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that God is Love: as though all his moral attributes were comprehended in benevolence; which is indeed true. For what is holiness, or truth, or justice, but benevolence, acting under the direction of perfect wisdom? We ought therefore to admit this great truth with the most unwavering assent; and, admitting it to its utmost extent, it will be our wisdom to keep it continually in view, and to dwell upon it in our meditations : continually to regard the Love of God as the spring and fountain of all his dispensations to all his creatures, through the immense universe, and in particular to ourselves, who, though we constitute so minute and almost imperceptible a part in the boundless creation, are constantly under the notice of his paternal and indulgent eye; and indeed who can review the scenes through which he has passed in the pilgrimage of life; who can reflect upon his present state, or anticipate his future expectations, without making the grateful acknowledgement, all the paths of the Lord have been mercy and truth?

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And this consideration satisfies and tranquillizes the heart; it warms the spirit with gratitude; it inspires the most unbounded confidence; it animates with the most cheerful hope. What can make those sorrowful whom God bids to rejoice? These considerations reconcile the mind to all that happens, they lead us to regard all public calamities, as well as all personal and domestic sorrows, as the result of love under the direction of wisdom, ever designing, ever accomplishing, the greatest ultimate good. They soothe, compose, and comfort the heart: they gradually mould the will of man into calm subjection to the will of God; and subdue the reluctant spirit into humble, dutiful, thankful resignation.

These just and amiable views of the Supreme Being also constitute the most powerful motive to ingenuous and filial obedience; for then shall we serve him best, when we love him most; and then shall we be most disposed to love him, when we remember that God is Love. 6. This

representation of the Divine Be

ness is

ing teaches us that the laws of God originate in benevolence: and that Love is his express and chief command.

God is Love. Whatever, therefore, he requires of his creatures is for their benefit; and the amount of all his prohibitions is, do thyself no harm. His commandments are not grievous. The work of righteous

peace, and the effect thereof quietness and assurance for ever.

And we are explicitly and repeatedly assured, from the highest authority, that love is the chief commandment, that it is indeed the fulfilling of the law. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself. What precept can be more intelligible, or more reasonable than this ; or in practice more delightful? Universal obedience to it would be a source of pure, sublime, and universal happiness—a happiness approximating most nearly to that of God himself. For God is Love; and he that dwelleth in Love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.

SERMON III.

PATERNAL CHARACTER OF GOD.

2 Cor. Vi. 18.

And I will be a Father to you, and ye shall be my sons

and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

It is impossible to read the New Testament without remarking how frequently the Supreme Being is there represented under the relation of a Father: a relation which, when applied to God, includes in it every thing that is venerable and august; every thing that is wise, and great, and good. And, oh! how different from that character under which we are sometimes disposed to represent him to ourselves. Our Lord seldom speaks of God to his disciples but under the gentle and delightful name of his or their Father; and under this relation he teaches them to address their prayers to him. The apostle in

the text represents it as the sum and substance of all the promises and privileges of the gospel, that God has declared that he will sustain the character and act the part of a Father to all those who, resolutely separating themselves from the idolatries and immoralities ofthe heathen world, resign and consecrate themselves to his service in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “ Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and I will be a Fa

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shall be my sons and my daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

In the present discourse I propose in some degree to unfold this magnificent promise, and to show what is implied in the character which the Almighty here assumes, and what may reasonably be expected from him under this relation.

1. In the first place the relation of a Father naturally implies Love.

Love is complacency combined with benevolence. An earthly parent is pleased to see his image reflected in his children ;

ther to you,

you, and

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