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quired to love them, in the same way in / of kindness, when he cannot, from the 18which 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 sarinto 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 osten 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 bis is enough, that we cherish towards them in vices, that, bad as he is, he has been at al our hearts the love of kindness; and this times remarkably kind to me, and felt many will be selt a far more practicable achieve- a movement of friendship towards my pero ment, 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, ai 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 is, infamos 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, which, 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 mar 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 my 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 obe to 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 inind, 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,
moral esteem, not merely in the cause which when one looks to the venerable, and the immediately originates it, but also in the lovely in the character of God. The more object, in which it finds its rest and its grati- appropriate offering of the latter, is the offerfication. It is the kindness of another being ing of thanksgiving, or of such services as to myself, which originates within me the are fitted to please, and to gratify a bene‘ove of gratitude towards him; and it is the factor. But still it may be observed, how view of what is morally estimable in this each of these simple affections tends to exbeing, that originates within me all the love press itself, by the very act which more of moral esteem, that I entertain for him. characteristically marks the workings of There is a real distinction of cause between the other; or, how the more appropriate these two affections, and there is also between offering of the first of them, may be promptthem a real distinction of object. The love ed under the impulse, and movement of of moral esteem finds its complacent grati- the second of them, and conversely. For, fication, in the act of dwelling contempla- if I love God because of his perfections, tively on that Being, by whom it is excited; what principle can more powerfully or more just as a tasteful enthusiast inhales delight directly lead to the imitation of them ?from the act of gazing on the charms of which is the very service that he requires, some external scenery. The pleasure he and the very offering that he is most receives, emanates directly upon his mind, pleased with. And, if I love God because from the forms of beauty and of loveliness, of his goodness to me, what is more fitted which are around him. And if, instead of to prompt my every exertion, in the way a taste for the beauties of nature, there ex-of spreading the honours of his character ists within him, a taste for the beauties of and of his name among my fellows,holiness, then will he love the Being, who and, for this purpose, to magnify in their presents to the eye of his contemplation the hearing the glories and the attributes of his fullest assemblage of them, and his taste nature? It is thus that the voice of praise will find its complacent gratification in and the voice of gratitude may enter into dwelling upon him, whether as an object of one song of adoration; and that whilst the thought, or as an object of perception. “One Psalmist, at one time, gives thanks to God thing have I desired," says the Psalmist, at the remembrance of his holiness, he, at "that I may dwell in the house of the Lord another, pours forth praise at the rememall the days of my life, to behold the beauty brance of his mercies. of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple." To have the love of gratitude towards Now, the love of gratitude is distinct from God, it is essential that we know and bethis in its object. It is excited by the love lieve his love of kindness towards us. To of kindness; and the feeling which is thus have the love of moral esteem towards him, excited, is just a feeling of kindness back it is essential that the loveliness of his charagain. It is kindness begetting kindness. acter be in the eye of the mind : or, in other The language of this affection is, “What words, that the mind keep itself in steady shall I render unto the Lord for all his bene- and believing contemplation of the excelfits ?” He has done what is pleasing and lencies which belong to him. The view gratifying to me. What shall I do to please, that we have of God, is just as much in the and to gratify him? The love of gratitude order of precedency to the affection that we seeks for answers to this question, and finds entertain for him, as any two successive its delight in acting upon them, and whether steps can be, in any of the processes of our the answer be,-this is the will of God, even mental constitution. To obtain the introyour sanctification,-or, with the sacrifices duction of love into the heart, there must, of liberality God is well pleased, --or, obe-as a preparatory circumstance, be the indience to parents is well pleasing in his troduction of knowledge into the undersight,-these all point out so many lines of standing; or, as we can never be said to conduct, to which the impulse of the love know what we do not believe-ere we have of gratitude would carry us, and attest this love, we must have faith; and, accordingly, in to be the love of God, that ye keep his the passage from which our text is extracted, commandments.
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 coinpound affection. It the explanation of it. The simple truths of 18 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 juist as when one looks to the beauties of the proper influences on his heart and chanature, he breaks out into a rapturous ac- 1 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 ihat series of inward movements, by which simple preaching of the Gospel has its rigtit 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 fol- 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 lillustrations,
Gratitude, not a sordid Affection.
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 of they 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, be 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 affectior 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 impelled him. It may be done reluctantly
at the bidding of another, or it may be done secret charm which so heightens and so multo serve some interested purpose, or it may tiplies the pleasure of all the members of it; be done to parade his generosity before the and, when transported from earth to heaven, eye of the public. If it be not done from they will still feel, that while it is to the a real principle of kindness to myself, I may benefits which God hath conferred that they take his gifts, and I may find enjoyment in owe the possession and all the privileges of the use of them ; but I feel no gratitude to-existence; it is to a sense of the love which wards the dispenser of them. Unless I see prompted these benefits, that they will owe his kindness in them, I will not be grateful. the ecstatic charm of their immortality. It It is true, that, in point of fact, gratitude is the beaming kindness of God upon them, often springs from the rendering of a bene- that will put their souls into the liveliest fit; but, lest we should confound things transports of gratitude and joy; and it is the which are different, let it be well observed, reciprocation of this kindness on the part of that this is only when the benefit serves as those, who, while they have fellowship with the indication of a kind purpose, or of a the Father, and with the Son, have fellowkind affection, on the part of him who hath ship also with one another, that will cause the granted it. And this may be proved, not joy of heaven to be full. merely by showing, that there may be no The distinction which we are now adgratitude where there is a benefit, but also verting to, is something more than a mere by showing, that there may be gratitude shadowy refinement of speculation. It may where there is no material benefit what- be realized on the most trodden and ordierer. Just let the naked principle of kind- nary path of human experience, and is, in ness discover itself, and though it have nei- fact, one of the most familiar exhibitions of ther the power, nor the opportunity of genuine and unsophisticated nature in those coming forth with the dispensation of any ranks of society where refinement is unservice, it is striking to observe, how, upon known. Let one man go over any given the bare existence of this affection being district of the city fully fraught with the known, it is met by a grateful feeling, on materiel of benevolence; let him be the the part of him to whom it is directed; and agent of some munificent subscription, and what mighty augmentations may be given with nothing in his heart but just such in this way, to the stock of enjoyment, and affections, and such jealousies, and such that, by the mere reciprocation of kindness thoughtful anxieties, about a right and equibegetting kindness. For, to send the expres- table division, as belong to the general spirit sion of this kindness into another's bosom, of his office; let him leave some substantial it is not always necessary to do it on the deposit with each of the families; and then vehicle of positive donation. It may be compute, if he can, the quantity of gratitude conveyed by a look of benevolence; and which he carries away with him. It were thus it is, that by the mere feeling of cor- a most unkind reflection on the lower orders, diality, a tide of happiness may be made to and not more unkind than untrue, to deny circulate throughout all the individuals of that there will be the mingling of some an assembled company. Or it may be done gratitude, along with the clamour, and the by a very slight and passing attention, and envy, and the discontent, which are ever sure thus it is, that the cheap services of courte- to follow in the train of such a ministration. ousness, may spread such a charm over the It is not to discredit the poor, that we introface of a neighbourhood. Or it may be done duce our present observation; but to bring by the very poorest member of human so- out, if possible, into broad and luminous exciety; and thus it is, that the ready and sin-hibition, one of the finest sensibilities which cere homage of attachment from such a man, adorns them. It is to let you know the may beam a truer felicity upon me, and high cast of character of which they are call forth a livelier gratitude to him who capable; and how the glow of pleasure has conferred it, than some splendid act of which arises in their bosoms, when the eye patronage on the part of a superior. Or it of simple affection beams upon their permay be done by a Christian visiter in some sons, or upon their habitations, may not have of the humblest of our city lanes, who, without one single taint of sordidness to debase it. one penny to bestow on the children of want, And to prove this, just let another man go may spread among them the simple con- over the same district, and in the train of viction of her good will, and call down upon the former visitation; conceive him unbacked her person the voice of thankfulness and of by any publie institution, to have nothing in blessing from all their habitations. And his hand that might not be absorbed by the thus it is, that by good will creating good needs of a single family, but that, utterly will, a pure and gladdening influence will destitute as he is of the materiel, he has a at length go abroad over the face of our heart charged and overflowing with the world, and mankind will be made to know whole morale of benevolence. Just let him the might and the mystery of that tie which go forth among the people, without one is to bind them together into one family, other recommendation than an honest and and they will rejoice in the power of that I undissembled good will to them; and let this good will manifest its existence, in any ling gratitude, may be made to circulate one of the thousand ways, by which it may throughout all our dwelling-places; is, in a be authenticated; and whether it be by the word, while they prosess to serve the poor, cordiality of his manners, or by his sympa- they could be led to respect the poor, to do thy with their griefs, or by the nameless at- homage to that fineness of moral temperatentions and offices of civility, or by the ment which belongs to them, and which higher aim of that kindness which points to hitherto seems to have escaped, altogether, the welfare of their immortality, and evinces the eye of civil or political superintendence; its reality by its ready and unwearied ser- | and they may rest assured, that let them vices among the young, or the sick, or the give as much in the shape of munificence dying; just let them be satisfied of the one as they will, if they add not the love to the fact, that he is their friend, and that all their liberality of the Gospel, they will never joys and all their sorrows are his own; he soften one feature of unkindness, or chase inay be struggling with hardships and ne-away one exasperated feeling, from the cessities as the poorest of them all; but poor hearts of a neglected population. as they are, they know what is in his heart, But, beside the degree of purity in which and well do they know how to value it; and this principle may exist among the most from the voice of welcome, which meets destitute of our species, it is also of importhim in the very humblest of their tenements; ance to mark the degree of strength, in and from the smile of that heartfelt enjoy- which it actually exists among the most dement, which his presence is ever sure to praved of our species. And, on this subject, awaken, and from the influence of gracious- do we think that the venerable HOWARD ness which he carries along with him into has bequeathed to us a most siriking and every house, and by which he lights up an valuable observation. You know the his honest emotion of thankfulness in the bosom tory of this man's enterprises; how his doof every family, may we gather the existings, and his observations, were among the ence of a power, which worth alone, and veriest outcasts of humanity,-how he de without the accompaniment of wealth, can scended into prison houses, and there made bestow; a power to sweeten and subdue, himself familiar with all that could most and tranquillize, which no money can pur- revolt or terrify, in the exhibition of our chase, which no patronage can create. fallen nature; how, for this purpose, he
It will be readily acknowledged by all, made the tour of Europe; but instead of that the most precious object in the manage- walking in the footsteps of other travellers, ment of a town, is to establish the reign of he toiled his painful and persevering way happiness and contentment among those through these receptacles of worthlessness; who live in it. And it is interesting to mark -and, sound experimentalist as he was, did the operations of those, who, without advert- he treasure up the phenomena of our naing to the principle that I now insist upon, ture, throughout all the stages of misforthink that all is to be achieved by the beg- tune, or depravity. We may well conceive garly elements which enter into the arith- the scenes of moral desolation that would metic of ordinary business; who rear their often meet his eye; and that, as he looked goodly scheme upon the basis of sums and to the hard, and dauntless, and defying computations; and think that by an over- aspect of criminality before him, he would whelming discharge of the materiel of be- sicken in despair of ever finding one remnevolence, they will reach an accomplish-nant of a purer and better principle, by ment which the morale of benevolence, which he might lay hold of these unhappy alone is equal to. We are sure that it is not men, and convert them into the willing and to mortify our men of grave, and official, the consenting agents of their own amelioand calculating experience, that we tell ration. And yet such a principle he found, them, how, with all their strength, and all and found it, as he tells us, after years of their sagacity, they have only given their intercourse, as the fruit of his greater exmoney for that which is not meat, and perience, and his longer observation; and their labour for that which satisfieth not. gives, as the result of it, that convicts, and It is to illustrate a principle of our common that among the most desperate of them all, nature, so obvious, that to be recognized, it are not ungovernable, and that there is a needs only to be spoken of. And it were way of managing even them, and that the well, if in so doing their thoughts could be way is, without relaxing, in one iota, from led to the instrumentality of this principle, the steadiness of a calm and resolute discias the only way, in which they can redeem pline, to treat them with tenderness, and to the failures of their by-gone experience; if show them that you have humanity; and they could be convinced, that the agents of thus a principle, of itself so beautiful, that a zealous and affectionate Christianity can to expatiate upon it, gives in the eyes of alone do what all the influence of municipal some, an air of fantastic declamation to our weight and municipal wisdom cannot do; argument, is actually deponed to, by an aged if they could be taught what the ministra- and most sagacious observer. It is the very tions are, by which a pure and a respond- I principle of our text; and it would appear