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animation remains, that these mighty circumstances are felt to be unfavourable, and then they blacken existence and convert it into anguish. They poison every other relation, and paralyze action in every other duty. Escape is impracticable. The only remedy lies in having these circumstances altered. But who can command these circumstances? Can man command them?

A man who is happy as a father, or a friend, or a citizen, will be found to fulfil the duties of those relations better than another equally conscientious, who is unhappy in these relations

because the one will act cheerfully and from the heart, whilst the other acts from the less lively principle of a sense of propriety. And where there is no conscientiousness on either side, the man who is happy in those rela. tions, will fulfil the duties arising out of them, naturally so to speak, whilst the unhappy man will as naturally neglect them. Happiness in one leading relation, will often cast its own cheerful glow on the less pleasing circumstances of lower relations, and fill out the concomitant duties with its own life and vigour.

Of what immense moment then must it be to have the circumstances of our highest relation, that in which we stand to our Creator, favourable and happy! This would be purifying the fountain, and all the streams would be

pure. This would be heal ing the root, and all the branches would bear good fruit. But we must again return to that most important and critical interrogation, who can command these circumstances? Who can give a man happiness, in the full view of all his relations ?




There is nothing absurd in-saying, “ Command the circumstances of a man, and you command his :on character;" but there is a strange absurdity in supry posing, that any power short of omnipotence can aly command these circumstances; because, the chief of ed. our relations is that in which we stand towards him an who is omnipotent. God alone can command these

circumstances: no one but God has authority to say ra

that our offences and failures in that relation for e given that a full satisfaction has been made on our is behalf, to the broken laws of the universal governne ment—that the gates of the family of God are thrown he open to us, and that we are invited every moment to of speak to him as to a Father, and lean upon him, as

on an almighty, and faithful, and tender friend and d. that the unending duration to which we are advanc

ing, is safe and peaceful, full of bliss, and full of glory. The circumstances of that highest relation have been most particularly and fully made known to us in the Bible, that we might have happiness, even the joy of the Lord, which, if really attained by us, will supply strength for the cheerful, and affection

ate, and diligent performance of every duty, springating from every relation in life, and will be our comad fort and hiding place, in every sorrow. d It has often struck us, as a very remarkable fact,

that principles, which are generally recognized as d

most reasonable and true, when applied to the af

fairs of this life, should be instantly rejected as un1 reasonable and contemptible, when applied to the

great concerns of eternity. We can easily suppose the smile of scorn with which a political philosopher

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would look upon us, if in reply to his question, " What is the best way of leading back a nation of rebels to obedience to lawful authority, and of engaging them again in the peaceful duties of civil life?” We should return this answer, Why, the best way is to inculcate upon them the duty of submission, to explain to them the particulars in which that duty consists, and to enforce upon their minds the guilt and the danger of revolt.” He would probably give us to understand, that we knew nothing about the matter, and he would have very good reason to do

But is it not strange, that if we asked him, “ What is the best way of making careless sinful men good subjects of the King of heaven?” he should, almost to a certainty, give us an answer, if he thought the question deserved one at all, in all respects similar to that very reply which he had so deservedly scouted, when made by us to his political problem. He would tell us, “Oh you must explain their duties to them, and press them on their observance.” Suppose then, that we were just to turn the tables on him, and ask him to answer his own question, and to allow us to answer The answers would be very much alike, "except in so far as the revolt against human authority had arisen from misgovernment. He would say, cessary causes of irritation must be removed, a full and unconditional amnesty must be proclaimed, pledges must be given, which may destroy all possible suspicion of the sincerity of the government; perfect security and safety must be immediately guaranteed, and subsequent promotion in the state


66 All unne

you are not

ascertained to them, in proportion to their qualifications.” We might then say to him, “ Take away the first clause of your answer, (for there is no unnecessary cause of irritation under God's government), and the remainder may stand for ours. We could particularize, if you wished it, the nature of that amnesty which God has proclaimed, and we could tell of the unutterable pledge of his sincerity, which he has given, even the Son of his love; but your political scheme contains the outline of the Christian dispensation; and your rejection of the latter, whilst you defend and preach the former, ought at least to make you suspect,

that quite so candid a philosopher as you think yourself, or, that at least you have made a wrong comparative estimate of the importance of the different relations in which you are placed, having excluded that one from the contemplation of your reason, which certainly claimed more than all others, the fulness of its powers.". It is most probable too, that the free, and unconditional, and all-including amnesty, which he considers the wisest, and best, and most unassailable position in his political scheme, becomes the marked object of his severe moral censure, when it meets him in the Christian plan, under the name of free grace. In the real business of life (as he would term it), he fully and intelligently recognizes the principle, that the character of a man is moulded by his circumstances; and, therefore, when he designs to affect the character, he turns his skill and his power towards the circumstances which may influence it. He sees plainly within this field, that the

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other case.

of the spirit.

true and right fulfilment of the duties belonging to
any relation in life, is best secured by happiness in
that relation. But as soon as his mind is called to
another field of contemplation-as soon as eternity
is substituted for time, and the divine authority for
this world's rulers, although human beings still con-
tinue the subjects to be influenced and operated on
his wisdom seems to forsake him, he rejects mea-
sures which, in all analogous cases, he admires, and
proposes expedients, which he would blush to men-
tion in

There is evidently a most undeniable truth in what the Bible says of the disinclination of the natural man to receive the things

There is nothing astonishing in his rejecting the humiliating fact, that he is deservedly under a sentence of condemnation, which would for ever exclude him from the light and favour of heaven-nor can we wonder that he should hesitate about receiving the fully-developed history of that love which passeth knowledge-but we may well wonder, that he does not perceive that it is happi. ness, and happiness derived from known circumstances in this highest relation, as in all other relar tions, which can alone produce a full and cheerful performance of the duties arising out of it; e may well wonder that he, who apprehends so thoroughly the uselessness and inefficiency of mere precepts and delineations of duty, in the political, and civil, and social relations of life, when unsupported by circumstances, in those relations, under stood and felt, as constraining motives of action, should yet exclude from his religious system, every

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