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Ways to our Necessities and to our Pleasure. The Mercies we daily receive from God, and the Provision that is made for the Sustenance and Accommodation of this
present Life, should excite grateful Affections in our Hearts towards our fovereign Benefactor : But above all what Joy must it: yield to take a View of the infinite Grace: and Goodnefs of God in the marvellous Methods made Use of for recovering us: from our ruinous and lapsed State to Holiness and Happiness ? Nothing can poffibly exhibit a more affecting Proof of the wonderful Love of God to Mankind, than his sending his only begotten Son into the. World, to instruct us by his heavenly Doctrine, to lead us by his most perfect and lovely Example, and by his Sufferings and Sacrifice to obtain eternal Redemption for
How delightful, how transporting, is it to consider God as a God in Chrift reconciling the world unto himself ? To behold that moft glorious Being, according to the amiable Representation that is made of him in the facred Writings, inviting Sinners to forsake the Paths of Vice
, rightful Lord and fupreme Good; offering to enter into a gracious Covenant with them through Hefus Christ, and to pardon all
their Iniquities upon their fincere Repentance; urging and engaging them by all the Charms of Love, by a Regard to their own truest Interest, by every Conlideration that is proper to work upon their Hopes and Fears, and thus, as far as is consistent with the Freedom of ratinoal Beings, even compelling them to be happy! How pleasing to behold him as on a Throne of Grace, encouraging their Addresses, accepting their fincere though imperfect Services, pitying them
à Father pitieth his Children, and, when he seeth it nécessary to correct and chaften them, doing it with great Tenderness, supporting and comforting them in their Tribulations, and causing all Things to work together for their Good! To consider him as fending his Angels to minister unto them, but especially as communicating his Holy Spirit to enlighten, sanctify, and comfort them, and to guide them safe through all the intricate Paths, the Snares and Difficulties of this Pilgrimage State! And, finally, which completeth all, to consider him as having prepared, for all those that sincerely believe and obey him, everlasting Glory and Felicity in the higheft Heavens !
To have enlarged Views of the Divine Goodness, as displaying and exercising itself in so many different Ways, and in such a Variety of beneficial Effects and Instances, must needs fill the Heart of a truly religious and good Man with a sublime Satisfaction and Joy, especially when he is inabled to make a particular Application of all this to his own Case; when, being confcious of his own Sincerity, and feeling his Heart powerfully drawn to the God of Love, he looks forward with a lively Faith to that blessed State, where he hopes to be perfectly happy in the Enjoyment of him to all Eternity. Then it is that he
with inexpressible Delight break forth into those noble Strains of Devotion: Ob give Thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for his Mercy endureth for ever. Because thy Loving--kindness is better than Life, my Lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee, while I live; I will lift up my Hands in thy Name. Whom have I in
Heaven but thee? And there is none upon Earth that I defire besides thee. How excellent is thy Loving-kindness, O God ! therefore the Children of Men put their Truft under the Shadow of thy Wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the Fatness of thy House; and thou shalt make
them drink of the River of thy Pleasures. For with thee is the Fountain of Life, and in thy Light shall we fee Light. In thy Presence is Fulness of Joy, and at thy right Hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Fourthly, We should delight ourselves in God as a Being of spotless Purity and Holiness, of impartial Righteousness and Equity. Rejoice in the Lord, Oye Righteous, and give Thanks at the Remembrance of his Holiness. Pl. xcvii. 12. God is called in Scripture, by Way of Eminency, the Holy One; and is said to be glorious in Holiness. Righteous is God in all bis Ways, and holy in all his Works. Pf. cxlv. 17. He is the Rock, bis Work is perfect, and all his Ways are Judgment; a God of Truth and without Iniquity, just and right is be. Deut. xxxii. 4. This is the Voice of Scripture, and is perfectly agreeable to the foundest Reason. As his Understanding is infinite, he must have a clear and perfect Discernment of whatsoever is just and pure, and virtuous and lovely; and can never possibly, through Error and Mistake, in any single Instance, put Wrong for Right, or Right for Wrong. And agreeable to the pure Light of his infinite Mind is the perfect Rectitude of his Will, whereby he is in
H. variably and eternally determined to will and to do that which his unerring Understanding fees to be juft and good, to delight in Righteousness and Purity, in moral Beauty and Order, and to abhor whatsover is contrary thereuhto. That Observation of St. James carries its own Evidence with it: God cannot be tempted with Evil, neither tempteth be any Man. Jam. i. 13:
He can have nothing to turn him aside from an inviolable Regard to the facred Rules of Justice, Righteousness, and Equity; no false Judgment to mislead him, no private Interest to biass him, no irregular Appetites and Passions to corrupt or pervert him. It naturally gives us Pleasure to behold, even in an imperfect human Character, a steady Love and Practice of Righteoufness and Virtue, and a generous Abhorrence of Vice and Wickedness, though mixed with Weakness and Defects : And shall we not then admire and adore the great Original of Righteousness and moral Excellency in whom it is to be found in the highest possible Degree of Perfection, from whom that of all other Beings is derived, and to whom as their glorious Exemplar they should be all conformed! We read in Scripture of the Beauty of Holiness. As Sin is the fouleft Blemish