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soul, and with all thy mind; this is the firft SERMON and great commandment. Hence, it is common among religious writers to include the whole of pious affections towards God in Love. But when this term is applied to the Almighty, we must be careful to understand aright what it imports. We all know what it is to love any of our fellow-creatures; but such an affection as we bear to them, cannot in a literal sense be transferred to God. Among them it is sometimes connected with the fervency of passion, it commonly imports some similarity of nature, and some degree of fond and intimate attachment; all which it were highly improper in us to affect towards the Supreme Being, whose ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts. I am afraid that the application of Love in a strict sense, and sometimes in too fervent and passionate a strain towards God, has, among some serious and well-disposed minds, given rise to no little enthusiasm in religion.
When therefore we treat of Love as applied to God, it must be analysed or Fesolved into those sentiments which are
SERMON proper and suitable for us to encourage towards the God whom we adore. That Love of him which religion requires, and which our Saviour has so solemnly enjoined, is a compounded affection, and the dispositions which it includes are principally three; reverence, gratitude, submission. Of the nature and foundation of each of these I am to treat in the sequel of this Discourse, and shall endeavour to illustrate them as forming that temper and disposition of mind, which we ought always to preserve towards the Great Author of our existence.
I. THE foundation of every proper disposition towards God must be laid in Reverence, that is, admiration mixed with awe; what, in its lower degrees among men, is called Respect; but carried to its highest point with relation to God, may be termed profound Veneration. In this disposition towards Him we ought habitually to be found not only in the exercises of immediate devotion, but amidst the ordinary occurrences of life. Every thing indeed that we see around us gives perpetual occasion for it. We find ourselves in an immense universe,
universe, where it is impossible for us, SERMON without astonishment and awe, to contemplate the glory and the power of Him who hath created it. From the greatest to the least object that we behold, from the star that glitters in the heavens to the insect that creeps upon the ground, from the thunder that rolls in the skies to the flower that blossoms in the fields, all things testify a profound and mysterious wisdom, mighty and all-powerful hand, before which we must tremble and adore. Neither the causes. nor the issues of the events which we behold, is it in our power to trace; neither how we came into this world, nor whither we go when we retire from it, are we able of ourselves to tell;
but in the mean time find ourselves sur-
SERMON immense arch of the heavens, the splendour of the sun in his meridian brightness, or the beauty of his rising and setting hours, the rich landscape of the fields, and the boundless expanse of the ocean, are scenes which mock every rival attempt of human skill or labour. Nor is it only in the splendid appearances of nature, but amidst its rudest forms, that we trace the hand of the Divinity. In the solitary desart, and the high mountain, in the hanging precipice, the roaring torrent, and the aged forest, though there be nothing to cheer, there is much to strike the mind with awe, to give rise to those solemn and sublime sensations which elevate the heart to an Almighty, Allcreating, Power.
In short, we can no where cast our eyes around us without meeting what is sufficient to awaken reverence of the Deity. This reverence becomes the more profound, that the Great Being who is the object of it, is to us invisible and unknown. We may seek to discover him, but he hides himself from us; his footsteps we clearly trace, but his face we can never behold. We ge forward, but he is not there; and backward,
but we cannot perceive him: on the left hand, SERMON where he worketh, but we cannot behold him; he bideth himself on the right hand, that we cannot see him*. We know that he is not far from every one of us; yet he shrouds himself in the darkness of his pavilion; he answereth from the secret place of thunder†. Before this incomprehensible Being, this God terrible and strong, we become in a manner annihilated; we are sensible that in his sight we are only as the drop of the bucket, and the small dust in the balance; and in his presence can only rejoice with trembling. For we know that the mighty arm which upholds the universe, and which surrounds us with wonders on every side, can in a moment crush us to the dust, if we become objects of displeasure to heaven. Awful are the operations of the Divine Power which we are constantly beholding in the moral as well as in the natural world. The Almighty rules among the nations, as well as over individuals: on his pleasure depend all the great revolutions of the earth; the interpositions of his Providence
* Job, xxiii. 8, 9.
+ Ps. lxxxi. 7.