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star hides its diminished head. Before his beams the lustre of angels and archangels fades into nothing. In the presence of his purity the heavens' themselves, spotless as they are to a created eye, are unclean.' What then is man, that God should be mindful of him; or the son of man, that he should visit him?' What indeed are we-what indeed must we be —in the presence of such a being as this?


Such thoughts as these ought ever to be present in the mind. Whenever it turns its views towards the Creator, those views ought, from motives of interest and duty alike, to be invariably of the most reverential kind. They most become the character of God; are eminently pleasing in his sight; constitute the best and happiest frame of mind; and most advantageously influence us in all our duty.

2. From these observations it is clear, that habitual reverence to God is one of the best evidences of piety.

After what has been said, this truth needs no further illustration. All that it is necessary to add is, that we are bound to examine ourselves accordingly.

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3. As reverence to God is the most profitable, so irreverence is the most dangerous, habit which can easily be conceived.

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As I shall have occasion to dwell particularly on this subject, when I come to consider the third command in the decalogue, I shall not dwell upon it here. It is sufficient to observe at the present time, that every person who is the subject of this character, ought to tremble at the danger to which he is daily exposing himself. There is no manner in which he can more effectually harden his own heart, or provoke the anger of God.

4. He who does not reverence God habitually, is here taught, that he is wholly destitute of religion.

There is a state of mind, in such persons especially as have been taught to fear God from the morning of life, and have retained a strong influence of these impressions, which it is often difficult to distinguish from evangelical reverence. But there is also a state of mind very extensively existing, which is wholly destitute of this attribute, and which, if examined with an ordinary degree of honesty and candour, may be easily

discerned. No infidel, no profane person, no mere sensualist, or worldling, needs to hesitate for a moment in determining that he is destitute of reverence to God, and consequently of religion. Of course, he ought to regard himself as plainly an object of divine wrath and so far as he has hitherto lived, an acknowledged heir of perdition. The fear of God is a fountain of life.' Irreverence to him is a well-spring of everlasting death. Let every irreverent man remember therefore that, to such as he is, God is a consuming fire.'


I have dwelt more minutely and extensively on this great subject of religion, because of its inherent importance, and because it is, I think unhappily, a rare topic of discussion from the desk.

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1 PETER V. 5.

IN the preceding Discourse I considered at some length that exercise of love to God which is styled reverence. I will now proceed to examine the kindred virtue of humility, an attribute which seems to differ from reverence, not so much in its nature, as in its object. God is the object of reverence; ourselves, of humility. The state of the mind in the exercise of these Christian graces seems to be the same. It is hardly possible that he who is now employed in reverencing his Maker, when casting his eye towards himself, should fail of being deeply humbled by a view of his own circumstances and character.


Before I enter upon this examinatjon, however, it will be proper to observe, that there are other modes in which love to God is exerted; and which, although not demanding a particular discussion here, are yet of high importance, and well deserve to be mentioned. They deserve to be mentioned because of their importance. The reasons why they do not claim

a particular discussion are, that more time would be demanded by it than can well be spared from the examination of such subjects as require a more minute attention, and that they may be sufficiently understood from the observations made on the other exercises of piety.

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Among these, the first place is naturally due to admiration. By this I mean the train of emotions excited in a good mind by the wonderful nature of the various works of God, and the amazing power, and skill, and goodness, which they unfold. God,' saith Eliphaz, Job v. 9, doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number.' These things, we find good men, distinguished in the Scriptures for their piety, observing and commemorating with a transport of admiration. O sing unto the Lord,' says David, 'for he hath done marvellous things.' I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.'' Surely I will remember thy wonders of ora. -How great are his signs,' says Nebuchadnezzar, speaking at least the language of a good man, how mighty are his wonders!' What they felt they called upon others to feel. 'Remember,' says David, his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth,' 1 Chron. xvi. 12.--Declare his glory among the heathen; his wonders among the people,' Psalm xcvi. 3. Oh give thanks to the Lord of lords, who alone doeth great wonders; for his mercy



.endureth for ever.'

Admiration is a combined exercise of the mind; and is formed of wonder and complacency. It is an exercise emineatly delightful, and is everywhere presented with objects to awaken it. Both creation and providence are full of wonders, presented to us at every moment, and at every step. Every attribute of God is fitted to excite this emotion by the amazing degree in which it exists; and by the degree also in which it is very often displayed. Thus the psalmist speaks of the 'marvellous lovingkindness of God;' St. Peter, of his 'marvellous light.' King Darius says, ' He worketh signs and wonders in heaven and earth.' Thus David says, I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.' Thus one of the names of Christ, whose redemption is the most marvellous of all the works of God, is, 'Wonderful.'

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It is to be observed, that religious admiration is entirely distinguished from wonder in the ordinary sense, by its union



with complacency. Ordinary wonder is delightful, but is totally destitute of moral excellence. Religious wonder is still more delightful; and may be excellent in any degree.

Secondly. Dependence is also an exercise of the same spirit.

That we are all dependent on God is known to every person possessed of reason; and that we are absolutely dependent on him for every thing which we enjoy, or which we need. A willingness to be thus dependent, a complacency in this state of things as appointed by God, accompanied with that humble frame of mind, necessarily attendant upon these affections, constitute what is called religious dependence; a state of mind, exactly suited to our condition, and eminently useful to our whole Christian character and life.

To these may be added faith, hope, and joy, which have already been subjects of discussion; and to these, submission, which will be made the theme of a future Discourse.


The text contains a command, addressed to all those to whom St. Peter wrote, requiring that they should be clothed with humility; and enforces the precept by this combined reason, that God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. No precept of Revelation has been more disrelished by infidels than this. Hume attacks it in form, and considers the disposition enjoined as both vicious and contemptible. Still it is largely insisted on in the Scriptures, and is required of us unconditionally and indispensably. It is declared to precede all real honour, and thus to be necessary even to its existence. It is pronounced to have been an important attribute in the character of Christ himself. • Learn of me,' says the Saviour of mankind, for I am meek and lowly of heart.' In the text itself it is plainly asserted to be an object of divine favour; in such a sense, that the grace or free love of God is communicated to those who are humble, and denied to those who are not. In the Scriptural scheme, therefore, humility is invested with an importance which cannot be measured.


It must indeed be confessed, that nothing is more unaccordant with the native disposition of mankind. Pride, the first sin of our common parents, has characterized all their posterity. 'It is not therefore to be wondered at, that humility should be disesteemed and calumniated. If it were of the world, the


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