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tuous nature, a single, indivisible disposition exists, and operates. This disposition is the Love, required by the divine law; the Love, which St. Paul declares to be the fulfilling of the Law: not Love, of various kinds; not a train of dispositions, diversified in their nature, and springing up, successively, as new objects are presented to the mind: but Love, of exactly the same nature, diversified only by being exercised towards different oljects. This disposition is the only real excellence of mind. There is no ultimate good, but happiness; and no disposition originally good, but that which rejoices in it, and voluntarily promotes it. Benevolence is, therefore, the only original excellence of mind; and is the foundation of all the real excellence of Complacency and Gratitude ; which are only subordinate forms, or exercises, of the same character. 7thly. A higher, nobler, state of being is enjoyed by him, who loves God, than can possibly be enjoyed by any other. God is the Origin, and Residence, of all that is great, or good, in the universe. All other greatness and goodness are mere emanations from the greatness and goodness of Jehovah. To have no delight in these glorious attributes, boundlessly existing in the Infinite Mind, is to be destitute of the noblest and best of all views and affections; of affections and views, fitted in their own nature to improve, ennoble, refine, and enrapture, the mind; and to form it into a most honourable resemblance to the Sum of all perfection. Without this disposition, we are sinners; enemies to God; spots in his kingdom; and nuisances to the universe: , are debased, guilty, and hateful, here; and shall be endlessly guilty and miserable hereafter. 8thly. In this manner we obey God. God, whose we are, and whom we are bound to serve, has been pleased to express his pleasure to the Intelligent universe in these two commands. He, who published them, is our Maker, our Preserver, and our Benefactor. We are his property; created by his hand; formed for his use; made for his glory. His right to dispose of us according to his pleasure is, therefore, supreme; an such as cannot be questioned. It is a right, of course, which, although so exercised, as to demand of us very great, and long-continued self-denial, is ever to be submissively, patiently, and cheerfully, acknowledged by us. Whatever God is pleased to require us to do, or to suffer, we are to do with delight, and suffer with absolute resignation. I do not mean, that we can be required, either with justice or propriety, to do, or to suffer, any thing which is unjust or wrong. To require this of Intelligent creatures, is literally impossible for a Mind infinitely perfect. But I mean, that whatever this perfect and great Being actually requires, we are absolutely bound to do, or suffer, in this manner. At the same time, it is a source of unceasing satisfaction and delight, to discern, from the nature of the subject itself, that all,
which is actually required, is holy, just, and good; supremely honourable to Him, and supremely beneficial to his Intelligent creatures. This, I flatter myself, has been sufficiently shown in this and the preceding discourses. It is delightful, while we are employed in obeying God, to perceive immediately, that our conduct is in all respects desirable ; the most desirable, the most amiable, the most delightful, of all possible conduct: in a word, the only conduct, which really deserves these epithets.
Obedience to a parent, possessed of Fo wisdom and goodness, is, to every dutiful child, delightful in itself; not only, when the thing, required by him, is in its own nature pleasing; but also when it is j and even when it is difficult and painful.— The pleasure, enjoyed, is in a great measure independent of that which is done; and consists, primarily, in the delightful nature of those affections, which are exercised in obeying, and in the satisfaction of pleasing Him, whom we obey, by the respect and love, manifested in our obedience. The Parent of the universe is possessed of infinite wisdom and £o. To please him, therefore, is supremely desirable and delightful. But the only conduct, in which we can possibly please him, is our obedience; and our only obedience is to love him with all the heart, and our neighbour as ourselves.
Thus, whether we regard ourselves, and wish to be virtuous, excellent, honourable, and happy; or whether we regard our feldow-creatures, and wish to render them happy; to unite with them in a pure and eternal friendship; to receive unceasingly their esteem and kind offices; and to add our efforts to theirs for the promotion of the universal good; or whether we regard God; and desire to obey, to please, and to glorify Him; to coincide voluntarily with the designs, formed by his boundless wisdom and goodness; and to advance with our own cordial exertions the j and immortal ends, which he is accomplishing; we shall make it our chief object to love the Lord, our God, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and with all the understanding.
The LAW OF GOD.--THE FIRST AND GREAT COMMANDMENT.ReVERENCE OF GOD.
Job xxviii. 28.-And unto man he said, The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.
IN the last discourse, I examined the Nature of Love to God, as manifested in those three great exercises of it, which are commonly spoken of under this name: viz. Benevolence, Complacency, and Gratitude. I shall now consider another exercise of this affection, of sufficient magnitude to claim a particular discussion in a system of Theology. This is Reverence to the same glorious Being.
#. Context is an eulogium on Wisdom; uttered in the noblest spirit of poetry. After describing, in a variety of particulars, the surprising effects of human ingenuity, and declaring, that, extraordinary as these may seem, the ingenuity, which has produced them, is utterly insufficient to discover the nature of this glorious attainment; Job asserts its value to be greater than any, and than all, the most precious things, which this world contains. . In this state of human insufficiency, he informs us, God was pleased to interfere, and by a direct Revelation to declare to man, that the fear of the Lord is Wisdom, and to depart from evil is Understanding. By Wian, throughout the Scriptures, in the common language of such men as understand the meaning of their own language, is universally intended that Conduct, in which the best Means are selected to accomplish the best Ends; or the Spirit, which chooses these Ends, and selects these Means for their accomplishment. In the former case, the name refers to the Conduct only; in the latter, to the Character. The best of all Ends, which it is possible for Intelligent creatures to pursue, is the combined and perfectly coincident one of glorifying God, and promoting the good of the universe. The Spirit, with which this is done in the only effectual manner, is that, which is here styled the Fear of the Lord. The Means, by which it is done, are i. the Spirit itself, in its various exercises and operations; and partly extraneous Means, devised, and employed, by the same Spirit.
Ásubordinate, but still very important, end, which is, or ought to be, proposed to himself by every Intelligent creature, and for which the most efficacious means ought to be employed by him, is
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his own Eternal Happiness. The Fear of the Lord is equally Wisdom, in this view; as being the only disposition, which can either be happy in itself, or receive its proper reward from God. Every person, who has read the Scriptures of the Old Testament, must have observed, that this phrase, the Fear of the Lord, and others substantially involving the same words, as well as the same meaning, are oftener used to denote the moral character, which is acceptable to God, than any, perhaps than all, other phrases whatever. It must, also, have struck every such reader, that this phrase is often used to denote all moral excellence; particularly, that supreme branch of this excellence, which is denominated Piety. This is plainly the drift of the text; and of many other corresponding passages of Scripture. Thus it is said, The Fear of the Lord is the beginning, or the chief part, of Wisdom. Psalm cri. 10. The Fear of the Lord is a fountain of life. Prov. xiv. 27. The Fear of the Lord is his treasure. Is. xxxiii. 6. In these, and a multitude of other, declarations, of a similar import, it is plainly indicated, that the Fear of the Lord is the sum, and substance, of that morally excellent character, which is the object of the divine complacency. It must, at the same time, be equally obvious to every attentive reader of the Bible, that Love to God has, there, exactly the same character: being, in the language of St. Paul, the fulfilling of the law ; and in that of St. John, the same thing, as being born of God and knowing God; in the sense, in which such knowledge is declared by our Saviour to be life eternal. But there are not two distinct moral characters, severally thus excellent; thus the objects of the divine complacency, and the foundations of eternal life. Moral excellence is one thing ; and moral beings have but one character, which recommends #. to God. As this is thus differently spoken of under the names of the Love of God, and the Fear of God, both in the Old and New Testament; it is sufficiently evident to a mind, even slightly attentive, that the Fear of God, and Love of God, are but one character, appearing under different modifications. Accordingly saints, or holy persons, are spoken of sometimes as those who fear God, and sometimes as those who love God: each of these exercises being considered as involving the other; and both, as parts only of one character. That this view of the subject is perfectly just, is easily explained by a consideration of its Nature. There are two totally distinct exercises, which in the Scriptures, as well as in common language, are denoted by Fearing God; which may be called Dread, and Reverence. The former of these emotions is that, which is experienced by men, conscious of their guilt, feeling that they have merited the anger of God, and realizing the danger of suffer. ing from his hand the punishment of their sins. In this it is plain, that there can be no moral excellence. All that can be said in
favour of it is, that it may serve as a check to sin; and prove, among other means, useful to bring sinners to repentance. In itself it is mere terror; and in the language of the Scriptures only makes us subject to bondage. The . of these emotions is a compound of Fear and love, usually styled Reverence; and is often that exercise of the mind, in which its whole attachment is exerted towards God. Fear, in this sense, is a strong apprehension of the greatness, and the purity, of God, excited in the mind of a person, who loves him supremely. A lively example of a similar emotion is presented to us by the reverence, with which a dutiful child regards a highly respected Earthly Parent. Accordingly, the fear of God, in this sense, is commonly styled filial; in the former sense, it is often termed servile or slavish; as being of the same nature with the dread, which a mercenary servant stands in of an imperious master. It is perfectly evident, that the distinction between these two emotions is founded entirely on the character of those, by whom they are severally exercised. Reverence to God is experienced only by those who love him; and is plainly the fear, exercised by an affectionate mind only. Were Love the only character of the inind, Dread could not possibly find a place in it. There is no fear in love, says St. John ; but perfect }. casteth out fear. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. As Christians in this world are not made perfect in love; the fear, spoken of in this passage, viz. that which I have called dread, is, in greater or less degrees, experienced by them. . Wicked men are incapable of reverencing God; and only feel a dread of his anger and of punishment. The Reverence, which is the immediate subject of consideration, ordinarily exists in the mind of a good man, whenever his contemplations are turned towards the Creator, or towards those objects, which are peculiarly his and in which he is peculiarly seen. It is a steady, solemn, and delightful awe, excited in the mind by every view which it takes of the perfections, and operations of this great and glorious Being. In our contemplations, on his Character, He himself becomes immediately the object of our thoughts. In all other cases we see him through the medium of his works, his word, or his ordinances. In all these, and in these alone, are we able to discern his real character. In all these we behold him awfully great, and wise, and good. In his Works, we are witnesses of that boundless benevolence which chose, that boundless knowledge which contrived, and that boundless power which produced, their existence; all of them seen, daily, in j. lace, and in every object. It is impossible for the mind, whic is not totally destitute of Piety, to behold the sublime, the awful, the amazing, works of Creation and Providence; the heavens with their luminaries, the mountains, the ocean, the storm, the earthquake, and the volcano: the circuit of the seasons, and the revolutions of empire; without marking in them all the mighty