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MORAL RELATION OF MAN TOWARDS THE DEITY.
If we would seek for that which must be, of all conceivable things, of the highest moment, both for the peace and the improvement of the moral being, it is to be found in the habit of mind, in which there is the uniform contemplation of the divine character, with a constant reliance on the guidance of the Almighty in every action of life. "One thing," says an inspired writer, "have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell
the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple." The man who thus cultivates the habitual impression of the divine presence, lives in an atmosphere peculiarly his own. The storms which agi
tate the lower world may blow around or beneath, but they touch not him; as the traveller has seen from the mountain's top the war of elements below, while he stood in unclouded sunshine. In the works, and ways, and perfections of the Eternal One, he finds a subject of exalted contemplation, in comparison with which the highest inquiries of human science sink into insignificance. It is an exercise, also, which tends at once to elevate and to purify the mind. It raises us from the minor concerns and transient interests which are so apt to occupy us, to that wondrous field in which "worlds and worlds compose one universe," and to that mind which bade them move in their appointed orbits, and maintains them all in undeviating harmony. While it thus teaches us to bend in humble adoration before a wisdom which we cannot fathom, and a power which we cannot comprehend, it directs our attention to a display of moral attributes which at once challenge our reverence and demand our imitation. By thus leading us to compare ourselves with the supreme excellence, it tends to produce profound humility, and, at the same time, that habitual aspiration after moral improvement which
constitutes the highest state of man. "The proud," says an eloquent writer, "look down upon the earth, and see nothing that creeps upon its surface more noble than themselves; the humble look upwards to their God." This disposition of mind, so far from being opposed to the acquirements of philosophy, sits with peculiar grace upon the man who, through the most zealous cultivation of human science, ascends to the Eternal Cause. The farther he advances in the wonders of nature, the higher he rises in his adoration of the power and the wisdom which guide the whole; "where others see a sun, he sees a Deity." And then in every step of life, whether of danger, distress, or difficulty, the man who cultivates this intercourse with the incomprehensible One" inquires in his temple." He inquires for the guidance of divine wisdom, and the strength of divine aid, in his progress through the state of moral discipline; he inquires, in a peculiar manner, for this aid in the culture of his moral being, when he views this mighty undertaking in its important reference to the life which is to come, he inquires for a discernment of the ways of Divine Providence, as he either feels it in his own con
cerns, or views it in the chain of events which are going on in the world around him. He learns to trace the whole to the same unerring hand which guides the planet in its course; and thus rests in the absolute conviction that the economy of Providence is one great and magnificent system of design, and order, and harmony. These, we repeat with confidence, are no visions of the imagination, but the sound inductions of a calm and rational philosophy. They are conclusions which compel the assent of every candid inquirer, when he follows out that investigation of mighty import,-what is God, -and what is that essence in man which he has endowed with the power of rising to himself.
It is no inconsiderable part of our duty in our necessary connexion with that mass of characters of which mankind is composed, to conquer certain prejudices which are too apt to arise, especially in persons of fastidious temper and delicate taste, against those who, though essentially valuable in
general character, have something about them which is positively disagreeable; or who do not fall in with some of our ideas, or whose manners are not congenial to our feelings. To wait, before we love our fellow-creatures, till their character be perfect, is to wait till we meet in heaven; and not to serve them till the feeling be reciprocal, is act on the religion of the publican, and not of the Christian. We should love people for what we see in them of the image of their Maker, though it be marred and disfigured. That piety which makes them acceptable in his sight, should prevent their