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vency ten thousand fold greater than what they have realized in their most ecstatic moments, would be completely disproportionate to His infinite claims.
But, in addition to what He is in himself, we are to bear in mind what He has done for us. To love Him, on the former ground, being a more disinterested, is, of necessity, a higher feeling than that which takes the form of devout gratitude for the benefits we have received from his bountiful hand, Some have contended that love of this latter kind is essentially spurious, being based upon mere selfish considerations, and that God can only be truly loved on account of His intrinsic perfections. Others, again, have argued that such absolute disinterestedness is impossible, and that the emotions of the heart cannot be called forth by any abstract qualities in how high soever a degree they may appear. We believe that both of these classes have fallen into error. Imperfect as we are, our nature is evidently capable of such a
state of mind as is repudiated in the second objection. We all feel sentiinents of admiration and love while contemplating the character of such men as Howard and Hale, although none of us ever profited by the philanthropy of the one, and the incorruptible integrity of the other. As to the former opinion, it is in direct contrariety to the whole tenor of the sacred volume. The penitent woman in the house of Simon loved much, because she had much forgiven; and the Saviour, far from stigmatizing it, in consequence of its being prompted by such a feeling, warmly commended her in the presence of the whole company. “I love the Lord,” is the language of David: Why ? “Because ne nath heard my voice and my supplication.” “We love him," says John, not simply or chiefly on account of what He is in himself, but, “because he first loved us." It is evident that He deserves our love on both grounds: whether we regard Him as the “altogether lovely,” in His own
ineffable nature, or as the fountainhead whence every blessing flows, both of providence and grace, He has the strongest claims upon our highest and holiest affections.
How blessed is the promise, “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” O Lord, let my heart be thus circumcised. Abundant reason have I to mourn over the feebleness of
love to Thee; but as Thou canst break the hardest, so Thou canst warm the coldest heart. Oshed abroad Thy love within me by the Holy Ghost, and enable me to manifest its constraining influence, by doing Thy will and devoting myself to Thy glory.
“ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord,
Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”—Matt. vii. 21.
The True We cannot be too often re
minded of the important Disciple. truth that religion is a practical thing While it includes knowledge and experience, it also includes practice; and the two former will be altogether worthless unless they produce the latter.
In doing the will of God the true believer finds no little enjoyment. He can say, in the language of the great Master, “I delight to do thy will, o my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” “For this is the love of God," says the apostle John, “ that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.”
The reason why they are not grievous is, because the bias of the believer's mind is towards them; because the desires and instincts of his new nature go after them. Does the magnetic needle always turn to the same point ? Do the rivers flow on without resting until they reach the ocean ? Do the flames ever rise upward, and bodies of weight and substance invariably fall downward ? As there are natural principles operating in such cases, so there are spiritual principles operating in connection with the child of God. In proportion as his soul is sanctified he is sure to delight in the law of the Lord, and take it as his heritage for ever. Compliance with the divine requirements may be a very irksome thing to inany, but the Christian finds it his ineat and drink to do the will of his Father who is in heaven. Others may think it a wearisome drudgery; he regards it, on the contrary, as pure delight. Perfect freedom does he find that to be, which is looked upon by many as a hard and heavy bondage.