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be mentioned as an exception to the general rule; and indeed the rareness of these instances is a proof of the general assent of mankind.

The more we reflect on the Divine nature, and examine the works of creation, the firmer will be our conviction, and the clearer our conceptions of this essential principle. There is not an object in nature, that is not pregnant with proofs of "the invisible things of God, even his eternal power and divinity.” To perceive the force of such conclusions, it is only necessary to examine the objects, which we are continually handling, and to observe the daily appearances, that pass before our eyes. By a more accurate inspection of the works of nature, and by extending our view to the more remote parts of the creation, we do not so much strengthen the argument, as nourish that pleasing wonder, with which such studies swell' the soul; for the contemplation of these subjects is the most sublime entertainment provided for it, during its abode in the body. Could we traverse the immensity of space,

with what astonishment and delight should we behold, every where around us, innumerable worlds, revolving in their several spheres, and these spheres circling round a common centre;

stars, whose light has travelled the profound six thousand years, nor yet' arrived in sight of mortal 'men:” and feel, that we were no where less under the eye of the Deity, than at the first point from which .. In all our inquiries into Divine truth, and the will of God, we should begin and end with the words of our Lord himself. On points, which are omitted by him, we should receive the instructions of his Apostles with thankfulness and reverence; but where he is clear and explicit, as indeed he always is, we should interpret their reasoning in conformity with his precepts; not his precepts by their reasoning.

When our Saviour was asked, which is the first commandment, he replied in the words of Moses: “ Hear, 'O Israel; the Lord, our God, is one Lord." These words are taken from Deuteronomy; and were, therefore, ' meant by our Lord, and understood by the Jews, to imply, that the unity of the Divine nature, which was the leading principle in the Mosaical dispensation, held the same place in the Christian; and as they had been always taught, that there was no division or intermixture in the godhead, they were to continue in that belief. They were to worship the Almighty, as essentially and individually One; one person, one nature and essence, with one will; spiritual and invisible; self-existent and almighty; infinitely wise, benevolent and merciful, as they had been accustomed to do.

“Our Lord represents the Deity as adorable and amiable in the highest degree. He is most High, and Lord of heaven and earth; heaven is his throne, and earth his footstool; he is the one

Jehovah, and the only true God; he is a spirit, whom no man hath seen at any time; he hath life in himself; he seeth in secret; he knoweth the heart; and with him all things are possible.”

“ He arrayeth the herb of the field in more than regal glory; he feedeth the fowls of the air; and, without him not a sparrow falleth to the ground. Much more does his providence extend to man: yea, the very hairs of our head are all numbered; and when he vouchsafes protection, there shall not one perish.”

“ There is none good but God; who so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He is also righteous, holy, kind to the unthankful and evil, perfect in mercy, forgiving to the merciful, and inexorable to those, who withhold pardon and compassion from others." “ He loveth those who observe our Lord's

precepts: he adopteth the peace-makers for his sons; he abhorreth the lofty and ostentatious appearance which men admire: he avengeth his faithful servants on their persecutors: it is not his will that they should perish: the pure in heart. shall hereafter see him: and of him shall the good be eternally blessed, and the wicked eternally punished.”

“ But the image, which perpetually occurs throughout the Gospels, and under which our

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Lord delights to mention God, is that of our heavenly Father; who maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, sendeth rain on the just and the unjust, and is kind to the unthankful and to the evil:' who compassionates and embraces the returning sinner, with the bowels of a most affectionate father; nay, who is actuated by a stronger principle than natural affection: for, “if we, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto our children, how much more shall our Father, who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him?' »

“Such is the God whom we should fear, because he is able to destroy both soul and body in hell; whom we should obey after the manner of the angels in heaven; from whom we should seek our reward; to whose will we should wholly resign ourselves; and who is the sole object of our worship, service and prayer, and the best object of our imitation and love."

Such is the tenor of our Saviour's doctrine, with regard to God. Benevolence and mercy are his distinguishing attributes; and these are the attributes, on which the sacred writers delight to dwell.

It is evident, however, that an indiscriminate exercise of benevolence to all, would be inconsistent with the moral government of the world ; and, therefore, though, in the general course of bis Providence, the Almighty is good to all, it is essential to his holy nature, to behold those, who comply with his commandments, with favour, and to shew his displeasure to those who violate his laws; for, otherwise, they would be nugatory and ineffectual. In the day of final retribution, therefore, “the King shall say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: also, to them on the left, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire: and these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal."*

* Primate Newcome's Conduct of our Lord.

The ground of these awful sentences is explained at large, in that beautiful passage, which is sufficiently familiar to you all. Thus is the justice of heaven vindicated; and thus, the objects of it described. These texts are a criterion or test, by which the sense of other passages is to be determined; for the doctrine of our Lord on these subjects, is both of the highest authority, and congenial to the conclusions of reason, the irresistible convictions of our own consciences, and the innate feelings of our hearts. Any interpretations of Scripture, therefore, which represent the Father of all, as cruel and unjust, arbi. trary and partial, must be erroneous, highly

* Matt. xxv. 35.

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