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closes with ascriptions to Father, Son and spirit, as the one God. Others think they cannot unite in Christian worship, because they can relate no experiences of a change of heart, and because they have been assured that the prayers of the unconverted are an abomination to the Lord. If they cannot pray sincerely; if their petitions would be hypocritical, they would surely be an offence both to man and his Maker. But if they can ask their Father and Friend, in sincerity and truth, for any one thing, that request will be kindly received and graciously answered. Others again suppose they have no further concern in this exercise than to preserve a decent behaviour ; not recollecting that it is as much their province to pray as their minister's, and that he is not employed to pray for them, but to lead in their devotions; not remembering that by so doing, they lose the peculiar benefit of the service, and acquire a very dangerous habit. Consequently, no one can present any satisfactory excuse for neglecting this part of his Sunday duty. It is therefore the privilege of all the people to unite heartily in the public devotions, and to make such exertions as shall impress them deeply upon their minds and hearts; thus obtaining gracious answers of peace and improvement from their Father in heaven.
THE MEANS OF CULTIVATING LOVE TO GOD.
How shall I learn to love God? Is it not an inspired grace? What can I do to acquire it? It is inspired through our employment of the appointed means of religious culture. Like every other affection it is formed, and strengthened by exercise, by the habit of frequently bringing God's goodness before the mind, This is the simple secret.
How comes a child to love his parents more than other persons as good as they, or better? Only because of his constant intercourse with them, his more frequent perception of their kind qualities. So he that will commune with his God in regular habits of devotion will soon experience a growing love. His transcendant moral beauty only requires the attention, to win the heart.
Yet he who would love must not commune with him in the formal act of prayer alone; but in all the general habits of his mind. He must try, to enthrone his maker over the whole strain of his thoughts, his rooted opinions, his favorite sentiments; and associate his image with every pleasureable emotion. It is this great law of association that rules the intellectual world. It must act for religion. It must enable us to connect the sentiment of pious gratitude with the smallest enjoyment in life. In the moment of happiness, however it may be ministered, pause awhile, and say, “ from God it comes.'
See his hand operating for good in all the workings of nature. And when you walk forth amid its gloriousness, beholding the beauty with which he hath strowed the earth and the splendors with which he hath garnished the heavens, let the instinctive suggestion of your heart be, “my Father made them all.” In the soft breeze that cools your brow in summer's heat, hear his soothing whispers. In the genial light that gladdens your eyes in winter's gloom, see his cordial smile. In the golden robes of the fields and the rich burdens of the trees, and all the exuberance of autumn's treasures, mark his open hand scattering far and wide with indiscriminating liberality. Let all that is grand, and all that is lovely in his works, pronounce the name of their bountiful author, before they are permitted to teach any inferior truth. And this simple habit of devout reflection will make the Unseen always brightly visible, and bring down him who is in the height of Heaven to intimate communion with our lowly hearts. Nor only so.
Affectionate adoration will trace God's goodness in every exhibition of moral beauty as well as in the displays of outward nature. It will recognize his forming hand in all the loveliness and grandeur of lofty virtue. Every act of human goodness may be made to tell of him who created man " after his own image.” Wherever kind emotion swells the heartwherever the tear of pity fills the eye--wherever benevolence puts forth her soft hand to bind up the wounds of affliction, there may you learn a lesson of love to God. See then his tender mercies reflected in the compassionate sympathies of his creatures, and let human virtue remind you of more than his benig
nity. Let every enterprise of noble daring, all generous self-devotion, all heroic sacrifice, claim admiration for the loftiness of His nature, who demands in his children willing suffering before selfishness, and courted death itself that others may happily live. And let purity of character which the Gospel cultivates exalt your veneration for that spotless holiness, which endures, only because it most deeply pities, sin, and “in whose sight even the Heavens are not clean.”
To cultivate the love of God with still more efficient adaptation of our
to our object, regard should be had to our previous conceptions of his character. If we have been impressed with harsh and ungracious representations of it, and taught to view him as a rigid master, a sullen tyrant; it will be of advantage, to discard for a time even the indifferent expressions and titles which we have associated with these characteristics, and to contemplate him as much as possible under a new aspect, by using new phraseology. If we have hitherto addressed him as stern Jehovah, the ruthless king, who has created but to destroy again, and offers hope only to mock and disappoint ; let us call him now— Father!" our Father!'
» - the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ !” “ the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; full of compassion and long suffering ; gracious and plenteous in mercy; pitying those who fear him, as a Father pitieth his children ; because he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are but dust." But if, on the other hand, the unhappy lot of our VOL. INO. I.
childhood and domestic experience has left unfavorable impressions of the paternal character, then let us call him-God! literally, God! that is, Good !—the only supreme and perfectly good being ;—who loved us with earlier and purer regard than consanguinity ever excited; and who,“ when father and mother forsake us on earth, will take us up in the arms of his parental protection :” “ for a father of the fatherless is God in his holy habitation." In fine, our whole intercourse with mankind
be made the means of cherishing the love of God. Benevolence on christian principles cannot but foster piety. For the soft and amiable sensibilities of our nature are allied, and lend mutual support. Love man for God's sake, and it will be a lesson of love to God for his own sake. Let us bear it in our minds, then, in all the scenes of life, that uniform kind-heartedness to our brethren, as the children of God, exercised with reference to his character, example and will, tends to fill the heart with sublime emotion of love to Him, their Father in Heaven.
HE THAT IS NOT AGAINST US IS ON OUR PART."
The injustice of condemning a sect for the opinions and practices of individual members, has been often acknowledged. There is a similar injustice, not so gen