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fully apprehended by a finite intel. Love to God is the leading element lect. "The wind bloweth where it of the new nature communicated to listeth, and thou hearest the sound believers; and this love can only thereof, but canst not tell whence it result from the exertion of a divine cometh, and whither it goeth : 80 is power upon the mind; it must be every one that is born of the Spi. "shed abroad in the heart, by the rit.” (John iii. 8.) But, in the great Holy Ghost given unto us." But work which the Spirit thus effects, this love, in all its exercises, and in infusing into the heart the elements all those minuter sentiments and of holy feeling, and the principles of feelings which are blended to conspiritual life, he works in connexion stitute it, has a direct and manifest with-and, we may say, by means relation to the truth of God. It in. of-the truth of Christ. 'l'he spi- cludes, for instance, gratitude to the ritual regeneration of the human Most High for his abundant good. mind is consequent on the putting ness; but this gratitude specially forth of faith in the Redeemer; not fixes upon the plan of redemption, a cold and indifferent assent to the and the great truths which that doctrine of his atonement, but a plan involves.
plan involves. The Apostle John penitent reliance on his sacrifice, as declares, “We love him, because he the only ground of human bope, first loved us ;” and he affirms, in and a confidence in the promise of the same chapter, “In this was mercy made through him. Such a manifested the love of God toward faith rests on the truth of God as its us, because that God sent his only. basis ; it apprehends the testimony begotten Son into the world, that of God relative to his Son, and the we might live through him. Herein covenant-promise of salvation and is love; not that we loved God, but life to all who trust in him. But that he loved us, and sent his Son the Spirit calls forth this faith; for to be the propitiation for our sins.” he imparts a vivid and powerful (1 John iv. 9, 10, 19.) Love to conviction of the Saviour's atone God includes also an esteem of ment, and of the prevalence of his the divine character ; esteem intercession in heaven ; he stills the not only of the condescension and agitated breast, and inspires a feels benignity which that character preing of trust, in opposition to any sents, but also of its unsullied purity, latent doubts of the divine willing- and its perfect truth and justice. ness to save ; he shows us that the But, in order to the very existence scheme of mercy comprehends even of this sentiment, the truth of God us in its large provisions ; he brings must be apprehended with greater home to the heart the conviction, or less distinctness. The character that the Son of God loved me, of the Most High must be viewed as and gave himself for me;" and thus it is represented in his own word; the penitent is enabled to rest on it must be thought of as embracing the atonement, and to feel the peace elements that should at once awe that passeth understanding: The the loftiest created mind into promessage of mercy is received in its found veneration, and attract it to fulness of comfort ; and “the Gos filial confidence and repose. It is pel comes, not in word only, but to be viewed as the plan of redempalso in power, and in the Holy tion unfolds it; “the glory of God”. Ghost, and in much assurance." must be beheld “in the face of
It is thus that the soul enters Jesus Christ ;” and, when thus upon a state of peace with God, and contemplated, the holiness of God of spiritual life. And the principles will appear lovely, though veneraand feelings that are called forth in ble, and his benignity and mercy the mind thus pardoned and re will deeply affect our hearts. Love stored,—those, indeed, which distin. to God includes also a filial delight guish the regenerate state,-evince in him. It supposes that we esthe same connexion between the teem his friendship as our first and truth of God, and the agency of the highest good; that we take pleasure Holy Spirit, in man's salvation. in devout intercourse with him;
and that we enter upon his service the renewed mind, and the teaching with holy cheerfulness. But this of the word of God on these importdelight in God and in his service is ant subjects. Though the mind prompted by our gratitude and our may not itself advert to this conesteem ; and it is thus called forth nexion, or trace the process which by the Spirit while he enables us to has gone on within it, yet is it a receive the Saviour, assures us of fact, that it has been “born again God's adopting love, and brings to of incorruptible seed, by the word the mind views of the divine conde- of God, which liveth and abideth scension and goodness, such as it for ever;” or, to use the metaphor never before could realize.
of St. Paul, that it has been cast But the Christian affection of love into the mould of Christian docto God is ever combined with a trine, and received a correspondent large and active benevolence to form. man; nor can that mind have re A second branch of the general ceived the sanctifying Spirit, or felt subject before us is, that which rethe impression of the divine charac- lates to the nourishing and maturter, that is destitute of this benevo- ing of the principles of holiness in lence. “He that loveth not, know- the human mind. And, in refereth not God; for God is love." ence to this, we may affirm it as a (1 John iv. 8.) This love to man is most important principle, that the a result of the Spirit's operation on truth of God is the grand instruthe mind. “ Love is of God :" it ment of the Holy Spirit, in the preis not only the characteristic of his servation, establishment, and per. own glorious nature, but it is com- fecting of the graces of the Chrismunicated by him to every mind tian character. that is brought into vital and hal That this is the doctrine of the lowing union with himself. But, in Scriptures, can scarcely, we think, producing this affection, the Holy be questioned. We find the AposSpirit honours “the truth as it is in tle Peter charging the Christians to Jesus.” The benevolence which whom he wrote, as new-born glows in the breast of the pardoned babes, to desire the sincere milk of sinner, regards mankind in the light the word, that they might grow of the cross of Christ. The very thereby.” St. Paul uses a very first wish that arises in the heart, striking and beautiful expression in which has itself been calmed into his second Epistle to Timothy, when holy peace through faith in the speaking of the tendency and deatonement, is, that all should be signed effect of divine truth : “All brought to taste the sweetness of Scripture is given by inspiration of the grace of Christ, and to realize God, and is profitable for doctrine, its eternal benefits. Man is viewed for reproof, for correction, for inby the believing mind under new struction in righteousness; that the aspects, and in new relations. He man of God may be perfect, thois regarded not only as immortal and roughly furnished unto all good responsible, but as embraced in the works.” (2 Tim. iii. 16, 17.) Havrich provisions of a love ineffably ing referred to the word of God as tender, and which seeks to raise the the instrument of enlightening the fallen, and to restore even the out. human mind, of convincing it of casts to peace and holiness.
sin, and of restoring it to peace and These observations are designed rectitude, he adds, that it is profitto illustrate the statement, that the able for "instruction," or, rather, Holy Spirit, in regenerating the for "training in righteousness.” human mind, makes large use of The word which he uses, maidela, " the truth," and especially of that properly expresses the course of truth which relates to the plan of * training," or “education,”. by our redemption, and to the divine which the youthful mind is led oncharacter as illustrated by that plan. ward to those attainments, and There is an intimate connexion be- formed to those habits, which pretween the affections called forth in pare it for the duties of mature age ;
and then he states the grand result tion, in the entire scheme of Chris. to which our spiritual training is tian truth, to nourish and strengthen subservient to be this : that we, every gracious principle which the as Christians, should be "perfect,” Spirit has implanted in our hearts, having every grace of the Spirit in a to confirm our devotional habits, to state of vigour and maturity, freed invigorate us for benevolent effort, even from the remains of inward and to sustain our power of unisin, and established in those princi- versal sobriety and self-control. ples and habits which will lead to Particular portions of the truth, practical holiness in all its branches, also, have a special relation to some and cause us to abound in acts of of the graces of the renewed nature, benignity and kindness.
and are peculiarly fitted to preserve The view which is given to us of and to mature them. Thus do we the exercise of the Christian minis- need to be instructed “in all wise try, in its relation to the church, is dom,” that we may indeed be mature also in accordance with the great and perfect Christians. principle before us,—that the truth In illustration of this subject, let of God is the grand instrument of us, however, take the two leading feeding and maturing th graces of dispositions of the Christian mind the regenerate character. St. Paul that have been already referred to, teaches us, that Christ hath given -love to God, and benevolence to Pastors and teachers, for the
The former of these has been perfecting of the saints, for the work viewed as combining gratitude, esof the ministry, for the edifying of teem, and delight, and as prompting the body of Christ ; till we all come to a cheerful and universal obein the unity of the faith, and of the dience to the divine will. Its conknowledge of the Son of God, unto nexion with the truth of God, as a perfect man, unto the measure of apprehended by a living and realizing the stature of the fulness of Christ.” faith, and as applied by the Holy (Eph. iv. 11-13.) He evidently Spirit to the heart, has also been regarded the Christian ministry not pointed out. Our gratitude fixes on only as the ministry of reconciliac the gift of the Son to save us, and tion, but as designed to aid be. the rich and mercisul provisions of lievers in their study of the word of that covenant which is established God; to bring out to their view the through his blood. Our esteem and entire scheme of divine truth, in the delight have respect to God, as bis harmony of its parts, in the fulness character is developed in the Chrisand power of its doctrines, and in tian revelation. We know and feel the beauty and perfectness of its that “God is love;" we know that moral precepts; that those who had even his more awful attributes, his already become spiritual miglit rise holiness and justice, are intimately to greater maturity in holiness, and connected with his benevolence; be prepared for the glory of the that all the precepts which he has divine presence. And his own prac- enjoined are wise and good; and tice was in accordance with this sen. that the governinent which he exertiment. When writing to the Colos- cises is of a benignant and paternal sians, after speaking of the great character, while it is full of terror mystery of Christianity, to the rebellious and obstinate. “'Christ in us the hope of glory,” The essential purity of God no he adds, "Whom we preach, warn- longer keeps the mind in painful ing every man, and teaching every awe; we see it in all its loveliness, man in all wisdom, that we may pre and it attracts us to Him who is the sent every man perfect in Christ fountain both of excellence and of Jesus."
happiness. Thus, assured of God's That branch of the subject, upon adopting love to us, by the Holy which we have now entered, is too Spirit, and beholding the mingled extensive to admit of being fully de- glory of his grace and holiness in veloped within the limits of this the face of Jesus Christ, we love paper. There is a beautiful adapta- God, -reverently, indeed, and with
profound submission, but still with and he shall have abundance,” ap. child-like confidence, and with plies to this particular case. By cheerful and heavenly delight. studying and meditating on the
But it must be at once apparent, truth of Christ, with an express rethat, in order to the preservation ofference to our growth in holy printhis affection, and still more in ciples and feelings, we shall
inorder to its growth and maturity, crease in the knowledge of God.” the truth of God must be kept be- This babit, indeed, is not the only fore the mind, and must be the one that we must cultivate, in order object of careful study and repeated to our preservation and establishmeditation. If that truth is not ment. We must watch against thus dwelt upon, our love to God every thing that would impair our will inevitably languish and decline. devotional feelings; we must often Our gratitude will be feeble, our engage in earnest prayer for the esteem of the divine character will continued and richer influence of become an indefinite and power the Spirit ; and we must actively less sentiment, and our delight will consecrate ourselves, our influence, be transferred to the things of earth. and our property, to the service of But if we steadfastly gaze on “the God. But when we combine these glory of the Lord ;" if we habitu. exercises with the earnest study of ally study the holy Scriptures, and the truth of Christ, we shall indeed attend on the public ministration of grow in holiness, and exhibit the the truth, that we may indeed be richness and beauty of matured nourished and instructed by it; this Christian feeling. The heart being will give depth and maturity to our preserved in a state of readiness to love. We shall see the divine cha- receive the impressions of the truth, racter yet more and more
ore clearly. the light which from time to time is The beauty and venerableness of the shed on our minds will increase our purity of God, the tenderness and love to God, conform us more fully condescension of his love to njan, to his image, and cause us to enand his unfailing fidelity to his pro gage in his service with greater demises, will more and more affect light. “But we all, with open face our hearts. The plan of our re beholding as in a glass the glory of demption—that great scheme, which the Lord, are changed into the same illustrates most clearly the character image, from glory to glory, even as of God-has a depth and excellence by the Spirit of ihe Lord.” (2 Cor. which the devout mind will perceive iii. 18.) with increasing clearness as it ad If now we turn to the consideravances in the spiritual life. Parti- tion of that love to man which dis. cular declarations of the divine tinguishes the regenerate mind, we word, relative to the attributes, the find that its preservation and maprovidence, and the moral govern- turity are intimately connected with ment of God, have an energy and a believing apprehension of the fulness which are not at first appre- great truths of the Christian revelahended, but which will be brought tion. While “the knowledge of out to the view of the persevering God” sustains our love to him, it and devout inquirer. The charac. feeds and confirms our benevolence ter of our adorable Redeemer, who to the whole human family. The was “God manifested in the flesh,” declaration, God is love,” not will be more and more understood only calls forth our gratitude, and and valued, as we listen to his attracts us to the Most High with teaching, contemplate bis miracles sentiments of esteem and delight, of pity and of might, view him in but it leads us to cultivate a benighis retired intercourse with his dis- nity similar to his own, since it is ciples, and gaze on him in his deep thús only that we can continue to sacrificial sufferings. That rule of be the objects of his complacency, the divine dealings with man which or dwell at last in the glory of his our Lord so often affirmed, “To presence. “We have known and him that hath shall more be given, believed the love that God hath to
God is love ; and he that offering and a sacrifice to God for a dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, sweet-smelling savour.” Our views and God in him.” (1 John iv. 16.) of the state of man as fallen, but
The influence which the know- redeemed, will prompt us to seek ledge of God is designed to have, in the recovery of the most vicious and sustaining and maturing our bene. depraved, and will lead us to emvolence to man, is beautifully shown brace all men in our benevolent soli. in our Lord's Discourse on the citude and efforts. “ The love of Mount. Having issued the precept, Christ constraineth us, because we “Love your enemies, bless them thus judge, that if one died for all, that curse you, do good to them then were all dead; and that he that hate you, and pray for them died for all, that they wbich live that despitefully use you, and per. should not henceforth live unto secute you,
Saviour adds, themselves, but unto him which “that ye may be the children of died for them, and rose again.” your Father which is in heaven; The remarks which have now for he maketh his sun to rise on the been offered are designed to illusevil and on the good, and sendeth trate the instrumentality of the rain on the just and on the unjust.” truth, in nourishing and maturing Here he directs our minds to the the two grand elements of the large and comprehensive benevo- Christian temper,-love to God, and lence of God, that benevolence benevolence to man. But we might which continues innumerable bene- also refer to some particular graces, fits even to those who slight his involving developements of one or authority, and trifle with the offers both of these leading affections, as of his grace. He leads us to think meekness, patience, humility, and of the long-suffering and manifold the love of heavenly good.
The goodness of God to man, that we, reflective mind will at once perceive having this affecting example con that the teaching of the divine word tinually before us, might seek to be has a direct bearing on these dispo“ perfect, even as our Father which sitions, and that it is calculated to is in heaven is perfect.”
encourage their exercise by the exIn the mind of the Christian, too, amples which it sets forth, and es. benevolence to man will always be pecially by the example of our Lord connected with a reference to the himself, by the great truths relative fact, that our race has been redeem to the government of God and the ed with the precious blood of Christ. eternal state of being which it un. The Son of God has assumed our folds, and by the gracious promises common nature, that he might place which it makes to all who are faithus all under an economy of mercy, ful unto death. and raise all who come to him to In thus urging the instrumentality share at last in the rest and glory of of the truth in the preservation and his exalted state. If this truth is establishment of the Christian chaonly feebly apprehended, our love racter, we have throughout kept in to man will languish, and our efforts view the necessity of the Holy Spito do good will be partial and inter- rit's influence in order to this result. rupted. But if the great facts of For it is not a mere perception of our redemption exert a commanding the meaning of the word of God and constant influence over our that will avail to promote our holiminds, we shall be inore and more ness : the truth must be received conformed to the benignity of our with a living and active faith, and Lord. We shall be “kind one to the heart must be laid open to reanother, tender-hearted, forgiving ceive its full impression. " It is one one another,
God for thing to read and hear the truth of Christ's sake hath forgiven us." Christ in a cursory and general We shall become “imitators of God, manner; and it is another, so to reas dear children,” and shall “walk ceive that truth as to realize the in love, as Christ also hath loved us, great facts which it makes known; and hath given himself for us, an to dwell on these facts, and on the