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the other two refer. It is that moral condition of the soul, which it is the aim and purpose of all things to produce.
2. Love is a SOCIAL grace, while faith and hope are exercised in reference to ourselves. We believe and hope, with an immediate regard to our own happiness; but in the exercise of love, we regard the happiness of mankind. Christian charity is a constant efflux of benevolent feeling, from the pure fountain of a heart devoted to the well-being of our species; faith and hope are the channels by which we receive the streams of peace and joy, from the fullness of God. By the latter, we are recipients of happiness; by the former, we are its distributors; by believing, we rejoice; by loving, we awaken the joys of others by one, we become the heirs of salvation, who are ministered to by angels; by the other, we become ministering angels in our turn, What a philanthropist must that man be, who cultivates, and carries to even a tolerable perfection, the disposition so beautifully described in this chapter, and who displays all its properties in his intercourse with society: how must such an indi'vidual bless all with whom he has to do; as he pursues his holy career, sorrow is alleviated, care is mitigated, want supplied, wickedness reformed by his efforts: the groans of creation are hushed, and the tears of humanity wiped away, by his divine. charity; and he becomes, in his measure, like that heavenly visitant in our world, of whom it is said, "He went about doing good."
Survey with admiration and delight the mighty operations, and the splendid achievements, of this
powerful and benevolent principle, as they are to be seen within, and only within, the hallowed pale of Christianity. What are all the numerous and diversified institutions in our own land, where houseless poverty has found a home; craving hunger, a supply; forsaken infancy, a protector; helpless age, a refuge; ignorance, an instructor; penitence, a comforter; virtue a defence ;-but the triumphs and glories of love? What are all those sublime combinations of human energies, property, and influence, which have been formed for the illumination, reformation, and salvation of the human race? what Bible Societies, Missionary Societies, Tract Societies, Anti-slavery Societies, Peace Societies, but the mighty monuments of that love, "which seeketh not her own, and is kind?" What are the tears of commiseration, which flow for human sorrows, but the drops that fall from the eye of love? What the joy that is excited by the sight of happiness, but the smiles of love? What was it that made the great Apostle of the Gentiles willing, not only to bear any accumulation of suffering, indignity, and reproach, but to pour out his blood as a libation for others, and even to be accursed from Christ for his kinsmen, and mankind in general?-Love! What is it that renders the modern missionary willing to go into perpetual exile, from the land of his fathers and of his birth, to spend the future years of his life, and find, at last, a grave amidst the sands of Africa, or the snows of Greenland; willing to exchange the society and polished intercourse of Europeans, for savages, whose minds are brutishly ignorant, and whose manners are disgustingly
offensive; willing to quit the land of Sabbaths, and of Bibles, and of churches, for regions over which the demon of superstition has extended his horrid sway, and beneath whose yoke nothing is to be seen, but orgies, in which lust and cruelty struggle for preeminence ?-Love! What was it that breathed into the heart of HOWARD that spirit which so filled and fired his imagination with visions of human misery, and which brought from so many dungeons the plaintive cry, "Come over and help us!" that he could no longer rest in his own house, or in his own country, but travelled, again and again, across the breadth of Europe, in quest of wretchedness; descending into the captive's cell, that he might weigh his fetters, and measure his narrow apartment, and examine his food, to ascertain whether there was not more of misery in his hapless and forgotten lot, than justice demanded for the punishment of his crime; who inhaled the infected atmosphere of the lazaretto, to grapple with the plague that fell destroyer of the human race, to approach which seemed to be courting death? It was Love that formed the character of that illustrious man, and presented him to the notice and admiration of the civilized world. What was it that gave courage, confidence, and self-denial, to that EXTRAORDINARY WOMAN, who ventured among the furies of Newgate, where, if she had not cause to fear that assassins would attempt her life, she must have calculated upon finding a sort of demons, whose malignity, excited by the purity and virtue which seemed to set in -stronger light, by the power of contrast, their own vices, would vent its rage on the angel form which
had disturbed them? If ever the form and the beauty. of charity were seen in one of our species, it was in Mrs. FRY when she entered the cells of our metropolitan prison, and called their vicious and loathsome inmates round her, to be instructed and reformed. And what is it that makes ten thousand holy men and women employ themselves continually in all kinds of self-denying exertions, to instruct the ignorant, to relieve the miserable, to reform the wicked? These, O heavenly Charity! are thy works, the displays of thy excellences, and proofs of thy pre-eminence !
3. It is a distinguished excellence of love, that it is a likeness to God. We are not at all surprised that the philosopher to whom the question was proposed, "What is God?" should have requested a day to prepare his answer; and when that was expired, should have asked a second, and a third, and should have at length confessed to the reproving monarch who proposed the query, that the more he examined the more he was confounded; and the farther he penetrated, the deeper and deeper he seemed plunging into darkness and mystery. Revelation has come to the aid of feeble reason, and, compared with the latter, has thrown a blaze of radiance on the all-important subject: and yet, with the light of truth shining around us, so little do we understand of God, that he may be said, as it respects us, to "make darkness his pavilion;" for "who, by searching can find out God who can find out the Almighty to perfection?" Of his esssence we know nothing of his eternity, omniscience, and omnipotence, next to nothing, as to any comprehension of them. His
moral perfections are, it is true, more easily under stood by us; but as these are all infinite, it is but little even of these that we can understand." He is a rock, his way is perfect, without iniquity, just and right is he." Inflexible justice, immaculate purity, inviolable truth, unimpeachable fidelity, belong to him; but if this were all the view the Scriptures gave us of his attributes, if the delineation of the divine character stopped here, how much would be wanting to the sinner's comfort? Can the trembling and condemned criminal take much pleasure in contemplating the power, the justice, and the truth of the judge, who holds his destiny in his hand, at least till he knows whether that judge have mercy also in his heart, and in his prerogative? And as little would it comfort us to know all the other attributes of Deity, if we would not exultingly exclaim, in the language of the Apostle, "GOD IS LOVE!" Sublime and heartreviving declaration! never was anything uttered more calculated to delight the soul of man. Such a view of Deity is peculiar to revelation. Idolatry, in all her strange devices, in all her image-making processes, never conceived of such a God: power, wisdom, justice, truth, have all received their appropriate symbols of divinity, and have been worshipped under material forms, but benevolences had no statue, no temple, no priest. It was too pure a conception for the human heart, and too elevated an idea for human reason. "God is love!" This refers not, of course, to his essence, but to his character. It means, that benevolence is his whole moral character: not only that his nature is one