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ing of reverence-reverence for thine authority who hath given it; and may we find that it is in all things adapted to our wants, therefore may we give it a cordial acceptance. Oh Lord, we beseech thee to bless us in the various relations in which we stand to each other, to society, and to the church, according to the various spheres we are called on to fill and duties we are required to discharge. Impart unto us the grace that may be needful for sustaining us and for enabling us to endure and to improve our time, and for deducing from every event of thy providence the improvement it is fitted to impart. Look down in mercy, we beseech thee, upon all the careless, the unbelieving, and the inconsiderate. Oh, do thou awaken them to a due sense of their danger and their guilt. Make bare thy holy arm, oh Lord, and pluck them as brands out of the everlasting furnace. Come forth with all thy ministering servants throughout the church universal this day; and in proportion to the important and arduous embassy on which they are sent, give them power to persuade men that they may be reconciled unto God. Do thou give them all needful light and strength and grace; and may the bow which is drawn at a venture send forth an arrow that shall reach many a heart. Increase the number of thy true spiritual children. Do thou weaken and thin the ranks of thine enemies. Hasten the period when Messiah shall reign universally among all the families and all the kingdoms of this world ; and do thou graciously bring in thine elect. In thine own good time make up the number of thy jewels, and grant that the Redeemer's mediatorial crown may be radiated with the jewels which he hath purchased with his precious blood. Condescend to be in the midst of us this day; and come forth especially with thy servant who is now about to address us in thy name, and grant that through his instrumentality the grace of the Lord Jesus, in all its power and holiness and peace, may find its way to many a heart. These our petitions we present before thee not in our own name or in our own strength, but in the name and through the strength of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ; to whom, with thee, the Father, and the Holy Spirit, be ascribed endless praise and glory. Amen.

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SERMON BY DR. CHALMERS. Text.-In the 16th verse of the 4th chap. of the First Epistle General of John-'. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."-Our text is the middle clause of the verse—“ God is Love." Did we only give credit to the text, did we but think that God is love, in the words of this simple translation of your authorized version of the Scriptures, which is in all your hands, did we bụt receive this simple translation of a great truth, we should feel from that moment we thought of God as love, the establishment in our minds of faith and confidence in him, and with the establishment of this faith there would instantly be generated a new heart and a new life.

Let us attend, in the first place, to the original constitution of humanity

placed and constituted as it now is, and in reference to that great and invisible Being, revealed to us in the Scriptures. I would say that naturally we do not view God as Love, that we do not view God as actuated by love towards man. Our natural apprehension is that He is a God actuated by displeasure towards mankind, and, therefore, instead of being the object of our confidence, He is the object of our terror and distrust. This is what I would take to be the universal apprehension of nature in reference to God; and this is what I would call the original conception of humanity, placed and constituted as it now is, with reference to this great and invisible Being.

But, secondly, after we have disposed of this first head of our discussion, let us attend to the legitimate consideration-let us adduce the likeliest arguments by which to overcome this conception--this apprehension of nature of God; and endeavour to find a lodgment in the human breast for another and for an opposite contemplation of Him.

And, thirdly, let us stop to contemplate the effects of such a change in the state of man's understanding towards God upon the whole system of his feelings and conduct.

Under the first general head, then, let it be observed, there are two reasons why we should conceive God to be so actuated as to inspire us with fear and terror, or at least with distrust, instead of conceiving Him to be actuated by that love which the text ascribes to Him; and which we could no sooner believe, than it would set us at ease, and inspire us with confidence in Him.

The first of these reasons why we view God as an object of distrust and terror, instead of viewing him as love and therefore the object of our confidence-I say the first of these reasons which we shall allege will be best illustrated by a very general experience of human nature. It may be shortly stated thus :—Whenever we are placed within the reach of any being of imagined power, but with all unknown purposes, that being is the object of our dismay-I say that whenever we are placed within the reach of any being with imagined power, but with unknown purposes, that being is the object of our dismay. It is not necessary for us that we should be positively assured of his hostility; it is enough for us to feel that for aught we know he may be hostile ; and that, for aught we know, he has strength enough for the execution of his hostile purposes towards us. Uncertainty will beget fear, and the fancies of mere ignorance are ever found to be productive of imaginary terror. It is thus that a certain recoil of dread and aversion would be felt in the presence of a strange animal whatever the gentleness of its nature, if that gentleness of nature were unknown to us. Hence the fear of the child towards strangers, who must first make demonstrations of their love for it by gifts or caresses ere they can win it into confidence. So also the consternation of savages on the first approach of a foreign vessel to their shores, especially when, in the midst of smoke and thunder, and to them the feats of miraculous exhibition, they are giving evidence of its power. It may be a voyage of benevolence that brings the ship to their shores, but as yet they know not this ; they only believe in the power, and the

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belief in the power simply produces dismay, and many and often may be the vain attempts to overcome that terror; many and fruitless may be the demonstrations and signals of good will, ere that distrust towards them will be conquered, or those savages can be recalled from the woods and lurking places to which they have fled for safety. Such, then, is the universal bias of nature. Whenever the power is known, and the purposes are unknown, men give way to the visions of terror and to the darkness of a troubled imagination. The quick and instant suggestion on all such occasions is that of fear; and the difficulty, and an exceeding difficulty it is, (for it is just working against a constitutional law of our nature,) is to reassure the individual into confidence. If such then be the effect on human feeling, of a power that is known to be associated with purposes that are unknown, we are not to wonder if the great and invisible God is invested to our eyes with the imagery of terror. It is purely because he is great, and at the same time invisible, that we so invest him. It is precisely because the Being who has all the energies of nature at command is at the same time enshrouded in mystery impenetrable that we view him as terrible. All regarding him is secret and inscrutable ;—the depth of his vast eternity, the mighty and unknown extent of his creation, the secret policy or aim of his government-a government that embraces an infinity of worlds, and reaches forward to an infinity of ages--all this leave a being so circumscribed in his faculties as man, so limited in his duration and therefore in his experience, in the profoundest ignorance of God and of his ways. And then the inaccessible retirement in which he hides himself from the observation of his creatures here below; the clouds and darkness which are about the pavilion of his majesty ; the utter inability of man to press his way beyond the confines of that materialism by which he is surrounded, so as to fathom the essence of the Godhead or to obtain any distinct view of his personality and divinity; the deep, perfect, and unbroken silence of many centuries, however positively nature may tell of his existence to our senses as creatures, all prevent us from obtaining a clear and perfect perception of the true nature of God. There is a mighty gulf of separation-an interval—a mysterious and untrodden interval between the spirituality of the Godhead on the one hand, and all that the eye of man can see and the ear of man can hear on the other; a barrier which man, with all his powers of curious and searching inspection, cannot force; and across which God—at least for many ages-hath sent forth no direct or visible manifestation of his own person and character; and so, whatever the confidence or the manifested kindness may have been in those primeval days, when God walked with man in the bowers of his earthly paradise, and among the smiling beauties of his garden, certain it is, that now, exiled from the divine presence, all that confidence is withdrawn. Now that the Divinity is withdrawn from mortal view, man trembles at the thought of him, and the dread imagination whether of a present wrath or coming vengeance is the only homage which nature renders to an unknown God; and there is nothing in the prospect of the day which is fast approaching, or in the varying fortunes of human life,

which can at all alleviate our perplexity in regard to the final designs or character of God. For if, on the one hand, the smile and the sunshine, and the softer beauties of the landscape, would seem to picture forth the milder characteristics of the Godhead, these are all on the other hand altered by other and opposite expressions—in the sweeping flood, in the angry tempest, and in the thunder from the skies, wherewith the mysterious Being who rules in the firmament of heaven overawes a prostrate world; and if, on the one hand, the mildness, the obedience, and mutual affection and unnumbered sweets of many a cottage hearth, might serve to indicate the profuse benevolence of him who is the great, the universal Parent of the universe ; on the other hand, the achings, the heartburnings, the moral discomforts,—often the pining sickness or the cold and cheerless agony,—the fierce contests unto blood and mutual destruction, -even among civilised men,-and lastly, as if to crown and to consummate all-death--unsparing and relentless death, which sweeps off generation after generation, and in like ghastly triumph, whether among the abodes of the prosperous or the lowly and unhappy, left to the brief subsistence of a few little years, lays all the varieties of human fortune in the dust; these, on the other hand, if they speak not of a malignant, at least of an offended Deity. It is amidst such different and contradictory appearances that the question of the divine administration becomes a hopeless enigma, at once to exercise and baffle all our spirits ; and that the lofty and unapproachable Being who presides over it, is the object of our dread because mantled in the deepest obscurity,—and terrible, because unknown.

I have now only explained one of the two reasons why nature's conception of God is such as to inspire our terror rather than our grateful and rejoicing confidence. And ere I proceed to the consideration of the second reason, I feel strongly inclined, though I should thereby anticipate the second head of discourse, to state even now and in immediate sequence to our first reason for thinking hardly and adversely of God, to state as far as we are able to enforce, the appropriate, the counterpart argument by which that reason may be met, and ought to be overcome. The argument, then, that we are in quest of, is not to be found in the whole range or compass of visible nature; it is only to be found in one of the doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A certain distrust, nay, a certain terror, will still continue to haunt and to disquiet us so long as any ambiguity continues to rest on the character of God. But there is such an ambiguity, which no observation of nature, and which no experience of human life, can dissipate. Whatever the falsely formed or superstitiously fearful imagination conjures up, because of God being at a distance, can only be dispelled by God being brought nigh unto us. The spiritual must become sensible. The veil which hides the unseen Godhead from the eye of mortals must be somehow withdrawn. Now all this has been done once, and done only, in the incarnation of Jesus Christ-he being " the brightness of his Father's glory and the express image of his person ;" the Godhead became palpable to human sense, and man could behold as in a picture, or in a distinct personification, the very character

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istics of the Being who made him. Then truly did man hold converse with “ Immanuel, which is being interpreted God with us." They saw his glory in the face of Jesus Christ, and the divinity himself may be said to have appeared in authentic representation before them, when God manifest in the flesh descended in Judea and sojourned in its earthly tabernacle. By this mysterious movement from heaven to earth, the dark-the untrodden interval which separates the corporeal from the spiritual--was at length overcome. The King eternal and invisible” was then placed within the ken of mortals. They saw the Son, and in him they saw the Father also ; so that while contemplating the person and history of him as man, they could make a study of God. And it is thus the unequivocal demonstration has been given, that “ God is love." We could not scale the heights of that mysterious ascent which might bring us within view of the Godhead. It is by the descent of the Godhead unto us, that this great manifestation has been given; and we learn and know God from the wondrous history of Him“ who went about doing good” continually. We could not go in search of the viewless Deity through the depths and the vastnesses of infinitude, or divine the secret, the untold purposes that were brooding there; but in no way could a more palpable exhibition have been made than when the Eternal Son enshrined in humanity stepped forth in the placid form of visible things, and proclaimed the errand, that he came to seek and to save that which was lost. We can now read the character of God in the human likeness and person of him who is himself very God, and the true image and visible representative of the Deity. We see it in the tears of sympathy which he shed, we hear it in the accents of tenderness which fell from him. Even his very remonstrances were those of a meek and gentle nature, for they are remonstrances of the deepest pathos, and affection, the complaints of a languishing and pitying spirit against the sad perversity of man, bent on his own destruction. When visited with the fear that God looks hardly and adversely towards us, let us think of him who had compassion for the perishing multitude, -of him who mourned with the sisters of Lazarus,---of him who when he approached the city of Jerusalem wept over it as he thought of its coming destruction. And knowing that the Son is like unto the Father, let us assure our hopes with the certainty that “ God is love."

So much for the first reason, and the first consideration by which that reason should be overcome. The first reason why nature thinks hardly and adversely of God the mysterious distance at which he stands from us--the obscurity in which he is invested-veiled in the mystery of his existence. This is overcome by the Incarnation of the Saviour, who is declared to be the brightness of bis Father's glory and the express image

But there is still another reason, and many may think it a more substantial reason than the former--there is still another reason why, instead of viewing God as love, we should apprehend him to be a God of severity and displeasure. And it is not like the former-a fearful imagination, a mere product of uncertainty resulting from a headlong bias in the

of his person:

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