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the groves are full of melody; ten thousand happy creatures range freely through all the paths of nature; but thou art not satisfied as they are thou art not happy--thou art not provided for as they are: earth hath no coverts for thy sheltering ; thou must toil, thou must build houses, and gather defences for thy frailty; and in the sweat of thy brow mustathou eat thy bread. And when all is done, thou must die; and thou knowest it. Death, strange visitant, is ever approaching to meet thee; death, dark gate of mystery, is ever the termination of thy path! .vens om te
But, my brethren, is this all ? To live, to toil, to struggle, to suffer, to sorrow, to die is this all ? No, it is not all, but it is God's love, and the revelation of God's love in the promise of immortality only, that can assure us that there is more. And so necessary do these seem to me, to bear up the thinking, feeling, suffering, hoping, inquiring mind; so necessary is it that a voice of God should speak to the creatures of this earthly discipline,---necessary as that a parental voice should be ready and near to hush the cry of infancy,
that instead of stumbling at marvels and miracles, at interpositions and teachings, I confess I have sometimes wondered that there were not more of them. I have wondered that the manifestations of God did not oftener appear in the blazing bush and the cloudcapt mountain. I have wondered that the curtain of mystery that hides the other world were not sometimes lifted up; that the cherubim of inercy and of - hope were not sometimes throned on the clouds of the eventide; that the bright and silent stars did not sometimes break the deep stillness that reigns among them, with the scarcely fabled music of their
spheres; that the rich flood of morning light, as it bathes the earth in love, did not utter voices from its throne of heavenly splendour, to proclaim the good, ness of God. No; I wonder not at marvels and miraeles. That scene on the mount of transfiguration-Moses and Elias talking with our Saviour seems to me, so far from being strange and incredible, to meet a want of the mind; and I only wonder, if I may venture to say so, that it is not sometimes repeated.
Yet why should I say this ? The love of God to us is sure; and it is a sufficient assurance. Trust in him is a sustaining principle; and it is sufficient strength. There is another state of being for us---perish all reason and all faith if it is not so !--there is another state of being for us; and though the eye hath not seen it, and the ear hath caught no sound from its wide
realm, the great promise and hope are sufficient. ... : I say, the love of God is sure. He does love the moral beings whom he has made in his image ; loves them, I doubt not, in their fears, and doubtings, and struggles, and sorrows; loves them, I believe, even in their sins, nay, and has commended his love to them in this very character has commended his love to them, in that while they were yet sinners Christ died for them.
Can you doubt whether man is the object of God's love ?. Look at the feeble insect tribes, sporting in the beams of life, happy in their hour, perishing but
to give life to others. Is he not a kind Being who i made even these? Is it not the breath of love in which - even they live? Look at all the ranks and orders of
irrational creatures that inhabit the fields, the groves, the mountains, the living streams of ocean. Look at the free and fleet rangers of the forest. Go thou and unfold the inward frame of such an one; trace every part of the wonderful mechanism ; mark every sinew; follow the courses of its life-blood; see every skilfuland exquisite adaptation for sustenance, for strength, for speed, for beauty. Is not this the workmanship of goodness ? Could any but a kind and gracious Being have done this? “Ask, now, of the beasts," says Job, "and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee; or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee; and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.”
But turn, now, from all these, and look-yes, look at one human heart. How infinite the difference! The human heart-say what we will of it, let the cynic or the sceptic say what he will but what a concentration of energies, what a gathering up of mighty thoughts, what a home of dear and gentle af. fections, what a deep fountain of tears and sorrows, is there! What strugglings are pent up within its narrow enclosure; what mighty powers sleep within its folding bosom ; what images of the grand, the god like, the indefinite, the eternal, lie in its unfathomable depths! Doth not the Maker of that heart regard it with kindness? Doth he not pity a being that can sorrow? Doth he not love a being whom he hath made capable of love--of all its yearning, of all its tenderness? Doth he not care for a being whom he hath made capable of improving for ever ? ..
Assuredly, if nature speaks truth, if revelation utters wisdom, he does love his rational offspring. How strong is the language of that revelation !,“ Can a
mother forget her child? Yea, she may forget, yet will not I forget thee.!'. Hins $}s; i....i
Lets this, then, be settled in every heart as one of the great convictions of life; let it be taken to the soul as a part of the armour of God, to defend it against this world's temptations and calamities. We may not all, or we may not always, feel the need of it; but we do all need it, and we need it always, always, I say; for we are always exposed to sin, and we are always exposed to sorrow. Let us look at these conditions of human life for a few moments, to see how the apprehension of God's love to us is fitted to restrain us in the one case, and to comfort us in the other..
Nothing would be so effectual to restrain us from sin, if we felt it, as the love of God to us; nothing would be so effectual to recall us from our wanderings. It is a lofty conviction of which I speak, my brethren, and not the ordinary and dull acknowledgment, the mere theological inference, that God is good. Let any one feel that God is as truly good to him, as truly loves him, is as really interested for his welfare, as his father, or his most devoted friend; that even when he is rebellious and disobedient, the good and blessed God pities him, and pleads with him to return, pleads with him even through the sufferings of Christ, his Son. Let him feel that the kind and gracious Creator has fashioned that wonderful, but abused mind within him ; called forth those sweet, but neglected affections ; provided dear objects for them; given him home, given him friends, showered mercies upon him; let him thus feel how ungenerous and ungrateful is the course of sin and vice; and surely all this, if any
Sing sa, it to be with conviction, and more imm s mentais. Lai be so, that all other mo. Eres lar talad; but who of as, if he rightly saw it, cond his hand against that which is all love? Whoo sit be felt that love to him, and to all around
im-sho could be selfish, contemptuous, haughty, or hand tearted towards his brother? Who of us, if he ses all the gifts of life to be the sacred gifts of that lore, could abuse them to purposes of selfish ambition, or vicious indulgence? The spirit of the sinner, the spirit of sin, I mean, so far as it goes, is a reckless spirit. The offender cares not, very much in proportion as he feels that nobody cares for him. He hardens himself against everything the more, because he supposes that everything is hardened against him. And when he goes to the worst excesses in vice, the manifest scorn of his fellow-creatures is the last influence that steels his heart against every better feeling. And yet even then there is sometimes left one thought that moves him to tears : it is the thought of his mother, dwelling alone, perhaps, in his far distant and forsaken home; it is the thought of his mother, who sighs in secret places for him ; who still mingles his outcast name with every evening prayer, saying, “Oh! restore my poor child !" But let him remember, that even if his mother should forget, God does not forget him ; does not forsake him ; does not withdraw all his mercies from him. His friends may withdraw themselves; he may have no earthly bosom to lean upon but the elements embosom him around; the air breathes upon him a breath of kindness; the sun shines beneficently upon him; the page of mery is spread for him, and it is