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SERMON XV.

PROVERBS, xxiii. 26.

My Son, give me thy heart,

We are to consider these words as a demand from one, who has every right to make it; and if we enter into an examination of that right, we shall find submission on our part not only just and reasonable, but highly conducive to our welfare.

In discoursing upon this portion of Scripture, it is my design to set before you,

I. The Authority and Character of Him, who says-“ My Son, give me thy heart.”

II. The nature of the demand itself.

III. The assent, which we should give to the requisition.

1st. I am to set before you the Authority and Character of Him, who says—" My Son, give me thy heart."

As it is our duty to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, we cannot be at a loss to know, that he is the person who makes this demand; for,

having created us for his pleasure, and having displayed infinite goodness and wisdom in his work, it is fit that we should acknowledge his power, and give him the glory, which is due to his name. This Creator, of whom we speak, is the high and lofty one, who inhabiteth eternity, before whom all things are naked and open. It is he, who sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and all the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers in his sight. He giveth unto all life, and breath, and all things; and orders and preserves whatever he has made by a continual act of power. We ought to consider, with more frequency and solemnity than we usually do, how near the Lord is to every one of us; and that in him we live, and move, and have our being. We ought more constantly to remember the right which he has to our services, and the advantage, which must accrue to us by surrendering ourselves entirely to his holy will and pleasure. But, we rebel, and find it hard to kick against the pricks; whereas, if we were to yield, we should perceive no pricks pressing against us; for goodness and love, which are ever flowing from God, can harm no one; and we should find, upon making the trial of submission, that all the pain, which we formerly felt in resisting, was a misery of our own creation. Are there

who

any,

imagine, that the things, which are forbidden, can afford them greater satisfaction than those which are commended? Oh! how do they wrong the great Author of their being, and act again the part of our first parents, who plunged themselves into misery, because they would not believe the word of the Lord. True it is, that the Lord withholdeth no good thing from those that love him, and that he is ready to bestow upon all his creatures, who have only a disposition to receive his blessings, even more than they are able to ask or think. Now, it is this great, this powerful God, who says “ My Son, give me thy heart,” and if we now consider,

2d. The nature of this demand, we shall perceive, that it is the most kind, and the most reasonable that can be imagined. It is, first, the most kind, because it breathes forth the spirit of a Father—" My Son.” Parents! Do you not love your children? Do

you

not la. bour to provide for them? Do

you

not carefully protect them, and study, by all means, to promote their welfare? Think then, that as you regard your offspring, so does your heavenly Father regard you. Think, that, as they will enjoy what it is in your power, though perhaps greatly limited, to bestow upon them, so your God and Father, whose power is without limit, will bestow all good things upon you; that is, all that is

proper

for
you,

all that will prove conducive to the happiness of your soul. Our blessed Lord, who was well acquainted with the human heart, and understood what motives would be productive of the most powerful effects, reminds his disciples of that relationship concerning which I am speak. ing, and assuming it, as a generally received opinion, founded on the law of nature, that a child has a right to demand of its parent the things it wants, says—" Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you; for every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh find. eth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. What man is there of you, whom, if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? or, if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If

then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father, which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him ?"*

3d. This demand is also most reasonable. Seeing the advantages of having God for our Father are so great, and our obligations to serve him so many, and so powerful, to whom else should we give our affections? Is there any creature in heaven or earth that is so highly

ye

* Mat. vii, 7.-11.

worthy of our regard? Judge for yourselves, Brethren, in this matter, and common sense will tell you the truth of that which is written in the Proverbs of him who is stiled the wisest man :

“ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” * If there can be any

who

suppose that the God of Heaven is a tyrant, who delights in vengeance, and governs, merely to shew his power, independently of his goodness, they have formed a notion of Him which is not to be found in the Bible; and then, verily, it might be said—“ It is not reasonable to serve him.” But, as things are, our happiness and duty are so connected, that every sensible and understanding man is urged, by the powerful motive of self-interest, to dedicate himself to the Lord, and to say—“ He shall be the God, whom I will serve:" And this is the third thing upon which I proposed to speak, , viz.

The assent, which we are to give to the requisition, “ My Son, give me thy heart.”

When the great God condescends to address himself to a man, we must believe that the man has ears to listen to, and a heart capable of understanding, the things that are spoken; and as he is very frequently and earnestly called upon to be attentive and considerate, we must

* Proverbs, i. 7.

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