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cause of unbelief shall be laid open, and sin shall in vain seek for the hiding-place, which it had so fondly contrived. Then what shall be the answer, if any venture to apologize for their guilt by saying that they did not believe? “Why did ye not believe?" the Judge may reply, “Why did ye harden your hearts, and close your eyes, and stop your ears, against the truth? Why did ye reject the testimony to my gospel ? Why did ye not listen to the voice of my prophets, who so long before had given notice of its approach ? Why did ye not perceive the deep impression of divine truth which I had stamped upon its pages? Why did ye disregard the confident attestations of my holy army of martyrs, who signed it with their blood ? Why did ye not recognize the power, with which I protected it, and the path of heavenly light in which I guided it through the long succession of ages, and the wide extent of space, in which ye might have marked its miraculous progress? Why did ye so obstinately refuse the unwearied offers of my Holy Spirit to enlighten you with a knowledge of its truth, and to assist you in the practice of its laws? Why did ye despise all these powerful means of conviction, all these merciful efforts for your salvation? Ye had sufficient evidence-why then did ye not believe? Because ye would not be persuaded. Your unbelief was
your sin, and the wages of your sin is death. Go therefore, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Forgive, O gracious Lord, the presumption of a sinful creature, who ventures to imagine that such may be thy just expostulation with unbelievers at the day of judgment; and that we may never deserve these reproofs for our infidelity, nor have our portion with the despisers of thy sacred word, do thou “ open our eyes that we may see the wondrous things of thy law.” Take from us the “evil heart of unbelief; ” “ increase our faith ” where it is deficient; strengthen it where it is weak; correct it where it is erroneous; and since “ thou alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men, grant that we may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end,” Amen.
THE GREATNESS OF GOD, AND THE INSIGNIFICANCY
PSALM xliv. 3.
Lord, what is man that thou hast such respect unto him; or the son of man that thou so regardest him?
Ir requires but a slight degree of reflection on the infinite perfection of the Deity, and on the stupendous magnitude and immeasurable extent of his works, to produce in us these lowly sentiments concerning ourselves. Amidst hosts of unnumbered worlds, scattered with lavish profusion throughout all space, farther than the eye can reach, farther than the imagination itself can follow, and all most probably peopled like this globe with millions of rational beings, of a nature perhaps superior to our own,-what are we? Still more;-compared with the great Creator of this boundless universe, all-wise, all-powerful, every where present, who had no beginning, and will have no end, sustaining and ruling "all things by the word of his power,”—what are we? David shall answer the question; “Man is like a thing of nought.” How is our empty pride rebuked, how does our imaginary greatness vanish away, how do we shrink into ourselves, and lie level with the dust out of which we were formed, and to which we shall shortly return, when we thus estimate our magnitude and importance. And this is a correct feeling, a desirable consequence of such meditations concerning God and his creation; for man is in general puffed up with such self-conceit and vanity, particularly if he happens to be somewhat elevated above the ordinary race of his fellow mortals in rank, or power, or talents, or riches, he gives himself such airs, and fancies himself a being of such superior dignity, that he needs every lesson, which may teach him humility and self-abasement.
But there is another effect of these contemplations, which is improper, and requires to be corrected. They produce sometimes (as has been observed by a well known writer) a melancholy apprehension lest we should be accounted in the sight of God as insignificant as we appear to ourselves really to be, when compared with him and with the rest of the universe, in which we exist; we feel as if it would be too great a condescension