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OURSELVES TO GOD.
REV. JOHN HOWE, A.M.
AN INTRODUCTORY ESSAY,
ROBERT GORDON, D.D.
PRINTED FOR WILLIAM COLLINS;
W. F. WAKEMAN, AND WM. CURRY, JUN. & co. DUBLIN ;
SIMPKIN & MARSHALL ; BALDWIN & CRADOCK;
AND HURST, CHANCE, & CO. LONDON.
It can hardly have escaped the observation of any one who has read the Bible with attention, that in all the communications which the Almighty has been pleased to make to his rebellious subjects, he has employed language the best calculated to make its way to the heart and affections of mankind-that while his remonstrances with the impenitent present a lamentable picture of the most unreasonable hostility, and unprovoked aggression on their part, they bear testimony, at the same time, to the most compassionate forbearance on his and that as often as he directly addresses the penitent and believing, whether it be in the way of reproof or of consolation, it is still in terms that breathe all the affectionate tenderness of a father's love. That such is the language of Scripture nobody can for a moment dispute, and that the design of such language is to remove those unworthy suspicions of the divine character, which go to array the feelings and affections of the human heart in hostility to its Maker, and perpetuate the enmity of the carnal mind against God, is equally obvious and incontrovertible. It
will readily be admitted, too, that if any thing approaching to such generosity and unmerited forbearance, could be manifested by one human being towards another, it could not fail to extort a universal tribute of admiration and respect, and that the common consent of mankind would pronounce that man to have reached the very last stage of moral insensibility, who could remain unaffected by such treatment on the part of one whom he had injured, or whose hostility that treatment would fail to disarm. And yet, is not such, in point of fact, the reception that the compassion of God has met with on the part of not a few of his offending creatures ? Are there not multitudes who are conscious that they have never been deeply or permanently affected by all the tenderness of that commiseration which God has mingled with the very severest of his denunciations against the workers of iniquity—that if, at any time, their conscience is alarmed on contemplating the rigorous requirements, and inviolable sanctions of his law, as necessarily demanding a full and perfect satisfaction, they receive, at such a moment, with suspicion and distrust, the solemn declarations of his word, that he has no pleasure in the death of the sinner—and that even when they succeed in suppressing that anxiety; and take refuge in those views of the divine mercy, which represent him as looking on sin with too indulgent an eye, ever to carry into effect against it the award of a righteous retribution, instead of feeling their heart captivated by such an idea of the divine goodness, they acknowledge it (if indeed they acknowledge it at all) with a heartlessness and