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long, and is kind; charity hopeth all things, gard to right, he may, and he often does believeth all things , endureth all things. complain in his word, as if he was disappointYet it must be acknowledged that candoured and surprised at the conduct of his prohas its difficulties as well as duties. It has fessing people. And is there not a cause! its bounds, beyond which it cannot pass. We You would think it strange if a husbandman must not be induced, by any tenderness of should expect fertility from the dry sand or judgment, to violate the express decisions the barren rock: but it would be otherwise of the word of God. There are many, and, if he had a vine planted in a rich soil, and perhaps, never more than in our day, of whom, attended with every kind of culture. Then, as the Apostle says to the Galatians, “ We surely, his expectation of fruit would be nastand in doubt." They keep our hopes and tural; and he would have reason to complain our fears equally awake through life." When if nothing was produced. And is not this, at we pray for them, we are at a loss whether least in an awful degree, true of many of us! to consider them as in the flesh or in the Spi- Estimating our proficiency by our advantages, rit. We receive them to the Lord's table, ought he not to have found in us what he not because we are convinced of their state, has yet sought for in vain ? Ought he not but know not how to refuse them: and we to have seen something in our tempers and continue them in communion upon the same lives much more perfect; something in our principle. But, my brethren, these things conduct so unequivocal, something in our ought not so to be. Your ministers and your exertions and sacrifices so decisive, as to lead fellow-members are entitled to satisfaction him to say, Now I know that thou lovest concerning, if not the degree, the reality of me; as God said to Abraham, “ Now I know your religion.
that thou fearest me, seeing thou hast not Thirdly. Is there nothing to render it withheld thy son, thine only son, from me." doubtful to yourselves? “indeed,” say some LOVEST THOU ME? of you with a sigh, “ Indeed there is.” Hence IV. The question ADMITS OF SOLUTION I go mourning all the day. How happy It is not only possible, but comparatively should I be, if I could but make out this aw- easy to know whether we love another. ful case.
And here it will be in vain for you to allege, « Tis a point I long to know;
that though this is generally true, the case on it causes anxious thought;
before us is a peculiar one, because the object Do I love the Lord or no?
is invisible. For this furnishes no objection Am I his? or am I not ?"
to our remark. Who knows not what it is to “I am a wonder as well as a grief to my-| love a being he never saw ? Many of us self. If there are things that sometimes
never saw Howard: but who does not feel make me hope I am not in a state of nature,
veneration at the mention of his name? there are others—and these, alas ! are far / Who does not glow at the perusal of his more numerous—that make me fear I am not |
journeys of mercy? Who does not melt in a state of grace. O my soul, surely this at the sight of his statue. I enyy not the state implies much more than I have expe- heart of that man who can enter St. Paul's rienced : surely there is a secret that has not Cathedral and view unmoved the mild been revealed to me. If I loved him—could
compassion that beams and breathes even I ever read without pleasure the book that
through the cold marble image. I never unveils his glories? If I loved him-could
saw Cowper ; but can I think of this amiable, I ever fear to die, and shrink back from the
this celestial spirit; can I read his matchless only event that can bring me into his pre- Letters, and his immortal Task, and not feel sence? If I loved him-could I feel so im
a thousand tender sympathies that attach me patient under those reproaches and afflictions to him
ons to him, and render inviting that part of the that make me a partaker of the fellowship of
universe in which his piety and his genius his sufferings?
range undepressed and uncontrolled ? With “Could my heart so hard remain;
regard to those with whom you are familiar, Prayer a task and burden prove;
that which you love them for is not that Every trifle give me pain; If I knew a Saviour's love?
which you see, but that which you cannot
see. It is their mind, their heart, their in * If I sing, or hear, or read, Sin is mix'd with all I do:
tellectual qualities, their moral principles You that love the Lord indeed,
Honesty, virtue, dignity; these are all invisiTell me-is it thus with you ?"
ble: it is true you have seen their actings, Lastly. Is there nothing to render it and their effects; but you never saw themdoubtful to the Saviour !” There is a sense Yet we hope you love them. in which this is impossible. His eyes are in It is also useless to urge, as an exception every place, beholding the evil and the good to the justice of our remark, that the love of No disguise can screen us from his penetra- which we have been speaking is a principle, tion. We are all transparency before him. and not a passion. We readily acknowledge But we are to distinguish the question of the propriety of the distinction, and hope it right from the question of fact. With re-I will always be remembered. Had it been
doly considered, many things would never , So great are the Saviour's charms: so powerhave been published that have caused the ful are the impressions of his grace! “One way of truth to be evil spoken of: and many generation shall praise thy works to another, Christians would have escaped the despond- and shall declare thy mighty acts. They ency into which they have been plunged by shall abundantly utter the memory of thy judging of their state, not by the habitual great goodness, and shall sing of thy rightand prevailing bias of their soul, but the flow eousness. All thy works shall praise thee, and ‘rise of their animal spirits. While, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee. however, we allow the distinction, we deny My mouth shall speak the praise of the the inference that might be supposed to result Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name from it. For if we call this love esteem, for ever and ever." rather than attachment-still it is esteem: It will show itself by desire after intimaif we call it a principle, and not a passion, cy. Do we love another? We long to be still it is a principle-a principle that has a with him. Separation is a grief. Distance real being-and with whose operations and is a torture. We wish to annihilate the effects we are all acquainted. How then space that intervenes. We meet him at the will this love show itself?
time appointed, and feel a pleasure in the inIt will show itself by our thoughts. These terview that words can no more express than naturally follow the object of our regard, and paint can do justice to light or heat. Our it is with difficulty we can draw them off. Lord and Saviour has promised to be found The current may be diverted by force; but of them that seek him; in his word, in the the prevention removed, it soon flows in its assemblies of his people, on his throne, and wonted channel, and finds its former destina- at his table. To these, therefore, if I regard tion. Where the carcase is, there will the him, shall I repair, and with a disposition exeagles be gathered together. David could pressive of this language, “ As the hart pantsay, “ I love thee, O Lord, my strength." eth after the water brooks, so panteth my And what was the consequence? “ How soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God! God, for the living God: when shall I come how great is the sum of them ! if I should and appear before God?" Is he withdrawn count them, they are more in number than from me? I shall “ lament after the Lord.” the sand : when I awake, I am still with And turning to those who are better acquaintthee.” If, then, I love the Saviour, I shall ed with him, and know his resting-places, I surely think of him. I shall reflect upon his shall anxiously ask, “ Saw ye him whom my character, his glory, and his grace. I shall soul loveth ?" dwell much upon his humiliation and suffer- Once more. This love will show itself by ings. My thoughts will cling and cluster devotedness to the service and glory of its around his cross like bees around the hive- Master. And here, my brethren, I wish to and my “ meditation of him will be sweet.” lay a peculiar stress. Nothing, be it ever Even when my hands are employed in the remembered, can authenticate the existence common affairs of life, my mind will often of this principle in our hearts, detached-from ascend, and take a view of the Lamb that this regard to his will. It is in this way that was slain : and I shall feel the refreshing and he himself requires us to place our love beenlivening influence of these thoughts—for yond all dispute: “He that hath my comthey are not thoughts of speculation, but of mandments, and keepeth them, he it is that affection.
loveth me. If ye love me, keep my comThis love will show itself by our speech. mandments.” Ain I then an enemy to his " Out of the abundance of the heart the enemies? Am I a friend to his friends? Do mouth speaketh.” When Peter and John I espouse his cause? Do I pray for the exwere ordered by the council to speak no more tension of his empire? Do I rejoice in the in the name of Jesus, what was their reply? success of his affairs? Do I weep over the “ We cannot but speak the things which we dishonours of his name? Am I sorrowful for have seen and heard.” How was it with a the solemn assembly, and is the reproach of certain woman in the company when his it my burden? Do I daily and hourly inquire, preaching had touched her heart?“ She “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" Do lifted up her voice, and said, Blessed is the I present myself at his footstool, saying, womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.” When the multitude
** All that I have, and all I am,
Shall be for ever thine; cried, “ Hosanna, Blessed is he that cometh
Whate'er my duty bids me give in the name of the Lord,” the Pharisees be
My cheerful hands resign. sought him that he would rebuke and silence
Yet ir I might make some reserve, them. What said the Master?" You are
And duty did not call, strangers to their views and feelings, or you
I love my God with zeal so great,
That I should give him all." would know that you require an impossibility: • for if these should hold their peace, -When God had addressed David, and the stones would immediately cry out.' "given him the choice of war, pestilence, or
famine, he pressed for a decision, and said this congregation to withdraw: I would say, “Consider now, and see what answer I shall Flee from the tents of these men, lest the return to him that sent me."
earth open its mouth, and swallow then up Men, Brethren, and Fathers! Allow me to But you believe that no such doom akaits close with a similar demand. What answer you ; and therefore you imagine yourselves shall I give to flim in whose name I have ad-secure. But spiritual judgments are much dressed the solemn question-LOVEST THOU more dreadful than temporal; and wrath, ME! or, What answer will you give ? For the longer it is delayed, becomes the larger I would rather you should deliver it your- in the aggregate, and the heavier in the fail selves. It would distress every feeling of my “ If,” says the Apostle, “ if any man love ne soul to return a negative answer-How could the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathers I tell him, on your behalf, “No, I do not love Maran-atha.” Oh! to be excluded, #bea him?" And yet, what other reply could many the Lord comes, from his favour, from a of you make; at least, if you made a true munion with his people : to be sealed up, uoone? And to what purpose would it be to der his curse, in hopeless misery, when be return a falsehood ? Ile is not mocked. appears! Who can describe the horrors of
-What would you say-you love him ?— such a scene! Who can dwell upon it:No: you dare not. You know that his love We are not going to attempt it-it is to is not in you. You know that you daily pre- awful for declamation. fer a thousand objects to his favour, and ! But let me observe-There is no unrightimage, and service. You know that you con eousness in the sentence. The very victims stantly ask with the world, “ Who will show of this justice will be compelled to feel if me any good ?”—But you never pray, “Lord, not acknowledge, its equity; and hence they lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon will be speechless. me. O remember me with the favour thou Neither is there any uncertainty in the bearest unto thy people. () visit me with execution of it. If the word of God is true, thy salvation." You love him !" What this will be the portion of every man, whatmeaneth then this bleating of the sheep in ever be his condition or character, that dies my ears, and this lowing of the oxen which ! a stranger to the love of Christ. Such a dis hear?"_Your whole lives contradict your position of mind must terminate in perdition avowal, and render it your folly as well as There is no other part of the universe to your guilt. Actions speak louder than words ; / which you are suited: and there will be the and these are the exceptions they compel you same propriety in shutting you up in bell, to make. “Yes, O Lord, I love thee-but I when you die, as in confining a madman in never think of thee. I love thee—but I can- Bedlam, or a rebel in prison. Were you even not endure the conversation that turns upon allowed to enter heaven, the state of your thy praise. I love thee-but I wish to shun mind would destroy all the happiness of the thy presence : depart from me, I desire not place. And if you would consult, in religious the knowledge of thy ways. I love thee- concerns, the same common sense that guides but thy law is not my delight; and I resolve you in secular life, you could not withstand to follow the way of my own heart."
the conviction for a moment. For could you And what-if this be your answer, what be happy in being for ever the companions are we to think of you? What are we to of those with whom you now feel no congethink of your taste? What are we to think niality, and whose intercourse you now so of your temper? How low! How vile! What anxiously shun? Could you be happy in bea compound of stupidity and depravity is thying for ever in the presence of One you alwretched soul, to be even capable of indiffer-ways disesteemed; and in hearing for ever ence towards greatness and goodness so in the praises of a Being you never loved ? finite! If you had no love to the creation, no Yet I will not, I cannot conclude such a love to the beauties of spring; if you had no subject as this with the language of terror. love to him that begat you; no love to her While I feel a horror at the crime, I would that bore you ; no love to her that lieth in thy gladly save the criminal. While I condemn, bosom: it would be infinitely less disgraceful I pity. And if there is an object worthy our than to declare, you have no love for Him compassion in this assembly-Who claims it! who died for you, and rose again.
-It must be—not the man that is stripped And is this your answer?_ Deliver it of his substance, that is bereaved of his friends, yourselves. Look up, and if you have cou- that has been through life saying, “I looked rage, tell him; tell him, by your lips, what for light, and behold darkness"-No-He you have constantly told him by your lives—may be dear to Heaven, and the valley of “ No: I do not love thee. I deem thee un- Achor may be given him for a door of hope. worthy of my regards. Whoever becomes But it is the man that sits yonder, and in thy follower, I will not." And is this your whose soul there is not one sentiment of love language?- If we lived in a period of to him whom all the angels adore ! temporal judgments, I would instantly desire “Ah !" art thou saying, “this is my condi
tion-What is the duty of a wretch like me?"|ter; LORD, THOU KNOWEST ALL THINGS, - It is, to get a full conviction of the fact. It THOU KNOWEST THAT I LOVE THEE." is, to reflect with shame and sorrow on the All hail, ye highly favoured of the Lord ! fault. It is, to guard against despair, which This is your distinction; this is your privi. will only harden thee into enmity, while a lege-your noblest distinction, your richest hope of mercy-after all !-will tend to soften privilege,-that you love him! But there and allure. It is, to pray that the heart of are two things which you ought to remember: stone may be turned to flesh, and the promise the one, to hide from you pride; the other, to accomplished—“I will pour upon them the excite in you diligence. spirit of grace and of supplications: and they Though you love him now, you did not love shall look upon him whom they have pierced, him always. There was a time (and with and they shall mourn for him as one mourn- some of you it was a long time) before you eth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness saw any form or comeliness in him, or beauty for him, as one that is in bitterness for his that you should desire him. “Ah!" says first-born."
Augustine, “ah, my Lord, I began to love But there are some here who ought to be thee too late !" able to answer the question in the affirmative. Though you love him really, you do not love Come forward, Christians, and let us hear him sufficiently. Your love is nothing, comyour reply.-Why do you draw back? We pared with the zeal of many of your brethren, are called upon to fear, “ lest, a promise be- less indebted to him than you. It is nothing, ing left us of entering into his rest, any of us considering how long you have known him. should seem to come short of it.” It is true: It bears no proportion to your means, your but the Scripture justifies confidence, as well obligations, your professions. Yet this love is as awakens caution.—Why are you afraid all the return he expects; all he requires to speak? “0, it is an awful thing to de- from us !-Let us, therefore, sing the words termine; and if, after all, I should be mis- of Dr. Watts : taken !” The very apprehension is a good evidence in your favour.—“I have nothing to « Dear Lord, and shall we ever live boast of.”- Acknowledged.—“I ought to be
At this poor dying rate;
Our love so faint and cold to thee, very humble.” And ought you not to be very
And thine to us so great! thankful too? And is not this impossible, while you refuse to own what he has done “Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove,
With all thy quick'ning powers: for your souls !“I would then hesitate no
Come, shed abroad a Saviour's love, longer.-I hope—I may-I can say, with Pel
And that shall kindle ours."
THE END OF SHORT DISCOURSES.