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The truth of them is written with sunbeams upon the pages of the volume of Nature, and are manifested in the bounties of Providence. Every true christian, of every name and sect under the arch of heaven, will acknowledge their influence and their power. Go, ask the the newly regenerated heart, what feelings they produce in the hour of deliverance, and he will tell you that his soul yearns for the deliverance of every human being from the bondage of sin and moral death, into the liberty of spiritual light, life and love. An important question here presents itself, and the only answer that can be given to it strikes the blow of death to every partial system in christendom.
Will the love of God when shed abroad in our souls produce this feeling if it is contrary to his will and design? Most assuredly it will not!! The moral obligations and duties of man, which are written as with the pencil of heaven, upon his heart, answer, no! It seems to be a just principle implanted in the bosom of every man that the common nature and condition of our species-their mutual wants and equal dependence involve the necessity of the exercise of universal charity. Man feels that he should recognize his fellows as
his brethren-possessing claims to his generosity and forbearance. This principle is so early imbibed and matured, that all acknowledge it to be a duty incumbent upon every man and every woman, to love one another. This disposition being exercised, they are led on to seek the welfare of those within the circle of their influence, and when their sphere of action ends, to extend the wide wish of felicity to the whole human family. Nothing short of this can satisfy that inward informer, who, ever listening, knows the secrets of our minds and minutes down to our own confusion every disposition we imbibe that serves to restrain our benevolence. Now, why is it that we know it to be our duty to love our species and to regard their welfare? It is because we are sensible that in doing thus we secure the approbation of God and imitate his doings.
I have often thought (says an early defender of our faith,) that the character of God might be learned from the irresistible convictions of man, concerning what is and what is not his duty to perform. Perhaps it might not always be true, but so far as the primary convictions go, it always will. Are we required to do good to all? It is because God is good to all. Is it our duty to have mercy upon all? The
God's tender mercies are
reason is obvious. over all his works, and they endure forever. Are we commanded to love our friends-our enemies? It is because God is love. There never could have been a conviction in man that he was under any obligation to love his fellow creatures did it not originate in God. Man never would have been required to love his enemies did not God love his also, for no stream can rise higher than its fountain. If God then be love, if he love-if he loves all the creatures of his care if he desires their welfare, what power on earth or power in heaven can defeat his purposes or separate his affections? God's grace or favor is represented in the scriptures by a river-the river of the waters of life-the waters of salvation. The Psalmist speaks of a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God; and the prophet in the earnestness of his zeal and the fullness of his soul, invites every one that thirsteth to come to the waters and drink-without money and without price.
“Thy goodness, Lord our souls confess,
A spring whose blessings never fail,
A sea without a shore."
I have said that the first duty of a chris
tian, is to learn what the gospel is, and then exhibit to the world the effects of embracing it. The Gentiles received the principles of the gospel, and were glad. We are informed of this truth, by the apostle, and it is what might have been expected, for it was intended to fill the hearts of believers with joy and peace; there is no case or condition to which it will not apply; it teems with the glories of heaven, and bespeaks the immortal felicity of the whole human race.
There are many systems propagated under the name of Gospel truth, which are the reverse of this, and which produce almost any other fruits, and bare with them almost any other spirit than that of the Gospel. Many of my readers can undoubtedly attest to the truth of this statement. Sorrow of heart, is the legitimate consequence of an erroneous. faith. It torments the soul, and is the source of much of the sufferings of a sinful world. Perhaps the human heart may be so trained and influenced, as to derive satisfaction from the possession of false views of God and his government; but it must proceed from a heart whose affections are deeply corrupted. Habits of thinking may be acquired, which will exert a most pernicious influence upon
the judgment. Being creatures of education, we may be brought to a condition in which our natural affections will be inactive, and our moral feelings corrupt. I know of instances in which persons, naturally susceptible of fine impressions and noble feelings, have become so changed from what they were, to what they ought not to be, as to anticipate the inexpressible misery of their fellow creatures in a world without end, with complacency. But there never was a natural, unsophisticated feeling, or benevolent heart, but rejoiced on hearing the principles of the Gospel carried out to their legitimate conclusions.
The Gospel is a message of good tidings from a far country, and is like cold water to a thirsty soul; and the invitation of the Gospel, "Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come, receive wine and milk, without money and without price," is truly soothing and heartcheering; it gladdens, comforts, consoles, renews and sanctifies the soul. That the truths of the Gospel have the power of awakening an intense moral feeling in [men, under every variety of character, learned or ignorant, civilized or savage; that they make