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come the character of God. Many of them may be mysterious, and inexplicable; because the nature of the subjects may be such, as to transcend the human comprehension, or lie beyond the reach of human investigation. There are subjects, also, of which it may be necessary to know a part; and that part, though sufficiently dis. closed, if considered by itself only, may yet be connected with others, whose existence it will indicate, but whose nature it will not at all disclose. When subjects of this kind are presented to us, we may, if we are disposed to inquire into them extensively, be easily perplexed, and easily lost. But whatever is revealed must consist with the character of God; or it cannot be admitted as a Revelation. Some things also, con. tained in a real Revelation, must be plainly worthy of their Author, and not, merely, not unworthy; must be honourable to his charac. ter; superior to the discoveries of the human mind; and such, as cannot be reasonably believed to have been the inventions of men. Perfectly correspondent with all these remarks is the Law, under contemplation. This truth will advantageously appear by a comparison of it with the most perfect human laws. I . select for this purpose those of Great Britain. The statute laws of that kingdom are contained, if I mistake not, in about eighteen or twenty folio, or about fifty octavo, volumes. The common, or as it is sometimes styled the unwritten law, occupies a number of volumes far greater. To understand them is a work of deep science; the employment of the first human talents; and the labour of a life. The great body of them can never be known by the generality of men; and must, therefore, be very imperfect rules of their conduct. In the mean time, multitudes of cases are continually occurring, which they do not reach at all. Those, which they actually reach, they affect in many instances injuriously; and in many more, imperfectly. The system of happiness, which they propose, is extremely defective; a bare state of tolerable convenience; and even that, attended with many abatements. They also extend their influence only to a speck of earth, and a moment of time. Yet these laws were devised, reviewed, and amended, by persons of the first human consideration for learning and wisdom. The Law, which we have been examining, is comprised in two commands only: is so short; so intelligible; so capable of being remembered, and applied, as to be perfectly fitted to the understanding, and use, of every Moral being. At the same time, it is so comprehensive, as to reach, perfectly, every possible moral acti to preclude every wrong, and to secure every right. It is o fitted to men and angels, to earth and heaven. Its control extends with the same ão, and felicity, to all worlds, and to all periods. It governs the Universe; it reaches through Eternity. The system of happiness, proposed, and accomplished, by
it, is perfect, endless, and for ever progressive. Must not candour, must not prejudice itself, confess, with the Magicians of Egypt, that here is the finger of God?
But if this is from God, the Scriptures must be acknowledged to have the same origin. In the Scriptures alone is this Law contained. , Nay, the Scriptures themselves are, chiefly, this Law, expanded into more minute precepts, and more multiplied applications; enforced by happy comments, and illustrated by useful examples; especially the Example presented to us in the perfect and glorious life of the Son of God.
THE LAW OF GOD.--THE FIRST AND GREAT commANDMENT.LOVE TO GOD,
Manx zii. 28–30.-4nd one of the Scribes came, and, having heard them reasoning together, and perceived that he had answered them well, asked him, which is the First Commandment of all 2. And Jesus answered him, the First of all the Commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord; and ihou shalf lore the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength : This is the First Commandment.
IN the last discourse, I made a number of general observations on the Perfection of the divine law. I shall now proceed to consider, somewhat more particularly, the Nature and Import of the First and Greatest Commandment of that Law; the Command, which regulates our Piety to God. In the text we are informed, that a Scribe, a Man learned in the Scriptures, and accustomed to expound them to others, pleased with Christ's refutation of the Sadducees, and the proofs which he had unanswerably given of a future existence, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all ” that is, the first in rank, obligation, and importance. Christ, quoting Deut. vi. 4, informs him, that the first command, in this sense, is, Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. In this command, it is to be observed, there is one thing only required; and that is Love. It is, however, Love in a comprehensive sense; including several exercises of the mind, easily, and customarily, distinguished from each other; as might, indeed, be naturally expected from the o of the Command. It is further to be observed, that the Love, here enjoined, is required to exist in such a degree, as to occupy the whole heart, the whole soul, the whole mind, and the whole strength. The word, here rendered soul, seems originally to have been used to denote the principle of animal life, and to have been commonly used in this sense by the Greeks; as the two o: s of their respective languages were by the Jews and Romans. The word, translated mind, is commonly used to denote the understanding ; and seems plainly to have been used in this manner here; since the Scribe expresses this as the meaning of it in his answer. The import of . command may, then, be stated thus. Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, with all thine vnderstanding, and with all thy strength, throughout all thy life. In other words, we are required, under the influence of this dis
position, to devote, throughout our lives, all our faculties, and ser-
good, which is begun in the work of Creation, and will be completed in the work of Providence: or, in other words, his Sufficiency for accomplishing, the Certainly that he will accomplish, and off. accomplishment of a perfect system of good. This is an object, infinitely desirable to the Divine Mind. Were it to fail; this desire would be ungratified; and the Divine Mind would be proportionally unhappy. To this it o be objected, as it often has been, that “this doctrine makes God dependent for his happiness on his creatures.” This objection is a mistake. #. doctrine involves no such dependence. . The independence of God consists not at all in the fact, that he will be happy, whether his designs will be accomplished or not; but in his Sufficiency for the absolute accomplishment of them all; and in the absolute certainty, that they will be thus accomplished. His Power, Wisdom, and Godness are this sufficiency; and yield him intuitive certainty of this accomplishment. These things constitute the most perfect possible Independence. Were God without desires; had he no choice, no pleasure; he could enjoy no happiness. Were he unable to fulfil his pleasure, or uncertain . it would be fulfilled; he would be dependent. But, according to this statement, his happiness and his independence are . absolute. The designs of God are infinitely desirable, because they involve the display of his infinite perfections, in their perfect exercise, and in the accomplishment of a perfect system of Good. In this manner they present to us the most glorious of all objects, operating in the most glorious manner to the production of the most glorious purpose. This object is, with the highest evidence, infinitely desirable and delightful. At the same time, the happiness, which God enjoys in the exercise of his perfections, and in the accomplishment of this divine End, is a happiness not only infinitely desirable and delightful to himself, but desirable in the same manner to all Intelligent creatures. All Intelligent creatures, pos: sessed of real benevolence, cannot fail to rejoice, that God is, and ever will be, thus infinitely happy; that these glorious designs will certainly be accomplished; that he will ever thus act; and that he will ever find infinite enjoyment in thus acting. . It is as truly desirable, that God should be thus happy, as it is that any of his Intelligent creatures should be happy; and as much more desirable, as he is happier than they. But to delight in this happiness is to exercise towards God the benevolence of the §. I flatter myself, that to exercise this benevolence has been amply proved to be an unquestionable and supreme duty of man. 2dly. Love to God is Complacency in his Character. . . It has been shown in several former discourses, that God is * in other words, he is infinitely disposed to ol. III. 9