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my salvation. The Lord God is, my strengths. Thus blessed is the man, O God, whom thou cauleft to approach unto thee". To God, therefore, let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith'.
9 Hab, iii. 17, 19.
' Psalm lxv. 4.
Hleb, x, 22,
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is
In the preceding verses we are told that a young lawyer, with a view either to inform himself of the knowledge and abilities of Jesus, as an instructor, or to obtain some answer which might give occasion to traduce him to the people, asks him this question; Master, which is the great commandment in the law? The words which I have now read, contain our Saviour's reply, which is so agreeable to reason, and to the express doctrine recorded in the Old Testament, that, as we fee from the parallel place in the evangelist Mark, this young man, who seems not to have been destitute of candour and ingenuity, freely owned its truth, and ap
plauded Jesus for it. I need scarcely inform any of you, that these expressions of loving God with all our heart, with all our foul, and with all our mind, are only intended to denote the warmth, the vigour, and the steadiness of the affection. But though the precept be very easily understood, and though Christians are ever ready to join in this inquiry, and to say, Master, thou hast answered well; yet it must be acknowledged, that many of those who call themselves Chriftians, feldom seriously consider its high importance among the precepts of religion,
They rarely feel the force of the principle which it inculcates actuating their hearts ; and, consequently, are strangers to its powerful and extensive influence. In discourting, therefore, from these words, I shall, ift, show the reasonableness, and endeavour to impress your hearts with a sense of the duty here commanded, love to God.
2dly, I shall consider some of the reasons, on account of which the precept enjoining it may be termed the first and great commandment.
First, I propose to shew the reasonableness, and to endeavour to impress your hearts
with a sense of the duty here commanded, love to God. When we consider the constitution of the human mind, we must acknowledge, that whatever is upon the whole conformable to that constitution, is reasonable. The indulgence of human desire is only then wrong and unreasonable, when the defire is perverted, or when the indulgence is forbidden by some power or faculty, which is superior or more excellent. Now love is one of the affections of the soul, one of those original principles which man has received from the hand of his Creator. Its natural and proper object is whatever is good, amiable, or worthy in character. The observation of such qualities necessarily excites this affection; and when exercised upon there, the most exalted and divine powers of the mind consent in giving it their sanction.
When we observe any person remarkable for integrity, or any person whose delight is to do good, and to spread happiness, is it in our power to with-hold our approbation? Is not our love a tribute, which we are obliged to pay? When Job fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and administered confolation to the distressed; when, in his
own expressive language, he became eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame“, how natural was it, that love and admiration should prompt the young and the old to join in blessing him; and how readily do the same sensations spring up in our breasts when we read his history? The king who is willing to die, if his people be büt fpared; the hero who bravely sacrifices his life for his country; the patriot whose constant toils are employed to save a sinking land, are, even fupposing the influence of their actions should not extend to us, the genuine objects of love and veneration.
But by the appointment of Providence our affections are most strongly excited by objects with which we have the most immediate connexion. Where goodness or worth appear to be exercised for promoting our advantage, they most quickly raise, and most firmly attach our love.
Have you the happiness of possessing one whom the world calls your friend, and whose actions correspond to that sacred name; who Thares, and by sharing redoubles your joys ;
Job xxix. 15,