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which it can never be unprofitable to regard. Of this kind particularly are the words before us, which are spoken of God—“ Acquaint now thy“ self with him, and be at peace.

Were we to form our judgment from the course pursued by mankind in general, we should think this advice to be of doubtful advantage; and should suppose that an acquaintance with God, so far from bringing peace, was to be avoided as one of the greatest sources of uneasiness and apprehension. Among all our race, with few exceptions, this appears to be the knowledge which they are the least and the latest desirous to cultivate. The great majority of men pass through protracted lives, in which is exhibited every variety of desire and pursuit, excepting the desire of the knowledge of God, and the pursuit of his ways. With some it is wealth and power, and the opinion of the world; with some ease and pleasure, and frivolous amusements; with others intellectual improvement, and mere scientific research.

All these, however, are disregarding the first and most imperious obligation of rational and accountable men. And the last mentioned, though they may seem to lay claim to higher praise than the former, are yet included in the same charge of limiting their views and purposes to too mean and subordinate a sphere, and of neglecting the great Author of all their faculties, as well as of all the objects about which they idly speculate. “ Nothing,” says one of the early apologists for Christianity,* “will dispose some men to juster

thoughts, or induce them to make a more in“ timate experiment of religion. In this alone “human curiosity seems to be suspended and “ become inert; and with as much complacency “ to stand still in ignorance, as it usually runs on " with ardour in the discoveries of science."

My brethren, all these classes of men are included in this censure, that “they do not seek “ after God. They desire not the knowledge of “ his ways." Whether they indulge in the gross pleasures of sense, or in the more refined pleasures of the mind, whether they waste their lives in indolence, or are overwhelmed in the agitation of worldly cares, alike prone and earthly, they never raise their thoughts to that Being who made, preserves, and protects them, and whom they are bound, by every principle of reason, duty, and gratitude, to know, obey, and glorify.

But is it not evident, my brethren, that God has a right to demand from his creatures their reverence, obedience, and worship, as a matter of strict authority? A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master. If then God be a Father, where is his honour? And if he be a Master, where is his fear? This is the language which

* Tertullian.

he justly addresses to those that neglect his service and forget his name.

But it is a proof of the exceeding goodness and condescension of God, and will greatly increase the criminality of those who disown or disregard him, that he does not merely rest his claim to our respect and obedience upon his right and : authority, but places it before us with an argument addressed to our own interest and advantage.

In this view, the words of the text may be considered as addressed to us. And I

propose to show, in the first place, how we are to acquaint ourselves with God; secondly, the advantages which belong to that knowledge; thirdly, the wisdom of prosecuting it without delay.

First. How are we to.acquaint ourselves with God?

The book of nature tells much of his power and wisdom, and much of his goodness. This defaced and disordered world still retains enough to justify the declaration, that originally all things were created very good. The ocean, with its vast varieties of life; the earth, rejoicing in verdure, and giving food to its countless tribes of being; the air, filled with its cheerful inhabitants, and all subject to the dominion of man as their delegated lord and governor, seem to declare, in language very strong, the goodness and favour of their great Creator,

But even these numerous indications of goodness and favour are not so uniform and explicit as to satisfy and convince our minds. Among them all there is cause to suspect that man has forfeited the privileges which he once enjoyed, and become obnoxious to the Divine displeasure; that he is a guilty, fallen, and sinful being, in the view of the Most High, and stands in need of some means of reconcilement and restoration to God.

The lower orders of creation, shunning him to whom they should be subject, and often rising in wrathful opposition against him; the earth, yielding its valuable returns with difficulty, and only to his hardy labour, while its useless and noxious products are of spontaneous growth; the rains, often withheld from the furrows which man had prepared; famine and pestilence, mocking his toil; jarring earthquakes; disordered seasons; sickness, invading and prostrating the human frame; and above all, death, terminating his short and joyless existence; all these are so many tokens that man has fallen from his first estate, and become the object of his Maker's displeasure.

If we raise our view to that theatre of God's power wbich is spread above us, the same images of his wisdom and greatness are still presented, but our doubts and fears are not yet resolved. The heavens declare God's glory, and the firma

ment showeth the work of his hands, and looking from the teeming earth to the all-enlightening sun, and thence to the hosts of night which multiply the wonders of the day in a vast profusion, and exhibit even loftier views of omnipotent power, the exclamation is forced from our lips, “ All thy works praise thee, O Jehovah !"

But these majestic objects bespeak a Being of such strange perfection and exalted excellency, one so far raised above our knowledge, and removed beyond our converse, that confounded by our own littleness, we scarcely dare believe that we can be the objects of his notice.

Our inquiry on beholding these glorious works, intuitively is, Lord, what is man, that thou regardest him; or what the son of man, that thou dost visit him? And hopeless of acquainting ourselves with so great and powerful a Being, we are ready to ask in despair, “Who can, by searching, find out God ?"

Yet amidst all this silence of the skies, and all the manifest disorders of the earth, amidst all the wonders of God's greatness, and all the proofs of man's weakness and dependence, he might still find cause to hope that the Supreme Being would be known of his creatures; that the Author of his existence would be the hearer of his

prayer. That he was permitted to live; that the day, cheered by the beams of the risen sun, invited him to activity, and enlightened his toil; that the VOL. II.


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