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gives so much satisfaction, how will we be affected at the contemplation of the great Original ? If a few faint traces and lineaments of goodness, scattered up and down, yield us so much pleasure, the pleasure will be supreme, when we contemplate His nature in whom every excellence, every moral perfection, all Divine attributes, reside as in their native seat, flow as from their eternal source, and ever operate as vital and immortal principles. For all created beauty is but a shadow of that beauty which is uncreated; all human excellence but an emanation of that excellence which is Divine ; all finite perfection but à faint copy of perfections which are infinite ; and all the traces of goodness to be found among men or angels, but a few faint rays from the Father of lights, the uncreated, unclouded, and unsetting sun of nature, whó at first gavé life to the universe, who kindled the vital flame which is still glowing, who supplies all the orbs of heaven with urdiminished lustré, and whose single smile spreads joy over the moral world.
Thus, the very idea of a perfect Being is a sonrce of high pleasure to the mind; but to us there is more implied in the idea of the Deity. For these perfections are not Dormant in the Divine Nature ; they are perpetually employed for the happiness of man. This glorious Being is our Father and our Friend. He called us into being at first, to make us happy ; hé hàth given us many proofs of his goodness, and he hath allowed us to hope for more. He is soon to give is an opportunity of commemorating the most signal display of his grace, his noblest gift to the children of men. And; if he spared not his own Son, but freely gave him np to the death for us all, may it not be depended upon, that with him, he will give us all things? Entering into these ideas, and animated with this spirit, the pious man is never so much in his element, as when he is drawing nigh to God. The mind never makes nobler exertions, is never so conscious of its native gran. deur and ancient dignity, as when holding high con.
verse with its Creator : The heart never feels such unspeakable peace, as when it is fixed upon him who made it, as when its affections go out on the supreme beauty, as when it rests upon the Rock of Ages, and is held within the circle of the everlasting arms.
Hence, the good men of old, in approaching to God, broke forth into the language of rapture, “ As the " hart panteth after the water-brook, so panteth my - soul after thee, O Lord. O God, thou art my God,
early will I seek thee. My soul thirsteth for thee. “ My flesh longeth for thee in a dry and parched
land, wherein no water is ; that I may see thy glory “ as I have seen it in the sanctuary. Because thy
loving kindness is better than life, my mouth shall
praise thee with joyful lips. Surely we shall be sa" tisfied with the goodness of thy house, and thou or wilt give us to drink of the river of thy pleasures, 5. Whom have we in the heavens but thee, and what “ is there upon earth we can desire beside thee? My “ flesh and heart shall fail, but thou art the strength “ of my heart, and my portion for ever."
Thirdly, There is consolation in approaching to God. Alas! in this world, amictions so abound, that consolation is often our greatest good. In how few days of this mortal life do we not feel the want of a comforter ? Ever since the introduction of sin into the earth, human life hath been a scene of misery. Man is born to trouble, and sore is the travail which is
appointed to him under the sun. We come into the world the most forlorn of all beings; the voice of sorrow iş hcard from the birth ; man sighs on through every path of future life, and the grave is the only place of refuge, where the weary are at rest. Some times, indeed, a gleam of joy intervenes, an interval of happiness takes place. Fond man indulges the faa vourable hour. Then we promise to ourselves the scenes of paradise ; perpetual sun-shine, and days without a cloud. But the brightness only shines to disappear; the cloud comes again, and we awake to our wonted anxiety and sorrow.
Not limited to our own personal wocs, we are dooin. ed to suffer for sorrows not our own. We are not unconcerned spectators of human life. We are ina terested in every event that befalls our fellow men. Sympathy makes us feel the distresses of others; and the best affections of the heart become the sources of
How many deaths do we suffer in mourning over the friends that we have lost! While we lament their unhappy or untimely fate, we cut short the thread of our own days. The chords of love are broken, one after another ; string after string is severed from the heart, till all our early attachments are dissolved, till our sad eyes have wept over every friend laid in the dust, and till we become lonely and wretched as we at first began.
Under these afflictions, and from these sorrows, devotion opens a retreat ; the altar of God presents à place of refuge; the ear of the Eternal is open to thý cry ; the arm of the Almighty is stretched out to relieve thee. There is a sanctuary where no evil can approach, there is an asylum where no enemy can enter. In the pavilion of his presence, God will hide thee in the time of trouble; in the secret of his tabernacle, he will cover thee in the day of danger. There the prisoners rest in peace, and hear not the voice o't the oppressor. There are the small and the great, and the servant is free from his master. There the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.
It is some consolation, it is some relief, to open our hearts to men, and tell our sorrows to a friend, who can give us no relief, but by mingling his tears with
What consolation, what relief will it then give to open our hearts, and tell our sorrows to that Friend above, who is ever gracious to hear, and ever mighty to save! To that Friend who never fails; who is afflicted in all our amictions, and who keeps us as the apple of his eye! Art thou therefore oppressed with the calamities of life ; is thy head bqwed down with affliction, or thy heart broken with sorrow ? Approach to the altar, go to God, present to him the prayer of thy heart, and he will send thee help from his holy bill.
Lastly, In approaching to God, there is preparation for heaven. The objects among which we are conversant, have a wonderful power over the mind. External things make such an impression within, that the character is often formed from the situation. The soul is assimilated to surrounding objects, and proportions itself to the sphere in which it moves. When employed in little and in low things, it is contracted; when occupied in earthly matters, it is debased; but acquires enlargement and elevation, in the presence of what is grand and sublime. By daily converse with the world, and familiarity with material things, the soul is alienated from the life of God; and man, setting his affections on things below, becomes of the earth, earthy. But when we engage in the exercises of devotion, we counterwork the charm of material objects, we retire from the world and its temptations, and shut the door of the lieart against every intruding guest, that would disturb us in approaching to God. Standing upon holy ground, we put off unhallowed affections, and inpure desires. From the presence of the Lord every sinful thought lies away. Our attention is turned from those things that would raise guilty passions in the mind. Pure and spiri. tual ideas are presented to view, and the perfections of Almighty God are set before our eyes. When these are before us, our admiration of them will increase, our love to them will be kindled, and we will endeavour to resemble them in our own life. Thus, by approaching to God, we become like God. By devotion on earth, we anticipate the work of heaven. We join ourselves, beforehand, to the society of angels and blessed spiriis above; we already enter on the delightful employment of eternity, and begin the song which is heard for ever around the throne of God.
Such, Christians! are the advantages of approaching to God, and encompassing the altar. "And if,
with pious affections, and a pure heart, we draw nigh unto God, God will draw nigh unto us. To the wide extent of his creation, to the great temple of heaven and earth, JEKOVAh prefers the heart of the pure and the pious. There he takes up his abode ; there he delighteth to dwell. In the divine discourse which our Lord delivered to his disciples, the same night in which he was betrayed, there is a promise rich in consolation. " If a man love me, he will keep my !' words: and my Father will love him, and we will " come and make our abode with him. While this promise sounds in your ears, I hope that your hearts correspond to the strain, and that you recal those preçious hours, when God' manifested himself to you, so as he does not unto the world. When, on former occasions, he sent his light and his truth ; when the fountain of living waters has been opened, and the yoice came to your ears, " Drink and live for ever;" did you not feel emotions which came from no created source, and taste a joy which confessed its origin from heaven? Who can describe the blessedness of that time, when å present Deity is felt ? It is the joy of heaven upon earth; the happiness of eternity in the moments of time.