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supersede the Love of God. No desire of filial obedience can justify a violation of the divine law. When his Mother, having found Jesus in the temple, said unto him ; *“ Son, why hast thou thus * dealt with us? Behold thy Father and I have sought thee sorrowing ;" he gently rebuked her, saying; “ How is it, that ye sought me ? Wist ye not that I must: be about my Father's business?”. He nevertheless 66 went down with them to Nazareth, and was subject unto them ;" thus leaving us an example of obedience to Parents, subordinate however to obedience to God. Of filial duty, I shall treat further in my next : Discourse.
In order to love your heavenly Father, you must do all you can to please him; and in order to please him, you must believe in him with all humility and with the whole spirit, and endeavour to render yourselves acceptable to him through Jesus Christ, by accomplishing in your lives the purposes of his blessed will.
* Luke, ii. 48, 49, 51.
Love seeks to please its object; if, there fore, you really love God, you will desire to do what is well-pleasing in his sight. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them," says our Saviour, he it is that loveth me.'
Let your love be pure and unsullied, entirely free from the leaven of hypocrisy and dissimulation. Let it be the affection of the whole soul, the warm expansion of the heart, full of gratitude to the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort. To profess with your lips that you love God is not enough; for mere profession is vanity itself, is mockery and insult in the estimation of Him, who knows every secret of the breast. You should feel the glow of affection within, and show forth its fruits in the righteousness of your lives. Let there be no vehemence in your love, no wild enthusiastic conceptions, no gross and familiar expressions, no transports beyond what reason justifies, and true piety approves. You cannot love God too much; but you should not show your
* John, xiv. 21.
regard in unbecoming language, nor in a superstitious manner.
The true love of God is an ardent and grateful, yet a sober and rational, emotion. It is not an affection that terminates in mere feeling, and evaporates in Enthusiasm ; but that descends from its Holy Object to ourselves and our neighbours, that communicates its influence to our actions, that enters into the business of our several callings, and that prompts us at all times to do what is right, because it is the command of Him, who ** first loved us." Let this love dwell in your hearts; for without it you can never attain to the righteousness of Saints, nor make any approaches towards God; but must of necessity lead a life of wickedness, and continue more and more to estrange yourselves from Him, who is the source and centre of all perfection. Believe in God, and you will please him ; fear him in all your thoughts, and words, and works, and you will secure his favour; love him with all your hearts, and minds ,
1 John, iv, 19:
and strength, and you will be made partakers of his blessing and reward.
If you would prove that you believe in, and fear, and love him, and that you have not a vain and dissembling heart, you must*" worship him in spirit and in truth." In order to this, you must honour his holy name. You should never think of him, nor speak of him, but with feelings of the deepest awe and reverence, for he is the Almighty God of Heaven and Earth. Beware of contracting the pro fane and odious habit of swearing, which is disgraceful in the extreme to the profession of Christianity, and which invariably betrays a heart void of real piety, and alienated more or less from the truth that is in Christ Jesus. This evil habit is most inexcusable, because it is adopted in compliance with the practice of a wicked world; because it is often yielded to when no one passion of the soul is excited, and when no temptation, nor promise of pleasure, urges to its indulgence; and because it not only gives wanton and un
* John, iv. 24.
necessary offence to the sober-minded, but also has the reproach upon it of wanting even the decency of concealment. It is foolish, because it answers no good end : it produces no profitable result, gives no strength to affirmation, attaches no credit to testimony, imparts no validity to argument, affords no additional proof of sincerity, and has an immediate tendency to excite disgust, and awaken in the breasts of others a wellfounded suspicion, that, as there is profaneness on the tongue, there must be guile, and ignorance, and depravity in the heart. And it is wicked, because it is in direct opposition to the positive divine command, * "Swear not at all because it obstructs the progress, and prejudices the cause of true religion ; and because, disregarding the interest of others, and the virtue of society, it spreads abroad the pernicious infection of t bad example.
* Matt. V. 34. * Fathers are often heard to swear, and take God's name in vain, in the presence of their children; tħus unnaturally contributing to deprave, by their example, those minds, which nature and religion teach them it