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it as the free gift of God. "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!"
I shall now, in the second place, consider the practical inferences to be drawn from the subject.
1. We are taught that it is our duty to serve God. God is a Sovereign, as well as a Father, and he must be served and obeyed, as well as loved and revered. The very expression of a kingdom implies subjection to authority; and we find the idea of thus recognizing a Supreme Being, existing in every age, and nation in the world. Why does the poor Indian ask, with trembling solicitude, how he may approach his Maker? But that he contemplates him with awe, as the Governor as well as the Creator of the universe: hence has arisen that most dreadful of all rites, that of sacrificing children to appease the supposed anger of their deities. The words of the Prophet Micah must here rise to remembrance; and though they have been so often quoted, they are too appropriate to the present subject, to be omitted. Micah vi. 6; "Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, (alluding to the shocking custom I have mentioned,) the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" Hear the answer; He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." That we worship him in spirit and in truth; that we frequent his temple; that we meet to commemorate an absent Saviour: these are the simple duties he requires; his service is perfect freedom; and those best acquainted with it will declare, that his yoke is easy, and his burden light."
2. Again; we are enjoined by the Apostle to serve God acceptably.
When we make a present to a friend, we are anxious that it should be an acceptable one, and how much should we endeavour to approve our oblation towards our Great Creator; he can receive no addition to his glory or felicity from our homage; but he is graciously pleased to accept our imperfect services, and will reward every "work of faith and labour of love."
3. This service must be performed with reference and godly fear.
A dutiful child will mingle reverence with affection, and will perform all the commands of a parent, from respect united with love. All appearance of levity of behaviour, in our approaches to the Supreme Being, ought highly to be reprobated: the thought of his omniscience should excite our awe; while the recollection of his mercy invites our confidence, and encourages our hope.
4. We are taught by this subject, diligently to seek that grace which may be obtained.
"As grace is freely offered to us," says Dr. Doddridge, in his exposition of this passage, "let us see to it, that we be not wanting in ourselves to obtain it." Let us follow the advice of the Apostle, when he exhorts us to come boldly to the throne of grace, where we are assured that all our wants will be supplied. But let us never rest satisfied with possessing the principle of grace, let us endeavour to show its influence in our lives and conversations. I reject their system, whose sermons are wholly devoted to discussions upon faith, without ever inculcating the necessity of good works; and I equally dislike their system, who insist wholly on morality, without ever backing their precepts by a pro
mise or a grace. May we ever be anxious to have clear and comprehensive views, both of the doctrines and the precepts of our religion! May we be impressed with their superior excellence, and aim at higher degrees of improvement in all the graces as well as the virtues of Christianity! Thus shall we best prove our gratitude for the various privileges we enjoy thus shall we best prove our attachment to our common Master, and assist in spreading and recommending his religion through the world. While we entertain humble views of our own merits, may we never relax our endeavours, knowing that God will perfect that which concerneth us; and that, while we are anxiously endeavouring to work out our own salvation," he will work in us to will and to do of his good pleasure; he will guide us by his counsel while on earth, and afterwards receive us to glory."
FAITH IN AN UNSEEN SAVIOUR.
Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed. JOHN XX. 29.
IF If any thing can exceed the contempt we feel at the scepticism of Thomas, at his refusing to give credit to the account of his fellow Apostles, and his declaration, that, unless he could, with his own fingers, probe a Saviour's wounds, he would not believe; it must be our admiration of that Saviour's condescension, listening to the weakest of his creatures, and submitting to gratify his curiosity, in the only way by which he would acknowledge his belief.
Though these words were originally spoken with an immediate reference to the resurrection, I shall extend my remarks upon them