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perfect rectitude; of holiness, before which “ the “ heavens are not clean, and the angels are charged “ with folly."*
While attendant on this holiness and justice, he contemplates unbounded knowledge, to search the darkest windings of the heart, and to subject to impartial trial his most secret purposes, as well as his outward acts, while he beholds, therefore, the deepest convictions of personal demerit and pollution are awakened in his soul; he is ready to cry out with the prophet, “ Wo is me! for I am “ undone ; because I am a man of unclean lips, " and dwell in the midst of a people of unclean
lips !"† And he adopts, without reserve, the language of the psalmist,“ if thou, Lord, shouldst mark
iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand !"I : But were such the only aspects of the divine character, what human being could endure the view? God is supreme and independent; and wherewithal can we win his regards? He is righteous and holy; and in his sight, what flesh living can be justified? i But for the christian's comfort, when he seeks fellowship with God, he can regard him as a God of mercy and of grace; for our fellowship is not with the Father alone, but also with Jesus Christ his Son. Beside the throne which we approach, stands the only begotten of the highest, with his eye towards his Father, and his arm extended over his redeemed : in his countenance are sympathy, tenderness, and love unutterable; in his lips these words of grace, “Father, I will that they also whom " thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that • Job XV, 13. and iv. 18. t leaiah vi, s.
Psala cax. 3.
* they may behold my glory." The place, the posture, the look, and the words of Jesus, are caught by the eye and ear of faith; and with confidence and joy, the believer draws nigh to the holiest of all: “ I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise " shall continually be in my mouth. O magnify “ the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name to
gether : I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and “ delivered me from all my fears: O taste and seo " that God is good; blessed is the man that trusteth " in him!”+ It is this, and this only, that can attract his heart to the celestial throne; it is this only that can render the presence of the divine majesty supportable, and communion with it profitable and pleasing. To a creature, independent uncreated majesty is awful and overpowering; in a sinner, inexorable justice awakens unmixed dismay; but mercy is to all peculiarly lovely, and the view of it is winning and delightful, especially when it is seen harmoniously enthroned with supremacy and righteousness.
Farther, in fellowship with God, the christian is excited to the strongest hatred of sin. Never are the odious colours of sin sọ distinctly seen; never is its burden so heavily felt, as when we draw near to God and Christ. Things are often best seen and examined by contrast ; and as 'the whiteness of a robe is tried, and the imperfections of its hue discovered, by placing it beside the new-fallen snow; so the deformity of our nature, the guilt and odiousness of our offences are most strongly seen in the view of God's glorious perfections. We “see light “ in his light;" we cry out with Job, “ We have Joha xvii. 24.
† Psalm xxiv. 1, 3, 4, 8.
“ heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now
our eye seeth thee; wherefore we abhor ourselves, “and repent in dust and ashes."*
How deeply are we stained! and how dark the stain ! " O that our “ heads were waters, and our eyes fountains of tears, " that we might weep day and night,” for the ini. quity of our hearts and of our lives.
On the other hand, in fellowship with God, there will be a lively admiration of the beauties of holiness, and ardent aspirations after conformity to his image. When the eye has been accustomed only to distorted and imperfect models, it may imagine them complete, and have little desire for the contemplation of any thing more excellent.' But when perfect beauty has once been presented to the view, how mean and poor does every inferior form appear! If we have no idea of any qualifications or attainments, higher than those which are naturally within our reach, we will rest satisfied with them, and may reckon them abundantly admirable. But when our minds become familiar with absolute purity and unalloyed excellence, they scorn the narrow capacities for moral improvement, which are the boast of the natural man. A holy ambition after nobler vir . tues, an unremitting exertion after more exalted attainments, than it hath entered into the heart to conceive; influence all our purposes, and give the character to all our pursuits. The bastening and accomplishment of the work of grace in our souls, be come the objects of our daily petitions and endeavours; that, being " after God created in righteous
ness and true holiness, we may be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and put on the new man.”+ Job xlii. 5, 6.
+ Eph. iv. 39, 24.
We importunately reiterate the prayer, “ Create in
us clean hearts, O God, and renew right spirits “ within us !"* Yea, “ make us perfect in every
good work, to do thy will, working in us that “ which is well pleasing in thy sight, through Jesus ** Christ !”+
Again, then, these aspirations and endeavours will be naturally accompanied with an elevation of mind above the world. It is natural for our minds to adapt themselves to the company with which we associate, and to the objects which we habitually pursue : those, whose attention is usually directed to great and important objects, derive from them an expansion of faculties, and a dignity of sentiment, unattainable by such as are accustomed to contemplate only meaner things. When we are generously taken into the society of our superiors, we are pleased with their condescensions, and their endeavours to gratify us; with the elegance of their conyersation, and the politeness of their manners : and the effect is, that we imitate what we admire; rise superior to our former customs, sentiments, and modes of expression. How superior must be the effect of fellowship with the Father, and with the Son, on highly favoured sinful men! For human attention, one object at once suffices; and that object now is God. His presence both overawes and ravishes the mind; it keeps every corruption down: it gladdens and invigorates every principle
it puts at a distance every vain object, and shuts out the world. Now the attributes of Jehovah, the wisdom of his providence, and the riches of his grace engage the soul; while the intellec# Psalm li. ie.
| Heb. xiii. 21.
of grace ;
tual eye is particularly fixed, and filled with the perfections of the Redeemer ; his uncreated glory, his human excellence, and his mediatorial fulness. Transported by the contemplation of these divine beauties, the favoured communicant cries out, “it " is good for me to be here.” " This is none other “ but the house o£ God, and this is the gate of hea
" Whom have I in heaven but thee? and " there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee."
Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words " of eternal life !". If the creature, then, at all engage the thoughts, it is only that the soul may make an offering of it to God. “ From thee,” says the christian, "have I freely received all; and to thy
disposal do I unreservedly submit; to thy glory " would I sincerely consecrate all; with my in* crease and my substance, may I be enabled to " honour thee: with my health and strength, to "serve thee! under my sickness and affliction, to * manifest the sufficiency of thy grace! and as to
my relatives and my friends, who lie nearer to
my heart than aught on earth besides, I resign " them to thy will; may they be blessed, to shew " forth thy praise, both now and evermore!"
Besides these dispositions, there will be many others similar to them, or connected with them, attendant on fellowship with God. Thus, there will be a spirit of prayer and thanksgiving; a freedom and boldness in pouring out our souls before him. "Give ear unto my words, O Lord, consider
my “ meditation! Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God! for unto thee will I
“I will not let thee go, except thou
* Psalm v. I. 2o