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ple on the morn of the resurrection. But we an inquiry after a knowledge of the Creator from require to come to God with a true, that is, with whose hands he had proceeded. a sincere and unfeigned worship, avoiding and
"To speak I tried, and forth with spake, hating the sin of drawing near to him with the
My tongue obey'd, and readily could name service of the lips, or of presenting a faithless and Whate'er I saw; thou sun, said I, fair light, hypocritical homage. In every action sincerity
And thou enlighten'd earth, so fresh and gay;
Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains; is essential to the validity and worth of the duty
And ye that live and move, fair creatures tell, performed. No Father would esteem the pro- Tell if ye saw how came I thus ? how here? fessions of a child who expressed an affection he
Not of myself. By some great Maker then
In goodness and in pow'r pre-eminent ! did not feel, or promised an obedience he did not Tell me, how may I know him, how adore, render; and can you suppose that God will be
From whom I have that thus I move and live,
And feel that I am happier than I know.' mocked by such proceedings? He saith to the wicked, What hast thou to do to declare my When we endeavour to realize the existence of covenant, or to take my name into your mouths ? God, in its eternity, immutability, and indepenCleanse your hands, ye sinners; purify your dence; when we think of him as existing in all hearts, ye double-minded. Sincerity must be the glory and majesty of his perfections throughout founded on faith, or a cordial and unfeigned re-all the infinitude of past duration, and that there liance upon the merits and righteousness of the never was a period when he was not; how are Lord Jesus Christ. It is only when we come we absorbed in adoration and amazement. And to God in his name, that we can find ac- when we farther reflect that all the excellence ceptance for our persons, and for our services. It which we discover in creation is the result of his is a blind sincerity which acts or feels differently, creative wisdom and power; and that what we the sincerity of presumption, and self-righteous- behold is but a single ray in comparison with ness, and impenitence; and therefore it cannot the stupendous and glorious whole; and that the be but hateful in the eyes of him with whom we magnificence of the universe, in all its united have to do. Let us never engage in any act of splendour, may form only a partial display of the worship or devotion without first seeking the inexhaustible resources of his infinitó nature, preparation of the heart which cometh from the how are we overwhelmed with the contemplaLord; and that he would give us grace whereby tion of his unbounded and unsearchable perfecwe may serve him acceptably with reverence and tions and attributes! He alone possesses all-sufgodly fear.
ficiency and absolute independence; needing nothing, and forming the source and support of all else that either now
can exist. Creation was his sovereign act, the result of his FOURTH DAY.-EVENING.
absolute good pleasure, but in no degree neces
sary to enhance his felicity, or in any way proFor the invisible things of him from the creation mote the perfection of his existence. All the
of the world are clearly seen, being understood goodness and mercy which so abundantly distinby the things that are made, even his eternal guish the universe, is the effect of the purest and poucer and Godhead, Rom. i. 20.
most disinterested benevolence; for no return can It is the glory of man's intellectual being, that be made by any of his creatures to the Creator he can look from nature up to nature's God. He but out of that which they themselves have reis necessarily led to conclude, that every effect ceived; for of him, and through him, and to him, must have a cause, and thus from the existence are all things, to whom be glory for ever and of the visible universe, and the innumerable indi- ever. cations of wisdom and design which it presents, is he compelled to conclude, that it is the work of a Being of Almighty power, of eternal existence, and of supreme and absolute sovereignty. Ac
FIFTH DAY.—MORNING. cordingly, the belief of the existence of a great first cause has prevailed among all nations, and “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholdthe most degraded tribes have entertained it, no
ing the evil and the good, Prov. xv. 3. less than the most refined and learned states. In The consciousness of being an object of observadescribing the creation of Adam, our great Poet tion is usually felt by men to be powerfully has represented with much truth the first effort repressive of evil, and an exciting stimulus to the of his intelligence, as called forth and directed to practice of what is great and good. And accord
ingly it is considered a circumstance of the utmost tion, the view entertained by the divine mind of moment to give a free and extensive circulation your proceedings and character, how would it to opinion, and to make the acts, at least of pub- overwhelm you with self-abhorrence and grief of lic men, the subject of a keen and penetrating the profoundest nature. observation, by bringing them under the attention Let the thought that you have to do with an of the community, and obtaining upon them a infinitely holy God, whose inspection and whose verdict of praise or censure. But the man who law are spiritual, and extends to every feeling is solely guided in his conduct by a regard to as well as every action of your lives, convince you human opinion, and who forgets or cares not that of your need of a purer and more perfect rightethe eye of God continually rests upon him, is ousness than your own. How can you, without blind to a truth, of all others the most solemn this, appear before him in judgment. Shall you and momentous, and which ought to have the be justified by your works. Which of them is chief place in the regulation and government, not without sin, which of them needs not to receive only of his external actions, but of his inmost forgiveness. The individual who cultivates the feelings and thoughts. Beneficial as the influence external proprieties of conduct, has still within of human opinion may sometimes be, it is neces- him a heart which is deceitful above all things sarily a fallible criterion, and they who would and desperately wicked. Who could vindicate follow it implicitly are guilty of dishonouring the before God the purity of all his motives, desires, will and authority of God, and are exposing principles, and designs. If we should say we themselves to the danger of being led into many are without sin, our own hearts would condemn sins. It was the chief cause of blinding the us, and this would prove us to be perverse. minds of the Pharisees to the incomparable How graciously suitable to our polluted and evidences which our Lord gave of his character sinful state, are the blessings provided for us as the promised Messiah and Saviour of the world, through the mediation of Christ Jesus. He prefor they received praise one of another; in other sents us with a righteousness of perfect purity; words they countenanced and encouraged each becomes our Advocate and Intercessor; reconciles in their contempt and rejection of his person and us unto God; imparts the spirit of adoption of his doctrines; and they cared not by repenting whereby we say, Abba, Father; and draws us to and believing the truth, to receive the praise a holy and habitual engagement in the service of which cometh from God only. It was also God by the chords of a fervent gratitude and the inducement which prevailed upon Pilate to adoring love. deliver Jesus to be crucified, contrary to his own Be careful to cultivate in your hearts an avowed convictions of his innocence ; for he was abiding sense of the presence of an all-seeing God, more afraid of being denounced by the malignant and allow it to exercise a sanctifying influence Jews to Tiberias the emperor as an enemy to over the whole tenor of your thoughts and actions. Cesar, than to fall under the holy displeasure and Confiding in his mercy, seek that you may also condemnation of heaven.
be found glorifying him in your bodies and spirits Let the consideration, that the eye of God has which are his, and thereby show that you are rested upon you throughout the whole period of not subject to the charge which shall be brought your history, and has been intimately acquainted against false and hypocritical professors, on the with your every thought, and feeling, and pursuit, great day, of receiving the grace of God in vain. and action, be improved as a motive to deep and Instead of evincing that spirit of enmity which heartfelt repentance and self-abasement. It has actuates the unregenerate, and in consequence of often been remarked, that no one could even dis- which they desire not to retain the knowledge of close to the knowledge of his most intimate friend, God in all their thoughts—cultivate a holy trust without shame and humiliation, his innumerable and confidence in God as the Father of mercy, errors and sins ; but how much more awful is the and the God of all grace and consolation; and thought that all things are naked and open to God, rejoice that he reigneth over all, and that the and that you have never been able for a single whole of your interests and concerns are under moment to elude his inspection, or to hide your- his wise and holy disposal. By daily and fervent selves from his presence. After Peter had denied supplication at a throne of grace, entreat that his Lord, he read in his look that he had a full the love of God may be shed abroad in your knowledge of all his guilt, and of all its aggravat- hearts by the Holy Spirit, and that you may be ing circumstances, and the subdued disciple at enabled to walk before him as becometh dear once went out and wept bitterly; and ( could children. "O taste and see that the Lord is good; you realize in a similar manner, by any intima-1 blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the Lord ye his saints, for there is no want to his sovereign counsels, he has reason to say, at them that fear him. The eyes of the Lord are every step by which he advances in this sublime upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their knowledge, O the depth of the riches both of cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do the wisdom and knowledge of God!' Mure esevil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the pecially is this the feeling of wonder and of praise earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, with which we should contemplate the character and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The of God in connection with the work of redempLord is nigh to them that are of a broken heart, tion. That he should have selected the inhabiand saveth such as be of a contrite spirit,' Ps. tants of this sinful world to be the objects of his xxxiv. 8, 9, 15–18.
mercy, whilst fallen angels are left to endure the eternal punishment of their revolt, constitutes an act of distinguishing grące which we cannot suf
ficiently admire and adore. And how infinitely Fifth Day.--EVENING,
mysterious was the vindication of his holy law
which God required before he could extend O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and mercy to us, and which he actually provided
knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his when he ordained his Son to undertake with all judgments, and his ways past finding out,' Rom. its humiliation, sufferings, and woes, the work xi. 33.
of our deliverance. The method by which he One of the principal sources of the depravity and secured our redemption, and the overthrow of corruption of men, it has been remarked, arises the kingdom of Satan, was one which, though from their not entertaining sufficiently pure and infinitely glorious in itself, and worthy of all his exalted views of the nature and attributes of perfections, would never have entered into any God. In some cases they consider him to be finite mind to conceive. What but infinite altogether like unto themselves; actuated only by mercy could have supplied the sacrifice? and could those views which they are pleased to impart to any thing but infinite holiness have rendered it him, and consulting only those ends which seem necessary that it should be presented ? Most just to them to be consistent with the purposes of his the sentiment of the poet in reference to the ingovernment. Hence pride, impenitence, and un- finite sublimity of God, and of all his works: belief are fostered in their minds; for how expect
"The more of wonderful that they should submit to be taught of God,
Is heard in him, the more we should assent. who have already anticipated, in their own con
Could we conceive him, God he could not be ;
Or he not God, or we could not be men, ceptions, both what he is, and what he must do; A God alone can comprehend a God.' and who are prepared to declare every doctrine absurd and false which transcends their thoughts, or contradicts their self-formed imaginations. It might appear that the knowledge of God
Sixth Day.-MORNING. conveyed even by the first impressions of the light - Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy of nature, was fitted to fill every mind with a profound conviction of his infinite majesty and
name? for thou only art holy,' Rev. xv. 4. unutterable glory, and to warn the most arrogant This forms a portion of the praises of the redeemed against presuming to fathom his counsels, or in heaven. Taking a retrospect of the administrapenetrate his designs. How undeniably just and tion of God, viewing in its completeness the whole reasonable, as well as pious and reverential, is the of that comprehensive plan of which at present we acknowledgment drawn from Zophar, in regard can see only a small part, its every aspect, all its to the transcendant and incomprehensible nature events, and all their bearings, serve to impress
*Canst thou, by searching, find out them with a profound and universal feeling of the God; canst thou find out the Almighty unto per- infinite unutterable holiness of God. At present fection? It is high as heaven, what canst thou clouds and darkness surround the throne of God, do? it is deep as hell, what canst thou know? and the devout inquirer is often painfully perThe measure thereof is longer than the earth, plexed, in attempting to reconcile the ways of and broader than the sea.'
providence with the acknowledged excellencies The more an individual becomes conversant and perfections of the Supreme Judge and Ruler with the nature, the perfections, the counsels, and of all. To understand, for instance, why sin was the works of God, his decrees of providence, his permitted to enter, and to spread its fatal effects wonders of grace, his mighty judgments, and through so extensive a portion of the dominions
of God; to account for the enduring domina-ing, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the tion which idolatry and wickedness have been whole earth is full of his glory. Let us endeapermitted to hold, for so many ages, over the vour to realize the same deep emotions of congreat majority of our race, whilst truth and its scious guilt and utter unworthiness which filled attendant blessings have been enjoyed by com- his mind, and which led him to say, 'Woe is me, paratively a few; to know the cause why so for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean many possess the advantage of the external call lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unof the gospel, without being made the subjects clean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the of its converting and saving influence,—are ques- Lord of hosts. Similar were the impressions tions which exceed the fullest investigation of produced upon the mind of Job, when he arrived man with his present limited and defective views at a saving discovery of the infinite purity and adequately to resolve. But in the light of eter- holiness which distinguish Jehovah. •I have nity, how shall all the darkness which now seems heard of thee by the hearing of the ear,
but now to lie over the divine administration pass away! mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and from the infinite wisdom, justice, and truth, and repent in dust and ashes.' which shall be seen to distinguish the whole, and Improve to this end every trace and indication every portion of the ways of God, the saints which you every where witness of the transcendant shall say with the feelings of ecstatic admiration holiness of God, whether in the operations of proand awe, “Who shall not fear thee, and glorify vidence, in the visible judgments with which he thy name? for thou only art holy.'
often pursues and visits sin, to the astonishment In God holiness is an essential and immutable even of the wicked themselves; in the purity, spiriperfection, or rather it constitutes the absolute tuality, and perfection of his revealed law; or yet and necessary glory and excellence of his nature; more particularly in the sufferings and death of for in the same manner as it is elsewhere said of Christ
, where you have the highest and most imhim that he only has immortality, implying that pressive evidence of the holiness of God which existence, as belonging to him, is alienable and you can ever receive. When you take your staeternal, so also here when it is asserted that he tion at the foot of the cross, and contemplate the only is holy, it represents not only that he is pos- infinite anguish of that mysterious occasion, when sessed of holiness to an extent infinitely beyond the Son of God cried out in overwhelming grief
, all other beings, but that holiness, which in them My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' is derived and contingent, is in him necessary, O how much does it reveal of the infinite holiness everlasting, and essential. He dwelleth in light of God; of the awful indignation with which he which is inaccessible to mortal eye, and full of looks upon sin; and of the endless separation glory; yea, he is light, and in him is no darkness from glory and blessedness which must overtake at all. Holiness in God is less a distinct and those who seek not to have their sins expiated separate attribute than the combination of all by the blood of atonement, but are willing to those perfections which unite to constitute su- bear all their guilt upon their own souls. •Who preme and absolute moral excellence; it is the shall not fear thee, O God? for thou only art bright aggregate of spotless purity, unsullied holy' They who will not allow themselves to truth, stainless rectitude, unalloyed mercy, and reflect upon the nature of God, as a holy God, inflexible justice. In short, it is the brightness, and to be led to repentance and to a saving innot of a single perfection, but of the harmonious terest in Christ from a knowledge of his characand united assemblage of all those perfections ter as it is revealed to them in his own blessed that constitute the peculiar glory of the divine word, to make them wise unto salvation, shall nature.
hereafter be overwhelmed with terror, and shall The transcendent holiness of God claims, on call upon the mountains and the hills to cover his behalf, the adoration and reverence even of them from the presence of the Lord, and from the most exalted of the angelic host ; and O how the glory of his power; when he shall manifest should it engage towards him the deepest awe himself as a consuming fire to destroy the workers and the lowliest homage of fallen men. Consider of iniquity, and shall pursue them with his unhow the prophet felt when a revelation was made mitigated vengeance to the abode of eternal woe. to him in vision of the majesty and glory of But that very holiness which the impenitent God; when he saw the Lord sitting upon a throne and wicked shall feel to be infinitely terrible, shall high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple; constitute the theme of eternal joy and praise to and the seraphim stood having their faces covered the redeemed servants of Christ. They will dewith their wings, crying one to another, and say- I light to trace how God has, in all things, acted worthy of his own divine perfections, and they will earth cannot but do right. Let us adore all his acknowledge the praises of his justice, even whilst procedure, and reverently acknowledge whatthey celebrate the triumphs of his mercy. "Great ever he decrees or ordains, that it is the result and manifold are thy works, Lord God Almighty; of infinite and unimpeachable rectitude, and that just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. to murmur or repine at his dispensations is to Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy manifest a presumptuous, a blind, and an imname? for thou only art holy.'
but that which is right.
Let us, therefore, reverence the
whole doctrines and truths of revelation; and howSixth Day.--EVENING.
ever painful it may be to human pride, let us ac
knowledge, in particular, the solemn truth of all Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right ?' those testimonies advanced by the oracles of God Gen. xviii. 25.
concerning our utter sinfulness and depravity. In religion, as in science, there are certain axio- "What things the law saith, it saith to them who matic truths which only require to be enunciated, are under the law, that every mouth may be to appear self-evident to every rational and un- stopped, and all the world may become guilty beprejudiced mind. And if there be one truth fore God. The impenitent and the self-rightewhich bears this character more decidedly than ous, and all who, reject the views inculcated by another, it is undoubtedly that which is interro- the word of God concerning their sinful state, the gatively expressed in these words of the patri- desperate wickedness and deceitfulness of their arch. That God is a God of equity and truth; hearts, and their innate aversion to what is holy that he can lie under no conceivable inducement, and good, are in effect making God a liar, and even though it were possible for him to be im- the truth is not in them. pelled by any motive to depart, in any case, from Let us be more especially convinced that the the exercise of his own infinite rectitude so to method of salvation provided for a lost world, do, but that he must decide and act, invariably, through Jesus, is altogether right, and worthy of according to the principles of unerring wisdom God to establish; and that there can, consequently, and absolute justice, must appear intuitively cer- be no other way by which the guilty can receive tain to every individual who is capable of forming forgiveness. “It became him, for whom are all any conception of the nature and character of things, and by whom are all things, in bringing God.
many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of Happy were it if this momentous truth en- their salvation perfect through sufferings. There gaged the confidence of tlie heart as firmly as it required to be offered an infinite sacrifice to take secures the conviction of the judgment; and if away sin, and that this might be provided God men rested in it with hope and patience under all spared not his own Son, but give him up freely the trials of faith with which they are conver- to the death for us all. • How then shall they sant in the pilgrimage of life. With what holy escape who neglect so great salvation, which at acquiescence would they not submit to all the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was decrees of providence, if they felt that they pro- confirmed unto us by them that heard him ? God ceeded from one who exercised his sovereignty also bearing them witness both with signs and for the highest and most glorious ends, and in wonders, and with divers miracles and gifts of accordance with the purest and most perfect de- the Holy Ghost according to his own will.' signs! that nothing was fortuitous, or the effect Above all, prepare to meet God as the righteof chance; that nothing was done capriciously, ous Judge of the whole earth, before whose awful ignorantly, or malignantly, but that all was or- tribunal an assembled universe shall stand, and dained with unerring wisdom and infinite faith- from whose mouth irreversable decisions shall go fulness; that the very hairs of their head were forth to seal the eternal doom of all the various numbered ; and that not a sparrow could fall to members of the human race. Seeing that you the ground without the permission of God. have no merit, and no righteousness of your own,
And how would it quell many a dark and dis- to entitle you to acceptance with a God of infinite quieting thought in regard to the eternal destiny purity, seek that you may be found in Chris of our race, and the manner in which God shall clothed with the robe of his perfect righteousdeal with the heathen on the day of judgment, and ness and sustained by the advocacy of his all-prethose whose advantages have been few to enter-vailing intercession. Rejoice that the Redeemer tain the firm conviction that the Judge of all the can say, in behalf of as many as come to the