reconciliation into his bo- unattainable. som, as will instantly call forth a grateful! In the progress of this discourse let us regard to him who has conferred it, he endeavour, in the first place, to rescue the must view God with a disinterested affec- love of gratitude from the imputations tion; that from the deep and helpless abyss which have been preferred against it--and of his depravity, he must find, unaided, his secondly, to assign to the love of kindness ascending way to the purest and the sub- manifested to the world in the gospel, and limest emotion of moral nature; that ere to the faith by which that love is made to he is delivered from fear he must love, even arise in the heart, the place and the prethough it be said of love, that it casteth out eminence which belong to them. sear; and that ere he is placed on the van- I. The proper object of the love of gratitage ground of the peace of the Gospel, he tude, is the being who has exercised towards must realize on his character, one of the me the love of kindness; and this is more most exalted of its perfections.
correct than to say, that the proper object The effect of all this on many an anxious of this affection is the being who has conseeker after rest, has been most discouraging. ferred benefits upon me. I can conceive With the stigma that has been affixed to the another to load me with benefactions, and love of gratitude, they have been positively at the same time, to evince that kindness apprehensive of the inroads of this affec- towards me was not the principle which tion, and have studiously averted the eye of limpelled him. It may be done reluctantly