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which most delight us; and we shall copy them : though insensibly, perhaps, and unawares.
For no one can look up for any length of time with love and respect towards a person better, wiser, greater than themselves, without becoming more or less like that person in character and in habit of thought and feeling: and so it will be with us towards God.
If we really long to be good, it will grow more and more easy to us to love God. The more pure our hearts are, the more pleasant the thought of God will be to us; even as it is said, 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God'--in this life as well as in the life to come. We shall not shrink from God, because we shall know that we are not wilfully offending him.
But more. The more we think of God, the more we shall long to be like him. How admirable in our eyes will seem his goodness, how admirable his purity, his justice, and his bounty, his long-suffering, his magnanimity and greatness of heart. For how great must be that heart of God, of which it is written, that ‘He hateth nothing that he hath made, ' but his mercy is over all his works ;' that he ' willeth that none should perish, but that all
should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. Although he be infinitely high and far off, and we cannot attain to him, yet we shall feel it our duty and our joy to copy him, however faintly, and however humbly; and our highest hope will be that we may behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, and be changed into his image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord ; that so, whether in this world or in the world to come, we may at last be perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect, and, like him, cause the sunlight of our love to shine upon the evil and on the good; the kindly showers of our good deeds to fall upon the just and on the unjust; and, like him who sent his only begotten Son to save the world—be good to the unthankful and to the evil.
THE EARTHQUAK E.
(Preached October 11, 1863.)
PSALM XLVI. 1, 2. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in
trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.
No one, my friends, wishes less than I, to
frighten you, or to take a dark and gloomy view of this world, or of God's dealings with men. But when God himself speaks, men are bound to take heed, even though the message be an awful one. And last week's earthquake was an awful message, reminding all reasonable souls how frail man is, how frail his strongest works, how frail this seemingly solid earth on which we stand; what a thin crust there is between us and the nether fires, how utterly
it depends on God's mercy that we do not, like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram of old, go down alive into the pit.
What do we know of earthquakes? We know that they are connected with burning mountains; that the eruption of a burning mountain is generally preceded by, and accompanied with, violent earthquakes. Indeed, the burning mountains seem to be outlets, by which the earthquake force is carried off. We know that these burning mountains give out immense volumes of steam. We know that the expanding power of steam is by far the strongest force in the world; and, therefore, it is supposed reasonably, that earthquakes are caused by steam underground.
We know concerning earthquakes two things: first, that they are quite uncertain in their effects ; secondly, quite uncertain in their occurrence.
No one can tell what harm an earthquake will, or will not do. There are three kinds. One which raises the ground up perpendicularly, and sets it down again—which is the least hurtful; one which sets it rolling in waves, like the waves of the sea, which is more hurtful; and one, the most terrible of all, which gives the ground a spinning motion, so that things thrown down by it fall twisted from right to left, or left to right. But what kind of earthquake will take place, no one can tell.
Moreover, a very slight earthquake may do fearful damage. People who only read of them, fancy that an earthquake, to destroy man and his works, must literally turn the earth upside down; that the ground must open, swallowing up houses, vomiting fire and water; that rocks must be cast into the sea, and hills rise where valleys were before. Such awful things have happened, and will happen again : but it does not need them to lay a land utterly waste. A very slight shock -- a shock only a little stronger than was felt last Wednesday morning, might have - one hardly dare think of what it might have done in a country like this, where houses are thinly built because we have no fear of earthquakes. Every manufactory and mill throughout the iron districts