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thee more freely all my wants; to mourn more deeply over all my corruptions; to trust more unreservedly to the blood of Jesus; to dread all approaches to sin, and earnestly to covet the best gifts of faith, hope, and charity; humility of mind; holiness of heart; deadness to the world; and an entire subjection of the soul to thee. Thou canst in a moment impart these blessings. Thousands have been partakers of them, without diminishing thy fulness. Open the doors of my heart, enlarge it by thy grace, and let it be “ fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly benediction."
Thou wilt be inquired of by thy people; not that thou needest to be informed, but that they may feel their need of thee.
0! that I may approach thee at all times sprinkled with the atoning blood, till the angel of death shall bear me to the mansions of glory, where hope shall be swallowed up in the enjoyment of thy everlasting love.
Unite, ye saints, in cheerful praise,
Let sacred hope your breasts inspire ;
Praise Him, who gave his only Son,
Praise Him, who long in patient love
0! may our praises never cease,
LXII. ON LOVE.
True Christian love is of an enlarged, disinterested nature. It loves all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.
Party spirit is confined within the limits of a sect. But Christian love outsteps the narrow boundary; and can recognize a brother in each humble believer, who practically exemplifies the holy doctrines of the Gospel
When we love our own party exclusively, or persons only of our own peculiar train of thinking, we love ourselves in them. We see our own image and admire it.
But when we love those who differ from us in nonessentials, because we discover in them the humility, meekness, purity, patience, and benevolence of the Redeemer; then, our love is truly Christian. It is Christ in them whom we love.
How little of this enlarged affection on pure Christian principles do we discover in the professing world. We hear much about it, but see little of it. It is highly extolled, but little cultivated.
The heart of man is naturally selfish and contracted, bigotted, and full of jealousies. It suspects & foe, where charity hails a friend. Should we not then rejoice in the formation of that glorious institution, the British and Foreign Bible Society, that goodly cedar among the trees of the forest ? “In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it : and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar; and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing, in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.” (Ez. xvii. 23.)
As this prophecy beautifully describes the blessed Gospel of Christ; so it may be lawfully accommodated to that Society, whose boughs are extending themselves in every direction ; bearing the precious fruit of the word of God, and affording a resting place for “all fowl of every wing,” however diversified in form or colour.
How admirably adapted is the Bible Society to concentrate all the energies of the Christian world ; to bring together its too long divided parts; to smooth down the asperities of party; to excite a feeling of brotherly love towards those who differ from each other; to call into exercise the best affections of the heart amongst its numerous members and all this without compromising any principle, invading any province of private judgment, or violating the dictates of the most tender conscience.
The Bible Society is therefore a blessing to the world. Love is inscribed upon it. Like the divine Author, whose Book it circulates, it seeks nothing but the promotion of peace on earth and good-will towards men. May every heart say, BE THOU PERPETUAL!
Nothing is more evident than this truth; that Christian charity increases our happiness with its own increase. A narrow, contracted spirit, under the influence of prejudice, and blinded by fond partialities, can never enjoy the refined pleasures of Christian communion. Such a spirit chills and freezes the soul; it checks exertion, except when party is concerned ; and looks shy on those, however excellent, who " follow not us. Distinctions seem necessary in this state of imperfection ; but real Christians know
well how to distinguish between the expansive charity of the Gospel, and that undefined latitudinarianism, which would level all distinctions.
There is a perfect consistency in preferring our own peculiar communion, to which we are attached from judgment and conscience; and in loving those of other communions who bear the image of the blessed Jesus.
Lord, preserve me from all selfish and uncharitable feelings. Be thou the centre of my affections ; and may their only boundary be thyself, O! thou unbounded ocean of eternal love! Enable me to give the right hand of fellowship to all who truly love thee; and to rejoice in being in any measure instrumental in hastening on that glorious period, when Judah shall not vex Ephraim ; nor Ephraim envy Judah ; but when all shall love as brethren.
God is love. Love therefore brings heaven into the soul, and diffuses happiness wherever its influence is felt. Where love reigns, there is peace and joy, gentleness and goodness. How clearly does this consideration prove to us the divine origin of the Gospel of Christ, which breathes nothing but peace. Earth would indeed be blessed, if pure Christian love dwelt in every breast, and regulated every thought.
The period so glowingly depicted by Isaiah is fast approaching, when they shall not hurt nor destroy in all God's holy mountain." But what is described as the cause of this blessedness? earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. What a stimulus should this be to strenuous exertion and fervent prayers. Every true believer should esteem it his privilege and duty, according to his ability, to aid in building the spiritual temple, and in ushering in the latter day of glory.
Daniel hath foretold, that “many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased;" while the diligent labourers are thus encouraged by Zechariah: "I will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord.” Happy are those servants who shall be found so doing: may an increasing company of faithful missionaries ever abound in their labours of love, till all shall know the Lord from the least unto the greatest; till righteousness shall run down as water, and judgment as a mighty stream.
Heaven is the place where love is enjoyed without alloy. In that blest region of delight, no pride, no envy, no discord dwells.
In the angelic world, God is supremely loved, and feared, and obeyed. Each blessed spirit loves its fellow; and all are knit together in one family bond of love.
Happy state! Lord, mould my soul to theirs, or rather to thine own most lively image.
Let me drink deep into thy Spirit, and be daily preparing for those mansions, where all is harmony, and peace, and purity, and joy.
From the word of truth we are clearly taught, that notions however correct, forms however excellent, creeds however orthodox, ordinances however scriptural, labours however abundant, and sacrifices however costly, will avail nothing in the sight of God, if genuine love be wanting in the heart.
Love is the very essence of true religion. It is the main spring which puts all in motion.
Precious faith unites the sinner to the Saviour : while love, the fruit of faith, produced in the soul through the power of the Holy Ghost, gives vitality to the new creature, and enables him to act for God alone.
It is evident then, that without love, all religious profession is hypocrisy. Our real character is not