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sions of Nature—even that which obtains between faith and salvation. He who believeth in Christ, shall not perish, but shall have life everlasting. The same truth which God hath embarked on the declarations of his wrath against the impenitent, he hath also embarked on the declarations of his mercy to the believer. There is a law of continuity, as unfailing as any series of events in Nature, that binds with the present state of an obstinate sinner upon earth, all the horrors of his future wretchedness in hell—but there is also another law of continuity just as unfailing, that binds the present state of him who putteth faith in Christ here, with the triumphs and the transports of his coming glory hereafter. And thus it is, that what we read of God’s constancy in the book of Nature, may well strengthen our every assurance in the promises of the gospel. It is not in the recurrence of winter alone, and its desolations, that God manifests his adherence to established processes. There are many periodic evolutions of the bright and the beautiful along the march of his administrations—as the dawn of morn; and the grateful access of spring, with its many hues, and odours, and melodies; and the ripened abundance of harvest; and that glorious arch of heaven, which science hath now appropriated as her own, but which nevertheless is placed there by God as the unfailing token of a sunshine already begun, and a storm now ended—all these come forth at appointed seasons, in a consecutive order, yet mark the footsteps of a beneficent Deity. And so the economy of grace has its regular successions, which carry, however, a blessing in their train. The faith in Christ, to which we are invited upon earth, has its sure result and its landing-place in heaven—and just with as unerring certainty as we behold in the courses of the firmament, will it be followed up by a life of virtue, and a death of hope, and a resurrection of joyfulness, and a voice of welcome at the judgment-seat, and a bright ascent into fields of ethereal blessedness, and an entrance upon glory, and a perpetual occupation in the city of the living God. To all men hath he given a faith in the constancy of Nature, and he never disappoints it. To some men hath he given a faith in the promises of the gospel, and he is ready to bestow it upon all who ask, or to perfect that which is lacking in it—and the one faith will as surely meet with its corresponding fulfilment as the other. The invariableness that reigns throughout the kingdom of Nature, guarantees the like invariableness in the kingdom of grace. He who is steadfast to all his appointments, will be true to all his declarations—and those very exhibitions of a strict and undeviating order in our universe, which have ministered to the irreligion of a spurious philoso
phy, form a basis on which the believer can prop a firmer confidence than before, in all the spoken and all the written testimonies of God. With a man of taste, and imagination, and science, and who is withal a disciple of the Lord Jesus, such an argument as this must shed a new interest and glory over his whole contemplation of visible things. He knows of his Saviour, that by him all things were made, and that by him too all things are upholden. The world, in fact, was created by that Being whose name is the Word, and from the features that are imprinted on the one, may he gather some of the leading characteristics of the other. More expressly will he infer from that sure and established order of Nature, in which the whole family of mankind are comprehended, that the more special family of believers are indeed encircled within the bond of a sure and a well-ordered covenant. In those beauteous regularities by which the one economy is marked, will he be led to recognise the “yea” and the “amen” which are stamped on the other economy—and when he learns that the certainties of science are unfailing, does he also learn that the sayings of Scripture are unalterable. Both he knows to emanate from the same source; and every new experience of Nature's constancy, will just rivet him more tenaciously than before to the doctrine and the declarations of his Bible. Furnished with such a method of interpretation as this, let him go abroad upon Nature, and all that he sees will heighten and establish the hopes which Revelation hath awakened. Every recurrence of the same phenomena as before, will be to him a distinct testimony to the faithfulness of God. The very hours will bear witness to it. The lengthening shades of even will repeat the lesson held out to him by the light of early day—and when night unveils to his eye the many splendours of the firmament, will every traveller on his circuit there, speak to him of that mighty and invisible King, all whose ordinations are sure. And this manifestation from the face of heaven, will be reflected to him by the panorama upon earth. Even the buds which come forth at their appointed season on the leafless branches; and the springing up of the flowers and the herbage, on the spots of ground from which they had disappeared; and that month of vocal harmony wherewith the mute atmosphere is gladdened as before, with the notes of joyous festival; and so, the regular march of the advancing year through all its footsteps of revival, and progress, and maturity, and decay—these are to him but the diversified tokens of a God whom he can trust, because of a God who changeth not. To his eyes, the world refleets upon the word the lesson of its own wondrous harmony; and his science, in
stead of a meteor that lures him from the greater light of revelation, serves him as a pedestal on which the stability of Scripture is more firmly upholden. The man who is accustomed to view aright the uniformity of Nature's sequences, will be more impressed with the certainty of that sequence which is announced in the Bible between faith and salvation—and he, of all others, should re-assure his hopes of immortality, when he reads, that the end of our faith is the salvation of our souls. In this secure and wealthy place, let him take up his rest, and rejoice himself greatly with that God who has so multiplied upon him the evidences of his faithfulness. Let him henceforth feel that he is in the hands of one who never deviates, and who cannot lie—and who, as he never by one act of caprice, hath mocked the dependence that is built on the foundation of human experience, so, never by one act of treachery, will he mock the dependence that is built on the foundation of the divine testimony. And more particularly, let him think of Christ, who hath all the promises in his hand, that to him also all power has been committed in heaven and in earth—and that presiding therefore, as he does, over that visible administration, of which constancy is the unfailing attribute, he by this hath given us the best pledge of a truth that abideth the same, to-day, and yesterday, and for ever. We are aware, that no argument can of itself work in you the faith of the Gospel— that words and reasons, and illustrations, may be multiplied without end, and yet be of no efficacy—that is the simple manifestation of the Spirit be withheld, the expounder of Scripture, and of all its analogies with creation or Providence, will lose his labour —and while it is his part to prosecute these to the uttermost, yet nought will he find more surely and experimentally true, than that without a special interposition of light from on high, he runneth in vain, and wearieth himself in vain. It is for him to ply the instrument, it is for God to give unto it the power which availeth. We are told of Christ, on his throne of mediatorship, that he hath all the energies of Nature at command, and up to this hour do we know with what a steady and unsaltering hand he hath wielded them. Look to the
promise as equally steadfast, of “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”—and come even now to his own appointed ordinance in the like confidence of a fellowship with him, as you would to any of the scenes or ordinations of Nature, and in the confidence that there the Lord of Nature will prove himself the same that He has ever been.” The blood that was announced many centuries ago to cleanse from all sin, cleanseth still. The body which hath borne in all past ages the iniquity of believers, beareth it still. That faith which appropriates Christ and all the benefits of his purchase, to the soul, still performs the same office. And that magnificent economy of Nature which was established at the first, and so abideth, is but the symbol of that higher economy of grace which continueth to this day according to all its ordinances. “Whosoever eateth my flesh, and drink. eth my blood,” says the Saviour, “shall never die.” When you sit down at his table, you eat the bread, and you drink the wine by which these are represented—and if this be done worthily, if there be a right correspondence between the hand and the heart in this sacramental service, then by faith do you receive the benefits of the shed blood, and the broken body; and your so doing will as surely as any succession takes place in the instituted courses of Nature, be sol: lowed up by your blessed immortality. And the brighter your hopes of glory hereafler, the holier will you be in all your acts and affections here. The character even now will receive a tinge from the prospect that is before you—and the habitual anticipation of heaven will bring down both of its charily and its sacredness upon your heart. . He who hath this hope in him purifieth him. self even as Christ is pure—and even from the present, is a true approach to the gate of his sanctuary, will you carry a portion of his spirit away with M. In partaking of these, his consecrated elements, you be come partakers of his gentleness and deo tion, and unwearied beneficence—and be: cause like him in time, you will live with him through eternity.
• This sermon was delivered on the morning's a Communion Sabbath.
The expulsive Power of a new Affection.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”—l John ii. 15.
THERE are two ways in which a practical moralist may attempt to displace from the human heart its love of the world—
, either by a demonstration of the world’s
| vanity, so as that the heart shall be pre
vailed upon simply to withdraw its regards from an object that is not worthy of it; or, by setting forth another object, even God, as more worthy of its attachment, so as that the heart shall be prevailed upon not to resign an old affection, which shall have nothing to succeed it, but to exchange an old affection for a new one. My purpose is to show, that from the constitution of our nature, the former method is altogether incompetent and ineffectual—and that the latter method will alone suslice for the rescue and recovery of the heart from the wrong affection that domineers over it. Aster having accomplished this purpose, I shall attempt a few practical observations.
Love may be regarded in two different conditions. The first is, when its object is at a distance, and then it becomes love in a state of desire. The second is, when its object is in possession, and then it becomes love in a state of indulgence. Under the impulse of desire, man feels himself urged onward in some path or pursuit of activity for its gratification. The faculties of his mind are put into busy exercise. In the steady direction of one great and engrossing interest, his attention is recalled from the many reveries into which it might otherwise have wandered; and the powers of his body are forced away from an indolence in which it else might have languished; and that time is crowded with occupation, which but for some object of keen and devoted ambition, might have drivelled along in successive hours of weariness and distaste— and though hope does not always enliven, and success does not always crown this career of exertion, yet in the midst of this very variety, and with the alternations of occasional disappointment, is the machinery of the whole man kept in a sort of congenial play, and upholden in that tone and temper which are most agreeable to it. Insomuch, that if through the extirpation of that desire which forms the originating principle of all this movement, the machinery were to stop, and to receive no impulse from another desire substituted in its place, the man would be left with all his propensities to action, in a state of most painful and unnatural abandonment. A
sensitive being suffers, and is in violence, is, aster having i. rested from his fatigue, or been relieved from his pain, he continue in possession of powers without any excitement to these powers; if he pos. sess a capacity of desire without having an object of desire; or if he have a spare energy upon his person, without a counterpart, and without a stimulus to call it into operation. The misery of such a condition is often realized by him who is retired from business, or who is retired from law, or who is even retired from the occupations of the chase, and of the gaming table. Such is the demand of our nature for an object in pursuit, that no accumulation of previous success can extinguish it—and thus it is, that the most prosperous merchant, and the most victorious general, and the most fortunate gamester, when the labour of their respective vocations has come to a close, are often found to languish in the midst of all their acquisitions, as if out of their kindred and rejoicing element. It is quite in vain with such a constitutional appetite for employment in man, to attempt cutting away from him the spring or the principle of one employment, without providing him with another. The whole heart and habit will rise in resistance against such an undertaking. The else unoccupied female, who spends the hours of every evening at some play of hazard, knows as well as you, that the pecuniary gain, or the honourable triumph of a successful contest, are altogether paltry. It is not such a demonstration of vanity as this that will force her away from her dear and delightsul occupation. The
habit cannot so be displaced, as to leave
nothing but a negative and cheerless vacancy behind it—though it may so be supplanted as to be followed up by another habit of employment, to which the power of some new affection has constrained her. It is willingly suspended, for example, on any single evening, should the time that wont to be allotted to gaming, require to be spent on the preparations of an approaching assembly. The ascendant power of a second affection will do, what no exposition, however forcible, of the folly and worthlessness of the first, ever could effectuate. And it is the same in the great world. , You never will be able to arrest any of its leading pursuits, by a naked demonstration, of their vanity. It is quite in vain to think of stop
ping one of these pursuits in any way else, but by sthmulating to another. In attempting to bring a worldly man, intent and busied with the prosecution of his objects, to a dead stand, you have not merely to encounter the charm which he annexes to these objects—but you have to encounter the pleasure which he feels in the very prosecution of them. It is not enough, then, that you dissipate the charm, by your moral, and eloquent, and affecting exposure of its illusiveness. You must address to the ye of his mind another object, with a harm powerful enough to dispossess the first of its influence, and to engage him in some other prosecution as full of interest, and hope, and congenial activity, as the former. It is this which stamps an impotency on all moral and pathetic declamation about the insignificance of the world. A man will no more consent to the misery of being without an object, because that object is a trisle, or of being without a pursuit, because that pursuit terminates in some frivolous or fugitive acquirement, than he will voluntarily submit himself to the torture, because that torture is to be of short duration. If to be without desire and without exertion altogether, is a state of violence and discomfort, then the present desire, with its correspondent train of exertion, is not to be got rid of simply by destroying it. It must be by substituting another desire, sand another line or habit of exertion in its 'place—and the most effectual way of withdrawing the mind from one object, is not
| by turning it away upon desolate and un
peopled vacancy—but by presenting to its regards another object still more alluring. These remarks apply not merely to love considered in its state of desire for an object not yet obtained. They apply also to love considered in its state of indulgence, or placid gratification, with an object already in possession. It is seldom that any of our tastes are made to disappear by a mere process of natural extinction. At ieast, it is very seldom that this is done through the instrumentality of reasoning. it may be done by excessive pampering— but it is almost never done by the more force of mental determination. But what cannot be thus destroyed, may be dispossessed—and one taste may be made to give way to another, and to lose its power entirely as the reigning affection of the mind. It is thus, that the boy ceases, at length, to be the slave of his appetite, but it is because a manlier taste has now brought it into subordination—and that the youth ceases to idolize pleasure, but it is because the idol of wealth has become the stronger and gotten the ascendency—and that even the love of money ceases to have the mastery over the heart of many a thriving citizen, but it is because drawn into the whirl of city poli
tics, another affection has been wrought into his moral system, and he is now lorded over by the love of power. There is not one of these transformations in which the heart is left without an object. Its desire for one particular object may be conquered; but as to its desire for having some one object or other, this is unconquerable. Its adhesion to that on which it has fastened the preference of its regards, cannot willingly be overcome by the rending away of a simple separation. It can be done only by the application of something else, to which it may feel the adhesion of a still stronger and more powerful preference. Such is the grasping tendency of the human heart, that it must have a something to lay hold of—and which, if wrested away without the substitution of another something in its place, would leave a void and a vacancy as painful to the mind, as hunger
sessed of one object, or of any, but it cannot be desolated of all. Let there be breathing and a sensitive heart, but without a liking and without affinity to any of the things that are around it, and in a state of cheerless abandonment, it would be alive to nothing but the burden of its own consciousness, and feel it to be intolerable. It would make no difference to its owner, whether he dwelt in the midst of a gay and goodly world, or placed afar beyond the outskirts of creation, he dwelt a soli unit in dark and unpeopled nothingness. The heart must have something to cling to —and never, by its own voluntary consent, will it so denude itself of all its attachments, that there shall not be one remaining object that can draw or solicit it. The misery of a heart thus berest of all relish for that which wont to minister enjoyment, is strikingly exemplified in those, who, satiated with indulgence, have been so belaboured, as it were, with the variety and the poignancy of the pleasurable sensations that they have experienced, that they are at length fatigued out of all capacity for sensation whatever. The disease of ennui is more frequent in the French metropolis, where amusement is more exclusively the occupation of higher classes, than it is in the British metropolis, where the longings of the heart are more diversified by the resources of business and politics. There are the votaries of fashion, who, in this way, have at length become the victims of fashionable excess—in whom the very multitude of their enjoyments, has at last extinguished their power of enjoyment—who, with the gratifications of art and nature at command, now look upon all that is around them with an eye of tastelessness—who, plied with the delights of sense and of splendour even to weariness, and incapable of higher delights, have come
is to the natural system. It may be os o
to the end of all their perfection, and like Solomon of old, found it to be vanity and vexation. The man whose heart has thus been turned into a desert, can vouch for the insupportable languor which must ensue, when one assection is thus plucked away from the bosom, without another to replace it. It is not necessary that a man receive pain from any thing, in order to become miserable. It is barely enough that he looks with distaste to every thing—and in that asylum which is the repository of minds out of joint, and where the organ of feeling as well as the organ of intellect, has been impaired, it is not in the cell of loud and frantic outcries where you will meet with the acme of mental suffering. But that is the individual who outpeers in wretchedness all his fellows, who throughout the whole expanse of nature and society, meets not an object that has at all the power to detain or to interest him; who neither in earth beneath, nor in heaven above, knows of a single charin to which his heart can send forth one desirous or responding movement; to whom the world, in his eye a vast and empty desolation, has left him nothing but his own consciousness to feed upon—dead to all that is without him, and alive to nothing but to the load of his own torpid and useless existence. It will now be seen, perhaps, why it is that the heart keeps by its present affections with so much tenacity—when the attempt is, to do them away by a more process of extirpation. It will not consent to be so desolated. The strong man, whose dwelling-place is there, may be compelled to give way to another occupier—but unless another stronger than he, has power to dispossess and to succeed him, he will keep his present lodgment inviolable. The heart would revolt against its own emptiness. It could not bear to be so left in a state of waste and cheerless insipidity. The moralist who tries such a process of dispossession as this upon the heart, is thwarted at every step by the recoil of its own mechanism. You have all heard that Nature abhors a vacuum. Such at least is the nature of the heart, that though the room which is in it may change one inmate for another, it cannot be left void without the pain of most intolerable suffering. It is not enough then to argue the folly of an existing affection. It is not enough, in the terms of a forcible or an affecting demonstration, to make good the evanescence of its object. It may not even be enough to associate the threats and terrors of some coming vengeance, with the indulgence of it. The heart may still resist the every application, by obedience to which it would finally be conducted to a state so much at war with all its appetites as that of downright inanition. So to tear away an affection from the heart, as to leave
it bare of all its regards, and of all its preferences, were a hard and hopeless undertaking—and it would appear as if..the alone powerful engine of dispossession, were to bring the mastery of another assection to bear upon it. We know not a more sweeping interdict upon the affections of Nature, than that which is delivered by the Apostle in the verse before us. To bid a man into whom there is not yet entered the great and ascendant influence of the principle of regeneration, to bid him withdraw his love from all the things that are in the world, is to bid him give up all the affections that are in his heart. The world is the all of a natural man. He has not a taste, nor a desire, that points not to a something placed within the confines of its visible horizon. He loves nothing above it, and he cares for nothing beyond it; and to bid him love not the world, is to pass a sentence of expulsion on all the inmates of his bosom. To estimate the magnitude and the difficulty of such a surrender, let us only think that it were just as arduous to prevail on him not to love wealth, which is but one of the things in the world, as to prevail on him to set wilful fire to his own property. This he might do with sore and painful reluctance, if he saw that the salvation of his life hung upon it. But this he would do willingly, if he saw that a new property of tenfold value was instantly to emerge from the wreck of the old one. In this case there is something more than the mere displacement of an affection. There is the overbearing of one affection by another. But to desolate his heart of all love for the things of the world, without the substitution of any love in its place, were to him a process of as unnatural violence, as to destroy all the things he has in the world, and give him nothing in their room. So that, if to love not the world be indispensable to one's Christianity, then the crucifixion of the old man is not too strong a term to mark that transition in his history, when all old things are done away, and all things are become new. We hope that by this time, you understand the impotency of a mere demonstration of this world’s insignificance. Its sole practical effect, is it had any, would be to leave the heart in a state which to every heart is insupportable, and that is a mere state of nakedness and negation. You may remember the fond and unbroken tenacity with which your heart has often recurred to pursuits, over the utter frivolity of which it sighed and wept but yesterday. The arithmetic of your short-lived days, may on Sabbath make the clearest impression upon your understanding—and from his fancied bed of death, may the preacher cause a voice to descend in rebuke and