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his people from their sins." Yes, says one, but it is his people whom he will save. I admit it; and do not contend that he will save any but his people.But who are his people? "He came to his own, but his own received him not." Yet will he not save them? Yes. "Out of Sion shall come the deliverer, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob, and so all Israel shall be saved." Again: Who are his people? Answer: The heathen are given him for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession: for, "the Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hands:" and again: "he hath given him power over all flesh that he should give eternal life to as many as he hath given him; and this is life eternal, to know thee," &c. God says, by the mouth of his prophet, "All souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine." If, therefore, the souls of all originally belonged to God, he could dispose of them as he saw fit. He hath given them to his Son; and in every sense in which they may be said to belong to Christ, in no such sense do they belong to the adversary, the devil; and in every sense in which men may be said to be the children of the devil, in no such sense are they the children of God..

Now in what sense, and in how many senses, are mankind the property or inheritance of Christ? Answer: In three senses, at least. 1. By creation.. "All things were created &'aura xat is auToy through him and to him, or by him and for him."* (Col. i. 16.). 2. By purchase. "He gave himself a ransom for all," (1 Tim. ii. 6.) 3. By heirship. "God hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things," (Heb. i. 1, 2.) this threefold cord will not be easily broken.

▲ with a genitive,, often has the sense of on account of: the text therefore may be rendered "on account of him and to Fim"

Now in no such sense is any one a child of the devil. None were created either by or for him; he has purchased none; he is heir to none. Hence, if he has obtained any, it is only by fraud and deception. In what sense then are they his? Answer: "His servants ye are to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey." Mankind, being deceived, have become servants of sin and Satan; and inasmuch as they are so, in no such sense are they the servants of Christ. To the Jews it was said by one who knew very well their character, "ye are of your father the devil, and his works ye will do." But in what sense were they of him? Answer: In character only. For he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth. And they were murderers; or else they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. They denied the Holy One, and the Just, and desired a murderer to be delivered unto them. Thus, in character, they were children of the devil, at the same time that, in reality, they were children of God. In this sense they were lost: as God says, "my people have become lost sheep, their shepherds have caused them to go astray; they have driven them from mountain to hill, till they have forgotten their resting place." And to redeem mankind from this lost state, and to bring them to be, characteristically, as well as in reality, the children of God, is the great object of salvation. But, to be children in this sense, Christ taught his disciples, that they must love their enemies, &c. For why? "That ye may be children of your Father which is in heaven." Whom does Christ mean by 66 our father which art in heaven?" Does he not mean God? Most assuredly. Well, if God be our Father, are we not his children already? Yes; but Christ was teaching his disciples how to become the children of God in character; which they were not, until they possessed this heavenly principle of uni

versal benevolence.

"For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Therefore, to be his children in character, without which no one can be happy, we must love our enemies, bless them who curse us, and do good unto them who despitefully use us and persecute us.

Thus I have endeavoured to set forth, in as plain a manner as I could, the object of the proposed lectures; and the candid attention which has been given thus far (for which you have my grateful acknowledgments) shows the interest you have taken in the importance of the subject.

Nothing will be attempted (especially in what is committed to writing) by way of eloquence or oratory; for I can truly say, in the language of the apostle, "I had rather speak five words with the understanding, so that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." And this is too often the case, when a speaker soars into the regions of fancy, in order to bring forth something to please the ears of his hearers.

To communicate truth to the understanding is my only object; and for the sake of this I shall take the liberty to use "great plainness of speech." And that these lectures may be blessed to the instruction of many beyond the sound of my voice, they are now committed to paper.*

These lectures were delivered first, extempore, and then committed to writing for the press,

22

LECTURE II.

God is love.-1 Joan, iv. 8.

WHAT I have designed this evening is to speak of the nature and character of God; his relation to his rational offspring; his design in creating moral intelligences; and the immutability of his purposes.

When we speak of the nature of the Deity, our words should be few, and fitly chosen. For none by searching can find out God to perfection. We know him only through the medium of his works and through the medium of his word. We have no conception of his essence; and as to his nature, whatever it be, one truth seems to be obvious; i. e. his nature is ONE, and indivisible. But few of the inspired writers have spoken of the nature of God; and no other has expressed it in so few words as the beloved disciple John, the author of our text. "God is love." Another apostle has said, "Our God is a consuming fire." But, in order to reconcile these two apostles with each other, without allowing contradiction, (which we shall by no means admit,) we must construe the fire, by which God consumes, to be the fire of divine love. On this hypothesis, there is no contradiction at all; but it teaches us at once the nature of those objects which this fire will consume; to wit, that which is opposed to divine love.

If God be love, all his attributes flow from this heavenly and divine principle; wisdom and power, justice and mercy, are only different modifications, or manifestations, of that divine nature-love.

On this ground, therefore, we may fix upon certain data, from which we never need to swerve in all

our searches and researches after divine truth. For when we have discovered the rudiments or first principles of any science, we know that every thing in that particular art or science is built upon them, and that nothing contrary to them can be true. As, for instance, when the school-boy in mathematics has learned fully to understand that two and two make four, he knows it as well as his teacher, or the greatest mathematician; and in all his studies afterwards, he will never find any thing which contradicts it; and of course he never could be persuaded or convinced that those two numbers added make six, or that they do not make but three. And these observations will apply with the same and equal force in theology, as they do in mathematics.

When the child of God is brought to understand that God is love, he knows it as well as the greatest divine; and in all his study in divinity afterwards, he never will find any thing but falsehood that contradicts it; neither will he be persuaded to believe that God is hatred, or that he is any thing inconsistent with infinite and divine love. And, furthermore, until he can be convinced that he is erroneous in this his first principle, although he may find many passages of scripture which he does not fully understand, yet he knows very well what they do not mean; viz. they do not mean any thing inconsistent or incompatible with this proposition, "God is love." Yea, he would sooner be convinced that the scripture itself is not true, or that, some how or other, there is a mistake about it, than he could give up his first principle: which, while he hath a Thus saith the Lord for its support, he cannot do.

On this ground, therefore, we shall stand; believing all which can be justly inferred from our text is eternal and immutable truth. We stand as it were upon an ocean, with neither shore nor bound. Our limited sight can only see so as to comprehend a

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