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To muse such recollections ;-not with pain,
SUBMISSION to God, in its full extent, is by no means an act of simple obedience. It implies the union and exercise of many Christian graces. To submit, indeed, in the narrow sense of the word, is not a matter of choice with any. He who created heaven and earth by his word, and who wields the elements at his pleasure, will certainly not want the power to give effect to his own purposes. Yet, there is a submission to which a gracious God invites his creatures as a privilege, while, at the same time, he requires it of them as a duty; a submission, not of the act only, but of the heart, grounded upon the deepest sense
and conviction of his wisdom, an entire trust in his providence, and a fervent love of his goodness. It is this principle which alone deserves the name of submission; and such a submission it is clear is essentially different from a mere acquiescence in events, which we have no power to controul. It is the homage of the will, the natural and beautiful expression of the best affections of the soul, of gratitude, of veneration, of filial love, and filial obedience; nor is this all:-If the highest earthly gratification is to be derived from pleasing those we love, if the humblest effort is delightful to express an ardent and generous affection, can it be a mean satisfaction to testify, by filial docility and submission, that entire confidence, that heartfelt gratitude and adoring love to our Almighty Father, which are the elements which compose the temper and the
character of the true
Christian ? Holy and heavenly elements, which shall survive the lapse of ages, and triumph over the desolations of nature.MORE, freely adapted.
And let us never for one moment forget the constraining motives we have to exercise that submissive spirit resulting from gratitude, veneration, and love. It is no capricious and cruel tyrant who demands it of us, but an Almighty God, who is as gracious as he is powerful; as wise as he is compassionate. He has surrounded us with every thing that can encourage us to pursue the path He has appointed us to tread; and to cheer us by the way, allows us by contemplation to attain almost a knowledge of his perfections. He suffers us to read them in that collection of glory and magnificence which the universe displays, and yet more in the blessings and wonders of his revealed word. He permits us to perceive his power and goodness, infinity and happiness, and has condescended to become the guide of our wishes and our hopes. How grand the contemplation of the eternal triune God, let them who have sensibility, declare!
And can we hesitate a moment implicitly to trust in, and calmly repose on the infinite
goodness of such an Almighty Friend, the support of all our weakness, the inexhaustible source of all our consolations ?
Contemplating him in these endearing characters, the love of him will be shed abroad in the heart, and we shall ever joy to submit our will to his will, saying with sincerity and truth, "The cup that my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"
Most certainly all those who truly love God have an ardent desire to be beloved of God; for we know that it is essential to love, to desire a return of affection from its object. We cannot, however, expect to be beloved of God, unless we strive to please him; nor can we please him without conforming to his will, and keeping his commandments; which are not grievous but joyous. The genuine love of God is always accompanied with a holy diligence to please him, and an awful fear of offending him. A true believer is always afraid lest any thing, through negligence or infirmity, should escape him, and clash with his duty, or offend his God. The language of such an one is, “Teach me thy ways, O Lord;
I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name." May God make (me) perfect in every good work to do his will, “working in me that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ.”
This love of God is not only continued in a Christian, but is also augmented under correction, for true love to God regards his glory and our salvation; two things that can never be separated, because Almighty God has so united them that they constitute the very essence of religion. Whenever, then, it pleases God to chastise us, these two great interests (his glory and our salvation) present themselves before our eyes; and whether we consider chastisements as the fruits of our sins which have offended our Creator, or as paternal strokes to establish us in holiness, they cannot but excite more powerfully our adoring love, humbling the heart, and rendering it submissive to the will of God, and causing us to regard that alone as the rule of duty and the source of happiness. Genuine love to God, from which flows this submission and gratitude, is ever tranquil and peaceful,