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that provision in the Constitution which compels every boily to support some form of religious worship, while the Unitarians take the opposite ground, and desire the provision to be retained. The Boston Morning Post says, “ Judge Story at the Unitarian Meeting on Tuesday evening, at Dr. Channing's church, urged thein to hold fast to the third arlicle of the Constitulion and on no account to have it altered."
Journal of Commerce. A Veteran Clergymnn.—The Rev. Dr. Perkins, of West Hartford, pireached recently his sixtieth anniversary sermon. In the course of it he informed his auditory, nearly all of whom could date their birth since the cominencement of his ministry, that in his.cburch there had been one thousand deaths and one thousand bapiisms-that he had delivered four thousand written sermons, and three thousand extemporaneous ones, that he had attended sixty ordinations and installations, And had preached twenig ordination sermons, twelve of which had been published by request,--that he had attended one hundred ecclesiastical councils, to heal difficulties in the churches, and that he had fittel for college one hundred and fifty students, and more than thirty for the Gospel ministry.
Dr. Perkins is now eighty-three years of age-his step is yet firm, his mind vigorous, and he continues to discharge his pastoral duties without interruption.
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For this is the love af God, that we keep his cammandments; and his commandments are not grievous.- 1 Joun, v. 3.
The principal design of the apostle in this epistle is, to assist the professors of religion in determining whether they have been the subjects of a saving change. He asserts that there is an essential difference between the believer and unbeliever, or between the child of God, and one who is in the state of nature. He mentions various things which are proper marks of grace, ard by which every one may form a just opinion concerning his spiritual state. He represents love to Christ, love to the gospel, love to the brethren, compassion to the poor and needy, and mortification to the world and things of the world, as characteristical of a true believer. But the evidence of grace which he most frequently mentions, and upon which he lays the greatest stress, is a cheerful and universal obedience to the commands of God. “For this, says he, is the love of God, that we keep bis commandments; and his commandments are not grievous." The plain and obvious meaning of these words may be expressed in this general observation :
That those men, who love God, take pleasure in obeying bis commands.
I. I shall inquire why God has given coinmands to men? And,
II. Show that those who love him, take pleasure in obeying the commands which he has given them.
I. Let us inquire, why God has given commands to men? Many suppose that after God has formed intelligent creatures, and made them capable of distinguishing between moral good and evil, they ought to be left to themselves, to govern their own conduct, by the sole dictates of their own minds. They can see no occasion for giving either precepts or prohibitions to such free iñoral agents. And upon this ground, they disbelieve that God has given any commands to mankind. But though we could not discover any reasons for God's giving us
commands, this would not afford any conclusive evidence, that he had not done it, because he may see reasons for commanding his creatures, which lie beyond their comprehension. There is, however, no difficulty in this case, in discovering sufficient reasons for God's giving commands to men, who are capable of moral discernment. God has evidently given commands to men, in order to answer two very important purposes.
1. To inform them what is right. They are naturally born like the wild ass's colt, both ignorant and stupid in respect to moral things. Though they have powers and faculties, by which they might discover duty in some points, yet they are naturally indisposed to attend to their duty; and if they do attend, they choose to misunderstand it. The depravity of their hearts blinds their reason and conscience. This has been demonstrated by the conduct of all the heathen world, who have been left to walk in their own ways, without the aid of divine revelation. Hence it appears, that all need to be informed respecting their duty. It is necessary that God should inform men of what they might know without his information, when they neglect to inform themselves. And it is still more necessary, that he should inform them of what they could not know, without an immediate revelation of his will. They might discover their relation to God as dependant, guilty creatures, and learn the duties of love and repentance. They might discover their relations to each other,and learn the duty of doing to others, as they would that others should do to them. These duties are founded in the nature of things, and might be discovered by the light of reason and conscience. But since men are so depraved, that they will not learn these duties, it is necessary that God should command them to love him with all the heart, and their neighbor as themselves. But besides these duties, which resuh from the immutable nature of things, there are many others which they could not discover by unassisted reason. These it is still more necessary that God should teach them by particular precepts, and prohibitions. Even Adam in Paradise and in innocence, stood in need of divine cominands, in order to know how to employ his time, and improve his talents. And since the introduction of sin and misery, his posterity are much more ignorant of their present situation, their future circumstances, and final destination. So that they stand in peculiar need of divine commands to inform them what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God, which they ought to follow. Let
a servant love his master ever so well, how is it possible, that he should serve him to advantage or acceptance, without knowing his will? And since men are the servants of God, it is equally impossible for them to serve him in the most useful and acceptable manner, without divine precepts and prohibitions. Thus one end to be answered by God's giving commands to men is, to inform them of their duty, or teach them what is right. And this leads me to observe,
2. That another purpose to be answered by God's commanding men is, to lay them under obligation to do their duty when they know it. There is no necessary connection between men's knowing and doing their duty. They may know God, and yet not glorify him as God. They may know to do good to one another, and yet not do it. But the commands of God not only point out duty to men, but lay them under obligation to do wbat is commanded. Every divine precept and prohibition is clothed with all the authority of God; which is the highest authority in the universe, and lays the highest moral obligation upon every subject of the divine government. Supposing, therefore, that all mankind knew their duty perfectly, still there would be a necessity of God's laying his commands upon them in order to bind their wills to a conformity to his own. There always was, and always will be a propriety in God's giving commands to his rational and accountable creatures. Thero is no reason, therefore, to consider the commands of God as unnecessary, or unkind or grievous. I now proceed to show,
II. That those who love God. take pleasure in obeying his commands. This will appear, if we consider,
1. That love to God is the essence of true obedience. So the apostle says in the text, “For this is the lo of
od, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.” Our Saviour taught us that love is all the law requires. When a certain man asked him, “which is the great commandment in the law ?" he replied, " Thou shalt lore the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first, and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt lore thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments bang all the law and the prophets.” Again we read, that “love is the fulfilling of the laws.” Obedience to God is nothing but expressing love in the manner he has required. And those who feel love, always take pleasure in expressing it. A servant, who loves his
master, takes satisfaction in expressing his love by obedience. A child who loves his parents, feels a pleasure in obeying them, or in doing whatever he kuows is agreeable to their will. A subjcct who loves his ruler, delights in obeying his authority. And a soldier who loves his commander, will go and come with pleasure at his bidding, or even at his desire. When David only wished for water from a distant well, three of his men put their lives in their hands, and burst through the hosts of their enemies, and drew him water from the well of Bethlehem. Su those who have love to God, take pleasure in expressing it by acts of obedience and self-denial. Love is, in its own nature, a pleasing exercise ; but the external expression of it, is niore delightful, than the internal affection. And since expressing love to God is agreeable, it is evident that the most arduous and difficult, and self-denying acts of obedience, aflord the greatest satisfaction and enjoyment. Those commands which are the most grievous to nature, are the most agreeable to the dutiful and benevolent heart. Those who love God, love to give the highest expression of it.
2. The Scriptures represent obedience to God as affording peculiar satisfaction to the soul. The Psalmist says, “ Great peace have they that love thy law and nothing shall offend them.” Solomon says, "A good man shall be satisfied from himself.” And again he says, “ The ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Of the godly man it is said, “Ilis delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” We read, "Blessed are they who walk in the law of the Lord, that keep bis testimonies, and that seek him with their whole heart." These declarations come from God, who knows the feelings of every human heart; and he makes these representations concerning the happiness which flows from obedience, to convince the world of the folly as well as guilt of disobeying his commands. It is the uniform tenor of scripture, that there is great present, as well as future reward, in keeping the commands of God.And I may now add,
3. That the friends of God have always found these divine declarations true, by their own experience. By whomsoever God has been loved, he has been cheerfully and joyfully obeyed. He has always been loved by the angels of light, who have always taken pleasure in obeying his will. They have served him not only in heaven, but on earth. They have in a