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the stamp of his moral perfections, convert are feeble and indistinct;
is the object of our proud aversion and often almost overborne and
and contempt; discoveries of the swallowed up in the tumult of na-
Divine glory and excellency excite tural passions, and the conflict with
proportionable enmity; nor can any carnal propensities; they, however,
benefits overcome our dislike to the uniformly influence him as " a new
holiness of our Benefactor, so long born babe to desire the sincere milk
as we continue unregenerate: "So of the word, that he may grow there-
then they that are in the flesh can- by, seeing that he has tasted that
not please God."
the Lord is gracious." 1 Pet. ii. 2,

In regeneration, however, a ca- 3. And they constitute that leaven, pacity of spiritual perception is which will gradually diffuse its incommunicated to the soul, in a fluence, till the whole be leavened, manner which we can neither ex- and all the faculties, affections, and plain nor comprehend; and we are operations of the soul be made to by it enabled to discern the holy ex- partake of the same holy nature and cellency and beauty of heavenly tendency. things. This produces a revolution When we are thus made capable in our judgment and affections of perceiving, in some degree, the "old things pass away, behold, all beauty and glory of the Divine perthings become new :' our love is fections, and of forming some pronow divorced, as it were, from its per estimate of our obligations and former base attachments; and we relations to our Creator and Benegradually learn to esteem, admire, factor; we are brought to consent choose, desire, relish, and delight to his holy law, that it is good, and in that spiritual excellency, which that its commands, though very strict was before the object of our aver- and spiritual, are reasonable, equitsion and contempt. The heart now able, and beneficial: and the view becomes in some degree holy, pro- of the evil of sin, which is thus obportionably loves holy persons, and tained, though it be imperfect, proholy things: we are spiritually- duces a submission to the justice of minded, and habitually seek our God in the condemnation of transpleasure in spiritual pursuits and gressors. Other discoveries of our employments. This capacity of guilt and danger, and of the wrath spiritual perception is not a new to which we are exposed, may faculty added to the soul, but the alarm us; but nothing short of this ability of exercising every faculty can produce genuine humiliation which God hath given us, in a suit- and self-abasement; which will be able manner, about the grand con- matured and increased by fuller, cerns of religion; for which our views of the glory of God in the apostasy from our Creator, and ido-person and salvation of Christ. latrous attachment to the creatures, For did we only contemplate the had wholly disqualified us. It is perfections of God, as displayed in therefore, represented in Scripture the works of creation and proviby images taken from our bodily dence, or illustrated by the justice senses: the regenerate soul sees hea- of his law and government, our convenly beauty, hears divine harmony, sciousness of guilt and pollution smells fragrancy as of "ointment would so discourage us, and even poured forth," and tastes sweetness lead us to the borders of despair, as of "honey and the honeycomb." that we should be induced to strugYet these perceptions in the new gle with all our might against con

viction, and to oppose the humili-mony, whilst each attribute reflects ating effect of every discovery of glory on all the rest. At the same God to our souls, which we were time, our interest in these grand conunable to exclude. But when we cerns render them far more affecting are led to perceive, along with our to our minds: and we are enabled, views of the odiousness and desert in revering and adoring the holy of our sins, the glory of God in the majesty of God, and admiring his harmonious display of all his attri- transcendent excellency, to give up butes, through the person and re- our hearts to the pleasing desire demption of his Son: this allays and hope of having him, sinful as our terrors, inspires our hope, and we are, to be our Father, Friend, fixes our attention; while it ex- and everlasting Portion. When we ceedingly increases humiliation have been encouraged to make this and self-abasement. The dignity choice and indulge this hope, we of the Divine Redeemer, the nature begin to fear above all things, lest of his undertaking, the immensity we should come short of it: we of his compassionate and conde- learn to take pleasure in such de scending love, the perfection and vout exercises, as strengthen our value of his righteousness, the depth, confidence, or give us some anticiintenseness, and variety of his suf-pation of our desired felicity: we ferings; the honour thus given to feel lively emotions of gratitude for the law and justice of God; the the condescending and merciful sufficiency of his atonement; his dealings of so glorious a Lord with subsequent resurrection, triumphant such vile sinners; we long for others ascension, and glorious exaltation; also to know and love him, to enjoy his power, faithfulness, and love; his favour, and to render him praise: his gracious invitations, and preci- we become zealous for his honour, ous promises; with the manifold grieved when we offend him, blessings which he freely bestows ashamed and humbled at the reon the vilest of sinners, who come collection of past transgressions, to God by him; these are all dis- watchful against temptation and tinct subjects for our meditation, every occasion of sin, and troubled peculiarly suited to interest, instruct, at hearing others express contempt and affect our minds, and to give us or enmity against so gracious and entirely new thoughts of God and merciful a God and Saviour. All of ourselves, of sin and holiness, of these varied exercises of holy love our immortal souls, our eternal con- have respect to the incomprehensicerns, our past lives, our present ble mysteries of the Divine nature, conduct and situation, and of all displayed in the grand scheme of those things which concur to pro- our salvation; as originating from duce deep humility, lively hope, the most free love of the Father, admiring love and gratitude, and purchased for us by the atonement every holy affection. Here without of the incarnate Son, and applied dismay we may contemplate the to our hearts by the regenerating divine character with fixed atten- and sanctifying influences of the tion; whilst we view it through a Holy Spirit ;-but it will especially medium that softens its splendours, centre, as it were, in the person of and endears its beauty and glory to Emmanuel, God manifested in the our hearts. Here we view infinite flesh; as the glorious excellency and justice, holiness, mercy, faithful- loveliness of the Deity is there more ness, and wisdom, in perfect har- immediately revealed to us; and as

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he that loves, honours, believes, sellor;" he esteems it "more than and obeys the Son, loves, honours, his necessary food;" and feels an believes, and obeys the Father that appetite for its salutary instruction sent him; for "he that hath the like that of the new-born babe for Son, hath the Father also;" and the milk of the breast. The same Christ is the appointed medium by principle causes him to love the which we approach, know, and glo- house of God, and to “count one rify the invisible God. day in his courts better than a thouThe same capacity of perceiving sand." He is no longer glad of an and loving spiritual excellency, excuse for staying from the public which is essential to every exercise ordinances of God, exact in deterof holy love towards our God and mining how often he is bound in Saviour, disposes us also to de- duty to attend on them, or disposed light in his law after the inward to yield to every petty obstacle that man;" to "count all his command- renders such attendance inconvements in all things to be right; and nient or difficult; for "he is glad to hate every false way;" to when it is said to him, let us go "choose the precepts of the Lord;" unto the house of the Lord:" he` and to "long to have our ways di- longeth, when detained from it, for rected to keep them." Whilst the renewal of that satisfaction he these therefore are our desires and has there experienced in commuprayers, we must be proportionably nion with God and his saints; and grieved and disquieted with the op- he finds it no easy matter to be reposition made to all our endeavours, signed to the will of God, when by "the sin that dwelleth in us :" and under a necessity to absent himself. the want of more entire conformity to Thus the Lord's day, which was that holy, just, and good law, which formerly a weariness, unless prowe now most cordially approve, faned by worldly business, pleasure, will be a constant source of sorrow or company, becomes his delight: and cause of humiliation; and at and, though too often he has reason some times will prove the burden to lament that his Sabbaths are or even the terror of our hearts; passed without the expected satisand thus the believer's tears, groans, faction and advantage, yet he still and complaints, because "he can- meets their return with pleasure, not do the things which he would," and deems them the happiest days being connected with evident con- of his life. As he grows in holy scientiousness and diligence in per-love he is enabled to adopt the forming the will of God, may be Psalmist's words, in respect of the considered as a proof that he has worship he renders to the Lord, and the holy law of God written in his to say, "My soul is satisfied as heart by regenerating grace. with marrow and fatness, whilst I The same holy judgment and praise thee with joyful lips :" and taste of the renewed soul enables every thing that relates to the serthe believer to relish every part of vice of God is endeared to his heart, the sacred Scriptures; and, in pro-and held in reverence and honour. portion to the degree of his spiritu- In like manner, he perceives the ality, he loves to read and meditate" beauty of the Lord" in the chaupon the word of God: he not only racter and conduct of his people, uses it as "the lantern of his paths," whom before he neglected, despised, or the ground of his hope; but he or disliked: and thus he learns to makes it his "delight and his coun- love and respect them as the excel

lent of the earth. He chooses them | When love, the ruling principle
for his most valued companions: he of activity in the mind of man,
sympathizes with their joys and thus fixed on its proper objects, and
sorrows; he seeks their welfare, regulated, proportioned, and exer-
and according to his ability endea-cised according to the Divine law
vours to promote it; he bears with of God; it is evident that all spiri-
their failings and prejudices, cast-tual worship, humble submission,
ing the mantle of love over their and devoted obedience to God, with
infirmities: he prays for their pros-all righteousness, goodness, and
perity and happiness: and if he truth, in our conduct towards men,
can but see, or think he sees, the must result from it, and grow in
image of his beloved Lord upon proportion as it is increased. We
them, he counts them his brethren, may, therefore, easily perceive the
though they belong not to his sub-propriety of the apostle's prayer
division of the church, subscribe not for the Philippians, "that their
exactly his creed, and fill up a very love might abound yet more and
different station in the family of God. more." This accords with many
The admiring contemplation of other prayers and exhortations in
the glory of the Lord, in the person his epistles.
"The Lord grant-
and salvation of Christ, is always that Christ may dwell in your hearts
productive of a gradual transforma- by faith; that ye, being rooted and
tion of the soul into his holy image: grounded in love,-may know the
2 Cor. iii. 17, 18: and the Saviour's love of Christ which passeth know-
condescending and compassionate ledge." Eph. iii. 16-19.
love, to the very persons whose Lord make you to abound in love,
crimes he most deeply abhorred, one towards another, and towards
appears peculiarly beautiful and all men, even as we do towards
endearing to the redeemed sinner. you;-to the end he may establish
Thus benevolent love to mankind your hearts unblameable in holi-
in general is produced and increas-ness.' "Ye are taught of God to
ed; selfish and contracted preju-love one another; and indeed ye
dices are removed; and proud con- do it: but we beseech you to in-
tempt of the mean, the vile, and the crease more and more." 1 Thess.
ignorant, bitter resentments borne iii. 12, 13; iv. 9, 10. Your faith
to the injurious, and envy of rivals groweth exceedingly, and the love
and competitors, are changed into of every one of you all towards each
pity and good-will. While confor- other aboundeth." 2 Thess. i. 3.
mity to Christ, love to his most Indeed the love of believers towards
beautiful and glorious character, each other is principally meant in
gratitude for redeeming love, and these texts: but then we know that
willing obedience to his command- this love is the result, the evidence,
ments, combine their energy in dis- and the measure of our love to God
posing his true disciples to love the Father, and our Lord Jesus
strangers and persecutors, the most Christ. We are required to consi-
abandoned transgressors, and the der every true Christian as the bro-
most provoking enemies; and to ther and representative of our un-
copy his example of long-suffering, seen Redeemer; and all the love
meekness, forgiveness, compassion, we bear to them, and the good we
fervent prayers and tears for them, do them, for his sake, will be ac-
and persevering endeavours to over-knowledged and graciously recom-
come evil with good.
pensed at the last day, as the in-

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dubitable proof of the reality and because thou hast left thy first love; strength of our love to him. remember therefore from whence

But let us more particularly con- thou art fallen, and repent and do sider the words before us.-"That thy first works; else I will come your love may abound: may abound unto thee quickly, and I will remore, may abound yet more; may move thy candlestick out of his abound yet more and more!" Press place, except thou repent." Rev. forward is the Christian's motto, ii. 4, 5. The severe rebuke, the and the minister's watchword. "We earnest exhortation, and the solemn beseech you, brethren, that as ye warning of this passage, as conhave received of us how ye ought nected with the commendation beto walk and to please God; so ye stowed on the Ephesians, in other would abound more and more.' "" 1 respects, do not seem calculated to Thess. iv. 1. The lively believer encourage men in reducing the beis never in this world satisfied with fore mentioned opinion to practice. his degree of sanctification; but still And it should also be observed, that hungers and thirsts for more entire the stony-ground hearers lost their conformity to the image and law of lively affections, and their religion GOD: and the zealous minister along with them, "because they never thinks his beloved people ar- had no root in themselves." rived at the summit of improve- Surely nothing can be more abment; but, while he says, "I bless surd, than to suppose that a ChrisGod ye abound in love;" he also tian, when growing grace, can deadds, "I pray God you may abound cline in that very thing, in which yet more and more:"-and, "See- grace principally consists! and love ing ye have purified your souls, in is evidently the greatest of all Chrisobeying the truth, through the Spi- tian graces. 1 Cor. xiii. 13. Such rit, unto unfeigned love of the bre-a sentiment is most pernicious in its thren, see that ye love one another tendency and effects: it gives enwith a pure heart fervently." 1 Pet.couragement to hypocrites, who disi. 22. grace the profession of the gospel; Comparing these Scriptures with assists many in deceiving themour Lord's declaration, Every selves; and induces unstable and branch in me, that beareth fruit, my injudicious believers indolently to Father purgeth, that it may bring yield to lukewarmness as a matter of forth more fruit," John, xv. 1-5, course, and even an evidence of spiwe may properly advert to a notion ritual proficiency; when they ought very prevalent in some places, to be watching and praying against among professors of the gospel. It it, and greatly alarmed and humis considered by them as a thing of bled on the least consciousness of course for true Christians to "leave its growing upon them, from a contheir first love;" young converts are viction of its being one of the most supposed to abound most in love; detestable and aggravated proofs of and it is expected that they will de- human depravity. By this stratacline in that respect, as they advance gem, Satan hath succeeded, during to maturity in judgment and expe- a lukewarm age, in establishing a rience. The expression used in false text and standard of maturity conveying these ideas is found but in experience and the life of faith; once in Scripture. "Nevertheless," and hath managed in consequence says Christ to the Ephesian church, to render it true in fact: that is, "I have somewhat against thee; professors of the gospel do generally

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