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ON THE NATURE OF ACQUAINTANCE WITH
GOD. The word Acquaintance signifies, not a mere knowledge of a person's face, as by seeing him occasionally pass, or meeting him as a stranger at a friend's house, but that intimacy which subsists between one friend and another. The term is used in scripture to express the familiarity of friendship: “thou, a man, mine equal, my guide, mine acquaintance; we took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in company." And though sometimes used for the distant relations of a family, it universally implies persons of whom we know more than of men in general, and with whom we have more habitual converse. Thus David, in the psalm he composed for the regulation of his conduct to his household, declares, “ I will not know a wicked person;" I will not acquaint myself with them, they shall not be servants to execute my commands, nor friends in whom to lodge the secrets of my heart: “mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; he that walketh in a perfect way,
he shall serve me.” A cold speculative knowledge of Christ may give us some idea of his character, and some perception of his his works; but it leaves the mind uninfluenced, unexcited to heavenly things, without an impulse to love, serve, and enjoy him. Satan knows him well; but hates him the more, because he knows his power, his omniscience, and his dignity. He believes, and trembles. Nor is it an uncommon thing to see persons, whose education, as far as we can judge of it, has been perfectly consistent, whose parents have taken delight to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, whose knowledge of the gospel is extensive and correct, who nevertheless live, in open rebellion against their consciences, or in entire indifference to fellowship with the Father, and with his Son. They study his character in the gospel, as many study a science, not for any practical purpose, but because it forms part
of their education, which would be incomplete without it.
It is of no farther use to them, than to enable them to combat its opponents, or to feed the vanity and pride of their hearts.
But how different are the feelings of those, who are engaged in acquainting themselves with a subject from which their future support is to be derived, or many of their earthly pleasures! How eagerly do they lay hold of any book which bestows information! How do they delight in the society of men of learning in that branch of knowledge! What days and nights do they spend in toil, what sacrifices do they make, what ardour do they experience! And the text urges to an acquaintance with God which springs from love; which will tend to valuable practical results; which will afford unspeakable delight, and give great glory to his name;-an acquaintance which is to be sought with diligence and fervour, as that in which the very life and well-being, the present and eternal happiness of the soul, consists.
The object of this acquaintance, is the ever blessed God; with whom no science, or creature of the most beautiful form, or heavenly endowments, is worthy of comparison. It pertains to the highest dignity of our nature, to know our great Original, from whom we derived our all, and it must be a part of our highest happiness to serve and adore him. He has given us capacities and desires which nothing can satisfy but himself. Creation, with all the variety of its objects, cannot do this; riches, honours, friends, comforts, pleasures, content not the mind. They leave a void, and contain an alloy, which, in their highest enjoyment, generates dissatisfaction. They were intended only as guides to lead us to God.
There is a supreme good wanting, a fountain of eternal excellency, from which the soul may be ever drawing without fear; solacing itself in purity, love, light, truth, the elements of its primeval happiness, to which it must return before bliss will return to it. And where is this supreme good to be found, but in the infinite fulness, and unsullied glory, of the Almighty God? An acquaintance with such an object
is worthy of the highest intellect and the most splendid gifts. Reason may here find its legitimate employment in contemplating and adoring his perfections. God, revealing his glories in the person of Christ, is sufficient for the soul's eternal entertainment. Love may spend itself here without fear of excess, or evil consequen
He will never deceive us; our love shall be returned to us in full measure, pressed down, and running over. Pleasure, unutterable pleasure, may be had in God, our exceeding joy, All prospects of delight, and fountains of life, spring up in him. The river of his pleasures continually flows to his children; the banquet
his love is always spread; the welcome always the same; himself always present; and in his presence there is fulness of joy, at his right hand there are pleasures for evermore. “Therefore thus saith the Lord, Let not the rich man glory in his riches, let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, which exercise lov