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. IS. 

lis CoiueqacDies : Fer>«veraace 
. 1(9 evidences : WUtt are nol E 

What ■ 

lending the 


il((ice». — S Cot. vii. b. 
SERMON LXXXIX. Kegenemlion. lis Evidence 

dencu- — 3 Cor. liil. 6. - 
SERMON XC. Re^neralimt. Id Evidences : DifficutlicB 

^licBlion of these Evidences to ourselves.— S Cor. ilji. 
SEIUION XCt. The Law of God. lis Perfect CbaiBcter : Comprehended 

In the Two Great Cummandnienta. — Fmlm xii. 7. • • 

SERMON XCII. TheLBwofGod. The First Great Commaiidmeal : Love 

to OoA^Mark iil 26—30. 

SERMON Xail. The Law of God. The First Great Commsndmeiit: Rev- 

crence of God. — Job iiviii. 38. . . . . . 

SERMON XCIV, The Law of God. The First Great Commandment : Hn- 



SERMON XCV. The Law of Gnd. The First Great Commandmeilt : Re- 

lignation.— lu^t Xiii. 41, 4i - - - - - -' 97 

JERMOn XCVI. The Law of Gud. Tbe Second Great CommandineDt : 

LoTB to our Neighbour.— .VortiJL 31. - - - •110 

SERMON XCril. The LnwofGod. The Second Greit Commandmeat : 

The Effects of Benevolence on Personal Happiness.-Jclj xi. 35. - 121 
SERMON XCV1II. The Law of God. The SecDod Great Command men I : 

The Effecli of Benevolence bn Public Happinesi.— ,dd( ii. 3G. . ]3S 

SERMON XCIX. The Law of God. The Second Great Commsnitment : 

Dlilii; tlie Foundation of Virtue.— Jcli ii, 35. • • - 160 

SERMON C. The Law of God. Comprehended in the Decalogue : The 

Pint CommandmenL — Ex, ii. 3. • • • . 103 

SCRMON CI. The Law of God. The Second Commandment.— £z. i«. 

4— «. 174 

SERMON CII. The Law of God. The Third CommendmeDt : The Na- 
ture of Profaneness.- £i. ii. 7. ■ - . - - IBS 
SERMON cm. The Law of God. The Third Commandment : The Gnilt 

•rProfaneoesi.— El, i». 7. - • - - - - 1P9 

SOtHON CIV. The Law of God. The Third Commandment : The Danger 

•f Prafaoeness. — Ex. ii. 7. - • - . 211 

SERMON CV. The Foorth CommsndmenL The Perpetait; of the Sab- 

balh.— fir. M. e—ll. -----.. 223 
SERMON CVL The Fourth Commandment. The Perpstnity and Change 

of Ihe Sabbslh^-Ei. IX. 8— It. - - . . .333 

SnUON CVIL TbeFourthCommandment. Objections answered.— ift£. 

t» •. Ml 


BERMON CVin. The Foarth CommBndinenl. The Manner in whkh the 

SubbBth is 10 be obierved.— />. 1v)ii. IS, 14. - - - -St 

lERMONCtX. The Fourth Commaudmeiil. Reaeetlonsonlhe Ssbbatb.— 

Ei. «. n. ar 

lERMON ex. The Fifth CommHridment, The Dutf of Cbildreo.— £z. 

11. 12. Si 

SERMON CXT. The Fifth Commandmenl. The Duty of FareDti.— Pror. 

iiii. 6. 'a 

SERMON CXII. The Fifth Command merit. The Duty of PMeBta— Pros. 

iiii.flL 8 

SERMON CXIU. The Fifth Commandment. The Duly of Buletj.— £*. 

11.12. a 

BERMON CXIV. The Fifth CommgndmenL The Duty of Subject].— Ez. 

II. 12 3: 

SERMON CXV. The Siith CommandmenL— Kitliog ; when Lawful ; and 

when Unlaivful.— El. ii. 13. » 

SERMON CXVI. The Sixlb Com m and m em. Duelling.— Ex. ii. 13. • a 

SERMON CXVII. The Siilh CommRndrDenl. Suicide._£z. ii. 13. 3 

SERMON CXV[[I. The Ei^lh Commandmenl. Druukenncsj.— I^A. v. 18. 3 
SERMON CXIX. The Seventh Commandmenl. The Origin, Nature, and 

BeneBlsof Marriage.— £z. II. 14. - - - - - 3 

SERMON CXX. The Seventh Commandmenl. Lewdness.— Ei. ii. 14. 4 
SERMON CXXI. The Si-venlh Comman,lmi-nl. PolygBmy, Divorce.— 

JlfdH. lii. 3— 11. - - 4 

.SERMON CXXil. The Eighth Comm,i...:iii"tLi. Idleness. Prodigalilv.— 

Ejt. II. 16. 4 

SERMON CXXnl. The Eighth Commandment. Fraud— Et. h. 16. 4 

SERMON CXXIV. The Eighth Commandmenl. Gaming.- El. n. IS. 4 
SERMO^ CXXV. The Ninth CommaDdment. Tbe Nature and Importance 

ofTfulhanil Veraiity— £t, 11. 16. - - - - - 4 
SERMON CXXVI. The Ninth Commandment The Ntlure and Caosei of 

Lying.-Ei. «. 18. 4 

SERMON CXXVII.. The Ninth Commandment The Hiichiefi and Pre- 

venlivea of Lying.— £i. ii. 16. - - - - - 4 

■SERMON CXXVUI. The Ninth Commandmenl. Slander.- Ei. li. 16. 6 

SERMON CXXIX The Tenth Commandment. ContentmenL- Ei. ii. IT. S 

SERMON CXXX. The Tenlh Commandment. Charily.- 1 Tim. vi. 17—19. £ 

SERMON CXXXI. The Tenth Commandment. Avarice.— 1 Tim. vi. 9, in. S 




VmoTiMBi iv. 18. — The paih ofthejutt is at the ihining li^^ fohieh Ainetk mom 

ana more unto the perfect day. 

In the preceding discourse I observed that the text naturally 
teaches us tne following doctrines : 

I. That the holiness of the Christian is a beautiful object ^ 

II. That it increases as he advances in life} 
III* That it continues to the end. 

The two first of these doctrines I have already examined. I 
will now proceed to a consideration of the third. 

As this doctrine has been, and still is, vigorously disputed ; it 
will be necessary to make it the subject of a particular examina- 
tion. In doin^ this I shall first adduce several arguments as a 
direct proof ot the doctrine ; and shall then answer the principal 

1st* // is irrational to suppose, tliat God would leave a warkj io^ 
wards which so much has been done, unaccomplished* 

To effectuate the salvation of such as believe in Christ, God has 
sent him, to become incarnate, to live a life of humiliation and suf- 
fering, and to die upon the cross. He has raised him from the 
dead, exalted him at his own right hand, and constituted him, at 
ODce, an Intercessor for his children, and the Head over all things 
unto the Church. He has also sent the Spirit of grace, to com- 
plete, by his almighty energy, this work of infinite mercy, in sanc- 
tifying, enlightening, and quickening, the soul, and conducting it 
to heaven. Now, let me ask. Is it not in the nature of the case 
incredible, that Jehovah should conunence, and carry on, this 
work, wnth such an amazing apparatus of labour and splendour, 
and leave it unfinished.' Is it not mcrcdible, that an Omniscient and 
Omiii potent Being should form a purpose of this nature; should 
discover in this wonderful manner, that he had it so much at heart; 
and should yet suffer himself to be frustrated in the end ? Who 
can reconcile this supposition with the perfections of God ? 

2dly. The continuance of saints in holifUii follows irresistibly 
from their Election. 

Ii is unnecessar}' for the purposes of this discourse, that I should 
.inquire into the metaphysical nature of Election. It is sufiicient 
for my design, that samts are declared, abundantly throughout the 
Scriptures, to be chosen of God. Thus, Rev. xvii. 14, the Aneel 
declares to John concerning the followers of the Lamb, that tMy 


art called^ choseuj andfaithftd. Thus, Luke xviii. 7, Christ, speak- 
'iDg of his followers, says, And shall not God avenge his own elect ^ 
TT chosen ? Thus St. Patdj Rom. viii. 33, Who shall lay any thing 
o the charge of God^s elect F Thus St. Peter^ in his first Epistle, 
diap. 2d, and verse 9thy Ye are a chosen generation: and thus, 
throughout the Scriptures. 

It is to be remembered, that this appellation is given to Chris- 
lans universally. In the passages, already quoted, it is plain, that 
'he names elect and chosen, which, you know, are the same in the 
3rrcek, are equivalent to Saints or Christians^ and accordingly are 
iddresscd to them without distinction. The same observation is, 
irith the same truth, applicable to the numerous passages of Scrip- 
ture, in which this language is adopted. 

Of all these persons it is often said, that they were chosen from 
the beginning ; or from before the foundation of the world. Thus 
St. Paul, 2 Thcss. ii. 13, addressing the members of that Church, 
•ajs, God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through 
tanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. Thus also, 
ISph. i. 4, the same Apostle, addressing the Christians at Ephesusj 
says, According as he hath chosen us in him ; that is, Christ ; before 
the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and wif.houi 
blame, before him in love^ Having predestinated us unto the adop* 
tion of children, by Jesus Christ, to himself, according to the good 
pleasure of A?> will. From these passages, and from many others 
of similar import, it is clear, that Christians arc chosen by God 
unto salvation from the beginning; or from before the foundation oj 
ike zoorld. But can it be supposed, that a purpose of God, thus 
forme I, will be frustrated? As this is declared of Christians, as 
such; ii is evident, that it is alike applicable to all Christians. 
If, thcrerore, any Christian ceases to be holy; this purpose of 
God, solemnly adopted, and declared, will in one instance oe frus- 
trated ; and in every instance, in which this event takes place. 
Thus far, then, God will be finally disappointed of one end of his 

S^verririieiit, really proposed by him, and expressly announced to 
e Univorse. Who can believe this concerning the Creator? 

3dly. If Christians continue not in holiness unto the end, the 
fnterci yslon of Christ will be frustrated. 

In John xvii, 20, Christ, after having prayed for his Apostles, 
says, \rv-r 20th, Neither pray I for these alone, but for thtm also, 
who sJ-cil believe on me through their word; that they all may be 
one; c than, Father, art in me, and I in thee: that they also may be 
one in />. In this petition, Christ prays the Father, that all those, 
who s:io;il(l believe on him through the word of the Apostles ; that 
is, all * -iiristians; may become partakers of that divine union, 
which, 'ii the heavens, is the most perfect created resemblance of 
the in- tl-ihlc union of the Father and the Son. If, then, any Chris- 
tian fill Is ( f sharing in this union, the prayer of Christ, here recited, 
will not be answered. 


4thly. If the holiness of Christians does not continue latto the 
end, the joy of Heaven over their conversion is groundless^ and in 

O'jr Saviour informs us, that there is joy over one^ that is, over 
every, dinner that repentethj more than over ninety and nine just 
persons^ who need no repentance. No error exists m heaven. 
All the perceptions of its inhabitants are accordant with truth: all 
their emotions are founded in truth. The joy, excited there by 
the continuance of ninety and nine Just persons who need no re* 
pcntiiicc, (that is, persons perfectly just) in their holiness, is a J07, 
foun.i?d on the everlasting holiness of these persons, and the ev^^ 
erlasting happiness, by which it is inseparably attended. The joy, ^ 
excited by the repentance of a sinner, is, however, greater than 
even this. As this is unconditionally asserted by Christ ; it is un- 
necessary for me, in the present case, to inquire into the reasons 
of the fact. But a joy, excited by the repentance of a sinner, 
whose everlasting holiness, and consequent everlasting happiness, 
is uncertain ; nay, who may never be holy, nor happy, at all, be* 
yond the first and feeblest efibrts and enjoyments 01 a Christian 
in his infantine state ; cannot be founded m truth, nor dictated by 
wisdoni. Nay, it cannot be accordant with common sense. Upon 
the plan here adopted, the object, on which this joy is founded, al- 
thoagh a penitent to-day, may be' a reprobate lD*mofrow ; may 
thus finally lose both his holiness and his happiness ; and, becom- 
ing a more guilty, may of course become a more miserable wretch^ 
than if he had never repented. In this case, there would be, upon 
the whole, no foundation for joy at all ; and the inhabitants of heav- 
en would, in many instances, instead of rejoicing rationally, and 
on solid grounds, be merely tantalized by the expectation 01 good, 
which they were never to realize. 

What, in this case, would be the conduct of rational men in the 
present world? We have instances enough of their conduct, in 
cases substantially of a similar nature, to furnish us with an unerr- 
ing answer to this question. They would, as in all cases of such 
uncertainty they actually do, indulge a timorous, trembling hope, 
that the case might end well ; that the penitent might persevere, 
and finally become safe. They would experience a degree of 
satisfaction, that this first step had been taken, because it was in- 
disp>cnsable to the rest, and would feel a continual, anxious suspense, 
lest others, equally indispensable, should not follow. What wise 
and gr>od men in this world would feel on such an occasion, wiser 
and oettcr men in the world to come must of necessity also feel 5 
and feel much more intensely ; because they comprehend the sub- 
ject in a manner so much clearer, juster, and more perfect. Of 
course their suspense, their anxiety, must exist in a far higher de- 
gree. Such a suspense, such an anxiety, must, one would think, 
embitter even the happiness of heaven. 


Frustrated cncpectations of ff^i good, also, arc, in this worlds 
sources of extreme sorrow. The same fact must in that benev- 
olent world be a source of the same sorrow. But how often, 
according to this scheme, must such expectations be there frus- 
trated ! Can this be reconcilable with a state of unmingled hap- 
piness ? 

5thly. That the holiness of Christians should not continue to the 
end^ is inconsistent with many Scriptural declarations* 

We know J saith St. John^ that we have passed from death unto 
lifcj because we love the brethren* 1 John iii. 14. It is impossible 
for any person to know, that he has passed from death unto life, 
unless he has actually thus passed. But St. John declares, that 
himself, and such other Christians as love the brethren, have this 
knowledge ; or, perhaps more conformably with the Apostle's real 
design, ail Christians know this, who know, that they love tjje breth- 
ren. The love of the brethren is certain, absolute proof, that all 
those, in whom it exists, have passed from death unto life. And 
this proof exists, whether perceived by him, who is the subject of 
this love, or not perceived. But every Christian loves the brethren ; 
and that, from the moment in which he becomes a Christian. 
Every Christian, therefore, has actually passed from death unto 
life. This, however, cannot be true, unless every Christian per- 
severes in holiness unto the end. Every Christian does, therefore, 

Being confident, says St* Paul, of this very thing, that he which 
hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus 
Christ* The word here rendered perform, signifies to finish, or 
complete* St. Paul was confident, therefore, that the Spirit of God, 
who had begun a good work, viz. the work of sanctification, in the 
Philippian Christians, would continue to complete it by various 
steps, until it was brought to perfection. But St* Paul, under the 
influence of inspiration, could not mistake concerning this sub- 
ject. His confidence was founded in tiiith. The work, begun in 
the Philippian Christians, was completed* Of course it will be com- 
pleted in all other Christians. 

Verily, verily, I say unto you, says our Saviour, He that heareth 
my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, 
and shall not come into condemnation ; but is (hath) passed from 
death unto life* John v. 24. In this passage it is declared, that he 
that heareth the word of Christ, and believeth on him, by whom he 
was sent, has passed from death unto life* What is meant by this 
phrase is also decisively explained, when it is said, " Every such 
person hath everlasting life ;" and when it is fiirther said, " He 
shall not come into condemnation." But every Christian, when he 
becomes a Christian, hears the words of Christ, and believes on him 
that sent him. Therefore every Christian has everlasting life, and 
shall not come into condemnation; but has already passed from: 
death unto life* 


Declarations of the same import abomid m the Scriptures. It 
cannot be necessary to multiply cniotations any farther. If these 
are not believed, none will be believed. 

6thly. The doctriruj against which I contend^ is inconsistent with 
many Scriptural promHes. 

Such a promise is contained in the passage last recited. Hi thai 
heareth my wordj and believeth on him that sent me^ shall n&t comt 
into condemnation* 

Another is contained in the following words, John vi. 37, Hkn 
that Cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out. Every Christian has 
come to Christ, in the very sense of this passage. Should he, then, 
be rejected afterward, he would be as really cast out, as if rejected 
at first; and the promise would not be pertormed. 

Another example of the same nature is foimd in Mark xvi. 16, 
He that believethy and is baptized, shall be saved* Every Christiaa 
has believed : every Christian will therefore be saved. 

Another is found in John x. 27, 28, My sheep hear my voice, and 
Iknozo them, and they follow me : And I give unto them eternal life } 
and they shall never perish^ neither shall any pluck them out of my 

Another in the 9th verse of the same chapter : / am the door: 
by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved* 

All these are promises, uttered by Christ himself; and it will not 
be denied, that he understood the import of fais own promise^ nor 
that he will faithfully perform it to the uttermost. 

Finally ; St* Paul has declared his views concerning this subject 
b a manner, which one would expect to terminate the controversy. 
Moreover, says this Apostle, whom he did predestinate^ them he also 
called ; and whom he called, them he also justified ; and whom he 
fustiftd,' them he also glorified* This is both a declaration, and a 
promise ; and in both respects is unconditional and universal. In 
the most express language it asserts, that every one, who is effectu 
ally called, is justified, and will in the end be glorified also. Bu 
every Christian is thus called. 

I shall now proceed to consider the principal objections againsi 
the perseverance of Christians. 

1st. // is objected, that this doctrine is inconsistent zoith Free 

This objection, as to its real unport, I have had occasion to con-* 

sidcr in several preceding discourses. If the answers, made to it 

then, were just and sufficient ; they must admit of a satisfactory 

application to this subject. The drift of the objection in every 

case is against the doctrine, that God can create a firee agent, who 

shall yet De a holy being. If he can create such an agent, and 

make him holy fit)m the beginning ; he can, undoubtedly, with 

equal ease, and equal consistency, render such an agent holy after 

he is created. But it cannot be bcripturally denied, that our first 

parents, or the angels, were created holy ; nor that the man, Jesui 

Vol. III. 3 


Christ, was created holy. Nor can it be deqied, that all these 
were in the fullest sense free agents. The very acknowledgment, 
that they were holy, is an acknowledgment, that they were free ^ 
agents ; for holiness is an attribute of free agents only. It is cer- 
tain then, that God can render such agents hbly, at any time after 
they are created, without infringing at all the freedom of their 
agency. In other words, he can regenerate them ; can sanctify 
them afterwards, at successive perious ; and can, of course, con- 
tinually increase their holiness to the end of their lives. 

Further ; Angels, and jglorified Saints, will persevere in holiness 
throughout eternity ; andtheir perseverance is rendered absolute- 
ly certain by the unchangeable promise of God. Yet neither this 
Serseverance, nor the certainty of it, will at all diminish the free- 
om of their agency. The perseverance of Saints in this world 
may, therefore, exist to the end of life, and may be absolutely cer- 
tain, without syiy diminution of the freedom of their agency* 

2dly. It is alleged^ that the Scriptures promise eternal life to 
Christians conditionally ; and that this is inconsistent with the stp^ 
position^ that every Christian will certainly persevere in holinessm 
For example ; He, that shall endure unto the endy the same shall be 
saved : and again ; For we are made partakers with Christy if we 
hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. 

There are many passaeas of this nature in the New Testament. 
As the import of them all is exactly the same, it will be unneces- 
sary to quote any more. Their universal tenour, whether given 
in the form of promises, cautions, exhortations, or commands, is 
this : that eternal life will not be allotted to any of mankind, ex- 
cept those who continue in obedience unto the end. Hence it is 
argued, that a discrimination is here intentionally made between 
such Christians as do, and such as do not, thus continue in their 
obedience. Otherwise, it is observed, the condition would be use- 
less, and without any foundation in fact. 

To this I answer, first, that a conditional promise, collateral to 
an absolute one, can never affect, much less make void, the ab- 
solute promise. The promises, which I have recited, of eternal 
hfe to every Christian, are all absolute ; as are also many others, 
of the same nature. They cannot, therefore, be made void by these 
conditional ones. 

Secondly ; it is still true, that none, but those who endure to the 
end, will be saved ; and equally true, that every Christian will en- 
dure to the end. 

It is elsewhere said in the Scriptures, that, if we do not believe^ 
706 shall be damned^ that, if we do not repent, we shall perish^ that 
if we do not love the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be anathema} that 
wiihoui holiness no man shall see the Lord} that he who hateih his 
broiher abideth in death; and that toithout love we are nothing. 
FVom these passages it might with the same force be concludra, 
that some persons believe^ who do not repent ; that some repeait 


who are not noiy ; and that some are holy, who vet hate their 
brethren; and that, thus, a discrimination was intended to be made 
between believing Christians and penitent oncSs, and between both 
these and such as are holy. The truth is : every Christian does 
all these things. These several descriptions were given, partly to 
thow us the whole nature of Christianity ; partly to teach us all 
^ur duty ; partly to show us, that all of it is indispensable ; and 
Kirtly to furnish us with useful and necessary evidence of our 
Christian character. 

At the same time, all these conditional promises, and exhorta- 
tions, are, and were intended to be, powerful means of the very 
perseverance, which is the principal subject of them. We are not 
constrained, or forced, to persevere ; nor should we, on the other 
hand, persevere, were we wholly left to ourselves. Our persever- 
ance is owine to two great causes : the influence of the Spirit of 
God on our hearts ; and the various means furnished in the word, 
ordinances, and providence, of God, accompanied with the divine 
blessing upon the use of them. Among these means, the very con- 
dition, nere suggested in so many impressive forms, is of high im- 
portance; ananas contributed to the perseverance of Christians 
in holiness ever since the Scriptures were published. Although, 
therefore, all Christians actually thus persevere; yet it is not im- 
probable, that without the aid of those passages of Scripture, here 
alluded to, multitudes mieht have fallen away. Christians have no 
other satisfiictory knowledge of their Christianity, except their con- 
tinuance in obedience. The earnest desire of possessing this 
knowledge on the one hand, and the fear of being found destitute 
of the Christian character on the other, cannot but serve as pow- 
erful motives, (motives too powerful, in my view, to be safely omit^ 
ted in the Scriptural system) to produce in the Christian pei*sever- 
ance in holiness* 

3dly. It is objected, that this doctrine naturally contribvies to Us* 
sen the diligence of the Christian in his duty. 

For an answer to this objection I must refer you to the observa- 
tions, made in a former discourse on the same Objection to the doc- 
trine of Justification hy faith. In that discourse, the objection was 
applied to the doctrine now under consideration ; and, if I mistake 
not, was satisfactorily obviated. 

4thly« It is objected, that seveml passages of Scripture teach the 
contrary doctrine. 

Among these is Heb. ii. 4 — 8, For it is impossible for those, who 
were once enlightened^ and have tasted of the heavenly giftj and 
were made partakers of the Holy Ghost ^ and have tasted the good 
word tf God, and the powers of the world to come ; if they shall 
faUamayj to renew them unto repentance: seeing they crucify to 
ihmuelnti the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 
For Uu earth, whidi drinketh in the rain that cometh upon it, and 
Megejkfifih fcwi» meet far them by whom it is dressed, receiveth 


blesring from God; ivA tkatj which beareth thorns and briersy is re- 
jected; and is nigh unto cursings whose end is to be burned. 

It will be unnecessary for me to determine, here, who are the 
persons, meant by the Apostle in this passage. He himself has 

i, decided^ that they are not Christians. Tneir character is fully ez- 
.; pressed in the 8th verse, under the image of the earthy which beareth 
'• thorns and briers ; while that of Christians is expressed in the 7th 
verse^ under the image of the earthy which bringeth forth herbs^ meet 
for them by whom it is dressed. These are here studiously con-* 
trasted. The character of the former is, therefore, exhibited by 
the Aposde as a direct contrast to that of Christians ; who, it is to' 
be remembered, are represented every where in the Scriptures as 
bringing forth good fruit. This passage, then, teaches nothing, 
opposed to the doctrine which I am endeavouring to support. 

Secondly. It is not asserted by the Apostle^ that those^ of whom 
he speaks^ ever actually fall away. The case is stated only in the 
form of a supposition, and he declares only, that, should they fall 
away, there is no possibility of renewing them unto repentance. 
Whether such persons do in fact fall away is, therefore, left un- 

Should it be thought, that the expressions in this passage amount 
to a description of Christianity ; and that, theretorc. Christians 
are meant m it : I answer ; that neither of the expressions taken 
separately, nor all of them together, involve any necessary de- 
scription of Christianity. It is true, that Christians sustain all 
these characteristics, except two ; viz. partaking of the Holy 
Ghost J and the powers of the world to come : faXXovroc omjvo;, the fu^ 
lure age, that is, the period of the Christian dispensation, thus de- 
nominated. These phrases indicate the miraculous powers, pos- 
sessed by many Christians, when this passage was written, but 
never belonging to Christians as such. They, therefore, denote 
no part of Christianity. Judas possessed these characteristics. 
The remaining expressions are all indefinite ; and as truly applica- 
ble to men, who, sUll continuing to be sinners, have enjoyed pe- 
culiar Christian advantages, as they can be to Christians. The 
whole drift of this passage, therefore, even when construed most 
favourably for those whom I oppose, is only ambiguously in favour 
of their doctrine ; and is, in my view, decided against them by 
the Aposde himself. But it cannot be rationally believed, that a 
doctrine of this importance woidd, in opposition to so many clear, 
decisive declarations, have been left to expressions merely am- 

Another passage, pleaded for the same purpose, is the declara- 
tion of Christ, John xvii. 12, Those whom thou gavest me I have 
kepty and none of them is lost^ but the son of perdition. To dis- 
cover the true meaning of this passage, we need only recur to 
other declarations of tne same glorious Person. Many widows 
wert in Israel in the days of Elias; but unto none of themwasElioi 


$€nij savevnto Sarepta^ a city of Sidon^ unto a iDqman that was a wU 
iow. The widow of Sarepta is here, by the very same phrase- 
ology, included among the widows of Israel ; as Judas was included 
among those that were given to Christ. Yet we know, and this . 
passage declares, that she was not an Israelitish, but a Sidonian ^ 
widow : and we know, equally well, that Judas was never given to - 
Christ, as a Christian. 

Again ; TTure were many lepers in Israel^ in the time of Eliscsus ,^ 
the prophet ; and none of them were cleansed^ saving Jfaaman^ the *• 
Syrian, ^aoman, the iSynan, was not an /jrae/tii^A leper; though, 
in the first apparent meanmg of the passage, mentioned as such, i 
Judas was noteiven to Christ, although apparently mentioned as 
thus £:iven. The whole meaning of this phrase would be com- 
pletely expressed thus : Those whom thou gavest me have I kept f 
and uone of them is lost : but the son of perdition is lost. 

That Jtidas was never given to Christ we know from his whole 
history, and the repeated declarations of his Master. This pas- 
sage, therefore, has not even a remote reference to the subject in 

Another passage of the same nature is that, 1 Tim. i. 19, Hold^ * 
ing faithj and a good conscience ; which some having put away^ cot^ 
cermrig faith, have made shipwreck. The meaning of this passage 
may be easily learned from a correct translation. Holdmg fast 
faiih^ faithfulness or fidelity, and a good conscience} which some^ 
that is, some teachers, having cast away, concerning the faith^ ngf 
ntfinv. that is, the doctrines of the Gospel, have made shipwreck. 

Generally, it may be observed, that the doctrine, against which 
I contend, is not supported in a sinjgle, unequivocal declaration of 
the Scriptures. I Know of none, m which it is asserted in terms 
so favourable to it, as those which I have considered. What* 
ever is said concerning the apostacy of any Christian professors 
is decisively explainea by St. John. They went out from us, but 
they 7cere not 0/ us : for, if they had been of us, they would hopot 
continued with us. 


1st. The faithfulness of God is highly conspicuous in the truthi^ 
wMck have been now discussed. 

Christians provoke God daily ; and awaken his anger against 
themselves more and more continually. By everv sin, they peiv - 
suade him, if I may be allowed the expression, to desert them, and 
to give them up to themselves. Still ne preserves them from de-< 
struction. He has promised them life. He has established kii, 
covenant with them for an everlasting covenant} and it shall never 
heforgottm. On his Immutability their safety stands immoveable* 
In this manner is it exhiVited by himself. For /, saith he, am Jxr. 
BOY AH : I change not : therefore ye sons of Jacob are not conhnhedi, 
This attribute is the seal, the certainty, of every promise : anct 

14 pnssvsRAim. 

iooner ihall heaven and earth jxus away^ than one jot or «ii ititU of 
that, which is promised, ihaUfaU. 

Sdly. From these observations we leam^ that the promises of 
the Gospel are absolute^ necessary for the hope^ and stpport^ if 

Christians, in their very best estate, possess such a character, as 
to say the most, furnishes a very feeble and distant hope of their 
perseverance in hoUness, and their final success in obtaining sal- 
yation* In better language, if left to themselves, there is no ra» 
tional hope, that diey would ever arrive at the kingdom of heaveiu 
If God did not preserve them, they would fall daily, certainly, and 
finally. Without the promises of God, prone as Uhristians are to 
backslide, they would feel no confidence in their own success ; but 
would sink into despondency and despair. To preserve then^ 
from this despondency, and tne ruin which would result fixnn it| 
God has filled his Word with prcmiises, which yield solid and sufli- 
cient support, consolation^ hope, and joy. On these they rest 
safely, ana cannot be moved. 

Soij. We here learnj that the Christian life is a life far remomoi 
from glootn* 

Many persons hearing often of the selMenial, repentance, ajod 
mortificalioQ of sin, connected with Christianity, have supposed a 
life of Religion to be only gloomy and discouraging ; and h^yst 
thus dreaded it, as destitute of all present enjoyment. In tUs 
Opinion Ihe^ have been confirmed by the sad countenances, de- 
mure behaviour, and cheerless lives, of some who have professed 
themselves Christians. All this, however, is remote from the true 
character of Relidon. Real Christianity furnishes the fiedrest and 
most abundant enjoyment. It is delightful in itself; and, when not 
die inunediate object of persecution, finds every where comfor^ 
friends, and blessings. In God the Christian finds a sure, an eveiw 
present, an everlasting fiiend ; in Christ, a Saviour from sm and 
sorrow ; in the divine promises, an indefeasible inheritance of ub- 
ceasmg and eternal good. 

Let none, therefore, particularly let not those who are youngi 
ind who are easily deterred bo\a approaching that, which wears a 
iftrbidding aspect, be hindered from beccnning religious byany ap* 
prehendra gloominess in Rqli^on, or any sorrowful deportment of 
dkose, who profess to be Christians. Uhnstianity is but another 
i|ame fi)r joy. It can spread a ^mile even ov^ this melancholy 
world, ana lend delightml consolation to sufiering and to sorrow* 
All its dictates, all its emotions, all its views, are cheerful, serene^ 
and supporting. Here it is safe ; hereafter it will triumph. 8iji 
only is misery. Sinners, in this world, have a thousand sufferinn| 
of which the good .man is ignorant; and, in the wprld to come^ inf 
1^ down in eternal. sorraw. 





tComnmiiAVf liil 6.— Examine yaurmhti vhfither wtiBmthe faUk t frw— ^ . 

m/tmuHtt; knew jfe moi your nn tektt, how IkM Jum CknM u m mu iaeetni m 
ht Hfit k mi esf ' ^ 

Having, in a long series of discourses, considered the doc- 
trine of Re^neradon, its Antecedents, Attendants, and Conse* 
oaents ; I niall now proceed to another interesting subject <rf 
flieol<^ 9 ▼i^* ^^ Evidences of Regenetatiaiu 

In me text, the Apostle commands the CarnUhian Christians Id 
txaminej and prove themselves ; and states the purpose of this 
examination to be to determine whether they were m the faith. He 
then inquires of them, Know ye not your own selves^ how that Jesus 
Christ is in you except ye be reprobates ? in the original, except ye 
he o^pqpMi, unapproved; unable to endure the trial of such an eX' 
amination. From this passage of Scripture it is plain, that it.iras 
the duty of the Corinthians to examine themselves concerning their. 
Christian character ; and that this examination was to be pursued 
by them so thoroughly, as to prove, so far as might be, whether they 
Isert, or were not, in the faith ; whether Chrioi md^ or did not, dweU 
m them by his Holy Spirit. 

That, which was the duty of the Corinthians, is the duty of aU 

other Christians. That, which is the duty of all Christians, it is 

fte duty of every Minister to aid them in performing. To unfoU 

Ae Evidences of Religion in the heart is, therefore, at tmies, the dutjr 

of every Minister ; and, to learn them, that of every Christian. 

In attempting to perform this duty at the present time, I shall 
endeavour to point out, 

I. Some <f the Imaginarv Evidences of Religion f 

n. Some of its Real Evidences ; and * 

ni. Some of the Difficulties, which attend the fgppliciMon of tko 
Real Evidences of Religion to ourselves. 

I. I shall enJectvour to point out some of the Imaginary Evidences 
of Religion. 

By maginary Evidences I intend those, which are sometimes stjH 
posed to be proofs of its existence, but have this character through 
mitfakf only : evidences, which may be, and often are, found m 
Ae hearts, and lives, both of the saint and the sinner : things, on 
wbich it is dangerous to rely, because they do not evince, m any 
degree, either a holy or an unholy character. It will not be ex- 
pected, fliat I ahould enter into a minute, and detailed, account of 




. a subject, which has occupied formal treatises, and filled vohimes. 

^Considerations of particular importance can alone find a place in 

such a system of oiscourscs. To them, therefore, I shall confine 

myself; and even these I must necessarily discuss in a summary 

manner. With these preliminary remarks, I observe, 

1st. That nothing in the Timtj Place, Manner, or other circum' 
stances of a supposed conversion, furnishes, ordinarily, any solid 
evidence, that it is, or is not, real. 

It is not uncommon for persons, and for Christians among oth* 
ers, to dwell, both in then* thoughts and conversation, on these 
subjects ; and to believe, that they fiurnish them with comforting 
proofs of their piety. Some persons rest not a little on their con- 
sdousness of the time, at which they believe themselves to have 
tamed to God. So confident are they with regard to this subject, 
that they boldly appeal to it in their conversation with others, as 
evidence of their regeneration. "So .many years since," one of 
them will say, "my heart closed with Christ. Christ was discov- 
ered to my soul. The arm of Mercy laid hold on me. I was 
stopped in the career of iniquity. I received totally new views 
of divine things." Much other language, of a similar nature, is 
used by them ; all of which rests, ultimately, on their knowledge of 
, the time, at which they suppose themselves to have become the 
subjects of the renewing grace of God. 

There is reason to believe, derived however from other sources, 
that these apprehensions may sometimes be founded in truth ; in 
Other instances, there is abundant proof, tliat they are founded in 
falsehood. But that, which may easily be either false or true, as 
in the present case it plainly may, can never safely be made the 
ground of reliance ; especially in a concern of such moment. 

Other persons appeal with the same confidence to the manner^ 
and circumstances, oi their supposed conversion, as evidences of 
its reality. Thus one recites with much reliance the strong con- 
victions of sin, under which he was distressed for a length of time ; 
the deep sense, which he had of deserving the anger and punish- 
ment of God ; his disposition readily to acknowledge the justice of 
the divine law in condemning him, and of the divine government 
In punishing him ; his full belief, that he was among me worst oi 
sinners ; and the state of despair, to which he was brought under 
the apprehensions of his guilt. Of all these things it may be ob- 
served, that, althouigh convictions of sin, generally of the nature 
here referred to, always precede regeneration ; yet, in whatever 
form or degree they exist, they are not regeneration. They can- 
not, therefore, be proofs of regeneration. He, who has the m, in 
whatever manner ne has them, will, if he proceed no farther, be 
still in the gall of bitterness. 

But the same person, perhaps, goes on farther ; and declares, 
that, while he was in this situation of distress, when he was ready 
to give himself up for lost, God discovered himself to him as a 



• •> 


asL Lxxxnn.] of begeneration. 17 

reconciled God ; ami filled his mind with new, sodden, and un- ^ 
speakable joy ; that he had a strone and delightful sense of the' 
divine mercy in Jesus Christ, of the wonderful compassion of' 
Christ, in consenting to die for sinners, in being willine to accept 
of sinners, and particularly in bein^ willing to accept of so ereat a 
sinner as himself: that he found his heart going forth in love to 
God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, to the word and 
ordinances of God, and to the Church of Christ : and that this state * 
of mind was new to him ; being constituted of emotions, which he 
never felt before. On these things, thercforc, he rcposes, as sup- 
porting evidences, that he is a Christian. 

All this is, in my own view, a just account of what really takes 
place in the conversion of multitudes ; and, did it exist in no o(her 
case, would undoubtedly furnish the very evidence, here relied on 
without any sufficient warrant. The defect in this scheme lies in 
the fact, that these very emotions are experienced by multitudes, 
who are not Christians. That a person, who has been the sub- 
ject of extreme distress under convictions of sin, and the fear of 
perdition, should, whenever he begins to hope, that his sins are 
forgiven, and his soul secured from destruction, experience lively 
emotions of joy, is to be expected, as a thing of course : and thatj 
whether his hopes are Evangelical, or false. All men must re- 
joice in their deliverance from destruction, whether truly, or 
erroneously, believed by them; and all men, who have had a 
distressing sense of their guilt and danger, will, under a sense of 
such a oeliverance, experience intense emotions of joy. All 
men also, who really believe, that God is become their niend, will 
love him. All will love the word of God, who consider it as 
speakin? peace and salvation to themselves. This joy, and this 
love, it is evident, are merely natural ; and are felt, of course, by 
every mistaking professor of Religion. Love to God, and to 
divine things, is a delight in the nature of these objects j indepen-* 
dendy of any personal benefit, to which we feel etftitled m)m 

Another person places confidence in the greatneh of the effects, 
which his sense of sin, and his hope of forgiveness, produced both 
on his body and mind. He will mform you, with plain consola- 
tion to himself, that his distressing apprehensions of his guilt sunk 
him in the dust, and caused him to cry out involuntarily ; deprived 
him of his strength, and for a time perhaps of the clear exercise of . 
his Reason ; caused him to swoon ; and almost terminated his life. 
Much the same effects, he will also observe, were produced in him 
by his consequent discoveries of the divine mercy. These over- 
Whehned him with transport ; as his convictions did with agony. 
The eztraordmary nature, and especially the extraordinary de- 
gree, of these emotions, fiumishes tnis man with the most consola« 
lory proof, that he is a child of God. 

Vol. III. 3 


On this I shall only observe, that as these emotions may be, and 
often are, excited by natural, as well as £^vangelical, causes ; so, 
when thus excited, they may exist in any supposable degree. The 
agonies, and the transports, the agitations of body, ana of mind, 

5 rove, indeed, the intensiiy of the feelings experienced ; but the^ 
o not in the least degree exhibit eimer their fiafure, or their 
cawe ; and cannot, therefore, be safely relied on, as evidences of 

A third person will tell you, that, while he was in a state of 
absolute carelessness, and goine on headlong in sin, he was sud^ 
derdy alarmed concerning his gitUt and danger by a passage of Scrips 
ture^ which came to his mind in a moment ; without any thought^ or 
contrivance of his own ; and perhaps that, afier he had long wearied 
himself to find an escape from the wrath of Godj another text of 
Scripture^ also without any contrivance of his oion, came as suddenly 
to his mindj conveying to him bright views of the divine mercy and 
glorious promises of salvation. The reliance of this man is placed, 
especially, en the fact, that these texts came to his mind witJumi 
any effort, on his part, either to remember j or to search after them. 
He therefore, concludes, that they were communicated to him, 
direcdy by the Spirit of God ; ana that they conveyed to him a 
direct, personal promise of eternal Ufe. This is mere delusion* 
Passages of Scripture, and those just such as are here referred to, 
come often, suadenly, and without any labour of theirs, to the 
minds of multitudes, who are not Christians : and God is no more 
immediately concerned in bringing them to the mind, in this case, 
than when we read them in the Bible, or hear them from the desk* 
What God speaks in the Bible he always speaks, and speaks to 
us ^ but he addresses nothing to us, when we remenwer, any 
more than when we read, . or hear, his words. If we rely on the 
true import of what he says ; we rely with perfect safety : but, if 
we place any importance on the mode, in which at any time that, 
which is said, comes to our minds ; we deceive ourselves. The 
whole of our recollection, in these cases, is a merely natural pro- 
cess ; and is the result of that association of ideas, by which mem- 
ory is chiefly governed, and which brings to our remembrance, m 
the very same manner, thousands of other things, as well as these 
texts of Scripture ; of which however, as being of litde importance 
to us, we take no notice. 

Other persons depend much on the regularity of the process mih 
which their distresses and consolations have existed ; and in the 
conformity of them to such a scheme, and history, of these things, as 
they have found in books, or received from the mouth of acknow- 
ledged and eminent Christians. In the Sermon on the Antecedents 
of Regeneration, I observed, that this work is in its process almost 
endlessly various^ But, in whatever manner it exist, the manner 
kself is of no consequence. Should we have exactly the same 
succession of distresses and consolations, experienced by ever so 


many of the most distinguished saints, and yet Vur affections, in- 
stead of being Evangelical, be merely natural; the order of their 
existence could never prove, that we were Christians: foi' we 
should still be sinners. The naturt of these affections, and not 
ike order^ is the great concern of all our self*examination. 

3dly. Zeal in the cause of Religion is no evidence^ that we are^ or 
mre not^ Christians* 

Men, we all know, are capable of exercising zeal in any caae^ 
in proportion to the degree of interest, which they feel in that case. 
We also know, that there is a zea/, which is not according to know 
ledge. All persons, naturally ardent, become zealous about every 
thing, in which they are once engaged; and, especially, when 
they are opposed. Christians are zealous in the cause of Reli^ 
gion : Deists and Atheists, in the cause of Infdelity : Jews, in that 
of Judaism : Heathen, in that of Idolatry. The Ephesians were 
sealous for the worship of the great Goddess Diana : St. Paid and 
his companions, for that of the true God : the Anabaptists at Mun- 
ster, for the wild reveries taught by their leaders : and thus con- 
cerning innumerable others. Nothing is more evident, than that 
Eeal was not, in the most of these cases, any proof of piety i^ 
chose, by whom it was exercised. 

As zeai itself, so the degree in which it exists, is no proof of vital 
religion. There have been multitudes of persons, whose zeal 
has prompted them to court persecution* It is not uncommon for 
members of small and despised sects to believe, that the sufferance 
rf persecution is a decisive characteristic of the true ChiXrch of God} 
aikI to solicit it, as decisive evidence, that they themselves are 
members of this Church. With these views, they sedulously con- 
strue all the kinds, and degrees, of opposition, with which they 
meet, into persecution. > In this manner they regard the sober ar- 
gumentation, with which their opinions are refuted ; the most dis- 
passionate exposures of their folly and their faults ; the most just 
operations of law, directed either against then* crimes, or to the 
preservation of the rights of others ; nay, even that abstinence 
nt>m communion with them in their worship, and that refusal to 
further their designs, which they, on their own part, claim as in- 
defeasible rights of man. Such persons ought to remember, that 
all, or nearly all, classes of Christians, even those whom they most 
appose, nay, that Infidels, and Atheists, have been persecuted, and 
that the modern Jews have been more persecuted, than any other 
sea, party, or people, now in existence. The sufferance or perse- 
cution, therefore, is no proof, that we belong to the true Church. 
Still more oueht they to remember, that St. Paul hath said, Though 
I give my body to be burned, and have not love, itprofiteth me no* 

doly. Jfo Exactness in petforming the External duties of Religion 
fitmiihes any evidence, that we are, or are not. Christians. 


Few persons have been more exact in this respect, than the an- 
cient Pharisees. Yet Christ has testified of them, that they were 
a generation of vipers. Under the Christian dispensation, great 
multitudes of the Jioman Catholics, notoriously profligate in many 
parts of their conduct, have, in various periods of Popery, been 
remarkably punctilious in the performance of these duties. That, 
which was no evidence of Christianity in them, cannot be evidence 
of Christianity in ourselves. 

Many persons are exact in this conduct from the influence of edu- 
cation, and example ; many, from habit ; many, from the desire of 
religious distinction; many, because they think this conduct a 

Sroof of their, piety, and are uneasy witmut such proof; many, 
ecause they think themselves, in this way only, in the safe path 
to salvation ; and many, from other selfish reasons. In all these 
things, considered by themselves, there is no religion. Of course, the 
conduct, to which they give birth, cannot be evidential of religion. 
4thly« No Exactness in performing those, which are frequently 
called Moral duties, furnishes any evidence of this nature. 

Multitudes of Mankind place great confidence in their careful 
perfonnance of these external duties, as being evidential of their 
Evangelical character; just as other multitudes do in those men- 
tioned under the preceding head; and with no better foundation. 
Justice, tinith, and kindness, in their various branches, and ope- 
rations, are so important, and useful, to mankind, tliat we all readi* 
ly agree in giving them high distinction in the scale of moral char- 
acteristics. Those, who practise them uniformly, and extensively, 
aie universally considered as benefactors to the world, and as in- 
^ Tested with peculiar amiableness, and worth. Those, who violate 
them, on the other hand, are, from the mischiefs which they produce, 
regarded as enemies, and nuisances, to the human race. At the same 
time, a high degree of importance is given to these duties in the 
Scriptures. They are greatly insisted on in the Gospel ; inculcated 
in many forms of instruction ; commended in the most forcible lan- 
guage ; and encouraged by most interesting promises. The vio- 
lation of them is condemned, and threatened, in the most pungent 
teKms, and under the most glowing images. 

It cannot be surprising, tnat, influenced by these considerations, 

parents should make these duties a prime part of their instructions, 

and precepts, to their children. But when we remember, that the 

. practice of them has in all ages, and in a)l civiUzed countries, been 

^ considered as equally, and as indispensably, necessary to a fair 

* reputation, and to success in the common business of life ; we shall 

l^adily suppose, that these must be among the first things imbibed 

by the early mind, from parental superintendence, and must hold a 

peculiar importance in all the future thoughts of the man. 

* Thus taught, and thus imbibed, we should naturally expect to see 

• ' them practised, during the progress of life, aft extensively as can 

consist with the imperfect character of human beings. When thus 



practised, and especially when eminently practised, we cannot 
wonder to find those, whose lives they adorn, regarded as persons 
of real virtue and excellence. What less can be expected ? These 
are the very actions, towards our fellow-creatures, required by Grod 
lumself ; and dictated b^ Evanselical virtue ; a paK of the very 
fruits, by which the Christian cnaracter is to be known. Why is 
not he, who exhibits them, a Christian ? Oftentimes, also, they ap- 
pear with high advantage in the conduct of persons, distinguished 
oy natural sweetness m disposition, peculiar decency of charao* 
ter, amiableness of life, and dignity or gracefulness of manners ; 
and thus become delightful objects to the eye, and excite the 
wannest commendations of the tongue. It is not strange therefore, 
that they should have gained a high and established* reputation'; 
and should be extensively regarded as unequivocal prooii of an 
excellent character. 

What others so generally attribute to them we not unnaturally 
accord with, whenever our own case is concerned : and^ finding, 
that we are believed by others to be Christians, on account of our 
good works of this nature, readily believe ourselves to possess the 
character. We are esteemed, loved, and commended, by those 
around us ; and cannot easily believe, that the worth, which they 
attribute to us, is all imaginary. 

Still, such a performance of these duties fiimishes no proof, that 
we are Christians. For, in the first place, tha/ may 6e, and often 
are^ all performed ffom the very motivesj mentioned under the last 
head, as being frequently the sources of exactness in the extemai dur 
ties of Religion. Secondly, they are often performed hy men, vkoi 
violate, extensively, or grossly neglect, the duties of piety, and M»•^ ^ 
perance, and who, therefore, are certainly not Christians^ Thirdly,' 
they appear to have been all performed with uncommon exactness by 
the Young man, who came to Christ, to inquire what good thing hs 
should do, to have eternal life. Yet, he lacked one thing} and that 
was, the one thing needful. 

5thly« Jfo degrees of sorrow or comfort, of fear or hope^ expe^ 
rienced by any person about his religious concerns, at seasons, sue* 
ueding the time of his supposed conversion, fwmish any evidence 
of this nature. 

Sorrow springs firom many sources, besides a sense of our sins | 
and from such a sense it may be derived, and yet not be the sor* 
row, which is after a godly sort. We may easily, and greatly, 
sorrow for our sins, b^use we consider them as exposmg us to 
the anger of God, and to everlasting ruin. Our comforts, abo, 
may flow firom. other sources, beside those which are Evanjgelical* 
Some persons derive great consolation, and even exquisite joy, 
from a belief, and that whether well or ill founded, of their accept- 
ance with God : some, from the apprehension that they are emi- 
nent Christians : some, from the unexpected influx of religioufc 
thoughts, and passages of Scripture, coming suddenly into their. 


ItfiUctft: some, from what they esteem peculiar tokens of divine 
gb'Odh^ss. to them; tokens, which they regard as proofe of the pe* 
efdiaf love and &v6tir of God : some, from what they term pecul- 
&r' discoveries of the glor^ of God and the excellency of 
(be^ Hedec^ei*, and of the joys of the blessed in heaven. 'All 
Aetie they ^ttssider as immednttely communicated by God to the^n* 
MlVti^; b^(Mi^ thtey krt his favourites among mankind. There 
k^' (Ak> dAier states of mind, in which consolations are ex* 
MH^ced ttom other sources : consolations, which may exist in 
Bl^fr ^gtee^y but which are too numerous to be mentioned at the 
j^siBtit iime^ 

WiDIt is GHi^ 6f die sorrows, and comfoits, excited by religious 
ebMsidbiMbns^ is substantially true of the kindred emotions of 
ftlir' and h6pe^ These can also arise both from true and frilse ap* 
fttehensions ; and can be either merely natural, or wholly Evan- 
ftMtStilj of of a mixed nature. Ad they actually exist in the minds 
df men, they at«, to say the least, often undistinguished,' as to their 
i^al nature, by those, in whom the^ exist ; and are, I believd,, 
HHstny times, in a great measure undistinguishable. Their existence 
is so transient, mey are frequently mingled with so many other 
views and emotions, and the eye of the mind is often so engaged? 
by the objects, which give birth to them, that it becomes extreme- 
ly difficult to fasten upon their true character. 

6thly. J/o evidence of our SancHfic€Uwn is famuhtd by our onm 

The truth of this declaration may be easily seen in the fact, that 
flftiititcftl^s feel the utmost confidence, that they are Christians, who 
sAer^yds pfove, by their conduct, their entire destitution of 
GfMlsfi^ty. All Enthusiasts usually confide with undoubting as- 
aStirttta^ hk the reality of their own religion ; and generally pity, 
Itiid dflkttk dtes]^, men of a humUer and better spirit ; because' 
tt6y d6^ n6€ e^y such peculiar discoveries, such delightful exer- 
cises of devotion, such bright hopes and heavenlv anticipations of 
ftMtfe ^kityi as themselves^ The Pharisee boldly said, Oodj t 
UhfHlf MMfy thM I am not 09 other msn^ or even as this publican. Yet 
If^ IMS a Wdfrff^ man thas the ^niblican. A collection of the Pha- 
risees said to Christ, Are we blmd also F 

I tlf€fp(Mt hereafter io consider, at some length, what is coQi^ 
tUlhfy called fhs Faith of Assurance^ It will be sufficient to ob- 
iiiVtf , at Ae present time, that I believe some men to be really' 
i6d BvaM^fically thus assured. If this be admitted, as it un- 
doubtedly will be by the great body of Christians, it foUows of 
ecM^M, dial confidence m oxxt good estate is no proof, that we 
tf6 not Ctfirtstialis. A man may confide, with sufficient evidence : 
te Mft;f tdm confidie without it. It is plain, therefore^ that his con* 
Mfimcsi^ cottiklered by itself, famishes no pnx4 that it is well or 




• ^ 



I cannot, however, do justice to m^ own views, nor, as I be- 
lieve, to the subject, without observing here, that, in ordinary 
cases, I entertain a better opinion of the modest, doubting, feanfiu 
professor, than of the bold and assured one. The life ^ theior- 
mer, as it seems to me, is, commonly at least, more watchfal^ m<ws 
careful ; more self-condemining ; more scrupulous canccvnmg ihe 
Gommissioa of sin, and the omission of duty ; more indicative of ' 
dependence on God ; more inclined to esUem others better ihu^ 
kimtelf^ more declaratorv of the spirit of lUUe childr^en* The 
^{nrit of the latter, even when he is admitted to be a Christian, ap 
pears to me to be often fraught, in an ynhappy degree, with self* 
exaltation.; with censc^ousness, as well as contempt, of those 
who differ from him ; with unchaiitableness ; with peremptoriness 
of opinion ; and with an unwaniantable assurance of the rectitude 
of whatever he believes, says, or does. These, certainly, are 
not favourable specimens of .any character. I would be frir fit>m 
ultimately condemning the jurofession of all those, in whom these 
things are more or less visible ; yet I assert without hesit9tion„th^ 
tlieb l^ki would $ku^ more clearly before meti, were it not (^ 
agiured by these clouds. 

It is not tiU degree of confidence, but the M^mnce whence Uis i^ 
rheijM^ the objects on which it resis^ hj which its nature and iQk> 
port are to be determined. It may exist in the highest degree 
without 9fij religion ; and religipn may exist in very high degress 
at least, wiUK^ut %nv confidence^ 

7thly. 7%e belief of others^ th^ we are Christians^ furnishes 4W 
proof ^ OUST Christianity. 

All persons, who make a profession of religion, and many w]u» 
do not, whose lives at the same time are exemplarv, ficrupulous, 
spd onblameable, are bv most charitable persons believed to be 
Christians* Some of tnese, however, beyond any reasonable 
doubt, are not Christians. Some we know to nave lived in this mw^ 
ner, aqd to have sustained this character, both in.^cient and mod- 
em tinoes, without a pretension to vital religion* Judas was. be* 
lievcd by huiiellow-9^postles, for a length of time, and not imprpbAp 
\kf without a single doubt, to be a true follower of Christ. Jfyme^ 
Hem, and PhUetm^ appear to haye sustained the same character: 
aod, apparently with as little foundation. All these were believe4 Cbristians iy Jhosiles} inspired men; of singular underr. 
standing in subjects ofthis nature. Yet these men were deceived^ 
No woras mre necessary, to prove, that ne, and aU others^ are liable 
to deception in similar cases. If the belief of Peter and PotJ, 
that the objects tf their charity, \n the.qases specified, were Chris- 
tians, was no evidence of their Christianity ; then the belief of 
ochen, tbat me ve Chri8tiani|,.is no evidence of.qHr Christi^t^. 

V ■ ."■ • 

^••■- ;jr^ r- 



From these observations we learn, 

1st. ITiat we aught to exercise the utmost care an^ caution in ex^ 
amining the evidences of our Religion. 

How many professors of Christianity have considered the things 
which I have specified, as decisive proofs, that themselves were 
good men ! Yet, if I mistake not, it has been clearly shown that 
all of them, miited, furnish no solid evidence of this met. We are 
just as liable to be deceived as others; and, unless peculiarly 
guarded, by the very same means. Others have rested their hopes 
of salvadOn on these things, as proofs of their religious character, 
and have been deceived. If we rest on them, we shall be de- 
ceived also: for we may possess all these things, and yet not be 
Christians. In a case of this moment, nothing ought voluntarily 
to be left at hazard. We are bound by our own supreme interest, 
as well as our duty to God, to fulfil the command of the text; to 
examinej and to prove^ ourselves^ whether we be in the faith; and 
in doing this, to make use of the best means in our power; to fasten, 
with as much care as possible, on those things which the Scrip- 
tures have made tests of a religious character ; and earnestly to 
pray to God, that we may not be deceived, either by oiu'selves. or 
oy any others. 

2diy. From the same source we learinfiilso^ the impropriety^ and 
folly ^ of making these things the foundation of our judgment con» 
ceming the religious character of others. 

Whenever we determine, that others are, or are not. Christians, 
because they exhibit these as evidences of their Christianity; we 
are plainly uable to gross error concerning this subject. All these 
things may be truly testified concerning himself iy a Christian; and 
with equal truth by k person destitute of Christianity. They are, 
therefore, no proofs of his religion, or irreligion. 

Still, a great multitude of professing Christians, many of whom, 
I doubt not, are really Christians ; and all, or nearly all, enthusi- 
astic professors ; make these very things, or the Want of them, the 
foundations of their favourable, or unfavourabie, opinions of the 
religious character of others. They resort to them, as to an ac- 
Imowiedged and Scr^)tural standard, which they do not expect to 
find disputed ; and to question which would not improbaoly be 
rerarded by them as a proof of irreligion. 

What is still more unhappy ; among various classes of Christians 
in this countrf, these very thines ; particularly those, mentioned 
under the first, second, ana fifth neads of this discourse ; are, if I 
tm not misinformed, not unfrequenlly made the objects of a pubUc 
examination of candidates for admission to Christian communion, 
and the foundations of a public jud^ient concerning their religious 
character. To be able to rememoer the time, when convictions 
of sin began, with their attendant distresses, and the time, when 

SMB. Lxxxfau or iBGVifEiiAimr. 

thej were followed by hopes, consolations^ and joys ; to have had 
these occasioned by the sudden, uncontrived, and une;cpectcd in*< 
iux of certain passages of Scripture into the mind ; especially, if^ 
according to a pre-established and acknowledged sdheme of Re- 
generation among themselves, these things have taken place in a 
certain order of successioii ; stiU more especially, if the sorrows 
and consolations have risen very high ; and, most of all, if they 
are succeeded by distinguished zeal about things pertaining to 
Religion; are boldly pronounced ample evidence of the can- 
didate's piety. In this manner, there is reason to fear, multi-* 
tudes are miserably led astray, both by being induced beforehand 
to labour, that these things may be truly said of themselves ; and 
by settUng down in a state of security on this false foundation 

Nor is the case less unhappy, when persons rest their hopes on 
their exactness in performing the external duties of Religion and 
Morality. Yet vast numbers of mankind repose themselves on 
thesc^ as on a bed of down ; and feel satisfied, that God will 
not finally condemn persons, who have laboured so much in his 
service. All of them will, however, find in the end, that to such 
as have done all this, and nothing more, (me thing is lacking: 
Yiz. an interest in Christ: a thing, wMiout which they cannot be 

Sdly. We see the dangit^ being strongly cor^dtrU in the piety of 
oursthts or others. 

All, or nearly all, such confidence, so far as I have observed, has 
been derived from these supposed evidences of Religion ; any part, 
or the whole, of which may be possessed by men totally destitute 
of Christianity. It is a fatal mark on them all, that the Scriptures 
have no where alleged them as proofs of reheion. As they are not 
Scriptural proofs, 3iey cannot be sound. To trust in them is to 
trust in a nullity. Acccndingly, those who give the fairest prooft 
of Christianity in their life and conversation, never make these 
things the foundation of their hope ; and are very rarely found to 
be strongly confident of their acceptance with God. 

To pronounce boldly, that others are Christians, is, in many 
cases at least, equally hazardous. There are many persons, how- 
even who rounoly declare others, of whose life they have had litde 
or no knowledge, to be Christians ; and others not to be Christians, 
whose conduct and conversation give them at least as fair, and 
often fairer claims to this character. Nay, they will peremptorily 
make these assertions concerning Ministers oi the Gosnet ; and 
pronounce some to be sanctified, and Others unsttdetifiea, from a 
sermon or a prayer ; or even from the tones of voice, with which 
they are uttered. Judgtnot^ saith our Saviour, thatyebe not judged. 
For with what judgment ye judge^ ye shall be judged; and with what 
measure ye mete^ it shall be measured to you again. Who art thoUj 
saith Si. Paulf thai judgest another man^s servant? To his own 

Vol. hi. 4 



Matter he eianiethj orfalUth* It is sufficient, to show the impio 
* priety and rashness of these unwarrantable decisions, that thej are 
founaed on no Scriptural or solid evidence. They are generally 
built on the Very thmgs, exploded in this discourse, or others, of 
still less importance ; all of which, united, go not a smgle step to- 
wards provmg a religious, or an irreligious diaracter. 

I . 



wriDurcES of regeneration* — ^what are real evidences. • 

S Co&nrrBiAvs xiiL 6. — ExamUu yowndou wheiher m 6e In tit fitUh t prow fotr 
ownnlvet; knov ye not jfowr own telvUf how thai JiiUi CMd u in jfou exeipi m 

IN the last discourse, I attempted to point out several things which 
furnish no real evidence of Regeneratum, although they have been 
supposed to furnish it by multitudes in the Christian world* I now 
propose to mention several other things^ which attually furnish suck 

By all who believe the doctrine of Regeneration, as formerly 
taught in these discourses, it must be admitted, that the disposition 
communicated when this work is accompBshed in us, is new; and 
something, which before did not exist in the soul. If it were the 
mere increase, or some other modification, of the former disposition, 
man could not be said to be bom again; to be created anew; to be 
a new creature; to be renewed in the spirit of his mind. It could 
not be sdidhy St. Paul concerning persons, who wei*e the subjects 
of Regeneration, thato/c/ things were passed away in them^ ana that 
all tlungs had become new. 

It must further be acknowledged, that this new disposition is, 
m its nature, opposite to that, ^niich before existed in the mind. 
The former disposition is Sin; condemned, and punished, by the 
law of God: the new disposition is Holiness; required, and re- 
warded, by the same law* The former disposition is hatefiil in 
the sight of God: the new one lovely, and of great price. 

The former disposition is fircauently, and justly, styled Selfish^ 
ness ; as beine perpetually employed in subordinating the interests 
of any, and all, others to the private, personal interests of the in- 
dividual, in whom it prevails* The new disposition is with the 
same propriety styled Disinterestedness ; Love; Good-will; Benev* 
olence; a spint, inclining him, in whom it exists, to subordinate his 
own private mterest to the general welfare, and to find his own 
happiness in the common prosperity of the divine kingdom* The 
part, the place, and the enjoyments, which God assigns to him as a 
member of this kingdom, he is inclined to take, not with submis- 
sion only, but with cheeriubess ; as being that, which is ordered 
by infinite Wisdom, and is therefore the best, and most desirable* 

This new disposition is also opposed to the former, particularly 
as it regards our Maker* The former, or carnal mtnd is enmity 
against God; opposed to his character, and to his pleasure : tlie 

S8 WtiAfir ARE EVID£NC£8 [8ER. LXXXB. 

new one is conformed to his pleasure, and delighted with his char- 
acter. He^ in wl^oizt it exists, delights in the law of God afi^r the 
innerman} and tsiuma it as more to bt chosen than the most fine 
gold, and sweeter than honey and the honey-^comb. 
^ The former disposition is an impenitent devotion to sin ; attend- 
ed, at times, and after some of its grosser perpetrations, by re- 
morse perhaps, and setf-oondemnation, but never bv a real loath- 
ing of the sin itself, nor by that ingenuous sorrow for it, which is 
after a Godly sort. The new disposition is a real hatred of sin ; a 
smcere, and, if I may^ ao term it, an instinctive sorrow for every 
transgression of the divine commands, whenever such transgression 
is present to the view of the mind. 

The former dispoaUion was a general spirit of unbelief, or dis- 
trust, towards God, his invitations, promises, and designs : a dis- 
trust, especially exercised towards the Redeemer, and towards his 
righteousness as the foundation of our acceptance with God* The 
new one is a humble, stcadfiast, affectionate confidence in God, his 
declarations, and designs ; exercised particularly towards Clmst, 
as the Saviour of mankind, the propitiation for sin, and the true 
and living way to eternal glory. This confidence, or, as it is most 
usually termed in the New Testament, this/oiVA, is a vital principle 
in the soul, producing every act of real obedience ; every act, in 
man, which is pleasing to God« 

In all these particulars, united, the new disposition is termed 
Godliness or Piety. 

The former disposition is incline. 1 to the indulgence of those lusts, 
or passions and appetites, which immediately respect ourselves ; 
such as pride, vanity, sloth, lewdness, and intemperance. The new 
one is opposed to all these ; is humble, modest, diligent, chaste, 
and temperate. In this view, it is styled Temperaneej Moderation^ 
or Self-government. 

As, in all these things, the spirit, communicated in our regener- 
ation, not only differs so greatly from that, which we possess by 
nature, but is so directly opposed to it; it admitted, that, 
in all its operations j it carries with it some evidence of its existence m 
the same manner, as our sinful disposition carries with it evidence of 
its existence. He who denies, that holiness, in a renewed mind, 
can be evidenced by its nature and operations, must also deny, 
either that any moral character whatever can be perceived to ex- 
ist, or that a holy disposition is capable of the same proof as a sin- 
ful one. That this is philosophy, too unsound to be adopted by 
a sober man, is so evident, as to need no illustration. Indeed, it 
may be doubted whether any man will openly aver this doctrine 5 
although multitudes assert that which involves it. Certainly, a 
Sinner, who examines his own heart and life, must discern, that he 
is sinful : with equal certamty, an Angel must discern, that he him- 
self is holy. 

* « 

* ■ ■ » 



From what has been said of the nature of the renewed disposi- 
tion it is clear, that the man, who repents of hid sins ; who believes 
in Christ; who loves, and fears God; who disinterestedly Idves 
his neighbour, and forgives his enemies ; and who employs himself 
daily in resisting, and subduing, his own passions and appetites ; « 
must have same consciousness^ that he does tk^P things, h this cott* 
sciousnessy as it continually rises up to the vUmofthe mindj consist the 
primary or original evidence, that we are Christians. Indeed, all 
the evidence of this nature, which we ever possess, is no other 
than this consciousness, variously modified, and rendered more ex- 
plicit, and satisfactory, by the aid of several things, with which, 
from time to time, it becomes connected. 

Having made these general observations, I shall proceed to state ^ 
the following particulars, in which, I apprehend, this evidence will 
be especially seen. 

1st. 77lc renewed mind relishes all Spirittial Objects. 

Every man knows what it is to relish natural objects 5 such as 
agreeable food, ease, warmth, rest, friends, beauty, novelty, and 
grandeur. Every man knows, that these objects are reKshea^ alsoj 
tn themselves ; for their own sake ; as being in themselves peasant 
to the mindj independently of consequences, and of all other extra* 
neous considerations. In the same manner, according to what is 
here intended, are spiritual objects relished by the renewed mind,- 
A Christian regards the character of God, the character of Christ, 
the divine law, the Gospel, and his own duty, as objects pleasing 
in their own nature. Thus David, of the religious exercises of 
whose mind we have a more detailed account than we have of 
those of any other Scriptural writer, says concerning the Statutes 
of the Lord^ that they are right ^ rejoicing the hearty more to be de* 
sired than gold, yea, than much fine gold^ sweeter than honey, and 
the honey-comb. And a^in ; How sweet are thy words unto my 
taste ! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth. I love thv commana" 
ments above gold, yea, above fine gold. And again ; Whom liave I 
m heaven but thee? And there is none upon the earth, whom J desire 
beside thee. Oh taste, and see that the Lord is good I Be glad in 
the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous ; and shout for joy, all ye upright 
in heart! With these expressions of David correspond all the 
declarations of the other divine writers, wherever they arc made. 
Thus St. Paul says, / count all things but loss, for the excellency of 
the knowledge of Christ. Thus also, the same Apoistle says, Ide- 
light in thelaw of the Lord after the inward man. 

This doctrine has been extensively illustrated in the sermon 
lately delivered on the subject of Joy in the Holy Ghost ^ and there- 
fore, will need the less illustration here. 

It ought, however, to be remembered, that a delight in these 
things, oecause of some benefit, which we have, or imagine our- 
selves to have, derived from them, or which we hope to derive 
from them immediatply, or from the relish of them ; whether it be ' 

^ . 


the fevour of Gdd, comforting evidence of ourchristianity, or any 
other benefit whatever ; is not the kind of relish, of which I speak. 
This is directed towards the things themselves ; as being in them- 
selves deUghtful to the taste of the tnind. If the character of God 
is excellent ; it cannot but be supposed, that this excellence must 
*be relished by a person, suitably disposed ; and thaty although 
#ihiis person were to be ignorant oi any manner, m which he him- 
-^self was to derive personal benefit from it. 
' * . Wherever this relish exists, it will ordinarily show itself not 
• only in the manner, in which the mind immediately regards spi- 

'• r^ ritual objects, but in its remoter operation^ Thus, if a man real- 
' ' ly relishes the worship of God, he will be apt to be regularly em- 

- ^ . plo)red in it at all proper seasons. He will find himself inclined 

'"\'- to ejaculatory prayer; to pray in his closet, in the family, and in 
the Church. If he loves tne Scriptures ; he will be apt to read 
them regularly, much, and often. If he relishes the company of 

^ • religious persons 5 he will naturally freauent it ; seek it ; and de- 

. . rivQ from it when enioyed, a sensible pleasure. 

To secret prayer tnere seems to be hardly any allurement, suf- 
, ficient to keep the regular practice of it alive for a great length of 

f time, beside a relish lor communion with God. It is plain, that 
secret prayer cannot be continued, with a view to be seen of men, 
or the nope of acauiring reputation. As in its own nature it can- 
. not but be disrelished by every sinner ; it seems, as if it must, of 
course, be soon dropped, where piety does not keep it alive. 
Thus Job seems to have reasoned, when he said concerning itu 
hypocrite^ Will he delight himself in the Almighty ? Will he always 
call upon God? Job xxvii. 10. As if he said, "He yrill notdcr 
light himself in the Almighty 5 and thei^efore, will not always, or 
throughout life, continue to pray to. God: but will cease from 
this practice, after the casual feelings, and views, which gave 
birth to it, have ceased to operate." A continued relish for se- 
cret prayer furnishes, thererore, a strong and hopeful testimony, 
that we are Christians. 

■ St. John informs us, that the love of Christians^ also, is a satis- 
factory proof, that we are Christians. Hereby we know, that we 
have passed from death unto life^ because we love the brethren. As 
this subject was extensively considered in tl^e discourse on Bro» 
therly Love ; it will be unnecessary to dwell upon it here. It will, 
however, be proper to observe, that we are not, in the present ' 
case, supposed to love Christians, because they are our personal 
friends 5 or because they have been, or are expected to oe, use- 
ful to us ; but because they are Christians ; ana on account of the 
excellence and amiableness of the Christian spirit, which they 
possess and mamifest. For this reason God loves them ; that is, 
with the love usually termed Complacency ; and for this reason 

* jonly; since he can plainly receive no benefit from them. For the 
9aiQ^ reason they are loved by their fellow-Christians. 




In order to know whether we love them, it will be proper to ask 
oursflvcs the questions, mentioned in the discourse alluded to. 
*• Do we love their goodness of character? Do wc seek their 
crinpany ? Do we relish their conversation ? Do we lake plea- 
^ure in their Christian conduct ? Do we pray for their prospority, 
thrir holiness, and their salvation ?" 

I will only add, under this head, that with respect to all spiritf^ 
uil objects wc are carefully to inquire, whether we relish them at 
all ; and whether we relish them for themselves ; for the excellence, ' 
which they possess 5 or for some apprehended benefit, which may 
be derived Irom them to ourselves, * 

2d\)\Rtal religion is always accordant with the dictates of Reason^ 
enlightened hy Revelation. 

By this I intend, that it is not, on the one hand, the mere result 
of nassion, afiection, or impulse ; as in every case of Enthusiasm 5 
ana that it is not, on the other, the result 01 mere philosophy, or 
the decisions of human Reason, unenlightened by rcvtlabon ; as 
is the case with the professed Natural Rehgion of Deists. The 
good conscience of a good man is, on the one hand, purged frmn 
these dead works; and, on the other, exercises such a control . 
over all the afiections, as to direct their various operations, steadi- 
ly, towards that, which the Scriptures have pronounced to be true 
and right. 

Rciidon, in the Scriptural sense, is a reasonable^ not a casual, 
nor an instincdve, service. Man acts in it not as an animal, un- 
der the mere impulse of animal affections : not as a subject of 
mere passion; not as a creature of mere imagination; nor as a 
mere subject of all these united, but as a rational being, in whom 
the understanding governs, and in whom the affections only aid, 
animate, and obey. There are Christians in profession, whose 
religion seems to be nothing, but a compound of mere impulses, 
and affections. There are others, whose religion appears to be 
little else, beside a cold, heardess collection of propositions, or 
doctrines, quiedy lying side by side in the understanding, without ^ 
any influence on the heart, or on the life. In the Relijgion of the 
Gospel, the Heart is plainly made the great essential ; but it is /A4 
hearty under the steady direction, and rational control, of the under^ 
standing. Real Christianity is the Energy, or Active pomer, of the 
sold, steadily directed to that, which. is bdievedto be right j anathtu 
directed toii, merely because it is right. That, which is aimed at, 
is loved, and pursued, because of its rectitude, admitted on satis- 
fectory and solid evidence. 

From this source, the renewed man is furnished with important 
evidence of his sanctification. If he finds in himself a steady, dis* 
position to learn, as far as possible, the true import of the doctrines 
and precepts of the Gospel, and, in this manner, the real nature 
ofhis owD duty: if he loves moral rectitude in such a degree, as 
anxiously to inquire what it is ; and if, when he has learned what- 



it is, he is disposed to yield to proof and conviction, and pursiie 
his duty, because it is seen to be his duty : he may jusdy be satis- 
fied, that he is really renewed. ^ 

9at if, on the contrary, he is accustomed to obey the casual 
impulses of feeling and imagination : if he is disposed to think 
highly of passages of Scripture, not because they are the word of 
God, or are excellent in themselves ; declaring important truths, 
or enjoining important duties ; but because they have come into 
; the mind siradenly, accidentally, and without any forethought of 
his own t if he is mclined to prize such texts more than others, or 
more than he prized the same texts before: if he is disposed to 
think highly of sudden starts of feeling, of thoughts, and purposes, 
unexpectedly coming into the mind, and to regard them as pro- 
duced by an extraordinary divine agency, and therefore to value 
them highly as peculiar tokens of the favour of God, and as au- 
thoritative and safe guides to his own duty: if he is fond of indulg- 
ing a lively imagination about the things of religion : of forming to 
himself awful views concerning the world of misery, and the suf- 
ferings of its inhabitants; or bright and beautiful visions of the 
light and splendour of heaven, and the glory of its inhabitants ; or 
charming images of the person of Christ, as beautiful in form, rav- 
ishing in aspect, and surrounded with radiance 5 or as meek, gen- 
tle, looking with compassion,; or smiling with complacency, on 
himself: if he is inclined to rest on these feelings, and impulses, 
as the peculiar foundations of his hope, consolation, and confi- 
^dence ; or as any foundations of hope and confidence at all : I will 
not say, that such a man is not renewed ; but I will say, that he 
trusts without evidence, and builds upon sand. I will further say, 
that he is miserably deluded with regard to this great subject ; 
that he feeds on wind, and not on ifooa ; and that by directing his 
eye to false objects, from which he never can derive any real 
good, he loses the golden privilege of gaining solid support, and 
Evangelical comfort, from those sources whence alone God has 
intended they should be derived. 

3dly. The prevalence of a meek and humble disposition furnishes 
the mnid with good reason to believe^ that it is renewed* 

The natural spirit of man is universally proud and irritable. 
No part of the human character is more predominant, more plea- 
sant to ourselves, more deceitful, or more universal. At the same 
time, as we might expect, none is so much cherished by the mihd« 
A great part ot the perfection, aimed at, and delineated, by the 
wise mea of heathen antiquity, was formed of pride. Stoical pridt 
U proverbial. The love, of glory, according to Ctcero,. was yri^ • 
tue, or real excellence of character. 

Devoted as we are to the indulgence of pride, it is, perhap% 
of all passions the most unwoilhy and mischievous ; the most ir* 
ritable, the most unforgiving, the most wrathful, the most coiiten*^ . 
tious, and the most oppressive. The world has been iSUed by it 

1 ' 



with private quarrels and public wars ; with wretchedness aC the 
firesiae ; with turmoil in me neighbourhood ; and with bloodshed 
and desolation in the great -scenes of national activity. It has 
brought forth the tyrant ; and nursed the conqueror. 

The Religion 01 the Gospel has laid the axe at the root of this 
passion. Christ, the glorious Author of this Religion, has exhib- 
ited, in his own life, a character perfectly contrasted to pride, ia 
every degree, and in every exercise. This character he has 
beautifiiUy expressed in that memorable and delightful declara- 
tion, subjoined to the most condoling invitation, and the happiest 
tidings, ever published to the children of men. Come taUo rnt^ all 
ye that labour^ and are heavy laden ; and I wiU give you rest. Take 
my yoke upon youj and learn of me^ for J am meek, and lowly m 
heart / aiw ye shall find rest unto your souls^ In conformity 
with this declaration, nis whole life was a life of meekness and 
humility. In conformity with this declaration also, he has every 
where, in the Grospel, preferred, as was remarked in one of the 
discourses on his character, the meek and lowly virtues to the 
magnanimous and splendid ones. He has inculcated them often- 
er ) has dwelt on them more ; has enjoined them in stronger terms ; 
and has made them in a higher degree indispensable. 

As these wirtues, then, arc such a prominent and essential part 
of Christianity ; it will be easily seen, that thev must be found in 
(7ery Christian. So long as pride is the predominating spirit of 
nan, he must know, if acquainted at all with himself, tnat he is 
not sanctified. A great part of the influence of the l^irit of sancti- 
fication, is employed in annihilating this haughty^ self-dependent 
disposition. One of the first perceptible efiects of this influence 
is tnc humilitv of the Gospel. A humble mind is, of course, meek, 
little disposed to feel provocations deeply ; uninclined to construe 
them in the worst manner ; and still more indisposed to requite 
them with wrath and revenge. What is thus the natural result of 
the Christian spirit is continually strengthened by the genexai dis- 
position of the Christian to obey the precepts, and to follow the- 
example, of his Master ; both conspiring to enforce on him the 
same conduct in the most powerfiil manner. He. biows, that 
Christ has required the same mind which was in himeM'j (and pe- 
culiar' in this respect) to be in all his followers. He sees the 
beauty and gloir of the disposition in his great example. He 
knows, that notning, without it, will render lum acceptable to 
God, or qualify him for admission into his kingdom. With these 
wiffttj motives m view, it seenis unpossible, tnat this disposition, 
met Deeun in the soul, should fail to manifest itself, in some good 
dsgee, oy its genuine and happy efiects. 
^The evidence, which it funushes to the mind of its renovation, 
iifeiro4b|L Its former dispositions are weakened ; and new ones 
knre bMtt^ to prevail in their place. Pride is enfeebled in all its 
operations ; the' propensity to wrath is lessened ; and humility and 

vou in. 5 


meekness, (not an insensibility to injuries, but a serene quiet of 
soul under them) Iiave, like beautiful twin sisters, entered the mind, 
and made it their permanent habitation. . , 

He, who finds this his own state, possesses desirable eiddence, 
that he is a Christian. 

4thly. Without a prevailing spirit of eentleness towards others^ 
we cannot have sound and St^riptural evidence of our Christianity. 

This is a kindred subject to the last. The natural character of 
man is rough, revengeful, and unforgiving ; disposed to overbear, 
to carry his measures by force and violence, to Usten Httle to the 
wishes and reasons of others, and to arrogate to himself and his 
concerns, an importance, which, all impartial persons see, does 
not belong to them. 

To this spirit, also, the Gospel is directly, and equally opposed. 
It enjoins, every where, a spirit of gentleness, moderation, and 
forgiveness, towards all men. Its author was wonderfully distin* 
^shed by softness and sweetness of disposition. Hie never 
intruded on the" rights of others. He usea no force, nor even 
wrought a single miracle, to vindicate his own. He neither criedj 
nor t^ied.uoj nor caused his voice to be heard in the streets. In the 
garden he nealed the ear of Mq^lchus ; and on the cross he prayed 
for his murderers. At the same time he reguired all hid followers 
to possess, and exhibit, the same gentle ana forgiving disposition, 
on pain of not being otherwise themselves forgiven. Nay, he has 
forbidden them to ask forgiveness, of God upon any other condi- 
tion.. The servant of the jLord^ saith St. Paulj must not strive j but 
' ' ht g^^^ towards ali men. 

The existCKDce, and influence, of this part of the Christian char* 
acter, are especially ieen in cases where we have been injured, 
and towards those who have injured us. If, beside ouietly receiv- 
>ing injuries, we exercise a benevolent spirit towaras those who 
nave done diem ; if we can lay aside all tnoughts of retaliation \ if 
we can show them kindness; if we can rejoice in their prosperity; 
if we can feel and relieve their distresses; if we can heartily pray 
|br their well-being ; we have good reason to conclude, that (A« 
iomt.mindj which was in Christ j is also in us. 

5thly. AwUlingness to perform^ accomtarded by the actual per* 
formance of the duties^ required by the Gospel^ is an indispensably 
evidence of Christianity. 

There are multitudes of persons in the Christian world, who ap- 
pear to place Religion greatly^ if not wholly j in such feelings of the 
mind, as are rarely, or never, followed by any of those overt acts 
of obedience, which are commonly callea Christian duties. Their 
for«, contrary to the injunction given by St. John, appears to exist 
wdy in word, and in tongue ; not in deed, and, therefore, we have 
reason to fear, not in truth. We find persons of this character 
willing to converse much on religious subjects ; to dwell on the 
nature of religious affections ; to canvass abundantly the doctrines 


of the Gospel ; to explain minutely the nature of its precepts ; to 
expose such tenets of others, as they esteem erroneous; to defend 
strenuously such, as they think true; and often to mix with all 
these things not a little censure of those, who differ from them in 
opinion and character. I will not ^ay, that these persons are des« 
titute of Religion; but I will say, that, so far, they furnish litde 
reason, why others should believe them religious. 

Real Relijdon is ever active ; and always inclined to do, as well 
as to sm. The end, for which man was made, and for which he 
was recieemed, was, that he might do good, and actively glorify his 
Creator. To this end all the instructions and precepts of the 
Gospel were ^ven ; all the blessings of Providence ; and all the 
influences of the Spirit of God. All tnesei therefore, are frustrated, 
and are without efficacy, where men do not thus ftct. The busi- 
ness of a Christian is not to say to others. Be ye warmed^ and be yt 
filled } depart in peace ^ but to feed and clothe them. This, I 
acknowled^, may be done by such as are not Christians ; but he, 
who does it not, cannot, so far as 1 see, be a Christian. Active 
obedience is the only visible fruit, by which our rieligious character 
is discovered to others; and the fruit, by which, in a maimer pe- 
culiarly happy, it is known to ourselves. 

To render this evidence of our sanctijication satisfactory ^ it should, 
in the first place, he uniform. 

By this I intend, that our active obedience should proceed in a 

mannery generally regular, through life. I intend, tnat it should 

Dot exist by fits and starts ; be cold to-day, and warm to-morrow \ 

now zealous, now indifferent ; at one time, animated^ by a strong 

sense of heavenly things, at another, absorbed in thotfie of earth | 

at one time, chantable, perhaps even to exciess, at another, zoith' 

holding mate than is meet : ana all this, according to the rise, and 

prevalence, of different natural feeling3. The spirit of Christianity- -> 

18 one in its nature, and therefore uniform in its operations* These, 

indeed, are diversified, as the objects, which thev respect, varv« . 

Thus the same disposition sorrows for sin, which rejoices in tne . \ 

Holy Ghost ; and is at peace with itself, while it contends with ill 

tpintual enemies. Still, a single character runs through them all ; 

<fiffering indeed in degree, but not m kind. Under its influerce, 

the life will wear one general aspect. By ourselves, therefore, if 

we exmine, and by others, who are attentive to our conduct, it 

will be seen to be 01 the same nature, and to produce the same ef- , 

fects, throughout the progress of life I do not mean, that we shall 

not backslide ; or that we shall not have lukewarm, uncomforta- 

Ue, unprofitable, and unexemplary seasons. These, unhappily, 

lecmr but too often. A field of wheat may srow, with different 

rigour ; may, at times, be checked by cold, eind stinted by droueht ; 

and may, at other times, and under the influence of refreshinir 

showers, and kindly seasons, flourish with strength, verdure, ana 


beauty. Still it wilT ahrays be a field of wheat, and not of tares 
and darnel. 

Secondly. This obedimct must j for the same end^ be Universal. 

By this 1 intend, that it must extend alike to all those duties^ which 
immediately respect God^ owrfellowcreatures^ and ourselves. Real 
firtue, or the religion of the Gospel, never exists by halves. There 
is no such thing, 30 being pious, and not benevolent; or being be- 
nevolent, and not {nous ; or being both, and not self-governed. 
Religion^ in this sense^ is a spirit of obedience to God; and regards 
all his commands alike. 

Vj then, we would derive fix)m our obedience that satisfactory 
evidence of our Christianity, which it is capable of furnishing ; we 
should examine ourselves concerning our whole conduct, and in- 
/;ruire how fiaor it wears this universal character. We should in- 
quire diligently whether we regularly, and steadily, employ our- 
selves, at all proper seasons, m the worship of God ; in reading 
the Scriptures; m communion with Christians;, in conmiunion 
with our own hearts ; in watchine, striving, and praying, against 
our Iust9 within, and our enemies without; in overcoming the 
worlds the fleshy and the devil ; in resisting, especially, the fiu^ 
which most easily beset us ; in raising our thoughts ana afiections 
to Heavenly objects ; and m endeavouring, effectuallv, to make in 
the present life preparation for eternity. Universally, we should 
mquire whether *we live alwav in the fear, love, and service of 
God ; with a spirit of depend:ence, confidence, submission, con- 
tentment, and gratitude. 

Among the duties to which we are summoned by the Gospel, 
those, which we owe immediately to our fellow-creatures, ana to 
ourselves, are there exhibited as being of very high and indis- 
pensable importance. They are every where insisted on in the 
plainest, strongest, and most affecting manner ; are commended, 
ureed, enjoined and promised a reward, fi'om the beginning to the 
end of the Bible. At the same time, the neglect, and the viola* 
tion, of them, are condemned in the severest terms ; and threaten- 
ed, under the most glowine images, with the severest punishment* 
Who^ says the Psalmist, shall aoide in thy tabernacle ; who shall 
dwell in thy holy hill ? He^ that walketh uprightly, and tborketh 
right co^isness, and speaketh the truth in his heart ; that bacldnteth 
not with his tor^uej nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh tp a 
reproach against his neighbour ; in whose eyes a vile person is con* 
temntd ; but he honoureth them, that fear the Lord : ne that sweafy^ 
eth to his oron hurt, and ehangeth not : He, that putteth not oui hi$^\ 
money to usury, rwr taketh a reward against the innocent. He, thai 
doeth these things, shall never be moved. If ye forgive men their 
trespasses, said our Saviour to his disciples, your Heavenly JPhf- 
tker will also forgive you : But, if ye forgive fu>t men their trU'* 
pOMes^ neither wUl your Heavenly Father forgive you your tres* 
pgsses. The servant, who owed ten thousand talents to his Lord, 

LxxxDL] or BMBKuufiadl ar 

fed his debt readily fbrgiven. But, wbm he oppressed his fellow^ 
acTFant, his Lord delivered him ortaf to the tcmiieiitcvs, till he 
diocdd pay the debt* ^ any man wUl not work, neither let Mm 
uU» If anjf provide not far his own, and especially for those ^ 
his own house; he hath denied the faUh, and is worse than an im^ 
4d» Be not deceioedy^Qj^ St. Pavdj neither formeaitors^ noridoU»^ 
iersjnor adulterers, nor thievesj nor covetousT^ nor drunkards, no0 
reoilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of Ood. Bless* ^ 
cily says David, is he, thai eonsidereth the poor } the Lord will do» ' 
lEotr him m time of troubled And, what may serve instead of tf 
▼ohone upon this subject, Christ, seated on the throne of final 
jod^ment, will, as he declares, say to them on his right hand, Come^ 
ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom preparod for you from 
the foundation of the world : For I was an hmgered, and ye gave mo 
wseeU ; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink ; 7 was a stranger, mUl 
ye took meinf naked, ana ye clothedme} I was sick, and ye visiied 
mo: I was in prison, and ye wiinistered unto me : and, inasmuch em 
yo md it unto ofte of the least of these, mp brethren ; ye did U unto 
me. To them on the lefi hand, he will also siUf, Depart, ye cursed^ . 
Mto everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels* Fottt 
wtf an hungered, and ye gave me no meat} I was thirsty, and yo 
gmoeme no drink} I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked^ 
msd ye clothed me not; sick, asul in prison, and ye visited me not t 
mfd^ inasmuch as ye did it not to the least of these, my brethren f y^ 
Sdit not tome. 

From these passages of Scripture it will be seen irresbtibljTtthii 
d^ duties of these two classes are, in the eye of God, of incal- 
criable importance, and are inditpensable to the Christian character 
mud to the attabuneni of salvation. 

Let it not be supposed for a moment, however, that I intend to 
nnefer these dudes to those, which immediately respect God* 
nitty, certainly, holds the first place in a virtuous character : bm 
logman loves God, who does not love his fellow-men, and control 
Ibb own passions and appetites. M the body without the spirit i§ 
' ; so faith toithout good works is dead also. He, that takeA 
his cross, and followeth after me, is not wsortlw of me. 
rhere is one point of view, in which these outies more effect, 
tnally evince the Christian chapter, and prove the reality of ouf^ 
SddoD, than most of those, which are classed under the name' 
if Rety. It is this : 7%^ ordsnarHy demand a greater degru of 
m^'denial. A man may ordinarily practise the visible duties oF - 
MCy, widiout anv serious sacrifice of his worldly inclinatiooik . 
He may read the Scriptures ; and teach theni to his children* Ha « 
My atteiki the w<xvhip of God in his fiatmily, and in the sanctuary, 
■e may be present in private religious assemblies. He may con* 
Mne much, and often, on religiotts subjects* He may be ^^^ 
msJom alxrat all diese duties. He may commune s^ the table of 
Ckrist. He ma J prmdi the GoqpeL Vet, instead of crossing Ur 



inclinations, or denying himself, he may feel, that he is purchasing 
a Christian character at a cheap rate ; that he is secunng to him- 
self the best friends ; that he is opening an easy way to distin^- 
tion, to influence, and in the end, to wealth ; and that he is, upon 
the whole, making in this manner, a very e;ainful bargain. liay, 
be may, in this manner, more easily than m any other, quiet his 
own conscience; persuade himself, that he is a Christian; feel 
satisfied, that he has a title to eternal life ; and thus, while he 
thinks he is performing his duty, be only seeking for the pleasure, 
firand in these things ; pleasure, which, though derived from sacred 
objects, is merely natural ; and diflfers in nothing important from 
that, which is furnished by pleasant food, fine weather, or a beau- 
tiful landscape. 

But when a man is called to resist his passions and appetites ; 
when he is reauired to be humble, meek, patient, forgiving, just, 
sincere, mercinil, sober, chaste, and temperate ; when he is re- 
quired to communicate his property liberally to the poor, the 
stranger, and the public ; and practically to remember the words of 
the LordJeiuSj how he saidy It is more blessed to give^ than to re* 
uhe : he is required, of course, to sacrifice the lust of the fiesh^ 
AAe lust of the ejfesj and the pride ofljfe. He is required tb give 
up his pride, vanity, ambition, anger, avarice, and sensuality. — 
These darling inchnations, which constitute what is called in the 
Scriptures the love of the worlds together with all the objects, on 
; which they are pampered, he is obDged to yield up to the love of 

Mothine more strongly evinces the sincerity of any professions, 
dian the met, that they are followed by serious self-deniaL Ac- 
cordingly, the Scriptures have placed peculiar stress upon self- 
denial, as evidential of the genmneness of a Christian profession. 
ff any man will be my disciple, said our Saviour, Let him deny hinh 
Hlfy and take tw his cross, and follow me. If any man wiu sape 
kis life, he shall lose it ; and, if any man will lose his life for my 
take, he shall find it. Go, and sell all that thou hast, said he to 
the young Ruler, and give to the poor, and come, and follow me; 
and ttum shall have treasure in heaven. Love not the world, says Sim 
John, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the 
thrld, the love of the Father is not in him. 

When, therefore, we find the love of the world actually prevail- 
ing, and clearly manifested m the life and conversation of persons^ 
who make a profession of religion ; the evidence of their piety, of 
whatever nature it may be, must be exceedingly diminished in the 
eve of sober charity. Whatever aseal they may discover in at- 
t&ding upon public or private worship ; biowever well they may 
eonverse upon religious subjects ; wnatever feelings they inaj 
dtocover in sueh conversation ; and whatever bright discoveries 
dbey may seem to enjoy concerning the mercy or glory of God, or 
the love and excellence of Christ ; if^ still, they are greedy of ea^ 
elilQrbed in the worid ; peevish ; discontented ; wrathfiil; slotnfiil) 

• « 

8EB. UXnZ.] OF REOfiNSRATIplf. / 39 

sensual ^ unfeeling ; vain of their attainments ; uncharitable ; par^ . 
ticulariy, if the^ are eagerly en^ged in the pursuit of places 
power, populanty, and fome ; and more particularly still, if they 
refuse to give to the poor, or give leanly and grudfi;mgly, or deny 
aid to others in other distresses ; there will be httle reason left to 
believe them children of God. How can these persons expect 
Christ to say at the final judgment, / was an kungeredj and ye gave 
me meat ; . I was a stranger j and ye took me in ; ruikedj and ye cloth* 
edme; sick, and ye visited me ? How can he say, Ye did it tmio 
the Udst of these^ my brethren ? Were he on earth, and should 
tell them, as he told the. young Ruler, Go^ and sell all that thm 
hast, and give to the poor; would they not go away sorrowful t 
Would they not feel, that even to have treasure in neaven, upon 
these conditions, would be a hard bargain ? 

There have been, there are still,, mmtitudes of mankind ; and it 
is to be feared, that in this land, and at the present time, the num- 
ber is not small ; of those^ who intend to go to heaven with a cheap 
reli^on : a religion, in which the love of the world is made to har- 
monize with the love of the Father. Thb religion consists of feel- 
ings, views, discoveries, conversation about mese and other reli- 
g'ous subjects, and zeal in attending upon external religious duties* 
tit whoso hath this world* s good, and seeth his brother have needf 
andskutteth up his bowels of compassion from him; how dwelleth ths 
lave of God in him? 

It is easy for any man, who thinks, that he is loved of God, to * 
love Him in turn. But this is not that love of God, which he re- ^ 
quires. The feelings, and views, which do not prompt us to vir- 
tuous conduct, are of no value. If we would prove ourselves to 
be Christians; we should, then, diligently ask ourselves whether 
we aim at being stricdy just, sincere, and faithful; whether we ac- 
tually show kindness to all men, whether fiiends or enemies, stran- 
gers or neighbours; whether we do good, and lend, hoping for 
nothing again; whether we befriend, and promote, public, useful, 
and charitable designs; employing both our substance and efibrts, 
as either mav be needed ; whether we love the souls of others, op- 
pose their sms, and promote in them reformation and piety ; and 
iHiether we are watchfully sober, chaste, temperate, dihgentin otir 
callings, and active in our opposition to every worldly lust. 

Finally ; concerning all these ^things we should carefiilly ask 
whether we take delight in such a life, as this ; and that notwith- 
standing all the opposition, ridicule, and contempt of the world. 

Among the different acts, or kinds, of obedience, also, particular 
attention is due to those which involve peculiar sf If -denial. When 
the avaricious man becomes generous and charitable ; the ambi- 
tious man contented with his circumstances ; the proud man hum- 
bled ; the wrathful man meek ; the revengeful man forgiving ; and 
the sensualist sober, chaste, and temperate ; in a woid, when we 
drcqp our reigning sins, and assume the contrary virtues, of set and . 



corditl purpose : we are furnished with strong reason to belieTe, 
Aat we are Christians* 

' Sthly* TTu Increase of all these things in the mind, and life^ iiy 
perhaps, the clearest of all the evidences of Personal Religion. 

St. Paid informs us, that he did not count himself to have appro* 
ktnded : that is, he did not consider himself as havmg attained that 
degree of excellence, which belonged to his Christian profession. 
Bbtf,saith he, this one thing I do : or perhaps, as the omission in the 
text is supplied by Doddndge, this one thing I can say : Forgetting 
ike things which are behind, and reaching forth to those which are 
before, (in the Greek, reaching out eagerly) I press toward the 
jmark,for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus omr 
Lord. What was the conduct of Paul is the duJtu of all Christians; 
and is accordingly enjoined by him in the following verse. In 
greater or less degrees it is \ht\r conduct ako* They are directed 
so to run, that they may obtain} and to grow m grace, and in the 
knowle^e of our Lord Jesus Christy to increase, andabownd, in love 
ot^ towards another, and towards all men. 

As it is the duty of Christians to fulfil these precepts ; so it is 
the nature of Chnstianity to accord With them, by increasing, from 
tone to time, their strength and vigour* The more the spirit of the 
Gospel is exercised, the more we love to exercise it* The more 
the pleasure found in it, is enjoyed, the more it is coveted* Tlie 
more habitual its principles and practices become, the greater it 
the strength which they acquire* Indeed, nothing is vigorous and 
tpowerfiil, in man, beside that which is habitual*.' 

Hence it is plain, that, in investigating our leligious character^ 
we should examine it with a particular reference to its growth* To 
flfow is its propter nature* If it is not seen to grow, then, we either 
A^ not see it as it is ; or it does not exist in us, in its genuine charac* 
ter ; but is feeble, fading, sickly, clogged with incumbrances, and 
in a great measure hidden from view* Man is never for any length 
of time stationary* Either he is advancing or receding, in every 
tlung which pertains to him ; and in Religion, as truly, as in his 
natural endowments, or acquisitions* Declension in Religion, I 
need not say, furnishes a melancholy evidence, that we are not 
religious* It is no less obvious, that a regular progress in its va- 
rious graces, and attainments, must, on the contrary, become a 
clear and delightful testimony of our Christian character* There 
^18 not onljr itiore of Religion to be seen in ourselves ; but it is dis- 
cerned ^th clearer conviction, and certainty, to be genuine; 
because it appears as real Religion naturally appears, in its own 
proper character of growth and improvement* He, who loves, 
ibsurs, and serves God more and more; who is more and more just, 
sincere, and merciful, to his fellow-men ; and who is more and mora 
self-eovemod in all his appetites and passions, weaned from tha 
world, andildiEttiially and heavenly minded ; cannot want the best 
reasons, fiuntflied in our present state, to beHeve, that he is a cbiM 
of God. 

■ » 

■ t 



S Cmuitriavs xiii. 6. — ExmMinit younehu whether w be in the fiUh t prove yem 
•WW adwu; knfiw ye nof ywr own eeleee, how thai jeeut Chriet u in yra exeepi jis 

In the last discourse but one, I proposed, from these words, to 

!• Somt of the Imaginary evidences of Regeneration; 

IL Some of the Real evidences ; and, 

III. Some of the Diffictdties^ which attend the Application qf then 
real evidences to ourselvesm 

There has been much debate in the Christian world, concerning- 
the fbith of Assurance ; or as it <is in better language stvled bv St. 
Paul, the full Assurance of hope. The Question deoated has, how* 
ever, not been, whether men felt assured^ that they were Christians^ 
hU whether this assurance has been evangelical, or built on satisfac" 
toryand Scriptural evidence* That such a faith has existed I have 
no doubt ; nor do I see how it can be rationally doubted. That 
die Aposdes were evangelically assured of their own piety, and 
consequent salvation, must be admitted by all, who believe the 
Scriptures* / have fought a good fight, says St. Paul, I have k^i\ 
Aefaithm Henceforth there is laid iw forme a crown of righteous* 
ness. For me to live is Christ ; to die is gain. We know, says St. 
John, that we have passed ffom death unto life. 

From the accounts given us concerning tne first Mart)nrs, I think 
we cannot hesitate to admit, that they also were the subjects of the 
nme faith. Nor is the evidence concerning a number of those, 
who have lived and suffered, in modem times, less convincing to 
me. These men have, in various instances, lived in a manner em« 
inendy evangelical ; have devoted themselves, through a long pe- 
riod, to the service of God, with so much humility, self-denial, 
miifonnity, steadfastness, and evangelical zeal; have laboured for 
the ^ood of their fellow-creatures mth. so much disinterestedhess, 
chanty, and constancy ; have lived so much above the world, and 
with a conversation so heavenly ; that, when they are declaring 
themselves possessed of this faith, and have died widi peace, ana 
exultation, which must be supposed to result from it, we cannot, 
imless by wilful rejection of evidence, hesitate to admit,; that they 
were possessed of this enviable attainment. Indee^bi wn hardlr 
doabc, that any man, who reads their history with ibiaour, wiU 

Vol. IIL 6 




<.' ' teadily admit the doctrine, so far as the men, to whom I refer, 
i|re concerned. But, if these things be admitted, it will probably 
., lie readily conceded, that there are, in every country, and in eye- 

aee^ where Christianity prevails, some persons, who enjoy the 

lith, jMf Hope, of assurance. 

At the same time, I am folly persuaded, that the number of these 
persons is not very great. If the Christians, and Ministers, with 
,wlitai I have had opportunity to converse, many of whom have 
been eminently exemplary in their lives, may be allowed (o stand 
as representatives of Christians \n general ; it must certainly be 
true, that tbe faith of assurance is not common. 

Indeed, t am persuaded, that this blessing is much more fre- 
quently experienced in times, and places, of affliction and [>erseeii- 
Uon, than in seasons of peace and prosperity. Severe trials aiiid 
sufferings furnish, of themselves, clearer proofs of the piety of 
those mio are tried, than can ordinarily be furnished by circum- 
stances of ease and quiet. The Faith, which will patiently sub* 
mit, which will encounter, which will endure, which will overcome, 
in periods of ereat affliction, has, in this very process, both ac- 
quired, and exEibited, peculiar strength ; and furnished evidence 
of its genuineness, which can hardly be derived from any othef 

At the same time, it is, I think, irresistibly inferred from the de- 
clarations, contained in the word of God, and from the history of 
his providence, recorded both within, and without the Scriptures, 
that God, in his infinite mercy, furnishes his children with peculiar 
support and consolation in times of peculiar trial ; and that, as 
their day is, so he causes their strength to be. Among the meana 
of consolation, enjoyed by Christians, none seems better adapt- 
ed to furnish them with the necessary support, under severe cus- 
tresses, than an assurance, that they are Children of God. Ac- 
cordingly, this very consolation appears to have been given to the 
siiffering Saints of the Old and New Testament, as a peculiar sop- 
, port to them m their peculiar trials. From analogy it might be, 
concluded, and from the history of &cts it may with the strongest 
probability, if not with absdute certainty, be determined, that die 

Sne blessing has been ^en, in times of eminent affliction, ta 
inls in every succeeding aee of the Church. 
'; Still there is ;io reason to Uiink, that the Faith of assurance it 
generally attained among eminent Christians. This fact has 
sometimes been called in (^estion; sometimes denied ; and oftenef 
wondered at. ^^ Why," it is inquired, ^'are not Christians oftener. 
nay, why are they not generally, assured of their gracious state 7 
There certainly is a difference between sin and holiness, sufficiently 
broad to be seen, and marked. The Scriptures have actual^ 
marked this difference with such clearness, and exactness, as to 
ipye US ample information conc^ningbodi the nature, and thci 
uait% of ilMe great moral liHributes* They have separated those 



who possess themi into two classes, not only entirely distinct, but 
direcuy opposite to each other : so opposite, that the one class if 
styled in them, the friends, and the other the enemies, of God* 
Further, they present to us various means of judging, by which we 
are directed, as well as encouraged and enablec^ to try^ asd endr-. 
mate, our own religious character. The subject is, also, so spoten * 
of in the Scriptures, as naturally to lead us into the conclusion^ 
that these different characters may be distincdy known ; and dbt "' ' 
it is our duty so to act, as, upon the whole, to form satisfact<»y 
▼lews concerning our moral condition. Finally ; the Writers of 
the New Testament, and indeed of the Old also, speaiE of them- 
selves, as knowing their own piety ; and of others, as able to kttow * 

To these observations I answer, in the first place, that holiness 
and sin aie, in themselves, thus clearly distinguishable. Angels 
cannot but know, that they are holy ; and fiends that they are 

Secondly; This difference is sufficiendy marked in the Scrip- 
tures. If we saw hoUness in ourselves, exacdv as it is exhibited 
in the Scriptures; that is, unmixed; we should certainly know 
ourselves to be holy. 

Thirdly ; Holy and Sinful men, are just as different fix)m each 
other, as they are represented in the Scriptures ; but this does not 
enable uis to determine which they are. 

Fourthly; The means, furnished us, in the Scriptures, of judg- 
ing, concerning our reUgious character, are, undoubtedlv, the best 
which the nature of our circumstances will admit ; ana such, as, 
if correctly applied to ourselves, and known to be thus applied, 
would undoubtedly decide this great point in a satisfactory man- 
ner. Still, this does not infer, that it usually will, or can, be 
thus decided. 

Fifthly ; We are undoubtedly required, in the Scriptures, to ex* 
amine ourselves ; and the penormance of this duty, while it is 
indispensable on our part, unquestionably may be, and is of great 
ioiportance to us ; although we may not, as a consequence of it, be- 
come possessed of the Faith of Assurance. 

Sixthly ; The Writers in the Old a&l New Testament did, i^ 
many instances, certainly know, that they were holy ; but they 
were iniqpired. It will not therefore follow, that others, who an » 
munspired, will, of course, possess the same knowledge of their 
own state. 

Seventhly; The Scriptural Writers very extensively use the 
words ibioo, and knowledge^ not in the sense of ahsolvU science^ 
but to denote, belief, persuasianj a strong hope, &c. : in the same 
manner, as these terms are used in common speech. We cannot^ 
therefiore, certainly conclude, icom the use of these terms with re- 
nect to this subject, that the divine writers expected those, to 
mom they wrote, generally to possess the faith of Assuiance^ 


V "" 


Finally; lti$ our duty to possess this faith. It is also our duty 
to be perfect. Yet St. John says of himself, and all other Chris- 
tians, If we saj/y that we have no sin, we deceivt ourseheSj and thi 
truth is not in us. As therefore, notwithstanding this duty, no 
man is perfect ; so, notwithstanding the duty of obtaining the faith 
. of Assurance, few persons may actually possess it. 

The real difficulty is chiefly passed 6y, in all the observatunUf 
made above; and lies in applying the Scriptural evidences ofhoU* 
ness to our own particular cases. This subject, I shall now attempt 
to examine in several particulars. 

The difficulties, which attend the application of these evidences 
to ourselves, arise from various sources. Amonff them, the fol« 
lowing will be found to possess a very serious influence. 

1st. The vast importance of the case. 

A case of great moment is, at all times, apt strongly to adtate 
our minds. Men, deeply interested by any concern, are, tnerc- 
fore, considered as less capable of discerning clearly, and judging 
justly, than the same men, when dispassionate. As this is the sub- 
ject even of proverbial declaration, it cannot need proof. Th^ 
case in hand is of infinite moment to each individual. Whenever 
he brings it to view, he is prone to feel a degree, and often not a 
small one, of anxiety. It is therefore seen, together with the. evi- 
dences which attend it; by the mind, through tnc medium of dis- 
turbed feelings. Earnest wishes to find satisfaction, on the one 
hand, and strong apprehensions, lest it should not be found, on the 
other, naturally disorder that calm temperament, which is so neces- 
sary to clear investigation, and satisfactory conclusions. In this 
state, the mind is prone to be unsatisfied with its own investigation ; 
fears, that it has not acted impartially; suspects,' that it has not 
viewed the evidence, possessed by it, in a just light ; and, when its 
iudgments are favourable to itself, is prone to tremble, lest they 
have been too favourable, and the result of. biassed inclinationsi 
rather than of clear discernment. A presumptuous decision in its 
favour it perfectly well knows to be full of daftger ; and is ready to 
think, almost every favourable judgment presumptuous. In this 
situation, all such judgments are apt to be regarded with a general 
suspicion; and the mind chooses rather to continue unsatisfied, 
ana to undergo the distresses of anxiety and alarm, than to hazard 
the danger of ill-founded conclusions in its own favour. Most 
Christians are, I believe, so .strongly convinced, that a state of ' 
anxiety will contribute to make them alive, and awake, to the dan- 

§er of backsliding, to quicken them m their duty, and to secure 
lem from carelessness and sloth ; and that, therefore, it will have 
a happy influence toward renderinj^ them safe ; as willingly to judge 
too unmvourably, rather than too iavourably, of their own rehgious 
character. An unfavourable judgment, they know, does not ren- 
der the character itself any worse ; but only deprives them of the 
consolation, which, with more favourable views of it, they qugjhl 

Se] M MM M IC M OF BMSiaEKtfmi M 

tojoy : wiiile the coDtrarj opinion might natarall j alacken them 
in tlietr duty ; and, perhaps, prevent mem finally from obtaimng 

9dly. Another source o/difficulUei %$ found m the Peculiar Jio^ 
haral Character of thoit^ who are employed in this investigatunu 

Some of these persons are naturally inclined to hope ; others to . 
fietr : some to cneerfulness ; others to melancholy. Some are 
cash : others are cautious* Some are ignorant: others are weB 
infonned. But die evidences, which establish^ or diould estaUish^ 
t &Tourable judgment of our Christian character, are, in sub* 
nance, alwavs the same. As applied to persons of these difierent 
characters, they must, however, oe seen in very different U^hts ( 
because, although Religion is the same thing, ye^t so much of the 
peculiar natural character of the man remains, after he has become 
religious, as to render him a very different man from every other 

U^ous man. Pou/ and John were both eminently reiigiotii* 

beir religion was the same thing; but the men were widely dif^ 
fetent from each other* If Christians, so eminent, and excellenti 
could differ in this manner ; how much more different fix>m each 
other must be ordinary Christians ! How much more must the 
natural traits oC character renuin in them : particularly, such as, 
in a greater or less degree, are sinful ! The whole object, there''. 
fore, presented to the judgment of the individual, must differ, and 
sften greatly, in different cases. 

For examue ; one person becomes the subject of piety after t 
wise, careful, religious education ; eariy and uninterrupted habiH 
of conscientiousness ; in the possession of a naturally sweet aifd 
laiable temper; in an original and renlar course of filial duty, 
fraternal kindness, and exemplary condiict to those around him | 
and in the midst of a life, generally commendable and loveiy^ 
Another, scarcely educated at all, possessed 6f a roagh, gtoas^ 
and violent disposition; and shamefully vicious from early m, it 
mnrtififrf in the midst of scandalous indulgendes, and tfuik habits 
tf nn. 
It is perfecdy obvious, that these two-persons will differ i 

from each other in the visible degree of that change of i , 

wUeh flows firom their Religion. The former vml perhaps be 
scaETody changed at all even to an ohstrnnz ejre : for he nas hereto^ 
fctedone, ana in a certain sense loved to m, ii| many particulaii^ 
the rorj thing!;, whi^ Reli^on requires, and to wUcA it promptsl 
and tbos the tenour of his life will seem to those around him muek 
the same, after, as before, his Ccmversion. The latter, sanctifieJ 
is the same degree, will, it is plain, change almost the whdNl 
course of Am conduct ; and assume a Hie, entirely new, and dired" 
lyonposile to that which he led beflKnne. 

Nor win the cfiffsreoce be small in the mtemal state of these fas- 
dbidaab. Theaancdfied afieetioos, and purposes, of die fotmef 
will,i9inanyinstanix%iofaleBdA«naeWWwidk those, which hi* 



ins derived from nature and habit, as to be t>ften distinguished with 
difficulty, and not unfrequently to be entirely undistinguishable« 
Those of the latter, on the contrary, will be wholly opposite, in 
most instances, to 9JI that he has heretofore thought, felt, and de- 

, As the internal and external conduct of these individuals is the 
sole groottd, on which each must- jud^e of himself, as well as be 
judged oL by others ; it is pcfrfect^ obvious, that the objects, con* 
cermng wmch they are respectively to judge, are widely different 
from each other. But this is not all. TTu apticsj with which these 
persons judge concerning their religious state, will plainly be 
widely diffeiient. Our dispositions naturally influence our judg- 
ment; and usually enter much more largely into the opinions 
which we form, than we are aware. Thus a person, strongly in- 
clined to hope, will, almost of course, judge tavourably ; when a 
person, equally inclined to fear, wbulo, in the very same case, 
judge unfavourably ; concerning hunselif. Cheerful persons nato- 
rally entertain comfortable views concerning themselves ; those, 
who are melancholy, such, and often such omy, as are uncomfort- 
ble, discouraging, and distressing. The rash, form bold and pre- 
sumptuous opinions without hesitation : the cautious, admit opin-^ 
ions, fiatyourable to themselves, slowly ; even when they are ad- 
mitted upon acknowledged evidence. The ignorant must be very 
imperfectly fitted to consider the various means of evidence, all of 
which ought to be consulted, in forming our opinions concerning 
this important subject : while the enlightened Christian must be 
much more competent to draw up a well-founded determination* 
Sdly. T%e similar natwre ofthosty which we call MUural vtems 
and ejections J to those which are Evangelical^ furnishes another 
source of these difficulties. 

Love and hatred, hope and fear, joy and sorrow, confidence and 
shame, together with various other affections, and views of the 
mmd, really exist, and operate in the Christian, as Jfatural views 
and affections ; and not merely Evangelical. The objects, which 
exteite these affections in both senses, are often the same. The 
eniotions themselves are, also, so much alike, as perceived by the 
mind, that mankind universally, and the Scriptural writers as well 
as. others, call them by the same names. When both are described 
by those, who are the subjects of them, the description, to a great 
extent, is commonly the same. It will, therefore, be easily beliey- 
ed, that they are so similar in their nature, s^, when they arise 
firom the same objects, to render it difficult for the Christian in 
whom they exist, and at times impossible, to distinguish them boas 
each other. It will be also easily seen, that when ne, who is not a 
Christian, has these affections ai^d views excited in his mind by the 
objects, which excite the corresponding Evangelical affections in 
the mmd of a Christian, he may, m many instances, fijid it very dif^ 
ficnlt to discern, that they are not EvangelicaL 


To illustrate this subject, clearly, to the view of my aiidiencei 
I will consider it more particularly. 

A Christian loves God, his Son, his Spirit, hili Law, bis Gospel, 
his Sabbath, his Worship, and bis Children. Why does he love 
diem ? For two reasons. One is ; their nature is agreeable to /Ae 
relish of his mind* The other is ^ they are usefuly and therefore 
pleasing to himself. For both these reasons he is bound to love 
diem. But, when he regards all the objects with this affection, it 
will be often difficult, and sometimes impossible^ for him to deter* 
mine whether his emotions are merely natural, wholly Evaingelicali 
or mixed. He knows, that he exercises a love to God, but may be 
vnable to determine whether he loves the character of God, con- 
sidered by itself; whether he loves the ^ivine perfections for what 
diey are ; or whether he loves God,- because he regards him as a 
&iaid to himself; and delights in his perfections, because he con- 
siders them as engaged, and operating, to i»t)mote his present and 
eternal good. It would be difficult for most persons to determinei 
precisely, what views they would form of this glorious Being, if it 
were revealed to them, that He was their Enemy. 

As it is often difficult for the Christian to distinguish his natural 
affinrtions, irfiich, so long as he is a man, he will always continue 
to exercise, from the corresponding Evangelical ones, which he 
exercises atf a Christian : so it must, evidently, be more difficult 
for mn unrenewed tnan^ who has never had any other beside natural 
ifections, to discern, that these are not Evangelical. When he 
loves God, and other divine objects, in what manner shall he de- 
tennine, that he loves him, only because he believes him reconcil- 
ed to himself? When he delights in the divine perfections; it irill 
sot be easy for him to see, that it is only because he supposes them 
to be engs^^ to promote his welfare. When he loves the Scrip- 
tures ; it will be oifficult for him to perceive, that it is only because 
rf their sublimity ^nd beauty; the good sense, which they con- 
tain; the happy influence, which they have on mankind ; and the 
oomfcrting promises, which he considers them as speaking to him- 
idL When he loves Christians ; it will often be beyond his power 
to deiemune, that it is not because of their natural amiabieness 
of character; the a^eableness of their manners ; their friendshipi 
or kind offices, to himself; and their general usefulness to others, 
with whom he is connected. 

A person is quiet under provocations. This may arise from 
meekness. It may also arise from a sense of the wisdom, the 
lity, and the usefulness, of this spirit. He is kind to enemies. 

lis may arise from the desire of obtaining the peculiar evidence, 
that he IS a eood man, fiimished by this exercise of Christian be- 
nevofence ; Srom a sense of the nobleness of forgiveness ; or fix>m 
Ae dancer of not finding himself forgiven. 

I mi^t extend this course of thought through all the objects of 
•df^ffammatioD I and show, that similar di%ttltiet attend theflii 


4t ' mmmMMH ov mo: 

aK« ICvery Christian must, I think, hare txperienced them in his 
own case ; and every person, accustomed to convene much with 
Qlhtrs on the eraunJis of their hope concerning themselves, must 
hiftve perceived them continually occurring in the progress of eve* 
Vf such conversation* 

4(hly. Aniothtr wurct of tkU iificidh/ i$ found m the tramimi 
IMPture of M our Emottom. 

By this I intend, that every exercise of our affections has onlr a; 
IKimentarv existence in the mind. It rises ; is indulged ; and is 
fooe. AU our knowledge of Ue nature, in the mean time, exiete m 
me Conscimuneei of t<, while it iepaseing ; t» our Sememkremee ef 
ikat comciouenees, known to be impeifict f and in our JlcjuainU 
anee with its tfftde, often of a character more or lea doubtfi d * » 
Few words can be necessary to show, that our knowledge at 
xkese exercises, ^uned in this, manner, must be attended hj umaf 
in^rfections. Our opportunity for viewing it, while it is pass* 
tag, is so short, and often so carelessly employed; ourremem* 
Wunce of it, when it is past, is so &r removed finom certain a^ 
curacy ; and its effects may be so easily, and, for aug^t that ap» 
]^aars, so jusdy, attributed to various causes ; that the whole view, 
UdEen of them by the mind, will frequently be obscure, and its de- 
cision unsatisfabctory. 

Hence appears the wisdom offaetening tmon acouree of euok 
oaercisee ; as furnishing far better means of determining our ieli« 
gpous character, rather than resting it upon a few. A characttf 
may be successfully discerned in manjf exercises of a similar kimlf 
wfcich, usually, we shall attempt in vain to discover, to our satisfiM> 
lion, in a small number. A thousand blades of grass will, in the 
Spring, give a green and living aspect to that feld, which, mftlk 
ackmStred^ would still retain me n;|Bset appearance of absokrls* 

5thiy. Another fruitful source of the same dMcuUies is fiamisth 
^bu the Imperfect state of Religion m the mind. 

Ijiis, indeed, mav, in an extensive sense, be considered as the 
gisneral source of tnem all. I have heretofore observed, that An* 
gek cannot but know, that they are holy ; and fiends, that ther are* 
wi^d^ Were we perfectly holy, then, we should certainly xnoir 
dik to be our character. 

But there are particular difficulties, attending this subject, whick 
dMerve to be maijbcd. 

The mind of emif Christian experiences mang altemaiians ^ 
holiness and sin. Temptations often, and unexpectedfy, intrude* 
The objects, which engross the whole heart of the sinner, unhap* 
nljr engage at times, m igreaUr or less degrees, that of the Christiaob 
Kor is their influence alwavs transient. David, Solomon^ and 
odier Saints mentioned in tne Scriptures, smned for a length at 
lime. «Nbt a small numberof sins are committed in thought, word, 
MAactkMi,,in the bridUer and better seasons i aajf^ in the liiia)lii> 



est and best. " I sin," says Bishop Beveridge ; " I repent of my 
sins, and sin in my repentance. 1 pray for forgiveness, and sin in 
my prayers. I resolve against my future sin, and sin in forming 
my resolutions. So that 1 may say, My ^hole life is almost a' 
continued course of sin." This is the language of one of the 
best men that ever lived. A still better man has said, The gopdj 
that I Tvouldj that I do not ; hui the evil^ thai I would not^ that I do. 
I find^.thtn^ a law^ ^haty when I wovld do good, evil is present with 
me. J[fier the inward manj I delight in the law of God. But I set 
anothtr lam in my members^ warring against the law of my mind, 
and bringing me tnto captivity to the law of sin, which is in my mem^ 
hers. O wretched man, that I am / ]Vho shall deliver me from the 
boAi of tkis deaths 

flow, the whole life, not of such men as.these, but of men, who 
though generally of a similar character, are greatly inferior to 
these in religious excellence, is almost always the real object of a 
Christianas examination. This, also, is to be cpntinually examin- 
ed : the worst, and the b^st, parts alike. But it is plain, that the 
comfortable evidence of our piety, furnished by the prevalence of 
holiness in the best seasons, will be always impairea by contrary 
evidence, in periods of declension ; will sometimes be rendered 
obscure, and at others overbalanced. It is further evident, that, 
as our whole judgment will,, and ought to be, usually made up, 
partly of the evidence furnished by our present state, and partly 
of our past judgments, and the evidence on which they were 
founded ^ evidence, contradicting, impairing^ and obscuring each 
other : a degree of confusion, and uncertainty, in the views of the 
mind concerning its religious character, \n\l almost necessarily re- 
sult, in many instances, from this complicated and perplexed state 
of things. 

6thly. J^o small difficulties are often thrown in our way by the 
Backslidings of Others. 

Many persons, who are really Christians, decline, at times, from 
holinf >s of Hfe so gready, and so long, as to excite not only the 
sneer- and contempt, but the just censures also, of those who are 
not Christians ; and the extreme regret,, and the Christian disci- 
pline. ')f those who are. Other men, in cases of this nature^ frc- 
ouenilv question, or deny, the very existenoe of Religion. Chris- 
tians ill not, indeed, go this unwarrantable length; but they can- 
not avoid recollecting, that, frequendy, the persons, who have 
thus declined, were, in their view, better thai) themselves ; and 
feeling the hopes, which they have entertained of their own 

Eiety, c^rcatly lessened. They are compelled to doubt of the re- 
gion of these men ; and almost irresistioly question the reality of 
their own. 

There are other persons, who strongly believe themselves lo be ' 
religious ; and who, at the same time, live in such a manner, as to 
wrsuade others, that they are eminent Christians ; who afterwards 

rVoL. III. 7 




pro\-e by their conduct, that ihey are not Christians. Juda», Hy- 
menizus, Philtlua, and others, were of lliis character ; and multi- 
tudes more, in every succeeding age. When these persons fall ; 
all [he evidence, which convinced either thcmsftves, or others, of 
their piety, is plainly proved to be unsolid; and wc are naturally 
led lo ask whether uie evidence, on which wt have relied, as the 
foundation of our own hope, be not the very same ; or, if it is 
known to be diflcrent, whether we have reason to think it at all 
better. In this way, we naturally come to auspecl the grounds, on 
' which the belief of our piety has rested ; and lo doubt whether 

• we are not equally deceived with fAon. 

7ihly. I am of opinion, Ikat God, for wist and good 
ministers Aw Spiritual Providence m suck a manner, as to leave 
'' chiidren'deslilule of the Faith of Assurance, for their oion GoixL ^ 

This opinion, I am well aware, will most probably be doubted ; 
although I entertain not a doubt of it, myself. It is proper there- 
fore, that I should mention some reasons, which induce me lo 
.^ atfoptit. 
»■ • First. /( IS perfectly plain, that Ike evidmce, enjoyed by Chrit- 

IMfc Hans concerning their piety, is in no regular manner, or degree, 

proportioned in their real excellence of character. The proof ol 
this position is complete, both from our own observation, and 
I from the history of experimental and practical religion, given us 

K M the lives of great multitudes of eminently good men. Such 

' • men, after having enjoyed, for a long time, the most consoling evi- 
dence of their good estate, have, through periods also long, been 
distressed with doubts and darkness, and sometimes with deep des- 
, pondence ; and have nevertheless afterwards obtained the same 

^^ ^ consolations throughout their remaining lives. To such seasons 

I«^ |he Psalmist plainly alludes in many declarations, descriptions, 
f ' and prayers. These are the seasons, in which Ae speaks of God 
i (M hiding his face from him ; and of himself, as disquietetf, trou- 

bled, sorrowful, mourning; as almost gone j as having his feet in 
the miry pit ; and as overwhelmed by the billows of affliction. — 
Such seasons are, also, familiarly spoken of by Christians, as times 
of darkness and sorrow, in which the light of God's countenance 
is hidden from ihem. 

* Secondly. There b not, Ibelieve, a single promise in the Gospel, 
to Christians, as such, of the Faith of Assurance ; nor any direct 
intimation, that Ihey sltall possess evideiuie of their piety, propor- 
tioned to the degree, in which it exists. All the promises of this 
nature seem to be indefinite ; and to indicate, that Christens shall 
enjoy some evidence of this nature, rather than to point (ftt the de- 
gree, in which U shall be enjoyed. The Spirit testifies with their spi- 
rits, in a degree and manner accordant with his pleasure, that Ih^ 
are children of God, It is indeed said, that if any man will do hit 
will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God. But the 
word knon, in this case, plainly means no other, than that he shall 



have a strong and saliafi/ing pimataion : for it cannot be said, that 
knowledge, in the proper sense, is ever attainable with regard to 
this subject. And tiiis strong persuasion, that tJie Bible is the 
. word of God, may exist without any satisfactory evidence that we 
are his children. 

Thirdly. Tkcri: srtms lo be a plain and important reason, wJiif 
. most Christians akimid he Ifft in some degree of imcertainti/, con- 
\ amiing this siibject. In aJI ihe earlier ages of their piciy. and in 
:ill other cases in which it i^not eminently vigorous, they would be 
prone, if they possessed Iiigh consolatory evidence, especially if 
tliey possessed full sssunitice, of their rendration, imperfect as 
tfae^Uien always are, to beat ease; to settle quietly down in that 
imperfect slate ; and in this manner to come far short of those re- 
ligious attain Clients, which, now, they actually make ; and perhaps 
bnaUy to fall awnv. As ihc case now is, their fears serve to quiclc-' 
ea theai no less than their hopes : and by the influence of both 
ihrv contirmc to advance in holiness to the end of life. 

Fourthly. The fact ta, unqueetiojiahly, as I have stated it ; and it 
carmot bt rationuUy denied to be a part of the Spiritual Providence 


Ul. /Vooi/Aeje ohstraations ue learn tiie necessili/ of performing 
iaUu, and carefuili/, the dull/ of Self-examination, 

If such difficulties attend this duty; we are bound to exercise 
proportionally grealcr care, and exactness, in performing it. 

^cllv. If'e are taught to rest our hopes on the general tenour of our 
Htporilions and conduct, and not on particular views, affections, or 
utioTU. These may be counterfeited ; but to counterfeit the whole 
tenour of a life, seems impassible. 

3dly. IVe perceive the necessity of inquiring, particular li/, rahethtr 
me mcrtast in holiness. Evangelical holiness increases by its own 
nature, though irregularly. False religious affections by their na- 
ture decline at no very late periods. 

4thiy. We learn the necessilt/ of searching the Scriptures, contin- 
valhf.jor that evidence, mhich alone is genuine, and on mhich alone 
9t can safelif rest. In the Scriptures only, is this Evidence to be 

Slhly. HoTB conspicuous are the ffisdom and Goodness of God in 
cauiing the bachliaingSf and other drfects of good men, to be n- 
eordtd,for the instruction and consolation of Christians in all suc- 
aeding ages. These evils, and the distresses and doubts which 
Aey ocCksion, aitendcd Ihem. Still 'hey were truly pious. They 
may attend ns therefore ; while we may, nevertheless, be also sub- 
jects of piety. 

6lhly. The same wisdom and goodness are still more conspicuous 
m tKe manner, in aliich the Psalms are viritttn. The Psalms are, 
duefly, an account of the experimental religion of inspired men. 



. I 



In this account, we find that many of them, particidarly David,'iht 
principal mriter, experienced all the doubts, difficulties, and sor- 
rows, which arc now suflfcred by good inen. It is highly probahki 
that vast numbers of Christians have by these two means been 
preserved from final despondence. 

7thly« The nAfectj in its nature^ Jiirmshea strange though incK- 
rect Consolation to Christians-. When they find doubts, and con- 
sequent distress, concerning their religious character, multiplied; 
they here see, that they mat/ he thus iBll)tiplied, in perfect consist 
tency with the fact, that they themselves are Christians ; and are 
thus prevented fi*om sinking into despair. 

8thly« We here learn the absolute necessity of betaking ourselves 
to God, in daily prayer, for his unerring guidance in this difficuU 
path of duty. If so many embarrassments attend this important 
employment ; the assistance of the divine Spirit is plainly indis- 
pensable to our safety, and success. If this assistance be faithfully 
sought ; we know, that it will be certainly granted. 

9thly. We here discern the goodness, manifested in that indis^ 
pensamt and glorious promise '; / will never leave thee, nor forsake 
. thee. For creatures, struggling with so many di£Sculties to be IM 
at a//, would be inconceivably dangerous : to be forsaken would be 
fatal. But the divine presence, in the midst of all these, and even 
much greater dangers, fundshes coptiplete and final safety to every 
ChUd of God. 





Pf ALII xix. 7«f!» Ae Law of the Lord it porfeet, • 

IN the whole preceding series of discourses, I have examined J 
with attention the principal Doctrines, contained in the Scrip* 
tures. Particularly, i have exhibited the Existence and Perfections 
of God, and his works of Creation and Providence ; the Character 
and Circumstances of Man, both before and after his apostacy ; 
and the Impossibility of his justification by his personal obedience. 
I have considered, at length, the Character and Mediation of 
Christ, and the Nature of Evangelical Justification through his 
righteousness ; the Character and Agency of the Holy Ghost ; the 
necessity and Nature of Regeneration 5 it3 Antecedents, Attend- 
ants, Consequents, and Evidences* All these, united, constitute ' 
the bodjr of those peculiarly important Truths^ to which the Scrip- 
tures have reauired us to rencbr our religious Faith. 

The secona great division of subjects, in such a system, is form- 
ed of the Scriptural Precepts, reouiring of us those internal, and 
external, acts, conunonly termed the Dviy^ or Duties^ of mankind. 
Wt are notj however^ to suppose, that Faith in the doctrines of the 
Scriptures is not itself a prime duty of man. The contrary has, I 
trust, been amply proved. J^or are we to suppose that any one of 
these doctrines has not, naturally, an important, practical influence 
m mankind* The contrary to this, also, has, it is presumed, been 
extensively shown. Finally ; toe are not to suppose, that Faith in 
Christ, and Repentance towards God, are duties of fallen beings^ 
less real, less necessary, less essential, or less acceptable, than any 
other duties whatever. The conformity of the understanding and 
the heart to every doctrine of the Scriptures is, by the authority of 
God, made equally a duty with obedience to every precept. All 
that can with propriety be said of this nature is, that those, which 
are customarily called the doctrines of the Scriptures, are usually 
presented to us rather in the form of Truths wnich we are to be- 
lieve, than of Commands which we are to obey ; and that the pre* 
cepts are commmdy given to us in their own proper form, requiring 
our obedience directly. 

At the same time, it is to be observed, that a conformity of our 
hearts, and lives, to the doctrines of the Gospel, is often expressly 
enjoined by the Scriptures. To repent of our sins, and to believe in 
Christ, are the inmiediate objects of the great precepts of the 
Crospel. It is further to be observed, that every Precq)t becomesy 




hy a alight alteration in the phraseology j a Doctrine. For cxam- 


- pie, Thoti shalt love the Lord thy God vnth all thy hearty is easily 
/ altered into a mere Truth, only by changing the phraseology into 
" It is right, or it is thy duty, to love the Lord, thy God, with all 
thy heart." • A cordial faith in this declaration is here, aswlh re- 
spect to every other precept, the spirit, whence is derived all genu- 
ine obedience. 

. Truth is commonly divided into that which is practical, and that 
wliich is speculativci But moral truth cannot, in the strict sense, 
be justly divided in this manner. Every moral truth is of a pi-acti- 
cal nature. Its influence, I acknowledge^ is in some cases indirect ; 
while in others it is direct. But it can never be truly denied, in 
any case, that its influence is really of this nature. 

The,obWrvations, whick I intend to make on the several sub- 
jects, included in the second great division of the system of theol- 
ogy, I propose to preface with a general account of the Divine 
Law. The doctrine, which I mean to discuss in this account, is 
that, which the text expresses in the very best terms, which can 
be chosen; viz. 

The Law or Jehovah is perfect. 

In proof of this truth I allege the following considerations. 

1st. The Law of God is the result of his Infinite Wisdom and 

It cannot be supposed, that Infinite Wisdom and Goodness, 
would form a rule for the government of moral beings, which did 
jiot possess such attributes, as must render it a perfect directory of 
their moral conduct. It may easily be believed, tnat God may make 
moral beings, of many different classes : some of superior, and 
some of inferior, capacities : but it cannot be imagined, that he 
would not require of all such beings a character, ana condncf, the 
best, of which they were naturally capable. Inferior wisdom and 
goodness might be unable to devise, or uninclined to require, the 
best conduct and character in moral creatures; or to point out 
the meansy by which this character could be most easily and 
perfectly formed, oi* the conduct, in which it would most advan- 
tageously operate. But none of these things are attributable to 
infinite Wisdom and Goodness, thus employed. They, of course, 
must require the best character and conduct ; must point out the 
best means of forming it, and the best modes in which it can ope- 
rate. To suppose a law, which is the result of these attributes, 
not to be perfect, is to suppose, either that God did not know what 
would be the best character in his moral creatures, or did not 
choose to require it of them. Both parts of this alternative are too 
obviously absurd to need a refutation. 

Further ; A law is always the expression of the will of the 
lawgiver; and is, of course, an expression of his own character. 
This V pre-eminently applicable to the Law of God. In forming 
It, he was under no necessity, and could have no motive, beside 

w . 


what is involved in his own pleasure, to induce him to form it in 
any given manner. The things, which it requires, are the things 
which he approves, and is seen to approve ; the things, in which 
he delights, and is seento delight ; the things, therefore, which en- 
tirely show his real character. But the things, actually required, 
include all, which are due from his mpral creatures to Him^ to each 
other, and to themselves ; or, in other words, all their internal and 
external moral conduct. But it cannot be supposed, that God 
would exhibit his own perfect character imperfectly^ in a case of 
this mgignitudc. That, in a law, expressing thus his own charac- 
ter, and seen to express it; a law, from which they must of neces- 
sity learn his character more certainly, than from any thing else 5 
a law, which regulated, and required, all the moral conduct ever 
required of them; he should not prescribe a perfect collection of 
rules; a collection absolutely perfect ; is a supposition,. amounting 
to nothing less than this : tnat in exhibiting his character to the 
Intelligent Universe he would present it in a false Ught ; and lead 
them by a solemn act of his own, necessarily, to consider him cither 
as a weak, or as an immoral, being. 

2dly. The Lazo of God is perfectly fitted to the State^ and CapO" 
city, of Intelligent Creatures. 

The divine Law is wholly included in two precepts : Thou shalt 
love the Lord thy God with ail thy heart ; ana thy neighbour as thv" 
telf These are so short, as to be necessarily included in a single 
very short sentence ; so intelligible^ as to be understood by every 
moral being, who is capable of comprehending the meaning of the 
words, God and Neighbour : so easily remembered, as to render it 
impossible for them to escape from our memory, unless by wan- 
ton, criminal negligence of ours: and so easily applicable to every 
case of moral action, as not to be mistaken, unless through indispo- 
sition to obey. At the same time, obedience to them is rendered, 
perfectly obvious, and perfectly easy, to every mind, which is not 
indisposed to obey them. The very disposition itself, if sincere 
and entire, is either entire obedience, or the unfailing means of 
that external conduct, by which the obedience is, in some cases, 
completed. The disposition to obey, is. also confined to a single af 
fiction of the hearty easily distinguishable from all other affections : 
viz. Love. Love, saith St» Paul, is the fulfilling of the Law, The 
humblest and most ignorant moral creatures, therefore, are in this 
manner cflBcaciously preserved from mistaking their duty. 

In the mean lime, these two precepts, notwithstanding their 
brevity, are so comprehensive, as to include every possible moral 
action. The Archangel is not raised above their control ; nor can 
any action of his exceed that bound which they prescribe. The 
Child, who has passed the verge of moral agency, is not placed 
beneath their regulation ; and whatever virtue he may exercise is 
no other than a fulfihnent of their requisitions. All the duties, 
which we immediately owe to God, to our fellow-creatutes, and to 


ourselves, are uf these nrecepts alike comprehended, and rcqiup- 
cd. In a word, endlessly various as mordl action may be, it ex- 
ists in no form, or instance, in which he who perfectly obeys these 
precepts, will not have done his duty, and will not find himself jus* 
tified and accepted by God. 

3dly. The Law of God requires the best possible Moral Char" 

To reauire and accomplish this great object, an object in its im- 
.jjortance literally immense, is supremely worthy of the wisdom and 
goodness of this glorious Being. To make his moral creatures 
virtuous is unquestionably the only method of rendering them real- 
ly and extensively useful, and laying the only solid foundation for 
their enduring happiness. But all virtue is summed up in the ful- 
fument of these two Commands : Thou shall love the Lord thy God 
toiiA all thy heart / and thy neighbour as thyself. In doing this, 
every individual becomes as amiable, excellent, dignified, and use- 
ful, as with his own capacity he can be. Should he advance iAhis 
•capacity through endless duration, all the good, which he will ever 
do ; all the honour, which he will ever render to his Creator ; all 
the excellence, amiableness, and dignity, which he will ever ac- 
quire ; will be nothing but obedience to these two commands. 
The beauty and glory of the Evangelical character; the rapturous 
flame which glows in the breast of a Seraph ; the transcendent ex- 
altation of an Archangel ; is completely included in loving God 
with all the heart, and Iiis neighbour as himself Nay, the infinite 
loveliness, the supreme glory, of the Godhead, is no other than this 
disposition, boundlessly exerted in the Uncreated Mind, and pro- 
ducing, in an unlimited extent, and an eternal succession, its prop- 
er and divine eflects on the Intelligent Universe. God, saith St. 
John, is Love. 

4thly. The Law of God proposes, and accomplishes, the beslpoS" 
Bible End. 

The only ultimate good is Happiness: by which I intend Enjoy" 
ment^ whether springing from the mind itself, or flowing into it 
from external sources. Perfect happiness is perfect gooa; or, in 
other words, includes whatever is desirable: and this is the g(K)d, 
which the divine law proposes, as its own proper and supreme 

This end is with exact propriety divisible, and is customarily di- 
*vided, into two ereat parts: the first usually termed the Glory of 
God: the second, the Happiness of the Intelligent Creation. 

The original, cmd essential. Glory of God is his Ability, and Dw- 
position, to accomplish perfect happiness. This is his inherent, un- 
changeable, and eternal perfection. But the glory of God, to 
which I refer, is' what is often called his declarative glory; and i3 
no other than this very perfectiok, manifested in his conduct, imme- 
Aak^y by himself, and, midkMv in their conduct, by the Intelligeni 
Cre&tiofi* In this sense, the glory of God is proposed, and ao- 

• ■ * 

8Eft. XCI.] THE LA# OF GOD PERFECT. " '. • 53 

complished, by his Law, when he prescribet ttt ||it8 Intelligent 
Creatures, and produces in them, a dispcMition to Uyoe Him with all 
the hearty and each other as themselves. This disposition is, be- 
yond all estimation, the most lovely, the most excellent, the most 
glorious, work of the Creator's hands ; incomparably the greatest 
proof of his sufficiency, and incHnation, toeflfectuate perfect good; 
and, therefore, infinitely honourable to his character. lii the 
exercise of this disposition, on their part, and in its genuine 
effects, they render to him also, voluntarily, and directly, all the 
honour, which can be rendered to the Infinite Mind by Intelligent 

At the same time, the ditine Law is the source of perfect Happi* 
ness to them. Voluntary beings are the only original soui*ces of 
happiness: and Virtue^ which is nothing but this disposition, isyin 
them, the only productive cause of happiness. Under the influx 
ence of it, all beings, in whom it prevails, unite to do the utmost 

food in their power. The good, therefore, which is actually done 
•y them, is the greatest good which can be derived from the efforts 
of Intelligent Creatures. As in this manner they become perfect- 
ly lovely, praiseworthy, and rewardable, in the sight of God ; he 
can^ with tne utmost propriety, and therefore certainly rot//, reward 
them, by actually communicating to them the most exalted happi- 
i;iess, 01 which they are capable. Thfe kingdom of glory in tne 
heavens, with its endless and perfect Providential dispensations, 
will, to Saints and Angels, constitute this reward. 

I have mentioned the Glory of God as the first great division of 
the perfect End^ proposed hy the divine law. The glory of God is thai 
in which his happiness consists ; the object^ infinitely enjoyed by thM 
Infinite Mind^ the Sufficiency for all good, not onlv existing, and* 
enjoyed by contemplation, but operatmg, also, and enjoyed in its 
genuine and proper effects. . « 

It ought to be observed, that there are no other possible means 
of accomplishing this illustrious end, beside this disposition. . In** 
telligent beings are the only beings, by whom God qan be thus 
glonfied. They are the only beings who can understand, either 
his character or his works ; or perceive the glory, which he direct- 
ly manifests in them. They are, also, the onljrbeings who can ren^lep 
to him love, reverence, or obedieiice ; and thus honour his character 
in such a manner, as this can be done by creatures. Without them 
the Universe, with all its furniture and splendour, would still be a 
solitude. . 

At the same time. Intelligent beings alone either produce, or en- 
joy, happiness in any great degree. 

But there is no other disposition in such .beings, besides this, 
which can voluntarily glorify God, or produce important and en- 
during happiness. It is hardly necessary for me to observe, that 
no obedience, and no regard whatever, rendered by rational. crea- 
tures to God, can be of any value, or in any degree amiaUe, or 

Vol. hi. . 8 


acceptable, exctpt that which is voluntary ; or that towards beings 
who did not love him, he could not exercise any Complacency. 
Itis scarcely more necessary to observe, that beings, who did not 
voluntarily produce happiness, could neither enjoy it themselves, 
nor yield it to others. The seat of happiness is the mind ; and 
the orst, or original happiness, which it nnds, is ever found in its 
own approbation of its conduct, and the delightful nature of its 
affections. But no mind can be self-approved, which does not 
first love God and its fellow-creatures ; and no affections can be 
delightful, except those which spring from the same disposition. 
Its views of God, and its affections towards Him, its apprehensiom 
of His complacency towards itself and its enjoyment of his bles- 
sings ; constitute the second great division of its happiness. But no 
mind can have delightful views of God, or delightful affections to- 
wards him ; or be me object of his complacency ; except that 
which loves him supremely. Tfte third great division of this subject 
consists in the esteem, the love, and the kind offices, mutually inter- 
changed by Rational beings. It is perfectly obvious, that these can 
never exist in any material degree, where the second command of 
this law is not cordially obeyed. But the mind, influenced by the 
love which is the fulfilling of the law, is self-approved, approved 
bv God, and approved by its fellow-creatures. All its affections, 
also, towards itself, its Creator, and the Intelligent Universe, are 
delightful. At the same time, all its actions are productive of glo- 
ry to the Creator, and of good to his creation. 

Thus the law of God, by laying hold on this single great principle, 
has directed the whole energy of the mind to the production of the 
best of all ends, in the best possible manner. 


From these observations it appears, 

1 St. That the Law of God is, and must of necessity be, Unchangeable 
tmd Eternal. 

Our Savioiff informs us, that heaven and earth shall sooner pass 
away, than one jot, or one tittle, of the Law shall fail. This declar- 
ation has, I presume, seemed extraordinary to every reader of the 
fK^ew Testament. To many it has, in all probability, appeared in- 
credible. But, if I mistake not, these observations furmsh us not 
only with ample evidence of its truth, but with ample reasons, why 
'k should be true. A law, which is the result of mfinite Wisdom 
^and Goodness ; which is perfectly fitted to the state, and capacity. 
'of Intelligent Creatures ; which requires the best possible Moral 
^Character; which proposes and accomplishes the best possible 
' Ead ; and without which neither the Glory of God, nor the Happi- 
ness of the Intelligent Creation, could be established, or perpetu- 
ated ^plainly cannot, and ought not to be changed. Were God to 
.(hange it, be must change it for the worse ; from a perfect law to 
an imperfect eae* Whatever rule he should prescribe, in its places ' 


for the conduct of his moral creatures, must recniire something, 
which is wrong, or fail to require something, whicn is riefat. Nei- 
ther of these could be ju&t, or wise, or good. Mor could his Wia- 
dom, Justice, or Goodness, be manifested, or even preserved, in 
the establishment of such a law ; much less in annulling a perfect 
law, and substituting an imperfect one in its place. To give up 
this law would be to sacrifice his own flory, and the happmess of 
his Intelligent creation. These, united, constitute the very End, 
for which the heavens and the earth were made. In the case sup- 
posed, therefore, the heavens and the earth would exist to no pur- 
pose; that is, to no purpose worthy of Jehovah. 

2dly« T%ts stdiject furnishes us with one affecimg view of the EvU 


Sin is a transgression of the Law : that is. Sin is the disposi- 
tion of the heart, and the conduct of the life, directly opposed to 
what the Law requires. It is directly opposed to the decisions of 
infinite wisdom and goodness ; to the best possible character ; and 
to the best possible end : the glory of God, and the supreme good 
of the Intelligent Creation. Of all these the Law is either the 
transcript, or the Indispensable means. So far as sin has power to 
operate, it operates to their destruction ; and its native tendency 
would prevent the glory of God, and the good of the universe. 

The evil of sin does not lie in the power of the sinner to accom- 
plish his evil designs; but in the nature of the designs themselves, 
and the disposition which gave them birth ; and must ever bear 
some general proportion to the extent of the mischief, which it 
would accomplish, if it were permitted to operate without re- 
straint. From what has been said it is plain, that this mischief 
transcends all finite comprehension. The evil, therefore, which is 
inherent in it, must be incalculably great 

V/e see this truth verified in the present world. All the misery, 
fufiercd here, is the effect of sin. Sin blotted out the bliss of Para- 
disc ; and established in its place private wretchedness and pub- 
lic sufiering. The smile of complacencv it changed into the 
rioomy irown of wrath and malice. For the embrace of fiiend- 
uip it substituted the attack of the assassin. The song of joy it 
converted into a groan of anguish: the ascription of praise it corn* ^ 
muted for the bmsphemies of im{»ety. What then must be the • 
erflsi whidi it would accomplish, were it let loose upon the uni- 
vene ; were it to invade the kingdom of glory, as it once intruded 
into Eden ; and ravage eternity, as it has ravaged the little periods 
$( time. 

3dly. We learn from this subject the absurdity of AnHnomianism. 

Two of the prominent Antinomian doctrines are, thai the Lam 
sfGod isnot anule of duty to Christians: and that the Transgress 
simu ofii by Ouristians are not sists. 

Sin^ saith St. John^ is the transgression of the law. It is a bold < 
iHertioii, then ; an assertion, deii^ding a warrant, which can bt 

~» 4. 


pleaded by no man ; that them is such a thing, or that tlurt can he 
such a thing, as' a transgression of the law, which is not sinful. Why 
are not thfe transgressions of Christians sinful ? Is it .because they 
are holy beings ? Adam was' perfectly holy : yet one trans^s- 
sion of his ruined the world. Angels were perfectly holy, in a 

' .state, iar superior to that of Adam: yet one trans^ession of theirs 
turned them put of heaven! Is it because Christians are redeem- 
ed ? The mercy of God, displayed in their redemption, only in- 
creases their obligation to obey, and therefore ennances every 
^ transgression. Is it because God has promised, that they shall 
perse V ere, and that they shall be saved ? This promise is an ex- 
ercise of divine Mttcy ; has exactly the same influence ; and, in 
the case supposed, can produce no other eflfect. Why then, are 
the transgressions of Christians not- sinful ? To this question they 
will ill vain search for an answer. 

Why is the law no longer a rule of righteousness to Qhristians ? 
Is it because they are no longer under its condemning sentence ? 
For this very reason they are under increased obligations to obey 
its precepts. Is it because they are placed under a better rule, or 
a worse one ? A better rule cannot exist : a worse, God would not 

, . prescribe. Are not Christians required to glorify God ? Are they 
not bound to promote the happiness of each other, and their fel- 
low-men ? Are they not required to conform to the dictates of in- 
finite Wisdom and Goodness; to sustain the best Moral Character; 
and to fulfil the true End of their being ? To love God zoith all the 
heart, mid their neighbour as themselves, is to do all these things, in 
the muriner most pleasing, and in the only manner which is pleas- 

To remove a Christian firom the obligation, which he is under to 
obey the law of God, is to remove him fi'om all obligation to per- 
form any part of his duty, as a rational being to God, or to his fel- 
low-creatures : for every part of this duty is required by the divine 
law. In other words, it is to discharge him from all obligation to 
be vi It nous. What end must we then suppose Christians are in- 
tended to answer, while they continue in the world? C^tfamlyy 
none worthy of God ; none worthy of thi mediatioa of Christ ; 
none worthy of the Christian character. ^. •' 

Anfinomians forget, that he who is bom of God, laveih Qod, and 
knowoth God; that he, who loveth not, knoweth not Qod; and that 
this is the love of God, that we keq^Jm commandments. They for- 
get, that Christ died to purify Unto hiamlf a peculiar people, zealous 
of good works. 

4th ly. JVe are here furnished with one interesting proof of the 
Divine Revelation of the Scriptures. 

It is perfectly obvious to all who h^r me, that a book, profess- 
ing to be a Revelation, must, whetbcq^ false or true, depend in a 
great measure on its own internal character for evidence of its di- 
vine origin. The things, which it contains, must be such, as be-» 

■ m' 


come the character of God. Many of them may be mysteriou?, 
and inexplicable ; because the nature of the subjects may be such, 
as to transcend the human comprehension, or lie beyond the reach 
of human investigation. There are subjects, also, of which it may. 
be necessary to know a part ; and that part, though sufBciently dis- 
closed, if considered by itself only, may yet be connected with 
others, whose existence it will indicate, but yrhose nature it will 
not at all disclose. When subjects of this kind are presented to 
OS, we may, if we are disposed to inquire into them extensively, 
be easily perplexed, and easily lost. 

But whatever is revealed must consist with the character of God ^ , 
or it cannot be admitted as a Revelation. S(Hiie things also, con- 
tained in a real Revelation, must be plainly worthy of their Author^ 
and not, merely, not unworthy ; must be honourable to his charac- 
ter ; superior to the discoveries of the human mind ; and such, as 
cannot be reasonably believed to have been the inventions of 

Perfectly correspondent with aU these remarks is the Law, un- 
der contemplation. This truth will advantageously appear by a 
comparison of it with the most perfect human laws. I snail select 
for I his purpose those of Grca/ BnVam. 

The statute laws of that kingdom are contained, if I mistake not, 
in about eighteen or twenty folio, or about fifty octavo, volumes. ' 
The common, or as it is somctitnes styled the unwritten law, occu- 
pies a number of volumes far greater. To understand them is a 
work of deep science ; the employment of the first human talents ; 
and the labour of a life. The great. body of them can never be 
known by the generality of men ; and must, therefore, be very 
imperfect rules of their conduct. 

In the mean time, multitudes of cases are continually occurring, 
which they do not reach at all. Those, which they actually reach, 
they affect in many instances injuriously ; and in many more, im- 
perfectly. The system of happiness, which they propose, is ex- 
treinelj defective ; a bare state of tolerable convenience ; and 
even (hat, attended with many abatements. They also extend 
their inflq^ace only to a speck of earth, and a moment of time* 
Yc! these laws were devised, reviewed, and amended, by persons 
of ihe first liuman consideration for learning and wisdom. 

The Law, which we have been examining, is comprised in two 
coinmands only : is so short ; so intelligible ; so capable of being 
remembered, and applied, as to be perfectly fittecl to the under- 
standing, and use, of every Moral bemg. At the same time, it is 
so comprehensive, as to reach, perfectly, every possible moral ac- 
tion ; to preclude every wrong, and to secure every right. It is 
efju;i)ly fitted to men and anffeli^ to earth and heaven. Its con- 
trot extends with the same eBcacy, and felicity, to all worlds, and 
to all periods. It governs the Universe ; it reaches through Eter- 
nity. The system of happiness, proi)osed, and accomplisned, by 




it, is perfect, endless, and for ever progressive. Must not candour, 
must not prejudice itself, confess, with the Magicians of Egi/pt, 
that here is the fingtr of God? 

Bui if this is trom God, the Scriptures must be acknowledged to 
have the same origin. In the Scriptures alone is this Law contain- 
ed. Nay, the Scriptures themselves are, chiefly, this Lav, ex- 
panded into more minute precepts, and more multiplied applica- 
tions ; enforced by happy comments, and illustrated by useful ex- 
amples ; especially the Ssample presented to us In the perfectand 
glorious life of the Son of God. 

■ 1 




Miu lii. 2S— 30.— .Ind on; of Iht SeriUi came, and, hariag Heard them Tt<M»- 
iag togilhrr, and perrcived that he had aniatrtd them well, adtid him, IVhvA it 
tki Fira Cvmmandmeat of all f And Jriui aancered him, the FirU 0/ all tht 
Cominan'IncnIj ii, Hear, lirael ; The Lard our Gad ii one Lord ; and Ihav thalt 
tmt Iht Lord Ihy God icilh alt thy heart, and tcith all thy loul, and uith all tkg 
tunJ, and leith all % itringlh : ThU t> the Firil Commandment. 

In tb^ last discourse, J made a number of general obs^vations 
on she perfection of the divine law. I shall now proceed to con- 
sider, somewhal more particularly, (Ae Milure and Import of the 
FirtI and Grtatett Commandment of thai Lam ; the Command, 
nkieh rtguJatta our Picti/ to God. 

Id the text we arc irirormcd, that a Scribe, a Man learned in the 
Scnpitires, and accustomed to expound them to others, pleased 
with Christ's refutation of the Sadducces, and ihe proofe wnich he 
had unanswerably given of a future existence, tij-kedhim, Which 
SI rt< /m( cammandmmt of alii' that h. the fir-l 1:1 ;-ank, obliga- 
&ut, and importance. Christ, quoting Deut. vi. 4, informs him, 
thai the first command, in this sense, is, TJiou shall love the Lord, 
lAy God. milk all thy hearlj and with all ihy soul, and with all Iky 
mind, and with all thy slrawth. 

In this command, it is to oe observed, there is one thing only re- 
quired; andthfltia Love, it is, however, /.one ma eompre^nme 
itnst ; including several exercises of the mind, easily, and cus- 
tomarily, distinguished from each other; as might, indeed, be na- 
turally expected from tUe phraseology of the Command. 

It is further to be observed, that the Love, here enjoined, is re- 
quired 10 exist in such a degr*, as to occupy the whole heart, the 
whole soul, the whole mind, and the whole strength. The word, 
bete rendered aoid, seems originally to have been used to denote 
tkt principle of animal life, and to have been commonly used ia 
this sense by the Greeks ; as the two corresponding words of theip 
respective languages were by the Jews and Romans. The 
word, translated mind, is commonly used to denote the vnder- 
standing ; and seems plainly lo have been used in this manner 
here ; since the Scribe expresses this as the meaning of it in his 
answer. The import of this command may, then, be stated thus. 
7hm thail love the Lord, thy God, mth ail thy heart, with all thine 
Widtntanding, and with all thy strength, throughout all thy life. 
In other words, we are required, under the influence of this dis- 


position, to devote, throughout our lives, all bur faculties, and scr^ 
vices, to the glory of Jehovah. Our hearts and voices, our un- 
derstanding and our hands, arc to be entirely, and voluntarily, 
dedicated to his service. 

i iiave already observed, that Love^ in this comprehensive senae^ 
includes several exercises of the mind, easily and customarily dis- 
tinguished. It will be one object of this discourse to exhibitlhem 
with this distinction. 

1 St. Love to God, as required by this command^ is Good-will to 
htm, his designs, and interests* 

By Good-will, in this case, I intend the very same Benevolence, 
formerly described as one of the Attendants of Regeneration, and 
then mentioned as extending to the Creator and his intelligent 
creatures. Not a small number of divines have supposed, that 
Love, in this sense, is neither required, nor exerted, towards the 
Creator. " God," say they, " being supremely and .eternally 
blessed ; and the success of his designs, and the prosperity of his 
interests, being perfecdy ?ecui-ed by his power, knowledge, and 
presence ; there can be no necessity, nor room, for any exorcise 
of our good-will towards him, or them* Benevolence is witli pro- 
priety exercised towards Man, because he needs it ; but cannot 
with any such propriety be exercised towards God, who is so far 
from needing (jiny thing, that he gives unto all life^ andhrtatlijOnd 
all things.'*^ 

These observations arc undoubtedly .«;pecious. Yet the reason- 
ing, contained in them, is totally c "-oneous ; and the conclusion, in- 
tended to be derived from them, l.ilse and mistaken. To admit it, 
is to give up the first duty of man. 

Benevolence depends not, either for its obligation or exorcise, 
on the supposition, that the person, to\vards whom it may be di- 
rected, needs either our benevolence, or its effects. Happiness, 
its immediate object, is alwavs, and every where, supremely de- 
lightful and desirable in itself; delightful, whenever it exists; de- 
sirable, whenever it may exist hereafter. The greater the dt^gree 
in which it exists, or may exist hereafter, the more delightful, the 
more desirable, must it be, of course. It is desirable, tl.i- two 
persons should be happy, other things being e(jual, rathe r than 
one ; twenty than two ; an hundred than twenty. It is in p con- 
tinually increasing proportion desirable, that a person shouUl be 
twice as happy, as he is at present ; ten times ;■ an hundred rimes. 
On the same grounds it is delightful to find happiness (v:^ting 
in one degree ; more delightful in two ; and still more in t»\>'nty, 
or an hundred. To delight in happiness, in this manner, "s, in 
the same manner, to exercise good- will towards the being ^\ ho is 
thus happy. 

The happiness, or blessedness, of God, as it is more com ^r only 
termed, is no other, than his Enjoyment of his own perfect . Ittrt' 
btdesj and of the effuts^ produced by them in tliat glorious sy;^trni of 

SER. XCn.] LOVE T9 GOD. $5 

mood^ which is begun in the work of' Creation^ and will he completed 
m the work of Providence : or, in other words, his Sufficiency for 
accomplishing, the Ckrtainty that he will accomplish, and the Actual 
accomplishment of a perfect system of good* This is an object, 
infinitely desirable to the Divine Mind. Were it to fail ; this de- 
sire would be ungratified ; and the Divine Mind would be propor- 
tionally unhappy. 

To this it will be objected, as it often has been, that ^Hhis doc- 
trine makes God dependent for his happiness on his creatures J^^ 

This objection is a mistake. The doctrine involves no such 
dependence. The independence of God consists not at all in 
the fact, that he will be happy, whether his designs will be accom- 
plished or not ; but in his Sufficiency for the absolute accomplish- 
ment of them all ; and in the absolute certainty, that they will be 
thus accomphshcd. His Power, Wisdom, and Godness are this 
sufficiency ; and yield him intuitive certainty of this accomplish^ 
ment. These things constitute the most perfect possible Indepen- 

Were God without desires ; had he no choice, no pleasure ; he 
could enjoy no happiness. Were he unable to fulfil his pleasure, 
or uncertain whether it would be fulfilled ; he would be dependent. 
But, accoitling to this statement, his happiness and his indepen-' 
dence are both absolute. 

The designs of God are infinitely desirable, because they in- 
volve the display of his infinite perfections, in their perfect exer- 
cise, and in the accomplishment of a perfect system of Good. In 
this manner they present to us the most glorious of all objects, 
operating in the most glorious manner to the production of the 
most glorious purpose. This object is, with the highest evidence, 
infinitely desirable and delighL^ul. At the same time, the happi- 
ness, which God enjoys in the exercise of his perfections, and in 
the accomplishment of this divine End, is a happiness not only in- 
finitely desirable and delightful to himself, but aesirable in the same 
manner to all Intelligent creatures. All Intelligent creatures, pos- 
sessed of real benevolence, cannot fail to rejoice, that God is, and 
ever will be, thus infinitely happy ; that thei>e glorious designs will 
certainly be accomplished ; that he will ever tnus act^ and that he 
will ever find infinite enjoyment in thus acting. It is as truly de- 
sirable, that God should be thus happy, as it is that any of his In 
telligent creatures should be happy ; and as much more desirable, 
as he is happier than they. 

Bat to delight in this happiness is to exercise towards God the 
benevolence of the Gospel. I flatter myself, that to exeicise this 
benevolence has been amply proved to be an unquestionable and 
supreme duty of man. 

2dly. Love to God is Complacency in his Character. i. 

It has been shown in several former discourses, that God is 
infinitely benevolent ; in other words, he is infinitely disposed to 

Vol. III. 9 

66 M>VE 10 GOD. [3E1 

desire, and perform, that which is good in the highest ilrgre 
In other words, he is iiirinitely just, Taithful, true, kind, broHHiAjfl 
and merciful. Such a character is infinitely excellent in 
and demands in ihe highest possible degree, the suprein 
prf^balion, and the supreme Complacency, of every Inli llJge< 
creffture. ' 

Benevolence, as here required, is o delight in the Happi'ii-st ^ 
God: Complacency is a delight inhU Excellence. The Escrlience^ 
of God contains in itself all that Wisdom can approve ; id! that'l 
Virtue can love ; all that is meant by the excellence and auiinble' J 
ncss, by the beauty and glory of Mind; by Moral dignity and.J 
greatness. This is what God himself esteems hiaown siipr'eme ' 
perfection, and the transcendent glory of his character. Artord- 
mgly, when he proclaimed his J^a-me to Mosts, on Mount Sniui, he 
proclaimed this part of his character only ; and styled itthefiame, 
or Glory, of Jehovah. 

1 know not, that to love God, m this senst, has ever been denied, 
or doubted to be a Christian duty, by such as have beheved in the ^ 
Scriptures. On the contrary, it has been commonly supposed^ 
that Complacency and Gratitude were the only love to God f quir- " 
ed in hU Law. The happiness of God has usually been i nnsid- ' 
.ered as so secure, so independent, and so perfect, as thai, win le he 
needs nothing from the hands of his creatures to increase ov insure 
it, he also may be justly regarded as claiming nothing from them, 
with respect to this suljtf ct. His perfections, at the same tinie, are 
so manifest, and so abM^ft^i ^^ to fill the mind with reverence and 
amazement, and engi-os's all its attention and thoughts. In ihia 
manner, pr(ila|£i]y, the regard of mankind, and aven of wi-i and 
good men, halbeen so efleclually drawn away from the-coiii^nlera- 
lion of the happiness of God to the consideration of his i XQ||f> 
lence, that they seem chiefly lo have forgotten the former of \XfuB 
objects, and have been almost wholly occupied by the latu r. At 
the same time, it cannot be denied, that to delight in the ex..' Hence 
of God is a duu* more otivioiis lo the mind, than to delight jii his 
happiness. Alittlc reflection will, however, convince us. 'md I 
hope it has ali'eady been clearly shown, that it is not Sbi^rrr indis- 
pensable duty. It is plainly not our original duty. Il is plainly 
not Virtue, or Moral Excellence, in the original aeme. This is, 
unquestionably, (Ac love ofhappinrss. Complacency is the !<,ve of 
this Virtue, or moral excellence. But that excellence mus^ '-sist, 
before it can }>e loved. The contrary supposition is a paljiable. 
absurdity; to which all those reduce themselves^' who insi^L that 
Complacency is original virtue. ^. j 

3d\y. 7%e Love pf God is GratHudt. ^ 

Gratitude is love to God for the particuiir mmn/cstalions "f hii 
glorious character in his various kindness to ns, and to ours. Wis, 
and perhaitf ail other Intelligent beings, are so formed, as 'o be 
able more clearly to see, and more strongly lo feel, blessin^i, im- 


lately brslowcd on ourselves, and on those mlimalely cormtct- 
krllti ua, whose characters and wants, whose sorrows and joya, 
~ DCiiiluHy understand, and feel, than those bestowed on others. 
t feet, universally, what is ours, Find what pertains to our coa- 
Ku, more, other things being equal, than what periums to 
^ whose interests we less understand, and in whose conrenia 
relets in the habit of mingling; so we feel, of course, more 
jAj tbc blessings, which uc and they receive ; the deliverances, 
(Opcs, comforts, joys ; than we do, or can, those of others. Our 
Dear connexions are our second selves ; and there is sometimes as 
tittle ditFercnce, and sometimes even less, between us and ihtni in 
our views and feflings, than between them and others. Nay. there 
are cases, in which we feel the interests of our connexions no feaa 
than ourown. A parent would often wiHingly suffer the disircsses 
ofachild, in order to accomplish relief for him ; and often lejoices 
more in hia prosperity, than if it were his own. . 

There is, perhaps, no solid reason in the nature of things, why 

(Sod should be loved more for the manifestation of goodness to- 

f ifvds one being, than for the same manifestation towards another. 

- SliUi with our present dispositions, those acts of his benevolence 

wBchreipect ourselves, will always, perhaps, appear moreaniiable 

than those which respect others. 

Gnititude, therefore, or Love loGod for the communicatiims of 
blessings to ourselves, and to those in whose well-being we find a 
direct and peculiar interest, is an affection oiAe mind, in some re- 
spects distinct from Complacency; an alfedKn, which mui, and 
ougbl 10 exist in this world. As wc can love God more foi bles- 
sings thus bestowed^ than for those bestowed on others ; >o we 
Oi^t to seise every occasion'lo exercise this love, to the iitmoat 
oToWPOwer: and such occasions enable us to exercise it in a su- 
perior See re e. 

Possibly, in a future world, and a higher state of exisletjre, all 
the blessings of God, communicated to rational beings, may affect 
ns, a£ if communicated lo ourselves ; and our Complacenci, in his 
flaractcrinaT Mniversatly become possessed of the whole intense- 
OK and ardoarof Gratitude. 

GratHuiitfttittitlcral as a virtue, it is always to be ^ememi^ered, 
itLmt, txtiiedby kindness cotnttmnicaled, or belitvtd to be e-mmu- 
nicaledt with virttiotu and good drsigns, and from good moliTu ^ ; not 
for kindnesit brsloncdfor base and stlfsh ends, in every c;ise of 
this imture, ibe kindae'ss, professed, is merely prctendeil, and 
bypocrilical. The Watowcr terminates all his views in hi* own 
iiav^niagc ; and has no ultimat© regard to the benefit of (lie re- 

The kindness of Cod is invnriably communicated with thi- best 
ofall designs, and moiives ; designs and motives infinitely ;;ood; 
tnd is, therefore, a display of a character infinitely exrtllent. 
Ucoce it is always to be regarded with Xiratitude. The gm J be- 

Si mercy ; as displaji^d la his wonu antl word, in his law aiid 
B ■ 


stowedisalsoihcWgheslgood; and therefore die higbCfllGralimdj 
► is due lo die besft)wer. ■'" 

Ol' preoepJBf rcfiuiring all these exercises of love, and prohibl 
ing llie want of them ; of examples, by which they are glorious^" 
■ illustraied ; of motives, promises, and rewards, by whicn ihey are 
t divinely encoui-aged ; the Scriptures are full. Particularly, ihe 

Good'wil! of the Psalmist to the infinitely great and glorious Cre- 
ator, Preserver, and Benefactor, of the Universe, is manifested, 
every where, throughout his sacred songs. Every where he re- 
joices In the desi||lU, and actions, of Jehovah; in the certain ac- 
complishment or- his designs; in the infinite glory, which he will 
J flenve from them all; in the prosperity of hiskingdom; audinthe 

1^. ■ joy, which he^expericnces in all tne works of his hands. 
y , E[[ua]ly does lie express his Complacency in the perfect char- 

E' . ' acicr of God; his wisdom, power, goodness, truth, faithfulaess, 

utd me 
\ ' QQspel, 

• Nor is he less abundant in his effusions of Gratitude for all 

J. divine goodness lo himself and his family to the people of /a 

I anil (he Churcli of God. In expressing these emotions, he is ar- 

dent, intense, sublime, and 1-aftui'ous: an illuslrious example lo 
* \ all,;who have come after him, of die manner, jot which we should 
IJ feel^ And in which wc should express, our love to God. 

K Like him, the Prophet Isaiah, the Apostle Paul, and generally 

f, all the Scriptural wjalers, in wovks not directly devotional, but 

W' ' doctrinal and preceptive, exhibit, with corresponding ardour and 
, • sublimityMflWjA most excellent dispositions. It is hardly neces- 
, sapy to add, that our own emotions, and expressions, ought lo be 

of the same general nature. ^ 
■ • Having thus exhibited, BiHroarily, the Nature of Love to God, 

in these three great exercises, 1 will now proceed to allege several 
reasons, which demand of us these exercises of piety. 

1st. Tliis service is "hig/ili/ rtaaonable, beautiful , and amiablt, in 
bUel/Mtnl creaturts. 

God, from the considerations mentioned in this discourse, pre- 
sents to us in his blessedness, in his excellence, and in his com- 
'' munications of g90d, filll possible reasons, in all possible degrees, 

why wc should exercise towards him our supreme Benevolence, 
Complacency, and Gratitude. His enjoyment is the sum of all 
happiness; his character the sum of all perfection; and his com- 
,' munications of goo J the amount of all the blessings, found ia the 
universe. These, urutftd, constitute an oHject, assemblllte in 
'^k^elf, comparatively speaking, aD naliu-al and moral beauty, gfory, 
and excellence ; whatever can be desired, esteemed, or loved. 
2dly. God injinileli/ lovti kimnelf. 

The conduct of God is, in every case, the result of views and 
' dispositions, perfectly wtte, and just, and good, and becomes, 

wherever they can imitate it, a perfect rule to direct the conduct 


Stai. XCtt] LOVE TO GOD. 69 

of his Intelligent creatures. In this case, the rale is as perfect, as 
in any other! and in this case, as well as every other, it is the 
highest honour, and the consummate rectitude, of *U Jnteliigent 
creatures, to resemble iheir Creator. So far as we resemble hia, 
we are secure of being right, excellent, and lovely. 

At the same itriie, so far as we are hke him, we are assumed of 
his approbation and love, and of receiving from his hands all the 
good, which our real interests require. As he loves himself; he 
caDnot but love his resemblance, wherever it is found. 
Sdly. tn this conduct tuc unitt with all virtuous beings. 
This is the very conduct, which especially constitutes them vir- 
tuous, and without which their virtue, in eiitn/ other sciifc, would 
cease to exist. For this they love and approve themselves : for 
this they will approve and love us. By these exercises of piety, 
then, we become, at once, entirely, and for ever, members of their 
glorious assembly ; secure of their esteem, fiiendship, and Idnd 
. offices; and entitled, ofcourse, toa participation of their divine 
r*and immortal enjoyment. The best friends, die most delightful 
cofflpantODs, the most honourable connexions, which the universe 
contains, or will ever contain, are in this manner made ours 
throughout the ages of our endlesHKing. 

4thly. We unite with God, and the virtuous universe, in voiunta- 
rHif promoting thai tvpreme good, which by his own perjectiontf and 
their iTiitrumenlatily, he Jias begun to accomplish. 

This work is literally divine : the supreme, the only, display of 
divine escellence, which ever has been, or ever will be, made : an 
inunense and eternal kingdom of virtue and happiness: all that 
wisdom can approve, or virtue desire. To engage in it, is to en- 
rage in the best of all employmeafb To choose it, is to exhibit 
Uie best of all characters. It is to choose what God himself 
chooses ; to pursue, what he pursues ; to act, as he acts ; and to 
hefei/ow-workers together with him in the glorious edifice of eternal 
fOod* The disposition required in this command, is the same, 
which in trim, and in all his virtuous creatures, originated, advan- 
ces, and will complete, this divine building in Its ever-growing 
liability, beauty, and splendour, 
fithly. We secure, and enjoy, the greatest happiness. 
Love lo God is a disposition inestimably sweet and delijghtful ; 
del^htful in itself; delightful in its oncrations; delightful In -its 
efiiscib All the exercises of it are in tlieu- own nature, and while 
theytflre passing, a aeries of exquisite enjoyments. They operate 
only to good ; and are, therefore, highly pleasurable in all their 
?ariou3 tendency. Their, cffecLu both within and without the soni, 
we cither pure, unmingled happiness, directly enjoyed by our- 
Klvea ; or a similar happiness, first enjoyed by others, and 
then returning to ourselves with a doubly encleared and charming 


This dispositioD leads us unceasingly to contemplate the most 
exalted, wonderful, and delightful objects; the things, which God 
has already done, is daily accompiislung, and has disclosed to us 
in his promises as hereafter to be accomplished. Conlemplaiioo 
on the works of God, when they are regarded as being his works, 
is capable of furnishing us with dignified and intense eiijoymeDL 
To produce this effect, however, it is indispensable, that we should 
view them under the influence of this disposition. The mind can 
experience no pleasure in contemplating the actions of a being, 
whom it does not love. Love to God opens the galea of enjoy- 
ment ; and of all enjoyment, furnished by the works of creation 
and providence, so lar as it springs from the consideration, thai 
ihey are Ai* work. Through tnis enjoyment it conducts the mind 
to others ; and to others stiU, in a train which knows no end. 
Wherever we are, or can be, dehghled with displays of boundless 
wisdom and boundless goodness, with the perfect efforts of a per 
feet character, Love to God is the guide which conducts us to the 
divine possession. 

Beyond this, He, who created us for this glorious purpose, and 
who delights lo see itaccomphshed, cannot fail to be pleased with 
us, while engaged in it; and, therefore, will not fail to reward us 
with his blessing. In this path, then, we ascend lo the divine fa- 
vour; ste the good of his chosen ; enjoy the gladness of kia nation j 
and share the glory of his inheritance. Eternal glory, then, is the 
natural, the necessary, result of Love to God. Indeed, eternal 
■glory is nothing but his eternal and unchangeable love to us, and 
our eternal and unchanging love to Him ; united with the same 
love, eitended, and reciprocated among all virtuous beings. In 
the world to come, this divine disposition will become more and 
more sweet and delightful ; and in every mind, be, in the beautiAi 
language of our Saviour, a toell of aaler, springing up unto everUtt- 
ing life. 

6thly. Without love to God, there can be no Virtue, or Moral 

Love is a single character; uniform in its nature, and in no way 
separable, even in contemplation, except, merely, as it is exercis- 
ea towards different objects. These give it all those, which are 
considered as its different forms. In aU these forms it is exercised 
by the same man, in exactly the same manner. If it be found in 
one of these forms, in any mind, it is, of course, found in Ae same 
mind, in every other form, whenever the object, which gives it that 
form, is presented to that mind. Thus he, who possesses Bene-oo- 
lence, when happiness is the object present to him, exercises 
Complacency whenever he contemplates Moral Excellence ; aodf 
Gratitude, whenever he turns his thoughts towards a Benefactor, 
Thus also, he, who loves God, loves his fellow-creatures of couraei 
and, of course, governs himself with evangelical moderation ata 
celf-denial. In all these exercises of mind, and all others of a vir* 


tuous nature, a single, indivisible disposition exisis, and operates. 
This disposition is Uie Love, retiuircd by the divine law; the Love, 
which St. Paul declares lobe Ihe/vlJiUing of lk( Lam t not Love, 
of various kinds ; not a train or dispositions, diversified in their na- 
ture, and springing up, successively, at new objects are presented 
(o the nilncl : but Love, of exactly the same nature, diversified only 
by being exercised towards difierent ot jects. 

This disposition is the only real excellence of mind. There -4 

is no ultimate good, but happiness; and no disposition originally fl 

food, but that which rejoices in It, and voluntarily promotes it. ' ■ 
lenevolence is, therefore, the only original excellence of mind; ' 

and 13 the foundation of all the real excellence of Complacency 
and Gratitude ; which are only subordinate forms, or exercises, of 
the same character. 

7thly. ji higher, nobler, slale of being is enjoyed bj/ him, wA* 
Imts God, than can possibly be enjoyed by any other. 

God is the Origin, and Residence, of all ihat is great, or good, 
in the universe. All other greatness and goodness are mere ema- 
nations from the greatness and goodness of Jehovah. To have 
no delight in these glorious attributes, boundlessly existing in the 
lolinltc Mind, is to be destitute of the noblest and best of all view3 
and affections ; of affections and views, fitted in ihelr own nature 
to improve, ennoble, refine, and enrapture, the mind j and to form 
it into a most honourable resemblance 10 the Sum of all perfection. 
Without this disposition, we are sinners ; enemies to God ; spots 
in his kingdom ; and nuisances to the universe : are debased, 
guilty, and hateful, here ; and shall be endlessly guilty and miser- 
able nereafter. 
8lhly. In this manner Kt obey God, J 

God. whose me are, and ickom ;oe are btnind to serve, has been M 

pleased 10 express his pleasure to the Intelligent universe in these * ■ 
two commands. He, who published them, is our Maker, our Pre- ■• 

^ server, and our Benefactor. We are his property ; created by his 
band ; formed for his use ; ihade for his glory. His right to dis- 
pose of us according to his pleasure is, therefore, supreme ; and 
mch as cannot be questioned. It is a right, of course, which, al- 
Ihosgh so exercised, as lo demand of us very great, and long-con- 
tinued self-denial, is ever tube submissively, patiently, and cheer- 
ftilly, icltnowledged by us. Whatever God is pleased to require 
lis to Aj, or to suffer, we arc to do with delight, and suffer with ab- 
lofuie resignation. I do not mean, that we can be required, either 
HJdi justice or propriety, to do, or to suffer, any thing which is un- 
^Kl, or wrong. To require this of Intelligent creatures, is literally 
' B^pcwsible for a Mind infinitely perfect. But I mean, that what- 
< Mer this perfect and great Being actually requires, we are abso- 
httely bound to do, or suffer, in this manner. 

At the same lime, it is a soui'ce of Unceasing satisfaction and de- 
li^t, to ditcern, from the nalurt of the subject itself, that all. 


which is uctnalli/ reqtnred, is holy, just, and good ; supremely faon- 
ourable to Him, and supremely beneficial to his Intelligent crea- 
tures. This, I flatter myself, has been sufficiently shown in this 
and the preceding discourses. It is delightful, while we are em- 
ployed in obeying God, to perceive immediately, that our conduct 
IS io all respects desirable ; the most desirable, the most amiable, 
the most delightful, of all possible conduct ; in a word, the only 
conduct, which really deserves these epithets. 

Obedience to a parent, possessed of peculiar wisdom and good- 
ness, is, to every dutiful child, delightful in itself; not only, when 
the thing, required by bim, is in its own nature pleasing ; but also 
when it is indifferent, and even when it is difficult and painful. — 
The pleasure, enjoyed, is in a great measure independent of that 
whicn is done ; ana consists, primarily, in the delightful nature of 
those affections, which are exercised in obeying, and in the sa- 
tisfaction of pleasing Him, whom we obey, by the respect and 
love, manifested in our obedience. The Parent of the universe is 
possessed of infinite wisdom and goodness. To please him, there- 
rore, is supremely desirable and delightful. But the only conduct, 
in which we can possibly pileasc him, is our obedience ; and our 
only obedience is to /oce han aith all the heart, and our neighbour 

Thus, whetlier we regard ourselves, and wish to be virtuous, 
escellenl, honourable, and happy ; or whether we regard ourjtl- 
law-ereatura, and wish to render them happy ; to unite with them 
iuapureand eternal friendship; to receive unceasingly their es 
teem and kind offices ; and to add our efforts lo theirs for the pro- 
motion of the universal good ; or whether we regard God ; and 
desire to obey, to please, and lo glorify Him ; to coincide volun- 
tarily with the designs, formed by his boundless wisdom and good- 
ness ; and to advance with our own cordial exertions the divine 
and immortal ends, which he is accomplishing ; we shall make it 
our chief object to love iht Lord, our God, with all the heart, am' 
nilh all the soul, and with ail the strength, and with all the u 


In (he last discourse, I examined the J'falure o/LoTie to God^ as 
manifested in those three great exercises of it, which are com- 
monl)' spoken of under this name : viz. Benevolence, Complacent 
cy, and Gratitude. 1 shall now consider another exercise of this 
uectioQ, of sufficient magniiude to claim a particular discussion 
in a system of Theology. This is Reverence to the tame glorious 

The Context is an eulogium on Wiidom ; uttered in the noblest 
spirit of poetry. After describing, in a variety of particulars, the 
surprising effects of human ingenuity, and declaring, that, extraor- 
dinary as these may seem, the mgenuity, which has produced them, 
it utlerlr insufficient to discover the nature of this glorious attain- 
ment ; Job asserts its value to be greater than any, and than all, 
the most precious things, which this world contains. In this state 
of human insufficiency, he informs us, God was pleased to in- 
terfere, and by a direct Revelation to declare lo man, that the 
fear of the Lord u Wiidom, and to depart from evil is Under- 

By Wiidom, throughout the Scriptures, in the common language 
of such men as understand the meaning of their own language, is 
unJTersally intended that Conduct, in mAi'cA the beat Means are »e- 
Uettd to accomplish the best Enda ,■ or the Spirit, which chooses thete 
Imdsy and celectt these Meanifor their acconwtiihment. In thejbr- 
tMrnuf, the name refers to the Conduct only) in the latltr, to tht 
Character. The best of all Ends, which it is possible for Intelli- 
gent creatures to pursue, is the combined and perfectly coincident 
one of glorifying God, and promoting the good of the universe. 
TbeS[Mrit, with which this is done in Oieonly effectual manner, ia 
that, which is here styled the Fear of the Lord. The Means, by 
which it b done, are partly the Spint itself, in its various exercises 
and operations ; and partly extraneous Means, devised, and em- 
ployed, by the same Spirit. 

A subordinate, but still very important, end, which is, or ought 
to be, proposed to himself by every Intelligent creature, and Tor 
wliicb the most efficacious means ought to be employed by him, ii 

Vol. m. to 



his own EUmal Happiness. The Fear of the Lord is equally Wit- 
dom^ in this view ; as being the only disposition, which can either 
be happy in itself, or receive its proper reward from God. 

Every person, who has read the Scriptures of the Old Testa- 
ment, must have observed, that this phrase, the Fear of the Lord^ 
and others substantially involving the same words, as well as the 
same meaning, are oftener used to denote the moral character, 
which is acceptable to God, than any, perhaps than all, oth^ 
phrase3 whateyjer. It must, also, have struck every such reader, 
that this plirase is often used to denote all moral excellence ; par- 
ticularly, that supreme branch of this excellence, which is deno* 
minated Piety. This is plainly the drift of the text ; and of oiany 
other 'corresponding passages of Scripture. Thus it is Md^ -T^t 
Fear of the Lord ts the beginnings or the chief part, ofWuidomm 
PsaUn cxi. 10. TTu Ftar of the Lord u a fountain if Vfk^ Pvov. 
xiv. 27. The Fear of the Lord is his treasure, b. zxzni. 6«- Id 
these,' and a multitude of other, deiclarations, of a similar inpoft, it 
is plsSnly indicated, that the Fear of the Lord is the sum^ and sub^ 
stance^ of that morally excellent character, which is the obj«^ d 
the divine complacency. 

It musft, at the same time, be equally obvious to every atteoCife 
reader df the Bible, that Love io Uod nas, there^ exactlyr^hcf BUm 
character: being, in the language of Sf.Poti/, th^ftJfiilingbf.ihs 
lata ; ahd in that of Sf. John, the same thing, as bemg bomofOoi 
andknoaii^ Ood) in thesehse, in which such knowle<%e ni de- 
clared by pur Saviour to bb life eternal. ■ ' «<-' 

Buttner^ are not two distinct moral characters, sererally fhus 
excellent ; thus the objects of the divine complacency,- amh the 
foundations of eternal fife. Moral excellence is one thhig^j sund 
moral beinai have but one character j which recommends Ibent to 
God. As %is IS (bus dififerendy spoken of tinderthe names of lAt 
Love of Q^ s(nd the Ftar of God, both in the Old andNeir Tes« 
tament ; it is sufficielitly evident to a miild, even sKghtly atteetire^ 
that fAe Fear ofCfod, and Love ofOod, are but Onecfaaracter^^ap^ 
pearihg under different modifications. 'Accordingly samts, -or te- 
ly persons, ate spoken of sometimes aj^ those ^o fear God^^ ttoA 
sometimes as those who love God : each of these exerds^ hriSng 
cbnsidered as involving the other ; and both, asparts only of one 
character. . • 

" That this view of the subiect is perfectly Just, is easily tepWii* 
e4 by a c6ti8iqerati6ii of its , Nature. There kre tWo tottdHy. ds- 
tiAct exercises, which in the' Scriptures, as well as in tidmmoithkBh 
gulage, are 'denoted by Fearing God ; which may be call^ Arasd^ 
and Reverence. The former of these emotions is diiit,^'whieh is 
^cjfierienc^ by meti,, consdotts of their guilt, feeKng'tet' they 
liave miiiv^ tne*&nger of God, • ^eoid r^liahg the danMudf ivfler* 
ing from his hand the punishment of their sins. In iku it is plain, 
that there can be no moral excellence. All that can be said in 


fiiTOur of it is, that it may serve as a check to sin ; and prove, 
imong other means, useful to bring sinners to repentance. In tt« 
idf itismene tern»r; and in the language of the Scriptures only 
BMdces lis sMect to bondage. The Tatter of these emotions is a 
oorapound of Fear and love, usuallv styled Reverence ; end is 
oftfto that exercise of the mind, in which its whole attachment is 
exerted towards God. Fear^ in this sense, is a strong apprehend 
nan of the greatness^ and the ferity ^ ofGod^ excited in the mind of 
apersonf who loves him supremely. A lively example of a similar 
emotion is presented to us by the reverence, with which a dutiful 
^Id regards a highly respected Earthly P^ent. Accordingly, 
the feer of God, m this sense, is commonlv styled ^/ta/; in the 
fiwmer sense,, it is often termed servile or slavish; as being of the 
s—e uatufe .with the dread, which a mercenary servant stands in 
of an imperious master. 

: It 18 perfectly evident, that the distinction between these two 
enoCions is founded entirely on the character of thos^e, by whom 
they aire severally exercised. Reverence to God is experienced 
only by those who love him ; and is plainly the fear, exercised by 
an affiectiooate mind only. Were Love the only character of the 
mind. Dread could not possibly find a place in it. There is no 
fear m love^ says St. John ; but perfect love casteth out fear. He 
ihaiftareih is not made perfect in love. As Christians in this world 
are not made perfect in love ; the fear, spoken of in this passage,. 
viz» that- which I have called dreadj is, in greater or less degrees, 
experienced by them. Wipked men are incapable of reverenc- 
JBgGod ; and only feel a dread of his anger and of punis^erit. 

^The Reverence, which is the immediate subject of obnsidera- 
tion, ordinarily exists in the mind of a good man, wbepever his 
contemplations are turned towards the Creator, or towards those 
directs, which are peculiarly his and in which he is peculiarly 
^ His a steaayj solemn, and delightful awCf excited in th$ 
I ij/ every viem which it takes of the perfections, an d i^ eratiom. , 
dF4hi9 great and glorious Being. In our contemplatioi)S, on his'- 
Character, He lumself becomes immediately the object of our 
Ihonglits. In all other cases we see him through the medium of his 
.vcuks, his word, or his ordinances. In all these, and in these 
•lone, are we able to discern his real character. In all these we 
Mold him awfully great, and wise, and good. In his Works, we 
are witnesses of that boundless benevolence which chose, that 
boondless knowledge which contrived, and that boundless power 
lAidi^MOduced, their existence ; aR of them seen, daily, in every 
plMe^iadin every object. It is impossible for the mind, whicn 
■••not totally destitute of Piety, to oehold the sublime, the aw- 
M, tlie< amazing, works of Creation and Providence ; the heaveqs 
widi Aeir iomioaries, the mountains, the ocean, the storm, the 
MrChqoike, and the volcano : the circuit of the seasons, and the 
nrohnons of. empire : without marking in them all the mighty 



hand of God. and feeling strong emotions of Reverence towards 
the Author oi these stupendous works. At some of them all men 
tremble : at others all men are astonished. But the sanctified 
mind, while it is affected in the same manner, blends its fear with 
love ; and mingles delight even with its apprehensions ; is serene 
amid the convulsions, which only terrify others ; and encouragc^d, 
while all around are overwhelmed with dismay. 

In thi Word o/God^ these attributes are, in some respectSi ex- 
hibited in a still more affectine manner. Here, the designs of this 
awftd Being are unfolded, ana his works presented, to us, as a vast 
system of means, operating in a perfect manner to the production 
of the most divine and glorious ends. Here, the pure and per* 
feet Rectitude of the Creator, his unlimited Wisdom, and overflow- 
ing Goodness, are still more divine^ manifested in the Law, by 
which he governs the universe, and in the scheme of restoring 
mankind to holiness by the Redemption of his Son, disclosed to 
us in the Gospel. The boundless nature of these things invests 
them with a magnificence and sublimity, wonderfully mcreasing 
the Reverence, excited by the things themselves ; out nothing 
seems to me more fitted to awaken this emotion, than a sense of 
that spotless purity, in the viow of which the heavens are imcleauj 
and the angels chargeable with folly. In the solemn contempla- 
tion of this awfully amiable attribute, it seems difficult to forbear 
exclaiming, What is man^ who drxnketh iniqvity like water f The 
same emotion, mingled with stronger feelings of alarm, is pro- 
duced, also, by a contemplation of those amazing events, wnich 
are proclaimed by the voice of prophecy concerning the future des 
tination of man : the Conflagration, the Judgment, and the Retri- 
butions of the righteous and the wicked. 

In the Ordinances of Religion^ the very same things are present- 
ed to the view of the mind, which so deeply affect it in the Works, 
and especial! V in the Word of God) and are presented to us in. a 
manner peculiarly interesting. Here, we in a peculiar manner draw 
nigh to God } and apply to ourselves, 'with unrivalled force, the 
great, the awfiil, ana the glorious things, which excite our Rever- 
ence. They are, of course, all seen in the clearest lieht ; and felt 
with the deepest impression. Our Reverence, therefore, is apt to 
be here felt in a peculiar de^ee ; not a little enhanced by the sym- 
pathy, exercised by multitudes feeling the same impression. 

No affection of the mind is more usefiil than this ; especially, 
when it has become so invi^rated by habit, as to min^e itself 
with all our thoughts and feelings. It cannot but be advantageous 
to mention, particularly, some of the happy consequences, which 
it regularly produces. As a preface to this subject, it will, how- 
ever, be proper to observe, generally, that habitual Reverence to 
God may be justly regardea as being, peculiarly, the spirit, widi 
which his commandments are scrupulously and mithfully obeyed. 
F%ar Oodj saith Solomon^ and keep ku commandments : for this it lAs 




whole duty of man: or, in the better language of Hodgam^* Ver- 
Boui thi$ is all that cohcemethman. Here we have presented to us 
the twoereat parts of humap duty; our active obedience, and the 

Sirit wiui which we obey. This spirit is announced by him to be 
•Terence. He does not say, .Lave God^ and kttf his corrtfnand- 
menu ; but gives this all-comprehensive injunction in what seems 
to me very evidently better language. If we suppose ourselves to 
love God, without faring him ; I have no hesitation in saying, we 
should not keep his commandments, while possessed of our pre- 
sent imperfection, either to such an extent, or with such exactness, 
as we now do when under the government of evangelical Rever- 
ence. Reverence adds new motives of obedience to those, whicli 
are presented by love, considered by itself: Motives pre-eminent- 
ly powerful and extensive; niching the heart immeaiately *, and 
extending to all persons, occasions, and times. Hence it becomes 
a most powerful prompter to universal obedience : and, although 
love is Uie disposition, which renders this emotion excellent ; and 
although the emotion itself is only one modification of love; yet, 
in my own view, and if I mistake not, in the view of the Scriptures 
also, it b, at least in such beings as men are, a more energetic prin- 
ciple, than mere love, existing, as it actually does exist in human 
minds« Hence, after so much solemn preparation in the context, 
God declares in the text, 7%e Fear o/ihe Lardj that is Wisdom, 
Hence, St. Paid says to the Corinthiansj Havings therefore^ then 
fromieeMy dearly beloved^ let us cleanse ourselves from all flthiness 
oftkefieshy ana of the sj^rit ; perfecting holiness in the Fear of God. 
In this passage it is evident that, in the view of St. Paul, tne Fear 
if God IB the primary means of advancing personal holiness to 
perfection. It is in this view also, that the Prophet Isaiah declares 
tkt Fear of the Lord to be his treasure; the attribute, which, in 
man, he especially prizes, and in which he peculiarly delights. 

lliese ODservations concerning the general influence of this at- 
tribute are sufficient for the present purpose. I shall now, there- 
fere, pfoceed to mention its particular influence on the Christian 

Ist. Religious Reverence has a peculiar tendency to render our 
worship acceptable to God. 

Wherefore^ says St. Paulj we receiving a kingdom which cannot be 
wunedjkius have graccj whereby we may serve him acceptably with 
reverence tmd goMv fear. In this passage, the grace of God is 
exhibited to us as the cause, which enables us to worship God ac- 
ceptably ; and Reverence and £odly Fear, two names for the same 
dispositMm, as the spirit, with which acceptable worship is perform- 
ed. ^Bj this spirit,'' says Dr. Owen, ^^ the soul is moved and ex« 
dted to spiritual care and diligence, not to provoke so great, so 
holy, and so jealous, a God by a neglect of tnat exerdse of ^race^ 
he re4Dire8 in his service, which is due to him on account of his g|lo^ 
noas excellencies.'' 


In accordance with this representation of th^ Apostle, the Psalm- 
ist says, Ps. v. 7, As for me, IwUl come into thy hmse in the mii/l»-. 
tude of4ku mercy f and m thf fear mil I worship toward thy hobf 
temple. Our Saviour aboy speaking in the 33a Psahn, says, n*^' 
that fear th^ Lord praise him; all ye seed of JUcob glorify him'f^^ 
and fear him alive seed of Israel. In the fonner of these passagesi 
the rsalmist under the influence of inspiMtlon teaches us that the' 
Fear of God is prereminehtly the spirit with which he would ch< 
to prrfonn his worship in the temple ; and the spirit, of cov 
which he knew would render that worship acceptable to G< 
In the latter of these passages, our Savioui^ mentions those, who *' 
fear God, as the proper persons to be employed in his praiae ; 
and teaches us therefore, that dus is the spirit, with whicn alone 
men are becomingly occupied in this solemn and' delightful act of 
worship* At the close of the verse^ lie exhibits those, who fear 
God, as the persons who glorify him* 

A [jrime [Mtrt of the character; given of Joi, is that he feared 
God. Perhap, this may be alleged as the true reason, whv his 
prayers for his three friends were accepted on their behalf: for 
we find him immediately before, humbline himself in the presence 
of God with expressions of the most profound Reverence. Cor- 
nelius^ also, seems to have had his prefers, as well as his a/ihJr, oc-, ' 
cepted, because he feared Qod. - A much stronger instance than 
these ; the strongest indeedj which can be supposed ; is riven as 
in Heb. v. 7, where it is said of Christ, Who m tht days of nis fleshy ' 
when he had offered vp prayers and supplications^ with strong crying ^ 
and tears J unto him that was able to save him from death} and was 
heardj in that he feared. If this translation* of the passage be ad-. 
mitted, as the natural meaning of the words i*equureisj ) aha as, not- 
withstanding the opinion of several -commentators, seems r6as6n« 
able ; we are here taught, that even Chridt himself,' on the great 
occasion referred to, was heard on account of the Reverence, with 
which his supplications were presented. Perhaps this extraordi- . 
nary declaration was made, especially to teach us, that Without re- 
ligious Reverence no prayer can be accepted of God ; and thus 
to render us peculiarly careful not to approach the throne of 
graee without emotions m a high degree reverential. ' ' 

I will only add to these observations from the^ Scriptures, that a 
great part of the worship, transcribed in them from tne mouths of 
pious men, consists in reverential sentiments arid expressions. 

What the Scriptures thus teach is perfectly accordant with the 
dictates of our Reason. No views^ no emotioni^, in Us, can, be 
supposed to become the worship of God, v^hich are not either di- . 
rectiy reverential^ or such as flow from a geli^rally reverential , 
state of mind. If we remember how gr^at a Being God is ; ' that ' 

he is Self-existent and Independent ; that her Is Abnighty and Om- 

niDresenf; that he searches the hearts and tries the reins ) ' that heu * *] 
of fmrer tyes4km to behold iniquUy: Md ccifmof todk tAdnjinhm 

an. xrni] REVfciuufcx of qqd. * 79 

Ud with abhorrence; if we think, at the same time, hoic dependient 
wit are upon him ; how little we are ; how ^ilty ; how ei posed 

rlSL^his anger ; how imperfect in our best services ; and how. unde- 
btfrving of anj acceptance : if we remember, that he is, and that 
Ikere is none beside him / and that not only ve, but all nations are as* 
moikmg before him; that he is glorious in holiness^ Jtarfyl m 
ftmses^ and transcendently awful m his pmnty : it cannot be pos*- 
jAiat for lis to avoid feeling, that no thoughts, afiections, or con-* 
^lAikt, can become those who worship him, but such as are accom« 
paiued by solemn awe, and profound Reverence. for his perfect 
character ; that, as his name u Holy and Reverend^ so his worship . 
ahoy Id be ever celebrated with godly Fear. 

9dly. Religious Reverence is peculiarly the means of exciting^ 
and keeping alive, an abhorrence of sin* 

The Tear of the Lord, says Solomonj or rather Christ, speaking ' 
by Solomon, is to hate evil; Prov. viii. 13 : that is, it is a part of > 
the very nature of religious Reverence to hate evil. The trans* 
gression of the wicked saith in my heart, there is no fear of God 
before his eyes. In this passage the Psalmist declares, that the 
transgression of the wicked proved to his satisfaction, that there was 
no fear of God before his eyes. Why ? Plainly, because the wick- 
ed, if he feared God, woula cease to transgress* Of Job it is said. 
He feared God, and eschewed evil. In this passage we are direct- 
ly taught, that he eschewed evil because he feared God. After 
God appeared to him with awful ^lory and majesty, his views of 
tU hatenilness and vileness of his sms were exceedingly enhanced 
by the clear apprehensions, which he entertained of the supreme 
neatness and excellency of his Maker. His reverential awe of 
God on the one hand, and his abhorrence of himself and his sins 
on the other, are very forcibly exhibited in his own language. Be* -. 
hold I am vile ; what shall I answer thee ? I will lay my hand upon 
wy mouih. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear ; buH 
worn mine eye seeth thee, nhertfore I abhor myself, and repent m 
iut and ashes. 

It hardly needs to be observed, that nothing can impress on our 
minds the odiousness of sin in such a manner, as clear and affect- 
ing Tiews of the Purity of Jehovah, and the Reverence for him, 
with which these views are attended ; or, in better lan^age, of 
which these viewB constitute an essential part. So entirely are 
mankind, at least those of them who speak our language, sensi- 
ble of this ; that, in judicial processes against criminals, the law 
constantly assigns as a primary cause of their conunission of 
crimes, that they had not the fear of God before their eyes.^ This is 
the sSion^est of all human testimony, that the Fear of God is the 
neai and controlling cause of hating and abstaining from iniquity* 
Of coarse, 
. 3dly* Religious Reverence is the great source (^ Reformation,^ 



The Ptar of the Lord^ says Soloinanj is to hate evU. Prov. viii» 
IS. In this declaration we are taught, that Rererence to God » 
so extensively the cause of departing from evil, that it was proper, ' ' 
in the view of the Spirit of God, to declare it to ber the sametm^'; »' 
with departure from evil. Substantially in the same manner it^. V 
this trutn exhibited in the text ; where the Fear of the Lord is de- . 
clak*ed to be Wisdomy and depa^ifre from evil Understanding. By 
wisdom and understandings nere, it is scarcely necessary to say,. 
the same thing is intended : and this, in the former part of the 
verse, is declared to be the Fear of the Lord; and in the latter. 
Departure from evil. Fear the Lord^ says Solomon to his Son, 
Prov. iii. 7, and depart from evil. And again, Prov. xiv» 37, T%€ 
Fear of the Lord is a fountain of life^ to' depart from the snares of 
death. And again, in language somewhat different, Prov.xiii. 14, 
7%e law of the zoise is a fountain of life^ to depart from the snares 
of death. Here religious Reverence, styled in the former passage 
the fear of the Loral and in the latter the law of the ivue, is oe- 
clared to be a fountain of life^ sending forth unceasing streams, of 
', which he who drinks, .will be both enabled, and inclined, to depart 
from the snares of death : that is, from sins, which are fatal snares 
to all who practise them. 

But to depart from evil is, necessarily, to do gopd. Moral be- 
ings are by their nature always employed in obedience, or disobe* 
dience. He therefore, who ceases to do evilj invariably leartts to 
do well ; is invariably employed itl the great business of reforming 
his life, and endeavouring to glorify his Creator. 

'4thly. Religious Reverence is pecidiarlt/ the source of rectitude w 
our dispositions J and conduct^ towards mankind. 

Th^re was^ saith our Saviour, in a certain ct/y, ajudge^ mho ntt^ 
'\ 'ther'fitfred God, nor regarded man. This account of the ^ubfect 
*^* IS metaphysically, and universally, just. He, who does not fear 
God, will not regard man in any such manner, as reason acknow- 
ledges to consist with moral rectitude, and as all men declare to be 
d)ie from man to man. He may indeed, like the unjust judge in 
tm parable, for the sake of freeing himself from importunity and 
trouole, for the sake of reputation, convenience, gain, or some 
other selfish object, act witn propriety in his external conduct ; 
but he will never possess any real' rectitude, and cannot therefore 
act under its influence. 

When Jehoshaphat set Judges in l£e land, he said unto them, 
Thke heed what ye do : for ye fudge not for man^ but for the Lordj 
who is with you in tht judgment. Wherefore^ now, let the Fear of 
the Lord be tmon you ; fa£e heed, and doit : for there is no iniqidiy 
with the Lord our Ctod; nor respect of persons ; nor taking of gifts. 
These are obviously the best rules ever given to judicial officers 
for the direction of their moral conduct ; and such judees, and 
such rulers, as have accorded with them, have nndouotealy been 

■ * 


the best, when prejudice lias not operated in a peculiar manner^ 
which the world nas ever seen. In all these, tne Fear of Ood 
the controlling principle* Concerning those rulers, whose 
Rict is recorded in the Scriptures, the subject does not admit 

a doubt : for the divine writers have marked each case so strong- 

as to put it Wholly out of Question. Concerning such men, as 

•€«, Samudj Josim, and J^ekemUL no inan is at a loss. There 
Jm as little unceftamty conbemin^ Alfred the Oreai, Sir MoUthew 
Bale, aod many others, in later tunes. All these, and all other 
men eta, similar character, were supremely controUed in their con- 
duct by the Fear of God ; the great thing insisted on by JehothO' 
pkat in these directions. 

Jfehemiak, particularly, informs us concerning thb subject, as it 
respected himselC The former Gavemarij says he, who nave been 
be/ire nu, were chargeable unto the veople :and had taken ^ them 
bread and wine; betidee forty shekels} YeOj even their ServamU 
bear rule over the people: but so did not /, becaiase of the Fear of 

Of Hmaniahj the Ruler of the Palace, this emmendy worthy 
man says, chapter vii. 3, that he gave him charge over Jefuecdem, 
because he was a faithful man, ana feared God above many. Of 
Cornelius it is said, he- feared Ood, and gave miuch alms to thepeo- 
pie. Of Obadiah, the governor of Ahab^s house, it is declared, 
chat he feared the Lord greatly ; and thai, he had thus feared him 
from his youth. As a proof, as well as consequence, of this spi- 
rit, we are informed, that, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of tk$. 
Lord, he took an hundred and fifty of them, and hid them m cavu } 
where he kqft, and fed them, at the .daily hazard of his lifi^. 3f, 
St. Paul, reli^ous Keverence is alleged as the ground, and dreo* ' 
torv, of Christian submission to lawful authority, E(iiu t9*9irf~^ 
ina by Malachi, cheipter iii* 16, as the cause of Christian fel- 

Thus we find this spirit extending its beni^ influence to the 
Tvious branches of Christian duty ; and provmff a peculiarly eS^-, • 
ficacious cause of zeal, and exemplariness, m all diose parts of A ' 
lehgious life, which contribute, immediately, to the well-being of 
oar fellow-men. 

5thly. Religious Reverence is the foundation of peculiar Bless* 
tugs to the present world. 

The secret of the Lord, says the Psalmist, is with them that femr 
Urn. Ps. :cxv. 14. He hath given meat to them that fear himm' 
Ps. cxi. 5. TTureis no want to them that fear him. Ps. xzxiv. 9. 
Af the fear of the Lord are riches and honour. Prov xxii. 4. J%e 
angel of the Lord encampeth about them that fear him. Ps. zzziv* 
7. lie will fulfil the desire of them that fetffr him. Ps. cxlv. 19« 
These promises, and these declarations, furnish complete security 
to those who fear God, that they shall really want no good thing: 

Vol. HI. 11 




Ihat iheir circumstances shall be so ordered, as that all Ikinga shall 
tUK-k Mgethtr for their good. They may indeed be troubled, and 
pftseculed, and even cut off by a violent death. But these evila 
will take place, only when they become necessary ; and when 
they themselves, as well as others, will become more happy, in 
the end, by means of them, than they could be without LQem. — ■ 
Ordinarily, they will find, in limes both of adversity and prosperi- 
. ty,' ways, and those very numerous, in which God vi\t snow nim- 
Veif more attentive (o their real good, than they themselves were ; 
artJ, even in this life, will often see, that the most untoward 
events, as they seemed while passing, are such as they them- 
seives, while taking a retrospective view, would choose to have 
had bcfal them. At the same time, all their enjoyments are 
hiMtirtgt; and not, like those of the wicked, enjoymtnta mercltf. 
At' the same time also, while the sufferings of the wicked are pun- 
iehments dnd curses, the afiLcUons of such as fear God are only 
blessings in disguise. 
I 6thly, Religious Bevermet U especially the means of securing 
eternal life. 

Swrel^, saith the Psalmist, his salvation is nigh lo them thai fear 
hirm Pa. Izzzv. 9. / know, saith Solomon, it shall be welt with 
them that fear God, which fear before him. But it shall not beaelt 
with the wicked, because hefearelh not btfan God. Eccles. viii. 12, 
13. And again; 7%e Fear of the Lord itndeth to life. Prov. lii. 
33. And again ; The Fear of the Lord is a fountain of life ; and 
to sum up all in a single declaration, The wicked are declared by 
Christ in the character of Wisdom, Prov. i. 29, to be finally given 
over to destruction because they haled knowledge, and did not choose 
the /W of tht Lord. But it is unnecessary to spend time, any 
finther, in illustraiing a doctrine, which necessanly follows froa 
■' observations, made under the preceding heads. 


From these observations Glmstrans are taught, fl 

Ist. T7u tvpreme Importance of the Fear of God. " | 

This affection is indispensable lo the acceptableness of thdr 
worship, and their obedience ; to their natred of sin ; their safety 
in temptation ; and the amendment of their lives. It is a primary 
iftgredifent of their piety. It is the well-spring of their Dcnevo- 
lence, justice, faithfulness, and brotheriy love ; of rectitude ill 
thiftm, when rulers; of submission, good order, and public spirit, 
when sirbjecta. It 5s indispensable to their enjoyment of the fa- 
vour of God in this life, and his everlasting kindness in the life to 
come. Higher motives to the attainment of any character cannot 
be alleged. Let every Christian, then, cherish and cultivate re- 
ligious Reverence in his own mind. Let him often, and habitually, 
bring before his eyes the awful Being, who is the only object of 


this affection, and whose sole prerogative it is to demand it of his 
creaiures. Lei him fasten his views on the presence and great- 
ness, the purity and glory, of Jehovah ; and solemnly discern, and 
confess, tliat he himself is nolhing, hit than nothing, and vanitu, 
la the incommunicable splendour, in the incomprehensible majes- 
iy,j>f tbe Uncreated Mind, all created glory is lost and forgolteB* 
In thc^cresence of the Sun of Righteousness every star hides 'its 
diminisoed head. Before his beams the lustre of angels, and 
archangels, fades into nothing. In the presence of his purity t!u 
heaxeni themselves, spotless as they are to a created eye, art tm- 
ciean. Whal then w man, thai God should be mindpd of him; 
or lAt ton of man, thai he should visit him? What indeed are 
we ; what indeed must we be ; in the presence of such a being 
ai this? 

Such thoughts as these ought ever to be present in the mind* 
Whenever it turns its views towards the Creator, those views 
ought, from motives of interest and duty alike, to be, invariably, of 
the BKist reverential kind. They most become the character of 
God; an eminently pleasing in his sight; constitute the best and 
happiest &ame of mind ; and most advantageously influence us in 
all oar duly. 

3dly. From these observations it is clear, that habilaal Bevifenet 
to God is one of the best Evidences oj" Piety. 

After what has been said, this truth needs no further illustration. 
All that is necessary to add is, that we are bound to examine our< 
idves accordingly. 

3d]y. ^s Reverence to God is the most pmjitahle, so Irrtverenet 
ii the mosi dangerous, habit, which can easily be conceived. 

As I shall have occasion to dwell particularly on this subject, 
when 1 come lo consider the third command in the decalogue; I 
shall not dwell upon it here. It is sufficient to observe at iht 
present time, that every person, who is the subject of this charac- 
ter, ought to tremble at the danger, to which he is daily exposing 
Wseti. There is no manner, in which he can more effectually 
budea his own heart, or provoke the anger of God. 

4tUy. He, who does not reverence God liabitualli/, is here tavght. 
Am Ac u wholly destitide of religion. 

There is a state of mind, in such persons especially as have 
been taught to fear God from the morning of life, and have retain- 
ed a strong mflueace of these impressions, which it is often difficult 
to distinguish from evangelical Reverence. Bnt there is also a 
»lBie of mind very extensively existing, which is wholly destitute 
<^ this attribute, and which, if examined with an ordinary degree of 
hooesty and candour, may be easily discerned. No infidel, no 
{vo&oe person, no mere sensualist, or worldling, needs to hesi- 
tate, for anK»ncnt,io determining that he is destitute of Reverence 
to God, and consequently of Religion. Of course, he ought to 



regard himself as plainly an object of divine wrath ; and, so far as 
he has bilherto lived, an acknowledged heir of perdition. Thtftar 
ofQod U a fountain of lift. Irreverence to him is a well-spring 
of everlasting death. Let every irreverent man remember there- 
fore, that, to such as he is, God is a consuming fire, 

I have dwelt more minutely and extensively on this great sub- 
ject of Religion, because of its inherent importance, and oecause it 
It, I think tmhappily, a rare topic of discussion from the desk. 



IN the precedhig discourse I considered, at some length, that 
exercise of love to God which is styled Rtverenct. I will now 
proceed to examine the kindred virtue of Hvmiiit^, an attribute 
which seems to ciiifer from Reverence not so much in its nature as 
in its object. God is the object of levereDcej ourselves, of hu- 
mility. The state of the mind in the exercise of these Christian 
paces seems to be the same. It is hardly possible that he, who 
IS now employed in reverencing his Maker, when casting his eye 
towards himself, should fail of being deeply humbled by a view cf 
his own circumstances and character. 

Before I enter upon this examination, however, it will be proper 
to observe, that there are other modes in which love to Goa is 
exerted ; and which, although not demanding a particular discus- 
sion here, are yet of high imponance, and well deserve lo be 
meniioncd. They deserve to be mentioned because of their im- 
portance. The reasons why ihey do not claim a particular dis- 
cussion are, that more time would be demanded by it, than can 
well be spared from the examination of such subjects as require 
a more minute attention ; and that they may be sufficiently under- 
stood from the observations made on the other exercises of piciy. 
Among these, the first place is naturally due to Admiration. By 
this I mean Iht train of tmotions, excited in a gnod mind by tht won- 
derfal nature of ike various viorks of God, and the amazing powtr, 
ana ikill, and goodness, which thty unfold. God, saith Eliphaz, 
Jobv. 9, (folA great things and unsearchable; marvellous things 
mUhoul number. These things, we find good men, distinguished 
in the Scriptures for their piety, observing, and commemorating, 
with a transport of Admiration. Oh sing unto the Lord, says Da- 
vid, for he hath done marvellous things. I aill shew forth ail Ihv 
marvellous works. Surety I will remember thy viondeta of old. 
Boa great art kis signs, says Xebuchadnez^ar, speaking at least 
the language of a good man, how migkly are his wonders! What 
they /ell, they called upon others to feel. Remember, says David, 
Au marvtUout works that he hath done ; his wonders, and the judg- 
mtnttof his mouth. I Cbron. xvi. IS. Declare his glory among 

86 HuioLirfi [smxcnr. 

the heathen; hit wonders among the peonle. Ps. XCTI. 3. Oh giv€ 
thanks to the Lord of lords^ who alone doeth great wonders ; .for his 
mercy endurethfor ever. 

Aamiration is a combined exercise of the mind; and is formed of 
wonder and complacency. It is an exercise eminently aeligfatfiil ; 
and is every where presented with objects to awaken it. Both 
Creation and Providence are full of wonders, presented to U8 at 
every moment, and at every step. Every attribute of God is fitted 
to excite this emotion by the amazing degree in which it exists ; 
tmd by the degree also, m which it is very often displayed. Thus 
the Psalmist speaks of the marvellous loving^kindness of God; St. 
Peter^ of his marvellous light. KingDarius says, He worketh signs 
and wonders m heaven and earth. Thus Dav/asays, IwiUpfaise 
thee; for I am fearfully and wondetfully made. Thus one of the 
Names of Christ, whose Redemption is the most marvellous of all 
tfie works of God, is Wonderful. 

It is to be observed that Religious Admiration is entirely distin- 
gtiished from wonder in the ordinary sense^ by its union with eon^kh 
esncy. Ordinary wonder is delightful, but is totally destitute of 
nloral excellence* Religious wonder is still more delightful.; and 
Iftav be excellent in any degree. 

secondly. Dependence is also an exercise of the same sjurit. 
That we are all dependent on God is known to every peraoiiy 
Possessed of reason ; and that we are absolutely dependent on 
mtn for every thing which we enjoy, or which we neea. A WU' 
hngness to be thus dependent^ a complacency in this state of thisigs 
as appointed by Oodj accompanied with that humble frame ofmrndj 
necessarily attendarU tpon these affections j constitute what is catted 
Religious Dependence^ a state oi mind, exactly suited to our con- 
dition, and eminently useful to our whole Christian character and 

To these may be added Faiih^ Hopcj and Joy, which have already 
been subjects of discussion ; and to these, Submission^ which wi6 
be made the theme of a future discourse. 

The text contains a command, addressed to all those to irfiom 
St. Peter wrote, requiring that they should be clothed with humili- 
ty; and enforces the precept by this combined reason, that CM 
resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble. No {>recept of 
Revelation nas been more disrelished by infidels than this* &sne 
attacks it in form, and considers the disposition enjoined aa bodi 
ticidus and contemptible. Still it is lai^ely insisted on in the 
Scriptures, and is required of us unconditionally and indSspensa- 
bly. It is declared to precede all real honour, and thus to oe ne- 
tesary even to its existence. It is pronounced to have been an 
ittiportaht attribute in the character of Christ himself^ Learn ^^ 
.^ says the Saviour of mankind, /or/ ammeefc ami iowly qfhean. 
hi the text itself it is plainly asserted to be an object of Divine 
fitvour in such a sense, that tne grace or free love of God is cdii* 



mmicated to those who are humble, and denied to those who are 
DoL In the Scriptural scheme, therefore, humility is invested with 
an unportance wnich cannot be measured. 

Il must indeed be confessed that nothing is more unaccordant 
with the native disjtosition of mankind. Pride, the first sin of our 
cttnmoQ parents, has characterized all their posterity. It is not, 
Acrefinre, to be wondered at, that Humility should be disesteemed 
9md calumniated. If it were of the wwldj the world wovld undoubt- 
edly Unt his own} out because it is not of the worlds therefore the 
world haitih iu 

Of this attribute of the human mind, as it is exhibited in the 
SciipCnres, I observe, 

IsL It involves^ in Us nature^ a just sense of our character and 
m mdit iamm 

We were bom yesterdajr of the dust, and to-morrow return to 
die dust again. In our origin, and in our end, there is certainly 
Ettle to awaken our pride. In both, we are closely allied to the 
beasts that Parish; and may with the strictest propriety, st^ to 
compHon^ T%ou art our father; and to the worm^ Jliou art our 
m o iht r and our sister. How stranee is it that a bein^ should be 
proud, who is going to the grave ; wno in a few days will lie down 
in the dust, to oecome a feast of worms, and. to be changed into a 
massof earth! Such however will speedily be the lot of the haughd* 
est monarch, the most renowned hero, and the proudest philosopher 
who now says in his heart, I will ascend tp to heavenjfwill be lik$ 

g this little period, we are dq^endent creatures. Nothing 
coveted, nottung more eagerly sought, nothing boasted m 
wkk more complacency, by the children of pride, than Indepen- 
dence. But the boast is groundless ; and the opinion, which gives 
hMi to it, &lse. WTiat hast thou, says St. Paul, which thou hast 
mi rteeioedf From God we derive life and breath, and all things. 
AD of them are mere gifts of his bounty ; and to the least of 
thea we cannot make a single claim. To his sovereign pleas- 
ure, also, are we every moment indebted for their continuance. 
That which He gives, we gather. He opens his hand, and we are 
filed with good. He takes away our breath ; we die and return 
But we are not dependent on God only. To a vast extent we 

necessarily indebted, for a great bouy of our enjoyments, to 

feUow«men. We can have neither food nor raiment: we can 
nsilher walk nor ride; we can have neither sleep nor medicine; 
WB can neither enjoy ourselves, nor be useful to others without the 
aid of multitudes of our fellow-men. Especially is the pro^ 
■an thus dependent. Life to him is only a scene of sufiering, 
tmitsn he is continually regaled by the red! or imagined respect 
oC ihoM around him. £&mage is the food on wnich he lives* 

'r . 


and appkt(se, the atmosphere in which alone he is able to 

Among those on whom we are thus dependent sometimes for 
life itself and always for its comforts, are to be regularly number- 
ed the poor, whom we are so prone to despise ; nay, the slaves 
whom we regard As having been created merely as instruments of 
our pleasure. To what a lowly condition is a haughty man thus 
duced, and how dilfcrent his actual situation from that which 
conversation and demeanour would induce us to imagine ! 

Nor is our situation less precarious than it is dependent. The 
possessions, the comforts, the hopes, which we enjoy to-day, may 
all to-morrow vanish for ever. Our riches may make to them- 
selves wings as an eagle, and fly away towards heaven. Our health 
may be wrested from us by disease, and our comibrt by pain. We 
may become decrepit,, deaf, or blind. Our friends and fiBimilies 
may bid us the last adieu, and retire to the world of spirits. Nay, 
ourselves and our pride may be buried together in the p^t^e. What 
foundation does such a state of existence furnish on which to build 
our pride ? 

We are also ignorant. Mw^h indeed is said of our learning and 
science. It would be well if r.r - could be said, and said with truth 
concerning our wisdom. Vvihall our boasts,, how little do we 
know ! How many objects are presented to us every day of which 
we know nothing except their existence ! How many questions do 
even little children ask, which no philosopher is able to answer ! 
How m^ny subjects of investigation say to every inquirer^ " Hith* 
erto shalt thoucomf, but no further!" 

Every thing which we know bnngs up to our view the many nM»e 
which we cannot know; and thus daily forces upon us, if welfe^ , 
open our eyes, irresistible conviction* of the narrowness of 
limits by which our utmost researches are bounded, of the ii ^ 
nature of our actual attainments, of the smallness of those 
are. possible. 

Amone the subjects which display this ignorance in the strongest 
degree, tnose of a moral nature, those which immediately concern 
our duty and salvation, infinitely more important to us than any 
others, nold the primary place. What man is able to find out of 
himself concerning these, we know by what he has actually found 
out. Cast your eyes over this great globe, and over the past ages 
of time, and mark the nature of the religious systems invented 
by man. How childish, how senseless, now self-contradictory, 
have been the opinions ; how infatuated, how sottish, the precepts 
by which they have professedly regulated the moral conduct of 
men ; how debased, how full of turpitude, how fraught with firenzyi 
the religious services by which they have laboured to propitiate 
their Gods, and obtain a future happy existence; nay, what mere 
creatures of Bedlam were the Gods themselves, and their delirious 
worshippers ' 

xcnr.] bumhiit. 3^ 

But for the Scriptures, we should now have the same views, which 
have been spread over the whole heathen world ; and might this 
day have been prostrating ourselves before stocks and stones, and 
looking to drunkenness, prostitution, and the butchery of human 
victim3 as the means of obtainiiig a happy immortality. How in- 
expressibly deplorable is this ignorance! How humble the 
character of those of whom it can be truly predicated ! 

Far our exemption from all these errors, wt^Bte indebted solely 
to the Bible. But with this invaluable hipk in our hands we re* 
luctantly admit, in vo^ny cases, even its fundamental truths : truths 
of su{»eme importance to the establishment of virtue in our minds, 
and to the acquisition of eternal life beyond the ^ve : truths 
which are the glorv of the Revealed System, and which have been 
the means of conducting to heaven a multitude which no man can 
number. In the place of these, what absurdities have not been 
hnbibed ! absurdities immeasurably disgraceful to the understand* 
mg, and absolutely ruinous to the soul. How long these absurdi- 
ties have reigned ! How* widelv they have spread ! What 
innumerable mischiefe they have done ! How strongly they dis- 
cover a violent tendency in our nature to reject truth and welcome 
error ! Who with this picture before him can doubt that on this 
account we have abundant reason for humility ? 

In addition to these things, we are sinful creatures. 7%e hearty 
says the Prophet Jeremiah, is deceitful above all things j and des* 
peraiely wicked. He who reads the three first, chapters of the 
jSpistle to the Romans, or peruses the history of mankind, or at- 
tentively considers the conauct ofhimself ana his fellow-men, will 
vidMHit much hesitation adopt the decision of the Prophet. It is 
■a wjjij erfu l that sinful beings should be proud of their -character; 

Wicmarkable that pride is indulged by no other beings. Of 
^ -shall we be proud ? In our conversation and in our writings 
iS^-Aum each otner endlessly with impiety, profaneness, perju- 
jj^ irreEeion, injustice, fraud, falsehood, slander, oppression, 
cruelty, &eft, lewdness, sloth, gluttony, and drunkenness. The 
charges are either true or felse. If they are false, they are in 
themselves abominable wickedness. If Uiey are true, those on 
whom they rest are abominably wicked. WImt an unhappy foun- 
da&m is here furnished for pride ! 

If we look into our own hearts, and into our own lives, and 
perform this duty faithfully, we shall find ample reason fw sel^ 
coniemnation ; we shall see that our own hearts, at least, answer 
to the declaration of Jeremiah ; we shall see ourselves alienated 
6sfa.God, revolted firom his government, opposed to his law, un- 
yHJTflil for his blessings, distrustful of his sincerity, and discoo* 
tented wkh his administradons. With all these sins before us, we 
iball fipd ourselves slow of heart to believe or repent. 

God has provided for us, and profiered to us, deliverance firooi 
oar sins, and from the punishment which they have merited. He 

Vou in. la 

4 90 HUMiLrnr. [SEitxciv. 

has sent a Saviour into the world to redeem us from under the 
curse of the law, and that by the effusion of his own blood 5 but 
we reject him. He has sent his Spirit to sanctify us, and to make 
us his children ; but we resist his influence* He has offered to be 
reconciled to us : but we refuse to be reconciled to him. We might 
be virtuous, we might be happy ; but we will not. What causes 
for humiliation are here presented to oui: view ! 

Finally. We are miserable creatures. In the present world we 
are, to a great extent, unhappy. Cold and heat, hunger and 
thirst, anxiety, disappointment, toil, poverty, loss of friends, dis- 
grace^ sorrow, pain, disease, and aeath, divide among them a 
great part of our days, and leave us scarcely more than a few 
transient gleams of ease, comfort and hope.. How often are most 
of these evils doubled and tripled by similar sufferings of such as 
are dear to us in the bonds of nature and affection! How truly does 
Job declare that Man, who is bom of a vjoman^ is of few days^ and 
full of trouble! 

From these calamities our only way of escape conducts us to 
the ^ve. Beyond that dreary mansion stands the last tribunal, 
at which our eternal doom will be iiTeversibly fixed. But the 
only reward of sin is perdition, perdition final and irremediable. 
This is the deplorable end of the sins and miseries, which so ex- 
tensively constitute our character and our allotments in the present 

Look now at the description which has been given, and tell me 
for which of these things we shall be proud. Is it our origin, pur 
dependence, the precariousness of our life and its enjojrments, our 
ignorance, our errors, our sins, or our miseries? 

In the mean time, let it be remembered, that this Tery pride is 
one of our grossest sins ; whether It be pride of birth, of wealth, of 
beauty, of talents, of .accomplishments, of exploits, of place, of 
power, or of moral character. A proud look, fi-om whatsoever 
source derived, is an abomination to the Lord, Angels by their 
pride lost heaven. Our first parents by their pride ruined the 
world. ,^ 

That the view which fes been here given of the state and char- 
acter of man is just, will not, because it cannot, be questioned. 
Conformed to it are all the views entertained of the same subjects 
by every man possessing the humility of the Gospel. On these 
very considerations, especially as applied to himself, is his humility 

2dly. Humility involves a train of affections accordant with such 
a sense of our character and conditions4 

It mvolves that candour and equity, which dispose us to receive 
and acknowledge truth, however numbling to our pride, or painfiil 
to our fears, in preference to error, however soothing or flattering. 
Tlie humble man feels assured, also, that it is his true interest to 
koow and feel the worst of his situation ; that a just sense of his 

8ER. xcnr.] humujtt. 91 

condllion may be thfe means of rendering it more hopeful and more * 
desirable; that false conceptions of it, on the contrary, cannot pos- 
sibly do him any good, and will in all probability do him much 
harm ; that truth is a highway, which may conduct him to heaven 5 
but that error is a labyrinth in which he may be lost for ever, 

Etjually disposed is he to do justice to the several subjects of his 
contemplation. Cheerfully is he ready to feel and to acKnowIedge 
that he is Just such a being as he actually is ; that he is no wiser, 
no better, no more honourable, and no more safe, but just as lowly, 
as" dependent, as ignorant, as guilty, and as much in danger, as 
truth pronounces him to be. With the humiliation, dependence, 
and prccariousness of his circumstances he is satisfied, because 
they ai*e ordained by his Maker. His guilt he acknowledges to be 
real ; and, at the sight of it, willingly takes his place in the dust. 
His sufferings he confesses to be merited, and therefore bows sub- 
missively beneath the rod. Claims he makes none, for he feels 
that there is nothing in himself to warrant them ; and, although he 
wishes ardently to escape from his sin and misery, he never thinks 
of demanding it as a right ; but, so far*as he is permitted, humbly 
hopes it as a gift of free ^race, as a mere blessing derived from 
the overflowing mercy of nis Creator. 

Among the subjects which his sitiiation forces upon his mind, 
the means of expiating his guilt become one of primary impor- 
tance. Afler surveying it on every side, he pronounces the at- 
tempt hopeless ; ana sees with full conviction, that, if God should 
mark iniquity, it would be impossible for him to stand. In this 
melancholy situation he does not, like the man *cff the world, rise 
up in haughty rebellion against God ; he does not say. Who is the 
Almighty >i that I should serve him ; and what profit shall Ihave^ if 
I pray imto him? He does not insolently exclaim. Why doth he 
yetjind fault, for who hath resisted his will ? On the contrary, in 
the language of Job, he modestly cries out. Behold I am vile, what 
thall I answer thee ? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. I abhor 
myself and repent in dust ana ashes. With Daniel he sets his 
&ce unto the LtQfd God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with 
bstjngs, and sackcloth, and ashes ; and he prays unto the Lord 
Us God, and makes his confession, and says, O Lord, the great 
<mi dreadful God! keeping the covenant and mercy to them that 
love thee, I have sinned, ana have committed iniquity, and have done 
wickedly, and have rebelled by departing from thy precepts and 
from thy judgments. 

But, although in himself he sees no means of deliverance or es- • 
cape, he finds in the Scriptures of truth, ample provision made for * 
both. The provision is complete. An expiation is there made 
for the sins of men ; and a deliverance fix)m the miseries, to which 
they were destined, effectuated ; which involve all that the most 
sanguine mind can wish concerning both. Still, the scheme in- 
Tolves an absoliate humilidtion of human pride ; for it represents 

If Humurr. pxB. lor. 

i^an as totally destitute of any thing in his native character, or in 
b» efforts, which can recommend him to God, or which can be re- 
f;arded by the £nal Judge as any ground of his justification. It 
18 a scheme of mere mercy ; and every one, who is to receive the 
bkssin^s of it, must come in the character of a penitent, suppli« 
caling tor pardon through the righteousness of a Redeemer. 

Nothing can be more painful to pride than this scheme of de» 
liverance ; but nothing can be more welcome to the heiK of gen- 
uine humility. God in the great work of forgiving, redeeming, 
and sanctifying man, appears to the humble penitential mind, in- 
Yested with peculiar glory, excellence, and loveliness. 6oi{, says 
SL Paul, who commanded the light to shine out ofdarhuiSj hath 
$himd into our heartSy to me us <Ae light of the knowledge of the 
glory ofChdy in the face oj Jesus Christ. In the work of Redemp- 
tion, accomplished by this Divine person, the character of God is 
^ aeen by the sanctified mind in a light entirely new, and more 
honourable to him than that which is presented bv any other 
vork either of Creation or Providence. His benevolence shines, 
here, in the exercise of nprcy towards the apostate children of 
■ten, in a manner which it jEiew and singular, a manner in which 
it has been displayed to the inhabitants of no other part of the 
Universe. Here, especially, it is discerned that God is Love ; 
and the humble penitent is so deeply affected with the kindness 
manifested in expiating and forgiving sin, and renewing the soul, 
./^ lEiil he is ready to exclaim with the rsalmist, Mot unto me, Lordj 
' •. mofwUo me, but to thy name give glory j for thy mercy ^ and for thy 
irutK^s sake. Ii\ the midst of his astonishment that such mercy 
should be extended to him, a poor, guiltv, miserable wretch, un- 
worthy in his own view of the least of air mercies, the pride even 
of self-righteousness is for a while at least laid asleep ; and his 
thoughts and affections, instead of being turned towards himself 
are absorbed in the condescension ana goodness of his Father, 
Redeemer, and Sanctifier. 

It is impossible for the man, in whom this attribute is found, not 
io turn his thoughts from time to time to the perfect purity of God. 
No subject of contemplation can more strongly impress upon the 
woind a sense of its own impurity. In his sight the heavens them- 
aelves are not clean, and tne angels before nim are charged wich 
fidly. How much more abominable and filthy to the eye of the 
{MDitent JAUst pan appeai:, who drinketh iniquity like water ! In 
the sight of Uiis awful and most affecting object, he will ahnost 
• MCQjisanJy exclaim, with /oi, / have heard of thee ly the heiuring 
$ftkfi iflr^ bui n4m mine eye seeih thte ! Wherefore I abhor myseff^ 
md repenf'in dust and asnes. 

When sttch a man contemplates the character of his Christiaa 
keitfuren, €«noCions of the same general nature will necessarily oc- 
•cnpy his-i^iBd. St. Paul has directed.' Christians to forbear one on- 
jmormM UmUness asid m^^denen ofmifidfOnd to esietm oikon ifjh 

.] HUBOLRT. 93 

t€r than themselves. This precept, which to a man of the world 
appears absurd and incapsuble of being obeyed, involves no diffi- 
culty in the eye of him who is evangelically humble. The sins of 
other Christians are of course, imperfectly known to him. Their 
sins of thought are all hidden from his eyes : their sins of action he 
rarely witnesses ; and of those, which are perpetrated in his pres* 
cnce, he cannot know either the extent, or malignity, iiis own 
sins, in the mean time, both of heart and of life, are m a sense always 
naked before him ; and he can hardly fail to discern, in some eood 
degree, their number, their aggravations, and their guilt. Hence 
other Christians will, in a comparative sense, appear to hiln to be 
clean ; while himself will seem unsound and polluted, from the 
crown of the head to the sole of the foot. In this* situation, the 
difficulty of esteeming others better than himself vanishes. Impo8« 
sible as it would be for a proud man to think in this manner ; die 
only difficulty to the humble man is to think in any other. 

ouch at all times, with the exceptions for which the human char* 
acter always lays the foundation, will be the emotions naturally 
imbibed and strongly cherished by Chriidan humility. But there 
are certain seasons, in which they will be excited in a peculiar de- 
erec. Such will be the case in the house of God. Here he is 
brought immediately into the presence of his Maker ; here he ap- 
pears in the character of a sinner and of a suppliant for mercy ; 
W he draws nigh to his Maker in the solemn ordinances of the 
Sanctuary ; here the character and sufferings of the Redeemer 
are set before him in the light of heaven ; here he witnesses all the 
wonders of redeeming, forgiving, and sanctifying love. What God 
is, and what he himself is, what ne has done to destroy himself, and 
what God has done to save him from destruction, are here present- 
^ to his eye, and brought home to his heart,. in the most affecting 
manner. In this solemn place, also, he is in the midst of his fellow- 
Chnstians, uniting with them in their pravers and praises, and sit- 
ting with them at the table of Christ to celebrate his sufferings, and 
the love wherewith he loved us and gave himself for us. In such 
a situation, how great and good must his Father, Redeemer, and 
Sanctificr appear ! How little, how unworthy, how sinful ! How 
strange must it seem, that he, who is unworthy of the least, should 
thus be put into the possession of the greatest of all mercies! 
How naturally, how often, and how anxiously, will he inquire, 
whether it can be proper, for such a being as himself, to unite with 
the followers of the Redeemer in their worship, share in their pri- 
▼ileges, and participate in their hopes, and in their joys ! 

Feelings of the same general nature will also be awakened, and 
often in an equal degree, when he retires to his closet to pray to his 
Father who is in secret. Here he withdraws entirely from the world, 
and meets his Maker face to face. The Divine character, and his 
own, must be brought before his eyes in the strongest light, while 
he is employed in confessing his sins, and supplicating paraon and 

■Uiclification ; ^aicfiilly ackDOwledging the blessings which he 
has received, and humbly asking for those which he needs. HoV J 
naturally would be exclaim, Lord, tekat is man, that thouart rnin^' 1 
Jui ef him, or tht son of man, thai thou shouldtsl vitit him! fl 

Such, if 1 mistake not, are the views formed by Christian humi*^ 1 
lity j and such the affections of the mind in which it prevails. ' I 


From these observations it is evident, 

1st. That Evangtlical humility is exactly conformed to ihi nal 
ctrcwnjiBNCM and character of men, 

Th« views, which the humble man entertains of tumself, and of 
his condition, are exactly suited to both. He is just such a being 
as he supposes himself to be, and in just such a condition. His 
origin is as lowly, his situation as dependent and precarious, his 
mind as ignorant and erring, his character as guilty, and his des£> _ 
nation fraught with as mucn distress and danger, as he himself reaU ■ 
izes. His views therefore, are absolutely true and just, if suc^'a 
views then are honourable to a rational being, if no other thougbts 1 
can be honourable to such a being, then the views entertained bf 4 
humility are honourable to the human character. On the conlrar^g 
the views of pride, or as Mr. Hume chooses to style it, self-valva- 
tion, are absolutely unsuited both to the condition and character of 
man. They are radically and universally unjust and false, and of 
course, are only disgraceful and conlempiiblc. 

The affections, which have been here considered as involved 
in humility, are evidently no less iusl. They spring irresistitJj^ 
fiiom the views ; and no sober mind can entertain the latter with^ 
out experiencing the former. These affections are all, plainl]^ 
tbe harmony of the heart with the dictates of the understanding; 
dictates seen and acknowledged to be just and certain, and, whert' 
tbe heart is governed by candour, irresistible. Whenever thit' 
mind sees itself to be thus ignorant, erring, and sinful, and its sitii> 
ation thus dependent, precarious, and. (hstrcssing ; it cannoL 
without violence done to itself, fail of feeling both the char* 
acter and condition, and of feeling them deeply ; for they art IJ 
objects of immeasurable importance to its whole well-being* 
Equally just are the affections, which he exercises towards bi> 
maker and his fellow-Christians. The difference between tbo 
cbaiQcler of God and his own character being seen to be such ; m 
eatire, so vast, particularly as He is infinitely holy and pun|^ 
while himself is altogether polluted with guilt ; no emotions can b^ 
proper towards this CTeat and glorious Being, which do not ii^ 
volve a Htronj; sense of this amazing moral difference between Him 
and iUelf. m such a case, where there is no humility, there can 
be no reverence towards God ; and were there is no reverence^ 
it ia impossible (bai there should be any thing acceptable towardi 


HBL, Kit.] 

In the same manner, humility enters into evwyuther aibction 
of a sanctified mind towards its Maker. Our views of the mercjr 
of God exercised towards us, and the emotions excited by them, 
«re exactly proportioned to the apprehensions, which we form of 
-oor own unworthincss. He, to whom much is forgiven, our Sav- 
iour infonns us, will love much. Pardon, Mercy, and Grace, are 
terms which mean lillle, if they have any meaning that is 
realized, in the eve of him who is not humbled for his sins, and 
who does not feel hia own absolute need of pardon. The Song 
of the redeemed is sung only by those, who realize the love of 
Christ, because he has washed them from their sins in his own 
blood. The gratitude, therefore, exercised to God for his un- 

rikabte mercy, in forgiving our sins, and redeeming us from on- 
ihe curse of the Law, will in a great measure be created 1^ 
otir fatmulity. 

la the same manner does it enhance our complacency in tbe 
Krine character. Of dependence it is the essence j of adora* 
tion, and indeed of all our worship, it is the substance and the 

3dly> From thtit obiervatxons it is evidtnt, thul no man can hopt 
for ae£tptance -aith God ■wilhovt hmnility. 

Ood, says the text, rttistttk the proud, but givtth grace (or 
&7oiir) lo ikt kumbU. The proud, and the humble, are two great 
classes including the whole of the human race. Of which class, 
does it seem probable tolhe eye of sober reason, that the infinitely 
perfect Author of all things will select his own fkmily, and the oo- 
jccts of his everlasting love ; those who possess tiie views and 
the spirit here described ; or those who indulge the " self-valua- 
tion'' so grateful to Mr. Hume : those who boldly come before him, 
with God, I thank tket, that I am not as other men ; or those who 
dare jvot lift up their eyes to heaven, biU, imiting laion their breasts^ 
my, God, be merciful lo me a sinner ? How obvious is it to com- 
mon sense, that, if he accept any of our race, they will be such as 
have just views of their character and condition, of their own ab- 
toltite unworthiness, of the greatness of his mercy in forgiving 
theirsios and sanctifying their souls, of the transcendent glory of 
Ae Redeemer in becoming their propitiation, and of the infinite be- 
nSgnity of the Divine Spirit in renewing them in the image, and 
iwtonng them to the favour, of God. Who else can possess the 
ipiriL, who else can unite in the employments, who else can bar 
nonite in the pnuses, of the first-born T 

Let me ask, is it possible thai a proud man should be a candidate 
fiir bnmortal life ; whether proud of his birth, his wealth, his «ta- 
fioD, his accomplishments, or his moral character ? Suppose him 
Wairive in the regions of life, in what manner would his pride be 
rtijiloyed? Which of these subjects wtwiW he make the theme of 
bis conversation with the spirits of just men made perfect T How 
would he blend his pride with their worship : how would he pre- 
•*"• •• before th* throne of God f 

•Sdlj. t\rmn these obeervatione aUoj we learn that humUity is a Us- 
position emtnently lovely. 

Learn of me, says tne Saviour of mankind to proud and perish* 
ine sinnerSi for I am meek and lomly of heart. How astonishing 
a declaration from the mouth of Him who controlled the elements 
with a word, at whose coomiand the dead were raised to life, and 
at whose rebuke demons trembled and fled ! Draw nigh ye mise- 
rable worms of the dust, place yourselves by the side of this glo- 
rious person, and recite before mm the foundations on which your 
loftiness rests ; your riches, your rank, your talents, and your sta- 
tions. How will these subjects appear to his eye ? How will those 
appear, who make them the grounds of their seff-valuation ^— - 
Meekness and lowliness of heart adorned him with beauty inex- 
pressible. Can pride be an ornament to you ? 

Would you be amiable in the sight of God, you must essential- 
ly resemble Him who was ^' altogether lovely." Even you your- 
selves cannot but discern, that, had He been proud, it wbuld have 
tarnished his character, and have eclipsed the face of the Sun of 
Righteousness. . ' . 

In the mean time let Christians remember, and feel, that th^y 
themselves will be lovely, exactly in proportion as they approxi- 
mate to the character of the Redeemer in tneir humility. Tne same 
mind^ says St. Paul to the Philippians, be in youy which was also 
m Christ ; who^ being in the form of Godj thought it no robbery 
to be equal with Crodj but made himself of no reputation, and 
took ipon him the form of a servant^ and was made m the likeness 
of men ; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, 
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross* From 
what a height did he descend ! How lowly the visible station which 
he assumed ! 

Your humility towards God will make you lovely in his sight j 
your humility towards your fellow-Christians will make you lovely 
m theirs. In both cases, it will be a combination of views and 
affections conformed to truth, exactly suited to your character and 
circumstances, and equally conformed to the good pleasure of God, 
and to the perfect example of his beloved oon. It will mingle 
with all your affections, and make them sweet and delightful. It 
.will operate on all your conduct, and make it amiable in the sig^ 
of every beholder. From pride and all its wretched consequences^ 
it will deliver you. Of the CTace of God it will assure you. Far 
to this man will Hook, says tne High and Lofty One that inhabitdk 
eternity J even to him, who is of a humble and contrite spirit ; to re* 
we the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contritOm 
It will accompany you through life, and lessen all the troubles, 
and increase all the comforts, of your pilgrimage. It will soften 
your dying bed, and enhance your hope and your confidence before 
tbe last trumnal. 




tiUmmmmd framed, Smfing, Fathtr^ if VmubtwHUmg^rmm/o^lkk 09 fnmwktt 

The next exercise of love to God in our progress is Resig- 

Of this excellence the text contains the most perfect example^ 
which has been recorded or witnessed in tho Universe. Our oav* 
ioar while in the Garden of Gethsemane having withdrawn from 
Am diaeipUs about a stone^s casij kneeled dowrij anaprayedj under an 
agonizing sense of the evils, which he was about to suffer. His 
prayer in the midst of this agony was, Father ^ if thou be willing j 
remope tki$ eia> from me : neverthelessj not my willj but tkinej be 
ifone ! The situation of Christ was much more trying than we can 
conceive. Yet in this situation he bows his will entirely to the will 
of God ; and prays him to remove the cup, only on the condition 
diat he is willing ; and that not his own will, but the will of the Fa* 
tber, may be done. The occasion was wonderful: the Resiena* 
tioo was complete. He yielded himself entirely into the han£ of 
his Father ; and earnestly desired, that his will, whatever it should 
cost himself, might be done. Nothing can be more edifying, than 
this example : nor can any thing be more instructive. By it we 
are taught, 

1 St. 7%al ReKgious Resignation is a quiet yielding of ourselves to 
f&e disposal of wd, and not to the mere sufferance of evil* 

Cbrist prayed earnestly, and repeatedly, that, if it were possi- 
Ue, the evd, or the eup^ might pass from him. That this was per* 
feet rectitude on his part will not be questioned. What he, with 
perfect rectitude, desured to escape, we may, with entire rectitude 
also, desire to escape. As he was not willing to suffer evil ; it 
perfecthi rightj that he should not be toilling. It is entirely 
t, thereiore, that we should be equally unwilDng. 
But Christ was entirely willing to do, and to simer, whatever ' 
God willed him to do, or to suffer. He was, however, disposed 
thns to do, and suffer, merely because it was the will of God ; 
lod because that will reauires nothing, but what is perfectly wise 
lad good, and perfectly aesirable. As, therefore, the perfect Re* 
lignation of our Saviour was a yielding of himself to the will of 
God, and not at all to mere suffering ; so it is clear, beyond a de^ 
bile, thatReUpoosResignationis, in every case, of this nature ofl/j^ 
Vol. IIL 13 




Sdly. Tliat it is our duty to resign ourselves to the mil of God 
entirely ; and tliatj in all situations of life. 

The situation, in which Christ expressed the Resignation in the 
text, was certainly much more trying, than any which men expe- 
rience in the present world. At the same time, he had not me- 
rited this distress by any £aiult, or defect, of his own. His pure 
and perfect mind was free, aUke, from error and from sin. Ac- 
cordingly, in that memorable prayer, contained in the 17th chapter 
of John, and uttered just before his agony in the garden, he could 
say with perfect confidence, as well as with exact truth and pro- 
pnety, I have glorified thee on the earth : I have finished the warkj 
which thou gavest me to do. And novjy O Father ! glorify tJicu me, 
with thine own self with the glory ^ which I had with thee before the 
world was. Yet in this situation of peculiar distress, he gELve up, 
entirely, every wish of his own : choosing rather to suffer these 
wonderful afflictions, if it was the will of God that he should suffer 
them, than to escape them, if it was not. Whatever afflictions be- 
fyl us, we are ever to remember, that we have deserved them ; and 
that they are always inferior in intenseness to those, which were 
suffered by Christ. Our reasons for resigning ourselves entirely 
to the disposal of God, therefore, are, in some respects, greater 
t|ian his. In all situations, it of course becomes us to be stilly omd 

IMPV that Ae who (Micts us is God. 

To render our Kesignation entire, it is indispensable, that it 
should be unmingled with murmuring, impatience, distrust of the 
goodness of God, or any dissatisfaction with his Providcfnce. We 
may lawfully wish, not to suffer evil, considered by itself; but we 
cannot lawmlly wish, that the will of God should not be done. — 
Nor can we lawfully complain, at any time, of that which is done 
by his will. He, who complains, has not, if he is resigned at all^ 
arrived at the due degree of Resignation. Jeremiahj with irresisti- 
ble force, asks, Shall a living man complain} a num for thepwUsh^ 
ment of his sins F 

Sdly • Religious Resignation is perfectly consistent with the clears 
est^ and strongest ^ sen^e of the evils^ which we suffer} and wUk th€ 
dupest distress^ while we suffer. 

Christ, as I have observed, was perfectly resigned. Yet Christ 
felt, in the deepest manner, the whole extent of the evils which he 
suffered. This wc know, both because he prayed to be delivered 
from them, if it were possible ; and because his agonies forced the 
sweat to descend upon him in the form of great dbypt of blood. 
What Christ did, in this respect, it is lawml for us to do. Christ 
felt these evils t6 their full extent ; and yet was perfectly resimed* 
We, therefore, may in the same manner £eel the evils, which we 
experience ; and yet be the subjects, in this very conduct, of true 
Evangelical Resignation. 

4tlu)r. Christian Resiznation is perfectly consistent with the moH 
ffrvent iUfplictUions to God for delioertmce /roa^th$^ evils which «• 


The evidence of this is complete in the example of Christ* 
Christ thus prayed, while yet he was perfectly resigned : we, of 
course, may thus pray, without lessening, at all the degree, or af- 
fecting the genuineness, of oiir Resignation. 

The obligations, which we are under to exercise this spirit, are 
founded both in the command of God, and the nature of things. 
The command of God carries with it, in all cases, an authority land 
obligation, which are without limits. With this authority he re- 
quires us to be resigned to his whole will ; asserting it, with the 
most perfect propriety, to be His prerogative alone to prescribe, 
and our duly entirely to obey. We are his creatures ; and are, 
therefore, under all possible obligation to do his pleasure. At the 
same time, his will is perfectly ri^ht ; and ought exactly to be obey- 
ed, even if there were no authority to bind, and no reward to retri- 
bute, our obedience. Our own supreme eood is entirely promoted 
by our obedience only ; both as the obedience itself is aelightfiil-, 
and as it is followed by a glorious and divine reward. 

Retignation is not merely a single act, but a general couiise of 
obedience ; a general preparation of the heart to yield itself to 
God's known will, and his promised dispensations. 1 here include, 
and have all along includea, what is commonly called Submission. 
Submission differs from Resignation in nothing but this : Submission 
iff yielding the heart to the divine willy in that which has alread^iakm 
plaeey oris now taking place; and Resignation, yielding the hfcart 
to that, which, it is foreseen, may, or will, hcrcaficr take place» 
The spirit is exactly the same, as to its nature, in all instances ; 
and the difference is found only in regarding the past, present, or 
fature, accomplishment of the divine will. This distinction is so 
nearly a nominal one only, that both names are used indiscrimin- 
ately ; and of 80 little importance, as to preclude any necessary 
regard to it in tlus discourse. 

This dispoaftion is the only becoming temper in suffering crea- 
tures, so far as their sufferings are concerned. The suffenngs of 
mankind, in the present world, are all expressions of the will of 
God. There are bXit three dispositions, with which they can be 
regarded ; impaliencej indifference^ or acquiescence^ It cannot be ne- 
cessary for me to show, that the last of these is the only spirit with 
which we can receive either profitably, or becomingly, the chas- 
tisements, inflicted by the hand of God. 

To acquiesce in the divine pleasure under sufferings is a strone, 
aaeminend/ excellent exercise of Love and Reverence to Goa. 
It is not esiy to conceive how we can give a higher, or more deci- 
sive testimony of our delight in the divine character, or our appro- 
bation of the divine government, than by quiedy yielding to that 
government in circuniitances of suffering and sorrow; by testifying 
with the heart, that we have such a sense of the wisdom and goocU 
ness of God, as to be satisfied to undergo whatever afflictions he is n 
plAsed to sefid upon us ; and to give up our own wishes and com- 


forts, that the pleasure of God may be done, and his jjlory pro- 
moted. This is an exercise of love to our Maker, which proves 
itself to be genuine, and excellent, by the.willing self-denial, which 
it encounters ; and by the victory, which it gains over interest and 
pleasure powerfully present. 

It is also to be remembered, that the Christian, notwithstanding 
he is a Christian, is still a sinful being. Afflictions are punishments 
of his sins, incomparablv less, than he has deserved. Kcsienatioii 
to them is a candid, equitable, dutiful acknowledgment of the jus- 
tice of God in sending them, and a humble confession of the sins, 
by which thev have been deserved. 

By this spirit the general selfishness of the mind is gradually 
wasted away ; the strength of passion and appetite continually 
weakened; its impiety prevented; its ingratitude destroyed ; and 
it0 rebellion bfx>ken down. The rebel is converted into a child. A 
fltotnity and quietness of disposition take possession of the soul ; 
^Ilay the bitterness of its distresses ; sooth all its tumults into peace ; 
mingle comfort in the cup of sorrow ; and happily blend with all 
its sufferings the inherent aelight of Resignation ; a supporting sense 
<f the approbation and favour of God. 


From this passage of Scripture, thus considered, it is evident, 
1st. TTuit mllingness to suffer Perdition is no part of Christian 


It is well known to my audience, that the contrary doctrine to 

that which I have here asserted, lias been taught by men of distin- 

fuished reputation for learning and piety : and it is equally well 
nown, that no human learning and piety will furnish a sufficient 
securitv from error. All human opinions, therefore, may be war- 
ran tabfy questioned ; and none are to be received without evidence, 
upon the mere reputation of their authors. While, therefore, I would 
treat the authors with becoming respect ; I shall take the liberty 

X freelv to question their opinions. 

That Christian Resignation does not at all involve a willingness 
to suffer perdition is, in my view, unanswerably clear from the 
text. To the arguments derived from this source, I shall, how- 
ever, add a few, out of many, suggested by the nature of the sub- 

In the first place, ChrisHan Resignation is Resignation to nothing 
but the will of God. This position has, if I mistake not, beei) 
proved beyond debate, in the body of the discourse. The will of 
Uody hy which we are to he governed, is plainly that which is, or can 
&e, known to us. The proof of this, both from reason and Scrip- 

«* ture, is complete. Reason teaches us, or rather we know by in- 
tuitioQf tjigil A is impossible for us to be governed by a rule, which 

* we^canfioft k9pw. Revelation informs us, that secret things belong 
to Chdj and that only the things which are revealed belong to ia» 



(tnd to our children for ever ;'that we may do all the words of hh law* 
That, then, which is not known to us, cannot belong to us, in any 
sense, a£ a rule, or part, of our duty. 

But it is not known, and without a new and direct revelation it 
cannot be known, to any man living, to be the will of God, that he 
shoukl suffer perdition. The Scriptures reveal to us, that the im- 

Esnitent and unbeHeving will indeed suffer this terrible punishment* 
ut they do not reveal to any man, that he himself will be impen- 
itent and unbelieving, when he leaves the world, or that he will, 
finally be condemnea. It is impossible, therefore, for any man to 
know in this world, that the will of God wiH require him to suffer 
perdition. If, th^n, he resigns himself to this dreadful allotment, 
as being a part of the will of God ; he himself presumptuously es- 
tablishes by his own contrivance, and conjecture, something as the 
will of God, which God has not declarea to be such ; which t)iQ 
man himself cannot know to be such, while in the present worklf 
and which he cannot lawfully presume to be such. Instead, there- 
fore, of resigning himself to the divine will, he resigns himself to 
a will, which his own imagination creates for God ; and is guilty 
of intruding into the provmce and assuming the prerogatives of 
his Creator. 

2dly» Every sincere Professor of Religion either knows or believes 
himself to be a Christian. 

If he knows himself to be a Christian, then he knows' it to be 
contrary to the will of God, that he should be finally condemned, 
or that he should suffer the miseries of perdition. To be willing, 
in this case^ to suffer these miseries, is to be willing to suffer that 
which is known by him to be contrary to the'will of God. It is a 
consent to prevent Christ of one trophy of his Cross, one glo- 
rious firuit of his sufferings, and to take a gem fi*om his crown of 

It the Professor believes himself to be a Christian ; then, in be- 
ing willing to suffer perdition, he is willing to suffer, in direct con- 
tradiction to what he believes to be the will of God. His belief 
here ou^ht to have exactly the same influence on his disposition 
and conduct, as his knowletlge in the former case. Wherever we 
have not, and, at the time when we are to act, cannot have, certain^ 
fy, we are under absolute obligation to be governed hjihe highest 
probability. In this case, therefore, the.auty of the Professor is 
exactly tne same as in the former. 

When we remember, that the sufferer becomes, of course, the 
eternal enemy of God and of all good, and that the Professor, in 
thus consenting to suffer, consents, in the same act, to be the 
eternal enemy of God and of all gONod ; and when this consent is 

Yielded in du*ect contradiction to what he either knowi^' xit be- 
eves, to be the will of God ; it will, I think, be diffici^t tufind a 
leason which will evhice this conduct to be a part of thefSburisdan's 

if n 
It is 


Sdly« T^re t> no precept in the Scriptures enjoining this c<m- 

It certainly lAost seem strange, that a dutjeo extraordinnry^and 
so fitted to perplex the minds of mere men, should, if it be really^ 
a duty, be no where expressly enjoined. Certainly it is not likely 
to be easily embraced by any man. It can hardly be supposeo, 
therefore, if it be really a part of the Evangelical system, to be 
left to inference, philosophy, and supposition. No precept, so &r 
as^ we are able to judge, needs more to be clear, and express, than 
that which should require of us this singular mental effort. But such 
a precept cannot be found. 

4thly. There is no example of such Resigfuztion recorded in th€ 

There ire two examples, which are alleged in support of the 
.. ResignatiOD in question. The first is in Ex. xxxii. 31, 32, Jlnd 
Moses returned unto the Lord ^ t^ndsaidy Oh! this people hare m- 
ned a great sin^ and have made them gods of gold. Yet 71011;, if 
thou wilt, forgive their sin : and if noty blot me, I pray thee, out of 
thy hooky which thou hast written. The part of this text, which is 
alleged in support of the doctrine here conteilded against, is con- 
tained in these expressions : Yet now, if thou wilty forgive their sin : 

noty blot me, / pray theey out of thy hooky which thou hasi written» 

is supposed, ihdii Moses prayed to God to make him joiiserdble, on 
the conoition specified throughout eternity. 

Concerning this subject, I't>bserve, first, that the expression blot 
me out of thy book which thou has vftitteny is wholly figurative ; and, 
like most other figurative language, is capable of being understood 
in various senses. To say the most, then, it is ambiguous and un- 
. certain. I need not say, that such a doctrine as this, ought not to 
be founded on an ambiguous passage of Scripture, nor on any un- 
certainty whatever. 

Secondly. It will be admitted, that Mosesy although he prayed 
m a violent state of emotion, yet spoke in sqme accordance with 
common sense. But the interpretation given to his words by those 
who teach this doctrine, make him speak the most arrant nonsense. 
JHis words are. Yet now, if thou wilty forgive their sins : and ifnoi^ 
blot me, I pray theCy out of thy book which thou hast written. Here, 
according to the abbettors of this doctrine, Moses prays, that God 
would forgive their sin, if he was willing ; and if he was unwilling, 
that Bl^Vould blot him out of the book of life. They say, that the 
henievolenceoi Moses was so great, that he chose rather to suffer 
endless'ntisenr, in order to obtain the forgiveness of his country- 
men, thta to DC endlessly happy, and see them condemned. But 
they do not attend to the words of Moses. He himself says ho such 
* ySaing. On the contrary, he pravs, that God would blot him out of 
his book^ if he will not forgive tneir sin : choosing not to be happy 
himself, unless they may be happy with him ; ^d choosing to oe 
endlessly miserable, rather than to hf endlessly happy, unless thej. 


may be happy also. This, it must be acknowle<%ed, if it hi be* 
nevoience, is benevolence of a very extraordinary kind* Moses^ 
according to this scheme", is desirous, if he cannot obtain all the 
good which he wishes, to have none ; and, if his countrymen can* 
not be happy, to be miserable himself: to be endlessly misemble, 
without the least expectation of doine, without a possibility of d(y% 
in^, any good whatever to them: in plain langua^* to be endlessly 
Duserable for the sake of being endlessly miserable. 

It is also Resignation of an extraordinary kind. Instead of be- 
ing Resignation to the will of God, it is resignation, directly oppos- 
eo, and perfectly known by Moses hunself to be directly opposed, 
to that will. Moses certainly knew, that he was destined to end* 
less life; and therefore certainly knew, that this was the will of 
God. To this will, thus known, bis prayer, interpreted acitmling 
Co this scheme, is direcdy contradictory. I hesitate not to isay, that 
Moses never exercised Resignation of this nature. 

Thirdly. The real meaning of this praj/er is j that, on the condition 
specifitdj God would take away his life. 

After the rebellion of the Israelites at the foot of the Mount, in 
which they made, and worshipped, the golden calf, God directed 
Moses to kt him alone^ that he might' consume them ; and promised 
lo make f^ Moses himself a great nation. Alluring as this promise 
was, Moses loved Israel too well, to forsake them on this pressing 
occasion. He therefore besought God tg forgive them, with ^reat 
earnestness and anxiety ; and prayed fervently also. that, if he 
would not forgive them, he would take away his own life; proba- , 
bly, that he might not witness the melancholy sight of the ruin of a 
people, for whom he had done, and suffered, so much, and in whose 
mterests his heart was so entirely bound up. The book here cal- 
led the hook which God had written^ is a figurative allusion to a re- 
gistery m which were recorded the names of living persons ; and in 
the present case, is considered as a register, written by God, in 
which were enrolled the names of all living men. To blot out the 
name is equivalent to taking away the life of the person, thus regis- 
tered. Tnat this was what was intended by Moses must, 1 think, 
be unanswerably evident fix)m the observations, which have been 
already made. 

A smiilar prayer of the same illustrious man is recorded m 
Numb. xi. 14, 15, / am not able to bear all this people alane^ becmtse 
iiis ioo heavy for me. And^ if thou deal thus with me^ kill me, / 
pray tkecj out ofhand^ if I have found favour in thy sight} and lei 
me not see my wretchedness. The only difference between the two 
cases seems to be, that in the former case, Moses prayed, that he 
might not live to see the ruin of his people ; and in the latter, re- . - . 
minted to be released fix)m life, because he was unable to bear 
the boiden of superintending, and providing for them. 

The other passage is Rom. ix* 1 — 3, Isay the truth m Christ f 
Ilktu>t; my conscience also bearing me zoitness m the Holy GhoH / 


that I have great heaviness^ and continual sorrow in my heart. For 
I could wish that myself were accursed from Christy for my brethren, 
my kinsmen according to the flesh. Here it is supposed, that St. 
Pau/ declares himself desirous, or at least capable of being desir- 
ous, to suffer final perdition for the sake of rescuing bis brethren, 
the Israelites, irom their ruinous condition. But, I apprehend, the 
Apostle says no such thing. For, 

In the first place, the declaration in the Greek is not I could wish, 
but / wished : not i)ux^i|xt]v, in the optative mode, but rfv/piMfij in the 
indicative. The Apostle, therefore, here declares a foct, which 
had taken place ; not the state of his mind at the time present ; 
nor a fact, which might take place at that, or any future time. I 
do not deny, that the indicative is sometimes used for the optative, 
or, as it ought to be here understood, in the potential, sense ; to 
denote what could be done, instead of what has been done. But no 
case of this kind is to be presumed: nor is such a meanin? to be 
admitted, unless the general construction of a passage renders the 
admission necessary. 

Secondly. The admission of it here ruins the meaning ofthepai* 
sage altogether. It is introduced in this manner : / say the truth 
in Christ ; / lie not ; my conscience also bearing me witness in the 
Holy Ghost. Now what is the assertion, to cain credit to which, 
these three declarations, two of them attended with all the solem- 
nity of an oath, were made ? It is found in the following verse. 
/ have great heaviness and contintuzl sorrow of heart. Can it be 
imagined, that S/. Paul would think it necessary, or proper, to 
preface this assertion in so solemn a manner ? Was it a matter 
even of surprise, that a person, afflicted and persecuted as he was, 
should be the subject of such sorrow ? Could the Apostle need 
the aid of a triple declaration, and a double oath, to make this as- 
sertion believed ? And, if these were not necessary, can he be 
supposed to have used them for such a purpose ; or for any pur- 
pose whatever ? 

As this cannot have been the Apostle's meaning of this passage; 
so, happily, that meaning is sufficiently obvious. St. Paul, it is 
well known, was considered by the Jews as their bitter enemy ; as 
hating their temple, worship, and nation ; and as conspiring with 
the Gentiles to subvert all those, which they esteemed their best 
interests. This prejudice of theirs against him was an immense 
evil : for it not only obstructed powerfully, and often fatally, the 
success of his evangelical labours among tne Gentiles; but, in al- 
most all instances, prevented the Jews from receiving the Gospel* 
This evil the Apostle felt in its full force ; as he teaches us on 
many occasipns, by endeavouring earnestly to clear himself of the 
imputation. The present is one of those instances : and the mean- 
ing of the passage is rendered perfectly clear, and highly impor- 
tant, when it is considered in tnis manner ; and the propriety of 
the solemn preface, with which it commences, fully evinced* The 


wcMds, rendered, For I covld roith that myself -were accursed from 
Christj ougiit to be included, as they plainly were mtended to be, 
in a parenmesis. The passage, truly translated in this manner, 
win run thus : / say the truth in Chrtst ; / lie not ; my conscience 
also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost ; that I have great heavi- 
ness, and continual sorrow in my hearty {for I also wished myself 
separated from Christ) for mv brethren^ my kinsmen^ according to 
ike flesh. That the Aposde nad really this sorrow and heaviness 
for nis nation he knew would be doubted by some, and disbelieved 
by others. He therefore naturally, and properly, appeals to God 
for the reality of his love to them, and for the truth of the declara- 
tion, in which it is asserted. To show his sympathy with them in 
their ruined state, he reminds them, that he was once the subject of 
the same violent unbelief, and alienation from Christ ; and that 
then he earnestly chose to be what he here calls anathema^ justly 
rendered in the margin separated^ from Christ, just as ^Aey now 
chose it. A person, once in this condition, would naturally be 
believed to feel deeply the concerns of such, as were now in the 
same condition; ana would, therefore, allege this consideration with 
the utmost force and propriety. 

It will, I am a^are, be here said, that this interpretation derogates 
exceedingly from the nobleness, and expansiveness, of the Apos- 
tle's benevolence, as exhibited in the construction which 1 am 
opposing. It seems to me, that St. PauPs oion meaning is as really 
▼aloable, as any, which is devised for him by his commentators* 
There can be no more daneerous mode of interpreting the Scrip- 
tures, than to drop their obvious sense ; and to substitute for it 
one, which happens to be more agreeable to ourselves. Were I 
to ccxnment in this manner on the passage before us, I should say, 
that the meaning, to which I object, is absurd and monstrous ; and 
that, which I adopt, becoming the Aposde's character. At the 
same time, I would lay no stress on this remark. My concern js 
irith the real sense of the words. St. Paul must be allowed to 
have spoken good sense : and this the obvious and grammatical 
eonstruction, here given to his language, makes him speak* Where- 
as, the construction, which I oppose, makes him speak litde less 
than absolute nonsense. 

These two passages therefore, although relied on to support the 
doctrine whicn I oppose, do not affect the question at all ; and 
the Scriptures are equally destitue of examples, as of precepts, tor 
warrant the doctrine. 

5thly. TTure is no motive to induce the Mind to this Resignation. 

By mis I do not intend, that no motive is alleged, but that there 
k none, by which the mind of a rational being can be supposed to 
be influenced. The motives, by which Christians are induced to 
he unwilling to suffer perdition, are : 1st, the loss of endless and 
perfect happiness in heaven; 2dly, the loss of endless and perfect 
rirtue, or noliness : Sdly, the suffering of endless and perfect sin ; 

Vol.111. 14 





4thl7, the suffering of endless and perfect misery; and 5thly, the 
glory of- Crod in the salvation of a sinner. The motive, which 
nttifit produce the willingness, in question, must be of sufficient 
magnitude to overbalance all these : each of them infinite. Now 
' what is the motive alleged ? It is the delight experienced by the 
' Christian in seeing the glory of his Maker promoted bv.his perdi- 
tion. Without questioning the possibility of being influenced bv 
this motive, as iar as the nature of tie castj merelvi is conceme<L 
I observe, that the willingness to glorify God in this manner, ana 
the pleasure experienced in glorifying him, (which is the same 
thing) is to endure but for a moment : that is, during this transient 
life. The pain, through which this momentary pleasure is jgain* 
ed, is, on the contrary, infinite, or endless, in each of the methods, 
specified abore; Will it be believed, that, if every volition of mm 
i$ at the greaUH apparent good, there can be in this case a voli- 
tion, nay, a series of volitionS) contrary to the ^eatest apparent 
good : a good, infinitely outweighing that, by which these volitions 
are supposed to be excited ? I say this good is momentary, be- 
cause the subjects of perdition, immediately after entering upon 
their sufferings, hate, and oppose, the glory of God throughout 
eternity. Wnatever good, therefore, the Christian can enjoy in 
glorifying his Creator, he can enjoy only during the present life. 

It ought to be observed, that the Resignation^ here required of 
the Chnstian, extends infinitely beyond that, which was required 
of Christ himself. He was required to undergo only finite and 
temporary sufferings. The Christian is here required to be wil- 
lilie to under^ innnite sufferings. The sufferings of Christ were, 
a&d he knew they were, to be rewarded with infinite glory and 
happiness. Those of the Christian are only to terminate, daily, 
in mcreasing shame, sin, and wo, for ever. Christ/or ihejoy set 
before himy endured the cross and despised the shame. There is no 
joy set before the Christian. 

Ai a rule of determining whether we are Christians^ or not^ it 
would seem, that hardly any supposable one could be more un- 
happy. If we should allow the doctrine to be sound, and scrip- 
tural ; it will not be pretended, that any, unless very emment, 
saints arrive at the possession of this spirit in such a degree, as to 
be satisfied^ that' they are thus resigned. None but these, there- 
fSm) will be able to avail themselves of the evidence derived fix)m 
this source* To all others, the rule will be not only useless, but 
in a high degree perplexing, and filled with discouragement. To 
be-thus resigned will, to say the least, demand a vigour and energy 
of piety, not often found. Rules of self-examination, incompara- 
bly plainer, and nK>re easy of application, are given us in the 
Soriptures, fitted for all persons, and for all cases. Why, with 
thoie in our possession, we should re;sort to this, especially when 
Hit -noirhere found m the Sacred Volume, it would be diffTcult to 



explain. Yet, if tUs is not the practioal use, to be made of this 
doctrine, it would not be easy to assign to it any use at aftr . 

The Resignation of the Scriptures, as I have before observed, 
is either a cheerful submission to the evils, which we actually suf> 
for, or a general, undefinable preparation of mind to suffer such 
otl^rs, as God may choose to mflict. In the Bible this spirit is, I '^ 
believe, never referred to any evils, which exist beyond the erave^ 
If this remaric be just, as I think it will be found, tnere can be np 
benefit in extending the subject farther than it has been extended 
by Revelation. If 1 mistake npt, every good consequence, ex^ 
pected teom the doctrine, whibh I have opposed, will be derived 
Dom the Resignation here described : while the mind will be dis« 
embarrassed of the very numerous, and very serious, difficultieS| ' 
wUch are inseparable from the doctrine in question* 

3dly* Resignatianf as here described^ ii an indisprnMoble duty cf 

The Government of God, even in this melancholy world, is the 
result of his perfect wisdom, power, and goodness. Now nothing* 
is more evident, than that the government, which flows from such 
a source, must be absolutdy right ; or in other words, must be 
what perfect wisdom and virtue, in us, would certainly and entire- 
ly approve. To be resigned to such a government, therefore, 
woola be a thing of course, were we perfectlv wise and virtuous. 
But what this character would prompt us to oo, it is, now, our in* 
dbpensable duty to do. 

This, however, is not the only, nor the most affecting, view, 
which we are able to take of the subject. The Govenunent ci 
God in (his world is a scheme of Mercy ; the most glorious exhibi- 
tion, which can exist, of Infinite Goodness. Unless our own per- 
verseness prevent, the most untoward, the most afflicting, dispen- 
sations, however painful in themselves, are really fitted in the oest 
manner to promote our best interests. We know, says Su Pmd. 
thai ail ikingt do ioarik,'or, as in the Greek, labour together for good" 
to them that love God. 

"Good,^' says JIfr. Hcn)«y, 

M Good, when H« gives, supremely good, 
Nor less, when he denies ; 
fiyen crosses from his sov*reign hand 
Are bliMsings in disgaise.** 

Sorely in such a state of things it must be the natural, the mstinc- 
tive, conduct of Piety to acc;[uiesce in dispensations of this nature* 
Under the afflictions which it demands, and which of coarse it can- 
sot but involve, we may, and must, at times smart ; as a child un« 
der the rod, when admmistered by the most affectionate Parental 
hand : but like children, influenced by filial piety, we shall receive 
(he chastening with resignation and love. 

3dly« BesygneUion it also a moat profitable duty. 





^e profit of thiB spirit is the increase, which it always brings, of 
virtue and happiness. Oar pride and passion, by which we are 
naturally, and of choice, governed, conduct us only to guilt and suf- 
fering. So long as tholr dominion over us continues, we daily be- 
come more sinful, and more miserable, as children become during 
the continuance of their rebellion against their parents* The first 
Step towards peace, comfort, or hope, in this case, is to attain a 
quiet, submissive spirit. That Goa will order the things of the 
world as we wish, ignorant and sinful as we are, cannot be for a 
moment believed. The only resort, which remains for us, there- 
fore, is to be satisfied with what he actually does ; and to believe, 
that what he does is wise and good, and, if we will permit it, wise 
and good for t». To be able to say. Thy will be aont^ says Dr. 
Foting, '^will lay the loudest storm;" whether oi passion within, 
or affliction without. 

Children, when they have been punished, are often, and,'if du- 
tifiil cMldren, always more affectionate, and dutiful, and amiable, 
Iban before. Just such is the character of the children of God, 
lAen they exercise Evangelical Hesitation under his chastenins 
hand. Eveiy one of them, like Davtdy finds it good for khnstlf^ 
Ikff he hoi leen afflicted ; an increase of his comfort ; an ucrease 
of his virtue and loveliness. 

As this disposition regards events not yet come to pass, its efifects 
are of the same desirable nature. For thjs wisdom and goodness, 
the fitness and beneficial tendency, of all that is future, the pious 
mmd will rely with a steadj^ confidence on the perfect character of 
God. With this reliance it will regularly believe, that diere it 
eood interwoven with all the real, as^well as apparent, evil, which 
m>m time to time may take place. With this habitual disposition 
in exercise, the resigned man will be quiet and satisfied, or at least 
supported, when others are borne down ; and filled with hope and 
comfort, when worldly men sink in despair. All that dreadful train 
of fears, distresses, and hostilities, which, like a host of besiegers, 
assault the unresiened, and sack dieir peace, he will have finally 
put to flight. Safety and serenity have entered the soul : and the 
Spirit of truth has there found a permanent mansion. Whatever 
evils still remain in it, his delightful influence gradually removes, 
•8 cold, and frost, and snow, vanish before the beams of the vernal 
flon. He will yield God his own place and province, and rejoice 
that his throne is prepared in the heavens^ and that his kingdom it 
over all. His own station he will at the same time cheerfully take 
with the spirit of a dutiful and faithfiil subject, or an ol)e<Sent 
child ; and confide in the divme Wisdom for such allotments as are 
best suited to make him virtuous, useful, and happy. In this man- 
ner he will disarm afflictions of their sting, and deprive temptations 
of their danger, and his spiritual enemies of tneir success, by 
quietly comoutting himself and his interests to the cUsposal of his 


* » 


•4 /• 





Maker* In this manner he will become effectoaUy prepared for 
that glorious and happy world, in which fSi these evils irill have 
passed awa^f and be sucteeded by a^^^lwi divine, and etemaL 
train of eniojrments. In this manner the work rf Righteousness^ '. 
Ub mind will hepeace^ and the effect of . Righteousness^ jmetness^ om 
kisumnee for ever. 

'• V- 

• ♦ 


" I 






MAMKT^Bl^F^-AnitheteeonditHke; namely thu; Thouahali hot thy migkb tm 
at thytitf, Tkert it none other eommtmdtneni greaier them Uut$ 

In several precediDg discourses, I have considered the great da- 

ties of Love^ Reverence, and Humility, towards God, and Jitngtuh 

turn to his will ; and given a summary account of the other duties of 

. Piety. I shall now proceed to an examination of the Second Com' 


In this precept, we are required to love our Jfeighbour as omt* 
selves. In canvassing the duty, here enjobed, I shdl consider, 

L ItsJfature} an(^ 

n. Its Extent. 

I. / shall make a few observations concerning the Jfature Oj 

Before I proceed direcdy to this subject, it will be proper to i 
mind my audience, that, in the discourse concerning JLove, conaid* 
ered as anAttendani of Regeneration, I exhibited it at length as a 
disinterested disposition; and, in this particular view, exhibited iff 
Kature, so feir necessary to this system. Nothing further wQI 
be needed under this head, except an explanation of the degree^ in 
which we are required to love our neighbour, expressed in tht 
words as thyself. 

This phraseology has been very differendy understood by dif- 
ferent persons. Some have supposed it to contain a direction* 
that we should love our neighbour with the same kind ofLove^mUai 
is exercised towards ourselves. This plainly cannot be its mean* 
ing. The love, which we usually ana naturally exercise towards 
ourselves, is selfish and sinful, ouch a love, as this, may be, and 
4>ften ia, exercised towards our children, and other darling connex* 
ions ; and wherever it exists, is, of course, sinful ; and cannot, 
therefore, have been conunanded by God* At the same tune, it is 
phvsically impossible, that we should exercise it towards our 
tcllow-creatures at laivt; the real objects of the affection required 
in the text; as I shall fa^vt occasion to show under th# second 
head. Others have insisted, thai we are required to love them in 
lAe same manner^ as ourselves. This cannot be the meaning. For 
we love ourselves inordinateljr ; unreasonably ; without candotVi 
Qt ecpii^ ; even when the bnd of Love is really EvangeliciL 


Others, still, have supposed, that the copunand obliges us to love 
our neighbour in exactly the same degree in which we ought to love 
ourselves. This interpretation, though nearer the truth than the 
others, is not, I apprehend, altogether aereeaUe to the genuine 
meaning of the text. It has, if I mistake not, been heretofore 
shown satisfactorily, that we are, in our very nature, capable of 
understanding, realizing, and feeUng, whatever pertains to our- 
selves more entirely, than the same things, when pertaining to 
others ; that our own concerns are committed to us by God m a 

Seculiar manner j that God has made it in a peculiar manner our 
uty to provide for our own; especially for those of our ozon house-- 
holds; and that, thus, a regara to ourselves, ana those who dixt 
ours, is our duty in a peculiar degree. To these things it mav b^ 
justly added, tliat we are not bound to love all those, included un- 
der the word neighbour, in the same degree. Some of these per- 
sons are plainly of much greater importance to mankind, than 
others ; are possessed of greater talents, of higher excellence, and 
of more usefulness. Whether we make their I^ppiness, or their 
excellence, the oWect of our love ; in other words, whether we 
regard them with Benevolence, or Complacency ; we ought plainly 
to make a difference, and often a wide one, between them; because 
they obviously, and exceodindy, differ in their characters and 
circumstances. A great, excellent, and useful man, such as St. 
Paul was, certainly claims a higher decree of love from us, than a 
person totally inferior to him in these characteristics. 

Besides, ii this rule of entire equality had been intended in the 
command, we ought certainly to have been enabled, m the natural 
Mfue, to perform mis duty. 6ut it is perfectly evident, that no man, 
however well disposed, can exactly measure, on all occasions, the 
degree of love, exercised by him towards his neighbour, or to- 
wards lumself ; or determine, in many cases, whetner he has, or 
has not, loved himself and his neighbour in the same degree. It 
is plain therefore, that, according to this scheme, we cannot, how- 
ever well inclined, determine whether we do, or do not, perform 
our daty. But it is incredible, th^t God should make this conduct 
oar duty ; and yet leave us, in the natural sense, wholly unable to 
perform it* 

For these and various other reasons I am of opinion, that the 
precept in the text requires us to love our neighbour^ generally , and 
uukfinitelyj as ojJirselves. The love, which we exercise towards- 
him, is ever to be the same in kind, which we ought to exercise 
towards ourselves ; regarding both ourselves and him as members 
of the intelligent kingdom ; as interested, substantially, in the same 
manner, in the divine favour; as in the same manner cs^pable of 
liappness, moral excellence, and usefulness ; of being instruments 
of glory to €rod, and of good to our fellow-creatures; as being 
originally interested alike in the death of Christ, and, with the 
general probability, heirs of eternal life. This explanadm 


•t t 

seems to be exactly accordant with the language of the text. At 
does not alwajrs denote exact equality. Frequendy it mdicates 
equality in a general, indefinite sense \ and, not u^frequendy, a 
strong resemblance, approximating towiards an equality. Tnere 
is no proof, that it intends an exact equality in the text. 

In many cases ; for example in most cases of commutatiye jus- 
tice, and m many of distributiye justice ; it is in our power to ren- 
der to others', exacdy, that which we render to ourselves. Here, 
I apprehend, exactness becomes the measure of our duty. The 
love, which I have here described, is evidently disinterested ; and 
would, in our own case, supply motives to our conduct so numer- 
ous, and so powerful, as to render selfish affections useless to us. 
Selfishness, therefore, is a principle of action totally unnecessary 
to intelligent beings, as sucn ; even for their own benefit. 

11. Tne Love^ htrt reqidredy extends to the whole hUelligeni 

This position I shall illustrate by the following observations : 

1st. TTiat it extends to our Families^ FHends, and Cwmtrt/nun^ 
^ will not he questioned. . 

2dljr. That it extends to our Enemies^ and bjf consequence to alt 
Mankind^ is decisively taught Ay our Saviour in a variety of Scr^ 
iural passages. Ye have heard, that it hath been said^ Thou shali 
love thy neighbour j and hate thine enemy. But 1 say unto you^ 
Love your m»mies ; bless them that curse you ; do good to them 
that hate yoiif and pray for them who despitefully use you, Ondper^ 
sectUe youj That ye may be the children of your Father^ who'ts in 
heaven : for he maketh his sun to rise on the evilj and on the^ good} 
and sendeth rain on the justy and on the unjust. Matt. v. 43, &c. 
And again ; For if ye love them who love you, what thank have ye f 
for sinners also love those that love them. But I say unto ysiji, Jov^ 
ye your enemies } and do good, and lend ; hoping for nothing again : 
and your reward shall be great : and ye shall be called the children 
of the Highest. Luk^ vi. 32, 35. The term, neighbour, in this 
precept, is explained by Christ, at the request of a Scribe, in the 

J)arable of the ^ood Samaritan : Luke x. 25 : and, with unrivalled 
brce, and irresistible conviction, is ^hown to include the worst and 
bitterest enenlies. Concerning this subject the Scriptures haye 
left no room for debate. ' 

At the same time,, it cannot but be satisfactory, and useful, to 
examine this subject, as it appears in its nature, and is connected 
with other kindred moral suojects. 

It is well known, that the Pharisees held the doctrine, that, 
while we were bound to love our neighbour, that is, our fi^iends, it 
was lawful to hate our enemies*. It is equally well known, tfaat^ 
multitudes in every succeeding age have imbibea the same doctrine; ' 
and that in our own age, and land, enlightened as we are by the 
sunshine of the Gospel, there are not wanting multitudes, w* 
adopt the same doctnne ; and insist, not only tli^t they may U 


fkUy hate tkeir enemieS| but, also, reveDge themselves on such^ as 
have injured them, with violent and extreme retribution. 

On this subject I observe, - 

1st. JTuU tke ctmimandj to hve our entmiesy u enforced by tht 
Example ofGodm 

This 18 the very argument, used to enforce this precept by our 
Saviour* Love ye your enemUi } and do good to them that haU 
you : 4md ye thau he called the children 6/ the Highest : for he i$ 
Kind to the evil and unthankful. Be ye therefore merciful^ as your 
Fatherj tsho is in heaven^ is merdfid. The example of Qod is 
possessed of infinite authority. We see in it the conduct, which 
infinite perfection dictates, and in which it delights ; and learn the 
rules ofactioB, by which it is pleased to govern itself* All that is 
thus dictated, and done, is supremely right and good. If we widi 
ovr own conduct to be right and ^ood ; we shall become /bZ/overt 
ofGodyOs dear children^ in all his imitable conduct, and particu- 
larly in that, which is so stronely commended to our imitation. 
Qinst also, who has presented to our view in his own life the 
conduct of God, in sucn a manner, as to be more thoroughly un- 
derstood, and more easilv copied by us, has in his prayer for his 
morderers, while suspended on the cross, enforced the precept in 
the text with unrivalled energy. Nothing could with greater 
power, or more commanding loveliness, require us to go and do 

To hate our enemies is dir^tly opposed to the authority, and 
the glonr, of these examples. Tiie examples are divinely excel- 
lent and lovely : the conduct opposed to mem is, of course, alto* 
gether vik and hateful. Accordingly, this conduct is exhibited to 
OS for the purpose of commending the same precept, also, to our 
obedieaia, as the conduct of the worst of men. These love their 
fiaends^ and hate their enemies ; even publicans and sinners do this ; 
and allf who do this, and nothbg more, bear a moral resemblance 
to PuUkans and sinners. 

Stdljm ^ we are hound to love those only^ who are friends to uSj 
me art mndor no obligation to love Qod, any longer than while he is 
o$r frieniL 

If w^iire not bound to love our enemies ; whenever God be- 
comes aoi eoemv to us, we are not bound to love Him. Of course, 
those wbo are finallv condenined, are fieed from all obligation to 
lore God, because ne is their enemy. In refusinj^ to love hini^ 
therefofe, they are euilty of no sin ; but are thus far perfectly in- 
nocent, and perfecuy excellent ; because they do that, which is 
perieetly rijj^ Neither the happiness^ nor the excellence, of 
God fimiishea any reason, according to this scheme, whv we should 
regard him either with benevolence or complacency, in the same 
■WVif^ every person, in the present world, can, by committing 
A^ppeidoiiabie sin, release nimself from all obligation to love 
l.jflKka*$ becauise in this manner he renders God his enemj. 
rj^bcTui. 16 



* . ^ ^ 

In the- same manner, eVenr person, under a sentence of reptoba* 
^tion, is released from his oohgation to love God ; and persons of 
both these characters are thenceforth entirely innocent and un- 
blameable* According to this doctrine also, sinners can, and do, 
continually lessen their obligation to love God, in proportion as 
,, they make him more and more angry with them day b^ day. By 
advaocihe, therefore, in a course ov opposition and disobedience 
to God, they advance yiearer and nearer to anttriblameable life and 

"Sdly. According to this doctrine^ good men are not boundj mar' 
Unary caies^ to love sinners. 

Tliat sinners are, ordinarily, enemies to good men, will not be 
questioned : that they, often, are very bitter enemies, cannot be de- 
lved.. If, then, this doctrine be true ; good men are, plainly, not 
bound to love them, nor, of course, to befriend them; to relieve 
^leir distresses ; to promote their happiness ; nor to seek their 

4thly. Recording to this doctrine, sinners are not, ordinarily, ^otmd 
, to love each other. 

Sinners are not only enemies to good men, but to each other. 
In every such case, they are relieved from all obligations to love 
each other ; and so long as they continue to be enemies, are justi- 
fied not only in the sight of man, but in the sight of God also, m 
withholding their love, and the expression of it, from each other. 

Let us now, for a moment, attend to the necessary, and ]nracti- 
cal, consequences of this doctrine. A moral being, whose motal 
conduct is such, as to justify us in withholding our love froM hkaa^ 
cannot be regarded with indifference; but must of coani^ be 
hated ; and, so far as I can see, may justifiably be hated, because 
his character is really hateful. But if it be right to hate our ene- 
mies, it is undoubtedly right to exhibit bur hatred of them in its pio» 
er expressions; such as censure, punishment, and hostilities* 
In this principle, mankind would contend with each other, in their 
public and private controversies, on the ground, that it was rieht; 
oecause it was dictated by conscience, and not merely by pas8ion# 
He, wlio beheld an enemy, would be justified in hating him ; and 
he, who was thus hated, would, on the same ground, be justi^d m 
reciprocating the hatred. To express this justifiable hatred m 
quarrels would be equally acccMrcUt with rectitude ; and men 
would fight each other, on a new basis of principle. Revenge 
would be accounted doing Ctod set^e. The persecutor, burning 
with rage against the miserable victims of his cruelty, exulting in 
his successfiil ravages of Mmian happiness, and smiline over the 
tortures of the rack, atid the agonies of the flame, would with new 
confidence say, "^ Let the Lord be glorified.'' War, instead of 
being the conflict of pride, avarice, ambition, and wrath, would be 
changed into an unive^^sal crusade of piety : and new Mohammedl 
would stalk through the worid, to execute righteousness bf 




1 . • 


batcherv, and plant truth with the sword* Every national contest 
would become a war of extermination. Every land would be 
changed, by a professed spirit of righteousness, into a mere field 
of slaughter; and every age, by the mere dictates of conscience, 
converted into a period of unmineled and immeasurable wo. 

The contrary principle,^ in good men, wherever they are found, 
is an extensive source of the peace and comfort, actually eojoy* * 
ed in this unhappy vbild : and its influence- on the consciences , 
even of wicked men is such, as to effectual no small quiet and 
comfort for themselves and others ; and to prevent mucn of the 
evil, naturally flowing from this pernicious doctrine. 

But the one half of the story is not yet told. Had God adopt- 
ed this doctrine as the rule of his own conduct, what would, long 
since, have become of mankind ? Sinners never love God ; but 
always hate him ; and of consequence rebel against his govern- 
ment, violate his law, and oppose his designs. In other words, 
they are uniformly, and unceasindy, his enemies. Had God, 
then, been governed by this principle ; had he hated his enemies , 
nay, had h^ exercised no love, tenderness, or compassion, for 
them; he must immediately have exerted his infinite power, to . 
render them only, and eternally, miserable. In this case, no 
scheme of Redemption would ever have been formed for our miser- 
able race by the infinite Mind. The compassionate and glorious 
Redeemer, instead of becoming incarnate, instead of living and 
^ng for sinners, would have clad himself only. ZDith vengeance 09 
& doak; and arrayed himself with anger as a robe and a diadem* 
bttlefli^ of ascending the cross, and enterine the tomb, he would 
mereif have trcdden the toin^'prfss alone, anairatnpled the people in 
kit fury m Their blood would have been sprinkled on his garments j 
ana stained all his raiment. The day of vengeance, only, would 
have been in his heart ; and the year of his redeemed would have 
nerer camsm 

No sun would now rise tpon the unjust : no rain descend upon the 
ml and unthankful. The Word of life would never have been 
revealed to mankmd. The Sabbath, with its serene, peaceful, iand 
dieering beams, would never have dawned upon' this melancholy 
wcrid ; nor th^ Sanctuary unfolded its doors, that sinners might 
enter in, and be saved. The voice of Mercy would never have 
been heard within its hallowed walls. . God would never, with in- 
finiCe tenderness, have called rebels and apostates to faith, repent- 
ance, ^nd holiness, in the Lord Jesiis Christ ; nor profiered par- 
don, and peace, to the returning penitent. 

Heaven would never have opened thA gates of life and glory to 
this ruined world. The general assembly of the first-iom would 
never have been gathered; nor would thiat divine lungdom, which 
shall for ever increase in its peace and prosperity, its virtue and 
glkrjr, ever have begun* 


-The fairest aXtribute, the peculii^ tecellence, of the Godhead, 
thb divine Mercy, would neitoer have been unfolded, nor existed. 
Angels would never have sung, Glory to God in the highest ^ peace 
on earthy and good-will towards men. On the contrary, sin with- 
out bounds, and misery without end) would have reigned with an 
uninterrupted and eternal dominion over all the mmions of the 
race ef Adam. 

From these considerations it is unanswerably erfdent, that all 
Mankind are mcluded under the word neighbourm 

3dly. This term^ of course, extends to all otlur IniettigmU beings^ 
so far as they are capakU of being objects of love ^ or, in otber 
words, so far as they are capable of being happy* 

To desue the happiness of beings wbo cannot be happy, is to 
exercise our affections in vain. To desire the happiness of those, 
whom God has doomed for their sins to everlasting suffering, is to 
oppose his known, declared will. But even in these extreme 
cases, it is, I apprehend, our duty to feel a general spirit of bene* 
volence towards the miserable sufferers. God has informed up, 
that he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. It is umjoubted- 
hr right, and proper, for us to experience the same disposition* 
This doctrine may be illustrated in the following manner. Were 
we to receive tidings from God, that these unhappy beings would, 
at some future period, be restored to holiness and happiness; 
every beine, under the influence of this lovey would rejoice with 
inexpressible joy ; and would find, that, instead of indulging en- 
mity towards them, he had ever been ready to exercise a benevo- 
Ibnt concern for their welfare. 

That virtuous beings, throughout the universe, are proper ob- 
jects of this love, will hardly be disputed. Of these oeings, an- 
[els only are known to us ; and their character, as unfolded in the 
' :riptures, is a complete proof of this position. To mankind they 
are related, merely, as intelligent creatures of the same God. Yet 
they cheerfully become ministering spirits for the benefit of men ; 
inhabitants of a distant world ; of the humblest inteUijgenJ clmr- 
actcr; enemies to their Creator; and enemies to themsewes. Such 
an example decides this point without a comment. 

4thly« The Love, required in this precept, extends, in its Optro^ 
turns, to all the good offices, which vse are capable of rendering le 

The benevolence, enjoined b^ God, is, as was fonnerly obserr* 
ed^ an active principle, prompting those, whom it controls, to ex- 
ert themselves in an the modes of beneficence which are m their 
power, and are required by the circumstances of their fellow-meiu 
Infinitely different irom the cold philanthropy of modem philoso* 
pikers, which spends itself in thoughts and words, in sighs and tears, 
itB whole tendency is to employ itself b the solid and usefiil acts of 
kindness, by which the real eood of others is efficaciously prontfK 
ted. This philanthropy ovenooks the objects which are around it^ 



8n.XCfU I4KrE W. Qim |fSIGSm|D% 117 

and within its reach ; and eidumsts itself m pitymg sufferers in fcxN 
eien lands, and distant a^es : sufferers, so distant, as to be inca- 
paole of receiving relief &om any supposable beneficence, which 
It might exercise. These are, indeed, most conrenien^ objects ol 
such a philanthropy. For, as it is impossible to do th^m gpod. 
by any acts of kijMiness, which are m our power, we naturally fj^elf 
oursehres released firom the obligation to attempt any such Sicta ; 
and thus enjof^ with no small self-complacency, the ttti^^tion^ 
of believing, that, although we do no good, we are still yfiFj be^ 
nevolent ; and are contented with thinung over the ^opd, which. 
we would do, were the objects of our bencjvolent wis)>^ yritfiia 
our reach* It is reniarkable, that all kindness of thiq natfifj^ la ar- 
dent and vivid upon paper, and flourishes thriftly in conversa^on ; 
but, whenever it is summoned to action by the sight of those, whx^ 
it ou^ht to befiiend, it languishes, sickens, andoies. \U ft^&t » 
only in the imagination ; and unfortunately it has no connexion 
either with the purse, the hand, or the heart. In the same man- 
ner, professed nospitality is often struck dumb by the arrival of a 
guest ; and boasted patnotisxti, at the appearance of a proposed 
subscription for some beneficial public purpose. 

Such is not die love of the Gospel. The happiness of others it.' 
its original, commanding object; and the promotion of that happi- 
ness its employment^ and delight* The objects for whom, and toe 
manner in which, it is to be employed, are felt to be of no conse- 
quence, if good can really be done. The kind of good is also a 
matter of indifference ; provided it be real, and as extensive, at 
the nature of the case will admit. 

It will be useful to illustrate this subject in a miinber of particu? 
lars, suflKcient to exhibit its tendency and ejLtent, in the variety of. 
its operations. 

First. T%e Love^ reamred in thii prtcept^ vnU.prfvmt u§ fram^ 
^Uunlarily injuring others. 

Love morketkno ill to his neighbour^ ther^orejovf is thi.jyjlfil' 
Ing of the lawm The stress, here laid upon this cliaractenstic of . 
jore, is remarkable. For St. Paul declares, th^at for this rf^8(%a. 
it is the fulfilling of the Law. We are not, indeed, to uiuier^taQ^ 
that this is the only reason ; but that it is one very imp^jcfanl, r^ . 
ton* At the same time we are to remenlber, that voluntajry. bein^., 
who do no ill, always, and of course, do good. 

From this characteristic of Evangelical love we learp,, that those,. 
I who are controlled by it, cannot be the authors of falsehood, fi^i^^i^ 
slander, sophistrv, seduction, pollution, quarrels, oppres^iop^ plun*,' 
der, or war. All these, in wnatever degree they exist^ are, red^^ 
sod usually are rndX iQJJJfies to others. These, therefiv^ aire m.^ 
no sense fifuits of love. They may, and do indeed,; exist in greater, 
or less degrees, in the minds, and lives, of those, who are Hif^^ 
siAjects ofit ; but it is because th^ir Jlpye, is partiial and ioiperfect* 
Were this spirit to beonne the univenal, and the only, cf^^^tjar. 


of mankind; what a mighty mass of human calamities would van- 
ish from the world ! 

Secondly. Among the positive ads of beneficence, dictated by 
the love of the Gospel, (Ae contribution of our proptrty forms an 
mieresting part. To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and 
to perform other acts, generally of the same nature, have by man- 
kind at lar^e been esteemed such eminent and important specimens 
of this spirit, as to have appropriated to themselves the very name 
oi Charily; that is, ofiore; to the exclusion of other efforts, not 
less truly benevolent. They are, at the same time, accompanied, 
more obviously than most other communications of beneficence, 
by the appearance of self-denial, and of doing good without refer- 
ence to a reward. 

But although acts of this kind are peculiarly amiable, and pe- 
culiarly respected, they are, still, no more really dictated bj 
Evangelical love, than the contribution of our property to the pur- 
poses of hospitality, to the support of schools and colleges, the 
erection of churches, the maintenance of ministers, and the sup- 
port of government. All these are important means of human hap- 
piness ; and he, who does not cheerfully contribute to them, is 
either ignorant of their nature, and his own duty, or is destitute of 
Evangelical benevolence. 

Thirdly. Lovt to mirneigkbour dictatts, also, evtry other oj^ct oj 
kindntsa ahich may promote hisprestiU vielfart. 

Under this extensive head are comprehended our Instruction of 
Others; our Advice; our Countenance; our reproof; our Sympathy 
with them in their joya and sorrows ; those which are called our 
Civilities; our obligingness of deportment; our Defence of their 

Sood name ; our Profeaaional assistance ; our peculiar efforts for 
leir relief and comfort, on occasions which peculiarly demand' i 
them ; and, especially, those kind offices, which arc always needed 1 
by the sick and the afflicted. The tendency of love, lite that ti ■ 
the needle to the pole, is steadily directed to the promotion of hajy 
piness, and of course to the relief of distress. The cases in which ' 
this object can be obtained, and the modes in which it can be ac- 
complished, are of no consequence in the eye of Love. It only 
asks the questions, how, when, and where good can be donef 
When these are satisfactorily answered, it is ever ready to act 
with vigour and efficacy, to the production of any good ; except 
that it is regularly disposed to devote its labours, especially, to that 
which Is especially necessary. As its sole tendency is to pro- 
mole happiness; it is evident, that it cannot but be ready to act for 
this end, in whatever manner may be in its power. He, therefopt 
who is willing to do good in some cases, ana not in others, will find 
little reason to beUeve, that he possesses the benevolence of the 

Fourthly. Lovt to our neighbour u etpedally directed to the good 
ofhia Minu. 

As the soul is of more worth than the body ; as the inlerests of 
eternity are more important than those of time ; so the immortal 
concerns of man demand, proporiionally, the good-will, and the 
kind offices, of his fellow-men. In disaharglng the duties, created 
by this great object of benevolence, wc arc required to instruct, 
counsel, reprove, rebuke, restrain, encourage, comfort, support, and 
invigorate them, so far as it shall be in our power. We are abo 
bound to forgive cheerfully their unkindncss to us; to bear with their 
frowardness ; to endure patiently their slowness of apprehension, 
(X refonnaiion ; and to repeat our efforts for their good ; as we have 
opportunity, unto the end. For this punpose we are bound to hopt 
cojicenting them, so long as hope can be exercUed; that neither 
we, nor they, may be discouraged ; and to pray for them uilhout 
ceating. All these offices of kindness arc the immediate dictates of 
Evangelical Love. He, therefore, who does not perfonn tliem id 
tome good measure at least, can lay no claim to the benevolence of 
ibe Gospel. 


IsU FVom ihtie observations it is evident, that the Second great 
Command of the Moral Law is, as tl is expressed in the ttxl, likt the 

It is not only prescribed by the same authority, and possessed 
of the same obligation, unallerable and eternal ; but it enjoins 
exactly the exercise of the same disposition. The Love, required 
in this command, is exactly the same which is required in the first : 
a single character, operating now towards God, and now towards 
our lellow-crea lures. Equally does it resemble the first in its 
importance. That regulates all our conduct towards God ; [bis 
towards other Intelligent beings. Each is of infinite importance ; 
each is absolutely indispensable. If either did not exist, or 
were not obeyed ; a total and dreadful chasm would be found in 
the virtue and happiness of the universe. United, they perfectly 
provide for both. The duly, prescribed in the first, is undoubt- 
edly first in order : but that, prescribed by the last, is no less 
indispensable to the glory of God, and the good of the Intelligent 

2dly. Pielj/ and Morality are here shov>n to be inseparable. 

It has, I trust, been satlafactoriiy evinced, that the love, required 
in the divine law, is a single disposition ; indivisible in its nature ; 
diverdfied, and distlngulsnabte, only as exercised toward different 
objects. When exercised towards God, it is called Piety ; when 
exercised towards mankind, it is customarily styled Morality. 
Wherever both objects are known, both are loveo of course by 
every one, in whom this disposition exists. He, therefore, who 
lores not God, loves not man ; and he who does not love man, does 
am love God. 

ffQ u/n TO oor' usioHBoim. ^^ pbm jcti 


Sdlj* Wt here tee, thai tlU Hel^pontfthe Ser^harei i» the irue^ 
midmhf^iwrcfi of all the duties of Ufe. .#: 

On tne ..obedience of the jfirstand gre&t anunandment 18 found' 
ed the x>bedience of the second : and on these two hang all the 
Lorn and the Prophets : the precepts of Christ, and the instructions 
tof the Apostles. Religion commences with Love to God; and 
tehninates Inr love to man. Thus begun, and thus ended, it ih- 
tolves eyef/'duijr; and pcodiices evle^ action, which is Devard- 
able, praiscrwordiy, or ittefiil. There is nothinf^^ which ought to 
|be done, wtdch it does not effectuate : there is nodiii^ which 
'Mght ilot to be dome, wliidiit does not prevents It makes Intel* 
Bgent creatures inrtuous an^ excellent. It makes manldnd eood 
^parents and cMl^n, good husbands and wives, good brouiers 
and sisters^ good neighbours and friends, good rSlers and sub- 
jects; and renders families, neighbourhoods, and States, orderly. 
I^eaceful^ hanktonious, and happy. . As it produces the punctnii 
performance of all the duties, so it effectually secures aB the rigfatt| 
of mankind. For rights, y%uSf arenothingf but just elabns to Ae 
performance of duties In/ oMti. Thus the Religion of the Scrip- 
torei is the frotf aiid onhr source 6t safety, pc^ce, and prosperity, 





Acts ii. 36.—/ hme the%Dtd you ail ihing$^ how thai, so labouring, ye ought fo «li|p- 
p0rtlh€ weak ; and to remtmbtr the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said ; U U 
MCTC btessed to give than to rueive. 

• * 

In the preceding discourse! I considered, at some leneth, that 
Love to bur Neighbour, which is required in the Second Command 
of the moral law. I shall now attempt to show, that this disposition 
i$ more productive of happiness j than any other. 

The speech of St. raul, recorded m this chapter, I have long 
considered as the most perfect example of pathetic elocjuence, 
ever uttered by man. Tne occasion, the theme, the sentiments, 
the doctrines, the style, are all of the most exauisite kind, wholly 
suited to each other, and calculated to make tne deepest impres- 
sion on those who heard him. The elders of the Church of Ephesusy 
to whom it was addressed, were ministers of the Gospel; converts 
to Christianity made by himself; his own spiritual children, who 
owed to him, under God, their deliverance from endless sin and 
misery, and their attainment of endless holiness and happiness* 
They were endeared to him, as he was to them, by the tenderest of 
all possible tics; presiding over a Church, formed in the capital of 
one of the principal countries in the world; at a period when here- 
sy, contention, and dissoluteness, were prophetically seen by hhn 
to be advancing with hasty strides, to rum Christianity in that 
region. This address was, therefore, delivered at a time when 
all that was dear to him^ or them^ was placed in the most immi- 
nent hazard of speedy destruction. They were the pereons, from 
whom almost all the exertions were to be expected which might 
avert this immense evil, and secure the contrary inestimable : 
good ; the Shepherds, in whose warm affection, care, and faithfiJ- 
ness, lay the whole future safety of the flock. He .was the Apostle, 
by whom the flock had been gathered into the fold of Christ, ^j^ 
by whom the shepherds were formed, qualified, and appointed. 
He had n6w come, for the great purpose of ^monisbii^g them 
of their own duty, and of the danger of the floclj:, committed to 
their charge. He met them with the tenderness of 9h parent, visit- 
ing his children after a long absence. He met them for the last 
time. He assembled them to hear his last f^eweH on this side the 

Vol. JII. 16 

• I. " 

I- • 




To enforce their duty in the strongest manner, fatfnbigins his 
address wilh reminding them of his manner of life, his piety, faith- 
fulness, zeal, tenderness for them, disinterestedness of oonduct, 
fortitude under the severest sufferings, dihgence in preaching the 
Gospel, steady dependency on God, and entire, dev^On to the 
great business of tne salvation of men. To them, as ^ye witness- 
es, he appeab for the truth of his declarations. 7%em he charges 
solemnly, before God, to follow his example : warning them of 
approaching and accumulating evil ; and commending them to the 
protection, and grace, and truth, of God, for their present safety, 
and future reward. 

With this extensive, most solemn, and most impressive prepa- 
ratibn, he closes his discourse, in a word, with the great truth which 
he wished to enforce^ and the great duty which he wished to enjoin, as 
the sum, and substance, of all his instructions, precepts, ana exam- 
ple ; exhorting them to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, which 
said, It is more blessed to give, than to rective. 
In no remains of Demosthenes, or Cicero, can be found the same 
simplicity, address, solemnity, tenderness, and sublimity, united. 
Paul was a man immensely superior to either of these celebrated 
Orators in excellence of character ; and with the aid of Christian- 
ity to influence, and Inspiration to direct, rose to a height, and 
enlarged his views to an extent, of which no other man was ever 
capable. His eloquence, like the poetry of Isaiah, rises beyond 
every parallel ; and the excellence of his disposition, seconded in 
a glorious manner the greatness of his views, the tenderness of his 
sentiments, and the sublimity of his conceptions. He speaks as if 

- he indeed possessed the tongue of Angels ; and the things which 
lie utters are such, as Angelsi without superior aid, if^fm neyer 

.have been able to conceive. ^-^ 

The Words, which he declares to have been spoken byoM &9- 

''four, are nowhere recorded in the Gospels, as having been uttered 
iu the manner here specified. They were, however, unouestiona- 

'Sly the words of Christ; and not improbably addressed to Pitul 
himself. Be this as it may, they are words of the highest possible 
import ; and may be justly considered as the language of all oar 
Saviour's preachmg, and of all his conduct. The Spirit by which 

'he was governed, they perfectly describe ; the actions which he 
performed, and the sufferings which he underwent, they perfectly 
explain. Of all his precepts they are a complete summary ; and 
of nis whole character, as a moral being, they are a succinct, bat 
Adi and glorious exhibition. 

The import %f them cannot be easily mistaken, unless finam 
choice. To give, is an universal descnption of communicating 
good} to receive, an equally extended description of gaining it 
from others. The former of these two kinds of conduct is pro- 
nounced here to be happier or more blessed than the latter. To h 
blessed, is to receive happiness from God, irom our fellow-crea- 

SSft. ju;vii.j un rjbitdUjiAi. tiAmfllte ]33 

tures, fl^Jirom ourselves; and denotes, therefore, all the good, 
which me oo moo, or ^Aa// hereafter, enjoy* The doctrine of the text 
is, therefore, that. 

It is more desirable to commitnicate happiness^ than to receive it 
front othcrtm 

I am awire that the selfishness, which dwells in every human 
mind, and clouds every human intellect, as well as biasses every 
human decision concerning moral suhjects, revolts at this doctrine. 
To admit it, is a plain condemnation of our ruling character, and a 
judicial sentence of reprobation on all our conduct. In a worUt 
of selfish beings J where one universal disposition reigns, and rav- 
ages; it cannot but be expected by a man, even moderately 
versed in human nature, that the general sufirage will be gives, in 
favour of the general character. Every man knows, that his own- 
cause is in question ; and that his vote is an acquittal, or condem- 
nation of himself. From this interested tribunal an impartial issue 
cannot be hoped. In a virtuous world, instead of that proverbial, 
and disgraceful aphorism, that, where you find a man^s interest, you 
find the man, the nobler and more vindicable sentiment, that, we 
should find the man, where we find his duty, would unquestionably 
|)revair* If the united voice of our race, therefore, should decide 
asainst this great evangelical doctrine, the innumerable company 
of Angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, may be easily 
expected to give their unqualified decision in its favour. In their 
happy residence, a selfish being would be a prodigy, as well as a 

Even in our own world, we may, however, lay hold on facts, 
which fully evince the doctrine to be possible. Parents are often 
found {referring the happiness of their children to their own per- 
sonal 8i|^ private eood, and enjoying more satisfaction in commu- 
nicating nod to them, than in gaining it from the hands of others. 
Friendn fiaive frequently found their chief happiness In promoting ; 
the weO-beine of the objects of their friendship. Patriots have, 
sometimes at least, cheenully forgotten all private concerns, ano'f 
neglected the whole business of gaining personal gratification, for 
the sake of rendering important services to their beloved country. 
The Apostles also, with a spirit eminently disinterested and heav- 
enly, cheerfully sacrificed every private consideration for the 
divine purpose of accomplishing the salvation of their fellow-men. 
Nothing oi this nature moved them ; neither counted they their lives 
dear unto themselves; so that they might finish their course with joy ^ 
and the ministry which they had received of the Lord Jesus, to tes» 
ttfy the Gospel of the grace of God. ^ 

Now, what forbids ; what I mean, in the nature of things ; that, 
with an affection as tender and vigorous, as parents feel for their 
children, and friends for their friends ; which patriots have at times 
felt for their country, and which the Apostles of Christ felt for the 
•ouls of their fellow-men ; we should, in a nobler slate of exist- 



ence, escape from the bonds of selfishness, and send finrth our 
goo(J-will to every intelligent being whom we know, in such a 
manner, as to take delight in the happiness of all around us, and 
to experience our first enjoyment in communicating good, wherev- 
er we could find a recipient* That such a disposition would be a 
desirable one, will not be" disputed. Why may it not ejtlst ? What 
is there, which will, of necessity, forbid such enlargement, excel- 
lency, and dignity, of moral character ? Why may not a wprld 
bemled with Intelligent beings, devoted to this great and God- 
like end, and gloriously exhibiting the image and beauty of their 
. Creator ? The onlv answer to tnese questions, which an oppo- 
nent can bring, is, that in this guilty, wretched world, the contrary 
spirit universally prevails. On the same ground, the tenants of a 
gaol may rationally determine, that the mass of fraud, theft, rape, 
and murder, for which they are consigned to chains and gibbets, b 
the true and only character, which exists in the palace of sove- 
reignty, the hall of legislation, the' household of piety, and the 
Church of God, 

Admitting, then, that such a disposition is possible ; admitting, 
that it has, ^t least in superior worlds, a real existence ; admitting, 
still farther, as all who really believe the dictates of the Gospel 
must admit, that it exists in every sincere Christian, even in ihk 
world : 1 proceed to establish the doctrine bv observing, 

L Tliat all the happiness^ which is enjot/ea in the Universe^ float 
originally from the voluntary activity of Intelligent hevngs. 

AH happiness is contrived^ and i.^ brought into existence by car- 

jying that contrivance into execution* Intelligent beings alone 

efim. contrive, or execute. From them, from their voluntary agency, 

therefore, all happiness springs* God, the great Intelligent, 

beean this wonderful and immense work. Intelligent cr^tures, 

endued with the faculties necessary for this purpose, coincide with 

him, as instruments, in carrying on the vast design. On the part 

of Him, or them, or both, it is the result of desien. If happiness, 

then, is to exist at all, it must flow from disposition ; and plainly 

from a disposition to do good : this, and a disposition to ao evil, 

being the only active and productive principles in the whole nature 

of things. A disposition to gain happiness from others, could 

plainly produce nothing ; and were there no other, the universe 

would be a blank, a desert, in which enjoyment could never be 

found. The capacity for it would indeed exist ; but the means of 

filling it would be wanting. The channels would open, and wind ; 

but the living fountain, with which they were to be supplied, would 

be dry. The soil would be formed; and the seeds might be sown; 

but tne life-giving influence of the rain and the sunshine would be 

. withholden. Of course, no verdure, flowers, nor fruits, would 

spring up, to adorn, and enrich, the immense and desolate surface* 

As great, therefore, as the difference is between the boundless 

good which exists, and for ever will exist, in the great kingdom of 



* * 


Jehovah, and an absolute barrenness and dearth throughout this 
incomprehensible field ; so great is the difference between these 
two dispositions. 

II. virtue^ the svpremt excellence and glory of Intelligent beings j 
is merely the love of doing good. 

No attribute of a rational nature is, jwbbably, so much com- 
mended, even in this sinful world, as Virtue; yet the conuncnda- 
tions, given of it, arc, in many instances at least, unmeaning aild 
confused ; as if those who extol it had no definite ideas of its na- 
ture, and knew not in what its real value consists. 

All the worth of Virtue, in my own view, lies in this ; that it is the 
original, or voluntary , and universal, source of happiness^ partly, 
as its affections are nappy in themselves, and partly, as they are 
the sources of all other happiness. There is, originally, nothing 
valwt&le, but happiness. The value of Virtue consists only in its 
eflScacy to produce happiness. This is its value in the Creator : 
this is its value in its creatures. Hence, and hence only, is Vir- 
tue the ornament, the excellency, and the loveliness, of Intelligent 

Virtue, as exercised towards the Creator is, as was shown in a 
former discourse, summed up in love to him ; in Benevolence, 
Complacency, and Gratitude : good- will to his supreme blessed- 
ness, and to the accomplishment of his glorious designs ; a delight 
in his perfect character, which fonns, and accomplishes, the bound-* 
less good of his Creation; and a thankful reception and acknow- 
ledgment, of the effects of his goodness, communicated either to 
ourselves, or to others. All these are affections in the highest de- -• 
gree active ; and prompt us to study what we shall render to tlU 
Lord for his benefits, and to co-operate with all our powers in the 
promotion of the designs which ne has made known to us. All 
the good, indeed, which we can do to him, if it may be called by 
this name, is no other than to please him; by exhibiting always a 
disposition like his own. With this disposition he is ever delight- 
ed ; and he has been pleased to inform us, that in his sight it is of 
great price. 

Virtue, as exercised towards our fellow-creatures, is the same love 
directed to them, and perfectly active in promoting their well-being. 

In all the forms of justice, faithfulness, truth, kindness, compa«* 
aion, charity, and forgiveness, in every act of self-denial and self- 
government, this is still the soul and substance. But Virtue is a 
character, beyond comprehension superior to any other, and in a 
literal sense mfinitely more desirable. It is the only worth, the 
only excellence, the only beauty, of the mind ; the only dignity; 
the only glory. 

To the spirit, which is occupied in gaining good from others, or 
which aims at enjoyment merely, it is transccndently superior, in 
nuincrous particulars 

// is the source of all internal, moral good. 




The imnd is a worH of itself; in which happiness, of a high 
and refined kind, can exist : a happiness, without which external 

food can be but of little value. In the great business of forming 
appiness, its first concern is with itself. If disorder, tumult, and 
tempest, reign within : order, pe^^ and serenity, from without, 
wiU«find no admission. The first stfep towards real good is self- 
Bpprobation. So long as the mind is necessitated to see itself de- 
fniiBj^d) odious, and contemptible ; so long as the conscience re- 
proaches and stings ; so long as the affections are inordinate, base, 
ibsincere, rebellious, impious, selfish, and guilty ; so long as fi^ud 
is cherished, truth rejected, sin loved, and duty opposed ; it is im- 
possible, that quiet consolation, or hope, should find a residence 
there. Self-condemned, self-abhorrea, self-despised, it miist fly 
of design, from all conversation with itself; and find its poor and 
transient pleasure in the forgetfulness of what it is, and in the hur- 
ry and busde of external employments and companions. From 
the sweet and peaceful fireside of harmonious and happy affections 
and purposes ; fi*om the household serenity of a satisfied con- 
science, and of a blameless life, it is forced abroad, to seek, with- 
out success, to slake its thirst for happiness in streets and taverns, 
in routs and riots. Sickly, pained, and languishing, it looks for 
health and ease, in medicmes which cannot reach the disease, and 
turns in vain for relief to sports and sounds, for which it has 
neither eye, nor ear. 

. But when the love of doing good has once gained dominion 
over the man, he is become reconciled to his Creator, and to all 
his commands. This ruling disposition, wholly excellent and 
lovely in itself, is of course seen to be lovely and excellent. The 
Conscience smiles with approbation on all the dictates of the 
heart. The mind becomes at once assured of its own amiableness 
and worth ; and, surveying the landscape within, beholds it form- 
ed of scenes exquisitely beautiful and desirable. The soul, bar- 
ren and desolate before, is clothed, by the influence of the Moral 
Sun, and the rain of heaven, with living verdure, and with blos- 
soms and fruits of righteousness. All is pleasant ; all is lovely to 
the eye. No tumult ruflles, no storm agitates. Peace sooths 
and mishes every disordered affection, and Danishes every uneasy 
purpose ; and serenity, like the summer evening, spreads a son 
and mild lustre over the cheerful region. Possessed of new aikl 
real dignity, and assuming the character of a rational being, the 
man for the first time enjoys himself^ and finds this enjoyment not 
only new, but noble and expansive ; and, while it furnishes per- 
petually varied and exquisite ^ood, it sweetens and enhances, all 
other good. From his happmess within, the transition to that 
which ne finds without, is easy and instinctive. Of one part of 
this, himself is the immediate parent. When he surveys tne ob- 
jects, to whom he has communicated happiness by relieving their 
4isiresses, or originating their enjoyments ; the first thing, which 

Ki . • • 


naturally strikes his attention, is, thai their hcfymineas is thework of 
his own hands^ In the exalted character of a oenefactor, a volun- 
tary nnd virtuous benefactor, Jie surveys and approves him-^elf ; 
not with pride and self-righteousness, but with humble gratitude to 
God, for vouchsafing to raise M^Aip to such exaltation and worth, 
and to make him a willing insffument, in his hand, of the g^oiltoi . 
his fellow-rreatures. •■ 

la this character, the man, who seeks happiness in gaining ^b0% f 
has no share, A child of sense, a mere animal,. his only businiis 
has been to taste and to swallow; while nobler and mom active 
beings have been employed in producing the food, on which he re- 
gales his appetite. 

In this character of a common benefactor, the virtuous man is 
seen, and acknowledged, by others, as well as by himself. By all 
who see him he is approved ; and by the wise and good he is be- 
loved. Conscience owns his worth ; Virtue esteems and loves ft; 
and the public testimony repeats and applauds it. To the world 
he is considered as a blessing ; and his memory survives the 
grave, fragrant and delightful to succeeding generations. 

In the mean time, those, who are most unlike him in character, 
pay an involuntary testimony to his worth. Whenever they seek 
esteem and commendation, they are obliged to profess his charac- 
ter, and to counterfeit his principles ; to pretend to do good, and to 
seem to love the employment. In this conduct they unwillingly 
declare, that there is no honour, and no worth, even in their view, 
beside that^ of which his character is formed. 

In addition to these things, he is daily conscious of the appro* 
batioa of God ; a privilege, a blessing, transcending all other bless* 
ings ; a good, which knows no bounds of degree or duration. 
The proofs, given of his approbation to this character, are such, as 
leave no room for doubt, or question. It is, he has declared it to 
be, his own character. God is Love. His law has demanded it, 
as the only article of obedience to himself. Love is the fulfilling 
of the. Law. To this character, as formed in the soul through the 
redemption of Christ, all his promises are made. In consequence 
of the existence of this character, sin is forgiven ; the soul justifi- 
ed ; and the man adopted into the divine family as a child of God, 
and an heir of eternal life. Of the approbatipn of God, therefore, 
he is secure. Think, I beseech you, of the nature of this enjoy- 
ment. Think of the character of him who approves. Think what 
it is to be approved by infinite Wisdom. Wnat a seal of worth ; 
what a source of dignity ; what a foundation of honour ! How vir- 
tuous an ambition may oe here gratified ; what an immense capaci- 
tj for happiness may here be filled ! 

Beyond the grave, his excellence will find a complete reward. 
There, all around him will be wise and good ; and will joyfully feel 
and acknowledge, will esteem and applaud, his worth. Of their 
esteem, and love, the testimonies will be sincere, un^sguised, un- 






I < 



• • * 



changed, and eternaK There he will be acknowledged, and wel- 
comed, as one of the virtuous and happy number, who have volun- 
tarily glorified God, and befriended the Universe, during iheir 
earthly prilgrimage; and who are destined to the same delightful 
employments, and to the same glorious character, for ever. His 
heavenly Father will also there testify hrs own divine approbntion, 
ip^an open, full^* and perfect manner ; will adorn him with every 
grace ; remove from him every stain ; and advance him through 
successive stages of excellence, which shall know no end. 

It is the actual, and probably the necessary, law of Intelligent 
nature, that we love those, to whom we do good^ more than those 
who do good to us. Thus God loves his Intelligent creatures in- 
comparably more, than they can love him. Thus, the Sa^iou^ 
loved mankind far more intensely, than his most faithful disciples 
ever loved him. Thus parents regard their children with a strength 
of affection unknown m cbSRbren towards iheir parents. Tmii 
Jft^nds love those, whom they have befriended, more than tboqil 
^o have befriended them* Thus also in other, and probably tP 
allj cases. According to this undeniaSle scheme of things, he 
who seeks his happiness in doing good, is bound to his fellow-crea- 
tures, and to the universe, and will be eternally bound, by far 
stronger, and tenderer ties, than can otherwise exist. II-' will 
contemplate every fellow-creature, primarily, as an object c-f his 
own beneficence ; and, while he feels a parental, a godlike, at- 
tachment to all, will enjoy a delight in their prosperity, not unjust- 
ly styled divine. This glorious disposition will make the happi- 
ness of every being his own, as parents make that of their chil !ren. 
Even.ip this world, he will thus multiply enjoyment, in a manner all others ; and in the world to QQpi^y will, in a pro- 
gress for ever increasing and enlarging, firia the most pure and 
exquisite delight springing up in his bosom, wherever he dwells and 
wherever he roves. His mind, a bright, and polished mirror, 
will receive the light of the Sun of Righteousness, and of all the 
. stars which adorn the heavenly firmament ; and will, at the same 
time, warm and brighten within itself, and return the enlivening 
beams with undiminished lustre. 

111. To (/o good is the only and perfect character of the ever- 
blessed Jehovah* 

When God created the universe, it is most evident, that he could 
have no possible view in this great work, but to glorify hims./fm 
doing good to the creatures which he made* Whatever they were, 
and whatever they possessed, or could ever be, or possess, must 
of course be derivea from him alone. From theiD, therefore, he 
could receive nothing, but what he had given them. Accordingly, 
he is not worshipped as though he needed any thing ; seeing he givetk. 
unto all If e^ and breath, and all things* The whole system nf his 
designs and conduct is a mere system of communicating goo'l ; and 
his whole character as displayed in it, is exactly siunmed up bjr 



the Psalmist in these few words : Tliou art good^ and ioH goodj 
and thy tender mercies are over all thy works* The same charac^- 
ter was anciently proclaimed by himself to Moses, on Mount Sinaij 
in that sublime and affecting annunciation : the Lord, the Lord Godj 
merciful and gracious, long-suffering, sl0w to anger, and abundailii 
in goodness and truth. St. John has, in a still more comprehen-' 
sive manner declared his character in a single word : God is Love. 
This peculiarly divine and glorious character was still more illua^- 
triousiy manifested by the Son of God, in the wonderful work of 
Redemption. Infinitely rich in all good himself, for our sakes h^ 
became poor, that we through him might become rich ; rich in holi- 
ness ; nch in the happiness which it produces* We were fallen, 
condemned, and ruined; were poor, and miserable, and blind, and 
naked, and in want of all things. To do good to us, to redeem 
as from sin, and to rescue us from misery, ne came to this world ; 
and while he lived, went about doing gpod unto all men as he had 
9fforiwuty, and ended his Ufe onine cross, that we might live for 

On the third da^ he arose from the dead, and ascended intOt^ ^ 
heaven. At the right hand of God the Father, while he sits on 
the throne of the Universe, he makes perpetual intercession for 
the sinful, backsliding creatures, whom he left behind ; and with 
infinite benignity carries on the amazing work of redeeming love, 
in the world of glory. In that world it is his employment,, and 
delight, to feed all his followers, and lead them to fountains (f Jiving 
maters ; to enlighten them with wisdom, to improve them in Virtue, 
to adorn them with strength and beauty, and to dignify them with 
immortal glorjr. 

All these things ha^ flowed, and will for ever flow, from his 
own love of doing godnr Of them, he could not possibly stand in 
need. Of the stones of the street, he could raise up children and 
followers, beyond' measure better, wiser, and nobler, than they 
are, and in numbers incomprehensible. For him they can do 
nothing; for them he does' all things. 

But God is infinitely blessed. Tnis superior and unchangeable 
happiness of Jehovah springs entirely from this glorious disposition. 
As he can. receive notning, his happiness must lie wholly in the 
conscious enjoyment of his own excellence, which is formed of this • 
disposition, and in the communication of good to his creatures. . 

ff we would be happy like Km, we must be disposed like him : 
must experience, andf exercise, the same love of doing good ; and 
must fina our own supreme enioynfient in this exalted communica- 
tion. Happiness grows out of the temper of the mind which enjoys. 
Us native soil is benevolence. When this is the temperature of the 
soul, it springs up spontaneously, and flourishes, and blossoms, . 
and bears, witn a rich and endless luxuriance, and with beauty 
iapreme and transcendent : but when selfishness predomiuateSi 

Vol.111. 17 



M exotie in a sterile ground, and a wintry climate, it withen, 
fiides^ and dies. 

In the mean time, God loves, and blesses, those, whose disposi* 
tion and conduct resemble his own* In giving this character to his 
chiMren, he gives them the first of all blessings ; the source of 
peace, dignity, and enjoyment, within, and the means of relishing 
every pleasure from without. Thus, in the possession of this char- 
actef^ (A«y havi^ in the scriptural language ; and therefore, toihenu 
ift other respects, shall he largely pven. Their internal excellence 
and enjoyment shall be perpetually improved, and their external 
faapfrtness, in the like manner, extended. As the mind becomes 
m<^ beneficent^ more pure, more active in doing good; all the 
sources of its felicity will multiply around it ; its consciousness of 
being like its Father and Redeemer will Expand and refine ; virtu- 
ous beings will more clearly see, approve, and love, its beauty and 
MKSftXh \ and te smiles of infinite complacency will beam upon its 
character and conduct with inexpressible and transporting glory* 

Having thus, as I flatter myself, shown in'a clear light the XxvSSbl 
of the Doctrine, contained in the text ; 1 shall now close the db- 
course with two 


1st. 7hx8 doctrine places in the strongest point of view the Supe^ 
fhriiy of the Qospel to every other system of morals. 

There are two classes of men, Doth very numerous, who have 
employed themselves in forming moral systems for mankind : viz. 
the ancient Heathen Philosophers, and modern Infidels. It is 
hardly necessary to observe, that in all moral systems the Supreme 
GoodI, or highest interest of Man, and, by consequence, the Nature 
of Virtue, and tbe Nature and Means of Happiness, become, oi 
course, prime objects of inquiry. Nothing can more effectually 
teach UB the insufficiency of the human mind to determine the na- 
ture of the Supreme Good than the decJaration of Varro that the 
heathen Philosophers had en^racedy within his knowledge^ two Atm- 
drtd and eighty-eight different opinions concerning this important 
stAject. Nor were their sentiments concerning the natufe of Vir- 
tue and the nature and means of Happinea^ as will be easily sup* 
posed, at all more harmonious. £ome of them taught that sensual 
pleasure is the chief good of man; that it consists in freedom from 
trouble and pain ; and th|| business and cares do not consist with 
happiness ; and tiierefore, that a man ought not to marry, becaust 
a ramily wHl eive him trouble ; nor engage in public business ; ncr 
meddle with tne concerns of the pubuc. They also taught, that 
nothing, which is in itself pleasurable, is an evil ; and that when it 
i8i9Vil, it is ao, oidy becautc it brings more trouble with it tbui 
pleasure; that, therefore, injustice is not an evil in itself, but is evfl 
mere4y on account of the trouble which it occasions to its author. 
Some of them placed their supreme happiness in pride, and paw 


XCTO.] . Olf n»aOBrAL BAFnOBOL 131 

sonal independence of both gods and men. Apadiy, or an absolute 
want of feeling with respect to our own troubles, and those of our 
fellow-men, was regarded as being essential to this independence. 
Some of them placed happiness in abstraction from the world; in 
study ; in contemplation ; in quietude of mind ; in indolence of 
body ; in seclusion from human society ; in wealth, power, fame, 
superiority of talents, and military glory. Of Virtut they appear 
to have formed no distinct, or definite, conceptions. In some in- 
stances, they spoke of it with propriety and truth ; but, in others, 
with such confusion, as to prove, that they were without any conhott 
and satisfactory apprehensions concerning its nature : the sevend 
things which they taught, being utterly inconsistent with each other. 
Different Philosophers placed Virtue in the love, and pursuit, of 
most of the things, mentioned above, and made it consist with injus- 
tice ; impurity; impiety ; fraud ; falsehood ; the desertion of parents 
in their old age; unkindness to children; insensibility to the dia- 
Iresses of our fellow-creatures ; and generally with a dereliction 
of almost every thing, which the Scriptures have declared to ht 

These observations are sufficient to show how infinitely remote 
these philosophers were from just conceptions eoncerning this in- 
estimable subject; 

Infidels have left this important concern of man, substandalty as 
diey found it. I cannot, at the present dme, attempt to repeat 
their various doctrines. It will be sufficient to observe, at the pres- 
ent time, that Mr. Hume^ one of the last and ablest of them, has 
taught us in fonn, that Modesty, Humility, Repentance of sin, and 
the forgiveness of injuries, are vices ; and that pride, therefore, 
inapudence, resentment, revenge, and obsUnacy in sin, are by ne- 
cessary consequence, virtues. This scheme needs no comment. 
Virtue, such as this, would lay the world waste, and render him 
who possessed it a fiend. 

From what a glorious height do the Scriptures look down on this 
grovelling, deformed, self-contradictory chaos of opinions ! How 
lobliroe is the scheme which they exhibit concerning this amasing 
subject! FtWti«, they inform us, it ihe love of doing good: an ac* 
tive principle ; the real and whole Energy of an Intelligent mind, 
exerted for the exalted pur];>oseof producing happiness. In the 
exertions of this principle, in the enjoyment whicn attends it, and 
io the happiness which it creates, the Scri|itures place the supreme 
ffood of man, and of every other Intelhgent being. Here, and 
sere only, is it placed with true wisdom, and immoveable certainty* 
The mind in this manner is happy, within, by its self-approbation t 
and, without, by being in the nighest dmee uscftil to others, aM 
hj receiving from the hand of others all Uie good, which the san^ 
Usefulness m them can return to itself. Here all the provisioOf 
which is either possible, or desirable, is made for enjoyment uii- 
^od complete* The character, the personal characteri 

133 BFIXCTS OF BE|l£VOLENCE [iaitlt^ 

becomes glorious; the fiffection3 delightful; the conduct dlriiifu In 
a community, governed by this principle, every individual, howev- 
er gre4t, or however small, is honourable and lovely, both in his 
own sight, and that of others : every one is useful, also : f^ery one 
is happy. 

2aly. The great practical inference from this doctrine is, that do^ 
mg good is the only proper Ejmplojftnent of man. 

You, my Friends and Brethren, were created for this great pur- 
pose ; oot to gain reputation, learning, wealth, knowledge, power, 
Qonour, or pleasure ; but to do good ; not to gain even heaven it* 
self, or immortal life ; but to ascend to heaven, and to acquire im- 
mortal life, that in that happy world you may employ the immense 
of duration in an endless difllusion of beneficence, and an endless 
exercise of pie(y and praise. Make, then, the end for whichGod 
designed your existence, and your faculties, the voluntary and prop- 
er end of all your wishes, designs, and labours. 

With sober and aiTecting meditation set it before yourselves in 
form, and system, as the purpose for which you were made, en- 
dowed, preserved, and blessed hitherto ; as the purpose, which is 
prescribed by tlie will of God ; and as the purpose, to which you 
are, therefore, voluntarily, and supremely, to aevote yourselves. 
Let each of you say to himself, ^' I was formed for the great and 
glorious purpose of doing good. This was the will of my Maker; 
It is my own supreme interest ; it is the supreme interest of my fel- 
low-creatures in me. Be this, then, the ultimate end of all my 
thoughts, wishes, and labours; and let nothing hinder me from 
pursuing it always. While I lawfully seek for reputation, proper- 
ty, learning, eloauence, power,.or any other earthly good, 1 am re- 
solved to seek tnem, only in subordination to this great purpose ; 
as means, merely, to this end. To form, and to execute, this res- 
olution, give me grace, wisdom, and strength, O thou Father of all 
mercies ! that I may perform thy holy will, and in some measure 
resemble thy perfect and glorious character, through Jesus Christ* 

This solemn proposition of the subject to yourselves would, al- 
most of course, give it a distinction and importance in your view, 
which would induce you to keep it supremely, and habitually, in 
sight, and render it a standard, to which all yoiu* conduct would b^ 
referred for approbation or rejection; a moral scale, by which you 
would measure every thought, and pursuit ; a touchstone by which 
you would distinguish every species of alloy from the most fine 
gold. It would, also, direct your aims to a higher mark ; and give 
your eAbi*ts a nobler character. Men usually, even gotid men, 
•rather compound in their affections with conscience, and the Scrip* 
.tores, for a mixture of worldliness an(} virtue, than insist on observ- 
ing nothing, but the dictates of virtue. They aim at being virtuous, 
and not at being only, and eminently, virtuous. One reason for 
this is, they take it for granted, that they shall never cease to sin, in 

1 ■ 

■ .-* 



the piesent world, and, therefore, never mistrust either how practi- 
cable, or how important it is, that Ihey should vigorously deterniine 
to avoid all sin, and practice nothing but virtue. Their designs are 
divided between their worldly business and Religion, Thesethey 
consider as two separate, and in a degree incoherent, objects ; 
both necessary, but still clashing ; when they ought to consider 
their worldly business merely as one great dictate, and duty, of Re* 
ligion ; one great branch of the virtue, which they are to exhibit, 
and of the good, which they are to do. Worldly business is to be 
doi^e ; but it is to be done only as a part of our religion and duty. 
Even our amusements are always to be regarded in this manner; 
and are useful, and lawful, only lis parts of our duty, and as means 
of enabling us better to perform other duties, of higher import- 
ance. From etact obedience to the great rule, JVhether ye eat, or 
drink, or whatsoever ye do, do ail to tM glory of God, there is no 

Were the solemn proposition which I have urged, to be formed, 
and habitually kopt in sight; the character of man would soon 
be, not sinless indeed, but incomparably more holy, blameless, 
and undefiled, than we now usually find it. Human Yirtoo would 
be less cloudedy would assume a brighter and more celestial 
aspect ; and would be gilded with a clearer and more genial sun- 
shine. ' 

In whatever sphere of life you are placed, employ all your pow- 
ers, and all your means of doing gooci, asdiliffently and vigorously 
as you can. Direct your efforts to the well-being of those who 
are within your reach, and not to the inhabitants of a distant age, 
or country ; of a future generation, or of China ^r Peru. Neglect 
not a humble kind office within your power, for a vast and suWime 
one, which you cannot accomplish. The Scriptures require you 
to feed the hungry, and to clothe the naked; to instruct the igno- 
rant, and reclaim the vicious. Philosophical philanthropy calls to 
the commiseration of nations, the overthrow of governments, the 
improvement of the vast society of M^n, and the exaltation of this 
wretched world to freedom, science, and happiness. The only 
objection to your labouring in fliis magnificent field seems to be, 
that your labours will be to ho purpose. On the Scriptural plan, 
you will at least do something ; -ancl your two mites will notbo for- 

Sotten. Extend your effortb, however, as far as you can extend 
lem, to any effect ; to as many, and as great objects, as Providence 
places within your reach ; and as many ways as you shall find in 
your power, rrombtc, as much as possible, relief, comfort, liea I th, 
knowledge, virtue, and happiness, both as private and public ob- 
jects* Promote them by your talents, your property, your influ- 
ence, your labours, and your example. Let every day, when pas- 
sing in review before the .scrutinizing eye of conscience, prosont a 
regular series of beneficence, which will softicn the bed of voup 
repose, and rise as a sweet memorial before God. 


Ai otjjecti of your kindness^ always select the most deservtng. 
The Scnptures have directed you to do good tmto all men^ and es* 
pecially to those of the household of faith. To the soundness of this 
*"** • precept conunon sense bears, also, the fullest attestation. It was 
reserved for philosophy to discern, that the true and proper 
scenes of employing oenevolence were the galley and the gaol; 
and that its cnief aim should be not to make men good and virtu* 
ous, but to prevent thieves, mimlerers, and traitors from coming 
b to the dungeon or the gibbet, which, they had merited. Let your 

fiivourite object be the honest, the industrious, the sober, the virtu- 
ous ; and both feel, and relieve, their distresses. Refuse not 
otheitli but give to these an universal preference*. When you re- 
lieve' QlFjViifl^ngs of the vicious and mfamou8|i^c»e your oenefi- 
cence iRth solemn reproof, and pungent coudmI] and remember^ 
" *• if you withdraw them from vice to virtue, you render them a kind- 
ness, infinitely greater, than if you elevate them to wealth and 
honour. In tnis way you will save a soul from death, and cover a 
multitude of sins. 

With all your resolutions and efforts, you will need, every day, 
assistance from God. Every day, ask it in humble, fervent 
prayer. No real blessing ever descends to man, but as an answer 
to prayer. Particularly this rich and glorious blessing of a Kfe 
patiently spent in well-doing, cannot be expected unless it be ask- 
\ed for. Ihree times a day retire with Daniel to 3rour chambers. 
v^ God will be there, and will grant you a glorious answer of pMce. 
To such a life can you want motives ? Let me remind you, that 
t( iff, and, I flatter myself, it has been proved to be, not only the 
most honourable^ but the only honourable^ character; the character, 
which secures the secret approbation of those who do not assume 
it ; and the open esteem, love, and praise, of those who do : that 
it is the only character, which is truly and eminently happy; 
which possesses peace within, and enjoyment without ; whicn is 
found m heaven, and constitutes the happiness of that exalted 
world : that it is the character of Angels, of Christ, and of God; 
the beauty of the divine kingdom, the glory of Jehovah, and the 
source of all the good, wnich is enjoyed in Immensity and 

// is the only character^ which vnll endure. TTiewdrld passeth 
away, and the lust thereof; but he who doeth the will of God aiidetk 
for ever. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes; and the pride of 
yme, the wretched inventory of a selfish, worldly mind, find aO 
tjneir poor, though boasted, gratifications on this side of the grave* 
Their miserable possessors riot, and dig, and climb, during their 
passing day ; and then vanish, and are seen Ho more : where tUll 
they q^xt be found ? 

noi t)n the contrary, who by patient continuance in well^domg 

Hath sought forglortf, honour, and immottaliUf, will lie down in 

' . die bed of peace, will fall asletp ih the Lord Jesus, and awnke 



with new life, and glory, beyond the grave. In the great trial, he 
will be found, and pronounced, to have well done^ ancfto have been 
m good and faithful servant of his divine Master; and will be di- 
rected to enter into the joy of his Lord* 

In the ereat and final day, he will be acquitted, acknowledged, 
and ^ori&d, before the assembled universe ; because, when the 
least of Christ's brethren was an hungered^ he gave him meat} 
when he wap thirsty j he gave him drink ; when he was a stranger^ he 
took him in ; when he was nakedj he clothed him ; when he was suJcy 
and in prison^ he ministered mUo him. Of so high and valuable a ^/ 
nature will he £uid this beneficence, that it will be received, and 
rewazded, by Christ, as done to himself. To heaven he will be 
an acceptable itibabitant ; and meet with an open and (df^ifJUnt en- 
trance into that ll^py world. Glorified saints will thei<iS|l him 
at their brother; Angels will welcome him as their cotflpanion. 
There, also, will he find, that he has begun a career of excellence, 
iriiich will never end. Endued, there, with stronger principles 
and nobler powers, in a happier field, with more desirable com- 
panions, and forming all his plans of beneficence for eternal dura- 
tion; he will fill up the succession of ages with a glorious and im- 
mortal progress of doing good ; and become daily a brighter, a 
more perfect, a more divine, ornament, and blessing, to the virtu- 
ous universe. 

And now, my friends and brethren, / commend you to God^ and 
io ike word of his grace, which is Me to build you tp in this evan- * 
geUcal character, and to give you an inheritance among all thtm 
mii are saneiijied. Amen. 



• » 


^ f 





Acts xi. 35. — I have Aewfd you all thingSf how that to Idbouringf ye ought to ..^- 
port the weak ; and to remember the words of the Lord Jenu, how he taid, it ii 
more bleated to give, than to receive. 

In a preceding discourse, I considered, at length, the Influence 
of a disposition to do good on the personai happiness ofhimj in whom 
it exists, and attempted to show, that this disposition is more pro* 
ditctive, than any other ^ of such happiness. It is now my design to 
prove, that it possesses a no less sxtperior efficacy in producing Ptdh 
lie happiness.^ or the happiness of Society in all its various forms. 

* ^ Of this disposition, commonly styled disinterested Benevolence^ 
and denoted m the New Tr i;»?: out by the word, Ayonj, render- 
ed in our transhiiion Love^ i.-d C/\arily, we have an extensive, 
• most accurate, and most beautiful, description in the 13th chapter 
of the first Epistle to the Corinthians. In this chapter, it is ex- 

ij|» 1 hibiied to be superior to every natural and supernatural endow- 
ment, and to every acquisition made by man. It is proved to be 
the source of all good, natural and moral ; or rather the source of 
all natural, and the substance of all moral, good. It is shown to 
be the only real excellence of intelligent creatures ; the means of 
their existence, and their continuance, in the kingdom, of God ; 
and the only cause of his complacency in their character. Final- 
ly, it is declared, that this disposition shall endure until aH other 
things, which are admired and esteemed by men, shall be forgot- 
ten ; and, when they shall have ceased, together with theur use and 
importance, shall brighten and flpurish for ever. 

Generally, it is declared, if I mistake not, in this chapter, that 
Love, in its various modifications and exercises, is the amount of 
all those, which are commonly called the graces of the Christian 
spirit ; or, as they are often styied, the Christian virtues. Par- 
ticularly, it is exhibited to us as long-suffering, contentment, mod- 
esty, humility, decency, disinterestedness, meekness, charitable- 
ness, hatred of iniauity, love to truth, patience, faith, hope, arid 
fortitude. With tnis, the most extended and the most detailed, 
account of the subject, furnished by the Scriptures, all the other 

^ exhibitions, contained in the sacred volume, perfectly agree.' In 

them all, when connected together by the mind, as may without 
difficulty be perceived, this great truth is abundantly shown : viz* 

xcvm.] on fubuc happinxss. 137 

chat the Love of the Gospel, or the spirit of doing good, b the 
source of all ha|>pines8, public and private; and is productive, in- 
tentionally, of no unnecessary evil. 

This truth is generallv, but forcibly, taught in the text, with 
regard to society, as well as with regard to individuals. If we re- 
member, that all societies are composed of individuals ; we cannot 
hesitate to admit, that whatever renders them happy, must in ex- 
actly the same manner, and degree, be the source of public hajH 
Jiness. 1ft/ is more blessed to give, than to recsive, if it %$ more 
lessed to cherish a spirit of doing good to others, than a disposition 
to gain it from ihem,. in individual instances; the community, in 
which this disposition universally reigned, could not fail to enjoy 
this superior happiness in its fullest extent. 
Equally manifest is it, that the same disposition could not be 

Eroductive of evil. Love, saith St. Paid, worketh no ill to his neigh" 
our: therefore Love is the fulfilling of the Law. In other woras, 
this great and glorious characteristic of love, that it is productive 
of no ill, rendered it an object of such excellence to the view of 
God, that he framed his law in such a manner, as to require nothing 
of his intelligent creatures, beside this attribute and its proper ex- 
. ercises. We are not indeed to suppose this the only reason, why 
the divine law was framed in this manner. The good, of which 
this disposition is the parent, was, as we are abundantly taught in 
the Scriptures, a commanding reason also, why it was required by. 
the law of God. To secure this good, and prevent in this manner 
the existence of the evil, which would necessarily result from any 
•other disposition, was, at the same time, supremely glorious to the 
Lifinite Lawgiver. 

It cannot fail of being an interesting employment to a Christian 
•assembly to contemplate the operations of this spirit upon human 
Bociety. In the progress of such contemplation, so many blessings 
will rise up to our view ; and will be so easily seen to flow neces- 
sarily from this disposition ; that we cannot tail to feel deeply the 
degraded, mischievous, miserable nature of that selfishness, which 
is so directly contrasted to it, and which so generally controls the 
affections and conduct of man. With scarcely less streneth shall 
we reaDze, also, the excellence and amiableness of that spirit, from 
which good so extensively flows ; which makes heaven the resi- 
dence of supreme enjoyment ; and which might make even this 
■lelancholy world no unworthy resemblance oi heaven. 

On ^ theme, so extensive as this, and comprehending such a 
• vast multitude ot particulars, it would be easy to make many im- 
portant observations. Those which fall within the compass of 
'.siy design must, however, be all included within the limits of a 
aingle cfiscourse. They will, therefore, be few, and of necessity 

Vol. IIL 18 





'"'*.■ • • 

'^ ''If ^joangi/H^ tovty or the Spirit of communicating happiness^ 
will^ of eourH^%ndMCt us to be contented with our own Providential 
allolnunts^ . 

* * Love, saith St* Paul, envieth not. Love seeketh not her own* 

It is easily demonstrated by Reason, as well as abundantly dcr 
clarcd in the Scriptures, that the infinitely wise and benevolent 
God orders all things aright. Thus saith the Lord, Let not the 
wise man glory in his wisdom j neither let ih^ mighty man glory ih hit 

• • might ; let not the rich man glory in his riches :^ But let him that 

florieth glory in this ; that he understandeth and knoweth me ; thai 
am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and rights 
eousness, in the earth : for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. 
With such a government as this, it is evident, all persons ought to 
Be satisfied : for all pei'sons clearly ought to wish, that that which 
is righteous, wise, and benevolent, sboujd be invariably done. He 
who is dissatisfied, therefore, cannot, without voluntary blindness, 
fail to discern, that in this temper he is guilty of sin. At the same 
time, the good man is taught, and will from interest and duty, alike, 
remember, that all things work together for good to them that love 
Hod ; and therefore, for eood to him, as being one of this happy 
number. Such a man, with tliis conviction, must be contented of 
course. His understanding, prepared alway to admit the dictates 
of truth, and his heart, always ready to welcome them, demand, 
and generate, a contented spirit. In such a man discontentment 
with his own situation, and envy on account of the superior enjoy- 
^, ments of others, can find no place, unless when the law in the mem- 

bers, warring against the law of the mind, brings him into captivity* 
Were his love, therefore, perfect ; his contentment would oe also 

The impprtance of this disposition to the happiness of man, may 
be advantageously illustrated by calling up to our view the im- 
mense evils, which spring from discontentment. How vast is their 
number; how. terrible their nature ! What hatred does it generate 
towards our fellow-creatures ; what wrath ; what contention ; what 
revenge ! How many slanders does it produce ; how many frauds! 
What a multitude of pei juries, litigations, murders, and wars ! What 
* a mass of guilt does it Create ! What an accumulation of misery ! 
Were the great men of this world, alone, to be satisfied with tie 
wealth, splendour, and power, allotted to them ; were they to thirst 
no incre for the enjoyments, bestowed on their rivals ; the whole 
;- r\hcc of this earthly system would in a great measure be chancred. 
' ••'^ ^Oppression would break his iron rod; and war would cease to 
'■ ' ravage the habitations of men. 

In producing these evils, it is impossible for a mind, governed 
by the spirit ofdoing good, to take any share. Such a mind must 
of necessity rejoice m the righteous aiid benevolent dispensations 
of God. AH these it would regard, as springing from his perfect 
character, and as accomplisliing his perfect designs. Its own al- 



lotm-^nts, therefore, it would consider as the besl-^poiisible^ upon ^ *' 
the \Vholc, for the time, and the circumstances ; be<jpBe they were 
derr^ this wisdom and goodness. If a man, possessed of 
8Ui h a mind, were afflicted ; he would noi despise the chasUnins of ^ 
ihr f^rdj nor faint when he was rebuked of him ; but he would re- 
member, that whom the Lord toveth^ he chasteneth ^ and that he 
tcoff.'gtth every sOn whom he rcceiveth. In this character of a son, 
with filial affection, and reverence, to the Father of his spirit^ while 
thus employed in the eminently parental office of chastening him ' 
for his good^ he would sustain his afflictions with patience, forti- 
tude, and submission ; would endeavour to derive, and would cer<^ 
tai nl V derive, from them, the peaceable fruits of righteousness. His 
mifiLi would become more and more serene, patient, and enduring ; 
more sensible of his dependence on God ; niore resigned to his 
dis|X)sal; and more intimately possessed o( fellowship ioith the 
Father and his Son Jesus Christ. Every day, and by means of 
every affliction, he would become more weaned from the world, 
more spiritually-minded, less dependent for his happiness on out- 
ward objects, and more effectually sustained by the peace and joy 
of the Gospel. In such a mind, passion would daily lose its inor- 
dinate and mischievous dominion ; and reason, conscience, and 
piety, daily increase theirs. The views, and feelings, which as- 
similate hini to an animal, would gradually lessen ; and those, which 
constitute him a rational being, continuafly increase. The distinc- 
tion in the scale of moral existence, for which he was originally 
formed, he would gradually acquire ; and in the end would find 
Limself an inhabitant of heaven, fitted by a wholesome disci- 
pline for an immediate participation of its pure and unfading en- 

ill prosperity, the same man would acknowledge God as the 
giver of all his blessings. The enjoyments allotted to him, he 
wouH regard not as acquired from his Maker by bargain and sale, 
purchased by works which himself had wrought, and eaifned by 
nis own industry and ingenuity j but as gifts, descending from ihe 
Author of all eood, as sovereign and merciful communications from 
the eternal Benefactor. To this Benefactor all his affections, , 
prayers, and praises, would ascend : and the character, which this '. 
elorious Being would sustain in the view of such a mind, would be 
the proper and transcendent character of Jehovah. 

It is the lot of all men to be more, or less, injured by their fcl- , 
low-men* In the sufferance of these injuries, most men become ^'\^ 
impatient, angry, and revengeful ; and usually look no farther,'; * 
while smarting under the infliction, than to the hand, from which it ' 
is immediately derived. But such a mind will remember, that the 
injuries, done by men, are also Providential chastipements fi-om 
God, directed by the highest wisdom, and accomplishing the most 
desirable purposes. However untoward, therefore, however pain- 
ful, his suffenngs niny seem for a season ; he will consider them, 


chicflv, as Aetfessary parts of a perfect Providence, and as real, 
though mysterious means, of accomplishing perfect good* In this 
, view, they will appear comparatively light; and will be sustained 
with equanimity, and even with comfort. The promises of the 
Gospel, ever present, and ever fresh, will steadily furnish addition- 
al and abundant consolation. In these, he will find his own good 
secured beyond defeat ; and will both hopcy and (piietlv wait for^ 
the salvation of God. Ftaishioned, and tempei*ed, in tnis manner, 
into submission, patience, and meekness, the work of righteoustiess 
willy in such a mind, be peace ^ arid the effect^ of righteousness^ qui* 
etnessy and assurance for ever* '* 

In this vast particular, therefore, extending to so many objects, 
spreading its influence over all the days and hours of life, man 
would gam, beyond measure, bv assuming this divine disposition* 
The spirit of doing good would be, in his oosom, a well of water, 
f owing out unto everlasting life. The delightful nature of benev- 
olent affections, the animating enjoyment iimerent in beneficence* 
would gild with sunshine the gloom of affliction,, and add new beau- 
ty and splendour to seasons of prosperity. Towards God it would 
^* be exercised in the whole course of diversified obedience; partic- 

ularly in coniplacency and gratitude, reverence and resignation^ 
the proper efforts of a good mind to render to him according to hu 
benefits. Towards man, it would operate in the pixxluction of hap 
piness, and the relief of distress ; the employment of God himsek 
and peculiarly the source of his own infinite happiness. Thus 
would it unceasingly do good, and gain good : and, while he, who 
was the subject ofit, diffused enjoyment through his own bosom, he 
would extend it also to all around him. 

It has doubtless been observed, that I have illustrated this sub- 
ject, Ijitherto, by applying it to the circumstances of an individtmL 
t is hardly necessary to remark, that what is thus true of one man 
must be equally true of all others, who are governed by the same 
spirit. This conteilitment, therefore, this serenity, this exquisite 
enjoyment, would, if such a disposition universally prevaileti, be 
felt by a w'holc community, and diffused over the world. Every 
man would thus act; thus gain ; thus enjoy. What a mass of hap- 

Siness would in this manner be accumulated ; and how would the 
arkness of this melancholy world be changed into a glorious re- 
semblance of everlasting day ! 

II. The same spirit would do Justice to all men. 

Love rejoice I h not in iniq^tity. 

Justice is either Commutative, or Distributive.. Commutative 
justice is rendering an equivalent for what we receive^ whether of 
property^ or kind offices. Distributive justice is the rendering of 
such reroardsy as are due to those who obey law^ and govemmentj 
and of such punishments, as are due to those who disobey and rebtU 
In both senses, Justice is the mere measure of benevolence. What 
a change would be wrought in this world by an exact fulfiliuent of 


Comrautatiye Justice only! With i^rhat astonishn^tnt should we 
see every debt paid at the time, and in the manner, in which it was 
due! every promise faithfully fulfilled! every loan of money^ uten- 
sils, or other property, relumed without injury or delay ! every 
commodity sold according to its real value, and that value truly 
declared ! every character carefully and justly defended, and none 
unjustly attacked ! every kindness gratefully felt, and exactly re- 

Siited! Hdw great a part of human corruptions would cease ! 
ow great a part of the customary litigations would be swept 
away! What a multitude of prosecutions would vanish! What a 
beet of hard bargains, cheats, and jockeys, would be driven from 
among men! How soon would the judge find himself enjoying a 
comparative sinecure, and the jail crumble into ruin for want of 

But this mighty chanee would be still increased by the reign of 
Distributive Justice. In its Laws, the Legislature would regard 
only the good of its subjects. In his decisions,, the Judge, and 
in his administrations, the Executive Magistrate, would be gov- 
erned by the same great and general interest. 'Of course laws 
would be usefiilly formed, and equitably administered; and the 
public peace, approbation, and prosperity, would be uniformly 

To the government, the people at large would willingly render 
the same justice, as being influenced by me same principle. Jus- 
tice, in an important sense, is due from the people to their rulers; 
and can be either rendered, or denied. . when rendered, much 
good, and when denied, much evil, is always done to the communi- 
ty. If the Benevolence of the Gospel governed men of all classcsp^ 
this justice would be rendered cheerfully, and universally. Strong 
in the pubUc confi.dence. Rulers would be at full liberty to devise, 
and pursue, every useful measure, without danger of slander or 
opposition, without faetion or tumult. The community would be 
a great and happy family, peaceful, harmonUgMis, and safe ; and, at 
the head of it, Maeistrates would be the common parents, actuated 
by no design, and busied in no employment, but to render them- 
selves as useful, and the people as happy, as was in their power. 
How different such a nation from those, that have hitherto existed 
in this tumultuous world ! 

HI. The saint .spirit would invariably speak Truth. 

Love^ saith St. Pom/, rejoiceth in the truth. 

Truth is the basis of society, in all worlds where society exists* 
Angels could ixot be spcial without it. Thieves and robbers sup- 
port their dreadful social state by speaking it to each other. To 
be social beings at all, we must exercise confidence. But we can- 
not confide, where truth is not spoken. Lying, in all its forms, is 
the gangrene of society; and corrupts the mass just so far as it 
spreads. The sense of falsehood is a sense of danger ; a sense 
of danger is distress. Suspicion, jealousy, hatred, malignant de- 

« -.• 


Signs, and the dreadful execution of those designs, grow, succes- 
sively, out of deception. Under the united dominion of these 
evils, the mind, in wnich they exist, becomes craduaily a seal of 
wo ; a haunt of dreadful passions and dreadful cspcclations. la 
the progress of inteilectual nature, a world of beings thus situated, 
would be acollection of fiends ; and convert their residence into a 
hell. On this globe, where much truth is spoken, and wherelalse- 
hood is only mixed j where (he spirit, and the art, of deceiving are 
imperfect ; a great pan of our sufferings, as well as of outmds, i^^ 
formed by viointJons of truth. 

What a mighty and glorious change would at once be acccND* ■ 
plishcd in the circumstances of mankind, were truth to become their 
only and universal language ! Were no false facia hereafter to be 
declared, no false arguments to be alleged, no false doctrines to be 
taught, no false pretentions to be made, no false Iriendsbipa to be 
professed, and no felse colourings to be employed, to discourage 
and deform truth ; what a host of villains would vanish ! What a 
multitude of impositions, treacheries, and distresses, would fade 
out of the picture of human wo ! 

To realize the nature, and extent, of this mighty change, cast 

r eyes, for a moment, over the face of this melancholy world, 
behold all the interests of Man exposed, and hazarded ; his peace 
invaded; his purposes frustrated; his business ruined; and Ins 
hopes blasted, by the various votaries of falsehood : his private af- 
fairs molested by lying servants 5 his friendship abused dv treach- 
erous friends ; his good name dishonoured by slanderous noghbourf; 
his learning and science perverted by philosophisls ; his nghls and 
privileges wrested from him by fraudulent governments ; and \as 
salvation prevented by religious impostors. How iroaiense is the 
atusc, which he suffers ; howcomprehenwve; how minute: spread- 
ing every where, and reaching to every thing, which is important 
which is dear to the heart ! Thieves and robbers conceal, and ao 
complish, their malignant invasions of property and happiness un 
der the darkness of midni^l ; and fly with terror anu naste lh< 
delecting eye of day. The wretches, of whom I have spokeOf 
shroud themselves in moral darkness, and eoually dread tbe ot- 
plorlng beams of truth. Were this glorious light of the universe 
to burst the clouds which envelope our darkened world, and exhibat 
in clear and distinct view ai) things as they are ; what a host of 
enemies, what a crowd of spectres would fly from the dreadful 
detection ! See the Tale-bearer, hurrying from the indignant hisses 
of those, whom he has pierced into the innermost parts of the soul! 
The Perjurer shrinks from the abhorrence of those sacred tribu- 
nals of justice, which his enormous guilt has dishonoured and de- 
filed ; and trembles at the expected infliction of that divine wradi 
iHiich he has impiously invoked. The Liar sneaks (rom the haunta 
of man, while infamy pursues his flight with her hiss of contemn^ 
and her whip at scorpions. The Sophist immures himself in na 



cell, amid ihe foul animals wbo are its propor inhabitants : nhile 
fnslice inscribes over the entrance, " Here u hmtd Ike betrayer of 
the taitl» of men." The Seducer, loathed, execrated, torn by a 
frenzied conscience, and wrung with remorse and agony, hurries 
out of sight, to find his last refuge among his kindred fiends. Be- 
hind them, the whole train of deceivers, appalled, and withered, 
vaiiiftb from the searching beams ; and sink down to the regions of 
darkaess and despair. The earthly creation, which An* groaned, 
end travailed in pain, together, until nojo, under the vast miseries, 
which these enemies of God and men have wrought, wherever ihej 
have roomed, ia lightened of the inBupportable burden. The 
gloom disappears ; and universal nature smiles to behold its Re- 
demotion drawing nigh. Trftfunals of justice are purified at onpe. 
Individuals, families, and neighbourhoods, feel their wounds close ; 
their breaches vanish J and their peace reltirn. Religion rides in 
triuiBph through the world ; and God is pleased tadtaeU anew anotig 

Think not, that I am too ardent in this representation. Falsehood 
is the first enemy of Inlelligent beings. The world was ruined, the 
human race were murdered at first by a lie. " The father of liet," 
is the appropriate title of die worst of all beings ; a lillc of su- 
preme and eternal infamy, branded by the Almighty h&nd. All 
tfae deceivers who have followed in his train, partake ol his char- 
acter ; are slaves, self-sold [o toil in his foul and malignant drudge- 
ry, and' heirs of his undying infemy and wo. There tkull m no 
wiit adtt into the citif any iking thai defleth, or thai lovelk or mak- 
€tka lit; but on the contrary, all liars shall liave ikeir part in the 
lake ikat bumelh with fire and brimalone. 

Truth, on the other hand, is the foundation, on which resli; the 
Moral Universe; the stability of the divine kingdom; the light 
of heaven; the glory of Jehovah. The Truth, is one of the pe- 
culiar names of Him, who is the brightneta of the Father'3 glory, 
9nH the txpre$3 image of his perion. Truth is ijhe great nond, 
which unites angels to each other, and to iheir God; the chain, 
which binds together the intelligent system ; preserving ail the 
parts in harmony and beauty, and arranging the worlds, of which 
It is oomposed, around the great Centre of light, happiness, and 

FV. From ike tame diipoailion Toould spring, umvertally, ikott 
Kind Offices, vikieh are its immediate offspring, and which contlitvti 
the peculiar amiablentia of Intelligent beings. 
Love tuffereth long and ia kind. 

The interchange'" of conduct between such beings, are in their 
Dftturr, and variety, endless. From inferiora to auperion, they as- 
lume the name' of our veneration, homage, respect, reverence, sub- 
mission, and obedience; logolher with many others of the same 
' general naiwe. From luoermra to inferiort, they are !n (lie like 
varied through all the shades of authority, govemmeuti 

'. • ^. 


precept, regard, countenance, favour, compassion, forgiveness, in- 
struction, advice, reproof, and a great variety of similar ofiiccs* 
Between equals^ they are performed in. the more familiar, but not 
less necessary, acts of friendship, esteem, civility, giving, lending, 
aiding, and a multitude of others. These, unitea^ cojsstitute a vast 
proportion of all that excellence, of which Intelligent beings are 
capable ; and of all that duty, for which they are designed by their 
Creator. . To enjoyment, kindness is no less necessary, than truth 
and justice. Truth begins, justice regulates, and kindness finishes, 
rational happiness. Truth if the oasis, justice the measure, 
and kindness the substance. All are aUke, and absolutely, in- 
dispensable ; and of all. Benevolence is the soul, the e^ence, the 

A world of kindness is a copy of heaven. A world widtonii 
kindness is an image of he'll. Eden originally derived its beautjr 
and glory from the kind and amiable character of its inhabitants ; 
and the verdure, the bloom, the splendour of all its ornaments, were 
merely a faint resemblance of the beauty of mind, the moral life 
and loveliness, which glowed in our first parents. Had they pn^ 
served this character; the world would still have continued to floin^ 
. ish with immortal life and beauty; and the character itself would 
have furnished one natural and desirable ingredient in the happi- 
ness of beings, like /Aem, who by the nature of their dispositions, 
were capable of being happy. , 

Were the same chai-acter to revive in the present inhabitants of 
the world, now in ruins around us ; the bloom and beauty of Para- 
dise would spontaneously return. Three fourths of the miseries 
of man ar6 made by himself; and of these a vast proportion is 
formed by his unkindness. Were this malignant character ban- 
ished f were sweetness and tenderness of disposition to return to 
the human breast, and benevolence once more to regulate human 
conduct 5 ^ lustre and loveliness, hitherto unknown, would be 
spread over the inanimate creation ; and God would supply to our 
enjoyment all, which would then be lacking. 

In the exercise of this disposition. Parents would be tinily kind 
to their children ; and would labour not to. gratify their pride, ava- 
rice, and sensuality, but to do them real and universal gooil ; to 
form their minds to virtue and happiness, to obedience and end- 
less life, to excellence and loveliness in the sight of ifJod. In the 
path of this true wisdom they would walk before ; and their off- 
spring, following cheerfully after them, would find it to be only 
pltaaantness and peace. Brothers and sisters, under this happy in- 
fluence, would become brothers and sisters indeed. In their 
hearts, and on their tongues, would dwell the law of kindneas to 
each other, and of piety to their parents.. ' Every son would make 
a glnd father ; no daughter would be a heaviness to her mother. 
Every returning day would assume the peace and scfenity ol the 

xarm.] on pubuc happin£s& 145 

Sabbath ; and every house would be converted mto a little 

From the house, this expansive disposition would enlarge the 
circuit of its benefactions so, as to comprehend the neighbourhood. 
Happy within, every family would delight to extend its happiness 
to all witBbut, who are near enough to know, and to share, its 
kind offices. The beams of charity would shine from one habita- 
tion to another; and every hamlet and village would be formed 
into a constellation of beauty and splendour. Peacey the sister oC 
Love, and /ay, the third in that delightful family, would be con- 
stant visitants at every fireside ^^Juod spread their smiles, and their 
influence, over every collection of human dwellings. 

To the poor, the wanderer, and the stranger, every door would 
^ ^ be open, to invite them in ; every heart would welcome their en- 
*" * trance ; and every hand, relieve their wants and distresses^ 
The rich would be rich, only to bless ; and the poor would ly 
poor, only to be blessed. The ereat would emplov their ten talenit 
in gaining more ; and the small, their one talent m the same hon- 
^ ourable and profitable exchange. Kings and rulers would be, m- 
' deed, what they have been styled, but in many instances, without 
m claim to the character ; the Fathers of their country. The iron 
rod of oppression would be finally broken, and cast away ; and the 
golden sceptre of love, and peace, and t:harity, would be extend* 
«d for the encouragement, and relief, of all who approached. 
Bribery, intrigue, caballing, and the whole train of pubhc corrup- 
tors, would be hissed out of the habitations of men ; and the 
courts of rulers become, not the scenes of guilt and mischief, but 
the residence of honour, dignity, and Evangelical example. 

Nor would this great bond of verfectness meiely unite the mem- 
bers of a single community with each other ; but extending its 
power, like the attraction of the sun, would join all nattfms in one 
common union of peace and good-will. No more wooU the trum- 
pet summon to arms ; no more would the beacon kindle its fires, 
to spread the alarm of invasion ; no more would 1^ instruments 
of death be furbished against the day of battle. The sword would 
he literally beaten into a ploughshare, and the sptar into a pruning 
hook ; nation would no more lift up sword against nation ; nor king" 
dom against kingdom ^ neither would thev learn war any more. 
The human wolf, forgetting all his native ierocity, would cease to 
thirst for the blood of the lamb ; and cruelty, slaughter, and deso- 
^ lation, to lay waste the miserable habitations of men. 7%e walUj 
within and without which, violence resounded, and ravaeedy mould 
he called Salvation; and the gmtes, before which alqfKruction 
fiowned at the head of an invading host, would be siamamed 

Pa A IS E. 

V. Th€ same dispositum would manifest itself m universal OMid 
unceantig piety to God* 
VouRl. 19 



The Infinite Mind is the Infinite Benefactor of the Univeree* 
ULb the Source and Centre of all existence ; as the great Benefac- 
"^orof all beings ; as the Subject of divine blessedness, and excel* 
lence ; God would be regarded by such a disposition with supreme 
benevolence and complacency. Piety is nothing but this disposi- 
tion, directed to this great and glorious Being. The /ove,. which 
it the fulfilling of the second command of the moral Law, is also 
perfect obedience to thefrst^ which is like tmto the second* With* 
out love, /ear becomes a base and pernicious passion, totally des* 
titute of amiableness, and excellency ; united with love, or in a 
mind where love reigns, it is changed into the sublime character of 
Reverence ; the proper and filial regard to God fi*om his children. 
Dependence without love, is nothing. Without love. Confidence can- 
Dot exist. Hope and Joy equally suring firom it. Gratitude is but 
one manner, in which it is exercisea. 

He, who loves his neighbour, on any account, with the benevo- 
lence of the Gospel, will, and must, of course, love Us Creator. 
If he exercises evangelical confidence at all ; he cannot but exer- 
cise it supremely in God. If he be grateful to a human bene&a^ 
tor; he must be beyond measure, more grateful to the divine Bene- 
fector. If he love moral excellence at all ; he mvst, more than 
in all other excellence, delight in that, which glows with unceasing 
glory in the Eternal Mind. 

In God, therefore, this desirable disposition would find the high- 
est object of all its attachments, the supreme end of all its con^ 
duct. To him the devolien of such a spirit would be complete, 
unceasing, and endless. To please, obey, and eloriiy him woula 
be the instinctive, and the commanding, aim of &e man, in whom 
it was found ; and, in the case supposed, in all men. All men 
would be changed into children of God. The earth would be- 
come one universal temple, fi*om which prayer, and praise, anB 
faith, and love, would ascend before the throne of God and the 
Lamb, every morning and every evening. Time, hitherto a period of 
' sense and sm, of impiety, and rebellion, would be converted into 
an universal sabbath of peace and worship. Holiness to the Lord 
would be toritten on all the pursuits and employments ofmanknUL 
Ziony the city of our Oodj would extend its walls from the rising 
r to the setting sun ; and comprehend all the great family of Adam 
within its circuit ; while on its gates would be inscribed in immor* 
' tal characters, Jehovah is herb. 

Let me now ask, whether the Love of the Gospel, the spirit of 
doing eood, is not in the view of all, who hear me, a disposition 
more desirable, than the present disposition of Man f Thmk what 
the world now is ; and what, since the apostacy, it ever has beeiu 
Call to mind the private wretchedness, guilt, and debasement, 
which, within and without you, deform the human character, and 
destroy human happiness. Call to mind the public sins, whicli 
have Uackened tne world from the beginning ; and the public 



miseries, which have rune with groans, and shrieks, throaghout the 
whole reign of time, and from one end of heaven to the othei^ 
What a vast proportion of these evils has man created for himselu^ ; 
and his fellow-creatures ! How small a portion has God creatend ! 
and how mild and proper a punishment has this been for the au- 
thors of the rest! Ot this complication of guilt and wo, every 
man is, in some degree, the subject, and the author. All men are 
daily employed in complaining of others ; and none, almost, in .- 
reforming themselves. Were each individual to begin the Qtsk of 
withdrawing from the common mass the evils which he occasions, 
the work would be easily done. Those, produced by men, would 
be annihilated, and those, occasioned by God, would cease; be* 
cause, where there were no transgressions, God would not exex^ 
cise his itrange work of punithmerU. 

How mighty would be the change ! Benevolence would take 
place of miali^nity, friendship of contention, peace of war, truth of 
ralschood, and happiness of misery. This dreary world would be- 
come a Paradise. The brutal, deformed character of man, would 
give place to .the holiness and dignity of angels, and all the per* 
plezed, melancholy, and distressing scene of time would assume 
the order, beauty, and glory, of the celestial system. 

With the najture and effects of the present human character, the 
selfishness of man, so fondly, proudly, and obstinately cherished 
by every human breast, you are all, at least in some decree, ac- 
quainted. It is scarcely necessary, that I should recall to your 
minds the universal corruption of the aniidiluvian world; ana the 
violence and pollution, wnich rendered this earth too impure, and 
deformed, to be any longer seen by the perfect eye of Jehovah. 
It is scarcely necessary to remind you ot the premature apostacy, 
which followed the deluge ; the brutal idolatry, which, like a cloud 
from the .bottomless pit, darkened this great elobe to the four ends 
of heaven ; the putrid infection, which taintea Sodom and Gotmt* 
rah ; the rank and rotten growth of sin, which poisoned and de- 
stroyed the nations of Canaan ; the deplorable defections of Israel 
and Judah; the bloody oppressions of Assyriaj Babylon^ and Per* 
ria; the monstrous ambition, and wild ravages, oi Alexander ; the 
base treacheries, and deformed cruelties, of his followers ; the 
iron-handed plunder, butchery, and devastation of Rome ; the ter* • 
rible ravages of Mohammed and his disciples ; or the fearful waste 
of man by Alaricj Attihy and their barbarous companions in 
daughter. As little necessity is there to detail the wars, and ruins, 
of modem Europe ; the massacres of the Romish Hierarchtf, the 
tortures of the Inquisition^ the absolutions and indulgencies issued 
from the Vatican^ to pardon sin, and to sanction rebellion against 
God. Your minds must be familiarized to the lamentable degra- 
dation, the amazing misc^ries, the death-like slavery of the nations, 
which fill the continent of Africa. You cannot be unacouainted 
with the swinish brutism of the Chinese i the more brutal oefonni- 



*: ty, tha tiger-Uke thirst for blood, of the Hindoos and of the strari' 

ijits, who have successively invaded Hindostan ; the fell and fiend- 
ike cruelty that has macie moderp Persia a desert ; the stupid, 
, but furious superstition, and the tainted impurity of Turkey. To 
'^^ thes/e monstrous corruptions, these wonderful sins of nations claim- 
■ i^gj generally, the name of civilized, add the crimes of the savage 
world ; and fasten your eyes for a moment on the wolfish ra^e, 
w;hich reigns, and riots, in the human animals, prowling, re^larly, 
Ibr blood and havoc around the deserts of America and Asia : and 
• jou will be presented with an imperfect, but for my purpose a suf- 
ncient, exemplification of the spirit, which rules the heart of man, 
lip^ctuates the vast family of Adam. 
. A? ISut this spirit is unnecessary to man. The disposition, which I 
^ h^e descrioed, might just as easily inform the mind, and control 
the conduct. We might as easily be benevolent, as selfish ; virtu- 
o&s as/sinfuL No new faculties are necessary ; and no change 
is reauired, but of the disposition; How superior is the disposi- 
tion, nere illustrated, to that, whose eflects have been so uniformly 
dreadful ! Hitherto 1 have used the language of supposition only ; 
and have declared, that, if such were tne character of our race, 
such also tpoiUd be the stnie of this unhappy world. Now I 
inform you, that such, one d ; , will be the true character ^nd state 
/ of man. 

The "period will one day arrive : the penod is now on the wing: 
the day will certainly daw;n : the morning-star is, perhaps, even 
now ascendine in the east, of that day, in which Christ will return, 
and reign on tne earth. 1 neither intend, nor believe, that he will 
appear in person^ until the great and final day, which the Scrip- 
1^ . tures emphatically call his second coming ; for the heavens must 
receive him until the times of the restitution of all things. But he 
will appear in his Providence, and by his Spirit, to renew the face 
of the earth. A new heart and a right spirit will he create witfiin 
them. His law he will write in their hearts / and his fear will he 
put in their minds ; and their sins, and their iniquities, will he re^ 
member no more. This new heart, this right spirit, will beno other 
than the disposition, which has been here considered ; the very 
obedience of thef Law, which will be thus written ; the new crea- 
tion, which is thus promised. 

By the implantation of this holy character in the soul, a change 
will be accomplished, which is exhibited in the Scriptures in terms 
of hyperbolical and singular sublimity. In their present state of 
Apostacy, mankind are considered in this sacred volume, as being 
f( all buried in a death-like sleep. From this benumbing lethargy, 
hopeless and endless, unless removed by Almighty power, they are 
represented as roused anew to consciousness, to feeling, and to 
action, by the awakening voice of God. In the present state, they 
are^declared to be madmen ; groping in the gloom, wantoning in 
the excesses, and venting the rage, of Bedlam In the new one, 


Ihey are exhibited as restored to reason, to sobriety, to intellectu- 4 
al dignity and usefulness, and as introduced again to the social^, ' 
converse, and esteem, of rational beings. Originally, tney are 
prisoners to sin and Satan, the victims of turpitude, and the sport 
of fiends : yet they are prisoners of hope* In their renovation ^ 
they have heard liberttf proclaimed to ihe captive^ and the openit^ . .• 
<(fth€ prison doors to tkem that are homd; and, at the sound of 
these elad tidings, they have shaken oflf their chains, and escaped 
from iBeir dungeon into the glorious liberty of tlu Sons of God. <|j| . 
their present state; thev are pronounced to be dead, and falloii 
• tc^ether in one great valley of the shadow o( death; the appM^ 
ed and immense receptacle of departed men ; where their ^fMl 
are dispersed over the waste ; dried, whitened, and returning- to . 
their original dust. A voice from heaven, resounding through Ae * 
regions of this immense catacomb, commands the scatterea fig- 
ments to assemble from the four corners of heaven ; to re-onite m 
their proper places ; and to constitute anew the forms of men. A 
noise, a shaking, a rustling, is heard over the vast Golgotha ; a 
eeneral commotion begins ; and, moved by an instinctive power, 
bone seeks its kindred oone ; the sinews and flesh spontaneously 
arise, and cover the naked form ; and the Spirit of life breathes 
with one divine and universal energy on the unnumbered multi- 
tude. Inspired thus with breath, and life, the great host of man- 
kind instinctively rise, and stand on their feet, atid live again with 
immortal life. The great world of death is filled with animated 
beings ; and throughout its amazing regions, those who were dead 
are alive again, and those who were lost to the creation are found. 
This resurrection is no other, than a resurrection to spiritual 
life ; no other, than an assumption of this new and heavenly char- 
acter. This character, this disposition, will constitute the sum, -'^ 
and the glory, of the Millennial state, and the foundation of all its 
blessings. When the heavens shall drop down dew from above, the 
skies pour down righteousness, and the earth open, and bring forth 
salvation; all the external cood, all the splendour and distmction, 
of that happy period, will follow as thin^ of course ; as conse- 
quences, wnicn, in the divine system. Virtue draws in its train. 

The Lord of hosts toill, therefore, make for all nations, a feast - 
rffai things, a feast of wines on the lees well refined. ' The Lord 
of hosts wUl swallow up death in victory; and will wipe away the 
tears from all faces ; and will take away the reproach of his people 
from all the earth. He vnll lay the stones of Zion with fair colours^ 
and her foundations with Sapphires ; toill make her windows of agates^ 
her gates of carbuncles, ana all her borders of pleasant stones. Jlnd 
ihe ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songe. 
and everlasting joy upon their heads ; they shall obtain joy turn 
gladness; and sorrow and sighing shall flee amay. 







Aert DC. 96. — / have thewtd you all ihingtj homjM to JthAfing, ye ought to nqr- 
foti the weak; and to remember the wordi jjgm' iMd Jetiu^Jmg he said, H U 
more bletted to givet than to receive. * ^^ -j^^ 

A I 

In myCwolost'discourses, I endeavoured to show by a variety 
of argumeoQ) Chat a disposition voluntarily employed in doing goo(^ 
is productive of more rersonal and Public happiness, than any 
other can be. In those discourses, and in several fireceding ones, 
it has, iflmili&ke not, been sufficiently proved, that the same 
disposition in the Creator and his intelligent creatures is the source 
not only of more happiness to the Creation at large, than any 
other, but of all the nappiness. which has existed or will ever 

Virtue, or Moral Excellence, is an object of such high import, 
as to have engaged, in every enlightened country, and period, 
the deepest attention of mankind, ft has, of course, been the sub • 
ject of the most laborious investigations, and of very numerous 
discussions. Inquisitive men have asked with no small anxiety, 
« What is Virtue ?" " What is its nature ?" " What is its excel- 
lence ?" And, *' What is the foundation, on which this excellence 
rests ?" To these questions, widely different and directly oppo- 
site onswers have been given. In modern times, and in this as wcU 
as other countries, much debate has existed concerning f Ac Fdnndo' 
Hon of ViriuBm It has been said to be founded in the Xaturt oj 
things ; in the Reason of things ; in the Fitness of things ; in th$ 
Will of God ^ and in dtiliti/. My intention in this discourse is to 
examine the nature of this subject. 

The phrase, the foundation of Virtue, has been very differeillly 
understood by different writers. Indeed, the word, foundation^ 
in this case seems to be a defective one ; as being ambiguous ; and, 
therefore, exposed to different interpretations. When Virtue is 
said to be founded in the Will of God, or in Utility^ some writers ap- 
pear to intend by this phraseology, that the lull of God, or CZ/i/f- 
ijfj is the Rule, Measure, ot Directory, of virtuous conduct* Others 
evidently intend, tliat one, or the other, of these things, is what cor^ 
ititules it virliu ; ihakes it valuable, excellent, lovely, praiseworthy^ 
and reioardable. Ft is, therefore, absolutely necessary for me to 
observe, antecedently to entering on this discussion, that / use th$ 


pAni.T in the sense last mentioned^ nnd intend, by ike FtMtiiialion of 
y'lrliir. thai ■which conslitules ill valuf and eiceilenrr. It js ncccs- 
san, :ilso, to premise f.irtlicr, that by the word, Ulildi/, I mean a 
Te. li.'iicy toyroditct Happinesi. 

lliiving premised these tilings, 1 shall endeavour, in the follow 
iug discourse, to support this Doctrine: that Virtue is rou»o- 
KE> iv Utility. 

'I'lic Text is a general nnd iadirccl declaration of this doctnne> 
Thi' word, blessed, is sometimes used to denote a state, happy ia 
iis<li'; and sometimes a stale, made happy, or blessed, by God. 
To ^ice, in the sense of the text, is voluntarily to communicate iiap- 
pinrM ; or, in O&eT words, (o bt voluntarily useful. As we are in 
fact made happy by God, whenever we arc happy ; it is evjdcnt, 
that tho5emorafbcings, who are most happy, being mi^ so by Him 
as a reward of their character and conduct, and not nierely by the 
nature of that character and conduct, are most anprovre by him. 
Thai, which is ipost approved by God, is in itself most excellent. 
But ihe text informs us, that voluntary usefulness is ibohI approved 
by God, because it is peculiarly blessed by himj and is, there- 
fore, the hichesl excellence. A man may be virtuous in receiving 
good at the nands of his fellow -ere a lures. But his virtue will con- 
sist only m the disposition, with which he receives it: his grati- 
tude ; his desire to glorify God ; and his wishes to requite, when- 
ever it shall be in his power, his created benefactors; This is 
being useful in the only way, which the situation, here supposed, 
allon-s ; and the only thing which is virtuous, or excellent, in the 
mere state of receiving good. 

To give, or communicate good, is a nobler, and more excellent 
(tatc of being, than that of receiving good can be ; because the 
giver is voluntarily the originator of happiness. In this conduct 
ne resembles Goa himself, the Giver of all good, in that characler- 
istic. which is the peculiar excellence and glory of his nature. Ac- 
cordingly God loves, and for this reason blesses, him, in a pre- 
eminent degree. The proof of his superior excellence is complete 

in ihc fact, that he is peculiarly blessed: for these peculiar bless- 
itigK, which he receives, are indubitable evidence of the peculiar 
&«Mir of God ; and the peculiar favour of God is equal evidence 

offMcitliar excellence in him, who is thus blessed. But the only 
excellence, here alleged, or supposed, by Christ, is the spirit of 
doing good ; or, in other words, the spirit of voluntary usefulness. 
In this spirit, then, Virtue or moral excellence consists; and the 
onlv excellence, here sunnosed, is ofcourse founded in Utility. 

To the evidence, furnisned by the text, both Reason and Rei-e- 
blion add ample confirmation. This, I trust, will sufficiently ap- 
pear in Ihe course of ihc following Observations. 

1st. yirlut is notftmnded in the Will of God. 

Those who hold the doctrine, which I have here denied, may 
have l>ccn led, unwittingly, to adopt it from an apprehension, that 





they could not ascribe too much to God. This apprehension is, 
without doubt, generally just ; yet it is not just in the absolute 
sense. There is oeilher irreverence, nor mistake, in saying, that 
Omnipotence cannoit create that, which will be self-contradictory ; 
make two and two fiye ; nor recall the existence of a past event; 
because these things would be impossible in their own nature. In 
the same manner, to ascribe to God that, which is not done by 
him, though the ascription may AoYf irom reverence to his charac- 
ter, is not yet dictated by reverence. That, which God m fact 
does, is more honourable to him, than any thing else can be ; and 
ncT error can in its nature be reverential towards God, or reqiiired 
by him of his creatures. 

The Doctrine, that Virtue is founded in tlu will ofGodj supposes, 
that that J which is now virtue^ became suchy became excelletU^ valua* 
bUy praiseworthy, and rewardable, because God willed it to be so ; 
and, had he not willed it to be so, it would not have been virtue* Of 
" •/ ■ course, if we were to suppose Intelligent beings created, and left, 
without iny law, to choose their conduct; or, if we were to sup> 

Eose the universe to exist, just as it now exists, and exist thus either 
y chance, or necessity; that, which u now virtuous, excellent, 
and praiseworthy, would at the utmost possess a nature merely 
indifferent ; and, although all other beings remained just as they 
now are, would cease lo be excellent, lovely, and deserving of 
approbation. According to the same scheme also, that, which is 
now sinful, or vicious, would cease to be of this nature; and no 
longer merit hatred, blame, or punishment. In plainer language, 
veracity and lying, honesty and fraud, justice and oppression, 
^ kindness and cruelty, although exactly the same things which they 
no^w are, and although producing exactly the same effects, would 
no more possess their present, opposite moral character; but 
would equally deserve our love and approbation, or our hatred and 
disesteem. If virtue and vice are such, only because God willed 
them to be such ; if virtue is excellent, and vice worthless, only 
because he willed them to be so ; then vice in itself is just as ex- 
cellent as virtue, and virtue just as worthless as vice. Let me ask. 
Can anv man believe this to be true ? 

Further, the supposition, that virtue is founded in the will of 
God, implies, that God willed virtue to be excellent without any 
reason. If virtue and vice had, originally, or as tliey wei*e seen 
by the eye of God, no moral difference in their nature ; then there 
was plainly no reason, whv God should prefer, or why he actually 
preferred, one of them to the other. There was, for example, no 

■• reason, why he chose, and required, that Intelligent ci*caturei 

should love him, and each other, rather than that they shoidd hate 
him, and hate each other. In choosing, and requiring, that they 
should exercise this love, God acted, therefore, without any motive 

^ whatever. Certainly, no sober man will attribute this conduct 

Y toGod« 


' «Si 


This supposition, also, is inconsistent with the Omniscience 
Gotl, Every thing which exists, or which will ever c\isl, was, 
ccceJeoily to its existence, or in other words, elernally and immu- 
(ably, present to (he divine mind. In (he saroe manner, ail other, 
possible things, that is, things which God could have created if he 
nad pleased, were also present lo his view. Every man knows, 
that a vast multitude of such things are successively present to his 
own Imagination ; and that hecftQ tliink of new worlds, new beings 
to inhabit them, and new fui-niturc to replenish them. But, unques- 
tionably, God knows all things which are known by his creatures, 
and inmiitely more. When created things were thus present lo his 
eye, antecedenily to ihar existence, they were exactly the same 
Inings in his view, which they afterwards were, when they begao 
to exist ; had exactly the same natures ; sustained exactly the same 
relations ; and were just as good, indifferent, or evil, just as excel* 
lent or worthless, as amiable or hateful, as commendable or blame- 
worthy, as rewardabie or punishable, as they afterwards were in 
&ct. This may be illustrated by a familiar example. Most per- 
sons have read more or less of those liciilious histories, which are 
called novels; and every person knows, that the several actors, 
exhibited in them, never had any real existence. Yet every one 
knows equally well, that the characters, which they severally sus- 
tain, are as really good or evil, lovely or hateful, praiseworthy or 
hlamcable, as the same characters of the same persons would be, 
had they all been living men and women. It is, therefore, imao- 
swerably evident, that moral characters, when merely seen in con- 
lemplaiion, arc, independently of their actual existence in living 
beicgs, and therefore before ihey have existed in such beings, as 
rell as when they never exist at all in this manner, good or evil to 
the eye of the mind. Of course, they are good or evd in their 
own nature. Of course, they were seen to be good or evil by the 
Omniscience of God. It is, therefore, inconsistent with the doc- 
trine, that God is omniscient, to say, that virtue is founded in the 
Till of God. 

Again ; The scheme, which I am controverting, not only involves 
ID ii, that mankind, with all (heir impiety, injustice, cruelty, op- 
pression, wars, and butcheries, are in their naiure equally amiable, 
Bnd excellent, as Angels, with all their truth and benevolence j but 
also, that the character of Fiends is in itself, and independendy of 
ihe fact, thai God chose i( should be otherwise, just as lovely, ex- 
cellent, and praiseworthy, as that of Angels. If, then, God had 
willed the character, which Satan adopted^ and sustains, to be mor^ 
al excellence, and that, which Gabriel sustains, lo be moral worth- 
Icssness; these two beings, continuing In every other respect the 
same, would have interchanged their characters. Satan would 
have become entirely lovely, and Gabriel entirely detestable* 
Huxl not he, who can believe this doctrine, as easily believe, 
that if God had willed it, two and two would have become Hve? 

Vol. III. 20 

nc, of . ^ 


Is it at all easier to believe, that truth and falsehood can inter- 
change their natures, than that a square and a circle can interchange 

Finally; if virtue and vice, or sin and holiness, are founded only 
in llie will of God ; then, i ask, What is the Nature of that WilU 
We are accustomed to say, ihe Scriptures are accustomed lo say, 
that God is holy, righteous, good, and glorious in holiness : expres- 
sions which, together with many others of the same nature, indicate 
that God himself, and therefore, that the will of God, is excellent, 
and supremely deserving of his own infinite love, and of the highest 
love of all intelligent creatures. Does this excellence of God 
de|>eniJ on the fact, that he willed his moral character, and there- 
fore his Will, lo be excellent ? Or is the character of God, and of 
consequence his will, excellent in its own nature ? If the divine 
character be not excellent in its own nature, and independently of 
any act of the divine Will, determining that it should be so ; laea^ 
if God had been a being infinitely malevolent, and by an act of hu 
will had determined, that his character should be infinitely excet 
lent, it would of course have become infinitely excellent; and he 
himself would have deserved to be loved, praised, and glorified, 
for his infinite malice, cruelty, and oppression, just as he now does 
for his infinite goodness, truth, faithfulness, and mercy. According 
to this scheme, therefore, there is no original moral difference be- 
tween the characters of an infinitely malevolent being, and an iiH 
finitely benevolent one; because this difference depends on a 
mere arbitrary act of will, and not at all on the respective natures 
of Ihe things themselves. That a malevolent being would have 
made this determination, there is no more reason lo doubt, than 
that it would be made by a benevolent being: for it cannot be 
doubted, that a malevolent being would have entirely loved and 
honoured himself. The question, whether God is a benevolentj 
or malevolent, Being, seems, therefore, to be nugatory : for all our 
inquiries concerning the subject, which Have any practical import ■ 
tancc, terminate in this single question : What has God chosenf 
We have of course no interest in asking what is his moral i " 


The Scriptures certainly exhibit this subject in a very differ _ 
light. They every where consider moral things, that is, both moq 
beings, and their actions, as differing altogether in their sevetfl 
natures, and independently of any act of the divine will, deter^ 
mining that they should thus differ. Particularly, they exhibit God 
himself not only as being holy, righteous, just, true, faithful, kind, 
jftnd merciful, but as excellent on account of these things; infinitely 
excellent; infinitely glorious; infinitely deserving of the love, that 
is, the Complacency, (the kind of love every where intended ia 
this discnurse) of his Intelligent creatures. Accordingly, God ji 
often spoken of as cxrellcnl; and as excellena/, tn Ihe abstrati 
Thus, fie is styled the Exceltenci/ 0/ Jacob. Hit namt is said to i 


8ER. XCtX] or VIRTUE. 

txcellent m all the earth. How txctlhnt, saith the Psalmist, i* thtf 
loving kindncas. The Lord of hoiU, says Isaiah, is txcellent m 
working. In all ihuse passages it Is plainly declared, thai God is 
excellent in his own natu'e. In ihe same manner, the Scrijitures 
assert, that his lam is perfect, and his commandment pure ; thai hit 
stattUes are right, and his judgments altogether righteous ; and that 
• kit commandment is holy, Just, and good: that is, that these things 
possess the several kinds of excellence, attributed to them, in their 
own nature. For if the Scriptures intended only, that they were 
good, because God willed ihem to be so, when they were before 
neither good nor evil; it would have been mere tautology to have 
used this language. It would have bten no more, than saying, 
that Ihe lata, the commandments, and the statutes, of God were hu 
law, commandments, and statutes ; this fact being, according to 
^ ihc scheme here opposed, all that, in which iheir excellence lies, 
' In the same manner, when it is said, Thou art good, and doest 
good; it ought to be said, Thou art, what thou art ; and dorst what 
(Ami doest, for this is all that is meant, according to the scheme ia 

In ihe same manner, the Scriptures declare, that the righttout 
Lord loveth righteousness ; and thus teach us, that there is in right- 
eousness a cause, a reason, or, in other words, a nature, for which 
it is, and deserves to be, loved. They also assure us, that he hatet 
wiclctdnett, and that it is an abomination to him. There is, there- 
fore, a reason, why he hates it. As he always hated the lat- 
ter, and loved the former; and, therefore, before the onr was for- 
bidden, and the other reouired, of his Intelligeat creatures; it is 
certain, that the one was nateful, and the other lovely, in its own 

In Jer. ix. 24, it is said. Let him that glorielk glory in this ; that 
he underttandeth, and knoaeth me y that I am the Lotto, which ts- 
. trcite loving-kindness, judgment and righteousntts, in the earth ; for 
' in these things I delight, saiih the Lord. In this passage God re- 
quires mankind to glory not merely because he acts, but because 
be acts in such a manner ; because he exercises lomng-kindntti^ 
mdgment, and righteousness, in the earthy and informs us, that be 
~ liiinself delights in these things : in other words, because they are 
lovely in his sight. 

In Hebrews vi. 18, it is said, that it is impottibU for God to lie. 
If at any given time it is impossible for God to lie ; it has been 
always impossible. For what reason ? If truth and falsehood ore 
in their own nature indiSerenl ; then, certainly, it was once just as 
easy for God to lie, as to speak trnlh. The only reason, why it ii 
now impossible for him to utter falsehood, is, thai he is ulierly ia< 

reposed lo this conduct. But if falsehood and truth have the 
■ame moral nature in themselves ; there can be no reason, why he 
was originally disposed to speik truth, rather than falsehood. Yet 
lie is ii&iitcly disposed to speak lrulh.u>^ infinitely indisposed to 

j|56 uTiLrnr the foundation [ser. xcol 

titer falsehood. Falij^hood is therefore totally odious in itself, and 
truth altogether desirable. 

Every thing contained in the Scriptures, relative to this subjecti 
is of the same tcnour, so far as I nav^ been ahfe to understand 
them, with the passages which I have quoted. Nor have I found 
in them a single hint, that virtue and vice have not in themselves a 
Jotally different moral nature ; or that they depend for their excel- 
lence, 4tnd worthlessness, on an act of the divine will. On the 
contrary, the whole drift of the Scriptures is to exhibit them, as 
poisessed of these characteristics in themselves ; and as, for this 
reason, chosen and required on the one hand, and rejected and for- 
bidden on the other. 

There are persons, who speak of the Will of God as constituting 
the nature of things, when they only mean, that it gives them ex- 
istence* These persons appear not to discern, that the nature of 
the thiAg is exactly the same, whether it exist, or is only seen in 
contemplation. The Achilles of Horner^ the JEnea$ of Ptrgilj the 
Lear ot Shakspeare^ and the Grandison of Richardson^ have all the 
same character, which real men, answering severally to the de- 
scriptions of tbiun, would possess. The will of God gives birth 
to the existence of all things. But the things themselves, as seen 
' by the divine Mitid, have exacdy the same nature, and sustain the 
same relations to each other ; have the same value or worthless- 
ness, the same excellence or turpitude ; which they have, when 
thev reallv exist. This nature is what makes them desirable, or 
undesirable, to the eye of God ; and induces him either to choose, 
or reject them. While it is true, therefore, that the will of God 
^ves birth to all things, and to their several natures, as really ex- 
isting in fact ; it is equally true, that, as seen by the divine ifind, 
the same things had exactly the same nature before they existed. 
> A house, before it is built, and when formed merely in a plan, has 
exactly the same fieure and proportions, as seen Jby the mind of 
the builder, which it has, after it is built according ta this plan. 
Truth and falsehood, right and wrong, 'in creatures, were exactly 
the same things to the eye of Omniscience, before, and after, they < 
existed. j 

From these considerations it is, I apprehend, evident, that thi 

Fmmdation of virtue is not in the Will ojGodj but in the Jflature if 

things. The next object of inquiry, therefore, is, Where in the 

nature of things shall wt find this foundation ? I begin my answer 

' to this question by observing, 

3dly. That there is no Ulttmate Good but HiWffiness* ' 

By Ultifnate, Good, I intend that^ which is originally denominated 
• gooa. Good is of two kinds onl^ : Happiness, and the Causes, 
f'Or Means, of happiness. Happiness is the ulthnate good: the -: 
'Causes, or means, of happiness, are good, only because they pro- ■ 
^ duce it. Thus fruit is good, because it is pleasant to the taste* ■ 
The treci on which it grows, is good* because it produces iL ■ 




Health is good in itself: a medicine is goo^f because it presenresi 
or restores, it. 

We are accostomed^o hear so much said, and truly said, con- 
cerning the excellence, beauty, and glory, of Virtue, that we are 
readv to conceive, and speak, of it, as beine Original, or Ultimate 
eood, independently of the happiness, which it brings with it. 
Sfay, we arc ready to feel dissatisfied with ourselves and others^ 
for calling this position in question ; to consider this conduct u 
involving a kind of irreverence towards this glorious object ; as di« 
minishing its importance, and obscuring its lustre. This, however, 
arises from mere misapprehension. If virtue brought with it no 
enjoyment to us, and produced no happiness to others ; it would 
be wholly destitute of all the importance, beauty, and glory, with 
which it is now invested. Let any good man ask himself what 
that is, for which he values his own virtue ; what constitutes the 
commendations of it in the conversation and writings, peflicularly 
the sermons, with which he is acquainted; and what is the amount 
€i all that, for which it is commended in the Scriptures ; and he will 
find every idea, which he forms of it distinctly and definitely, com- 
pletely summed up in these two things : that it is the means of gliy- 
rv to God, and of good io his creatures. I have shown in a former 
dbscourse, that to glorify God, that is, voluntarily, (the thing which ' 
is here intended) is exactly the same conduct towards him, which, 
when directed towards creatures, produces their happiness. It is, 
in truth, doing all that, which it is in our power to do, towards the 
happiness of the Creator. The happiness of God consists in the 
enjoyment, finmished partly by his sufficiency for all great and glo- 
rious purposes, and partly by the actual accomplishment of these 
purposes. I separate these things, only for the sake of exhibiting 
uem more distinctly to view ; and am well aware, that as they ex- 
ist in the divine Mind, they are absolutely inseparable. The Lord^ 
nuth the Psalmist, shall rejoice in his works. Had these works 
Bever existed ; God would not thus rejoice. God is also said to 
JkKght in the upright ; and io delight m Atf Church. Were there 
BO upright persons ; were there no Church $ this delight would 
ceMe. It is therefore true in the proper sense, that virtuous per- 
tODS, by voluntarily glorifying God, become the objects of his de- 
]^t ; or, in other words, the means of happiness, or enjoyment, 
to him. It will not be supposed, th^t Goa is, for this reason, de- 
ndent on his creatures for his happiness, or for anv part of 
iW These very creatures are absolutely dependent on Him ; and 
ve made by himself the objects of his delight : and suipb they 
become by the same voluntary conduct, which in other cases pro- 
duces happiness in creatures. When we consider virtue, as it re- 
elects creatures only, the character, which I have given to it, if 
BMNre easily seen, and more readily comprehended. It may easily 
be seen, in this case, that all its value consists in the enjoyment 
wkieh either attendsi or follows it* All the exercises of virtue are 


delightful in themselves. It is delightful to do good to others ; to see 
them happy, and made happy by our means ; to enjoy peace of 
conscience, and self-approbation* These and the like enjoyments, 
may be said to attend virtue / and, it is well known, enter largely 
into every account, which is given of its' excellence. The Qmse* 
quences of virtue are no other, than the ^ood, which it produces in 
originating, and increasing, social happmess: and these, together 
with the articles involved in the two preceding considerations^ 
make up the whole amount of all the commendations of this divine 
object, given either by the Scriptures, or by mankind. The ex- 
cellence of virtue^ therefore, consists wholly in this : that it is the 
cause of good J that is, of happiness^ the Ultimate good; the onfy 
thing, for which virtue is valuable. 

Virtue in God, or Benevolence, is on all hands considered as the 
|;lory, and excellency, of the divine character. What is Benevo- 
lence ? The love of doing good ; or a disposition to produce hap- 
piness. In what does its excellence consist ? In this : that it it 
the voluntary cause of hapj^iness. Take away this single attribute 
of Virtue ; and it will be easily seen, that its excellence is all taken 
away also. 

These observations prove, if I mistake not, that happiness is the 
only Ultimate good ; and that virtue is termed good, only as being 
the cause of happiness. 

3dly. Virtue is the only original cause of happiness* 

It is hardly necessary to say, that Involuntary beings can, of 
themselves, produce nothing ; as bein^ absolutely inactive ; and 
that there are no Active beings, beside those which are Voluntary* 
But voluntary beings produce happiness, only when they are dis- 
posed to produce it : and the onlv disposition, which prompts to 
the production of it, is Virtue. This is so obvious, after what has 
been said, as to need no further illustration. 

Contrivance and Activity are the original sources of all the e^ 
fects, or changes, which take place in the Universe ; particularly 
of all the happiness, which it contains. Contrivance and Activity 
in the Creator gave birth to all existence, except his own. Con- 
trivance and Activity in Intelligent creatures, under God, give birth 
to all the happiness, of which they are the sources to themselves 
iind each otner. 

Minds are active, only by means of the power of Willing. The 
two great dispositions of minds, by which all their volitions are 
characterised, and directed, are Benevolence and Selfishness. Be- 
nevolence is Virtue; Selfishness is Sin. Benevolence aims to 
promote happiness m all beings capable of happiness : Selfish- 
ness, at the promotion of the private, separate happiness ofansf 
subordinating to it that of all others, ana opposing thett 0f otherSp 
whenever it is considered as inconsistent witn that of one's selL 
Bcnevolcncej therefore, diruts the whole active power, or energy^ ^f 
M# mmd^ jii wAtcA il e«ifl#, to tks production of the most sttosmm 



ktppiruss. This is what I intend by the Utility of Virtue; and that^ 
in which, as it appears to my own view, all its excellence is found. 
Sin is naturally, and necessarily, the parent of misery ; since it 
anus every individual against the interest of every other. 

Were sin in its own proper tendencv to produce, invariably^ 
the same good, which it is the tendency of virtue tp produce ; were 
it the means, invariably, of the same glory to God, and of the same 
enjoyment to the Universe ; no reason is apparent to me, why it 
would not become excellent, commendable, and rewardable, in the 
same manner, as Virtue now is. Were Virtue regularly to effectu* 
ate the same dishonour to God, and the same misery to Intelligent 
Creatures, now effectuated by sin ; I see no reason, why we should 
not attribute to it all the odiousness, blameworthiness, and desert 
of punishment, which we now attribute to Sin. All this is, I cob* 
fess, impossible ; and is rendered so by the nature of these things* 
Still the supposition may be allowably made for the purposes of 

The great objection to this doctrine arises from a misapprehen- 
sion of me subject. It is this : that if Virtue is founded m UtUitUj 
then Uiiliiy becomes the Measure of virtue^ andj of course j the Rmt 
of all our moral conduct. This is the error of GodwujL; and, in an 
ifidefinite degree, of Paley^ and several other writers. Were we 
omniscient, and able to discern the true nature of all the effects of 
our conduct; this consequence must undoubtedly be admitted* 
To the eye of God it is the real rule. It will not, I trust, be deni- 
ed, that he has chosen, apd required, that to be done by his Intelli- 
gent creatures, which is most useful ; or, in other worois, most pro- 
ductive of eood to the universe, and of glory to himself; rather 
than that wnich is less so. But, to us. Utility, as judged of by our- 
selves, cannot be a proper rule of moral conduct. The real use^ 
fulness of our conduct^ or its usefulness upon the whole, lies in the 
nature of all its effects, considered as one aggregate. But nothing is 
more evident, than that few, very few indeed, of these, can ever 
be known to us by our own foresight. If the information, given 
08 by the Scriptures concerning this subject, were to be lost ; we 
should be surprised to see how small was the number of cases, in 
which this knowledge was attainable, even in a moderate degree ; 
and how much uncertainty attended even these. As, therefore, we 
are unable to discern with truth, or probability, the real usefulness 
of our conduct ; it is impossible, that our moral actions should be 
safely guided by this rule. 

Tne Bible is, with the plainest evidence, the only safe rule, by 
which moral beings can, m this world, direct their conduct. The 
precepts of this Sacred Volume were all formed by Him, who 
alone sees fie end from the beginning, and who alone, therefore, un- 
derstands the real nature of all moral actions. No other being is 
able to determine how far any action is, upon the whole, usefuL 
m noxious ; or to make Utility the measure of Virtue. As well 




might a man determine, that a path, whose direction he can dit- 
cern only for a furlong, will conduct him in a straight course to a 
city, distant from him a thousand miles, as to determine, that an 
action, whose immediate tendency he perceives to be useful, will 
therefore be useful, through a thousand years, or even through ten* 
How much less able must he be to perceive what will be its real 
tendency in the remote ases of endless duration* It is impossible 
therefore, that utility, as decided by our judgment, should oecome 
the rule of moral action* 

It has also been objected to this doctrine, that if Virtue is found* 

ed in Uiility, eotry things which is useful^ tniust so far be virtuousm 

« This objection it is hardly necessary to answer. Voluntary use- 

^ fulness is the only virtue* A smatterer in moral philosophy knows, 

that understanding and will, are necessary to the existence of vb^ 

tue* He who informs us, that, if virtue is founded in utility^ ani • 

. mals, vegetables, and minerals, the sun, and the moon, and the 

* Mars, must be virtuous, so far as they are useful, is either dispot* 

ed to trifle with mankind for his amusement, or supposes them to 

be triflers* 


1st* From these observations we learn, in an interesting numn^^ 
the desirableness of virtue. 

The whole tendency of virtue is to promote happiness ; and 
this is its only ultimate tendency* It prefers, of course, the greater 
happiness to the less, and the greatest, always, to that which can 
exist in a subordinate deeree* It difiuses happiness everywhere, 
and to every being capaole of receiving it, so far as this difiusion 
is in its power* In this respect it knows no distinction of family, 
country, or world ; and operates to the benefit of those, who are 
near, more than to that of those, who are distant, only because its 
operations will be more efiectual, and because, when all pursue 
this course, the greatest good will be done to all* Its efficacy 
also is complete* The object at which it aims, it can accomplisL 
It can contrive, it can direct, it can efiectuate* To do good is its 
happiness^ as well as its tendency. It will, therefore, never be in* 
attentive, never discouraged, never disposed to relax its eflbrta* 
Thus it is a perennial spring, whose waters never &il ; a spring, 
at which thousands and millions may slake their thirst for enjoy* 
ment, and of which the streams are always pure, healthAil, and 

2dly* ne learn from the same observations the odious nahare of 

Sin, or Selfishness, aiming supremely at the private, separate 
good of an individual, and subordinating to it the good of all 
others, confines its efibrts, of course, to the narrow sphere of onft's 
selfv All the individuals also, in whom this spirit prevails, havt^ 
each, a personal good, to which each suboromates every othor 

SESL XCIZ.] OF tmiTUS. ]f | 

rood. There are, therefore, as manjr separate interests in a col- 
tection of selfish beings, as there are individuals ; and to each of 
these interests the individual, whose it is, intends to make those of 
all others subservient* Of consequence, these interests cannot 
Caul to clash ; and the individuals to oppose, and contend with, each 
other* Hence an unceasing course ot hatred, wrath, revenge, and 
riolence, must prevail among beings of this character; of private 
quarrels, and public wars. All, wno oppose this darling interest, 
are regarded by the individual as his enemies : and thus all natur* 
ally become the enemies of all. Where this disposition is in a 
great measure unrestrained, it makes an individual a tyrant, and a 
society, a collection of banditti. Where it is wholly unrestrained, 
it converts Intelligent beings into fiends, and their habitation into 

The ruling principle, here, is to gain good from others^ and noi 
to conuntmicate it to them. This darling spirit, so cherished by 
mankind, so active in the present world, so indulged, flattered, ada 
boasted of, by those who possess it, is, instead of being wise and 
profitable, plainly foolish, shameful, ruinous, and deserving of the 
most intense reprobation. Notwitstandine all the restraints, laid 

rn it by the good providence of God; notwithstanding the 
rtness of life, which prevents us from forming permanent plans, 
making great acquisitions to ourselves, and proaucing great mis- 
chiefs to others ; notwithstanding the weakness, firailty, and fear, 
which continually attend us ; notwitstandine the efficac;^ of natural 
affei:tion, the powei of conscience and the benevolent influence of 
Religion on the afiairs of mankind ; it makes the present world an 
uncomfortable and melancholy residence ; and creates three 
fourths of the misery, suffered by the race of Adam. 

All these evils exist, because men are disinclined to do good, 
or to be voluntarily useful. Were they only disposed to promote 
each other's happiness, or, in other words, to be useful to each 
t>ther ; the worm would become a pleasant and desirable habita- 
tion. The calamities, immediately brought upon us by Provi- 
dence, would be found to be few ; those, induced by men upon 
themselves and each other, would vanish ; and in their place be* 
neficence would spread its innumerable blessings. 

ddly. These observations strongly exhibit to us the miserable staU 
of the world of Perdition* 

. In this melancholy region no good is done, nor intended to be 
done. No good is therefore enjoyed, ^till, the mind retains its 
original activity ; and is wise and vigorous to do evilj although it has , 
neither knowledge^ nor inclination, to do good. Hiere, all the pas- 
nons of a selfish spirit are let loose ; and riot, and reign, and rav- 
8^. Here, therefore, all are enemies. Here, the wretched indi- 
vidual, surveying the vast redons around him, and casting his eyes 
fa-ward into the immeasurable progrefs of eternity, sees hio^lf 
aheolutely alone in (he midst of millions, in solitude complete and 

Vol. III. SI 


* ^ 


« ■ 


endless* HerC) voluntary usefulness is for ever unknown, and un- 
heaj^ of; while selfishness in all its dreadfiiHbnns assumes an un- 
disputed, an unresisted, dominion, a terrible despotism ; and filb 
the world around her with rage and wretchedness, with tenor and 
doubt, with desolation anc^ despair. 

4thly* Hum idxghXfxd a view do these observations give of Heaven/ 
.Heaven is the world of voluntary usefulness. The only disposi- 
lion of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect^ is to do good ; 
their on^ employment, to produce hafipipess. In this employ* 
ment all the energy of sanctified and pcnect minds is exerted with* 
out weariness, and without end. . How vast, then, how incompre- 
hensible, how endlessly increasing, must be the mass of happiness, 
jhrought by their united efforts into being ! How ample a provision 
must it be for all the continually expanding wishes, the continual- 
, ly enlarging capacities, of its glorious inhaoltants ! How wonder- 
mlly, also, must the sum of enjoyment be enhanced to each, when 
we remember, that he will ezpenence the same delieht in the eood 
enjoyed by odiers, as in that which is immediately ms own! Who 
would not labour to gain an entrance into such a world as thisf 
lyho would not bend all his efibrts, exhaust all his powers, en« 
counter any earthly sufiering, and resolutely overcome every earth* 
ly obstacle, to acquire that divine and delightful character of vot 
untary usefulness, which makes heaven such a world; which 
limkes it the place of God's peculiar presence, the means of his 
hishest ^lory, and the mansion of everlasting life, peace, and joy^ 
to nis children f 

7*k « 






EioDOf zi. 8 — Thou akaii have no oiher Godt htfltrt aie. 

IN the series of discourses, which I have .lately delivered con- 
cerning the two great commands of the Moral Law, it has, if I 
fliistake not, been sufficiently shown, that the disposition, required 
Ij the Creator of his Intelligent creatures in this law, is Disinter" 
uitd LovCj or the Spirit of doing gooJU The tendtnai of this dis> 

CMition is always to do what is right. It will not, however, fol- 
w, that the mind, in which it exists, will be able always to discern 
die course of conduct, which it ought, upon the whole, to pursue. 
The disposition may, with absolute correctness, dictate what is 
absolutely proper to be done in a case, already before the view Qf 
die mind ; and yet the mind be wholly ignorant, whether that 
case, or the conduct in question, is such, as would, upon the whole, 
be best for it to pursue ; or whether superior wisdom would not 
be able to devise for it other, and much more desirable, courses 
of action. A child may be perfectly holy ; and yet possess too 
fittle understanding to know in what way ne may biest acf ; in what 
way he may most promote the glory of Goc(, the good of his 
fellow-creatures, or the good of nimself. His disposition may 
prompt to that^ which is exactly right, m all the conduct, which is 
within the reach of his understanding. Yet, if he had more com- 
prehensive views, be mieht discern far more desirable modes of 
action, in which he might be much more useful, than in any which 
he is at present able to devise. He may he able to apply the two 
great commands of the Moral Law, which have been so extensive^ 
^considered, with exact propriety to ail such cases, as are acta* 
ally within his view ; ana yet be utterly unable to devise for 
hmself those kinds of conduct, in which his obedience to llieae 
commands might be most profitably employed. 

What is true of a child, is true, in different degrees, of all Intel* 
figent creatures. God only, as was shown in a former discoursei 
it able to discern, and to prescribe, the conduct, which| upon the 
whole, it is proper for such creatures to pursue. He nttfrom tfu 
Uginning to the end; and perfectly unaerstands the nature, and 
the consequences, of all Intelligent action. This knowledge^ 
which he alone possesses, and which is indispensable to this pur- 
poee, enables him to accomplish it in a manner absolutely pertccC 

». ** 


WTiat is true, in this respect, of Intelligent creatures universally, 
IS peculiarly true of Sin/id creatures. The disposiUon of sinnen 
leads them, of course, to that conduct, which is wrong and mis- 
• chievous. They are, therefore, always in danger of erring from 
mere disposition* Besides, sin renders the mind voluntarify igruh 
rant; and in this manner, also, exposes it continually to error. A 
great part of all the false opinions, entertained by mankind con- 
cerning their duty, are to be attributed solelj^tQ the biasses of a 
sinful aisposition; None are so blind, none m> erroneous, as those 
who are unwilling to see* 

From a mercifu^ regard to these circumstances, particularly, of 
mankind, God has been pleased to reveal to them his pleasure, 
and their duty ^ to disclose to them all those modes of moral ac^ 
tion, alt those kinds of moral conduct, in which they may most 

Eromote his glory, and their own good. The importance of this 
Revelation is evidenced, in the strongest manner, by the moral situ- 
ation of that part of the human race, to whom it has never been 
published. I need not inform you, that thoy have be^n wholly ig* 
norant of the true God, and of a great part of the principles and 
precepts, of the moral system ; that they have worshipped men, 
animals, evil spirits, and gods of gold and silver, of wood dad stone* 
I need not inform you, that they have violated every mohl pre- 
cept, and every dictate of natural affection. I need not inform 
you, that without Revelation we should have been heathen also; 
and should, in all probability, have been this day prostrating our- 
selves before an ox or an ape, or passing children through tne fire 
unto Moloch. 

Among the several parts of the Revelation, which has raised 
our moral condition so greatly above that of the heathen, the Dec* 
alogue^ is eminently distinguished. The decalogue is a larger 
summary of our duty, than tnat which is contained in the two great 
commands, already considered. The same^hings, in substance, 
are required in it ; but they are branched out into various impor- 
tant particulars ; all of them supremely necessary to be known by 
us. To enforce their importance on our minds, God was pleased 
to utter the several precepts, contained in this summary, with his 
own voice ; and to write them with his own finger on two tables 
of stone, fashioned by himselT. They were published, also, anaid 
thf^ thunderings and lightnings of Mounl Sinai, from the bosom of 
the cloud, by which it was enveloped, and out of the flame, which 
ascended from its supimit. 

The four first of the commands, contained in the decalogue, reg- 
ulate our immediate duty to God ; the six last, our duty to men* 
The former were written on one^ properly called the Jirst^ table 5 
the latter on another^ usually styled the second^ table. 

Two of these commands, one of the first and one of the second 
table, are positive^ that is, direct injunctions of our duty : the re* 
muining eight are negative^ or prohibitory. Both classes^ however. 

•*-■ • ^- 



c] nsnr oomiAmnflBrr. Ml 

tre of exactly the same extent: tkose, which are posithre, forbid* 
dbg the conduct, which is contrair to what they enjoin ; and 
those, which are negative, requiring that, which is contrary to what 
they forbid. 

f%e first of these commands is tks text. The duty, enjoined in "* 
it, is 01 such a nature, that, to a mind governed by the dictates i^ 
reason, an express injunction of it would seem in a great measurt 
unnecessary, if nottiuogether superfluous. So vast is the diffiuw 
ence between dwi^ veal Grod, and every possible substitute, that 
sober contemplation would scarcely suspect it to be possible ior 
a man, who is not bereft of Reason, to put any other beiBE info 
his place, even under the influence of the most wandering mnctr« 
How unfike all other beings must He evidently be, who made the 
heavens and the earth; whose breath kindled the sun and tht 
stars ; and whose hand rolls the planets through immeDsity I How 
infinitely superior does he obviously appear to every thing, which 
he has maae ; and h6w infinitely remote firom any rival, or any 
second ! Still, experience has amply testified, that mankind havsi 
almost without ceasing, substituted other Gods for Jehovah* 
Nay, it has clearly evinced, not only that we need to be taught tht ^ 
duty, rs||||aired by him in the text, but that no precepts, no instruc* 
tions, ami no motives, have been sufficient to keep the world in 
obedience to this first and j^atest law of moral conauct. Nothin^^ 
indeed, has so strongly evinced the madness of the human hearL 
as the conduct, which it has exhibited towards the Creator ; and 
the idolatry, which it has rendered to a vast multitude of the works 
of his hands. 

The word, goisj in tins passa|;e, may be rcgardsd as denoting 
not only the vmrious objects of reUgious ssank^^ni also oU the sA^ 
jsets of svfTtmt regard^ affection^ or e^eem. The commandf it 
will be observed, is expressed in the absolute, or HBtversal^manaef^ 
and may be foirly considered as including every things to whiiA 
mankindf render, or can be supposed to render, swcfa regard* Tht 
phrase, before me, is eouivalent to the expressions, tn isy ^^^ tfl 
my presence; and teacn us that no such ^odsare to be awitUcd 
witnin the omnipresence, or within the view of the omniscionc^ 
of Jehovah. With these explanations, k witt be easily seen, 
diat the text indispensablv requires us to achumUdge the rttd 
Qodas ourOod; and forbids us to regard msjf sSlsr^mvtfi this 
dkaracter. -, > . 

To acknowledge Jehovah as our God is to lore ham supreaMljr^ 
to fear before him ivith all the heart, and to serve him- throughout 
all our days ; in absolute preference lo every other being* & lki$ 
manner we testify, tiiat we esteem him innnitely move OMclieiil^ 
venerable, and deserving of our obedience, than all other bflinjjpSk 
After the observations, which I have heretofore made concerniag 
these subjects, it will be unnecessary to expatiate cm them at die 
present tune. I shall o&ily observe, therefore^ that this is ilia 



lughest^ the noblest^ and the best, service, which we can render lo 
any being, and the only way in which we can acknowledge any 
being as God. When we render this service to Jehovah, we ac* 
knowledge him in his true character. He is infinitely the g^'eatest, 
and the best, of all beings; and we are under infinitely greater 
obligations to him, than to any other. Of course, his claims to 
this service finom us, and from ill other Intelligent creatures, are 
Mpreme, and exclusive^ When it is renderw by them, God is 
acknowledged to be whiat he is ; thus divinely great and excellent. 
At the same tune, and in the same manner, we declare, that by his 
character, and by his blessings, he has laid us under the highest 
obligations to such conduct. 

As this is the only true, natural, and proper, acknowledgment of 
God; so, when we render the same service to any creature, we 
acknowledge thai creature as our God. In this conduct we are 
guilty of two gross and abominable sins. In the first place, we 
elevate the being, who is thus regarded, to the character, and station, 
of a God: and, in the second place, we remove the true God, in 
our heart, fipom his own character of infinite glory, and excellence, 
and fit)m that exalted station, which he holds as the infinite Ruler, 
and Benefactor, of the H&iverse. This sin is a complication ct 
wickedness, wonderfiilly various and dreadful. In truth, it is a 
comprehensive summary of iniquity, and the basis of all the crimes 
which are conunitted by Intelligent creatures. The evil, involved 
in it, may, in some measure, be learned from the following obs^ 
Tations. V 

1 St. Wie are in this conduct guilttf of the grossest Falsehood. 
We practically deny, that Jehovah is possessed of those attii* 
butes, which alone demand such service from Intelligent creatures; 
and, on the other hand, assert in the same manner, mat the bein{^ 
to whom we render this service, is invested with these attributes. 
No falsehoods can be so gross, or so abominable, as these. Nor 
can they be uttered in any manner, so forcible, so provoking, or so 
guilty. Our practice is the real interpreter of our thoughts. The 
tongue may utter any thing at pleasure ; but the heart is always 
disclosed by the laneuage of the life. 

3dly. In this conauct^ also^ we are guilty of the greatest iyut* 

This evil is likewise two-fold* First ; we violate the riehtfol 
claim of Jehovah to the service of Intelligent creatures: ana sec* 
ondly; we render to a creature the service which is due to Him 
alone. The right, which God has to this cervice, is supreme, and 
unalienable. He is our Maker, and Preserver. We are in the 
Host absolute sense his property ; and are bound, therefore, by 
the highest obligation, to lie voluntarily his ; cheerfully to resioi 
ourselves to his pleasure, and to be employed in doing his wuL 
The obligations, arising from this source, are not a little enhanced 
hy the feet, that the service, which he actually requires of us, is ift 




the highest degree profitable to ourselves : our highest ezceUence . 
our greatest honour, and our supreme happiness. At the same tune, 
these obli^tions are wonderfully increased by the consideration, 
that God IS infinitely excellent and amiable, and therefore claims 
this testimony of the heart as the just and perfect acknowledgment 
of his perfect character. Were ne not our Creator, nor our Pre* 
server, we could not still refiise to jeuder him this regard, without 
thegreatest injury to so glorious a Being. 

l%e created object, to which we actually yield this service, is 
destitute of all claims to it. In rendering it to him, therefore, we 
add insult to injustice ; and, not contented with denying, and violat- 
ing the rights of the Creator, we prefer to him, in this manner, a 
being who u less than nothing^ and vanity^ 
3aly. We are also guilty of the vilest Ingratitude. 
From the wisdom, power, and goodness, of God, we derive our 
being, our blessings, and our hopes. ' He created us, he preserves 
is; amd he daily icMkb us with his loving4cindness» He eave his 
Son to die for us ; and sent his Spirit to sanctify us. It is unpossi- 
Ue, that we should be in any circumstances, which demand equal 
gratitude towards anv, or towards all, created beings. The ser- 
vice, which he actuallv requires as the jequital of all this benefit 
eence, is no other than in our thoughts, mictions, and conduct, to 
acknowledge hun to be what he is; to reverence him, as being infi* 
■iteiy great; to love him, as infinitely excellent ; and to serve him 
as the infinitely righteous and reasonable Ruler of all thines. 
What in^titude can be conipared with that of a creature, mio 
leiiises thii service ? Yet even this ingratitude is mightily enhanced 
by the wanton wickedness of transferring the regard, which is due 
lo him only, to one of his creatures : a creature like ourselves ; 
perhaps inferior to ourselves : a being, in this view, of no worth ; 
to whom we are under no obligations ; and who has not the small- 
Sit claim to any such homage. What crime can be more provok- 
mm, or more guilty, than the preference of such a creature to such 

It was observed above, that the sin, forbidden in the text, is 
wickedness, wonderfully complicated. Nothing would be more 
ipsy, than to show, that pride, rebellion, hatred of excellence, 
Uuphemy, and many other sins, are included in this conduct. It 
wwd, however, be unnecessary for the present desi^, and the 
iHBe, which such an examination would demand, will, if 1 mistake 
BOt, be more profitably employed in attending to the following 

lst« Prom these observations we leam, that Idolatry is asin ofAis 

That a sin, which combines in itself Falsehood, Injustice, and 
Eigratitude, pride, rebellion, and blasphemy, all existing in the 
pissest and most impudent degree, is of the first magnitime, can* 

not be i|de sti<m e d ^ wid» reason, or decencj. BcpallT evident is k, 
that 9l stif, which is at the bottom of all other wickeanessy must be 
peculiarly enormous. That such is the nature of Idolatry b oih 
onswerablj proved by the &ct, that, wherever God is acknowledge 
ed in the manner above described, the moral character is of coursci 
spotless and unblameable. The commencement of turpitude in 
an Intelligent creature is his alienation finom God, and his prefer- 
ence of some other object to Jehovah. In proportion to the prev- 
alence of this spirit, wickedness of every Kind prevails ; and m 
proportion to the degree, in which the soul overcomes, and re- 
nounces, this preference, it becomes possessed of moral excellence 
in all its forms. This truth is strongly seen in the character, and 
conduct, of all those virtuous men, whose history is recorded in 
die Scriptures. In a manner scarcelv less forcible, or cerlam, it 
IS also seen in the experience of mankind. All virtue flourishes, 
i^erever God is acnqMrledged according to the import of the 
text : and wherever wis not thus acknowledged, all virtue de- 
cays, and dies. The great, open, public acknowledgment of 
God is exhibited in the solemnities of the Sabbath, and me Sanc- 
tuary. Wherever these exist uniformly, and prosperously, good 
ness of character, and of life, will be regularly found to pcevaiL 
Wherever they decline, or vanish, virtue invariably vanisncs widh 

Nor is this truth less evident bom the personal experience of 
every Christian. Whenever he magnifies in his heart his Father, 
Redeemer, and Sanctifi^ ; all his affections are purified, evangeli- 
cal, and heavenly. His eonvertaHon is swh as btcameik Modlmt»$f 
and his life adorm the dacirine of Ood his Saviour f is a happy re* 
semblance of the celestial character, and a delightfiil preparation 
for celestial enjovment. But when he ceases, for a time, to yield 
this glorv to his Maker ; when the importance of the divine char- 
acter is lessened, or obscured, in his eyes ; when God becomes to 
the view of his mind less venerable, less excellent, and less love- 
ly ; his apprehensions of spiritual obiects are clouded and dim ) 
Ins virtuous affections are cold, inactive, and lifeless. His piv- 
poses are bounded by the present worid, and centered in hinvelf | 
and his life is devested of its former beauty, worth and enjoyment* 
Ood is the Sun of the Soul. Wherever be shines ; there is more 
moral day, warmth, life, and energy. There, every thing exo^ 
lent springs up beneath his quickening beams ; grows unceasing 
with vigour and beauty ; and ripens into userobess and enjoy* 
ment. In the absence of this divine luminanr, the soul is darkened 
by^nijght^ and chilled by a moraF winter. Its views become diniy 
its affections frozen and torpid, and its progress through life a 
scene of desolation. 

Stily. TTU sawie observalHmu itmeh uii thai aU mankind m^s gml^ 
^ Idolatry. 
Coveioutnus is styled idoUUry by Si. Paul; and shMormmm 



Dj the Propliet SamueL To many other sms this title is obviously, 
«nd to all sin really, applicable. Sin, universally, is no other than 
selfishness ; or a preference of one's self to all other beings, and 
one's private interests and gratifications to the well-bein^ of the 
nniverse ; of God and the Intelligent creation* Of this selfishness 
all men are more oc less the subjects. In the exercise of it, they 
Jove and serve themselves, rather than the Creator, who is blessed 
for ever, Amen. No beings, except those who inhabit the world 
of perdition, are probably more undeserving of this high regard. 
We are not only little and insignificant, bom of the dust and kin- 
dred to animals ; but we are, and are in this very conduct, odious 
and abominable^ drinking iniquity like water. To ourselves we 
render that supreme regard, which is due to God onlyl Thus we^* 
fiterally idolize ourselves : and, as every man living is guilty of 
this conduct, every man living is essentially an Idolater. 

This spirit manifests itself, however, ia an almost endless variety 
of forms. The parent often idolizes HA child; the beauty, her 
£ice, her form ; tne man of genius, his talents ; the ambitious man, 
his fiaone, power, or station ; the miser, his gold ; the accomplished 
man, his manners ; the ostentatious man, his villa ; and the sensu* 
alist, his pleasures. By all these, however, a single spirit is che- 
mhed, and discovered. The parent doats upon his child, because 
k is his child. Had it been oorn of oiher parents ; it might, in- 
deed, be occasionally agreeable to him, but would never have be 
come an object of this peculiar fondness. 

This is unanswerably evinced by experience : particularly by 
die &ct, that much more promising and engaging children are 
nerer thus doated upon, when they are the chiloren of his fellow- 
men. What is true of this instance is generally true of the others. 
Our homage is rendered to our own talents, possessions and enjoy- 
ments ; not to those of our fellow-men. One spirit, therefore, per- 
vades, and reigns throughout, all this varied Idolatry. 

3dlj. n^h these observations in view, we shall cease lo wonder^ 
ikdst mankind have been so extensively guilt]/ of continual and enor* 
wums sint against each other. 

Sin is one undivided disposition. If it exists in any Intelligent 
being, it exists, and operates, towards any, and every, other being, 
with whom he is concerned. It cannot exist towards God, and not 
towards man ; or towards man, and not towards God. It is a 
Wiong bias of the soul ; and, of course, operates only to wrong ; 
wiiatever being the operation may respects. 

That those, who are guilty of such falsehood towards God, 
sliould be guilty of gross falsehood towards each other, lo whom 
they are under far less obligations of every kind, is certainly to be 
expected. That those, who with such gross ir^ustice violate all 
lignts, f he highest, the most absolute, should without remorse vio- 
late rights of so inferior a nature, is no less to be expected. F«qual« 
ly is it a thing of course, that beings, guilty of such rnoraioiis 

Vol. III. 22 

^ « 

'170 FIRST COMBfANDMEirr. (ipEB. G 

ingratitude, should be ungrateful to each other, whenever this con* 
duct will serve a purpose. He thai is unjust ^ m//, in thiifvense, fte 
vnjust still ; and he that is filthy^ will lie filthy still. 

In this manner are explained the monstrous iniquities, which 
filled the heathen world. These evils corameq^ in their Religion. 
They forsook Jehovah, and had other Gmfawi^t him ; Gods of 
all kinds, natures, and descriptions. A ratioDa! mind, sufficiently 
astonished at their defection frbm the true God, is lost in amaze- 
■ ment, while contemplating the objects which they actually wor- 
shipped. No being, real or imaginary, was excluded fix>m a list 
of their Deities, or prevented from the homage of their devotions, 
by any decree of stupidity, folly, or wickedness. They worshipped 
blocks : they worshippea brutes : they worshipped men ; psually 
the worst of men : thQT worshipped devils. 

Their Religion, ill all its solemn services, was exactly suited to 
the character of their Gods. Beyond measure was it stupid, silly, 
impure, and depraved. It was replete with enormous and unnat- 
ural cruelty. Specimens of this wickedness, and those innumera- 
ble, are found in the various kinds of torture, enjoined as a religious 
penance for their sins; and in the sacrifice of human victims, adopt- 
ed as expiations for the guilt of their surviving countrymen. 
' Among these, youths of the noblest birth, the brightest talents, and 
the most promising character, were, in several nations, butchered, 
by hundreds, to satisfy the vengeance of their Gods. In Hindoe* 
tan^ beside other human victims, twenty thousand women are de- 
clared, with unquestionable evidence, to be even now offered up, 
annually, as victims to religion, on the funeral piles of their deccas- 
. ed husbands. Equally replenished was this religion with won- 
derful ^a/s«Aodd. All the oracles, divinations, visions, dreams, 
and prophecies, of heathenism, were a mere collection of lies* 
'•Ae same spirit of falsehood pervaded their mythology, their 
mysteries, their doctrines, their worship, and the n(ieans of preserv* 
, ing it. As their Religion had no founaation in Reason, or Revela* 
tion ; they were, in a sense, compelled, if it was to be preserved at 
all, to resort to fraud and delusion, for the means both of supporting 
the worship itself, and the authority of those who prescribed it, 
among the infatuated worshippers. Thus the Gods of the heathen 
were vanity and a lie: they that made them were like unto tliem: 
and so was every one who put his trust in them. Nor was this 
scheme less deformed hy pollution. In Egypt, Syria, Paphos, Bath 
ylon, and Hindostan, particularly, both matrons and virgins were 
religiously consecrated to impurity. 

By the cruelihr, falsehood, and pollution, acted here, the heathen 
^[iations were eflfectually prepared to perpetrate the same wicked- 
ness elsewhere. Here, it was sanctioned by religion : the mind, 
therefore, could not consider it as very criminal elsewhere.. As 
all were thus taught ; these nations became generally corrupted 


beyond every thing, which ihe most sanguine imagi nation could 
bave conceived. 

All this, however, is naturally the result of Idolatry. That, which 
is the object of religious worshijp, is of course tbe most sublime and 
perfect object, which ia realized by the devotee. When this obr 
lect. therefore, is lo*, debased, impure; when it is fraught with 
falsehood, injustice, end cruelty ; sunk, as it is, immeasurably be- 
low the proper character of a god, it still keeps its station of supe- 
riority ; and is still regarded with ihe reverence, due to the highest 
known object of contemplation. Of consequence, all things, be- 
side, sink with it ; and hold a station in the eye of the mind, pro- 
portionally depressed. The mind itself, pariicularly, being destj- 
luip of any higher conccpiioas, than those which respect litis 
debased object, conforms all its views, affections, and conduct, to 
the character of its deity; and, while it worriiips him with a mil- 
ture of folly and wickedness, it extends the same folly and wicked- 
ness in its various conduct towards all other beings, with which it 
corresponds. Thus a debased God, becomes the foundation of a 
debased rehgion ; and a debased religion, of universal turpitude of 

4lhly. Htnce, we s^c, that the Scriptures rtprescnl Idolatry jtullt/ j 
Unit annex lo it no kighfr punishmertl, than it deserves. 

The debased and miserable chai-acler, which I have described, 
was the real character of the Canaanites. They were guilty of all 
tbbw ;>ii(i<iieicB { ond were, therefore, justly the objects of the di- 
vine indignation. Innnuti^ i^«oi^ fmm ih^i iiiiip*:ence, attributed 
10 them by InGdels, [hey had grown worse and worse, under the 
ordinary influence of lilolatrj-, from the beginning. At length 
their iniifttitt/ became/u//,- and they were wiped away as a biot, 
as a stain, upon ihe Creation of God. 

The same things are, with some qualifications, true of theA* 
raelitei. In the progress of dieir various defections to idolatry, 
ihev became corrupted in the same dreadful manner, were guilty 
ot t)ie same impiirity, cruelty, and falsehood ; butchered each other 
without remorse ; were disloyal, rebellious, treacherous; followed 
abandoned villains, to overlurn the government, established by God 
himself; waged furious civil wars with each other; and made 
their ions past through Ihejirc unto Mvloch. God, with wonderful 
patience and mo-*"" 'tailed long; and sent many prophets lo re- 
claim them. Y 'r ("'itiing cured them of their Idolatry, but their 
£ml overthrow, and their deportation to Babylon. 

What is true of these nations, with regard to this subject, is true 
of the heathen in general. All the nations, who have been devot- 
ed to Idolatry, have addicted themselves In these, and ail other, 
rriin<'» ; and have been dreadfully oepraveil m their whole moral 
character. Wherever men of discernment and integrity have re- 
sided among such nations, and given an account of them to the 
public ; this melancholy truth has, notwithstanding all the atlega- 



r tions of Infidels lo ihe contrary, been evinced beyond every de- 
! cent denial, or reasonable doubt. 

dthly. Thtse observat'wns teach us the tuisdom and goodnttt of 
'« God til atparating the Jcjvs from mankind, as a peculiar people to 

I himtelf. 

All the preceding experiment, which had been made in Ihe 
Providence of God, for the purpose of preserving, In this corrupt- 
ed world, the knowledge and worship of Jehovah, had failed of 
accomplishing the end. God bad revealed himself in an immedi- 
ate and extraordinary manner lo our first parents, and lo their 
desceiidanli through many generations. All these, also, he had 
Ji^ planted in a world, which, though under the curse, retained stiH so 
, much of its original nature, and was fi-aught with so many blei- 

sings, as to continue the life of man through a thousand years. 
I* Under this dispensation, allfiesh corrupted his way upon the earth. 

The woeiii leai Jtl ltd with violence ; and became so universally 
wofligalc, that i( repented the Lord, that he had made man. The 
aelugi>„then, emptied it of its inhabitants, to sweep away wicked- 
ness, which could no longer be endured from under the whole 
y heaven. Even this did not cure the evil. The same spirit, not- 

withstanding the remembraii'-f til' iliis terrible deslruelion, revived, 
almost immediately, among > ■■ Ji'^rcndanis of Noah ; and, ol the 
time y^Ucn Mru/ii,, It was C3\li:d, ull nations were on the point of*^ 
losing the knowledge of the one, living, and true God. Had not 
the fnas been separated from the rest of majikindi and %,f wwr- 
cies, and miracrea^of a eiognlar nature, recalled, from Ume to 
time, to the worship of Jehovah; this glorious Being would lone 
since have been forgotten in the world. We ourselves, and aQ 
■ thff'inliabkants of this happy land, should now have been bowing 

E oureelycs to stocks; offering up our children as victims to Moloch; 

r " and pmitituting ourselves, ana our families, in religious and regu- 
j" lar pollution before the shrines of Idolatry. The only knowledge, 

[■ ', the only worship, of Jehovah, at this day existing in the world, 
L ja dei'ivcd, ultimately, from the Revelation, which he made of 

himself (b the Jews, and the various dispensations by which it was 

ethly. fVt learn hence also the malignnnt nature of Atheism. 
I Atheism, like Idolatry, is infinitely remote from being a mere 

mnocent speculation ; a mere set of harmless opinions. In its 
. very nature it involves the grossest falsehood, injustice, and in- 
\\ gratitude; and is, of course, the parent of all other sins, in all 
; \ pqjpible degrees. The mind, in which it exists, must, in order to 

1 the reception of it, have become the seat of wonderful depravity, 

and is prepared by it for every conceivable pernelration. Ido 
, Qot deny, that an Atheist may live decently in the world. BubH 

whenever this is the fact, he lives in this manner, solely becaur^ 
the commission of the several crimes, to which he finds a lemptJ 
tion, is accompanied by some apprehended danger, some senoi 


178 M 

difficulty, or some painful inconvenience; some evil sogrcat^asto 
overbalance the pleasure, which he expects from committing the 
crime. But he never lives in this manner from principle ; hever 
from ihe want of disposition to sin. Let it be barely convenient, 
and safe, for him; and (here is no iniquity, which his head will not 
contrive, his heart cherish, and his hands carry into execution. 
From an Atheist, no man, no people, no human interest, can ever 
be safe ; unless when danger to Jiimself preserves them from the 
effects of his profligacy. 

7thly. fFe set jdHK tahal exact propritli/ the Scn'plures have rep- 
TttraUd tht violation of our immediate duty to God as the source of 
all other tin. 

IiriBifty is plainly the bemnfng, the fountain, of guilt, from 
which Hows every stream. Those who arc thus false, unjust, and 
ungrateful, to God, will of course exhibit the same conduct, with 
respect to their fcUow-crcaiures. Virtue is a single, indivisible 
principle; operating, os nXun, towards every being, with whom 
It is concerned; towards God, towards our neighbour, and to- "■ 

wards ourselves. Towards all, it operates alike ; producing, ia 
every case, the fruits of virtue, viz. virtuous atfeclions and virtu-, 
ous conduct. As the obligations to be virtuous towards God, or 
'in other words, to be pious, are the highest possible ; so he, who ' 

ISs insensible to these obligations, sod violates them, will be in- I 

sensible to all other obligations, and violate them also. The ap- ^l 

prehension, that virtue can exist partially, that ia, that we can be 
alsjrased to perform our duly towards God and not towards man, 
or towards man and not towards God, is chimerical; the result of 
ignorance, or Jnconsidcration; and unsupported either by facts or 

iternal virtue, as it is sometimes called, that is, moral good- 
ness, supposed to exist in external conduct only, and unsuppoited 
by virtue in the heart, is a mere dream ; a mere shadow. Instead 
of virtue, it is nothing but convenience; nothing but a pretence; 
nothing but a cheat. Virtue is inherent in the soul; in the dispo- 
sition; as light and warmth in the sunbeams; and is the energy of 
an Intelligent being, voluntarily directed to that which h right and 
good, if piety, therefore, be not found in a man ; he has no pre- 
tensions to virtue of any kind. 

Such is the scheme of the Siriptures. How plainly is it true! 
In laying the foundation of virtue here, how evidently have they 
laid the only possible foundation ! And how strongly do they ap- 
prove themselves to the conscience, as truth; and as deserving the 
character of a Itevelalion from God ! At the same time, how evi- 
deiidy are all other schemes of Morality visionary and vain; 
buildings erected on sand; and destined, &om the beginning, lo a 
^ccdy and final overthrow! 




ExoDijgii.4 — 6.— ThduiAall fiDf tiake unfo Iher ang grartn Imagt, nor amy Iil»- 
neu ••/ anu Ihinr, lUal ii in hiareit abBVe, or lliat ii in Ihe tank beneath, or that ii 
inlheaalerMnderlhitarth. Thomliall not baa ihyitij dovn la Ihem, nornrM 
(Anil ; for I, the Lardths Ood. am ajtalaui Gad, ruiliug the ii'iquUy of tlit falhert 
man lheehUdrin,unlB the third ant fourUigineTOliaa of then that hate me; awd 
ikeiBiHg mtng unto thouiandiaf Ihtm Ihal luce me, andktep my amnandmtrJt. 

Tub Command in Ihe texl, differs from that which was consid- 
ered ill the preceding discourse, in ihis maanrr : That t'orbade tkt 
ackno-.dedgmtnl of falsi Gads, universalty : ihis prohibits iht nDr> 
tinp of Idols ; or Idolalty, propcriif so calltd. All worship rendered 
to fal.-c Gods, is not uncojnraonly styled Idolatry : but the name, io 
tbe applicable (o the worship of Idols only; or of those 
image.--, pictures, and odier symbols, which were considered by the 
heathen as re pre senta lions of iheirGods. 

In the preceding discourse, I observeil, that ihe duly enjoined in 
the first Command, is of such a nature, that, to a mind governed 
by ibc dictates of reason, an express injunction of it would seem 
inagrfbit raeasiire unnecessary, if not altogether superfluous. Of 
the Command in the lest, it may with etjoal propriety be observed, 
that, 10 sudi a mind, no precept, given in die Scriptures, could 
seem more unnecessary, or more superfluous. Nothing to ihe eye 
of reason can appear more wonderful, or more improbable, liian 
that b'ings, endowed with intelligence, should bow themselves be- 
fore liic stock of a tree, or acknowledge an image, inolien or carv- 
ed by themselves, as an object of iheir worship. Experiniice has, 
however, in the most ample manner refuted these very natural^ 
and vi-ry obvious, dictates of reason; and has shown, to the ever- 
lasting disgrace of the human name, ihat not only some, but almost 
all men have, throughout most ages of the world, prostrated them- 
selves before these miserable objccU; and in their conversation, 
(heir books, iheir laws, and their religious services, acknowledged 
them as their Gods. The importance, ihc absolute neccssiiy, of 
this Command, therefore, are evinced beyond every reasonable 

Till- observations, which I propugp (o make concerning it, I shall 
comprise under the following ht;iidti: 

I. The History of Idol lf\,r,hg,; 

II. flsExlenl; and, 

III. 7%e Manner in nlach it haibeen performed. 


I. IwillrteiU to you a brief , and vtry gtneral JSiloTy of Idol 
We rtre not inforiUGd in the Scripluresof the precise lime, in 
L whlrli Idolatry commenced. It is, however, abondaiiily evident, 
k that iL began nol long afler the deluge. According to (he Chro- 
^^ oolo;;y, commonly received, B^troAam was born in me year 1997 
before Christ, and in the year of the world 2008: three hundred 
and lifiy-lwo years after the flood; and two years only after the 
death of AonA. Early as this date is, the ancestors oi Jibrahiim, 
seem to have been idolaters for several generations. Jofkva, in a 
solemn assembly of the tribes of hrael at Sheck^m, addressed the 
principal men of that nation after the following manner : Thvt saitk 
the Lord God of Israel, your fathers dwell on the other side ^f the 
fiood, in old time ; even Urak, the father of Abraham, and thu fa- 
ther nf Kahor ; and they served other gods. From this passage it 
appears, that Terah himself was, in the earlier periods of life, a 
wwahipper of false Gods. In the fifth chapter of the book of Ju- 
OTItUie following account is given of this subject, in a spt^ech of 
Jmhr, commander of the host of the Ammonites, to Holoftmu, 
^ Ctnera! of the Assyrian army. " This people are descended QJf 

rtne Chaldeans ; and they sojourned heretofore in Mesopotamia, be- 
cause they would not follow the Gods of their fathers, which were 
n ihe land of Chaldea. For they left the way of their ancestors, 
■ad worshipped the God of heaven, whom tnry knew : so they 
cast them ort from the face of their gods ; and they fled into Met- 
opotamia, and sojourned there many days." Thi? story, which 
wag probably traditionary among the Jews, and ne^hbouring na- 
tions, and is not improbably true, informs us, that Terah, and his 
children with him, worshipped the true God, before they quitted 
Uroi the Chaldces; and ttiat they were driven out from lliis, their 
ori^nal residence, by their countrymen, because they had addict- 
ed themselves to the worship of Jehovah. It would seem, there- 
fore, mat the Chaldeans had already become such bigots to the 
worship of their Gods, as to persecute Terah and his family for 
dissenting from what had become their established religion. This 
event took place, four hundred and twenty-lwp years only after 
the deluge. Genlilism, therefore, or the worship of false Gods, 
must have commenced many yearsbcfore this date ; both because 
it was the religion of Abraham''s ancestoru, and because it had be- 
came so universal in Chaldea, as to be the foundation of a national 
pencciiiion of Terah and his family. 

&> William Jones has, I think in the most satisfactory manner, 
[oorrd, that the system of Gentiiisoi among all the ancient nations, 
who adopted it, was the same. Ttua remarkable fact, if admitted, 
fitmislie.s unanswerable evidence, thai it was derived from a single 
source. For it is impossible, thai different and distant nations 
should have severally invented so comphcated a system; com- 
pcinni; so many gods, having the same names, having the same 



febuimis history of iheir origin and character, worshipped with 

the -:ime numerous and diversified riles, and having the same va- 

I riou-: ;irid peculiar offices assigned lo ihcm. The best account of 

r this rxtraordinary fact, which 1 have met with, is contained in 

f Bryaufs Anali/sh of Ikt ancient ktalhtn Muthoiogy. This learned 

1^ and able writer has, in my view, rendered it highly probable, that 

L this religion was begun by the Cuskiles, or that mixed multitude, 

who attached themselves to Mmrod, according to the common 

k chrnnology, about the year of the world 1750 ; and formed tbem- 

I aelvi's, seven years after, into a nation, or body pohtic, under hia 

doini'ilon. These people, in their dispersion, spread over many 

pans of the earth ; and by their enterprise, heroism, arts, and it^ 

geniiity, appear to have had the first great and controlling influence 

over the affairs of men, both secular and religious : an influence, 

the I Ifects of which wonderfully remain at (he present ijme. 

Ttie objects, and the rites, of worship, adopted by these peo- 
ple, seem almost all to have been found in the history of (he 
I delijij,e, of Abaft, and of his family. At first, they probably ID 

tcniid only lo commemorate, in a solemn manner, this awful and 
djsa-^lrouB event, and the wonderful prcservalion of this family^ 
Th:(i a man of so excellent and extraordinary a character; a man, 
I finf.'lr(i nut by the voice of God from a world,'on account of hia 

I pieiy : u man, who was the only pious head ofa family, amidst ali 

ibe iiJilhonsof fhe human race; a man, who had survived the rtirns 
IT" ' of one H-orid, and begun the settlement and population of an- 
other; a man, who had been miraculously preserved from an uni* 
veri.l deluge; a man, to whom the postdiJuvians owed alt iBcir 
rcL;,inn, their knowledge, their arts, and even their existence; 
rfiO'iil be coiqmemoraled with singular fcehngs, particularly with 
singular vcneniion, was a thing oi course. Equally natural, and 
necca-iary, was it, that the most solemn remembrance should be 
rei;jiiied, and expressed, of such an amazing event, as the des true* 
tion of a world. High veneration for any being, easily slides, if 
I such^inds as ours, into religious reverence : especially whtn it ia 

ir publicly, and solemnly, expressed by ceremonies of gfi tiffeclfRi 
•wad awful nature. When ji'oak particularly, and his eC^tf generaf 
ly, h;id been often, and for a series of years, commemorated m 
qiis manner; the history of man has amply taught us, that it was 
no f^irangc thing to iind them ultimately raised lo the rank and 
charjctcr of deities. This event would naturally take place the 
sooner, on account of the astonishing facts, included in their a\a- 
gulnr hifitory. The imagination, wrought up to enihusia&m and 
terinr, while realizing the astonishing scenes, through which they 
haW [i.i--ec), could hai-dly fail to lend iis powerful aid towards ihia 
i aci iirC.iDonization; and would, without much reluctance, aitri- 

biiii lo them a divine character. If we remember how much more 
f willingly mankindhave ever worshipped false gods, than the true 

One ; we shall, i think without much hesitation, admit the prol:»> 

I On 


)f the account, which has here been given concerning lUi 

proofs, that the authors of Gentilism had a primary refei^ 
1 JVoaA, his family, and their history, appear to me lo be • 

;te in the diiferent symbols, ceremonies, objects of commc-, 
on, and names of persons and things, together with the whole 
logical history of this subject. Multitudes of allusions are 
in all these things to jJoak himself; his three sons; the ' 

T of his family ; their singular history ; the deluge ; the i 

.he dove ; the olive-branch ; and various other particulars. 
of these are too explicit to be mistaken; and many others, 
ipiJcit, yet taken together, and in conneiion with these, cor- 
Lte, with no small force, the account which has here been | 

en this scheme was once begun ; it was a thing of course, 
should be rapidly progressive. When mankind had depart- 
Ti the true God; it was natural for a restless imagination to 
ly the objects of its dependence, and worship. Among the 
B, which would easily engross the religious attention of these 
*, and of all who were inclined to their system, the sun, i 

and stars, would undoubtedly be some of the first. The 

tion, splendour, immutability, and beneficial influence, of ■ 

glorious luminaries, are so affecting lo the human mind, as to 

-—• •" - 'i'-*''i<njished place in its contemplations. Nothing 

! 13 more fitted to t.»i.i.fe o^^..-, ..^„.^,^ „ ,^ .w?ke«j:"- 

and astonishment ; nor, when God was once forgntien, -to 
; religious reverence. Accordingly we find, that before the 
>f Job the worship of the heaveniy bodies had become ex- 
e. This divine Writer* says, chap. xxxl. 26—28, If I bt- 
\t tvn, when it skined, or the moon, walking in brighlnut ; 
\y heart hath been srcretly enticed, or my month hath kititd my 
; (Ai> also inere an iniquity, to be punished by thijutigt : for I 
I have denied the God that is above. Job probably lived be- 

IGOOand 1700 years before Christ; or about three hundred 
fly years after the birth of Ahraliom ; according lo the cotu- 
:hroaology. With this account of the early worship of ihest 
ial objects, profane history entirely accords. 
'. the mind was unsatisfied even with these deities. The bu- 

ofmuttiplylng them was carried on with astonishing rapidity, 
worship of deceased men had already been rendered to J^oah 
is family. This was soon extended to others; and then to 
s still ; in such a manner, that the number soon became enor- 
I Hesiod informs us, that the icufiMt, or demons, v> ho ap- 
to have been no other than departed men, and who were sujy 
I to mhabii the middle regions between earth and heavenj i 

nted to more than thirty thousand. In opposition to iheat "I 

* 1 ooniider A6 u Iha lathor of tUi bMk. 



deceased betngs, God is especially called m the StQ^ Volume Hm 
living God.* From deceased men the tranailKNt WaiS easy to ani- 
mals ; to vegetables ; to inanimate objects ; aad to the visionvj 
beings of imagination. Gods were soon found every where ; ia 
mountains, rivers, springs, the ocean, the earth, the winds, light, 
darkness, groves ; and generally in every thing, which was particu- 
larly interesting to the fancy. 

Among the reasons, which influenced the mind to this restless 
and endless creation of deities, the first place is due, perhaps, to the 
apprehension^ that this conduct was an evidence of peculiar piety ; 
and therefore a direct mode of obtaining blessings from some, or othevj 
of the objects worshipped. Another reason was, the complaisance 
of one nation to another, which led them to adopt their respective cbi- 
ties. The objects of worship were, to a great extent, the same, 
in different nations : yet, being called by different names, acxt 
worshipped with ceremonies, dinering, in some de^e at least, ao 
cording to the diversity of manners in different, nations, they camei 
at length, to be considered as different Gods. The Athenians, un- 
der the influence of both these causes, appear to have adopted 
most of the deities, of whom they had any knowledge. 

Another reason for this conduct judiciously assigoM^^bj Dn 
Blair, is, the tendency of the human imagination to lend miimatum, 
thought, and ^emy, to the several inanimate objecii^ vnth which it ii 

conversant, antf ftvtdktcA it ts strongly affected^-^^f^r*^^^^^ t- ^'*** 
m^ki^k ^-^ l^s^nm^f^mAwi^^^^ — ».^.«wi^ -^bxroiifansition from tbepto* 
gonincaiiuii tif nrom; objects to tne beliei, that tney are really am* 
mated by an indwelling, conscious principle, and to a consequent 
religious reverence for them, is neither unnatural, nor difficult, 
after the mind has once become devoted to Idolatry. In the early 
stages of societVj the Imagination is eminently strong, active, and 
susceptible. AJwavs ready to admire, to be astonished, to be 
transported, it easily acquires an ascendency over the Reason^ 
then always weak ; and, together with the passions, directs almost 
the whole conduct of man. 

It is scarcely credible, that the human mind originally wor- 
shipped inanimate objects directly. The absurdity of believing, 
that that, which had no life in itself, and therefore no agency, nor 
consciousness, could hear prayers, or answer them ; could be grat- 
ified with praises, or sacrifices ; could inflict judgments, OK:i^ofer 
benefits ; is so palpable, that even a savage can hardly be supposed 
to have admitted it. Much less can those people have adnutted it, 
who appear to have been the originators of idolatry. So far were 
ihe Cushites from being savages, that they appear to have been 
the most enlightened, and enterprising, of the human race, at the 
time when Gentilism commenced. It is highly probable, that all 
these objects were at first regarded as peculiar manifestations of 

* Farmir on MInelts. 

t _ 


the real Deity t fitted especjally to display his attributes to man, 
and to make oie-most forcible impressions of bis agency. In 
process of lirae, however, they began lo be considered, especially, 
by the ignorant multitude, as being really Gods : and the worship, 
originally addressed to a being, supposed lo be manifested by the 
symbol, seems ultimately to have oeen rendered to the symbol 
itself. The stock and the stone, intended, at first, to bring the real 
Deity before (he senses, took, al length, the place of that Deity ; 
and became, in the end, the real objects of worship. 

It is evident from several ancient writers, quoted by Shuckford, 
particularly Clemens Alexandrinus, Herodian, and Paitsanius, that 
piltan of stone, and after them rude blocks of vmod, were ihc Jirst 
sjfmbots, made by mankind of their several deities. Such, it is.sup- 
posed, were the ttraphim of Laban, stolen from him by his daugh- 
ter : and such, plainly, were the religious symbols, fonned, at 
early periods, by the Grtekt, and some other nations. Stoues, in 
their native, rude stale, such, for example, as that erected by 
Jacob at Bethel, seem extensively to have been set up, at early 
periods, with various religious views, and designs, by the worship- 
pers of the true God. The pillars, devoted to idolatrous pur- 
Eoses, seem lo have been derived from these. They were not, 
owcver, long satisfied with these unsightly objects. The Eg^p- 
liarw appear to have had carved images, devoted to the purpose* 
^ of religion, and, without any doubt, molten ones siso, before the 
line ofMoies ; for we find Ine children of Israel forming a molleu 
calf, at the fool of Mount Sinai. The practice of forming IdoU 
in this manner, being once begun, seems to have spread with 
great rapidity, among the nations, who maintained a muiuul cor- 
respondence. In the more distant and insulated colonies of men, 
their existence began at much later periods. In Iiali/, all visible 
symbols of the Deity were prohibited by Aamo PompUius; and 
were not introduced into Rome, according lo the testimony of P/w- 
tarck, so late as one hundred and seventy years after the building 
of that city : that is, A. M. 3426 : in the time o{ NebuchadnrziaT. 
Among the savages of this country, images seem to have been lit- 
tle used. 

II. I shall now make a ftie observalions coTiceming IheEiUnt of 
Idol worthip. ' 

The system of Gentilism commenced, as has been already re- 
marked, in the plain of Shinar. The Ctuhkes, who were the au- 
thors of il, ruled, for a short period, mosi of their brethren in the 
neighbouring countries. Soon after the confusion of languages, 
an event, which seems to have been chiefly confined to thi'm and 
their associates, and which entirely disquahfied them for nil the 
efforts depending on union and concert, they began lo di^jierse 
mlo different parts of ihe earth. Speedily after this, ihcy ajipear 
to have been attacked by their brethren of the family oi S.'iem, 
•etUed at J^iluveh and its neighbourhood, and beretofoi-e reduced 


under their dominion. On this occasion, the Ctuhilei were com* 

!)Ieiely routed, and forced to fly with great expedition into dif- 
erent parts of ihe earth. One body of them fled into Hin&;ilan ; 
in (he records of which country various events of their hisiory are 
gtill found. Another made their way into Canaan; when~ ihey 
were again attacked by the same people, under the command of 
Chedorlaomer, and again overthrown. Hence they fled into Egypt f 
the western parts of Arabia ; and the northern and eastern parts 
of Abi/nsinia. From Egypt they were again driven ; and went into 
Phanicia y the Les/er Aa'ta ; Greece ; Thract ; Italy ; and other 
countries, bordering on the Mrditerranean and Euxiiie seaa. 
Whithersoever they went, they carried with ihem llieir enterpriie, 
arts, learning, and religion. Moat of the countries in which they 
settled, embraced their idolatry at early periods. At a very early 
period, we find it the religion of the ancestors of Abraham in 
Chaldea, These were descendants of Shem ; who outlived Abra- 
Itam himself; and who, with all his piety and authority, was still 
unable to prevent this senseless desertion of the true religion. In 
Hindostan also, it spread, at a very early date ; as it did :ilso in 
the western countries of Asia, in Egypt, and most, or all, nf the 
eastern parts of Europe. The worship of the true God was, how- 
ever, not universally renounced, until many ages after the com- 
mencement of Genliiism. Melchisedec, Job, his friends, and un- 
doubtedly many of his countrymen ; the people of the Thtbait, or 
Upper Egypt, and probably many others in different parts of the 
vorld ; still retained the true religion, long after idolatry had been 
embraced by a great portion of Uie human race. After the settle- 
ment of the Israelites m Caiujon, we find few traces of the truere- 
.igion. We are not, however, to suppose it to have been tvholty 
1}anishcd from all other countries, till some time afterward. The 
precise period, when the whole world, beside the Jeics, became 
idolatrous, I am unable to determine. 

In (he fourth century after the birth of Christ, a new kind of 
idolatry, or rather idolatry in a new form, began to eiisl in tht 
Ckrittian Church. This was (Ac vsorskip of Saints and Angeb; 
and, afterwards, of imago, pictures, relics, and other fantastical 
objects of devotion. This Idolatry, though at first vigoroiisly op- 
posed by the body of the Church, and afterwards by individuali 
and small collections of men, spread speedily over the whole of 
Christendom; and was adopted both by the learned, and unlearn- 
ed, gf every country. Thus in one form, and another, the wor- 
ship of false Gods has prevailed throuehoat most of th<- inhaUt- 
ed world, and the greatest part of the reign of time. I shall now, 

III. Make a/ew observations on the MarMtr, in which lliis ipmw 
$Km has been perfomud. 

I have already mentioned Idols as being intended originatly to 
be mtani nf looTskipping God; symbols of the Divine CliuracUr 
and AUribulet, designed to impress them powerfully on the scniM^ 

K W^lli'i.^ [Q excite in the mind animated sentimcnls of awe and dc- ' 



«^l1i'i.^ [Q excite in the mind animated sentimcnls of awe and dc- 
^■Totioii. Hcside the use of these images, Gcatilism copied closely, 
'in its wors-hip, the ritual, originally enjoined by God, and adopt- 
ed in ihi- [jure worship. Prayers, Praists, Sacrijicts, and Obla- 
tiotu, wtrc all offered up to its various deities. FasHnga, Ablu- 
liMu, and Ptnanct of many kinds, wepR enjoined on their infatua- 
b ledvotsircs. 7«mp/M were erected lo them ; Altars biiill ; Shrinca 
V fonned ; ;md regular Orders of Priests eslaljiahcd, and consecra- 
f ted to an occlusive performance of llieir Religious Services. Or- 
acle* also, which were sometimes pretended expressions of the 
will of thfse Gods concerning the immediate duties of men, and 
someiimes professed predictions of future events, were dehvered 
iomoii or all of the countries, ivhcre idolatry prevailed. The 
Ftetirns olVered, were to a great extent the same, which were pre- 
aG^)ed in die law oi Moses : probably the same, which had been 
^mtcii fi'orn the beginning : for we find J^oah, immediately after 
the delu^e, offering, of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, 
hmt-ufftntigg on tfie altar, which te had made. Il well deserves 
to be rf narked, that in all the records of heathen worship, which 
have conn; down to us, the votaries appearnci'lAfr lo have asked, 
ntr given thanks, for moral good. Secular enjoyments, of every 
Idnd, ihty universally solicited ; but goodness of heart seems 
Berer to liave been thought of as a gilt coming from the Gods. 
Accordinfjly, Cicero, who must have been well acouainled with 
dlis subject, says. Who ever thanked the Gods for his Virtue ? 

Proeiisions seem also lo have been extensively used as a part 
attbc religious ceremonial of Gen'tihsm. These, logether with 
'the magnificence of its temples, (he costliness of its images, and 

Spotnp o. Is services, were all intended lo affect the senses in 
deepest manner. Indeed, nothing else could be done lo keep 
Bvstrm alive. Argument was only hostile to it. The li£ht of 
aoona Itca&on would nave dispelled its darkness in a moment. 
But the Senses, and through them the Imaginaiion, could be strong- 
ly addre'iscd ; and these could entirely govern the man. 

To add to the splendour of all the other objects, connected 
villi this service, and to render the oblation more affecting to the 
■mtiiant, as well as more acceptable to the Deity, offerings ol 
crery kind were made more and more expensive. Gold, silver, 
Mnu, lix' rhoicest aromatics, and unguents and essences made ot 
tbein, sUll more precious than gold itself, were frequent presents ' 
to tfie God* of Molatry. Hccaionibs were early subsiituled for . 
ni^e vfr.iims ; and, to render the worship still more propitiatory, ' 
tbeflp were soon exclianged for human sacriiiccs. To complete 
the efficacy of the oUation, these sacrifices were selected from the 
hria^trsi and most promising youths of the nation j the sons of ihe 
BODle and princely, and infants in the most lovely and endearing 
|Mfiod oflife. Victims of this kind, also, were multiplied lo a 
.p WlMricrful degree. Twenty thousand human beings are supposed 


I » 



to have expired, annually, on the altars of Mexico alone ; and all 
these were offered up with circumstances of cruelty and horror, 
which, but for the most undubitable tegtimony, would transcend 
belief. To these dreadful services, violating every feeling of hs* 
manity, but wonderfully affecting the Imagination, were added 
ablutions, burdensome on account of their frequency, and often 
on account of the great distance of the sacred wafers from the res- 
idence of the sunmiant ; and various kinds of penance, terrible 
and excruciating!^ their nature, and overwhelming by their dura« 
tion, were customarily added. Thus, though Reason and Hu- 
manity were wounded, and prostrated, the Imagination was com- 
pletely posseMed by the demons of superstition : and miserable 
Man, voluntaniy losing the government of himself, became the 
sport of fiends and furies, and fitted, only for the gloom and chains 
of bedlam. 

With the same design, and under the same impulse, mankind 
sought the most solitary, and the most awful, recesses, for the 
celeoration of their religious rites.* In dark and lonely groves, 
on the summits of lofty eminences, and in the depths of awful 
caverns, die most solemn rites of Gentile worship were performed 
at early p^ods. These scenes of stillness, solitude, and terrofi 
were perfectly suited to rouse the imagination to ecstasy, and to 
enhance the gloomy fervours of their religion. To them succeed* 
ed temples, of astonishing magnificence; exhausting, in their erec- 
tion, the wealth of nations, and the labour of ages. These, a!sO| 
were ornamented within, an^ without, with every thing which 
riches, ingenuity, and art, could supply ; or which was calcula- 
ted to impress the mind of the votary with astonishment, religious 
awe, and profound reverence for the beings, to whom these struc- 
tures were consecrated. 

It cannot, I think, be necessary for me to employ any argu- 
ments, for the purpose of enforcing the prohibition in the text OD 
the minds of my audience. The importance of it to the Jews, at 
the time when it was eiven, and to the great body of mankind, 
both before and since, is abundantly evident from the observations, 
which have been already made. 6ut in this land, and in the pre- 
sent state of religious society here, no transgression is less likely 
to exist, than that, which is forbidden in this passage of Scripture* 
Instead of attempting; to enforce this precept, therefore, on those 
who hear me ; I shall employ the remaining time in making a few 


1st. Mow degrading J melancholy^ and sinful a character i$ hert 
prtsejUed to uSj of Man. 

• See Maurice's AntSqoltieSy Vol iL 


This subject^ perhaps more than any other, holds oat to our 
view a wonderful exhibition of the depravity of the human heart. 
What sight can be more strange, more humiliating, more debasing, 
taran Intelligent nature, than that of rational ana immortal minds, 
originally virtuous as they came from the hand of Grod, destined 
to the possession of endless life, and formed for such noble and 
sublime purposes, prostrating themselves not only before the sun, 
and moon, and ' the host of heaven^ but before men, evil spirits, 
visionary beings, animals, vegetables, blocks qttrood, and figures 
of stone I All these beings, such minds have converted into Dei- ^ r, 
ties ; and, falling down before them, have said unto them. Deliver 
us : for ye are our Gods. Is it not beyond mtesuie amazing, to 
see a human being, a rational, immortal being, ed into a forest; 
cut down a tree ; transport it home on a wagon ; burn one part of 
it on his hearth ; hew, and carve, another part of it into an idol ; 
and call it a God ! Is it not amazing, to see such a tnan confess* 
ing himself inferiof to a stock, fashioned by his own hands, ac- 
knowledging his dependence on it for life, his blessings, and his 
hopes ; placing his trust in it ; building k) it temples ; erecting 
altars ; and onering up to it prayers and praises ! Is it not more 
unazing, to behold tne same man sacrincing living victims to a 
mass ofwood ; rational victims ; nay, more, youths of (he noblest 
families, the brightest talents, and the fairest hopes ; nav, more * 
still, his own beloved offspring ; the children of his own bowels ! 

What shall we say then, what shall we not say, when we behold 
kings, heroes, and sages, employed in this manner ? When we 
see towns, provinces, countries, and continents, nay, the whole 
earth, all unitine in this infatuated worsUp ; with an universal 
forgetfulness of Jehovah, the Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor 
of all beings ; notwithstanding the hourly demonstration of his 
perfections and agency in the visible universe ! 

Still more astonished ought we to be, if we can be more aston- 
ished, to see the Israelites, after all the wonders of Egypt, Sinai, 
and Canaan, in the midst of all the marvellous blessings civen to 
their nation ; with the word of God in their hands ; while his 
Prophets were daily announcing to them his revelations; while 
his awful oracles from the mercy-seat were still sounding in their 
cars ; within his temple ; before his altar ; and beneath tne awful 
splendour of the Shechinah ; forgetting the God that made /Aem, 
and lightly esteeming the Rock of their salvation ; wandering after 
the Idolatry of the heathen ; bowing before their Gods ; partaking 
in their sacrifices ; absorbed in their follies ; and embracing their 
wickedness with all their heart. 

To complete this dreadful picture of human depravity, the 
whole Christian world, with few, very few exceptions, was, for 
many centuries, buried and lost in this stupid, shameful, monstrous 
w6rship. The progeny of J^oah, who began this unnatural de- 
fection from' their Creator, became Idolaters, while the waves of 


the Deluge had scarcely ceased to roar around this wasted world. 
The Jews became Idolaters at the fool of Sinai, beneath the thun- 
ders of the Almighty. The Christian world became Idolaters, 
when the Redeemer was in a sense bleeding on the cross before 
their eyes. How debased, thea, how sinful, how miserable, a 
being is man ! «. 

3dly. These observations teach w the indispensable Jiecasity of 
a Revelation to such a world as this. 

It has been shown, that, at an early period after the f.ood, the 
whole human race lost the knowledge of the true God, iind sunk 
into the moral stupidity and wickeoness of Gentilism. That ra- 
tional beings should l)e created, or exist, for any End, whicli does 
not involve in it the knowledge and worship of the true God. is a 
doctrine, indefensible by a smele rational argument. \V luit pur- 
pose could beings, destitute of this knowledge and worship, be 
supposed to answer? What purpose, 1 mean, which God could 
propose, or which he could admit as useful, as -desirable, as wor- 
thy of himself? Can he be supposed to have formed ratiojiid and 
immortal beings, to be ignorant of Him ; the only Source oi' <^ood, 
of wisdom, excellence, and happiness? Can he be supjo.scd to 
have made such beings capable of knowing and gloriiym^ him, 
for the debased and wi'eiched end of worshipping Gods *)( gold, 
silver, wood, and stone ? Of worshipping them, also, servi- 
ces deformed with falsehood, cruelty, and impurity ; and yiiended 
by a total destruction of all wisdom, and all virtue ? Surh, how- 
ever, to a vast extent has been, and such, without Revc! ilion, 
would have for ever been, the condition of mankind. Revrhition, 
only, has taught, and preserved, the knowledge and worship of 
the true God m this guilty world : and Mohammedans ami JnJiaelSf 
are no less indebtea to Revelation for this knowledge, ti.ia are 
Jews and Christians. 

Piety has been heretofore shown to be the foundation (»r.dl oth- 
er Virtue ; the first and greatest branch of this glorious ^li ject; 
without which, the virtue, exercised towards our fellow-cn mures, 
and towards ourselves, cannot exist. But piety is impose; Lie, on. 
the system of Gentilism. The great constituents of this divine af- 
fection of the heart arc Love, Reverence, and Rcsignaticn. But 
how can love, reverence, and resignation, be exercised towards 
an ox ; a crocodile ; a cat ; a frog ; a fly, an onion ; a >iick ot 
wood ; or a block of marble ? Here, plainly, there is nuii;ing to 
be loved, reverenced, or regarded with resignation. In ihv mean 
time, perpetual frauds, falsehoods, cruelties, and irapuridt , udded 
a total corruption of all the affections, and conduct, of man •« wards 
himself, and his fellow-men, to the supreme debasemer.: o\ his 
character, produced, of course, by the acknowledgment ami wor^ 
ship of heathen Gods. This system, therefore, oanishtd moral 
excellence from the mind ; and introduced into its plac e every 
thing that was despicable, worthless^ and wicked. He, wliu does 


• Jt 


not see the absolute necessity of^ a Revelation to beings, situated 
as the inhabitants of this world li^re, must be voluntarily blind, 
and must love to be deceived. You, my hearers, are now in the 
house of God. You know his existence, presence, charact^, and 
agency. You are employed in his worship. You have heaid the 
glorious tidings of foreiving, redeeming, and sanctifying love. The 
Kedeemer of mankind, and the ^iipiation which he has made of 
sin, have been announced to you, from the cradle. J%%s house is 
to you the gate of heaven. Here the hishway commences, which 
leads to that glorious world. Immortal Ufe here dawns upon you. 
A voice, from amidst the throne of God, invites you, here, to take 
fifthe water of life freely. All these blessings are brought to you 
by Revelation. But ior Revelation, you would have been, this 
day, worshipping a demon, or an ox ; or falling down before the 
stock of a tree. But for Revelation, you might, this.4fety, have 
been imbruing your hands in the blood of one of yow number, 
butchered as a miserable victim to Moloch. Blessin^y and honour j 
m^ glory y and thanksgivings be unto our God for this unspeakable 
g^ through Jesus Christ, our Lord ! Amen. 


Tou IIL U 

4 <ir 







EioDut XI. 7. — Thou thiUi not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain ; for (ftt 
Lord will not hold him guiltlett, that takclh hit name in vain. 

^* In the two preceding discourses, I have considered, at some 
length, the nature of tlu sins, forbidden in the first and second Corn^ 
mands.of the DecmiJffilh I did not think it necessary, after the 
ample discussion of 'the duties 6f piety, so lately dehvered from 
this place, to dwell, anew, upon the same duties, as required by the 
former of these Commands ; nor, on account of the state of Chris- 
tian society in this country, to insist on the prohibition, contained 
in the latter. Considering the subjects of both, as suflScienily can- 
vassed for the design of these discourses ; I shall now proceed to 
exaratae the Mature of the precept, given to us in the Text, 

The J^ame of God, as used in the Scriotures, has by djvines of 
all descriptions, been generally regarded as denoting his J^ame 
literally; his Titles of every kind ; his Perfections ; and generally, 
ercery thing, by which his Character, and his Pleasure, are modi 
known to mankind. 

To take the name of God in vain is to use all, or either, of thestj 
to no valuable purpose ; or to evil purposes ; or zoith falsehood j or 
with irreverlnce. 

Of him, who does this, God declares, that he will not hold him 
guiltless : that is, that he will hold him guilty ; especially, in the 
great day of trial and decision. 

In discoursing on this subject, I shall examine, 

I. The Xalure ; 

II. The Guilt ; and, 

III. The Danger of this Sin. 

I. I shall examine with attention the Nature of this Sin. 
The Nature of this Sin may Ije advantagrously unfolded by con- 

Bidering it as it respects the Mime, and the Works of God, 

By the Name of God, I intend the several names, and titles^ by 
which he has been pleased to distinguish himself, and to manifest An 
character to mankind. In his Works I shall include every things 
which he has wrought, instituted, and declared, as an especial mani' 
festation of his presence, perfections, and agency. 

The Name of God is profaned, that is, treated with the irrever* 
ence, which is the object of the prohibition in the text, 
Ist. In Ptrjury, or False Swearing.] THE NATURE, lu. M» 

Ye shall not sw far by my name falsely ; neither shalt thou pro* 
fane the name of thy God; lam Jehovah. Lev. xx. 12. 'J'o^^weap 
falsely is to invoke God to witness a lie. 1 1 is scarcely po.^.sjMe to 
conceive of a grosser ifisult to the Creator of the Universe than 
this. He, as all men perfectly well know, infinitely loves truth, 
and infinitely detests falsehood ; and has said, that then sltull in 
no zDise enter into the heavenly city any one^ who loveth^ or inaketh 
a lie. To call him, then, in tnis solemn manner, to witiie.s> a false^ 
hood, is to laugh at his love .of truth, his disposition and power to 
support it, and that glorious purity of his character, before which 
tlu heavens are unclean^ and the Angels charged zoith folly, 

2dlyi When the Name of God is used in any light, imverent 
manner ; the same sin is committed. * a.^ v 

The most prominent, and most udual, modeii|S>l^transgr( ssing, in 
this manner, are profane cursing and swearing. In cases ol this 
nature, the Name of God is freciuently employed to accompany, 
and enhance, diversion ; frequently as the means of giving; vent, 
with peculiar force, to the violence of anger; often, also, is u used 
to aggravate denunciations of revenge ; and very often disiionour- 
edby unhallowed lips in imprecations of evil on our felloXv-men. 
In every one of these methoa3, the Name of God is profaned, times 
without number, every day* 

I'his glorious and awful Being, as I have already observed, has 
all possible claims to the highest reverence. Every thing lenches 
us tnis doctrine : the Creation and the Providence of God ; Rea- 
son and Revelation. It is enforced by every page of divine truth ; 
and by every dictate of the human conscience. In a woid, on 
all things within and without us, that Won'ou^ and fearful Xame, 
Jehovah, our God, is written in sunbeams. In the same clear 
and luminous manner is every where displayed the indispe;i>:ible 
duty of reverencing him with that fear of the Lord, which is 
Wisdom, and that departure from evil, which is undters landing. 
Nor can his claims to the performance of this duty be ever rclin- 

Indeed, mankind appear, almost universally, to possess a clear 
conviction of the truth of this doctrine, and of the indispensable 
oature of this duty. In all ordinary circumstances, the worst of 
men acknowledge both, without hesitation; even those, wli > most 
freouenlly, and most heinously, commit the sin, which diedoe^rine 
pronibits. Of this sin God seems to have established in il.»" con- 
idences of mankind a stronger and more uniform disapprobaiion, 
than of most others. In few cases of transgression, is there so htde 
lisagrecment as in this. Almost all other sins, men labour i. jus- 
tify. I know not, that I have ever heard any man attempt ^< ■) tIjt 
to justify j)rofaneness of this nature. He, whose tongue is ^l .1 vi- 
brating with cursing and swearing, will usually acknowlrdg ihat 
bis conduct is inexcusable. Arguments to prove the reality ei this 
ib, are therefore unnecessary. 


3(11 y< We are guilty of this «n, aUoj when we invoke the J/ume of 
Ood I'g fitly andirreverenily in prayer^ or without that serioiut-iesSf 
humility^ and religious awe^ which are indispensable to the acceptable 
performance of this duty. 

At all times, in all circumstances, are we reauired to render to 
Jehovah our supreme reverence, and unfeigned devotion, whenever 
he becomes the object of our contemplation, or our conduct. His 
character is always, and immutably, the same • infinitely great, 
awful, holy, and excellent. Our relation to him, also, is invariably 
the same : that of rational and dependent creatures. But cspe* 
cially is this reverence, and devotion, to exist in prayer. In the 
performance of this duty, so solemn in its nature, and bringing us 
so near the throne of majesty and mercy, the character of God, our 
own inferiority, dependence, obligations, sin, guilt, danger, and in- 
finite necessity of the divine favour and blessing, are brought up in 
full view, and forced home upon the heart. Here, therefore, all 
inducements to reverential thoughts of God, and all advantages foi 
entertaining them, are presented to the mind. To exhibit irrev- 
erence, in uiis case, therefore, is to breakover these inducements, 
and sottishly to neglect these advantages. God, here, is not treat- 
ed irreverently in me hourof inconsideration, of strong temptation 
and surprising sin ; but in the season of seriousness, and professed 
devotion. We taorship God acceptably, when we worship him 
with reverence and godly f ear. God is greatly to be feared in the 
assembly of his saints, and to be had in reverence by all them that an 
about htm. The same spirit is, in the same manner, demanded in 
our private and secret aevotions. When, therefore, the mind re- 
gards its Maker, in this act of devotion, with lightness and irrever- 
ence ; it is not only clear, that it is guilty of the sin, forbidden in 
the text, and of great sin ; but it is fearfully probable, when this 
is habitually its conduct, that it is at all times the subject of a gen- 
eral spirit of profanation. 

4thly. ^ still mof% heinous transgression of tht same nature, is 
Using the J^ame of God Irreverently in the solemn act of Dedicating 
tht Soul to hint' in the Covenant of Grace. 

In this, the most solemn transaction in which man is ever con- 
cerned on this side of the grave, all things, even some which are 
not appli(^able to the taking of an oath, or the duty of prayer, con- 
spire, id the 'highest degree, to make it affecting to the mind. The 
day, the place; the occasion, the transaction, are invested with pe- 
culiar solertihity by their very nature. A pre-eminent solemnityi 
aWo, is ihrbwn updlfe'^this transaction by the Character* of the pe^ 
soti; immediately oMcerned ; a Sinner, professedly restored to the 
divine favodt*: the subject of dedication; an immortal mind: the 
Being to whom the dedication is made; a pardoning God: the 
means by which the worship|)er has been permitted thus to dedi- 
cate himself; the righteousness of the Redeemer : the end>, for 
which he thus offers himself up ; the glory of God, and his own 



eternal salvation. All these things, united, plainly render this the 
most interesting transaction, in which the soul is ever engaged ia • 
the present world. To act 'lightly and irreverently, then, in a 
concern so solemn, so eminently affecting, is to be proiane, against 
all inducements to our duty: against some, not existing in any oth* i 
er religiousservice. In this conduct, all these mo6t sacred thines; I 
God, Christ, the work of Redemption, forgiving love, the Sabbafth, ! 
the Sanctuary, the restoration and salvation of the soul, are, if it 
be done deliberately, and with understanding, treated with the 
grossest contempt, and the most impious mockery. In deliberate ' 
conduct of this nature, the mind proves itself to be depraved alto- * 
eether beyond the common measure ; and the conscience is evident* ' 
ly not far from being seared^ as with an hot tron. 

Generally, he who regards God with levity and irreverence, in 
any religious service whatever, when this irreverence is directed 
inunediately towards his character, is guilty of profanencss in the 
mode specified under the second head. In other words, he is guilty 
of profaneness of the same nature, and existing substantially under 
the same form^ with that which is found in profane cursing and 
smearing. The irreverence, which constitutes the peculiar euilt of 
this latter sin, exists also in the former ; and in both is immediately 
directed against God himself. Both, therefore, are justly consid- 
ered as cases of the same nature. 

As this sin respects the Works of God ; or, in other words, what' 
ner he has done^ declared^ or instituted ; the profoneness, whenever 
it e^sts, is exactly the same in its nature, but different in the mode 
if its existence, from that, exhibited under the former general 
lead. In all instances, included under that head, it is Jirected 
igainst God immediately ; but mediately in those now rcfcTied to : 
lie irreverence being pointed immediately against the works themr 
Hives J and through them against their Author. 

God is often treated with irreverence : • 

1st. In the works of Creation and Providence. 

The works of creation and providence are merely manifestations 
j{ their Author. In all of them, his character is more or less visi- 
ble ; his wisdom, power, and goodness ; his self-existence, and 
independence; his omnipresence, and omnipotence; his omni- 
idence, and immutability. These perfections are so clearly, and . 
ID extensively, manifested in his works, that, without more than ' 
oommon stupidity, we cannot be ignorant of them. Of conse- 
quence, we clearly perceive them to be the works of God : and 
whenever we complain of them, or murmur lit them, or despise 
Aem, or ridicule them ; the complaints, the munmtra, the contempt, 
and the ridicule, are intended, ultimately, not against the works 
themselves, but against their Author, ho man ever thought of 
treating in this manner inanimate objects, or mere events. He, 
who made these objects, and controls these events, is the only 
hring, against whom the irreverence is intentionally directed. 

» . 




IffI ' THfi NATURE pca.a|Lr 

'. This is «o obviously true, that, probably, it was never serioudj. 

The same sin is committ^ in the same manner, whenever we 
assert, or insinuate, that these worlu were made to no end ; or to 
no- end worthy of their Author. In such a case the character oP 
God is profanely impeached, through his works; because we 
accuse lum of weakness and folly. No folly can be'fliore con- 
spicuous, than that, which is visible in doing any thing, and espe- 
cidly very great thin^, without any end in view, or without any 
sveh'^ndy as'is suiteato the splendour of the apparatus, or the 
chavader of ; the workman. Of this folly, m the case before us, 
we aeeuse God. 

Profaneness, of an exactly similar nature, is practised, when, io 
considering ^ the works of God, we intentionally, or negligendy, 
kktphit^gency,out of vuw, dind d^itiihuie to second causes tha^ 
which plainly /belongs to the First Cause. There are philosophers, 
and ever have' been, who, through choice, or carelessness, have 
considered the beings and events, in the earth and the visible 
heavens, as proceeding in a manner, and from a cause, resembling 
that which tne heathen attributed to fate. Instead of supposing 
them to be all directed by an Intelligent Cause to purposes, form- 
ed by unerring wisdom, and conducted, regularly, by that wisdom 
to the accomplishment of those purposes ; they are I'egarded, and 
spoken of, as operating, of themselves only; without any direc- 
tion'; without any^nd, to be accomplished; without any wisdom 
to jnide, or intelliigent agency to conUx)t» 

The works of Grod were by him intended to be, and are in fact, 
ntenifestbtions of himself ; proofs of his character, presence, and 
agefi^. • In this light he requires men continually to regard them; 
and to refine this regard ^ifr considered by him as grossly wicked, 
and highly deserving of punishment. Accordingly, Davidy says, 
Psalm xxviii. 5, Becattse thejf regard not the works of the Lordy niof 
the operation of his hands\ he shall destroy them, and not build thm$ 
vMi'- AatdAv also, chap# v. 12 — 14, speaking of the JewSj sayi| 
Thep regard not the work af the Lord; neither consider the cperth 
tibn of his hands* Therefore^ my people are gone into captivity y be- 
cause they, have no knowledge ; and their honowtable men arefamist' 
edyand'^their mulHtude dridd up with thirst. TTiereforCy hell hath 
enlargedherself^ and opened her mouth without measure : ana their 
ghryi and Hheir midtitudey and their pompj and he that rejoicethy 
shall descend into it. 

I am apprehensive, that even good men are prone to pay less 
attention to the works of Creation and Providence, than piety de- 
OMnd^and the Scriptures require. We say, and hear, so much 
ednccfning the* insufficiency of these works to unfold the charac-* 
;er bf God, and thenaCure of genuine religion; and find the irudi 
of -what' we- thus say, and heir, so clearly proved; that we are • 
pptoey not v&y unnaturally, to coasider them at almost uninstruct* 

^Va^ or ntOFANENESS. 191 

iTC in moral things, and in a great measure useless to the promo- 
lion of pieiy. This, however, is a palpable and dangerous error* 
The works alone, without ihe aid of ihe Scriptures, would, I ac- 
koowlf dgc, be far less insiniclivc, than they now are, aod utterly 
fDsuiIicient lo guide us in the way of rigtiieousness. The Scrip- 
tures were designed lo be a Comment on these works ; lo esplam 
their naliire; and show us the agency, purposes, wisdom, and 
goodness, of God in ihcir formation. Thus explained, thus illu- 
mined, they become means of knowledge, very extensive and pmi- 
nenily useful. He, who does not find in the various, beaulitW, 
sublime, awful, and aslonishing objects, presented to us in crea- » 
lioD and providence, irresistible and glorious reasons for admiring, 
idoria^, loving, and praising, his Creator, has not a claim lo Evan- 
relical piety. £>aDicf did not aci in this manner. All, who, like 
D^id, feel the spirit of ihe Gospel, will, like him also, rejoice ia 
thosr works, in which God himself rejoices ; will delight to con- 
lemolaie them with wonder, reverence, and gratitude ; will Rnd 
Goa, every where, in the works of his hands ; and, passing beyond 
iboae second causes, which are merely instruments of his agency, 
vill sec, every where displayed, the unger, and character, of the 
&v\nc Workman. 

2dly. The tame Irreverence ia abundantly eierciitd toward* the 

Irreverence, In this particular, exists, in a multitude of forms, 
ind degrees; altogether too numerous lo be mentioned on this oc- 
casion. 1 shall select a few from this number. 

First ; 77i< Scriptures are not unfreautnlly made the object, or the 
mtant, uf sport and jesting. David says of himself, Mi/ heart 

lUtndeth m awe at thy jnord : and again, addressing his Maker,. O 
io« meet are Iky Words unto my taste ! God, speaking by the 
Prophet Isaiah, says, To this matt will / look ; even to him that it 

fitr, and of a contrite spirit, and that tremblelk at my fVord. Hea 
0kmordo_fthe Lord, ye thai irevible at his word. He shall appear 
It your joy; and your brethren, that haled you, fihall be ashamed, 
Sach is the character of good men ; and such are ihe promises to 
tbosc, who tremble at the viurd of God, But bow diffrrenl is ihe 
ijn^t of those, who jest with this sacred and awful volume ; who 
can find sport and memmcnt in the book, which unfolds ihe infi- 
tulHy great, solemn, and awful character of Jehovah ; which de- 
VQUncca his wraih against all the workers of iniquity ; which opena 
to our view the Redeemer of mankind on the cross ; which dis- 
cJoses to us all the glories of heaven, and the straight and narrow 
w»y !o that happy world ; wbich presents to ua the terrors of hell, 
witJi ihe drcaulul road tba; leads to final perdition; and which 
ibows us ourselves as objects of the divine indignation, in imminent 
wger of endless ruin, and yet as prisoners of hope ajid canclw 
dUtes for life eternal ! What can be found, here, lo excite dive^ 
•ioo ; u> become the theme of gayeiy, the subject of laughter, the 



193 THE NATURfi [BEB. CB. 

foundation of amusement and trifling? What must be the spirit of 
him. who can divert himself over the grave ; who can make death 
' the topic of wit; who can laugh before the bar of the final judg- 
ment, and sport with the miseries of perdition? He must, indeed, 
have forgotten the God that made him, and lightly esteem the Rock 
of his salvation. 

Secondly; T%e same irreverence w exercised, when the Scriptwres 
are rughcted. Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy Jfamt. 
Psalm csLxxviii* 2. This passage is thus paraphrased by Dr. 
Watts : 

« 1*11 sing thy truth and mercy, Lord ; 
rU sing tne wonders of thy Word ; 
Not ftll thy worluy and names, below, 
So mach thy power and glory show." 

. If God, then, has ma^ified his Word in this manner ; if he has 
rendered it the means of displaying his character so much more 
perfect ly, than the works of Creation and Providence ; if he has 
thus rervlcred it inunenselv important to mankind ; if he himself 
appears in it so immediate! v, so clearly, and so gloriously ; how 
inexcusable must we be, if we do not reeard it with the solemn 
concern, the deep attention, and the profound reverence, due to 
his infinite majestv ? But negligence of the Scriptures is the abso- 
lute [irovention, the certain death, of all such emotions* What 
veneraiion can he possess for the Bible, or for the Author of it, 
who leaves it to moulder on a shelf; or who reads it, when he 
reads it at all, with carelessness and stupidity ; who is eaually re- 
gardh ss of its doctrines, and its precepts ; and who reaaers to it, 
univoi-sally, less respect than to a novel, or a play 1 

Thir Jly ; The same irreverence is exercised towards the Scriptures, 
when we do not duly respect their authority. When the Scnptures 
are at knowledged to be the Word of God, an end is put to all 
questions concerning the truth of their doctrines, and the reasons- 
blenessi of their precepts. If they are his Word ; every thingi 
contained in them, unless it be some error of a transcriber, or print- 
er, is true, and ri^ht. Nor is this all. As all Scripture is mm 
hi rnf/)! ration of&d ; so he has declared the whole t6 heprofilaUi 
for duel riney for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in ngA^ 
tousnrss. As they are ; he has declared, that they are the genu- 
ine means of perfecting the man of God, and of furnishing him tkot' 
oughli/ Hfito every good work. The plain duty of all men, there- 
fore, is carefully to understand, implicitly to believe, and exactly 
to obey, them. If, then, we find some doctrines partially revealed; 
tome mysterious, and inexplicable in their nature ; and these, or 
others, contradicting our own pre-conceived opinions : if we doubt, 
or di>i)elieve, such doctrines, because our own philosophy is on- 
8atis!K{| with them, opposed to them, or unable to explain them: 
we wholly fail of the reverence, due to Him, who has declared 

en.] OP PROFAmSNESS. 193 

tbem ; and, in a manner highly afirontiye, impeach his wisdom and 

• The Bereans received the word, preached by the Apostled, with 
mU rradiMss of mind : and, to be satisfied whether it was true, did 
not appeal to their own reason, but to the Scriptures; which they 
gtarched daily, for this end. All, who possess the liberal and noble- 
minded disposition, ascribed to them, will pursue exactly the same 
conduct ; and will say, with St, Paid, Let God he true, but every 
man a liar. It was from this disposition, that they believed, in the 
ETangclical sense, and were saved. All, who possess the same 
spirit, will share in the same faith, and the same salvation. What 
can be more preposterous, more indecent, more irreverential to 
God, rhan for oeings of yesterday, who know nothing, to question 
die wisdom, and the truth, of his declarations ; and, instead 
of believing what he has said, upon the ground of his veraci^ 
♦y, to insist on perceiving, before we give credit to it, the truth 
ttkd reasonableness of the doctrines declared, by means of our 
own philosophy. To men, whose sincerity we consider as prov- 
ed, we rcaaily yield our belief, whenever they declare such 
Afaigs, as they have had opportunity certainly to know. God 
Ibiows all things with absolute certainty. Ought he not, then, to 
be btlievod, in whatever he is pleased to declare ? Is not his 
fieracity greater than that of men ? If, then, we receive the toitnesM 
§f men^ the witness of God, saith St. John, is greater. He, that 
filievfth not God, hath made him a liar. What wonderful irrever- 
mte is this towards God ! What an impudent insult ! How tre- 
■endous«Q profanation of his glorious character ! 

Fotirthly ; Of the same nature is the Contempt, Obloquy, and 
Midiculc^ often cast upon the Scriptures. The Scriptures, in mstan- 
ces not very unfrequent, receive this treatment from those, who 
jrofe.ssedly believe them ; and much more frequently from Infi- 
dels. A man, who has not, hitherto, seen sufficient evidence to 
|Mvr the divine origin of the Scriptures, may be fairly considered 
il warranted to withhold fi*om them his assent. At the same time, 
Im is iruli^pensably bound to investi^te this evidence as fast, and 
at fer. as he is able ; and to yield himself to it, whenever it is per- 
dBive<l. with candour and equity. But nothing can justify, or even 
|oIliate. flie manner, in which Infidels have conducted iheironpo- 
■tioii to ihis hook. There is no mode of attack, which they nave 
Aought too gross to be adopted in this warfare. The fi*auds, which 
Ihev li:»vr pi-dctised upon Christianity, have been without number, 
•Bcl; without limits. All the weakness, folly, superstition, and en- 
iMi*?ia>;i,. I. liferent in the nature of man, they have charged upon 
il» do(ii'r,,>. ; although these very doctrines contradict, and con- 
demn ;l.":v 'til. All the vices, inwoven in the human character; 
•11 ih*' J r»rniiies, perpetrated by the pride, injustice, and cruelty, 
of n;:«.i : '.^»'V have charged upon its precepts; notwiihsianding 
Ae^^ ^< ;'v . i*(re|)ts prohibit evervone of them, and threaicu rhem, 

V.>. . Mli '25 



Ufliversally, with endless punishment; The Religion itself thej 
have regularly styled Superstition, Enthusiasm, and Fanaticism; 
and hare thus endeavoured to prepossess, and to a vast extent 
have actually prepossessed, great multitudes of mankind against 
it, under the mere influence of Nicknames. Where they could not 
convince, or refute ; an evil which has universallv attended their 
efforts ; they have succeeded, at least equally well, by i>erplexing4 
and entanzlmg. Instead of open, direct arguments, fairly statecT 
and fully aiscussed, they have insinuated doubts ; started difficul 
ties; and hinted objections; leaving the minds of the young, the 
ignorant, and the unskilful, to embarrass themselves by dwelling 
upon these subjects, which they had neither learning to investi- 
gate, nor capacity to understand. In this situation, such minds 
are as effectually overthrown, from a consciousness of their ina- 
^ bility to defend themselves, as by the power of an acknowledged 

What they have been unable to effect in these modes, they have 
endeavoured to accomplish by wit. A book, professing to be the 
Word of God, to communicate his Will to mankind, and to dis- 
close eternal life, and eternal death, to every human being, togetb* 
er with the terms, and means, by which one of these may be 
' obtained ; and the other must be suffered ; a book believed truly 
to sustain this character by a great part of those, to whom it has 
been fairly published;. particularly oy most of the learned, and 
b^ almost all, whom tlieir fellow-men have regarded as wise and 
virtuous ; has unquestionable claims to be examined with solemn 
thought, and unbiassed investigation. The question concerning 
its divine Origin is of infinite moment to every child of Adam. He, 
who can sport with this subject, would with the same. propriety 
laugh, while he heard the sentence of death pronounced upon him; 
anddance around the grave, which was dug to receive him. Sup- 

{»ose the Scriptures are in fact the Word of God : suppose toe 
nfidel at the foot of Mount Sinai : suppose he heard the trumpet 
sound, and the thunders roll; saw the lightnings blaze, the cloud 
embosom the mountain*, and the flame of devouring fire reach the 
heavens; and perceived the earth to tremble beneath his feet: 
suppose the final day arrived, and the same Infidel to hear the call 
of the Archangel, the trump of God, and the shout of the heavenly 
.{ host ; and to see the graves open, the dead arise, the Judge de- 
scend, the plains and the mountains kindled with the final confla- 
gration, and the heavens and the earth flee away : would he be 
mclined to jesting, to sport, and to ridicule ? The Scriptures de- 
clare themselves to be the Word of the glorious Being, who spoke 
firom Sinai, and who will again come to Judge the qtdck and the 
dead. The very terms, by which the Infidel, and all his fellow- 
men, will be tried on this cteadful day, the Scriptures profess to 
unfold ; the very terms, on which, to us, are suspended both heaven 
^nd hell. Should the Scriptures be indeed the Word of that God; 


what will become of the Infidel? Should they not; what will he 
lose by believing them ? Where, then, is the place for his sport ? 
where the foundation for his trifling ? 

Could the contempt, or the ridicule, which he employs, really 
affect the question; and exhibit it in any new light to the under- 
itandine ot man; something, at least, might be pleaded in extenu- 
ation of this conduct. But ridicule, however gross the banter, or 
"efined the wit, cannot be ])roof. A sneer cannot be an argument. 
^ ^ question, after every effort of this nature, is left just where it 
was : while the inquirer is ensnared, deceived, and ruined. How 
DEielancholy an employment, to destroy a soul for the sake of utter- 
inga jest! 

To complete this wretched pursuit of this wretched purpose, 
the Infidel assaults the Scriptures with obscenity. In periods and 
places, in which coarse manners prevail ; when the animal side of 
man is left naked ; and the feelings and conduct of the brute ob- *^ 
trade themselves without a blush ; this obscenity breaks out in 
ROSS ribaldry, and the shameless dialect of the workhouse and 
tne brothel. In more chastened society, the impurity, lest it should 
be too offensive, is veiled by decency of expression ; steals upon 
the mind in an innuendo ; glances at it in a nint, and peeps from 
behind an obscure suggestion. What a shocking mixture is here 
presented to the thoughts of a sober, and even ol a decent, man ! 
Obscenity, blended with the truths, contained in the Word of God. 
How obviously must the mind, which can voluntarily, which can 
laboriously, unite these things, be the habitation of devih ; the hold 
^ every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird! 
□low irreverent, how profane, how abominable^ how filthy y must it 
ippear to Him, in whose sight the heavens are unclean! 

3dly« This irreverence is, perhaps, not less exercised toward the 
huiituiions, or Ordinances, of God. 

God has instituted, as important means of displaying his own 
ebaracter, preserving his worship, and promoting his religion, in 
the world, the Sabbath ; public and private prayer and praise ; 
die preaching of the Gospel ; public and private humiliation and 
bsting ; the Church of Christ ; its communion ; its sacraments ; 
ind its discipline. As all these are his Institutions ; and seen to 
be his ; it is obvious, that irreverence towards them is irreverence 
towards himself; and in this manner has the subject ever been " « 
xinsidered in the Christian world. It will be easily seen, that the 
rarious ways, in which this numerous train of sacred things is pro- 
imed, are so many, as to render it impracticable to specify tnem 
m the present occasion. I shall, therefore, attempt only to men- 
ion such, as are most usual, or most prominent. 

The Scibbath is undoubtedly the great support of Religion in the 
irorld ; for wherever it is unknown or unregarded. Religion is un- 
known. Accordingly God has been pleased to make it the sub- 
ject of one of the Commands of the Decalogue. This holy day is 

» ■ 


]$6 '^^BR NATUBE [8£R. C8. 

profaned, and the Author of it treated with gross irreverence, when- 
ever it is devoted to pleasure, or to secular business : whenever we 
ride, or walk, when neither necessity nor mercj demands : when- 
ever we read books of amusement, and diversion; or devote our 
conversation to any topics, unsuited to the holy nature of this day* 
Nor is it less really profaned, when we spend, its sacred hours in 
idleness, or sleep ; or when, in any other manner, we refuse, or 
neglect, to employ them in the great duties of Religion. Equally, 
and more obviously, ai*e we guilty of this profanation, when we 
^eak of the Sabbath with contempt ; and ridicule, or laugh at, 
others for regarding it with the reverence, enjoined in the Scrip- 
tures; decry the Institution, as useless ; as injurious to the interests 
of mankind ; and as deserving the regard of none, but weak and 
enthusiastic minds : or when, with direct hostility, we deny its sa- 
cred nature ; labour to weaken its authority ; and endeavour to 
destroy its holy, heavenly influence on mankind. In all these cases, 
we impeach the wisdom, equity, or goodness, of its Author ; de- 
clare him, when instituting it, to have acted unworthily of himself; 
and, in plain language, cast contempt on Himj as well as on his 
Institution. No man ever thought ol treating with contempt this 
. holy day, considered merely as a seventh part of time ; no man 
ever directed the shafts of ridicule at Monday. Aside from the fact, 
that it was instituted by God as a sacred day, the Sabbath would 
be no more despised, and regarded with no more hostility, than any 
other day of the week. The hostility and contempt, therefore, ar« 
directed against the Institution ; against its sacrea nature ; against 
its holy and glorious Author. 

Tht Worship of God is profaned, whenever, for reasbns plaiidy 
insufficient, we refuse to be present in his house, upon the ffturlmth; 
or, when present, neglect cordially to unite in its solemn senrices; 
or spend the time allotted to them in sleep or diversion ; or whea 
we sport with the services themselves ; or when our minds rise in 
hostility against the faithful preaching of the Gospel ; or when we 
make the worship of God an object of our scorn and ridicule. 
Nor are we less really guilty of this crime, whenever we allure or 

Sersuade others to tne same conduct. The worship of God W9A 
esigned to be the ^eat means of leading us to eternal life. God ap 
pears in it as a forgiving God ; as a God reconcileable to sinners ; as 
redeeming them from under the curse of the law ; and as re-instamp- 
ine his own image on their minds. He, who will not come to meet 
Hun, when appearing in this most venerable and endearing of all 
characters, or who, when he has come, will treat him with neglect* 
opposition, and contempt, is euilty of an insult on the Creator, at 
which the stoutest heart ought to tremble. What an acQount of 
this conduct must he expect to give at the final day ! 

Tht Christian Sacraments are nol often openly profaned. The 
elements employed have, indeed, been touched with unhallow^ 
hands ; and t)ie ordinances themselves hav^i in solitary ij^^tancM^ 

8ER. Cn.] OF FB0FANENE8S. I97 

been insulted by blasphemous mimicry. But the cases have been 
so rare, and have been regarded by those, who knew them, with 
such abhorrence ; as scarcely to need any reprobation from me* 
I shall, therefore, only say, that according to the first feeliogs of 
the human mind, feelings, which seem never to have been mate* 
rially weakened, unless by absolute profligacy, they are univei^ 
sally held in the most reverential estimation ; and all disregard, 
thoughtlessness, and levity, are not only by the Scriptures, but by 
common sense also, proscribed in our attendance upon them* If 
we arc not wonderfully insensible ; we cannot fail of exercising a 
profound reverence, when in this peculiarly solemn and affecting 
manner we draw so near to a forgiving God. 

Private and secret Worship is much more frequently the object 
of levity, and contempt. Family prayer, peculiarly, has been at- 
tacked, on all sides, by loose and light-minded men ; and, I doubt 
not, has been hunted out of many a family, and prevented from 
entering many others, by the sneers of scorn, and the jests of de- 
rision. Why should not men pray? Why should not families 
pray ? Are we not dependent creatures T Do we not need every 
thing at the hand of God ? Who beside God, can supply our 
wants ? Has he not required us Iq pray ? If we do not pray, will 
he bless us ? Has he not mdide mskmg the indispensable condition' 
of receiving F The mauy who will not pray, is a madman. The 
family J which will not pray, arc lunatics. 

God has required us to pray always with all prayer j and, there- 
fi)re, to perform regularly the duties of both private and secret de- 
▼otion« When we ourselves neglect either ; or when w,e oppose 
the performance of them in our fellow-men ; we neglect, or op- 
p0W| the command of Jehovah. He, who laughs and sneers at 
■B t at t and family prayer, points his jests, his contempt, and his 
mockery, against his Creator. Where can folly, or frenzy, be 
found, more absolute than this ? The wretch, who is guilty of it, 
is a helpless, sinful, miserable, creature ; dependent for existence, 
for enjoyment, and for hope, on the mere, sovereiiii mercy of God; 
is promised all blessings, which he needs, if he will pray for them ; 
tod is assured, that, if he will not pray, he not only will be enti- 
ded to no blessines whatever, but tliat those, which he regards as 
blessings, and which, if he faithfully performed this duty, would 
prove such, will be converted into curses. This wretch not only 
refuses to pray himself, but with gross impiety, insults his Maker 
anew, by preventing his fellow-men from praying also. 

I shall only add, that Irreverence^ the same in substance with thatj 
MJUcA has been here specified^ may exist in thought^ and in action^ as 
ifell as in words. In some of the cases, which I have mentioned, 
i has been indeed supposed to terminate in thought*. It may thus 
herminate in all cases, which do not involve our intercourse with 
rar fellow-men. In this intercourse it may be exhibited in ac« 
Sons ; and those of very various kinds. Of these a very lew 





have been'mentioneiL ;%h only D^cessaiyto observe, that^ wheop 
ever our hearts teem mvlpreverent thoughts towards God, or to- 
wards any thioft because it is his, it makes little difference, whether 
we express difl^npiety by the ton^e, or by the bands* The iiw 
reverence is tbo'Jame : the design is the same : the moral action 
k the same* It is the rising of pride, enmity, md rebellion, 
aeainst God ; the open, impudent contention of a creature against 
his Creator; the struggle, the swelling, the writhing, of a wonn 
tgpinst Jehovah* 




4 .* 



EiODVt iz. 7. — Thou ahalt not take the name of the Lord thy Qod im vain : far Ike 
Lord will not hold him guiltlettf that taketh hit name in vain, 

IN the preceding discourse, I proposed, after making several 
introductory remarks, to examine, 
L Tlu Nature; 

II. The Gvilt ; and, 

III. The Danger ; of the Siriy forbidden in this Command. 
The first of these I considered, at length, in that discourse. I 

shall now proceed to make some observations concerning the le* 
cond ; viz. the Guilt of this sin. The guilt of this sin is evident, 

1st. From the tenour of the Command. 

Profaneness is one of the eight great crimes, which God thought 
proper to make the express subjects of prohibition in the Deca- 
lo^e. In the order, in which he was pleased to speak, and to 
write, them, it holds the third place. All the importance, which 
this wonderiul Law derived from being uttered by the voice, and 
being written with the finger, of God ; from his manifest appear- 
ance in this lower world; and from the awful splendour, and 
amazing majesty, with which he appeared ; this precept, eoually 
with the others, challenges to itself. In addition to these tnings, 
it Ls the only precept in the whole number, which annexes an ex- 
press threatening to the crime, which is prohibited. From all these 
circumstances it is abundantly evident, that the Guilt of this sin is 
of no common dye in the sight of Jehovah. All these circumstan- 
s were intended to be significant, and are obviously significant) 

a manner pre-eminently solemn and affecting. How should we 
ourselves feel, if the Creator of the Universe were to inform us by 
the mouth of an acknowledged prophet, that he would appear in 
tiiis work! on an appointed aay, to publish his awful pleasure to 
najakind ! With what anxious, tremoling expectation should we 
nait for the destined period! With what solemnitjr and apprehen- 
9im should we behola the day dawn ! With what silent awe should 
W see the cloudy chariot descend ; and hear the Archangel pro- 

«U the approach of his Maker ! How should we shudder at the 
Id of the trumpet, and the quaking of the earth ! Would not 
%£arts die within utf, when the thunders began to roll; the light- 
Vngs to blaze ; and the flames of devouring fire to rise up to the 
tMvefis? la the midst of these tremendous scenes, irilb what sip 


* • 1 


200 Ttffi GUILT [SER. aa 

lent, dearh-like amazemfent should we listen, to hear the voure of 
the Almighty ! Would it not seem wonderful ; would it not ippear 
delirious; for any man to call in question'the authority of his com- 
mands, or the absolute rectitude of his pleasure ; to refuse the du- 
ties, which he enjoinedy^^r to perpetrate the crimes, which he for- 
ixade? Who, after hearing from the mouth of God the awful pro- 
hibition. Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain ; 
and the fearfuj threatening, annexed to it, /or the Lord will not hold 
him guiltless^ who taketh his name in vain^ would not quake with 
terror at the very thought of committing a srn, thus alarmingtjr 
forbidden ? Who would demand an argument to convince him, that 
such a sin was eminently evil in the sight of his Maker? 

2dly. TTiis sin is cm Immediate Attack on God himself ^ and it, 
therefore^ peculiarly guilty * 

The hostilities of man^ild against any Intelligent being may be 
carried on mediately^ or immediately: Mediately^ against bis prop- 
eriy^ if he be a human being, or against his other external interests : 
* 'jmrnediately^ against his character^ and person. In the same man- 
. ifirirc may attack our Maker by attacking our fellow-creatures; 
atid violatmg such commands of his, as regulate our duties to 
them; appropriately, and usually, styled the duties of Moratitv, 
Or we may attack him, immediately, by violating those commanos 
which respect his person and character, and enjoin the various du- 
ties of piety. All the transgressions, which I have recited, arc 
directed against objects, confessedly belonging to God, and known 
to be hisy in immediate possession : his r^ames, his Titles, his 
Works, his Word, and his Institutions. As Ai5 only, do they be- 
come the objects of irreverence at all. In all these cases, there- 
fore, as here described, we attack God in the most direct manner, 
which is in our power. A king or a parent, may be insuUed by an 
affront, offered immediately to his officer ; his messenger ; or any 
other, acting under his authority. No person will deny the affront, 
here, to be real ; nor, as the case may be, to be very serious. 
Still it was probably never questioned, that, when this same afiiront 
. was offered directly to the parent, or the king, himself, it became 
fikrmore gross; an insult of greater magnitude, and greater guilt 
Accordingly, such affronts have been always more seriously re* 
sented, ana more severely punished. 

In all the cases, mentioned in the preceding discourse, God is 
necessarily, and most solemnly, present to the mind of man. 
Whatever impiety, therefore, whatever irreverence, whatever pro- 
ianeness, is exhibited in these cases, is directed immediately against 
him ; against his character ; against his person. He, who is the 
subject of it, stretcheth out his hand against God; and strengthmh 
eth himself against th^ Almighty. He runneth on him, even on kk 
neck / upon the thick bosses of h%s buckler. How can the man who 
is summoned to take a solemn oath, who is employed in the em- 
ineotly solemn duty of prayer, or in the pre-eminently solemn duty 



of dedicating himself to God in the covenant of peace^ foil to have 
a livdjr and affecting sense of the presence of his Mak^r ? How 
ean he fail to realize, that all the levity, thoughtlessness, insinceri- 
ty, and irreverence, of which he is guilty, is levelled direcdy 
against God? Who else is, who else ean be, the object of this 
conduct? Who else is concerned with it? Whose name is here 
mocked? Whose institutions ere set at nought? If the criminal 
be weak enough to suspect that he is not, in this case, trifling with 
his Maker ; and wickecfly profaning his glorious name ; he is prob- 
ably the onl V being in the universe, sufficiently bewildered to adopt 
this unsouna and unhappy opinion. 

What is true of these acts of worship, is true with Utile variation 
of every other* 

In that light-minded use of the names and titles of God, which 
is appropriately called profeneness, tte circumatances are, I ac- 
knowledge, in some respects materially different* It seems won- 
derful indeed, that, whenever the name of God is mentioned, any 
mind should not be filled with awe, and afiectinely realize the funef- 
ence of this majestic Being. The Jews would not pronounce the 
incommunicable name Jehovah except in one peculiarly solemn 
act of religious worship. Such of the Mohammtdansj as cannot 

chat multitudes, and, probably, that most or all those, who are ha- 
bitually profane, use this glorious and fearful name without even a 
thought that God is present to hear them* 

In his own proper character of the glorious and eifmtti Jshavakj 
mho haih prepared his throne m the heavens j and whose kingdom nd' 
eii over all^ it is impossible to regard him with serious, or wich even 
•ober thought, and not be filled with profound and reverential awe* 
It is impossible to realize who, and what, and where Hn is, and not 
be filled with fear and trembling. He called into being the heav- 
ens and the earth ; upholds them hy the word of his power ; mles 
them widi an irresistible hand ; gives life, and death, to whomsoar- 
er he pleases ; is present wherever we are ; looks with an intuttlfe 
eervey into the secret chambers of the soul $ records all our 
thoughts, words, and actions, in the book of his remembrance ; 
and will brine them before our eyes at the final day* On his 
bounty and forbearance we live* When he sives, we receive* 
•When he withholds, we die. His smile makes heaven s his frown 
creates hell. Those, who fear, and love, and serve him, he wiU 
bless : those, who rebel aeainst him, he will destnqr* Who then} 
■ttless lost to sense and decency, will not tremble eU his presen/oej 
and lie low in the dust before him? 

But in this deplorable trans^ssion, the profane swearer brin|S 
God into his thoughts, (if he think at all) ana into his conversation* 
with a character altogether familiar, and with copakieratjons, Ma 

Vol. III. 26 


'news, of the most debasing vulgarity. The same man, when in 
the presence of his fellow-men, acknowledged by him to be of re- 
spectable characters, would set a guard on his conduct ; particu- 
larly on his tongue ; and would speak of them, and to them^ and 
before them, wiSi sobriety, care, and decorum ; and would watch- 
fully give them every reasonable proof, that he regarded them, only 
with respect. From this decency in civilized li£, a departure can 
scarcely be found; unless under the influence of strong passion, or 
pressing interest. 

Surely the Creator of all things has as powerfiil claims to. vener- 
ation, as the worm, which he has made. But notwithstanding his 
glorious and awful character, notwithstanding we know that he is 
present to all our conduct ; notwithstanding we know that he hears 
whatever we say, and sees whatever we think, or do ; we make 
this great and terrible Seine the subject of the most irreverential, 
impudent thoughts, and of ue most vulgar, affrontive, contemptu- 
ous language. Nay, all this is done by the profane person, for no 
purpose, but to affiront and insult him ; and to induce others to at 
front and insult him also. 

All this is done, not once, twice, or in a few solitary instances 
only ; not in the season of forgetiulness, the unguarded hour of 

Sassion, or the moment of pecuDar temptation, merely ; but eveiy 
ay, in every place, and on every familiar occasion. In thi$ man- 
ner, God is hahituallv brought up to view, and continuailjf insuhed. 
Thus familiarized, thus habituated, to such thoughts, and to such 
language, the profane person soon becomes unable to -think, or 
speak concerning his Maker in any other manner. All his thoughts 
concerning him oecome a regular course of irreverence : ana all 
his language, a tissue of impudence and insult. God, the grea 
and terrible God, m whose hand his breath is ; in whom he lives and 
movesj and has his bein^ ; the God, by whom he is soon to be 
judged, and rewarded with endless life, or endless death; becomes 
speedily, to him, a mere object of vulgar abuse and gross derision. 
With what views must this awful Being regard the miserable 
wretch, who thus degrades his character ! Wnat must be the ap- 
pearance of this wretch at the final day ! 

From God, the source, and substance, of every thing sacred, 
the transition to all other sacred things is easy ; and, in a sense, 

'- instinctive. From him Religion derives its existence, its obligation, 
its power, its hopes, and its rewards. Separated from him, there 
can be no piety. Separated from him, there can be no morality. 
Who does not see, that without God there could be no Bible, no 
Sabbath, no worship, no holiness, and no heaven. He, therefcMre, 

* who is accustomed to profane the name of God, cuts off* his con- 
nexion with all things serious and sacred. But nothing else is, 
comparatively, of any use to man. Whatever is gay and amusing, 
and at the same time innocent, and in some sense useful, is useful 

'.only to refresh the mind for a more vigorous application to things 

•l • 


of a serious and sacred nature. In these, lie all the real and 
substantial interests of man ; the foundation of a virtuous, useful, 
and happy life, and a glorious immortality. To lose our con« 
nexion with them, therefore, is to lose our all. Of course, the 
profane person voluntarily squanders the blessines of time and 
eternity ; and with a portentous prodigality makes tumself /)oor, ami 
wretchedj and miserable ; a nuisance to the world, and an outcast 
from heaven. 

3dly. Profaneness 15, in most instances^ a violation of peculiarly 
eUar^ and peculiarly solemn^ inducements to our duiy. 

I have already remarked, under the preceding head, that, in 
many of the cases, specified in the former discourse, it is impossi- 
ble that the presence and character of God should not be realized 
by the profane person. But the character and presence of God, 
onited, present to every mind, not wholly destitute of sobriety, a 
combination of the most solemn and powerful motives to the per- 
formance of its duty. The Being, by whom we were created, 
and on whom we depend for life, together with all its blessings 
and hopes, who will bring every workj with every secret thing j inio 
jmdgmeni^ and who will reward every man according to the deeds^ 
don€ m the body^ with a retribution final and endless, is an object 
so a wfiil, so interesting, so overwhelming, that one would naturally 
think no sacrifice too great, no duty too difficult or discouraging, if 
tbeperformance would secure his favour. ^ 

To the considerations which have been here mentioned, others 
of singular importance are always to be added, when we are ex- 
amining almost ail the cases of profaneness, specified in the pre- 
ceding discourse. In the Word and Institutions of Gody and in all 
file Religious services^ rendered to hhn according to the dictates of 
the Gospelj he is presented to us as the Father, the Redeemer, and 
the Sanctifier, of mankind, in the most endearing and venerable of 
all offices, the offices of accomplishing an expiation for sin, re- 
newing the soul, pardoning its transgressions, and entiding it 
again to the blessings of infinite love. These blessings, literally 
iuBite, flowing only from the sovereign and boundless mercy of 
JehovaJi, are profiered to a mind apostatized, rebellious, and ruin- 
ed ; a mind incapable of renewing itself, and, therefore, if left to 
itself, hopeless of the divine favour ; and an outcast fix>m the vir- 
tuous and happy universe. In such a situation, how deeply 
should we naturally suppose it must be afiected with a sense of the 
infinite goodness, engaged so wonderfully in its behalf; by the 
^orious blessings, proffered to its acceptance ; and by its own 
infinite need of a share in these blessings. If it will not be in- 
Saenced by the presence of Jehovah, appearing in these amiable 
iiid wonderful characters ; if it will not be moved by the proffer 
of these invaluable and immortal blessings; what inducements can 
persuade it to perform its duty ? If the pleasure of such a God, 
if the attainment of such a salvation, will not lay hold on the heart; 


wliere shall we look for motires g[ sufiicieBt weight to engage its 
obedience ? 

But the fHTofane person 4klJes not merely disobey } as we com* 
gsdnly understand this term : He disobeys in the most provokiing 
marmer. He treats his lAaker as the Jews treated Christ; Thej 
did not merely reject this divine Saviour. lliey did not merely 
dHMcify.lmB. They rejected him with scorn: they crucified htm 
with inftdt Thorns they ^ave him for a crown ; and a reed for a 
tceptnu '/*The respect, which they professedly paid him, was con- 
tempt : and A|| homage, mockery* Such, for substance, is the 
manner in wmch tfie profane person treats his God. With all 
the solemn hkluceiiients, which have been mentioned, before 
his eyes, he not ofily rejects this glorious Being, and his be- 
nevolent offers of eternal life to perishing sinners; but accom- 
panies his rejection with irreverence, despite, aiid insolence ; and 
cries, Who is the Almighty, that I should senre him ? If the 
vMijfs of God were not higher than our ways^ as the heavens are 
higher than the earth; what would become of thif audacious, 
BHserable being? 

4thly. Profaneness is a sin^ to whieh there is scarcely cnty lemp- 

In the commission of most sins, mankind usually ez|p^t, and 
believe, they shall obtain some natural good : and this is almost 
always the prime object ofc their sinful pursuit : good, forbidden, 
indeed, and therefore unlawful ; yet stiU really good in the appre- 
hension of the sinner. Thus persons commonly lie, and cheats for 
the sake of some gain ; become intoxicated, on account of the 
l^easure experienced in the use of strong drink ;. are gluttons, to 
6moy the delightful taste of dainty food: and thus in almost sH 
Otner cases of transgression. 

Bi;t in [profaneness there seems to be no good, eithe|E*enjoyed, 
or expected, beside that, which is found in the mere love, ahcf in* 
dulgence of sin. No person ever acquired propert]% heslth, repu* 
tation, place, power, nor, it wouM seem, pleasure, firom pro&ne- 
ness. Those particular movements of the tongue, which articulate 
profaneness, produce, so far as I am able to conjecture, no more 
agreeable sensations, than any other* The words, which embody 
profane thoughts, are neither smoother, nor sweeter, than any 
other words. If, then, profaneness were not sinful ; i^ch worn 
would be pronounced no oftener than any other. The pleasure^ 
found in profaneness, such as it is, is therefore found, chiefly if not 
wholly, in the wickedness, which it involves, and expresses. The 
sin is the good ; and not any thing peculiar to the manner, fai 
which it is committed ; nor any thing, which the profeneness is ex- 
pected to be the means of acquiring. It may be said,, that the pro^ 
rane person recommends himself to his companions ; person^ 
with whom he is pleased, and whom he wishes to please ; and 
that) at the same time, he secures himself from their contempt and 

8ER. cm.] OF FEOFAI^ENESS. 205 

ridicule ; to which otherwise he would be exposed. This, with • 
out doubt, is partially true ; and comes nearer than any thing else, 
which can be allegea, to a seeming fteception to the justice of the 
remark under consideration. Yet it is hamly a seeming exception. 
Nothing but the wickedness of this conduct^ recommends the pro-' 
&ne person to his companions : and those, to whom he is recom 
mended, are sinners only. But for the love of ^wickednef s in /Aef^ 
he could not become agreeable to them by this evil prac(|d|f : a^d^ 
but for the love of wickedness in Airr?, he could not wist^lSve thus 
agreeable. Can it then be good ; can it be g^tkti will it be 
alleged to be gain ; to recommend ourselves t^ stntikrs by the per- 
petration of sin ? Is »ot the end, which wc^propose ; are not the 
means, which we use ; altogether disgrtitcelul both to ourselves 
and them? Instead. of being beneficiap to either, are they not the 
means of corruption, and ruin, to both ? Is the favour of men, who 
love sin ; and so ardently love it, as to love us merely for sinning ; 
desirable, or useful, to us ? Is it worth our labour? Does it deserve 
our wishes !. Can it prove a balance for the guilt, which we incur ? 
Can it be of any value to us, although in desiring and obtaining 
It we were to incur no guilt ? 

But the profane pereon is not esteemed^ even by his sinful com- 
panioni* They may desire him as an associate ; and they may 
relish his wickedness ; but they approve of neither. Such per- 
sons have repeatedly declared to m^ihat they approved neither 
of themselves, nor others, when cuilty of this sin ; but regarded 
it as a stain upon the character of both. The companions of such 
a man may be pleased with him^ and his wickedness ; because both 
may contribute to keep them in countenance ; or make them di- 
version. They may wish to see him af^ bad, or worse, than them- 
selves ; that the deep hues of their own guilt may fade at his side. 
Still, thlPy will make him, when he is not present, an object of 
their contempt and derisfon. In the same manner, men Kne trea- 
son, and ti'eachcry ; and in this manner, also, despise the ti-^itor. 
If the profane person will take pains to learn the real opinion of 
his companions; he will find, that they invariably condemn his 
character on the one hand, and on the other, hold it in contempt. 
In the mean time, he exposes himself uniformly to the abhorrence 
of virtuous, and eveti of sober, men. Of this no proof is neces- 
sary. The experience of every day informs us, that proliuie per- 
sons are a kind of Helots in society : men, whom youth \\vv ad- 
monished to dread, and avoid: men, pointed out to children as 
warnings against iniquity ; branded as nuisances to so( kiv ; and 
marked as blots upon the creation of God. 

Virtue is acknowledged to be distinguished, and exec I lent, in 
some general proportion, at least, to the disinter est td ma s^ with 
which it :s exercised. Sin, committed without moti\ rs of such 
magnitncJe as to be properly styled temptations, m:i\ ^>e justly 
tewnerl flisinltrested sin: sin, committed only from tlu !<Af ol'siUi 

■ > ■ V 


and not with a view to any natural good, in which it is to terminate. 
This must undoubtedly be acknowledged to be wickedness of a 
dye peculiarly deep, of a nature eminently guilty ; and the author 
of it must, with as little doubt, be eminently vile, odious, and 
abominable, in the sight of God. 

5thly. Profaneness is among the most distinguished means ofcor* 
rupting our fellow-men. 

TUs observation I intend to apply exclusively to the profane- 
ness of the tongue. It is indeed applicable, with much lorce, to 
profaneness, manifested in various kinds of action ; but it is pe- 
culiarly applicable to the kind of profaneness, which I have par- 
ticularly specified* 

Sins of the tongue are all social sins ; necessarily social, and 
eminently social. They are practised, only where men are pre- 
sent to hear, and to witness ; and they are practised, wherever 
men are prtient to hear. Thus a man is profane before his fami- 
ly ; swears, and curses, and ridicules sacred things, in the social 
club ; in the street ; before his neighbours ; and in the midst of a 
multitude. Persons of all ages become witnesses, and learners. 
Thus children learn to Usp the curse ; and the grey-haired sinner, 
to mutter the faltering oath. 

No man was ever profane alone ; in a wilderness, or in his 
closet. To the very natm'e of this sin, the presence of others 
seems so indispensable, that we cannot realize the commission of 
it by any man, unless in the midst of society. All the mischief of 
evil example is found in the social nature of man ; and in the so- 
cial nature of those sins, to which the whole power of evil exam- 
ple is confined. Where sin is in its nature solitary, and the per- 
petration of course insulated ; whatever other guilt it may involve, 
the sinner plainly cannot be charged with the guilt of corruptiDg 
others. In order to follow us in wickedness, others must know, 
that we are wicked. When they hear of our wickedness at a dis- 
tance ; they are always, perhaps, in greater or less danger of be- 
ing corrupted ; because sympathy is always a powerful propensi- 
ty of the mind, and because we nave always a strong tendency to 
imitation. But when they are present to see sin in our actions, 
and to hear it from our tongues ; it becomes the means of the most 
certain and efficacious corruption ; because then the impression is 
ordinarily the strongest possible. 

There is, however, one case, in which this corruption, though 
usually less efficacious in particular instances, is yet much more 
dreadfully operative, because it is much more extensively difiTused. 
An author, when possessed of sufficient ingenuity, can spread this 
malignant influence wherever his writings can penetrate ; and ex- 
panof the force of an evil example over many countries, and through 
a long succession of ages. Millions of the human race may owe 
to such a man the commencement, and progress, of iniquity in 
their minds ; and may imbibe pernicious sentiments, which, but 




for him, they would have never known, or would have regarded 
only with abhorrence. In this respect, what will Infidels, especi- 
ally those of distinguished talents, nave to answer for at the $nul 

but this evil mav be very widely diffused without the aid of the 
press, or the circulation of volumes. The tongue is an instrument 
more than sufficiently adapted to this unhappy end. One profane 
person makes multitudes ; corrupts his professed fnends, ms daily 
companions, his near relations, and all with whom he corresponds, 
$o far as they are capable of being corrupted. They again corrupt 
others : and thev, in their turn, spread tne contagion mrough suc- 
cessive circles oi mankind, increasing continually m their numbers, 
ind their expansion. Thus a profane inhabitant of this land may 
extend the mischiefs of his evil example to other countries, and to 
future ages : and a profane student of this seminary, may, and 
probably will, be the cause of handing down profanenftss to stu- 
dents yet unborn. 

The mischiefs of evil example are always great: in the present 
case they are dreadful. The tongue is obviously the prime instru- 
nent of human corruption; of diffusing, and perpetuating sin ; of 
preventing the eternal life of our fellow-men ; of extending perdi- 
tion over the earth ; and of populating the world of misery.. Be- 
hold^ saith Si. Jamts^ hovj great a matter (in the original, how great 
B forest) a little fire kindltth ! Small at first to the eye, it catches 
au the combustible materials within its reach, and spreading its 
ravages wider and wider, consumes, in the end, every thing before 
it with an universal conflagration. Among all the evil examples, 
which I have heard mentioned, or which have been alluded to with- 
in my knowledge, I do not remember, that a dumb man was ever 
named as one. No person, within my recollection, ever attributed 
hb own sins to the example of such a man. Speaking men are the 
corrupters of their fellow-men : and they corrupt, pre-eminently, 
by their speech. No individual ever began to swear profanely by 
himself: and few, very few, ever commenced the practice, but 
from imitation. Like certain diseases of the human body, pro- 
bneness descends from person to person ; and, like the plague, is 
regularly caught by infection. Let every profane person, then, 
solemnly remember how much evil will be charged to him in the 
great day of account : how many miserable wretches will date 
meir peculiar sinfulness of character, and a vast multitude of their 
actual transgressions, from the power of his example : how many 
of his fellow-creatures he will contribute to plunge into eternal 
perdition : and how dreadfully, as well as justly, all these may 
wreak their insatiable vengeance on his head, for producing theur 
final ruin : while he will oe stripped of every excuse ; and be 
forced by an angry conscience to say. Amen. Let him remem- 
ber, that in this respect, if not in many others, he is a pest to hu- 
man society, and a smoke in the nostrils of his Maker* Finally ; 



let him summon^this character, and this guilt, before his eyes, when- 
ever lie repeats his profaneness, with a full conviction that, how- 
ever ne may flatter himself, all around him, as a vast and upright 
1'ury, sit daily on the trial of hi%,€rimes, and with an unanimous and 
lonest verdict pronounce him guilty. 

6thly, Profaneness prevents^ or destroys, all Reverence towards 
God; together with all those religious exercises^ and their happy 
consequences, of which it is the source. 

In the discourse, which I formerly delivered on this pre-eminent- 
ly important religious attribute, I showed by a numerous train of 
Scriptural passages, that it is pectdiarly the means of rendering our 
worship acceptable to God ; of exciting, and keeping alive, an oi- 
horrence of sin ; the great source of reformation-f eminently the 
source of rectitude in our dispositions and conduct towards manxind; 
the foundation of peculiar blessings in the present world; and erni' 
nently the means of securing eternal life in the world to come* 
, These blessings, as an aggregate, are infinitely necessary, and in 
finitely valuable, to every human being. To prevent them, or to 
destroy them, that is, to prevent ourselves, or others, from be- 
coming the subjects of them, is an evil, to which no limits can be 
assigned. But this dreadful vcrk is efiectually accomplished by 
proianeness. Profaneness ii- !•* is nothing but a high degree of 
irreverence to Go J. But no worJs are necessary to prove, that 
reverence and irreverence cannot exist together in the same mind; 
or that, where reverence does not exidt, its happy efiects cannot 
be found. 

It is plainly impossible, that he, who indulges a spirit of pro- 
faneness, should ever worship God in an acceptable manner. This 
spirit, once indulged, soon becomes habitual ; and will be present, 
and predominate, at all times, and on all occasions. It will ac- 
company him to the house of God ; and, if we co|]ld suppose such 
a man to attend private or secret devotion, would mmgle itself 
with his family prayers, and, entering with him into his closet, 
would there insult his Maker to his faceJ^ But the truth is ; he will 
neither pray in his family, nor in his closet. These exercises of 
piety he will only ridicule ; and regard those, who scrupulously 
pertorm them, as the pitiful slaves of fear, voluntarily shackled by 
the chains of superstition. To the sanctuary, he may, at times, 
go, firom curiosity, a regard to reputation, and a remaining 
sense of decency. There, however, all his seeming devotion wifl 
be merely external ; an offering of the blind and the lame ; a sac* 
rifice of swine'* s flesh ; an abomination which God cannot away with ; 
a dead form, a corpse without a soul ; without Ufe ; corrupted ; 
putrid ; sending forth a savour qf death unto death. 

Instead of exciting, and keeping aUve, an abhorrence of sin i 
his mind, the profane person, by the very irreverence which h 
cherishes, excites, ana keeps ahve all ms other tendencies t 

W 4 


iDiquity. God, the only object of obedience, imperfectly obeyed 
by the best mind which ever inhabited this sinful world,- soon be- 
comes Co him by this very disposition familiar, insignificaai and 
despised. Who would obey a Bttng, regarded in this manner ? 
What anxiety can be occasioned jf^ the thought of disobeying 
him ? Who can be solicitous concerning the evil of sin, when 
luch is in his view the object, aeainst which sin is to be commit- 
ted ? Which of us could be at all apprehensive of either the guilt, 
or the danger, of sinning against a Being, whom we regarded only 
with contempt. 

The reformation of a profane person is out of the question. 
His progress is only downward. Profaneness is the mere flood- 
gate of miquity ; and the stream, once let out, flows with a cur- 
rent, daily becoming more and more rapid and powerful. There 
is no crime, to which profaneness does not lend efficacious and 
malignant aid. It is the very nurse of sin ; the foster parent of 
rebellion, ingratitude, and impiety. 

Tilt unjust judge^ who f tared not God^ regarded not man* Such> 
will be the conduct, whenever temptation invites, of all who do 
not fear God. Persons of this description may, I acknowledge, 
liave, originally, the same natural affections with other men. out 
even these, so far as they are of any real use to others, will, if I 
bave observed the conduct of mankind with success, be gradually 
worn away by the spirit of irreverence ; and, while they last, will 
&il of producing their most proper and valuable effects. A pro* 
frne person cannot long pray with his family. He cannot teach 
his children their duty. He cannot reprove them for sin. He 
cannot set them an example of piety. He cannot exhort them to 
seek salvation. He cannot take them by the hand, and lead them 
to heaven. 

What blessbgs can he expect from the hand of God in th^^ 
present world f He may, indeed, be rich. Oft, says the poet, 

^ Oft on the vileft, riches are bestowed, 

To show their meanness in the sight of Ood." 

Should he be rich ; his wealth will be a curse, and not a ^bless- 
bg ; the means, merely, of increasing his pride, of hardeni ng his 
heart, and of inclining him to treasure up wrath against the day o/* 
vra/A, and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God. He 
may on account of his talents, his heroism, or some othor cause, 
be held in estimation amone his fellow-men. But whatever repu- 
tation he may acquire in this manner ; this, like his wibalth, will 
prove only a curse to him : for, although highly esteemed among 
men, he will be an abomination m the sight of God. 

Beyond the grave he can expect, and can receive, nothing but 
indignation and wrathj tribulation and anguish^ His profancnesa ^ 

Vol. III. 27 





is an unceaslne and fearful provocation of his Maker, and a terri- 
ble pceparatim for a future life of eternal blasphemy. All the 
ruin df mturity, and all the guilt and wretchedness of tins '**' * 
voluntarily brin^ upon himself by the indulgence of this 
senseless, causeless sin ; and thus quietly, and coolly, prop^Bi 
A himself to be destroyed for even In sinning against Goo, m dis 
* manner, he eminently wrongs his tmn s<ml } and /ove#, invites, and 
"^ solicits, everlasting death* . "^ . 








f. - 

#- • 

;4 ' 




■ f 



I ', 





EzoDU9 XX. 7. — T/iou *kaU not take the name of the Lardf thy Ood, in ooIk; for (A| 
Lord will not hold himguiUUitf thtU takeihhiiuame mi mimi. 

In the two preceding discourses, I considered, at lengthi 
lAe Aa/tire, and the Guilty of Profaneness. I shall now proceed, 
iccording to the plan originally proposed, to examine with some 
ittention the Danger oi this sin. 

All sin is dangerous. But there are different kinds, and de- 
j;recs, of danger m different sins. On those, which especially at* 
tend this sin, or which, though common to other sinful habits, are 
connected with profaneness in a remarkable manner, 1 mean to 
insist in the following discourse. 

, 1st* Profaneness is eminently the Source of Corruption to the 
mhote Character. 

That there is an intimate connection between the thoughts, and 
the tongue, is perfectly well known to all men of consideration, 
rhc nature of this connection is, however, misapprehended, if I 
mistake not, by most men. AH persons perceive, that tneir 
thoughts give birth to their words : while few seem to be aware, 
that their words, to a vast extent, originate, and modify, their 
thoughts. Almost all moral attributes, and employments, operate 
mutually as causes and effects. Thus irreverence of thought gen- 
erates profaneness of expression ; and profaneness of expression, 
in its turn, generates and enhances irreverence of thoughts. Thus, 
oniversally, the mind moves the tongue ; and the tongue, again, in 
its turn, moves the mind. i ' 

The person, who speaks evil, will always think eVil. By this I 
do not mean, that evil thoughts must predede evil speaking : and 
that the man must, therefore, have been the subject of evil thoughts, 
b order to have spoken evil. I mean, that evil speaking, Vthough 
an eflect of evil thoughts, is, in its turn, a cause of new,^and other, 
evil thoughts. He, who thinks ill, will undoubtedly fp^&k, and 
act, ill. This all men readily acknowledge. It is e^ially cer- 
tain, although not equally well understood, that evil sjieech, and 
evil actions, directly corrupt the mind ; and render it more sinful, 
than it would ever become, if it were not to speak, amLacii in this 



i '^ 

912 I'HE DANGER [8ER. Of. 

A fijmiliar example, or two, will advantageously illustrate this 
8ul)j rt. An angry man becomes at once more violent and wrath- 
ful, when he begins to vent his passion by woi-ds. What before 
was anger, soon becomes fury. Before, he was able to retain bis 
spir: wiihin some bounds of decency ; but as soon as his tongue 
is let ir>ose, hi;) countenance will be distorted, his eyes flash, and 
his sentiments be the mere effusions of frenzy. A revengeful 
man kindles, Lke a furnace, from the moment, in which he be- 
gins to execute his revenge. What before was the revenge of 
a human heart, is speedily changed into the fell malignity of a 
fiend. , 

Si. Ja77i€5 has exhibited this tendency of the tongue to corrupt 
the mind, in language remarkable, exact, and forcible. He styles 
it an unruly member ; a fire ; a world of iniauity ; and declares, 
dint i7 defileth the whole hody^ and setteth on Jire the course of na- 
ture. Its influence on the mind itself, as well as on the afiuirs of 
mankind, he describes in this strong exclamation : Behold^ how 
great a matter a Utile fire kindleth I That the eye of St. James 
«'Sras directed to the profaneness of the tongue is obvious from what 
he says in the two succeeding verses. Therewith bless we God; 
and therewith curse we men. Out of the same mouth proceedetk 
blessing and cursing. Cursing, one dreadful kind of profaneness, 
was, according to his own account, in the eye of the Apostle, a kind 
of profaneness, mingled always with every other, ana inseparable 
from every other. In this very sense, then, the tongue is full of 
deadly poison ; afire that kindles the whole course of nature j in the 
soul ; and defiles the whole body, and the whole mind. 

Of the correctness of these Apostolic declarations, experience 
furnishes ample proof. Among all the multitude of persons, who 
have borne tne cnaracter of profaneness, not one was ever be- 
lieved, on account of his other conduct, by any competent judge, 
acquainted with him, to be a virtuous man. Many persons have 
begun to be profane from mere inconsideration ; and, at the com- 
menrvment of their career, were no more depraved, than such of 
their companions as abstained from this sin. In their progress 
however, they became corrupted much more, extensively withm tfat 
8am( period ; increased generally in wickedness, and particularly 
in luirdness of heart ; and lost every serious and even sober 
thouj^ht : all that course of thought, whence moral good might be 
deri\ cd, or whence might spring any hopeful efforts towards salva- 
tion. This is a case, whicn must, I think, have frequently met the 
eye of every man, who is seriously attentive to the moral conduct— 
of liis fellow-men ; and strongly shows, that the practice has, itself^ 
deplorably corrupted them in other respects, and set on fire the 
. whole course of nature in their minds and lives. Hence, instead o: 
bein^ accounted virtuous on account of any thing in their othei 
con*luct, persons, addicted to this sin, have been regardad by coo 
mon sense as gross sinners of course* ^^ A projmu penrntf^^ i 

SDL CIT.] OF FBOFA!f£!f£88. SIS 

therefore, as you well know, proverbial language, nsed regularly 
to de.'iote a wicked vicious wretch. 

The truth plainly is, and all men discern it to be truth, that ir 
reverence to God is a general source of wickedness. As I r^ 
marked in a former discourse, Religious Reverence is the directj 
and peculiar^ source of reformation. Irreverence, its opposite, is 
in the same manner the direct source of degeneracy. This is in- 
deed true of most sins, when habitually and allowedly practised. 
He, who practises one sin in this manner, will almost necessarily 
relish other sins more. As the body when corrupted, and weak- 
ened, by sickness, is more prepared for the admission of any dis- 
ease which may arrest it ; so the soul, corrupted by sin of any 
kind, becomes more fitted for the admission of every kind of 
wickedness, which seeks admission. The conscience becomes 
less tender, less awake, less alarmed at the apprehension of goQu 
The motives also, which should induce us to abstain from iii* 
quity. gradually lose their power. The love of sinning, the evQ 
passions and appetites, gain strength by indulgence ; anid tempta- 
tion, having repeatedly vanquished us, more easily vanquishes nt 

But irreverence, more than almost any other evil, brines us into 
this danger. Whenever God becomes an object of little impor- 
tance, or estimation, in our view ; the evil of sinning vanishes of 
course. The danger^ also, speedily recedes from our view. The 
only great and solemn Object in the universe, the only Being, 
who is of ultimate importance to us, loses all his awfiilness and 
sanctity. The great and commanding motive is, therefore, gone ; 
and there is notliing left, to restrain us, but reputation or con- 
venience. In this situation, the mind is prepared for fiitnre per- 
petrations, not only by an increased love to sinning, bat by a 
strong and habitual feeling, operating with much more power 
than mere conviction, that sin is neither guilty nor daneerous ; or 
at the worst as a thing of small moment. The soul is thus left 
free to the indulgence of its evil propensities ; and the restraints 
t which once operated with no small efficacy, lose their hoU on the 
^ Bund. 

An affecting exemplification of this doctrine is seen in the ten- 
dency of one exercise of profaneness to produce another. Per- 
sons addicted to profane swearing are, I apprehend, nuch more 
prone than most others, to the conunission of penury. An oath is 
an eminently solemn act of religious worship. The person, who 
takes an oath, calls God to witness the manner, in which he shatt 
speak, or act, under the obligation which it imposes. If he shall 
speak truth, and nothing else ; if he shall act faithfully in the of- 
fice, or trust, which he is then assuming ; he implores God, to Meat 
him here and hereafter. If he shall speak fiailscly, or act unfaicb- 
fidly ; he in the same solemn manner invokes on his head the di* 
vine Tengeance through time and eternity 



[SER. cnu| 

Now it is plain beyonda doubt, that llie solemn and awful char- 
, acter orGod constitutes all the solemnity of an oalh. If he is 
. considered by the person, who lakes i(, as holy and sin-hating, as 
the unchangeable Enemy of faithlessness and falsehood ; if he is 
realized as a present and awfui Witness both of the oath and the 
subsequent conduct ; If he is beheved to be the future and dread- 
fill Avenger of perjury and unfaithfulness ; then we cannot but 
suppose, that the person, who has thus sworn, will deeply feel his 
obligation to be sincere, and faithful ; will with deep anxiety speak 
the truth exactly, or discharge the duties of the assumed offi^ in 
the fear of God. 

But if, on the contrary, the juror, whether in evidence or in of- 
fice, regards God as an object of little importance ; as being either 
too weak, or too regardless of rectitude, to take any serious con- 
cern in the moral conduct of his creatures ; as destitute of sacrett 
neSs of character, and hatred of sin; as indifFercnt to truth i 
falsehood, faithfulnew and treachery; as wilUng to be mod 
with impunity, and abused without resentment; as existing, o 
to be a mere caterer to the wants and wishes of his creatures, ana 
a mere object of profanation and contempt : then, plainly, the 
oath, in which he is invoked, can have little solemnity in the eyes, 
little influence on the heart, and little efficacy upon the conduct of 
the juror. To every such person it will become a thing of course 
a mere wind-and- weather incident, an empty mockery of solei 
soundt on a thoughtless tongue. Its obligation he will iieid 
feel, nor see. The duties, which it requires, he will not perfoi 
There will, therefore, be no difference of conduct, in this case, 
faeen him that saearelh, and Aim that stoearelh not. 

Buthoff evident is it, that persons, who swear profanely, speedir 
ly lose 'bU sense of the awful character of the Creator, f roiA 
ttiflin^ with him in this wonderful manner, they soon learn toioD* 
sider nim as a mere trifler. From insulting him daily, thef sooa 
regard him as a proper object of insult. From mocking him with 
such impious effrontery, they speedily think of him in scarcely any 
other character, than that of a mere butt of mockery. Thus God 
is first degraded, in the view of the mind, by its own profaneness, 
and then mtruded upon by perjury. He, who swears profanely, 
will, in ordinary cases, soon swear falsely. Accordingly, custom- 
house oaths, proverbially false, are usually taken by profane men. 
Nay, such men have by their own perjuries renderea these oallu 
proverbially false. Oaths in evidence, also, taken by such men, arP 
justly regarded as lying under a general imputation ; as contribnt- 
1 ing not a little to unhinge the confidence of mankind in this their 
last reliance for truth and safely. 

What is true of profane cursing and swearing, as to its corrupt- 

ing power, is true of irreverence ia every form. Disregard to 
God is the flood-gate to all moral evil, ife, who enters upon ihit 
conduct, ought to consider himself as then entering upon an unirei^ 


sal course of iniquity; and as then yielding himself, as a slave, to 
do the whole drudgery of Satan. 

2d]y. Profaneneas is a sin, which is rapidly progrtsaivi. 
This truth cannot hut be discerned, extensively, in the obaer- 
vations already made. Every act of profaning Ihe name, perfec- 
tions, works, word, and worship, of God, is obviously a bold, pre- 
sumptuous attack upon this glorious Being. The sinner, having 
once dared so far, becomes easily more dapng ; and passes rapitf 
ly from one stale of wickedness to another, until he becomes final- 
ly harJened in rebellion against his Maker. That most necessair 
'fear of God, which is the great restraint upon sinful men, is speed- 
lUy lost. The sinner is [hen left without a check upon his wicked- 
ness ; and voluntarily induces upon himself a flinty obstinacy, 
which is a kind of reprobation on this side of the grave. 

At the same time, the longuc is a most convenient instrument 
of iniquity, always ready for easy use. We cannot always sin 
with the hands ; and are not always sufficiently gratified by mere 
sins of thought. Much as it is to be lamented, there is no small 
source of pleasure, found by wicked men in communicating their 
sinful thoughts and feelings to each other. The slanderer is never 
satisfied with merely thinking over slander. The liar would soon 
be discouraged if he could not utter his lies. The profane swearer 
could hardly fail of becoming a reformed man, were it not for the 
pleasure, litde as it i^, which he Gnds in uttering his profanenr'ss to 
Others. The sins of the tongue are perpetrated, alike, wilh lase, 
Jod delight, every day; and m everyplace, where even a soliiaiy 
'Bidividual can be found to listen. Hence transgressions of this 
kind are multiplied wonderfully. The thief steals, and the cheat 
aefraudH, occasionally only. But the slanderer will slander every 
day. The liar utters falsehood unceasingly. The profane person 
■wears sod curses every where ; and multiplies his iniquities as the 
drops ofHu morning. From the mind of such a person it is ressona- 
Mk believed, that llie Spirit of that God who is of purer eyes than to 
lBu/(j iniquity, will in a peculiar manner withdraw his influence, 
tan it be rationally supposed, Uiat this celestial Visitant will stay 
,lrith man, to be a witness of irreverence and profanation ? Ought not 
*rery profane person to feel, that he is forcing away from himself 
titose benevolent restraints upon his wickedness, which constitutes 
lis onlf security, and the only rational foundation of his hojlws ot 
eternaThfe ? 

Sdly. Profaneness, particularly that of the tongue, naturally intro- 
ittces men to evil companions, and shuts them out from (he enjoy- 
WtenI of those who are virtuous. 

All men love, all men seek, companions, of their own character. 
Sinners herd with sinners instinctively. Virtuous men seek the 
company of those who are virtuous. Men of learning consort 
»ith men of learning ; philosophers with philosojihei-s; merchanta, 
knaen, mechanics, and seamen, seek the company of those of 



their own class : the mere, incidental circumstances of pursuing 
the same kind of business alluring them, regularly, to the society 
of each other. Still more poweriul arc moral indutements. This 
is a fact so extensively observed, that mankind have proverbially 
remarked, that a man is known by the company which he keeps. 

Profane persons are shut out from the company of virtuous men 
by a variety of considerations. They totally disrelish the charac- 
ter of virtuous men ; their pursuits ; their sentiments ; their con- 
versation ; and usually shun their society on this account. They 
also dread their inspection ; and fear to have them witnesses of 
their own character, language, and opinions. For this reason, 
whenever they are in their company, they feel obliged to guard 
themselves; to bridle their tongues; and to take, care, that their 
language and sentiments be not offensive to their conapanions, and 
dishonourable to themselves. This restraint, like all otiiers, is 
painful; and they are unwilling to subject themselves to it, when- 
ever it can be avcHded. 

Virtue, also, is in its own nature awful to all sinners : and proud 
as they are of themselves, and their sins, they cannot fail, in the 
hauf<tf sober consideration, to feel their inferiority; and accord- J 
ingly* to be humbled, mortified, and abashed. Cfnrist informs us J 
that he who doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lat \ 
kii deeds should be reproved. For the very same reason, profane 
persons, and other sinners, hate the company of religious men ; 
Mteuse their character and conduct are a direct contrast to their 
own, and hold them out in a stronger light of unworthiness and de- 
basement. This contrast, few wicked men are willing to bear. 
Almost all of them shrink from it, as a wounded patient shrinks 
firom the probe of the surgeon. 

At the same time, virtuous persons loath, of course, the com- 
pany, and conversation, of all open and obstinate sinners. But 
profane persons are among the most open of all sinners. Their 
sin is ever on their lips, and continually proclaimed by iheir 
tongues. It is impossible therefore, that their characters should 
not Tbe known. Persons, so directly opposed in feelings and pu^ 
suits, can never unite with that mutual agreement of heart, or con- < 
versation, which is indispensable to the pleasantness, and even to j 
the continuance, of famihar society. The virtuous man will, at the 
same time, find every thing lacking in such persons which he seeb 
for in company ; whether it be pleasure, or profit. 

In addition to these things, his reputation oecomes stained, and 
yery deeply, if he consorts, voluntarily, with such comprinions. \ 
" Why," it will naturally be asked, "does he frequent such com- *■" 
pany ?" " Certainly," it will be answered, " not for profit.'' The *- 
necessary inference is, therefore, that he frequents it for the sake of "^ 
pleasure. Of course, he must find pleasure in sin ; and in this fc 
peculiarly odious sin. But to find pleasure in any sin is a direct ' 
contradiction of his religious profession ; a direct denial of his ^ 



Christian character. In this manner, then, he wounds hinriBelf ; 
he wounds the church ; he wounds the cause of God. What Chris- 
tian can be supposed to make such a sacrifice, for the sake of any 
thing which he can gain from sinful companions? 

But the dangers from evil companions are continual, extreme, and 
in a sense infinite. They are found every moment, and in every 
place : especially in the haunts, customarily firequented by men of 
this character. Here all the means of sinning are gathered to- 
gether. The companion of fools, or wicked men, saith God, shall 
6e dtitrm/edm 

The advantages of virtuous company, on the contrary, are great 
and unspeakable. Their sentiments and conduct are such as 
their consciences approve ; and such as God approves. Their 
sentiments are all conformed to the Scriptures. Their conduct is 
the natural fruit of their sentiments : not perfect indeed ; but 
sincere, amiable, and excellent. In this character is presented a 
powerful check upon sin, and a powerful support to virtue. No 
persons can give so alarming an exhibition of the evil, guilt, and 
danger of sin, as they. No persons can place virtue in so allur- 
ing a light. They have felt the evils of sin, the foret|fties of 
immortaUty, and the pleasures of holiness. They, thei«fore, 
can enter, with the heart, into both subjects ; and can speak of 
both with feelings, unknown to other men, and incapable of being 
known, until they become virtuous. Hence good may be gain^Boj 
and evil avoided, by means of their company, by means pecttBa^ 
to them, which is often unattainable, or unavoidable, in any'dHnp 
manner. - * 

By shutting himself out from this company, the profane person, 
therefore, voluntarily relinquishes one of the chief blessings of .^ 
life; one of the great means of securing life eternal. Nothing/ . ' 
perhaus, beside me worship of God, and a religious education, < 
contributes more fi'equently, or more certainly, to bring men inio 
the strait and narrow way ; to keep them in it, after they have once 
entered ; or to aid, and quicken, them in the journey towards heav- 
en. Nothing, on the other hand, seems more readily, or regularly 
to withdraw them from danger, guilt, and ruin. All this good the . 

Srofane person voluntarily casts away. Other sinners, of more 
ecent characters, often enjoy this blessing; and find it a blessing 
indeed. But the profane person carries with him the label of rejec- 
tion; the mark of oudawly from virtuous* society ; a label, volun- 
tarily worn; a mark, branded by himself. 

At the same time, he is consigned in the same voluntary manner. 
to the company of wicked men. Here virtue and hope are blasted 
together. Here, all the curses, opposed to the blessings above re- 
cited, multiply, and thrive. Here, his life is wasted; and his soul 
hazarded, assassinated, and destroyed for ever. 

4thly. Profaneness exposes men to the terrible denunciation of the 

Vol. III. 28 

t- ■ 

• • 









The occasion on which this threatening was pronounced, the 
Person by whom, and |j|e manner and circumstances in which it 
was pubhshed to mankind, oueht to render it peculiarly alarming 
to every man, who i^ guilty of this sin. Thou shah not take the nami 
of the Lord J thfOod, in vain^ said the Creator of all things, witfi 
an audible voice fipom Sinai, while the world was trembling beneath 
him ; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless^ who taketh his name 
in vain. This ^vas the declaration of Him, who is thus profaned, 
and thus mocked ; of him, who is an ear-witness of all this pro- 
faneness and mockery ; of him, by whom the wretch, guilty of this 
fearful transgression, will be judged and condemned, at tie final 
day. The threatening is denounced against a single transgression 
of this nature. What, then, must Ifj^ the guilt, and the danger, of 
profane persons, deformed as they usually are with transgressions, 
scarcely numerable by man ! What a chain of profanations, of 
oaths and curses, will every such person drag after him to die 
throne of God! How will he tremble at the retrospect; shrink 
from the dread tribunal, before his cause is heard ; and realize the 
sentence of condemnation before it is pronounced ! 

The threatening, here declared, is a sentence, gone forth before- 
hand from the triounal of eternal Justice, against this particular 
transgression : a doom, already pronounced, and hastemng to its 
execution, by the hand of Him, from whom no sinner can escape 
It is a sentence, which cannot be misunderstood ; against a crime, 
which cannot be doubted. Many sins are of such a nature, that 
the sinner may question the reaUty of his guilt. Here, the crime 
is perfectly known, and the sentence absolutely decisive. The 
profane person, therefore, may consider himself as tried, judged, 
and condemned, already; judged, and condemned, from die 
thunders and lightnings of the mount of God : and wo "be to him, 
who does not believe, and tremble. 


1st. TTiese observations exhUnt in a strong light the depravityrf 
the human heart. 

In the progress of these discourses, it has been clearly evinced, 
that profaneness is a sin, perpetrated in an almost endless variety 
of forms; that it is a sin, attended with enormous guilt, and expos- 
ing the perpetrator to immense danger. It has also been shown, 
that the inducements tdit are very few, and very small: while ihc 
motives, opp<»(Bd to it, are very many, and very great. Yet how 
• evident is it, that th^^ very sin is, and ever has been, practised by 
incomprehensible multitudes of mankind ! The Jews were pro- 
fane : the Mahommedans are profane : the Christian nations arc 
profane : and the Heathen nations are, and ever were, profane to 
such Gods, as they acknowledged. Among all these nations, or, 
in other words, throughout the whole earth, and throughout the 
whole reign of time, innumerable individuals have ever been pro* 



fane. Indeed, in one form and another, no man bas been guili- 
less of [hat irreverence towards God, IB which the essence of 
profaneness consists. The evil, therefore, spreads over the world ; 
and, in one form, or another, attaches, itself to every child of 

How wonderful a specimen of human comiplion is nresenleU 
in the so general profanation of the Name of God, exhibiieJ in 
light-minded cursing and swearing! How perfectly at a loss is 
Reason for a motive to originate, and explain, itiis conduct ! 
Why should the Name of (he Creator be treated with irreverence ? 
Why should not any thing else be uttered by man, if we consider 
him merely as a rational oeing, without recurring at all to his moral 
and accountable character, rather than latiguage of this nature? 
Certainly, it contributes not, in the least degree, to the advance- 
ment of any purpose, cherished by the mind of the profane per- 
son ; unless that purpose is mere profaneness. I know well, that 
patiion is ofttn pltaded for the use of this language. But why 
should passion prompt lo profaneness ? Anger, one would sup- 
pose, would naturally vent itself in expressions of resenlmenl 
against the person, who had provoked us. But this person is al- 
ways a fellow-creature; a man like ourselves. In what way, or 
in what degree, is God concerned in this matter ? What has the 
passion, what has the provocation, to do with Him, his name, or his 
character? Whydowf ai;l-ont and injure him, because a creature, 
infinitely unlike nim, has affronted and injured us? 1 know that 
Cvflom, also, is pleaded, as an extenuation, and perhaps as an ex- 
planation, of ibis crime. But how came such a custom to exist? 
How came any rational being ever to think of profaning (he name 
of God ? How came any other rational being to follow him in this 
wickedness ? Whence was it, that so many millions of those, who ■ 
ought to be rational beings, have followed them both? What end 
can it have answered? What honour, gain, or pleasure, can it 
have furnished? What taste can it have gratified? What desire, 
what affection, can it have indulged ? What end can the profane 
person have proposed to himself? 

Can any explanation be given of this conduct, except that it 
springs from love to wickedness itself? From a heart fixedly op- 
posed to its Maker ; pleased with affronting him ; loving to abuse 
nis character, and to malign his glorious agency ? A heart in 
which sin is gratuitous ; by whicn in juster language naihing 
is gained, much is plainly lost, and every thing 'a nazai-ded ? 
What, beside the love of'^srnning; what, but the peculiar turpi- 
tude of the character ; can be the source, or the explanation of tnii 
conduct ? 

Sdly. Thtse obseroaltorut teach us the Goodness of God in alarm- 
mgnumkind concerning this sin in so solemn a vumner. 

The gmlt of profaneness cannot be questioned : nor can there 
be any more question concerning the danger to which the pcrpc- 



trator exposes himftelf. In such a situation, how kindJ^Hbas the 
Lawgiver of the universe warned mankind against the perpetra- 
tion, by announcing to them, in this affecting manner, the evil to 
• which it would expose them. He saw, perfectly, their tendency 
to this wickedness ; and with infinite mercy has been pleased to 
provide those means for their safety, which are best calculated to 
msufy it. 

If a child were advancing towards the brow of a precipice; 
how kindly would he and his parent regard a friend, wno should 
announce to him his danger, direct him with sure guidance, and 
influence him with efficacious motives, to avoid it. The threat- 
ening, contained in this command, and, together with it, all those 
which are found in the Scriptures, are calculated for this very 
purpose. They warn us of approaching gpilt t they declare to 
us approaching danger. Thousands ana millions of the human 
race have been actually 'saved by them from impending destruc- 
tion. Terrible are they indeed to obstinate sinners, because they 
disturb them in their beloved course of sinning, and because they 
intend not to cease from sin. Still they are not the less mercifully 

fiven. They are the very means, by which immense multitudes 
ave been plxicked^ as brands, mil of the burning. 
3dly. Let merp^rn all thd^ . ii-Uo hear me, to shun prof anenesi. 
To this end, j7r in your nuiida a solemn and controlling sense of 
the evil and danger of this sin* Make this sense habitual in sudi 
a manner, that it may be always ready to rise up in the mind, and 
present itself before your eves. Feel, that you will gain nothing 
riere, and lose every thing hereafter. 

Under the influence of these views, keep the evil always at a 
great distance. Mark the men, who are profane ; and avoid their 
company, as you would avoid the plague. Shun the places where 
profancness aoounds, or where it may be expected to abound, as 
you would shun a quicksand. Avoid them; pass not by them; 
turn from them ; pass away. Remember, that tnese places are the 
way to hell ; going down to the chambers of death. 

Unceasingly say to yourselves. Thou God seest me. Unceas- 
ingly say to yourselves. The Lord will not hold him guiltless j that 
taketh his name in vain. Remember, that he is most mercifully 
disposed to be your Father^ and everlasting friend ; that he cannot 
be your friend, unless you regai*d him with reverence and Godly 
fear; and that, if He be not your friend, you will throughout ete^ 
nity be friendless, and helpless, and hopeless. What then will 
become of you? 

Carefully avoid mentioning his great Name on any^ except solemn^ 
occasions ; and in any manner which is not strictly reverential. 
Never speak, never think, of God, his Son, his Spirit, his Name, 
his works, his Word, or his Institutions, without solemnity and 
awe. Never approach his House, or his Word, without rever- 
ence. Prepare yourselves by solenm consideration and humble 


prayer lOr his Worship. Shun all that language which, though 
not directly profane, is merely a series of steps towards profane- 
ness ; and all those thoughts of sacred things, which are tinctured 
with levity. At the same time, daily beseech him to preserve 
you; and let your unceasing prayer be, Setawatch^ OLiOrd! bc" 
fare my mouth : keep the door of my lips. 

4thly. Let me solemnly admonish the profane persons^ JA this 
OMsemblyj of their guilt and danger. ^ 

You, unhappily for yourselves, are those, who take the name of 
God in vain ; and of course are now, or soon will be, subjects of 
all the ^ilt and danger, which I have specified. .AToio, therefore, 
thus satth the Lord^ Consider your ways. Remember what you 
are doing ; against whom your evil tongues are directed ; who is 
the object of yoUr contempt and mockery. 

Ask yourselves what you gain ; what you expect to gain ; what 

iou do not lose. Remember, that you lose your reputation, at 
^ast in the mindi^ of all the wise and good, and all the blessings 
of their company and friendship ; that you sacrifice your peace of 
mind ; that vou break down all those principles, on whicn Virtue 
may be grafted, and, with them, every rational hope of eternal 
Bfe ; that you are rapidly becoming more and more corrupted, 
day by day ; and that, with this deplorable character, you are 
preparing to go to the judgment. Think what it will be to swear, 
and curse, to mock God, and insult your Redeemer, through 
life ; to carry your oaths and curses to a dying bed ; to enter 
eternity with blasphemies in your mouths ; and to stand before 
the final bar, when the last sound of profaneness has scarcely died 
upon your tongues. 

If tnesc considerations do not move you ; if they do not make 
you tremble at the thought of what you are doing ; if they do not 
force you to a solemn pause in the career of iniquity ; if they do 
not compel you to retrace your downward steps, and return, 
while it is in your power, to reformation and safety ; I can only 
tay, that you are hurried by an evil spirit to destruction ; that 
you are maniacs in sin, on whom neither reason nor religion has 
any influence ; and that you will soon find yourselves in me eter- 
nal dungeon of darkness and despair* 





Exodus IX. 8 — 11. — Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six dayi Matt 
thou labovr, and do alt thy work : But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lari 
* thy God; in U thou thalt not do any toork, thou^ nor thy ion, nor thy HnughteTf Ihy 

mail servant, nor thy maid serraiU, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger thai is unthim 
'thy pates ; For in six days the Lord made hear en and earth, the sea, and ait that m 
them is, and rested the seventh day ; wherefore the Lord blessed the SabbeUh day^ 
and luUlowed it. 

The Command, which is given us in this passa'ge of Scripture, 
requii'cs no explanation. I snail, therefore, proceed immediately 
to the consideration of the great subject, which it presents to bur 
view^ under the following heads : 

L' The Ferpetual Establishment of the Sabbath : and 
•. II. Tlu Manner^ in which it is to be observed, 

'^■' I. / shall endeavour to prove the Perpetual Establishment of the 

■i Sabbath in the Scriptures. 

This $ubject I propose to consider at length j and, in the course 
of my examination, shall attempt to offer direct proof of its Perpe* 
tuity^ and then to answer Objections. 
In direct proof of the Perpetuity of this institution I allege, 
1. The Text. 

Th*' text is one of the commands of the Moral Law. Now it is 
acknowledged, that the Moral Law is, in the most universal sensCi 
binding on men of every age, and every country. If, then, this 
command be apart of tnat Law; all mankind must be under im- 
moveable obligations to obey the injunctions, which it contains. 

That it is a part of the Moral Law I argue from the fact, that ii 
is united with the other commands , which are acknowledged to be of 
this nature. It is twice placed in the midst of the decalogue ; in 
the context, and in the fifth of Deuteronomy. This fact, you will 
remember, was the result of design, and not of accident : a de- 
sign, lormed and executed by God nimself, and not by Moses. 

I argue it, also, from the fact, tl^it this command, together Toith 
the remaining nine, was spoken with an awful and audible voice from 
the midst of the thunders, and lightnings, which enveloped Mount St- 
^» nai. The splendour and Majesty of this scene were such, that 
all the people, who were in the ^amp, trembled. And when they saw 
the thunderings, and lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the 
mountain smoking, they removed, and stood afar off: and said unto 
Moses, Speak thou with us ; and we will hear^ but let not God speak 
with us, lest we die. Even Moses himself exceedingly feared and 




I .ir^ue this doclrine also from the faol that thu command wai 
ttrillr'i by tht Jingtr of God, on one of Ike two tables of itone, origin- 
atti/ ji^ipand by himself, and drslintd lo contain nothing, bill thtt 
and thr other precepts of the Decalogvc. ll was aflerwa^s written 
again Ity the same hand, after these tables were broken, on ojie of 
two similar tables, prepai-ed by Moies, A table of sioiie, and dl 
pillar "f stone, were, in ancient limes, direct symbols of the nerpcjf 
tuity "I" whatever was engraved on them. This very natural sym- 
bol diiJ was pleased to adopt in the present case, to show the 
Eerp''iiidl obligation of these commands. The remainder of the 
iw, given by Moses, was all written in a book ; and was here in- 
tenlio^iallv, and entirely distinguished, as to its importance, from 
the D'cafogue, The tables of stone on which these commands were 
vrilltn, were fashioned by the hand of God himself. This also, 
fqijais^a peculiar article of distinction between the Decalogue, and 
tKe TPSt of the Jewish law. Nothing but the Decalogue ever re- 
ceived such an honour, as this. It was written on one of these ta- 
bles by the &ngcr of God. This also is a distinction peculiar to 
the Decalogue. 

Wfien Moses, in his zeal to destroy the idolatry of the hraelitet, 
had broken the two tables of stone, fashioned and written upon in / 

this manner ; God directed him to make two other tables of stone, 
Uke ih^ first. On these he was pleased to write the same commands 
a ttrond time. In this act he has taught us, that he was pleased 
to bffome, a second time, the recorder of these precepts with his 
own [1 ind, rather than that the entire distinction between these 
precpts, and others, should be obliterated. 

Ev-ry part of this solemn transaction, it is to be remetnbercd, 
iras till result of contrivance and design i of contrivance and design, 
m ihf part of God himself. Every part of it, therefore, speaks a 
Ungu.i^e, which is to be esarained, and interpreted, by us. Now 
let m^' .isk, whether this language is not perfectly intelligible, and 
_perii.'i:ily unambiguous. Is il not clear Iwyond every rational dc- 
faaie, itiat God designed to distinguish these precepts from every 
<rthpr piirt of the Moiaic law, both as to their superior importance, 
and ihfir perpetuity '. Is it not incredible, that God should mark, 
fin so toiemn a manner, this command, together with the remaining 
nipe. unless he intended, that all, to whom these precepts should 
^WDc, that is, all Jews and Christians, or all who should afterwards 
>%ad the Scriptures, should regard these Commands as possessing 
tliai V'Ty importance, which he thus significantly gave them ; 
^oiil 1 consider them as being, in a peculiar sense, his law ; and 
lioW iiicm as being perpetually, and uiiiversally,obligaiory? 
' Il n fiirther lo be remembered, that Mrs command ti delivered in 
1 t3itt,i,/„nb»olule manner, as the other nine. There is no limitation 
I toi}i- i-hrascology, in which it is contained. Honour thy father 
I fcrf (^ mother, is obligatory on all children, to whom this precept 
llhOcuiite. 7%ou «/u)/f not steal, is a precept, probibiiing the 

2124 1^^ PERPETunr [SER. cr. 

5 stealing of every man, who shall know it. Every Gentile^ as well 

as every Jeto, who sinneth under the law, will, according to the spirit 

»• of the Apostle's declaration, be judged by the law. Agreeably to 

this equitable construction, every person, to whom this precept 

shall come, is bound to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 

But it is acknowledged, that ^^ all the remaining commands are 
indeed universally obligatory ; being in their own nature moral, 
and having therefore an universal application to mankind. This, 
however, is plainly a Command merely positive, and therefore 
destitute o( tnis universality of application. It may, of course, 
be dispensed with ; may be supposed to have been delivered to 
the Jews only, like their ceremonial and judicial law ; may have 
been destined to continue, so long as their national state continu- 
ed ; and, thus may have been designed to be of neither universal, 
nor perpetual, obligation." 

To this objection, which I have stated at full length, that I itaight 
be sure of doing justice to it, I give the following anbwer. 

•First ; it appears to me evident, that, so far as my information 
extends, the distinction between moral and positive commands has 
been less clearly made by moral writers, than most other distinc- 
tions. It will be impossible for any man clearly to see, and to 
limit, exactly, what they intend when they use these terms. To 
remove this difficulty, so far as my audience are concerned, and to 
enable them to know what I design, while I am using these words, 
I will attempt to define them with some particularity. 

^ moral precept, is one, which regulates the moral conduct of 
Intelligent creatures, and binds the will and the conscience. It is 
either limited, or universal : it is universal ; or, in other words, is 
obligatory on the conscier.ces of Intelligent creatures, at all times, 
and in all circumstances, when their situations and relations are 
universally such, as to render the conduct required in these pre- 
cepts their duty invariably, and in the nature of things. Of this 
kind, the number of precepts is certainly very small. We are 
bound to love God, and our neighbour, invariably. But the fjlh 
command, in its obvious sense, can have no application, where the 
relations of parent and child do not exist ; the sixth, where rational 
beings are immortal ; the 9$vmth, where the distinction of sex is 
not found. To these preceptt, therefore, the criterion of unive^ 
sality, generally regarded as the principal mark of the moral na- 
ture of precepts, is plainly inapplicable ; and it is altogether pro- 
bable, that these precepts will nave no existence in any world, but 
this. Limited moral precepts are those, which require the duties, 
arising from such relations and circumstances, as exist only for 
. limited periods, or among certain classes or divisions of Rational 
beings. Thus various moral precepts found in the judicial law of 
Mosts obligated to obedience none but the people of that nation, 
and strangers dwelling among them. Thus, also, he, who has no 
I>arents, is not required to perform the duties, enjoined upon a 



child ; *he, who has no wife, those required of a husband ; and he, 
who has no children, those demanded of a father. 

Positive precepts are such, as require conduct of moral beines, 
which, antecedently to the promulgation of them, was not their du^ 
ty ; and, independently of them, would never have become their 
duty ; but would have remained for ever a matter of indifference. 
It oueht to be observed here, that some precepts are considered as 
merely positive, because the duties, enjoined by them, were un- 
known, and would have continued unknown, to those, of whom 
they are required, independently of the publiQation of the pre- 
cepts. These precepts, however, are no less «f a mofal naturei 
than if the duties, which they enjoin, and the relations from which 
those duties spring, had always been perfectly known. A precept 
of a merely positive nature creates a duty, which, but for tne pre- 
cept, would not exist ; which dpes not depend for its existence oq 
the nature of the relations, sustained by the suliject as a Rational 
bein^ ; but is intended to promote some useful, incidental purpose, 
and IS not due, nor demanded from the subject in other cases, al- 
though sustaining exactly the same relations. Thus the precept, 
requiring the building of booths at the passover, may be considered 
as a positive precept. Thus also many others, enjoining particular 
parts of the Jewish ritual. 

Secondly ; The precept contained in the text is accordinfl; to 
these definitions a moral, and not a positive, precept* The Sabbath 
was instituted for the following ends. 

It was intended to give the laborious classes of mankind aa op- 
portunity of resdng from toil* 

It was intended to be a commemoration of the wisdom, power, 
and goodness of God in the Creation of the universe. 

It was intended to furnish an opportunity of increasing holmeas 
in man, while in a state of innocence. 

It was intended to furnish an opportunity to fiilen man of ae- 
qoiring holiness) and of obtaining salvation. 

In every one of these respects, the Sabbath is equally usieAiL 
important, and necessary, to every chiM o( Aiam. it was no 
more necessary to a Jew to rest after the labour of six days waft 
ended, than to any other man. It was no more necessary to a 
Jew to commemorate the perfections of God, displayed in the 
work of creation ; it was no more necessary to a Jew to. gain holi- 
ness, or to increase it; it is no more necessary to a Jem to seek, 
or to obtain, salvation. Whatever makes either of these things 
interesting to a Jew in any degree, makes then^ in the same d^. 
eree interesting to every otner man. The nature of the commandi 
Uj^refore, teacnes, as plainly as tiie nature of a command ca* 
teach, that it is of universal application to mankinds It has ihea 
this great criterion of a moral precept : viz* univenality of appli- 

Vol. m. 29 

226 ^^"^^ P£RP£TUnT [SIB. Cf . 

That it is the duty of all men to commemorate the perfections 
of God, displayed in the work of creation, cannot be questioned. 
Every living man is bound to contemplate, understand, and adore, 
these perfections. But we cannot know them in the abstract ; or 
as they exist merely in Him. We learn them^ only as displayed 
in his Works, and in his Word. We are bound, therefore, to learn 
them, as thus displayed ; and that in proportion to the clearness 
and glory of the display. The clearness and glory, with which 
these perfections are manifested in the work of creation, are tran- 
scendently CTeat ; and demand from all creatures a contemplation 
proportionally attentive, and an adoration proportionally exalted. 
To commemorate this glorious work, therefore, is a plam and im- 
portant duty of all men : this being the peculiar service demanded 
of them by his character, and his relation to them as their Creator. 
But this commemoration was the original and supreme object of 
the command. It cannot be denied, that this is a moral service ; 
nor that the precept reauiring it, is a moral precept. 

To perform this service in the best manner, is also, as much a 
moral duty, as to perform it at all. If any duty be not performed 
in the best manner ; it is only performed in part : the remainder 
being of course omitted. But no words can be necessary to 
prove, that we are equally obliged to perform one part of a duty 
as another. 

If we know not, and cannot know, the best manner ; we are 
invariably bound to choose the best which we do know. If, how- 
ever, the best manner be made known to us ; we are invariably 
obliged to adopt it, to the exclusion of all others. 

Tne best manner, in the present case, is made known to us in 
this Command. We are assured, that it is the best manner, by 
the fact, that God has chosen it. No man can doubt whether 
God's manner is the best ; nor whether it is his own duty to 
adopt it rather than any other. This manner is a commemora- 
tion of the perfections of God, thus disclosed, on one day in 

That a particular day, or set time, should be devoted to this im- 
poilant purpose, is inuispensable. The duty is a social one ; in 
which theRational creatures of God, in this world, are universaUy 
to unite. But unless a particular day were set apart for this duty, 
the union intended would be impossible. 

It is of the last importance, that the day should be appointed by 
God. Men would not agree on any particular day. If they should 
agree, it would always be doubtful whether the time chosen b^ 
them was the best ; and the day appointed by men, would have 
neither authority, sacredness, nor sanction. In a matter, merely 
of human institution, all, who pleased, would dissent ; and in such 
a world as ours, most, or all, would choose to dissent. The 
whole duty, therefore, would be left undone ; and the glorious per* 
fections of God, unfolded in the work of Creation, would be 


SER. CV.] OF TH£ 8ABBATB. t^f 

wholly forgotten. This precept is, also, entirely of a moral na- 
ture, as to the whole End, at which it aims, so fiatr as man is con- 
cerned. This End, is the attainment, and the increase, of holi- 
ness. Of every man living, and of every man alike, this is the 
highest interest, and the highest duty. To this end, as to the for- 
mer, which is indeed inseparably united with this, the Sabbath is 

The Sabbath is 'eminently moral, also, as the indispensable means 
of preserving in the world a real and voluntary ooedience of all 
the other commands in the Decalogue. Wherever the Sabbath 
is not. Religion dies of course ; and Morality of every kind, except . 
so far as convenience and selfishness may keep the forms of it 
alive, is forgotten. But all those means, which are indispensable 
to the existence of Morality, or, in better language, Religion, are 
themselves of a moral nature, and of universal obligation ; since 
without them, nothing moral could exist. 

It makes no diflference, here, whether we could have known^ 
without information from God; that one day in seven would be the 
best time ; and furnish the best manner of performing these things, 
or not. It is sufficient, that we know it now. 

Thus the fourth Command is of a really moral nature, no less 
Aan the others ; and as truly of incalculable importance, and in- 
dispensable obligation, to all the children of Adam. Its place 
in the decalogue, therefore, was given it with consummate pro- 
priety : and what God liath joined together, let not man put 

If it were intended to abolish a conunand, given so plainly, and 
with circumstances of such amazing solemnity ; the abrogation 
would, undoubtedly, have been communicated in a manner, 
eoually clear with that, in which the command itself was origin- 
ally given. But the Scriptures contain nothing, which resembles 
an abrogation of it, communicated either clearly, or obscurely. 
When Christ abolished the ceremonial and civil laws of the 
Jews^ so far as they mieht be thought to extend to the Gentiles ; and 
taught the true moral system of the Old Testament ; and when 
the Apostles afterwards completed the Evangelical account of 
this subject : it is, I think, incredible, that, if this precept were 
to be abolished at all, neither he, nor they, should give a single 
hint concerning the abolition. As both have left it Just where 
they found it, without even intimating, that it was at all to be an- 
nulled ; we may reasonably conclude, that its obligation has never 
been lessened. 

In the mean time, it ought to be observed, that many other pre- 
cepts, comprised in the Mosaic law, which are universally acknowl- 
edged to be of a moral nature, were nevertheless not introduced 
into the Decalogue ; were not spoken by the voice of Go^l ; nor 
written with his nnger ; nor placed on the tables of stone, fashioned 
by himself. Why was this supreme distinction made in favour off 


the precept, now under discussion ? This question I may perhaps 
answer more particularly hereafter. It Is sufficient to observe at 
present, that it arose solely from the superior importance of the 
precept itself. 

2. Thr Perpttual Establishment of the Sabbath U evident fromilt 
Original Inatilittion. 

Of [his we have the following account in Genesis ii. 1 — 3. T/aa 
thi .hcavejts and the earth mere finished, and all the host iif them. 
And on the seventh day God tnaed his work, lehich he had madt. 
And God blessed the seventh dmf and tanctijifd it ; because that in U 
he had reated/rom all his viorlc, tahtch God created and made. The 
proofs which this passage affords for the perpetuity of the Sabbatii, 
Kspect the lime, and the end, of the Institution. 

The time of the Institution was the seventh day, after the crea- 
tion was begun, and the first day, after it was ended. At this 
time, none of the human race were in being, but our first parents. 
For them the Sabbath was instituted ; and clearly, therefore, for 
€l11 their posterity also. If it was not instituted for all their poster- 
ity, it was not instituted for any of them : for, certainly, there can 
be no reason given, why it was instituted for one more than anoth- 
er. The Jews, particularly, were no more nearly connected 
with Adam, than we are ; and no more interested in any thing, 
commanded to him, than are the Gentiles. Accordingly, it it, 
so far as I know, universally conceded, that, if the Sabbath vra* 
instituted at this time, it is obligatory on all men to the end df the 

The resting of God on this day, alleged in the text as a primary 
and authoritative reason, why the Sabbath should be kept holy, 
is a reason extending to all men alike. In my own view it iS in- 
credible, that God shouldrest on this day, to furnish an example, 
to the Jeioish nation merely, of observing the Sabbath ; or that so 
solemn a transaction, as this, in its own nature aifecting the whole 
human race alike, should be intentionally confined in its intlueoce 
to a ten thousandth part of mankind. The example of God, so (ar 
as it is iniitable, is in its very nature authoritative, and obligatory 
on everv Inlelligenlcreature ; and in the present case, plaiiHy, on 
lie whole human race. For man to limit it, where God himself has 
■i»t been pleased (o limit it, is evidently unwarrantable, and inde- 

The End of the institution plainly holds out the same universality 
of obligation. I have already observed, that this is two-fold ; viz« 
to commemorate the glory of God, displayed in the creation ; and 
to attain, and increase, holiness in the soul of man. I have also 
abserved that all men are alike interested in both these objecU- 
Nor can there be a single pretence, that any nation, or any person* 
s more intcreslcd in either, than any other person or nation. Every 
.ndividual stands in exactly the same relations to God ; is under 

or THE SABBATH- 22g 

eiacdf ihe same obligationt : and is bound, in ihis case, to duties 
exaclly the same. 

3. The PiTpttuity of tht Sabbath M clearly taught in Isaiah Ivi. 

Aho the tons of the strangtr, thai join themsthts to the Lord, to 
terce him, and (o lovt tht name of the Lord, to be hi) servants ; every 
one thai kecpelh the Sabbath from polluting H, and laketh koldofmy 
covenant ; Even them jdUI I bring to my holy mountain, and make 
thtmjoyftti in my home of prayer ; their bumt-offtrings and their 
gaerifiees shall be acceptable on mg altar : for my house shall be call- 
ed. An house of prayer for all people. The Lord God, who gather- 
tth the outcasts of Israel, saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside 
those that are gathered unto him. 

From this passage it is evident, that, when the house of God shall 
become a bouse of prayer for all people, and when the outcasts of 
krael, and others beside them, shall be gathered unto him, that is, 
Christ; then the Sabbath shall continue a divine institution; that 
it shall be a duty to keep it from polluting it; and that those who 
keep it, particularly the sons of the stranger ; or the Gentile na- 
tions; shall be accepted and blessed in thus keeping it, and shall 
be made joyful in God's house of prayer. 

But the house of God was never, in any sense, called An house 
of prayer for all people, until after the dispensation of the Gospel 
began: viz. until the house of God was found wherever tmo or 
three met together in the name of Christ ; until the periodj when 
mankind were to worship God, neilher in Jerusalem, nor in the 
vumritain of Samaria, but wherever they worshipped in spirit and in 
truth. Under this dispensation, therefore, the Sabbath was still 
to continue a divine institution ; was to be kept free from pollu- 
tion; and the keeping of it was to be blessed, according to the 
declarations of the unerring Spirit of prophecy. 

This prediction is a part of the uncnangeable counsels of Jeho- 
T»B. It could not hove been written, unFess it had been true. It 
could not have been true, unless fulfilled by this very observation 
of the Sabbath. The Sabbath could not have been thus observed, 
and men could not have been thus blessed in observing it, ujiless, 
« the very time of this observance, it had still remained an Insti- 
lation of God. For God himself has declared, that mankind ihtM 
not add to his words, nor diminish ought from thejn; and thai, ii^ 
Stead of blessing those, who add to the words written in the Scrip- 
lures, he will add to them the plagues, which are written in the 
Scriptures, But to add to the Institutions of God is to add to his 
fFord in die most arrogant and guilty manner. If the Sabbath be 
ntrt now a divine institution ; be, who observes it aa such, adds to 
the Institutions of God, and is grossly guilty of this arrogance. 
He may, ther-fore, certainly as well as justly, expect to find a 
cuise, and not a blessing ; to be destroved with a more terrible 
destruction, than that which J^adab ana Abihu experienced, fcg- 





fSO THE PERPETUmr '. [SER. (Bl. 

' adding to the Institutions of God one of their owir, of a hi less 
extraordinary and guilty nature. 

But how different irom all this has been the fact ! How exact- 
ly, as well as gloriously, has this prediction been fulfilled I God 
has really gathered unto Christ others, beside the outcasts of Israel, 
The Gentiles, the sons of the stranger, have, in immense multitudes, 
joined themselves to the Lord. They have served him. They have 
loved his name. They Iiave kept the Sabbath from polluting it. 
They have taken hold of his covenant. They have been made jot/' 
ful in his house of prayer : and their sacrifices, and their burnt- 
offerings, have been accepted upon his altar : and his house fias been 

. called an house of prayer for all people. Thus, as Isaiah predicted, 
there has actually been a Sabbath under the dispensation of the 
Gospel, remaining now for almost eighteen hundred years ; and 
this. Sabbath has been attended with the peculiar blessings, pre- 
dicted by this Evangelical Prophet. 

4. The Perpetuity of the Sabbath is fairly argued from Psalm 
cxviii. 1 9 — 26. 

Open to me the gates of righteousness : I zoill go into them ; and 
I will praise the Lord. This gate of the Lord, into which the right- 
eous shall enter. I will praise thee : for thou hast heard me, and 
art become my salvation. The Stone, which the builders refused, is 
become the head-stone of the comer. This is the Lord?s doing ; and 
it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day, which the Lord hath 
made. We will rejoice, and be glad, in it. Save now, I beseech 
thee, Lord : Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity ! Bless- 
ed be he, that cometh in the name of the Lord. We have blessed you 
out of the house of the Lord. 

This Psalm, particularly the prophecy contained in these words, 
is explained by St. Peter, as referring to Christ ; the true head- 
stone of the corner, rejected by the Jewish builders ; and, of course, 
as referring to the times of the Christian dispensation. In these 
times, then, there was to be a day, which the Lord had made) 
not in the literal sense ; for in this sense he had made all days; 
but in the spiritual sense; that is, a day, which he had sanctified; 
consecrated to himself; devoted fo his own worship ; of a common 
and secular day, made into a holy and religious one. It was a dajj 

i on which the gales of righteousness were to be opened : that is, tne 
gates of the sanctuary, or house of God ; and styled the gate, or 

fates, of the Lord. It wis a day, on which the righteous, as a 
ody, were to enter into th m. It was the day, on wnnich the Lord 
became their Salvation. 1 1 was the day, on which the Stone, ^^ 
jected by the builders, became the headstone of the comer. It was a 
day, on yvh'ich prayers were to be offered up, and praises to be swfig 
to God. Finally, it was a day, in which the righteous were to f»" 
ceive blessings from the house of the Lord. 

All my audience must have anticipated the conclusion, as flow- 
ing irresistibly even from this slight examination of the passage* 





thai ikU no* a day, dfooted to religious employments, and parlicu- 
larly to thepvhtic tporship of God. It is equariy evident, thai il is 
t/w dar/, on akick Christ argse from the dead, or, in other words, 
iecame tfu head-stone oflhecomer. It is, therefore, ()tt Sabbathf 
ike only day, ever devoted to purposes of this natiTre by the au* 
thorily of Inspiration. It is a Sabbath, also, existing vnder the Goi- 
pel or ajler the resurrection of Christ. Of course, il is to continue 
10 the end of the world ; for ail the insiiiutions, which exist under 
the Gospel, arc perpetual. 

5. The Perpetual Establishment of the Sabbath, is evident from 
Revelation i. W, I vias in the Spirit on the Lord^i day. 

The book of Revelation was probably wrilien about the year 
96, and of course many years after the resurrection of Chrisl. At 
this time, there was a day, generally known to Christians by the 
name of the Lord^s day. Il was also enlilled the Lord's day by 
the pen of St, John, under the immediate influence of Inspiration. 
It was, therefore, so called with the approbation of the Spirit of 
truth. But this could not have been, unless it had been originally 
instituted by God himself. That the Apostle, in this manner of 
ffleDtioaing it, accords intentionally wilh this denomination, as be- 
ing the proper one, will, I presume, not be disputed ; because ihe 
contrary supposition would make him lend his own sanction to a 
fulse, as well as an unai;thorizcd, denomination of this day, and to 
thefalte doctrine invalid' d m it ; viz. that there was a day, con$e- 
erated aith propriety to Ike Lord, or, in other words, consecrated ijy 
divmt appointment : since no other consecration of it would have 
any propriety. If this doctrine was false, as according to the 
sopposition it must be, it could not fail to prove in a high degree 
dangerous ; as it would naturally lead all, who read this book, to 
hola a Religious Institution as established by God, which he had 
not in fact aiipointed; and thus, by worshipping him according to 
the commandments of men, to worship him m vain. The guilt, and 
the mischiefs, of this doctrine, thus received and obeyed, would be 
incomprehensible. The Spirit of truth, who directed the pen of St. 
JitAn, cannot have sanctioned this doctrine, unless it was true ; nor 
liSTe given this denomination to the day spoken of, unless it was 
giren by the will of God. 

There was, therefore, at the period specified, and under the Gos- 

Sil, a day holden by the Apostle, by Christians generally, and by 
od himself, as the Lord's day ; or a day, peculiarly consecrated 
to Christ, the Lord mentioned by St. John in this passage. There 
U now, there has always been, but one such day; and but one 
manner, in which a day can be the Lord's. This day is the Sab- 
bath ; a holy, heavenly rest from every sinful, and every secular 
concern. It is his, by being authoriialively appropriated to his 
we by himself; and by his requiring mankind, whenever it reluma, 
lo consecrate their time, their talents, and themselves, to his im- 




mediate service and reFigious worship. As, then, there was such a 
day, a day consecrated to the Lord, a Sabbath, at the time when 
the Revefation of St. John was written ; sf this day is perpetually 
established. For, every institution under the Gospel, the last dis- 
pensation of God to mankind, will remain in full force to the end 
of the world. 







» ■• 



or THE 'sabbath. 


II.8— 11. — Remember the Sabbaih day, to k^ U /kd|MMfc dloyt aktS* 
ilMor, and do all, thy work : But the seventh day it the tfMM of the iAfd 
d; in it thou thalt not do any worky thou, nor thy ton, nor thy daughter^ tfty 
tnantf nor thy maid servantf nor thy cattle, nor 'thy etranger that it wHi& 
ttt; For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the tea, and alt that w 
L dad retted the teventh day ; wherefore the Lord bletHd the Sabbath day^ 

he preceding discourse, from these words, I propose^ to 

le Perpetual EstahlUhmtnt of the Sabbath; and, 
\e Manner, in which it is to be observed* 
Brst of these propositions I examined, at some length, in 
M)urse : and snail now go on to offer some additionahitier^ 
ionceming the same subject* If ihave proved, as I flatter 
I have, that the Sabbath- is an Institution^ designed to last to 
of the world ; it will naturally occur to my* audience, as a 
. of prime importance in the consideration of this subject, 
8 it, that you and other Christians, instead of observiigih^ 
originally* instituted, keep another day as the SabbfS; a ' 
which no mention was made;, in the Institution, and f6r the 
\ observation of which we find no express command either 
Id or New Testament ?*' . .:g;. 

question is certainly asked with uixd>jectionable propriety; 
Ainly demands a candid and sadsractory answer. Such, 
er I will now endeavour to give. 

nquestionably true, that the .Institution, whatever it is, is 
:en as we find it in the Scriptures ; and that men are in no 
JO change it. He, who made it, is the only bein^ in the 
I who has the right to abrogate, or to alter, that wnich he 
e. As we find it, then, in tne Scriptures, we are bound to 
whether agreeable to our own ideas of wisdom and pro- 

pnot. ... 

er to explain my own views of this subject^ it will be use- 
serve, that this institution obviously consists of two ports ; 
Uhj or holi/ rest ; and the Day, on which it is holdm. Theses 
ly alluded to, as distinct from each other, in the text ; 
is said, The Lord rested the seventh day, and blessed the 
day, and hallowed it* This language is chosen of design ; 
II. 30 


. *. 

.■ , 234 THE rERFETUrrr AND '^oAl CVL 

and as I apprehend, with a propriety, intentionally instructive tout, 
God did not bless the seventh day, nor hallow it as the seventh day; 
hut only as being the day on which the Sabbath, or tlie Iwly rest, was 
to be kept* Were the Sabbath, then, warrantably to be kept, at 
different periods, cm each of the days of the week ; the blessing 
would follow it, on whatever day it was holden. 

It was plain then, that the Sabbath, being a thing entirely distinct 
firom the dEow on which it is kept, may be a perpetual institution ; 
and yet be Kept, if God should so order it, on any, or successive- 
' ly on all, the davs of the week. If, then, the diay, on which the 
Sabbath was to be holden, should by divine appointment be a dif* 
ferent one from that, which was originally ^tablished ; the Sab- 
bath itself, the substance of the Institution, might still remain the 
same. All, that would be changed, would plainly be a given day 
of the week ; a thing perfectly circumstantial ; and of no other 
importance than that, which circumstances gave it. 

The day, I say, might be altered without altering at all the svb- 
stance of the Institution. Still it could be altered only by divine 
appointment. The same authority, which instituted the Sabbath, 
appointed also the day, on which it was to be holden : and do 
other authority is competent to change either in any degree. Ifl 
then, we cannot find in the Scriptures plain and ample proofs of 
an abrogation of the original day ; or the substitution of a new one; 
the day undoubtedly remains in full force and obligation, and is 
now religiously to be celebrated by all the race of Adam. It shall 
be the business of this discourse to collect to a point the light, 
which the Scriptures afford us concerning this important subject. 

1. The nflture of the subject furnishes room to suppose, that th 
day, on which the Sabbath was to be celebrated under the Christian 
dispensation, might be a different one from that, which was origin^ 
ally appointed. 

The End of tKe Institution, mentioned in the text, is the Com- 
memoration of the glory^inf God in the Creation of the world. The 
reason, why God chose, that the manifestation of himself in that 
wonderful work should be commemorated, rather than that which 
was made in the Deluge, or the deliverance of the Israelites fix© 
the bondage of Egypt, was, it is presumed, the peculiar ^reatnest 

Xthe work itself, and of the display, which it furnished of his per* 
:tions. If this be admitted, as it probably will be by evciy 
sober man ; it must also be admitted, that we ought, according 
to this scheme, to expect any other work of God, of still greater 
importance, and more glorious to the divine character, than the 
Creation itself to be commemorated with equal or greater solem- 
nity. But the Work of Redemption, or, as it is sometimes styled 
in the Scriptures, the Kew Creation, is a more glorious work, than 
that of creating the heavens and the earth. This doctrine WSXJ 
be elucidated by the following considerations. 


In liie first place, The agtnt m both these morh is the 


In (tie hrst place, J he agent m both these morks u the same. St. 
Paul expressly declares, Thai Christ in the beginning laid the 
fminiliHiom ofthecarlhi thai the heavens are the vtirk of bis hands ; 
Heb. i. lG;Aa<l thai all things, visible and tnsisible^ wtre created 
by hun. and for him. Col. i. IG. St. John, also, leaches us, ihai 
all things were ntade by him; and that without him there jeas noi 
one thing made, which has existed. John i. 3. Tht'tame Person 
therrfore, it honoured in a commemoration of both these wonder- 
ful norks. 

Secondly; The End of a work, that is, the reason for which His 
dmu, is of more importance, than the work itielf, 1 his Inith will 
be admitted on all hands. No Intelligent being, who claims the 
chaiacter of wisdom, ever iiiidETiakeB a work without an end suf- 
ficiently important to justify the means, adopted for its accomplish- 
meni. Much less will tliis be supposed of God. But the End of 
Creation is Providence ; and of ail the works of Providence, the 
work of Redemption, or the Kew Creation, is incalculably the most 
importani ; llie hinge, on which aif the rest turn; the work, to- 
ward> the completion of which all the rest ai-e directed : in a word, 
the End of ihem all. Accordingly, St. Paul says, Who created 
all things hy Jesus Christ, to the intent, that now unto Principali' 
titi, and powers, in heavenly places, might be known, hy the Church, 
4ke manifold wisdom of God. The display of the Wisdom of God, 
by the Church, in the work of Redemption, was therefore, the inlrnt, 
or End, for which all things were created by Jesus Christ. "With- 
oot the work of Redemption, then, the purpose of God in crealin|r 
all things, and the real use of the things themselves, would have 
been prevented. 

Thirdly ; The superior importance of the Aeio Creation is evident 
m this fact; that the old creation, by its unceasing changes, con' 
ttnually decays and degenerates, while the .Affw Creation becomes by 
it* omn changes unceasingly brighter and, belter. 

Fourthly; The old criation is a tnmaitory work, made for con- 
nanption by fre : whereas the ^ew is intended for elernttl duration. 

Thus from the Nature of the case there la ample room to sup- 
pose, that the work of Redemption might, by divine appointment, 
be commemorated preferably lo ihe work of creation. 

2. It is expressly foretold by the Prophet Isaiah, that the Wort i/ 
Redemption ihall be commemorated in preference to the work of 
Creation. Is. '^v. 17, 18. 

For behold, sailh God, / create new heavens and a new earth; 
. and the former shall not be remembered, neithtr shall it come into 
mind. But be ye glad, and rejoice for ever, in that which I create : 
for lifhold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and my people a joy. In 
dkis passage of Scripture we are informed, that God designed to 
create what in the first of these verses is called new heavens and a 
new earth. This, in the second verse, is explained in simple lan- 
f^uagc ; and is saw to be creating the pee^le of God a joy and a re* 


jotcing. In Other words, it is no other than redeeming^ and sanctu 
fyinff^ the souls of men ; by means of which they become a rejoictng 
to God^ and to each oiher. 

Ill this declaration of the Prophet there are two things, particu- 
larly claiming our attention. The first is, that the New Creation, 
or the Work of Redemption, is of far croater importance in the 
eye of God, <han the former creation. The second is an express 
prediction, that the former creation shall not be remembered by 
the Church, nor come into mind ; or, in other words, shall not hi 
commemorated. This I understand, as almost all similar Jewish 
phrases are to be understood, in a comparative sense ; ^nd sup- 
pose the Prophet to intend, that it shall be far less remembered^ 
and commemorated ; as being of far less importance. 

That this passage refers to the times of the Evangelical dispen- 
' nation is certain from the prediction itself: since the new Creatiob 
IB the very subject of it, and the commencement of that dispensa- 
tion. It is equally evident, also, from the whole strain of the 

This passage appears to me to place the fact in the clearest light, 
that a particular, superior, and extraordinarv commemoration of 
the Work of Redemption by the Christian Church, in all its vari- 
ous aees, was a part of the good pleasure of God ; and was de- 
•igiiod by him to oe accomplished in the course of his providence." 
But there neither is, nor ever was, any public, solemn commemo- 
ration of this work by the Christian Church, except that, which is 
holdoji on the first day of the week ; or the day, in which Christ 
completed this great work by his resurrection from the dead. 
This prophecy has, therefore, been unfulfilled, so far as I see, un- 
less it has been fulfilled in this very manner. But if it has been ful- 
filled in this manner ; then this manner of fulfilling it has been agree- 
able to the true intention of the Prophecy, and to the good jilea- 
sure of God expressed in it 5 and is, therefore, that very part of 
the system of his Providence, which is here unfolded to mapkini 

At the same time, it is to be remembered, that the former Insti- 
tution is still substantially preserved. The Sabbath still returns 
upon one day in seven. The great fects, that in six days the Lord 
made heaven and earthy the sea, and all that in them is, and rested 
the seventh day, are still presented to the mind in their full force* 
The work of creating the heavens and the earth is, therefore, re- 

gilurly commemorated, according to the original institution of 
otf: while the New Creation, as its importance demands, and as 
this prophecy directly foretels, takes its own superior place in the 
commemoration. Thus the Institution, instead of being abrogated 
in every respect, is only changed in such a manner, as to enlarge 
its usefulness and importance to mankind, and to become a solemn 
memorial of two wonderful works of God, instead of one. Hie Salh 
bath itself is unchanged. It still returns at the end of seven dajrs. 
It is still a memorial of the Creation. But the Institution is enlarg- 


sd in such a manner, as to commemorate, also, the work of Re- 

With this Prophecy facts have corresponded in a wonderful 
tnann< r. All Christians commemorate tne work of Creation in 
their prayers and praises, their religious meditations and discourses, 
from Sabbath to Sabbath. But every Christian perfectly well 
knows, that the work of Redemptipn holds a far higher place in 
every private, and in every public, religious service ; and that, ac- 
cording to the declaration of God in this passage, the former is 
comparatively not remembered^ neither does it come into mind. At 
the same time, the Work of Redemption is not merely the chief^ 
but the only, meaniS of originating holiness in the soul, and alto- 
gether the principal means of advancing it towards perfection. In 
every respect, therefore, the Christian Sabbath is now better suit- 
ed to the great ends of the Institution, than the original day. Until' 
the time of Christ's resurrection, the seventh day commemwated 
the most glorious work, which God had ever accomplished, and 
the most wonderful display of the divine perfections. But by the ' 
resurrection of Christ, a new, and far more glorious, work was 
finished. While the Sabbath, therefore, was by divine appoint- 
ment kept on the seventh day, it was exactly suited to the purpose 
of commemorating the most glorious work of God, which had ever 
taken place. But after the resurrection of Christ, the first day of 
the week was plainly better fitted, than any other day, to become 
a religious memorial of both these wonderful works, by being the 
day, on which Christ arose fix)m the dead, and by returning reg- 
ularly at the end of every six days. Whatever . other opmions 
we adopt concerning this subject, it must, I think, be readily ao* 
knowledged, that no other day could possibly combine all thpse 

This important consideration seems to be plainly intimated in 
the text. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. The seventh 
iay is the Sabbath. In six days the Lord made heaven and earthy 
Hu sfa and all that in them is ; wherefore the Lord blessed the StJh 
hath day^ and hallowed it. It cannot escape the notice of every 
leader of this passage, that the duty of remembering the Sabbath, 
to keep it holy, enjoined at the bednning, and the blessing and 
consecration mentioned at the end, are applied to the Sabbath, 
Ind not to the day ; and that the seventh day is declared to be the 
^abbalh day^ or the day on which the Sabbath is to be holdcn. 
rhe meaning of this is obviously, that the seventh day is, or Waa 
Lt that time, the existing day of the Sabbath ; without determiniog 
low long it should continue to possess this character. God es- 
ablished it indefinitely ; and unless he should be pleased to change 
t, perpetually, as the day of the Sabbath. But on whatever day 
le should think fit to establish the Sabbath, it was to be remember- 
nI, and kept hoi v. The blessing, also, and the sanctification, 
vere annexed to the Sabbath day, and not to die seventh. In thia 


manner tfta^Christian Church became informed of their duty, when- 
ever the day should be changed ; and, if they perfonnea it faith- 
fully, were assured of this peculiar blessing. Thus, also, they 
were preserved firom the fears, which might otherwise arise, of 
losing the blessing annexed to the Sabbath, whenever the day, on 
which it should be holden, should be changed* Had the blessing, 
in this command, been axvnexed to the seventh day, it would prob- 
ably have occasioned an inmiovable perplexity to the Chnstian 
Church, bad they foiuid the present account of the Sabbath con- 
tained in the New Testament* 

3. The fyundredand eighteenth P^alm ii a direct prediction^ that 
the dav of Christ^ s resurrection wai 4q be the day on which the Sabbath 
ihovldht holden under the Goepeti^ 

iln the 14tb verse of this Psahn the divine writer declares, that 
the Lord is his strength^ and hts song ; and is become his salvation^ 
This fact we know was accomplished, when Christ rose* from the 
dead. In consequence of this great event, he hears the voice of 
rejoicingj and of salvation^ in the tabernacles of the righteous / or in 
the house of God. In the 1 9th verse, he says, Open to me the gata 
of righteousness • Iwillpraise thee ; for thou hast heard me^ and art 
become my salvation* This event he again describes in a new and 
under a very different image : The Stone which the builders refusedf 
is become the headstone. of the comer. He then subjoined. This it 
the day which the Lord hath made : thait is, the day which Christ 
consecrated, or made into a holv day, when he became the head- 
stone of the comer : that is, when he arose from the dead. He then 
adds, We will rejoice and be glad in it: that is. We, the Righteous; 
the Church of God ; (for in their name he speaks throughout aO 
the latter PBit of this rsahn, whether speaking in the singular, ot 

flural.) In their name he says, in the lollowing verse. Save novy 
beseech ih^j O Lord ! Lord ! J beseech thee^ send now prosperi- 
fy. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Tne words 
of the two last mentioned verses are applied directlv to Christ by 
the multiludes who accompanied him in his triumphal entry into 
Jerusalem. The multitudes j saith St. Matthew j cried^ ^aying^ Bsh 
Htnna to the Son of David I , JSlessed is he that cometh in the name of 
. the* Lord! • fhaanma in the highest I The words of the last verse 
are also applied by Cl^ist to himself, Matt. xxiv. 39, For I say unto 
youj ye snail not see me henceforth^ ^^[j/^ ^Aa// say. Blessed is hi 
that cometh in the name pf the Lord. The comment of the multi- 
tudes ia reasonably supposed to be that of the Jewish Church in 
general. That of Christ, and that of St. Peter, mentioned in the 
TO^ecediog discourse, are the decisive law of interpretation to the 
Christian Church. We are, therefore, warranted toconclude,that 
ibo Psahnist here declares not only the joy and gladness of the 
Qmstian Church in the resurrection of Christ, but in the day on 
which he arose : for he says, TTiis is the day which the Lord halh 
WMtde^ we, wilt rejtmp a^nd be^ glad in it. Tms day he also declares 

SES. TTL] CBAnsGOf -ttOl SABb&TH. 339 

to bt a (lay of public worship ; a day, on which tht gates of right- 
towntss were to be opened, and the Righteous, or the Churcli as a 
body, were to eittet ihem, and on which the ministers of ihe(''spel 
were to 6/<ss(A*m, (in the J(tci«A language, or lancuogc of ibi Tern- 
pie service) out of the house of the Lord; or in latiguage ;iil.if)ted 
to the Christian mannerof worship, in the house of the Luh!. The 
substance of this comment is beautifully given byUr. H'uli- m the 
two following stanzas. 

The norli, O Lard, !■ tbine, 

Thii ii the ^orioua itj, 

IbM oiir Rf decmer made ; 
Lei us rFJiilce, md sing, and Dnv; 

Let all (b« CbD.Th be gled. 

4. Christ has mdicattd, that the Seventh day should cease to he the 
Sabbath after his resurrection. 

In Matthew ix. 14, we are informed, thai the disciples of Join 
came to him, and inquired of him why his disciples did not fast, as 
wel! as themselves, and the Pharisees. Christ replied, Can ih* 
children of the bride-chamber tnoum, as long as the bridegroom it 
with them f But the dat/s mill come, when the bridegroom shall bt 
taken from them, and then shall I hrv fast. Christ was crucified, 
and buried, on Friday. At the close, then, of ihis day he was 
taken from the children of the bride-chamber; that is, from tus 
disciples. Throughout Saturday he by in the gi-ave. On thtRrit 
day of the aeek, the Christian Sabbath, he was restored to ihem 
■gain. This, then, became to them the proper season of fasting, 
according to his own declaration. But the Sabbath was aftsti-oat 
from the beginning. Such it continues to be unto the end. That 

it was to be such to the Ciiristian Church is amply proved by the 
passage, formerly quoted from Is. Ivi. 6, 7, and from the express 
deciaratioijs, just aovl quoted from the 1 1 8th Psalm. Fasnug OQ 

is day can, therefore, ncvcraccord with its original and universal 
design. Bui on the seventh day, the day during which ho lay ia 
-the grave, as he informs us, it was proper that they should fa^I. Id 
diis declaration it is indicated, not obscurely, thai the sevenih day 
Irould soon cease to be a season, fitted for the observance of the 

It must be obvious to the least reflection, that this season of 
Christ's extreme humiliation is the most improper period conceiva- 
ble _/br commemorating, tcith joy and gladness, the tBonderful work 
^Rtdempti«n. Every thing, in this season, must appear 10 a 
Christian to demand humiliation and mourning, rather ilian csulta- 
lion. During this period the enemies of Christ prevailed against 
warn ; and the Serpent, according to the first prophecy ever giv«ii 


> . .. 


concerning him to this world, bruised his hteL To rejoice oo this 

day would DC to lay hold on the time of our Saviour's greatest sui^ 

ferings, and deepest humiliation, as the proper season for our great' 

. est exultation. This, certainly, was not the conduct of the ApoA- 

. ties. They mourned in the most melancholy and distressio; 

- . manner. Nor do they appear ever to have regarded the Siventn 

^ day, afterwards, as the holy, joyful rest of GocL On the contrary, 

they transferred this festival to another day. 

5* The Apostles^ by their examples ^ Iiave decisively taught itf, 
that the day of Christ'* s Resurrection was to be the Christian Salh 
. bath. 

On the first day of the week, the day of his resurrection, Chiist 
met his disciples, assembled together. On the first day of the 
week following, he met them, again assembled together. On the 
first day of the week, at the feast, called Pentecost j the Spirit de- 
scended in a miraculous and glorious manner upon the Ajx^stles. 
On the first day of the week, the disciples assembled together 
customarily, to break breads and to make charitable contrihutions 
for their suffering brethren. From the three first of these facts, 
it is plain that Cnrist thought fit to honour this day with pecul 
iar tokens of his approbation. From the last, that the Apoe 
•ties thought themselves warranted to devote it to religious piff- 

I have already shown above, and sufficiently, that God has ab- 
solutely prohibited all men, under severe denunciation^, and ivith 
terrible expressions of his anger, cither to form Religious histiiUF^ 
tions^ or to substitute their own Institutions for his. It is clearly 
impossible, that the Apostles, who have taught us this very doc^ 
trine, should, under the influence of Inspiration, disobey liim io 
this interesting particular by forming so remarkable a KcligiwB 
Institution ; abohshing that of God ; and substituting their own io 
its place. Nothing is more evident to me, than that this example 
has all the weight, which can be attached to any precept wjiatef- 
er. This will especially appear, if we remember, that Peter with 
the eleven Apostles celebrated the first day of the week, ami that 
Paul and his followers did the same. Paul received his Gospel 
immediately from Christ ; and informs us in Galatians i. 2, that 
the Apostles at Jerusalem added nothing to him. For three yeais 
he never saw one of them ; and had not the remotest correspon- 
dence with them. All the doctrines therefore, which Paul ac- 
knowledged, he received directly from Christ; and was indebted 
for none of them to his companions in the Apostleship. Yet Pei^ 
and his followers observed the first day of the week as tijc ret 
gious day ; and Paul and his followers observed the same.- This 
©evident from his direction to the Churches at Galatia and Co- 
nnth to lay by them somewhat on the first day of the week^ f(3r the 
poor Saints at Jerusalem. The reason, why the first day of the 
treck is ^pitched upon for this purpose, is obviously this : that thfj 




•mblcd customarily on the first day of the week for religious 
tarposcs. Accordingly, in Acls xx. 7, we are Inrormed, itiat the 
mtcipUi in Troas camt together on the Jiist day of the week, to 
break bread; and that Paul preached unto them, continuing his , 
speech until midnighl. Bui whence did these persons, thus sepa- 
rated, derive this agreement in their observance of the first day of 
the week ? The only answer, which can be given to this ques- 
tion, is. From the Inspiration which guided them both. Had they ; 
"been uninspired ; their agreement in a case of this nature, where i 
they acted independently of each other, would have proved, that 
they derived the doctrine, and the practice grounded on It, from a 
voromon source. Their character as inspired men, and Apostles, 
jDTOves beyond debate, that the common source, from which they 
Vhus hannoniously derived a religious Institution, was God. 

6. Tie same doctrine is proved from the already cited passage, 
Kev. i. 10 ; Iioai in the Spirit on the Lord's day. 

From this declaration it is evident, that in, or about the year 
S6, when the Apocalypse was written and published, there was a 
<iay, known, and observed, by Christians, generally, as the Lord'* 
«3ay. This appellation was, I presume, derived from the passage, 
fcefore quoted from the 118lh Psalm. In which it is said con- 
«;eming the day of Christ's resurrection. This is the day, which tha 
-tjord imth made : that is, hath made of a common into a holy 
<3ay; or, in other words, consecrated to htmscir. But the day, 
pointed out in this passage, is the day on which Christ rose from 
die dead. 

That this was in fact, the day, styled by St. John the Lord's 
JDay, is unanswerably evident from the history of the Church : and 
■X is equally evident, that the Sabbath, or holy rest, together with 
r ^»il the religious services pertaining to it, were celebrated by the 
' ^Zlhurch on this day. Every one, who has read with attention the 
^^ew Tealament,' must have observedi that there is no hint, as well 
^»* no precept, directing Christians to celebrate the seventh day as 
I^oly lime. The ancient Christians, particularly the Jewish Chris- 
*ian9, when they had occasion 10 preach to the Jems, or to assera- 
fcle with them, entered into their synagogues on the seventh day, 
^-nd undoubtedly worshipped with them in their manner ; but 
*i»cre is not the feast reason to believe, either from the Acts, or 
from the Epistles, that they ever assembled of their own accord, 
^« that day, for religious services, in a regular, or customary 

Ignatiut, a companion of the Apostles, says, in so many words, 
** Let us no more sabbatize;" that is, keep the Jewish Sabbath, 
"but lei us keep the Lord's day, on which our Life arose." 
'»lin Martyr, who lived at the close of the first and the begin- 
of the second century, says, " On the day, called Suniay, is 
nssembly of all, who live in the city or country ; and the me- 
wn of the Apostles, and the writings of the Piophets," that is^ 
Vou III- 31 





jotcing. In Other words, it is no other than redeeming^ and sancti* 
fyin<!^. the souls of men ^ by means of which /Acy become a rejoicing 
to God^ and to each other* 

In ihis declaration of the Prophet there are two things, particu- 
larly claiming our attention. The first is, that the New Creation, 
or the Work of Redemption, is of far greater importance in the 
eye of God, <han the former creation. The second is an expres* 
prediction, that the former creation shall not be remembered by 
the Church, nor come into mind ; or, in other words, shall not be 
commemorated. This I understand, as almost all similar Jewish 
phrases are to be understood, in a comparative sense; and sup- 
pose the Prophet to intend, that it shall be far less remembered^ 
and commemorated ; as being of far less importance. 

Thnt this passage refers to the times of the Evangelical dispen- 
* Mition is certain from the prediction itself: since the new Creation 
1b the very subject of it, and the commencement of that dispensa- 
tion. It is equally evident, also, from the whole strain of the 

This passage appears to me to place the fact in the clearest light, 
that a particular, superior, and extraordinair commemoration of 
the Work of Redemption by the Christian Church, in all its vari- 
ous a^es, was a part of the good pleasure of God ; and was dc- 
•ignod by him to oe accomplished in the course of his providence." 
But there neither is, nor ever was, any public, solemn commemo- 
ration of this work by the Christian Church, except that, which is 
holdoji on the first day of the week ; or the day, in which Christ 
completed this great work by his resurrection from the dead. 
This prophecy has, therefore, been unfulfilled, so far as I see, un- 
less it has been fulfilled in this very manner. But if it has been ful- 
filled in this manner ; then this manner of fulfilling it has been agree- 
able to the true intention of the Prophecy, and to the good jilea- 
sure of God expressed in it; and is, therefore, that very part of 
the system of his Providence, which is here unfolded to mapkini 

At the same time, it is to be remembered, that the former Insti- 
tution is still substantially preserved. The Sabbath still returns 
upon one day in seven. The great facts, that in six days the Lord 
made heaven and earthy the sea, and all that in them is. and rested 
the seventh day, are still presented to the mind in their full force. 
The work of creating the heavens and the earth is, therefore, re- 
gularly commemorated, according to the original institution of 
Gorf: while the New Creation, as its importance demands, and as 
tMs prophecy directly foretels, takes its own superior place in the 
commemoration. Thus the Institution, instead of being abrogated 
in every respect, is only changed in such a manner, as to enlarge 
its usefulness and importance to mankind, and to become a solemn 
memorial of two wonderful works of God, instead of one. The SaJh 
bath itself IS unchanged. It still returns at the end of seven days. 
It is still a memorial of the Creation. But the Institution is enlarg- 


cd in such a manner, as to commemorate, also, the work of Re- 

With this Prophecy facts have corresponded in a wonderful 
maniK r. All Christians commemorate the work of Creation in 
their prayers and praises, their religious meditations and discourses, 
from Sabbath to Sabbath. But every Christian perfectly well 
knows, that the work of Redemption holds a far higher place in 
every private, and in every public, religious service ; and that, ac- 
cording to the declaration of God in this passage, the former is 
comparatively not remembered^ neither does it come into mind. At 
the same time, the Work of Redemption is not merely the chief^ 
but t}ie only, mcaniS of originatii^ holiness in the soul, and alto- 
gether the principal means of advancing it towards perfection. In 
every respect, therefore, the Christian Sabbath is now better suit- 
ed to the great ends of the Institution, than the original day. Until r 
the time of Christ's resurrection, the seventh day commemwated 
the most glorious work, which God had ever accomplished, and 
the most wonderful display of the divine perfections. But by the ' 
resurrection of Christ, a new, and far more glorious, work was 
finished. While the Sabbath, therefore, was by divine appoint- 
ment kept on the seventh day, it was exactly suited to the purpose 
of commemorating the most glorious work of God, which had ever 
taken place. But after the resurrection of Christ, the first day of 
the week was plainly better fitted, than any other day, to become 
a religious memorial of both these wonderful works, by being the 
day, on which Christ arose from the dead, and by retumine reg- 
ularly at the end of every six days. Whatever. other opmions 
we adopt concerning this subject, it must, I think, be readily ao* 
knowledged, that no other day could possibly combine all thpse 

This important consideration seems to be plainly intimated in 
the text. Remember the Sabbath day^ to keep it holy. The seventh 
day is the Sabbath. In six days the Lord made heaven and earthy 
the s^a and all that in them is ; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sab^ 
bath day, and hallowed it. It cannot escape the notice of every 
readnr of this passage, that the duty of remembering the Sabbath, 
to keep it holy, enjoined at the be^nning, and the blessing and 
consecration mentioned at the end, are applied to the Sabbath, 
and not to the day ; and that the seventh day is declared to be the 
Sabbath day, or the day on which the Sabbath is to be holdcn. 
The meaning of this is obviously, that the seventh day is, or Wfta 
at that time, the existing day of the Sabbath ; without determiniQg 
how long it should continue to possess this character. God es- 
tablished it indefinitely ; and unless he should be pleased to change 
it, perpetually, as the day of the Sabbath. But on whatever day 
he should think fit to establish the Sabbath, it was to be remember- 
ed, and kept holv. The blessing, also, and the sanctification, 
were annexed to the Sabbath day, and not to the seventh. In thia 


manner littt*Chri8tian Church became informed of their duty, when- 
ever the day should be changed ; and, if they perfoiTnea it faith- 
fully, were assured of this peculiar blessing. Thus, also, they 
were preserved firom the fears, which might otherwise arise, of 
losing the blessing annexed to the Sabbath, whenever the day, on 
which it should be holden, should be changed* Had the blessing, 
in this command, been annexed to the seventh day, it would prob- 
ably have occasioned an inmiovable perplexity to the Chnstian 
Church, bad they foirnd the present account of the Sabbath con- 
tained in the New Testament* 

3. The l^undredand eighteenth P^alm ii a direct prediction^ that 
the dau of Christ'^ s resurrection wat^t^ ^Ae day on which the ScAbath 
ihoulabe holden under the Gospel^ 

iln the 14tb verse of this Psalm the divine writer declares, that 
the Lord is his strength, and hts song ; and is become his salvation. 
This fact we know was accomplished, when Christ rose from the 
dead. In consequence of this great event, he hears the voice of 
rejoicing J and of salvation^ in the tabernacles of the righteous ; or in 
the house of God. In the 1 9th verse, he says, Open to me the gates 
^righteousness* Iwillpraise thee ; for thou hast heard me j and art 
become my salvation. This event he again describes in a new and 
under a very different image : The Stone which the builders refused, 
iff become the headstone, of the comer. He then subjoined. This is 
the day which the Lord hath made : ihaLt is, the day which Christ 
consecrated, or made into a holv day, when he became the head- 
stone of the comer : that is, when he arose from the dead. He then 
adds, We will rejoice and be glad in it: that is, We, the Righteous; 
the Church of Uod ; (for in their name he speaks throughout all 
the latter part of this Psahn, whether speaking in the singular, or 
plural.). In their name he says, in the following verse, Save now, 
J beseech th^j Lord ! Lord I J beseech thee, send now prosperi' 
fy. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Tne words 
of the two laAtjnentioned v^s^s are applied directlv to Christ by 
the multiludes who accompanied him in his triumphal entry into 
Jerusalem* The multitudesj saith St. Matthew, cried, saying, Ho* 
9anna to the Son of David I .Blessed is he that cometh in the name of 
,ihe*LordI i Hosanna in the highest / The words of the last verse 
are also applied by Cl^ist to himself. Matt. xxiv. 39, For I say unto 
you, ye shall not see me henceforth, tUly^ shall say. Blessed is he 
that cometh in the name pf the Lord. The comment of the multi- 
tudes ia reasonably supposed to be that of the Jewish Church in 
general* That of Christ, and that of St. Peter, mentioned in the 
nreceding discourse, are the decisive law of interpretation to the 
Qiristiap Church. We are, therefore, warranted to conclude, that 
ibo Psalmist here declares not only the joy and gladness of the 
Qmstian Church in the resurrection of Christ, but in the day on 
which he arose : for he says. This is the day which the Lord hath 
wmde^ wej^ilfr^okf, a^^ be^ glad in it. This day he also declares 


to be a day of public worship ; a day, on which 1^ ffUtt of rtgkt- 
touanegs wtre to be opened, and the Rtghleow, or the Church as a 
body, mere to enter iheni, and on which ihe ministers of lhet.i^spel 
were to bless! hem, (\n the /«jdi>/i language, or language of the Tem- 
ple service) out 0/ the house of the Lord; or in language ininpied 
to the Christian mannerof worship, in the house of (tie Lonl. The 
flubMance of this comment is beautifully given by Dr. Wall.' m the 
two following stanzas. 

The work, Lord, li thme, . . 

Let all (be Cho.xh be gW. 

4. Christ has indicated, that the Seventh day should cttut to be the 
Sabbath after his resurrection. 

In Matthew ix. 14, we are informed, that the disciples of John 
came to him, and inquired of liim why his disciples did not fast, as 
well as themselves, and the Pharisect. Christ rephed, CVin the 
children of ike bride-cliamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom U 
with them ? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall bt 
taken from them, and then shall they fast, Christ was crucified, 
and buried, on Friday. At ihe close, then, of this day he was 
taken from the children of the bride-chamber; that is, from his 
disciples. Throughout Saturday he lay in the gi-ave^ On Ihrfint 
day of the meek, the Chri$tian Sabbath, he was restored to them 
again. This, then, became to them the proper season of fasting, 
according to his own declaration. But the Sabbath was afstival 
from the beginning. Such it continues to be unto the end. That 
it was to be such to the Christian Church is amply proved hy the 
passage, formeriy quoted from Is. Ivi. 6, 7, and from the express 
Oeclarations, just novJ quoted from the llSdi Psalm. Fasting on 
this day can, therefore, never accord with its original and universal 
design. But on the seventh day, the day during which he lay io 
the grave, as he informs us, it was proper that they should fast. In 
this declaration it is indicated, not obscurely, that the seventh day 
would soon cease to be a season, fitted for the observance of the 

It must be obvious to the least reflection, that this season of 
Christ's extreme humiliation is the most improper period concciva- 
hle for commemorating, with joy and gladness, the loonderful work 
9f Redemption. Every thing, in this season, must appear to .a 
Christian to demand humiliation and mourning, rather tnan exulta- 
tion. During this period the enemies of Chnst prevailed againil 
faim } and the Serpettt, according to the first prophecy ever giv«o 


. S40 -"^t^y . ^1^ PERPETUITY AND [8ER. CVL 

concerning him to this world, bruised his heek- To rejoice on this 
day would DC to lay hold on the time of our Saviour's greatest suf- 
ferings, and deepest humiliation, as the proper season for our great* 
. est exultation. This, certainly, was not the conduct of the Apos- 
. ties. They mourned in the most melancholy and distressing 
V. manner. Nor do they Appear ever to haive regarded the Seventh 
* .' day, afterwards, as the holy, joyful rest of God. On the contrary, 
they transferred this festival to another day. 

5f TTie Apostles^ hy their examplesy Iiave decisively taught tii, 
that the day of Christ'* s Resurrection was to be the Christian Sab- 
..- bath. 

On the first day of the week, the day of his resurrection, Christ 
met his disciples, assembled together. On the first day of the 
week following, he met them, again assembled together. On the 
first day of the week, at the feast, called Pentecost j the Spirit de- 
scended in a miraculous and glorious manner upon the A]>ostles. 
On the first day of the week, the disciples assembled together 
customarily, to break breads and to make charitable contributions 
^ for their suffering brethren. From the three first of these facts, 
it is plain that Christ thought fit to honour this day with pecul 
iav tokens of his approbation. From the last, that the Apos 
*t!es thought themselves warranted to devote it to religious pu^ 

I have already shown above, and sufficiently, that God. has ab- 
solutely prohibited all men, under severe denunciation^, and with 
terrible expressions of his anger, either to form Religious histitU' 
tions^ or to substitute their ovm Institutions for his* It is clearly 
impossible, that the Apostles, who have taught us this very doc- 
trine, should, under the influence of Inspiration, disobey him in 
this interesting particular by forming so remarkable a Religious 
Institution ; abolishing that of God ; and substituting their own in 
its place. Nothing is more evident to me, than that this example 
has all the weight, which can be attached to any precept whater- 
er. This will especially appear, if we remember, that Pettr with 
the eleven Apostles celebrated the first day of the week, and that 
Paul and his followers did the same. Paul received his Gospel 
immediately from Christ ; and informs us in Galatians i. 2, that 
the Apostles at Jerusalem added nothing to him. For three yean 
he never saw one of them ; and had not the remotest correspon- 
dence with them. All the doctrines therefore, which Paul ac- 
knowledged, he received directly from Christ; and was indebted 
for none of them to his companions in the Apostleship. Yet Peter 
and his followers observed the first day of the week as t!je reli- 
gious day ; and Paul and his followers observed the same.- This 
IS evident firom his direction to the Churches at Galatia and Co' 
nnth to lay by them somewhat on the first day of the week^ fOr the 
poor Saints at Jerusalem. The reason, why the first day of the 
Week is jfitched upon for this purpose, is obviously this : thai th^ 


■ * 



assembled customarily on the first day of the week for religious 
purposes. Accordingly, in Acts xx. 7, we are informed, that iht 
disciples in TVoas came together on the Jirst day of the week^ to 
breaJc bread } and that Paul preached unto them, continuing his , 
speech until midnight* But whence did these persons, thus sepa- 
rated, derive this agreement in their dlwenrance of the filrst day of 
the week ? The only answer, which can be given to this ques* - * 
tion, is. From the Inspiration which guided them both* Had they i 
been uninspired ; their agreement in a case of this nature, where \ 
they acted independently of each other, would have proved, that 
they derived the doctrine, and the practice grounded on it, from %;r ■. 
conmion source. Their character as inspired men, and Apostles, 
proves beyond debate, that the common source, from which they 
thus harmoniously derived a religious Institution, was God. 

6. 77l« same doctrine is proved from the already died passage^ 
Rev. i. 10 ; I was in the Spirit on the Lord?s day. 
, From this declaration it is evident, that in, or about the year 
96, when the Apocalypse was written and published, there was a 
day, known, and observed, by Christians, generally, as the Lord'f ■ 
day. This appellation was, I presume, derived from the passage, 
before quotea from the 118th Psalm. Jn which it is said con- 
cerning the day of Christ's resurrection, This is the day, which Ms. 
lA>rd hath made : that is, hath made of a common mto a holy 
day ; ory in other words, consecrated to hin^elf. But the day, 
pomted out in this passage, is the day on which Christ rose from 
the dead. 

That this was in fact, the day, styled by St. John the Lord?s 
Day, is unanswerably evident from the history of the Church : and 
it is equally evident, that the Sabbath, or holy rest, together with 
all the religious -services pertaining to it, were celebrated by the 
Church on this c^ay. Every one, who has read with attention the 
New Testament,*' must have observed^ that there is no hint, as well 
as no precept, directing Christians to celebrate the seventh day as 
holy time. The ancient Christians, particularly the Jewish Chris- 
tians, when they had occasion to preach to the Jews, or to assem- 
ble with them, entered into their synagogues on the seventh day, 
and undoubtedly worshipped with them in their manner ; but 
there is not the least reason to believe, either from the Acts, or 
from the Epistles, that they ever assembled of their own accord, 
on that day, for religious services, in a regular, or customary 

Ignatius, a companion of the Apostles, says, in so many words^ 
''Let us no more sabbatize ;" that is, keep the Jewish Sabbath, 
** but let us keep the Lord's day, on which our Life arose." 

Justin Martyr, who lived at the close of the first and the begin- 
ning of the second century, says, *' On the day, called Sun Jay, is 
an assembly of all, who live in the city or country ; and the me- 
moirs of the Apostles, and the writings of the Piophets,'' that is^ 

Vol. Ill- 31 


24s! ™K FERPETUirr AND [ttaU'Cft' 

the Old and New Testament, << are read.'' For this be tin i y n * 
the reasons of the Christians ; viz. '^ that it was the day on wkidi 
the Creation of the world began, and on which Christ arose froB 
the dead." 

IreruBuSj a disciple of Poll/carp^ the disciple of St. John hin- 
self, who lived in the second century, says, '^On the LionPs 
day every one of us, Christians, keeps the Sabbath ; medhat* 
ing in the law," or Scriptures, '^ and rejoicing in the works of 

Dyonysius, Bishop of Corinth^ who lived in the time of Irenam^ 
that is, m the second century, says in his letter to the Church at 
Rome^ " To-day we celebrate the Lord's day, when we read your 
Epistle to us." 

Tertullian, who also lived in the second century, speaks of the 
Lord's day as a Christian solemnity. •• 

Petavius declares, that ^' but one Lord's day was observed in the 
earliest times of the Church." 

It is indeed true, that in that miserable forgery, which professes 
itself to have been written by the Apostles, and is styled, Tlu 
Apostolical Constitutions / but which was plainly the work of some 
impostor, living in the latter end of the fourth, or the beginning of 
the fifth, century, certainly not earlier, it is directed, that Uhristiant 
should keep both the Jewish Sabbath and the Lord's day, as re- 
ligious festivals ; and that every Sabbath, but one, in the year, and 
every Lord's day, should be observed in this manner. It is also 
true, that, in the fiflh century, both these days were kept in this 
manner by Christians generally, except the Churches of Rome^ and 
Alexandria ; who did not observe the Jewish Sabbath as a reli|^ . 
ous day. This appears by the testimony of both Socrates aikj' 
Sozomen. Concerning this subject Petavius declares, that '^ the 
most holy fathers agreed, that the Apostles never ordained any 
thing of this nature." He also remarks, that the council of Lao^ 
dicea^ which probably sat about the year 363, f(»*bade in their 
S9th canon, tnat Christians should rest from labour on the Sab- 
bath or Seventh day. For they say, " Christians ought not to 
Judaize, nor to rest on the Sabbath, that is, the seventh day ; but 
preferring the Lord's day, to rest, if indeed it should be m their 
power, as Christians."* 

From these observations it is plain, that, although in the fifth 
i century many Christians had reverted to the observation of the 
Jewish Sabbath, while yet they universally celebrated the Lord's 
day ; yet the practice, even in this period of miserable declension, 
was by no means universal. The Churches of Rome and Alex* — 
andria never adopted it at dl; and others plainly adopted it 
a^ they did a great multitude of other corruptions at the same time 
merely from meir own construction of the Scriptures* We 


tSf).] ' GHAlffGBOF.THE AABBATH. ftiS 

kr ftt tb6se, especially when we find amon^ them cele- 
JmaiLjBiniBters of religion, who admitted the protection and invo 
ctlMfi of Saints and Martyrs^ should admit any other corrup- 
tion ; and that they should construe those passages of Scripture, 
whidi speak of the Sabbath, as erroneously as they construed 

7. The tame truih appears in this great fact ; that God has pet' 
petualljf and gloriously annexed his blessing to the Christian Sab' 

If this day be not divinely instituted ; then God has suffered 
his Church to disuse, and annihilate, his own Institution, and sub- 
stitute one, of mere human device, in its stead* Will this be be- 
lieved f But this is not all : he hs^ annexed the blessing, which 
he originally united to the Sabbath, instituted by himself, to that, 
which was the means of destroying it, and which was established 
.by human authority merely. After reauiring, that men should add 
nothing to his words, and forbidding tnem to diminish ought from 
them; after threatening the plagues, denounced in the Scriptures, 
to him, who should add unto the words which they contain ; and 
declaring, that he would take away out of the book of life the part 
of him, who should take away from the words written in the Scrip- 
iures : can any man believe, that he would forsake, iliaihe has for^ 
taken, his own Institution ; an Institution of this magnitude ; an 
Institution, on which have depended, in all lands and ages, the ob- 
servation, influence, and existence, of his holy Law ? Can any man 
believe, that He who so dreadfully punished •Yadaft and Mihu for 
forsaking his own Institution, in a case of far inferior magnitude, 
and settmg up one of their own in its stead, would not only not 
*funishf but abundantly and unceasingly blessy the Christian Church, 
while perpetrating, and persisting in, iniquity, of exactly the same 
nature, and far greater in degree ? The Christian, who can be- 
lieve this, must be prepared to believe any thing. 

Had men known nothing concerning the Institution of God ; the 
charity of their fellow-men might be naturally enough extended to 
them, while employed in religiously commemorating Christ's res- 
urrection. The appearance of pioty in such a commemoration, 
and their freedom from the impiety of intruding upon a divine In- 
stitution, might induce others to think favourably of their conduct. 
But in the case in hand, the Institution was begun by the Apos- 
tles ; men inspired ; chosen followers of Christ ; and the erectors 
of his kingdom in the world. If they sinned, they sinned wilfully, 
and in defiance of their inspiration. With them, however, the 
blessing began to be annexed to this day in a most wonderful and 
glorious manner. From theyn it has been uninterruptedly contin- 
ued to the present time. To this day, under God, as a primary 
mean, manicind are indebted for all the Religion, which has beea 
in the world from the days of the Apostles. If, then, the Christian 
Sabbath is not a divine Institution ; God has made a device of man 

244 THE PERPETtnTT, Lc. 

a more powerful support to his spiritual kingdom, a more effica- 
cious instrument of diffusing truth antl righteousness, than most, 
rerhaps than all, others : while, at the same time, he has, so far as 
am abie to discern, wholly neglected, and forgotten, a most sol- 
emn Institution of his own. Thus a human tfevice has been a 
peculiar, if not a singular, means of accomplishing the greatest 
glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: and men, it 
would seem, will, in the end, have, inkereoflo glory before God. 

This blessing has hecn too evident, too uniform, and too long 
continued, to admit of a douht ; too great, and too wonderful, to be 
passed over in silence. On this day, the perfections of God, man- 
ifested in the amazing works of Creation and of Redemption, have, 
more than on all others, been solemnly, gratefully, and joyfully, re- 
membered and celebrated. On ihisday, millions of the numan race , 
have been born unto God. On this day. Christians have ever found 
their prime blessings. From the Word and Ordinances of God, 
from the influences of the Holy Spirit, from the presence of Christ 
in his Church, Christians have derived, on this day, more than on 
all others, the most delightful views of the divine character, clear 
apprehensions of their own duty, hvely devotion to the service of 

God, strength to 

temptations, and glorious anlicipatiotU 
of immortaTiiy. Take this day from the Calendar of the CbristiaD, 
and all that remains will be cloui'y and cheerless. Religion »™ ^ 
instantly decay. Ignorance, erroi, and vice, will immediately trK^ 
umph j the sense of duty vanish ; morals fade away ; the acknowli 
edgmeni, and even the remembrance, of God be far removed froM 
mankind; the glad tidings of salvation cease to sound; and tho ,■ 
communication between earth and heaven be cut off for ever. 



Hitunt iv. 9r~ntTe rtmaintth, ihtnfart. Rat to the ptaph b/ Ood. 

I In [he two preceding discourses, I have, according lo the 

' scheme originally proposed, endea voured to prove tkt Pcrpdval Et- 

labliihmtnl of the Sabbath, as a divine Imtittitionj and (o show, 

that t/ie day, oninhich it it by divine appotjUmtnt to bt htidtnig/ the 

Christian Church, is thtday ofCkrisfs Rtsurrection. 

In the following discourse, I shall proceed to consider ikt Ob- 
jtclions, which hate been made to this doctrine. As all ihe impor- 
tant objections, within my knowledge, are adduced by the late 
Archdeacon Paley, it is my design lo reply to this respectable wri- 
ter in form : such a reply being, in my own apprehension, all that 
is necessary with respect to the subject at large. 

The text I consider as a direct assertion, tnat there is a Sabbath 
in the Ckriiiian Church, explained by the verse following to be 
/mended on ike fact, that Christ rested from his labours in the work 
k of Redemption ; as the seventh day Sabbath nas founded on the facl^ 
^ that God rested on that day from his labours in the work of Creation, 
For he, that hath entered into his rest, evtn he hath rested from his 
works, as God did from his own. The word, translated Rest, in 
the text, is Xat&irxTpe. Ainsvsorth, a man eminently qualified to 
judge of this subject, translates Ex, xvi. 23, thus; This is that, 
which Jehovah hath spoken: To-morrow is the Sabbatism, tkt Sab- 
bath of holiness, to Jehovah, in the same manner he translates 
Ex. zxxi. 15, Lev. xxiii. 3, and xxv. 4. Ii. commenting on Ex. 
ivt. 23, he says, ^'Sabbatism, Rest : that, is. Rest, or cessation. 
But as the Hebrew Sabbath Is retained by the Holy Ghost, in the 
Greek laSSufov, so the Hebrew Shabbathon, here used, is by the 
Apostle latSariftun, in Heb. iv. 9." The verse ought therefor** to 
be rendered, There remaineth, therefore, a Sabbatism, or Holy S ib- 
6ath to the people of God : and this day the folloiving verse proves 
to be (lie day, on which Christ rose from the dead. 

The reason, why I have not adduced this passage of Scripture, 
together with those immediately connected with it, in proof of the 
^oclrine under debate, is, that a comment on a paragraph, so ob- 
'ttcurely written, and demanding so particular an explanation, must 
"^e very long ; and would probably be very tedious to many of my 

I. The first and great objection of Dr. Paley 'o the Perpetuity 
'^S the Sabbath is, that the account of its original InsiJlution ii 








found in the following passaee : Ex. xvi. 22 — 30* ^nd U came to 

passj that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much breads tzoo 

V omers for one man ; and all the rulers of the congregation came and 

\ told Moses* And he said unto them^ This is tltat which the Ijord 

I hath saidj To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord : 

I Bake that which ye will bake to-day ^ and seethe that ye will seethe ; 

/ and that which remaineth over, lay up for yoUj to be kepi mUil the 
morning. And they laid it up till the morning as Moses bade* And 
Moses saidj Eat that to-day ^ for to-day is a Sabbath tmto the Lord: 
to-day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it} 

V but on the seventh day which is the Sabbath^ in it there shuul be none. 

■ And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the 
seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the Lord said 
unto Moses J How lone refuse ye to keep my statutes and my laws? 
See, for that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he giveth 
you on the sixth 'day the bread of two days : abide ye every man in 
his place } let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So 
the people rested on the seventh day. 

The argument, here, is wholly derived from this phraseoloi 
To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord. To-i 
is a Sabbath unto the Lord : ana, TU Lord hath given you the 
bath. In these expressions Dr. Paley thinks he finds the first In- 
stitution of the Sabbath. In ray view, however, after examining 
long, and often, the arguments of this respectable Writer, they 
appear to lead to the contrary conclusion. It is to be observ^ 
that the whole argument depends on the first of these passages ; 
because, t/iat being once introduced, the rest would, in the case 
supposed, follow it of course ; and because they refer directly to 
it, and are erounded upon it. 

As a preface to the answer, which I intend to make to this argu- 
ment, I remark, that the words of Moses are addressed to the £t 
ders of Israel, who had complained to him of the improper conduct 
of their couutrirmen, for gathering twice as much bread on the 
sixth day, as they customarily gathered on other days. As Moses 
had forbidden them to leave of it till morning; and undoubtedly 
by divine Inspiration ; the Elders supposed their countrymen to 
have trespassed, in collecting this douole quantity upon the sixth 

day. Upon this part of the story } observe, 

1 . 7%a/ the division of time into Weeks was perfectly knoton to the ^ 
Israelites. This is proved by the phrases, the sixth day^ ^nd Uu^ 
seventh day ; obviously referring to the days of the week, and notS 
to the days of the month. Now I ask, Whence had these peoples 
this scheme in dividing time, unless from the history of the Crea^ 
tion, traditionarily conveyed down to them ? This tradition, it 
will be observed, could come to them from Adam, through six i 
ions : Methuselah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, and Amramm 

2. Although in the fifth verse God informed Moses, that the 
gregation shotdd gather twice <u much on the sixth day ; it 


• 1 

SEiLcm] ; dBrecnoNs ANSWAtaED. S47 


highly probable^^ not absolutely certainty that Moses did not inform 
THEM : for^ we find^ iliat the Elders j who would^ I think^ certainly 
have received this information firsts were plainly ignorant of itm 
The people, therefore, seem to have supposed the ensuing day to 
be the Sabbath, of their own accord ; and for this reason to have 
ventuttd to gather a double quantity of manna, from an apprchep- 
sionjflprt the labour would be improper, and unlawful, on that day. 
Some of them, indeed, went out, from a spirit of rebellion and un* 
belief, and probably under the influence of an idle curiosity, to 
learn whether the manna would descend on that day, contrary to 
the prediction of Moses, or not. But this fact affects not the ar- 
gument in hand. 

L^t me now ask, whether tlu first of these declarations of Moses, 
TTus is that^ which the Lord hath saidj To-morrow is the rest of the 
holy Sabbath unto the Lord^ is the language of a man, speaking of a 
thing altogether newj and unheard of ^ of a thing, totally different 
firom all other things, hitherto known in the world ; or the lang*iage 
f^fa man referring to something already known^ and speaking to 
persons, who, although acquainted with the Institutbn itself, had 
an imperfect knowleoge of the proper day, on which it was to be 
holden ; and were, therefore, uncertain with respect to this point ? 
Were two of us to appoint a future day of the month, (say the 
second of December) for the transaction of certain business ; a 
third, who was present, would naturally obser\'e, if such was the 
&ct, that the second of December will be the Sabbath. Or were 
we conversing upon the same subject, on the first of December^ the 
same person would naturally say, " To-morrow is the Sabbath.'' 
These, you will observe, are the very words of Moses. Here we 
are unmindful, and through forgetfulness ignorant, that the Sabbath 
is to take place on that day. Yet we are perfectly acquainted 
with the Institution, generally; and that we are acquainted with it, 
this phraseology is direct proof: because it springs from these 
very circumstances ; and would, in the case stated, Be used by all 

But if the Institution was wholly unknown, would not the reply 
be made in terms equivalent to the following : ^^ We cannot meet 
on the morrow, or the second of December, for this business : be- 
cause the Legislature has by law forbidden all the inhabitants to 
do business on that day ; and has required them to assemble for 
the worship of God, and to abstain from every secular pursuit.'' 
To this answer would naturally succeed inquiries concerning the 
fact ; the time, and the end, of passing tne law ; the motives, 
which led to it ; the terms, in which it was couched ; its ^quisi* 
tions, and its penalties. No instance, it i3 presumed, can be found, 
in which the conversation concerning a new subject of this nature 
would be such, as is here recorded by Moses } or in which it would 
not be substantially such, as 1 have recited. On the contrary, tht 


conversation, in the case >vhich I have supposed to be that of the 
Israelites^ is always exactly that of Moses. 

In this opinion I am established by the remarkable fact, that the 
Israelites make no inmiiry concerning this, supposed, novel Institu- 
tion ; although so eminently important, and so plain an object of 
rational curiosity. The Elders themselves, notwithstanding their 
zeal against the supposed transgression of the people, ask no ques- 
tions, and make no reply. If the Institution was new, and now 
first made known to them ; this conduct is unaccountable, fiut if 
they were acquainted with the Institution, and doubtful concerning 
the day, it was perfectly natural. 

The reckoning of time, at this, as well as mapy preceding and 
succeeding periods, it Is well known, was extremely lame and 
confused. The Israelites^ with respect to this subject, laboured 
under peculiar disadvantages. They had been long in a state of 
itude ; and were of course ignorant, distressed, and naturally 
tentive to this and other subjects of a similar nature* A reck- 
orthe would, indeed, be kept among them, however ignoiTtnt. 
But It must almost necessarily be imperfect, doubtful and oisputcd. 
DifTcTcnt opinions concerning time would of course prevail. 

Should it be said, that the causes which I have specified, would 
make them forget the Institution itself: I answer, that other nations, 
as will be seen hereafter, did not foreet it ; but consecrated the 
seventh day to religious worship ; althougk-vm^ny, perhaps all, 
became ignorant of the day itself. We ourselves often forget 
the day of the month, and week ; while yet we are possessed 
of the most exact reckoning of time, and a* perfect calendar; aod 
are reminded of our time By so many books, papers^ and other 

Dr. Paley lays much stress on the words, contained in the third 
declaration of Moses ^ which I have specified : The Lord hath given 
you the Sabbath. In the 23d verse, when the Elders had reported 
to him the supposed transgression of their countrymen, in gathering 
a double portion of manna on the sixth day of the week, he an- 
swers : This is that which the Lord hath said ; To-morrow is ths 
. Rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord : that is, God declares to 
' you, that the holy rest ufito himself is to be holden on the mor- 
row. Bake that^ "Ahich ye will bake^ to^ay ; and seethe thatj which 
ye will seethe^ and that, which remaineth over, lay up for you, tobi 
Kept until the morning.. The next day he renewea the same mo- — 
nition ; and informed them further, that there would be no manna^ 
on that day; nor on the seventh day, at any future periqd,- 
They wer^, therefore, to gather it on six days of the week only^ 
and on every sixth day to provide the necessary supply for th» 

Some of the people, however, went out to gather manna on that 
very dav; but round none.. Upon this, Goa says to Moses, Hm 
hng refuse ye to keep my commandments f See, for that the hord 


kath given you the Sabbath^ therefore he giveth you on the sixth day 
the bread of two days. The words, the Lord hath given you the 
Sabbath^ are perfectly explained by the original declaration of 
Mosfs on this subject, made the preceding* day. To-morrow is the 
rest of the Holy Sabbath unto the Lord. This is the giving of the 
Sabbath, here referred to ; and this, I flatter myself, has been 
shown to be something, widely different from originally institutmg ^ 
the Sabbath. 

The obvious explanation of these words, here given, equally 
explains a passage in Ezekiel xx. 12, and another in Nehemiah 
ix. 14, quoted by Dr. Paley for the same purpose. The former 
of these is. Moreover^ also^ I gave them my Sabbaths : the lattir^ 
T%ou modest known unto them thy holy Sabbath. If the passage in 
Ezekiel refers to the Sabbath at all ; which may be douoted ; it is 
merely a repetition of the words oi Moses. If it refers to the various 
fasts and feasts of the Jews, frequently denominated sabbaths ; k 
nas no connexion with the subject. The latter of these passami 
accords more naturally, and obviously, with the account which. ^ 
has been here given, than with that oiDf^Paley* Neither of them, 
it is perfectly plain, furnishes the least additional support to his 

Another argument for the same purpose is derived hj this re- 
spectable writer from the following declaration, Ex. xxxi. 16, 17. .^ 
if, that is, the Sabbath, is a sign between me and the children of 
Israel for ever. The same thing is also mentioned by Ezekiel 
in nearly the same terms. Upon this Dr. Paley observes, " Now 
it does not seem easy to unaerstand how the Sabbath could be a 
sien between God and the people of Israel, unless the observance 
OI it was peculiar to that people, and designed to be so." 

The only question of importance, here, is, whether the fact, that 
the Sabbath is made a sign between God and Israel, made it cease 
to be a memorial of the display of the divine perfections, accom- 
plished in the Creation. If not ; then the Sabbath still remained 
at that time, and remains now, such a memorial. But, I presume, 
neither Dr. Paley himself, nor any other man, would say, that 
God, in making the Sabbadi a sign between him and Israelj intend- 
ed to release them from commemorating, on that day, his perfec- ' 
tions, thus displayed in the work of creation, and his own solemn 
commemoration of them, when he rested at die close of this work 
upon the seventh day. But if the Israelites were not released from 
this commemoration by the passage in question ; the rest of man- 
kind could be affected by it in no manner whatever. 

The truth is, that the ordinance which made the Sabbath a sign 
to the Israelites was subsequent to the promulgation of the Deca- 
logue; and cannot affect that law, even remotely; as I sball 
soon demonstrate. In the same manner the Sabbadi was made 
a memorial of the deliverance of the Israelites from the bondage 
of Egypt^ and a type of the promised rest in Canaan. These 
Vol. III. 32 


■'• ^ r T . '•■•2 

.were all merely additional uses of the Sabbftdi, lo '^pvlachltllto'i 
happily applied, because they perfectly harmonizeil Wilb iti orifcllB f' 

In Deuteronomy vi« 8, Moses^ after reciting the Deciilogne, anH |j 
the summary of it contained in the two great commands of the Moi^ 
al law, says to Israel, Thau shall hind them, for a sign, ifon Ihim 
hand. A sign which the Israelites^ by the command of GK)d, were 
to bind upon their hands, was a sign between God and them, inthe 
same manner as was the Sabbath. Now I ask whether it would 
be proper to say, that '' it does not seem easy to understand how 
the decaloeue, and the two great commands in which it is summed 
up, could be a sign between God and the people of Israel^ unless 
the observance of them was peculiar to that people, and dlesigned 
to be so.'' 

What was intended by making the Sabbath a sign betwefn.God 
and Israel is declared by God himself in Ezekief zx» iWj^^igni 
them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them^ ihat^f^ 
know, that lam Jehovah, who sanctify them. It will not be 
that the whole human race are equally interested with the Innel- 
ites in this knowledge. All that was peculiar to them was this : 
they alone, for many ages, had, and it was foreseen by God that 
.they would have, the knowledge in Question ; and would be the 
only medium of communicating it to otner nations.^ The Sabbath, 
therefore, was so far peculiarly a sign to them, but is obviously in 
its nature, and necessarily, a sign also, in a general sense, of the 
same knowledge to every nation, afterwards acquainted with the 
Sabbath. From this very declaration in Ezekiel, in which the ob- 
ject of rendering the Sabbath a sign to the Israelite^, is pointed 
out, it is clear that ^^ the observance of it was not d^siened to be 
peculiar to tha^ people," unless the knowledge of Jehovah was 
also to be perpetually confined to them. 

Dr. Paley further observes, " If the sabbath be binding upon 
Christians ; it must be binding as to the day, the duties, and the 
penalty : in none of which it is received." 

It will be remembered, that the Sabbath, and the day on whieh 
. it is kept, are separate parts of the Institution ; so separate, that 
. the Sabbath itself may oe perpetual, and yet the day oe changed, 
I successively, through every part of the week. The Institution of 
^.the day I have already acknowledged to be no less obligatory, than 
!.that of the Sabbath itself; unless it can be fairly shown to have 
:.been changed by the same Authority. Whether this has, in fact, 
j been shown in the preceding discourse, must be left for those who 
rbeard it, to determine. 

! With regard to the duties of the Sabbath, I shall only observe, 
ithat this point will be examined in a future discourse. 
«. As to the penalty, it will be remembered, that it is not contained 
'in the Decalogue ; but is merely a part of the civil law, and intc^ 
tOal police^ of the Jewish nation* Still, it may be usefcii to trylhis 

cvn.] dBJEcnoNS amswkrkd. 251 

reasonine with other commands of the Decalogue. In the twojtrtt 
jprecfptSj It is acknowledged, that we, as well as the Israelites, are 
^ • Torbidden to worship idois, or other Gods, beside Jehovah. Now 
it is well known that the Israelites^ who disobeyed these commands, 
were by the law of Moses to be put to death. It is presumed, 
chat Dn Paley would not believe this penaUy to be binding upon 
as ; and that he would still acknowledge the commands them- 
selves to be no less obligatory upon u^, than upon them. It is 
presumed also, that he would acknowledge the fifth command to be 
equally binding* upon all men. In Deut. xxi. 18 — 21, and in Prov. 
XXX. 17| it is required, that children, disobeyine this command, 
shall be pat to death. Would Dr. Paley acknowledge this penal- 
ty to be binding upon ust Ov would he deny our obligation to obey 
the cominand ? 

Dt. Mii asserted by this writer^ that Genesis ii. 1 — 3, does fu4 
tOtUimim account of the original Institution of the Sabbath. 

TUl assertion he supports by the following reasons : ^^ that the 
observation of the Saboath is not mentioned in the history of the 
world, before the call of Abraham : that it is not mentioned in the 
history of Abraham^ Isaac and Jacob} which, he says, is in many 
parts sufficiently circumstantial and domestic: that in Exodus 
xvi. no intimation is given, that the Sabbath, then appointed, was 
only the revival of an ancient Institution, which had been neglect- 
ed or forgotten : that no such neglect is imputed to the inhabit- 
ants of the old world, or to any part of the family of Xoah : and 
that there is no record of any permission to dispense with the In- 
stitution, during the Egyptian bondage, or on any other public 

With regard to the last of these reasons, I answer only, that 
there is no record of any neglect of the Institution, either during 
the Egyptian bondage, or during any other public emergency. 
During tne Babylonish captivity, we have no record of any such 
permission, nor of any observance of the Sabbath. Yet, as J^ehe- 
miah and his companions plainly observed it after their return 
from that captivity, it is presumedl. Dr. Paley will not deny, that it 
was observed bv the Jewish nation during that whole period. 

That no negligence of the Sabbath should be charged to the 
Aniediluviansj to J/oahj or to any others, in cases, where the Sab- 
bath is not even mentioned, can occasion no surprise *, and it is 
presumed, can furnish no argument) relative to this or any other 
question. It deserves, however, to be remarked as an answer to 
every observation, which can be made of this nature, that the first 
censure for any impropriety in the observation of the Sabbath, ut- 
tered concerning tne Israelites in the Scriptures, isfcundin the 
prophet Isaiah : about seven hundred and sixtv years before Christ, 
and seven hundred and thirty-one years after the events recorded In 
Exodus xvi. The second is found in Egekiel; written about fiv^ 
Irandred and ninety-three years before Christ, and eight hundred 



and ninety-seven years after these events. Can it, then, be sur- 
prising, when we know from these very passages, that the Israel 
ties merited not a little censure for their profanations of the Sab- 
bath ; and when we yet find thefl0 to be the first icensures, casf 
upon them in the Scriptures ; that JVbaA, his family, and the Ante- 
diluvians, should not be censured? 

The third of these reasons cannot, after what has been said m 
the former part of this discourse, need any answer. I shall, there- 
fore, direct the following observations to the two remaining reasons f 
perhaps with more propriety considered as one; viz. the silence of 
the Scriptures concerning the observation of the Sabbath by ihostj 
who lived before the call of Abraham^ and by the three first patrh 
archs* Concerning ^!ife subject I observe. 

In the first place, If all these persons did in fact neglect^ or for- 
getj the Institulionj it would not alter the case at all. The InstitU' 
tionof booths is declared, in Sehemiah viii. 17, to have been 
neglected) and forgotten, from the time of Joshua, the son of JMm, 
until aftnr Nehemiah and his companions returned from the captivi- 
ty : a period of nine hundredtftnd eighty years. Neither Sasnudj 
David, Solomon, Hezekiah, nor Josiah, observed itS and let it be 
remembered, that no censure is cast upon them for their neglect; 
nor any hint given, that they were euilty of such neglect, until the 
close of this long period, nor even then was any other notice taken 
of this subject but what is contained in this declaration of Jfehe* 
miah. Yet ^ehemiah revived this solemnity ; and has declared 
it to be obligatory upon that generation, ana vpon those of suc- 
ceeding ages, in the same manner as if it had never been disused. 

2. There is no reason to suppose, that this fact would have been 
mentioned, if the Sabbath had been exactly observed by the Patri" 
archs, and by all who preceded them. If Sabbaths, in the plural, 
be supposed to denote the Sabbath ; then the first mention pf this 
subject, made after the time of Moses, occurs in 1 Chron. xxiii. 31, 
in tne instructions of David to Solomon concerning building the 
temple, at the distance of near five hundred years. The same 
''Word occurs thrice in the same book : viz. in the 8th and 31st 
chapters : in the two former of these instances, as a repetition, or 
allusion to, the words of David ; and both in the history of Solo* 
mon. The latter instance is in the history of Hezekiah, seven 
hundred and sixty-five years after the period above-mentioned. 
The same word occure in Isaiah ; about seven hundred and thirty 
jrears from that period. The word Sabbath, is mentioned five 
times in the history of the Jewish Church before the Captivity.^ 
The first of them is a mere note concerning the business of the Ko^ 
hathites ; which was to prepare the shew bread every Sabbath. Th^ 
time, when it watf written, was that of David ^ near five hundreds 
years after this period. See 1 Chron. ix. 32. The second is th^ 
speech of the Sfaunamite's husband : // is neither new mowi^ nof 
Sabbath : not referring, in my opinion, to tlu Sabbath at all : al* 


most six hundred years from the above period. The third is in 2 
Kings xi. ; a part of the speech oiJehoiada to the rulers oiJudah. 
A third pari ofyouj that enter in on the Sabbath^ shall even be keep* 
en of me King^e house ; and imp parts of all you, that go forth on 
the Sabbath, even they shall be iuepers of the watch of the house of 
the Lordm Immediately after this speech it is also subjoined, that 
the rulers took every man his men, that were to come m on the S(A» 
bath, with them, that should ^o out on the Sabbath, and they came to 
Jehmada the priest. These it will be remembered constitute but a 
single instance of mentioning the Sabbath ; an instance occurring at 
the distance of more than six hundred years. Another instance 
occurs in the history of Ahaz ; and is the following : The covert 
for the Sabbath turned he from the house tif,4he Lord, for the king 
cf Assyria: seven hundred and fifty-two years. The word is 
also mentioned in Isaiah Ivi. Iviu* and Ixv. about seven hundred 
and eighty years. These are all the instances, in which the 
W€rd occurs either in Prophecy, or History, from the time of JUb- 
n$ till after the return of ihe captivity : a period of one thousand 

Of this account it is to be observed, 

First ; That the word, sabbatlu,m'the plural, is mentioned four 
limes in the history of the Jewish Church, and twice in the proph- 
ecy of Isaiah, within a period of seven hundred and eighty yesun^ 
Tne first, second, and third, occurring, incidentally, in me mention 
of the duty of the priests in the orders of David: the second, a 
repetition of them oy Solomon : the third, in an account of their 
execution. These, together, really constitute but one instance* 
The fourth occurs, incidentally also, in a sentence, giving in almost 
the same words, an account of the same duty of the priests in the 
time ofHezekiah, The fifth is a censure of the Jews for the pollu- 
tion of the new moons and sabbaths, uttered by the prophet tsaiah* 
The three first of these instances occur at the distance of about 
.five hundred years, the others between seven and eight hundred 
fiKmi the time of the supposed institution. In but one of these, 
and that the last, is there any thing like an account of the man- 
ner, in which the Sabbath was kept, or neglected. All the rest 
.are merely incidental ; and teach us no'hinj; more, than that sab- 
baths were in existence, and were involved in the JeoitA ritual. 

Secondly ; As the Sabbath appears to be regularly distinguished 

firom Mobbaths ; and as Sabbatns are regularly joined with the new 

.emaosu, and other holidays of the Jews, whicn the Saibaih never 

is; it is clear to me, that the Sabbath is not alluded to in any of 

-ilhese instances. 

Thirdly ; The phrase, The Sabbath, occurs in ikree satloiMit, 

itfcalling those in the account oiJehoiada one) in Ihe history of the 

Jewish Church, before the captivity : all of them, however, entirely 

^■icidental ; and containing; no account of the Sabbath as an Insti* 

lation; nor of the observance of it; aorof the aegket« Thisii 



all, which is said of it- before the return from the Babvlonish Cap- 
tivity, except what is said by the Prophet haiah : and there is but 
a single passage in this Prophet, in which this phrase is used with 
reference to the times of the Jewish dispensation. 

We are thus come to this conclusion, that there are h\xi five pas' 
sages, in which the Sabbath is mentkkied in the Jewish writings, 
from the time of Moses to the return of the captivity : one thousand 
yeai*s. Two of them are found in prophecy, aitad three of them in 
their history. The first of these is mentioned about five hundred 
years, the second six hundred, and the third seven hundred and 
fifty-two ; and the two remaining ones, which are found in prophe- 
cy, near eight hundred ; from the time of the supposed Institution. 

Now let me ask. Can any person wonder, that in an account so 
sunmiary, as the history of tne three first Jewish patriarchs, ^lere 
should be no mention of the Sabbath ; when, also, during a period 
of about five bmdred years, containing the histories of JoskuOj 
of the Judges, particularly Samuel, and of Saul, it is not once 
mentioned ? The question certainly cannot need an answer* The 
only wonder is, that so sensible a Avriter should have thought this 
an argument. 

3. God himself has, I apprehend, declared, that the Sabbath was 
instituted at this time. 

For in the first place, this is the true and only rational interpre* 
tation of the second of Genesis. Dr. Paley supposes, that the 
words of the historian : And God rested on the seventh day from all 
the work, which he had made ; and God blessed the seventh day, and 
sanctified it ; because that in it he had rested from all his works, 
which God created and made ; declare only the reasons, for which 
God blessed and sanctified the Sabbath, and not the time, at which 
this was done ; and that it was mentioned at this time, only an aC' 
count of its connexion with the subject, and not because the blessing 
and sanctifcation took place at this period. To this I answer, JIfo- 
ses has written this story exactly in the manner, in which he has 
written the whole history of the creation, paradisiacal state, and 
the apostacy : nay, almost the whole of the nistory, contained in the 
book of Genesis. There is as much reason to believe, that the 
Sabbath was blessed and sanctified at this time, from the manner, 
in which the story is written, as there is to believe, that our first 
parents were turned out of Paradise before the birth of Cain and 
Abel. The order of lime is, I apprehend, exactly observed in the 
history, except where the historian has taken up aeain a particu- 
lar part of the history, for the purpose of detailing it, (Uid has, for 
this end, interrupted the general course of his narrative. Of the 
justice of this observation the bare reading of the story will, I 
think, convince any person, who has not a pre-conceived opinion 
to support. * 

Wnat is thus suliiciently evident bora the narrative, God ap- 
pears to me to teatve decided to the following words of the text : ior 


in six dayt the Lord made heaven, and tarlh, ihe aea, and all thai in 
ihem M ; and reattd the' seventh day : wherefore Ihe Lard blessed the 
Sabbath day, and halloatd, or sanctified, it. Here, God, repeating 
the very words of the narrative, declares, that he had already 
blessed and sanctified the Sabbalh, at' some time preceding that, 
at which this cotnaiand was promulgated. The Sabbalh, there- 
fore, was blessed and sanctified before this command was given. 
That this was not dona at (he lime, when Dr. Paley supposes the 
Sabbath to have been instituted, nor at any period between Ihe 
first Sabbath, and the giving of (he law, seems to me clear fi^m 
this; that there is not a single hint given of the subject, either al 
the lime of the supposed Institution, or in any other part of the 
Mosaic dispensation, except that in (he second of Genesis. That 
the blessing was then given must, I think, be concluded, because 
God himself, relating this great transaction, adopts the same lan- 
guage ; and says, Wherefore the Lord blessed tlu Si^bath day, and 
hallomed it. That the blessing of the Sabbath was a past transac- 
tion, is unquestionable. There is no hint concerning the existence 
of it, but in these two instances : and in both these it is immedi- 
ately connected with God's finishing the Creation, and resting on 
the seventh day. 

4. That itteasinstit'itrAal the beginning is evident from the fact, 
that other nations, mho cuuIJ not have derived it from Moses, regard- 
ed the aetenlh day an holy. 

Hesiod says, " ESStiut 'ifjov ijfiaj :" " The seventh day is holy." 

Homer and CalUmachus give it the same title. 

TTuophiliis of Jnlioch, says concerning the seventh d^y, " The 
day, which all mankind celebrate." 

Porphyry says, " The Phisnicians consecrated one day in seven 
as holy." 

Linus says, " A seventh day is observed among saints, or holy 

Liuian says, " The seventh day is given to school-boys as a 
holy day." 

Efisebius says, " Almost all the philosophers, and poets, ac- 
knowledge the seventh day as holy." 

Clemens Alcxandrinus says, " The Greeks, as well as the He- 
brews, observe the seventh day as holy." 

Josephus says, " No city of Greeks, or barbarians, can be 
found, which does not acknowledge a seventh-day's rest from 

Philosijs, " The seventh day, is a festival to every nation." 

Tibulf\u says, " The seventh day, which is kept holy by the 
Jews, is also a festival of the Roman women." 

The several nations, here referred to, cannot, it is plain, have 
follenupon this practice bv chance. It is certain, they did not 
derive it from the Jews. It follows, therefore, that they received 

358 FOOttTH COBtMANDiaflhl [SBK CfB* 

it hy tradition from a common source : and that source must have 
been Xoak and his family. 

III. To the argument from the insertion of this command in the 
decalogue, Dr. raley answers, that the distinction between po9iiiv$ 
and moral precepts^ or in his language, hetween positive and nahh 
ral dutiesj was unknown to the simplicity i^ ancient language : mean- 
ing, I suppose, that it was unknown to theancients^ md among oth' 
ers^ to Moses : otherwise I cannot see how the observation is ap- 
plicable to the question. 

I confess myself surprised at this answer. Did not God under 
stand this distinction, when he wrote the decalogue ? Did he not 
know, that this distinction would afterwards be made, and under> 
stood, in all its influence ? Was not the decalogue written, for all 
who should read the Scriptures ? Was it not so written, as to be 
adapted to the use of all, for whom it was written ? Did not God 
discern, that this distinction was founded in the nature of things ; 
and did he not foresee, that although the Israelites should not per- 
ceive it during any period of their national existence, yet it still 
would be perceived by innumerable others of mankind ? Did he 
not proviae effectually for this fact, whenever it should happen ; 
and for all the difficulties, a^ i lo^jbts, which might arise frx>m the 
want of such a distinction ? 

From this observation, and several others, Dr. Paley appears 
to consider the decalogue as written by Moses in the same manner 
as the other parts of the Pentateuch ; and as having no more au- 
thority, than the civil and ceremonial law of the Israelites ; unless 
where this authority is discernible in the nature of the commands 
themselves. As this opinion appears not only erroneous, but dan- 
gerous, I shall oppose it with the following reasons. 

First; The Law of the Israelites, both Civil and Ceremonial, 
is distinguished from the Decalogue, in this great particular : tActf 
was written by Moses in a book : this was first spoken by the voice 
of God, and then twice written by his finger on tables of stone, 
amid all the awful splendours of Mount Sinai. 

Secondly ; Moses^ after reciting the decalogue in Deuteronomy 
V. immediately subjoins these words : The Lord spake unto all 
your assembly in the Mounts out of the midst of thtfire^ of the cloud 
and the thick darkness, with a great voice : and he added no more4 
And he wrote them on two tabUs of stone, and delivered them unte 
me. And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice ouJt of the midst 
of the darkness, {for the mountain did bum with f re) that ye earns 
near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your eUers : 
and ye said, Behold, the Lord, our Uod, hath shewed us his MhtJ/i 
and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the mm0 if 
the fire. We have seen, this day, that God doth talk with nian ; 
ana he liveth. Jfow, therefore, why should we die ? for this great 
Jtre will consume us. If we hear the voice of the Lord, our Ood^ 
any more, we shall die. For who is there of all fleshj that hath 


heard the voice of the living God, speakmg out of the midst of the 
fire, and hath lived f 

To this petition God consented ; and promised to deliver his re- 
maining precepts to Moses^ and through him to Israel. Why was 
this distinction made? Why was the Decalogue spoken by the 
voice, and written by the finger, of God? and why, in the em- 
p&atical language of Mosts^ did he add no more ? The only i*6ason 
which can be alleged, is the transcendent dienity and importance 
of these commands. The view which Jlfo«f« nimself had of the to- 
tal distinction between the decalogue, and the rest of the law writ- 
ten by him, is evident from this fact, that he commanded the Israel' 
ties to write them plainly, after they had passed over Jordan^ upon 
great stones, plastered with plaster, and set up by the Congregation 
near the altar, which they were directed to build.* Why were they 
thus distinguished here ? 

Thirdly ; Christ has distinguished them in a similar manner* 
When the young Ruler came to Christ, and asked wliat good thing 
he should do, tliat he might have eternal life ; Christ said to him, 
T%ou knowest the Commandments. The ydung man asked which. 
Christ, in reply, repeated five of the Commands in the second table, 
and the summary which contains them all. This shows beyond a 
dcmbt, that the Commandments was a name appropriated to the 
Decalogue; and denoted the same superiority to all, other com- 
mands, as the name, the Bible, or the Book, denotes with respect to- 
all other books. 

Again ; Chiist, in answer to the Scribe, who asked him, Which 
is the first and great Commandment, recites the two great com- 
mands, which Moses had made the sum of the Decalogue ; and 
adds. On these two Commands hang all the law and the rropheism 
In other words. On these two Commands is suspended the whole voU 
ume of the Old Testament. What can be a stronger testimony 
of the superiority of the decalogue to every other part of that 
volume ? 

Fourthly ; St. Paul, Rom. xiii. 9, says. For this, thou shalt not 
commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt. 
not bear false witness, thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other 
commandment, it is briefly comprehended m this saying / namely, 
TTum shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Here, the Apostle, after 
reciting five of the commands, contained in the second table of the 
Decalogue, adds, If there be any other commandment. Is not this 
direct proof, that he regarded the Decalogue as containing all 
those which were by way of eminence the commandments ofGodj 
aii4 M separated by a broad line of distinction firom every other 

I II II \Mmik f 


Fifthly ; It is well known, that the Jews always considered the 
Decalogue as entirely separated firom every other part of the Okl 

See Kennieott'i DinertatioBfb 

Vol. III. 33 

■ -^ 

^8 FOimH COMBfANDBfENi: [8ER. CVa 

Testament. The prophets, who succeeded Motesj did nothing, as 
moral teachers, but explain and enforce it. Christ declared, that 
toaner shall ktaven and tarth pass away^ than one jotj or one tUtUy 
of this law shaUfpasSj until all be fulfilled. The Aposdes have en« 
iorced no other precepts, as obligatory upon Christians. TheJeot 
have, at this day, these commands written out in large letters, and 
hung lip in their Synagogues, as solemn monitors to all, who enter 
them, of their duty. In a manner, correspondent with this, have 
they ever been regarded by Christians. They are at this day 
proverbially known by the name of the Ten Commandmenis^ aiid 
the Moral Law* 

St. Paul, in a passage which ought not to be omitted on this oc- 
casion, Eph. vi. 1 — 3, reciting the fifth command, says, TM$ is the 
first commandment joith promise. But God had given to JVooA, to 
Abraham^ to Jacobs to Moses^ and to the Israelites^ many commands, 
and annexed to them many promises, before the Law was deliv- 
ered from Mount Sinai* In what sense, then, was the fifth com- 
mand the firsts to which a protnise was annexed F Plainly in this 
sense only ; that it is the first in the Decalogue, which has this 
mark of distinction. In the eye of S(. Paul, merefore, the Deca- 
logue contained all those which he thought proper to call the 
Commandments ; and was, in his view, of a character totally 
distinct, and totally superior to every other part of the Old Tes- 

As the Apostle recites this command to the Ephesians, who were 
Gentiles, as obli^tory on them no less than on the Jews ; it is 
clear, that the whole Decalogue, unless some part of it has been 
plainly disannulled, is entirely obligatory on Christians. Had 
there been anv distinction in this respect between the different 
precepts of this law ; St. Paid must, it would seem, have made it 
on this occasion. He would, at least, have made it somewhere; 
and not have left so important a subject without a single note of 

IV. Dr. Paley says, that St. Paul evidently appears to consider 
the Sahhnth as a part of the Jewish ritual, ana not binding upon 
Chfiitiuns, as such : Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in 
drink^ or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the 
Sabbath days ; which are a shadow of things to come^ but the body tr 
of Christ. Col. ii. 16, 17. 

To this observation, I answer, first, that this passage refers noC 
ip any sense to the Sabbath; but merely to the ordinary holidays 
of the Jews. The burden of proving the contrary lies upon tne 
^ciples of Dr. Paley. 

Secondly ; If this oe denied ; I assert, that it refers to the ae- 
v^th day only, and not at all to the Christian Sabbath. Until the 
ci^thiry is p![V>v«!d, I shall txmsidcr this answer as sufficient ; espe* 
cially, as the Christian Sabbath is not in the Scriptures, and was 


not by the primitive Church, called the Stdfbath; but the first da^ 
of the jveekj and the Lor(Ps day. 

V. The same writer says, that the observation of the Sabbath was 
not one i)f the articles^ enjoined by the Apostles^ in Acts xv. upon ths 
Christia7i Gentiles. 

1 answer; Neither was abstinence from theft j murder^ lyings co* 
vetingy profanenesSj or idolatry. 

Vi. Dr. Paley asserts that the observation of the Sabbath is noi 
expressly enjoined in the New Testament. 

To this I answer, first, that the text is in my own view an ex- 
plicit injunction of this duty. But as this opinion has been con- 
tested ; as the paragraph, in which it is contained, is confessedly 
obscure ; it would require one whole discourse of this nature to 
consiMcr it sufficiently ; and as the text was written many years 
after the Christian Sabbath was efiectually established ; I ob- 

Secondly ; That the Christian Sabbath was originally introduced 
into the Church much more successfully, and happily, tnan it could 
have been done by ^n express injunction. 

In order to judge of this subject, it is necessanr to bring tip to 
our view the situation of those, to whom the Gospel was first 
preached. These were all Jews ; intensely bigoted to every 

En of their religion, and peculiarly to their Sabbath. The day 
d been appointed by God himself; and was acknowledged to 
be divinely appointed, by Christ and his Apostles. The experi- 
ment of interfering with the feelings of the Jews concerning the 
Sabbath, even in tne most lawful manner, had been sufficiently 
tried by Christ to discourage the Apostles from every unnecessary 
attempt of this nature. Accordingly, the Apostles pursued a 
peaceful and unobjectionable, method. They celebratea, at times, 
and probably always, the Jewish Sabbath, when they were among 
Jews. The Jews at the same time, without any objection, yielct 
ed to their example, and authority, in celebrating the Christian 
worship on the day of Christ's resurrection. They were circum- 
cised ; but they were also willingly baptized. They celebrated the 
Passover ; but willingly added to it the Lord*s Supper. They 
prayed in the temple; but they willingly united, also, in the 

Erayers and praises of Christian assenoDiies, holden in private 
ouses, or in tne fields. While the Jewish service was neitner at- 
tacked, nor neglected, they made not the least objection to that of 
the Christian Unurch. In this manner, all these ordinances grew 
mto use, veneration, and habit ; and, in the end, gained such a pos- 
session of the mind, and such a strength of authority, as could 
neither be overthrown, nor weakened. 

When the Aposdes came to declare in form, that the Jewish 
worship was to cease ; the minds of the Church were so well 
prepared to receive this declaration, that it was carried into a ge« 
neral execution. Difficulties, and divisions, arose, indeed, about 

• f 




[SER. CVtt 

this subject in several Churches ; parlicularly about circumcision: 
and produced a course of serious conlention. What would have 
been the case, had this piirt of the syslem been begun at an 
earlier period ? 

About the Christian Sabbalh do dispute appears to have exist- 
ed, during the three first centuries. All the Churches appear to 
have adonted it, and to have neglected the Jewish Sabbath, with- 
out any difficulty. Was not this method of introducing so impoi^ 
lant a change dictated by true wisdom ; and a better method thaa 
any other? 

The esample of the Aposllca is an example to all Chtistians. 
Were we, then, to give up the point, contested in the objection ; we 
have still such a law in this Example ; and so efficacious that pro- 
bably no doctrine has been more generally received, than that of 
the (Jhristian Sabbalh, and no duty more generally performed, than 
the observation of it, down to the present time. 

The absolute necessity of establishing the doctrines and du- 
ties of Christianity among the Jews, in the infancy of the Church, 
has been shown in a former discourse. I shall only add, that it 
seems impossible to have introduced among that people the Chris- 
tian Sabbalh in any other manner, than that which was adopted by 
the Apostles, unless their whole character had been miraculously 





Uaias l»ia. 13, 14.—lflh<iv turn oicoy My faot/nm Iht Sabbath, from doing th» 
Vluuurc on mg Ao/y day, and call the Sabbath a Detighl, Iht Hal)/ »f Ike Urd, 
SmiaHrable ; and iliall honour him, not dmngthiae oim ifoyi, it»r finding thutt 
ntnaUanre, nor peaking Mine nun uordt ; Then ihatl thou dttigU thgul/in t&« 
l^4j and I uill tauie thee lo ride upon the high plaeci of Ihct^h, and feed Ihet 
WM Ac heritegt of Jaiob, ihg Fathtr; for Iht mouth a/ the Lard hath ipoktn it 

In the first of the discourses, which I have delivered concent 
iog the fourth Command, I proposed, 

J. To consider the Perpetual Establishment of iht Sabbath ; and, 

!l. The Manner, in tchich it ii to be observed. 

The former of these doctrines, together with the objections 
against it, has been made the subject of the three preceding ser- 
mons. The latter ^hall be the theme of the present discourse. 

The text is the most minute, and perfect summary of the duties, 
incumbent on mankind with respect to this holy day, which is 
contained in the Scriptures. It is a prediction to the Jetm, an- 
nouncing, (hat if they will perform these duties, God will greatly 
prosper them with spiritual and temporal blessings, in the land ot 
their lathers. In my own opinion, it especially respects a period, 
yei to come. In examining this subject, 1 shall endeavour, 

I. To point out the Jfature, and Extent, of thest duties } and, 

II. To ekow that Ihry are binding upon us. 

1. J shall endeavour to point out the J\'ature,and Extent^ ofihtM 

In examining this subject, I abaU adopt the scheme of (heteKti 
aid mention, 

I. The things, from which we are to tAttain; and, 

3. The Ikingt which we are loperform. 

I . IVe are bound to abstainfrom sin, in thought, convtrsationf and 

All, who read the Gospel, know, or may know, perfectly, that 
sin may be as easily, and as extensively, committed in ihoucht, as 
in word, or action ; and that the real seat of sin is in the neart. 
With the reformation of our hearts, then, we are always to bcgla 
our duly. We may as ^yfiily, and grossly, profane the Sabbath, 
so far as ourselves only are concerned, by thoughts, which are 
UDSuiicd to its nature, as we can by any actions whatever. If OUT 
tniods are intent on our business, or our pleasures ; if otir aflec- 


tions wander after them ; if we are cold, or lukewarm, wid| le- 
spect to our religious duties ; if we are negligent of a serioot nd 
cordial attention to tbem ; if we regard witn impatience the in- 
terruption, occasioned to our secular concerns ; if we wish the insti- 
tution had not been appointed, or the time, in which it is to be kep^ 
lessened ; then, plainly, we do not esteem the Sabbath a Delight^ 
nor abstain from finding our own pleasure. So long as this is the 
state of our thoughts ; all our outward conformity to this precept; 
(for such is really the nature of the text) will be merely hypocriti- 
cal. Every oblation from such a mind will be Tarn ; and all 
its incense an abomination. ' The Sabbaths^ and the calling of as' 
Mmblies, among persons who act in this manner, will be sucll, as 
Cfod cannot away with; and their solemn meeting will be iniqmhf. 
. The heart gives birth to all the movements of the tongue. We 
pro&ne the Sabbath, whenever we employ the time in Worldly 
thnversation. Such conversation is, in the text, denoted by the 
phrase, speaking thine own words : thine own being supplied by the 
translators. I think this supplement rational ; since in the two 
preceding clauses we find doing thine qwv way s, diud Jinding thine 
own pleasure. Bishop Lowth^ from similar phraseology m the 
ninth verse, supposes it should be vain words. The meaning, how- 
ever, will difier immaterially. 

Such conversation is, like our thoughts, directed indifferently to 
subjects of business, and of pleasure ; and in both cases the oab- 
bath is subverted, and so far as this conversation extends, is chang- 
ed from a holy, into a secular, day. God is robbed of his riehts, 
and of his service: and we are prevented from attaining, and rnxn 
a disposition to attain, the holiness, which is indispensaole to sal- 

There is no way, in which the Sabbath is more easily, more 
insensiblvy more frequently, and more fatally violated, than this. 
Temptations to it are always at hand. The transgression always 
seems a small one ; usually a dubious one at the worst; and, oilen, 
no transgression at all. Multitudes of persons, of sober and well- 
meaning dispositions, nay, multitudes, as there is but too much 
reason to fear, of professing Christians, beginning with religious 
subjects, slide unperceptibly towards those, which are considered 
as moral in such a degree, as scarcely to differ from religious ones; 
thence to secular themes, bordering upon these; and thence to 
mere matters of business, or amusement.^Such persons, before 
they are aware, find themselves occupied in conversing about the 
affairs of the neighbourhood ; the strangers, who are at Churchy 
the new dresses ; fashions ; business ; diversions ; news, and pol- 
itics. To these they are led by mere worldly conversation con- 
cerning the pravers ; the psalmody ; or the sermon ; as having 
been well or ill devised, written, spoken, or performed ; by a his- 
tory, merely secular, of the sickness and deaths in the neighbour- 
hoody or elsewhere, or of the dangerous or fatal accidents, which 


CVin.] SABBATH 18 10 B£ 0B8ERVID S6S 

haev^hlely happened ; the state of the weather ; the season ; the 
cropt} the prospects ; the affairs of the family ; and by innumer- 
able other tnings of a similar nature. The next step is, ordinarily, 
an habitual employment of this holy day in open, cool, and self- 
satisfied, conversation about business ; schemes of worldly pur- 
suits ; bargains ; gains, and losses. It is not to be understood, 
that Christiaru go all these lengths. It is my r^al belief, however, 
that they go much farther, than they can jusdfy ; and fail, in this 
manner, of their duty ; their improvement in the Christian lifd ; 
their proper exemplariness of character; the evidence of their 
piety, which would spring from these sources ; the hope, which it 
would inspire ; the peace, which would accompany them ; and the 
joy, ia which they would delightfully terminate. Many sober 
men, however, who but for this very conduct might probably be- 
come Christians, go all these lengths ; and thus lose, insensiUj) 
their tenderness of conscience; their soberness of mind ; and their 
desire, as well as their hope, of eternal life. Men less well-prin- 
cipled start, orieinally, at ike end of this career ; and thus annihi- 
late the Sabbath at once : bidding, without anxiety, a final adieu to. 
the Sabbath itself, and to its rich, exalted, and immortal blessings^ 
The profanation of the Sabbath by Actions is seen, and acknow-i 
ledged, by all decent men, who acknowledge it as a day, conse- 
crated by God to himself. Actions are so open to the view of 
mankind ; are so definitive a proof of the disposition ; and, when 
riolations of a known rule of duty, constitute so gross a proof of 
impiety ; that all doubts concerning the true construction, to be 

g'ven of them, vanish whenever they appear. The common and 
vourite modes of profaning the Saboath, in this way, are spending 
our time in dress ; in niinisterine to a luxurious appetite ; in walk- 
ing, or riding, for amusement ; m writing letters of friendship ; in 
visiting ; ana in reading books, which are not of a religious, but 
merely of a decent, character; and, ultimately, those which are 
formed to be the means of amusement and sport. The end of thl^ 
progress, generally esteemed more gross, though perhaps in manjn 
mstances not more, and in others less, sinful ; is the devotion of 
diis sacred day to downright business. Persons, who go thisj 
length, occupy the time in writing letters of business ; posting 
their accounts ; visiting post-offices ; making bar^ins ; transmit-^ 
tmg money to their correspondents ; going or senaing to markets ; 
maRing journeys, at first with, and afterwards without, pretences of 
necessity ; and, ultimately labouring openly in the ordinary em-- 
ployments of life. This is what is called in the text doing our azon 
ways, A mav?8 way^ in scriptural language, is the customary course 
of his life. 

All these things, whether existing in thought, word, or action^ 
are called our own^ in contradistinction to those which are God^t: 
that is, to those, which are required of us by God : and- every 
one of them is prohibited in the text. 


S« ITe art required to abstain frmkJdlenen* 
Although the Sabbath is never to be spent in secular businessi or 
amusement; it is still to be, invariably, a day of industrious exe^ 
tion. There are some persons, who feel too much regard to the 
dictates of their consciences, to public opinion, to the commands 
of God, or to ail of them, to consume the Sabbath in business, or 
amusement. Slil^ liaving no relish for the duties of the day, they 
spend it in idlenchls satisfied with abstaining from Aose, which 
they esteem the grosser, and more direct, violations of this divine 
Institution. Accoldingly, they lounge about their houses, gardens, 
or ftums ; and waste the season of salvation in sloth, sleep, or such 
a coune of existence as resembles that of the oyster : a sote, bor- 
dering upon the line which separates animate!! beings Ann those 
•which are inanimate. This course jof conduct is an anniunstion of 
^tbe Sabbath ; the death of the day ; and a frustration of all the de- 
signs, and blessings, of God, connected with this heavenl3r Institu- 
tion. The Sabbath was intended to be the meansof honouring Grod, 
•nd of saving the souls of men. But idleness is always cfishoD- 
ourable to God, and hostile to the salvation of the soul. Both of 
these great objects are accomplished by him only, who is 110/ slotk' 
fid m Inumtss^ but fervent in spirit , serving the Lord. 

3. We are bound to abstain^ with peculiar cautionj firommBkmm 
lodged sins if»on this holy davm - : - ' 

The abs^nence, which I nave hitherto specified, regards busi- 
ness and amusement, ordinarily lawful on other days* From that 
conduct, and those thoughts, which are umveriaUy ^infill, we are 
bound to abstain, with peculiar care, upon the Sabb^l.} because, 
then, they are peculiarly henious. The sacred nature of this day, 
and the solemn consecration of it by God to himself, together with 
all the advantages, which we enjoy for religious instruction, and 
for all the duties of piety, fiimish such a body of motives to oar 
abstinence firom sin, as cannot be resisted without peculiar guilta 
Every sin, committed upon this day, is aggravated by the fact, tk|t > 
we have resisted these motives. * At the same time, we are, byJIl ^j 
very nature, so withdrawn fi*om the world, so secured agaifft I 
temptation, and so much at leisure for solemn meditation, and lor ^ 

rlbe establishment of firm resolutions of obedience in our miodi) 
that, if we sin upon this day, we sin with fewer inducements to the 

.iniquity, than upon other occasions. He, who indulges his wick* 

ifidness on the Sabbadli, will be m danger of rioting m it on the 
other days of the week. 

It hardly needs to be remarked, that sinful ways are peculiailf 

<mtr <ND», and esEMnently opposed to those, which are required qf 
^ In all the. above recited particulars, those, who are guil^ of 

4bsBi, openly violate the law of God ; squander the accepted tiine; 

<iraste, ^fiuad abuse, the means of grace ; and lessen^ Sabbath l|f 

Shtbbath, their hopes of eternal life. 



The Duties vhich vie are to perform, art, gtntrally, all Ike vari' 
om ^ces 'if Religion. Good lueii, in aiicieiil times, entered, on 
the Sabbath day, into the house of the Lord with praise and prayer. 
The Law, the Psahns, and the Proplicts, were read in the Suna- 

Sruet evert/ Sabbath day. They feared God in the assemblu of 
tainU : they praiaed him for his mighty ads ; 'Mlered abunmnt- 
iv the memory of his great goodness ; and sungjffhis righteousness. 
TVity wait on from strength to strength j every ont ijfthcm inZion 

Z earing before God. They esteemed a day m )ftttourts as better 
n a thousand. Their souls longed^ yea, ivtn fainted, for the 
courts of the Lord ; their heart and their fesh cried out for the liv- 
%ng God. Accordingly, Vie Lord God i^as to them a sun, and a 
shield, Ht gave xhera grace and glory ; and withheld from them 
no gooS thing. In the same manner the early Christians esteemed 
the Sabfiath a delight, and the holy of the Lord konourabU. In the 
times of the Apostles, they continued in felloieship, in prayer, and 
in breaking of bread. They sung psalms, and hymns, and spiritual 
songs. Thej^ prophesied ; taught the doctrines of the Scriptures ; 
uttwed, and interpreted, Revelation ; and collected alms for such 
saints as nere in peculiar circumstances of distress. All these 
examples abundantly show us, that good men, during the ages of 
inaauration, steadily accorded, and thought it ihcir duty to accord, 
with the reciuisitions, contained in the text. What was their duly 
is ours. All these solemn services, therefore, and others connect- 
ed with them, it is Incumbent on us to perform in spirit, and in 
truth. We are to join ourselves to the Lord, to serve him, according 
to the prediction o^ Isaiah concerning us, and the other Gentiles; 
lo love the name of the Lord ; to keep the Sabbath from polluting it ; 
and to Inke hold of his covenant. Particularly, 

I. IVe are lo perform all the duties of Public fVorshio. 

The S-ihbath, as has been observed, was originally appointed 
for the commemoration of the divine glory, manifestecf in creating 
the world ; and for the attainment, and improvement, of holiness 
JB man. The manner, in which we should commemorate the glory 
•^God in (he work of Creation, on this day, is sufficiently taught 
us by the manner, in which the first Sanbath was celebrated. 
T6en, we are informed, the Morning Stars sang together, and all 
the Sons of God shouted for joy. In the same manner was the work 
of the New Creation, and the divine glory displayed in it, cele- 
brated by the Same illustrious beings, according to the prophetical 
account given in the sisiy-eiehth Psalm, of this wonderful event : 
an account, expressly applie'lto it by the Apostle Paul in the third 
chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians. The Chariots jf God are 
Inenly thixtmnd ; even thousands of Angels. TH» Lord is among 
tktm, as in Sinai ; as in the holy place. The very hymn, which 
ihey stuf^. seems to be trans.nitted to us in the following words: 
T^u liiKl ascended on high; thou hast led captivity captive ; th<ni 

Vol.. 111. 34 



hast received gifis for men ; yea^ for the rebellicibf also ; thai the 
Lord God might dwell among them. 

The manner, in which holiness and salvation are to be obtained, 
is every where taught in the Gospel. The truth of God, in the 
hands of the divine Spirit, is the great instrument, by which we 
are madt free from the bondage of corruption* Faithj we know, 
Cometh by hearing ; and hearing , by the Word of God. This Word 
is, therefore, to 'be faithfully explained, and enforced, by the 
Preacher ; and feathfully received W those who hear him. The 

f)rayers, and the praises, of every religious assembly, are to spring 
rom the heart ; and are to ascend up before the throne of infinite 
mercy, with dependence, with confiaence, with love, with rever- 
ence, with gratitude, with hope, and with joy. Our prayers, and 
our praises, are also to be presented in the name of Christ, as the 
great and glorious Propitiation for the sins of men^ and the true and 
Jiving way of access to God. They are to be presented with faith 
in his name ; that faith which occupies the whole heart, and alone 
interests us in the blessings of Redemption. 

Christians, at the same time, are to unite in the administiMraiiy 
and celebration, of the Evangelical ordinances ; Baptism and the 
Lord's Supper : ^nd are thus in a peculiar and most afiecting man- 
ner to commemorate the glory of Christ, manifested in the wonder- 
ful work of the new Creation. 

Jill these things are to be done decently^ and in order* At the 
same time, they are to be performed with plainness, simplicity, 
and no unnecessary rites. The Jewish worship was intended by 
its ceremonious magnificence to strike the imaeinatioa during the 
earlv and ignorant periods of society. To this end it was pe^ 
fectfy fitted. All its services were calculated to affect the senses 
in the deepest manner, and to find, through them, access to the 
heart. The Gospel, on the contrary, is addressed directly to the 
Understanding; and makes its way to the heart by means of the 
power of Conscience. Unnecessary rites are, here, both useless 
and noxious : since they allure the thoughts away from the doc- 
trines and precepts, which are inculcated, to the ceremonies by 
which they are surrounded. In this manner, the spiritual worship 
of the Gospel is ever in danger of becoming a mere bodily exercise^ 
unprofitable in itself, and oestructive of piety. The ceremonies 
of the Romish Church exterminated itb devotion; and became, 
extensively, the cause, as well as the effect, of that corruption, 
which by men of real religion has been justly regarded as a 

% On this holy day^ alsoj we are bound to perform the variouM 
Private duties of Religion. 

The worahip of the familjr, and that of the closet, are the duty 
of all families, and of all individuals, every day they live. Equal- 
ly is it the duty of all men to sp<*nd a part of every day in self- 
examination ; in religious meditation ; and in contemplation on the 



perfections and works of God, on the chaircter of Christ and the 
wonders *of Redemption. The Scriptures especially, and other 
religious books generally, are toi>e read, ponaered, and cordially 
received. The amendment of the soul, and victory over sin and 
temptation, are to be planned, resolved on, and achieved. We 
are to humble ourselves before God; to devote ourselves anew to 
his service ; to cherish the duties of religion ; and universally to 
cultivate the Christian character. 

At the same time, children and servants are to be carefully in 
structed in the great and plain doctrines and duties of religion ; to 
be restrained, in the same manner as ourselves, from all worldly 
pursuits ; and to be presented by us with such persuasive examples! 
of piety, as may engage them to reverence, and embrace, the 
ys^tJniversally, our time, our thoughts, our conversation, and our 
actions, are all to be devoted to God. This, indeed, is, in a sense, 
true of every day. But on other days it is our duty to labour in 
019^ worldly business; and, whilo our thoughts are engaged i>y 
panuits of this nature, it is impobsible that they should be also 
engaged by religious subjects with sufficient intenseness, and con- 
stancy, to fulfil all the demands, either of our interest, or of our 
duty. On the Sabbath, we are withdrawn from all worldly pur- 
suits. A solemn pause is made in the business of life. A happy 
season of leisure is furnished to us for obtaining our. salvation. 
Then no worldly business is to intrude ; no worldly pleasure to 
solicit; no worldly thought to interfere. The holy nature of the 
day, and the peculiarly solemn nature of its services, conspire, 
with eminent felicity, to render all the duties, which have been 
specified, easy, undisturbed, solemn, impressive, and profitable. 
This, then, is to be carefully seized, and anxiously husbanded, as 
a golden opportunity for performing them all. 

3. The Sabbath is to be employed^ so far as circumstances demand^ 
in performing works of Necessity and Mercy. 

Oar authority for this assertion is complete in the declaration of 
God : / will have mercy ^ and not sacrifice. In the illustrations of 
this precept by our Saviour and in his example, it is equally com- 
plete. What these works are, beyond the direct import of this 
example, we are to judge as carefully and conscientiously as we 
can. Generally, it is to be observed, that as litde of our time, as 
the nature of the case demands, is to be employed in these works ; 
and the remainder to be devoted to those duties of Religion, which 
were the original objects of the Sabbath. Wherever the time 
required is so great, as to be disproportioned to the value of the 
necessity in question ; it is to be given up. That necessary workf 
which requires but a moment, may be lawful ; when it would be- 
come unlawful, if it renuired an hour. All works, both of neces 
sitjr and mercy, are to oe regarded as Duties, which we are bound 



to perf(»nn ; and never as indulgencies, which we are permitted 
to take. 

The Tlfme, at which the peculiar duties of the Sabbath are to com- 
mence is, in my opinion^ the time, when darkness commences on the 
evening of Saturday. For this opinion, the following reasons may 
be alleged. 

First ; T/ie natural day commenced with darkness. After God 
had created the chaos, darkness rested upon it for a certain period. 
This darkness, and the light which succeeded it, are declared to 
have constituted the first day. In the same manner, are reckoned 
the five succeeding days of the Creation. 

Secondly ; The Sabbath, at its original institutiofi, was a natural 
day. This is clear, because we are told, that God rested the sev" 
enth day : and from the manner, in which the six preceding days 
were reckoned, we have the fullest proof, that He, who by his own 
choice reckoned them in this manner, reckoned the seventh day in 
the same manner. 

Thirdly ; When the Sabbath was renewedly enjoined upon the It* 
raelites ; it was required to be kept as a Natural day. This we 
know, because no alteration of the original Institution is specified 
in the fourth command ; and because, in Lev. xxiii. 32, God says 
to that people concerning the great day of Atonement, From even 
unto even snallye celebrate your S(,':bath. 

Fourthly ; 2%c Jewish Sabbath commenced with the darkness ; or 
with the time, which we denote by the word. Candle-lighting. This 
is evident from Xehem. xiii. 1 9, And it came to pass, that when the 

fates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath, &lc. It ia 
ere evident, that the Sabbath had not commenced on Friday eve- 
ning, when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark ; or, in our 
customary language, when the dusk of the evening commenced in 
that city. The Sabbath also, as a natural day, began originally 
at the same time : the first day of the Creation having commenced 
with absolute darkness. The time of darkness, to us, is the time, 
when we can no longer see, so as to transact business by the light 
of the sun. 

Fifthly ; The Christian Sabbath is the first day of the week ; and 
a natural day ; because there is no hint given us, in the J^ew Testa- 
ment, of any alteration made, or to be made in this respect. Dr. 
Macknight informs us that the ancient Christians began their Sab- 
bath on the evening of Saturday. Some Christians have suppos- 
ed, that the time, when our Lord arose from the dead, is that, at 
which the present Sabbath ought to be begun. This is evidently an 
error ; because that time is not declared in the New Testament, and 
therefore cannot be known by us. Accordingly these Christians be- 

f^in the Sabbath at midnight : a time of human appointment mere- 
y. This seems to me unwarrantable. 

II. I shall now attempt to show, that the Duties of the Sabbath are 
all binding upoji us. 


On this subject I observe, 

1 • That the example of God in resting from his work of Creation^ 
and of Chnst in resting from the work of Redemption^ is authorita^' 
tively binding upon us; and requires us to rest from our own lawful 
labours in a similar manner. 

3* The fourth Command^ which has^ I trusty been shown to ie. 
equally obligatory on all men, requires the same rest from us^ which 
it required from the Israelites. 

3. The original Institution^ the examples of God^ the Father^ and 
the Son, and the injunctions of the fourth Command, require, in sub- 
stance, all these duties. 

The duties, which they expressly require, cannot be performed 
to any valuable purpose, unless all the duties, specified in this dis- 
course, are also performed. The true meaning, and real tetent, 
of these examples and injunctions, as they respected the Jews, are 
explained in the comments of the Prophets, particularly of the 
Prophet Isaiah, concerning this subject. The text is the most co- 
pious, and definite, exhioition of this nature, contained in the 
Scriptures. In chapter Ivi. of the same prophet is found, also, a 
comprehensive account of the duties: and we have several other, 
less particular, and less impressive, explanations, in other passages 
of the Scriptures. These injunctions and examples, then, demand- 
ed, in the view of the Spirit of Inspiration, all these duties of the 
Israelites. Of course, this was the true tenour of these examples 
and injunctions. But, if I mistake not, I have proved both to be 
no less obligatory on Christians, than on the Israelites. The same 
examples and injunctions have, therefore, the same tenour with re- 
spect to us, and bind us to exacdy the same duties. 

4. The New Testament has no where dispensed with any part of 
these duties. 

It has been oflen thought, that Christ has released his followers 
firom some part of the duties of the Sabbath, and in some degree 
from that strictness of observing it, which were originally required 
of the Jews. Observations to this amount I have not unfirequendy 
seen, and heard ; but exclusively of the things observed by Dr. 
Paleyy and mentioned in the last discourse, I have never been in- 
formed of the particulars, from which Christians are thus supposed 
to have been released ; nor do I know in wiiat passages of the 
New Testament they are supposed to be contained. Dr. Paley 
believes that the Sabbath was never at all obligatory on Christians. 
According to this scheme, therefore, it was impossiole for Christ to 
release them from these duties ; because they were never incum- 
bent on them. Where those, who make this supposition, find their 
warrant for it in the discourses of Christ, or of nis Apostles, I con- 
fess myself unable to determine. The observations, which our 
Saviour makes, as an exposition of several parts of the Decalogue, 
m his Sermon on the Mount, he prefaces with these remarkable 
declarations : Think not that I am come to destroy ihe law, or iho 


prophets : I am not come to destroy ,, but to fulfil : for verily^ I say 
yntoyou^ Till heaven and earth pass ^ one jot, or one tittle, shall in 
nb wise pass from the law; till all be fulfilled. After these declar- 
ations it is impossible, that Christ should be rationally believed to 
have altered at all the duties of the Sabbath, much less to have 
annihilated it, unless he has done it, somewhere, in plain, unequiv- 
ocal language. But no such language, on this subject, can be 
found in the New Testament. Until something of this nature 
shall be definitely pointed out ; the duties of the Sabbath must be 
acknowledged to have been left by Christ, and his Apostles, ex- 
actly as they found them : and all declarations to the contrary must 
be regarded as merely gratuitous and presumptive. 

5. Jis the religious privilegzs of Christians are declared to be sur 
perior io those of the Jews, they cannot be supposed to be lessened wUh 
respect to the Sabbath, unless this fact is directly asserted. 

if the duties of Christians on the Sabbath are lessened, either m 
number, or degree ; then their r(?ligious privileges are rendered 

{"ust so far inferior to those of the Jews. The duties of the Sab- 
)ath are all privileges of a high and glorious nature ; and cannot 
fail to be accounted such by every good man. I speak not, here, 
of the regulations of the civil laws of the Jews : these have no- 
thing to do with the subject of the present discussion. I speak of 
the Sabbath, as instituted on the seventh day 5 as institutea imme- 
diately after the creation was finished ; as enjoined anew in the 
fourth Command of the Decalogue ; and as explained, and en- 
forced, by the Prophets ; particularly by Isaiah. It was a high 
religious privilege to a Jew to have one whole day in seven divine- 
ly consecrated to the duties of Religion ; to be required to esteem 
the Sabbath a delight, and the holy of the Lord honourable ; atid to 
turn away his foot from finding his own pleasure on that sacred 
day. It was a combination of glorious privileges to a Jew to keep 
the Sabbath from polluting it ; to join himself on that day to the 
Utord y to be his servant ; to take hold of his covenant ; to b^ brought 
to the holy mountain of God ^ to be made joyful in his house 
of prayer ^ to delight himself in tlie Lord; and to find his vari- 
ous solemn services accepted by his Creator. But if these duties, 
or any of them, be lessened in number, or degree; just so far are 
the privileges of a Christian inferior to those of a Jew. Which of 
these privileges would a Christian be willing to give up ? Which 
of them does the Gospel require him to relinquish ? 

1 shall conclude this discourse with a summary enumeration of 
several Motives, which strongly solicit our exact observance of the 

1 . Such an observance of the Sabbath is required by the Command 

of God. I 

2. // is enforced by the Divine Example. 

God rested ^n the seventh day ; the day after the Creation was 
ended. Chnst rested on the nrst day ; the day sifter the New 


Creation was finished. This two-fold Example of Jehovah is of 
infinite authority ; and enjoins, in the most expressive ian^ii.igc, the 
faithful imitation of all mankind. 

3. The J^atun of the Duties^ enjoined upon the Sabbath, demands 
9fia such an observance. 

The duties of the Sabbath are all of a religious and holy nature. 
3uch duties can never be successfully, or profitably, informed, 
Hrhen mingled with secular business, or amusements. Tijcse will 
ix)th distract the attention of the mind, and withdraw it from that 
:lear, strong, affecting sense of spiritual and divine objects in which 
he peculiar benefit of the Sabbath is found. The soul, in this 
»se, will be divided between God and Mammon, between the 
ove of the world and the love of God. The consequence can- 
lot but be foreseen. The world will predominate : God will be 
Drgotten ; and dishonoured, if not forgotten : the soul will cease 
rom a heavenly character ; debase its pure and exalted u (lections; 
386 those refined and noble views of celestial objects, which are 
tted, both to inspire, and to cherish, devotion ; cease to stretch its 
rings towards heaven ; and fall down to earth, loaded witii a bur- 
en of gross cares, and dragged to the ground by an incumbering 
ias8 of sensual gratifications. 
At the same time, it is far easier to observe the Sabbath wholly^ 
\an to observe it in part. He, who intends to divide it between 
aurthly and spiritual pursuits, will never know where to draw the 
ne oi division. Perpetually will he find himself wandering, now 
awards Religion, and now towards the world ; while his con- 
nence will be unceasingly embarrassed by fears, that he has 
eglccted his duty, and by doubt concerning what it is. There 
no such things as a half wai/ performance of our duty. If such 
performance had in fact been required, or allowed ; we should 
ave been distressed by unceasing perplexity. Happy is it for 
B, that an ordinance of this nature cannot be found in the Scrip- 

4. 7%e blessing of the Sabbath is promised to such an observance. 
The text is an illustrious proof of this. If thou do all the things^ 

ays God, required in the first verse ; then shalt thou delight thyselj 
\ Jehovah ; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places oj th$ 
9rth. Not, if thou do a part of these things. There is no prom* 
le to a divided service : there is no blessing connected with it* 
Ic, therefore, who wishes for the blessing of God upon his reli- 
ious labours, must look for. it, only in the strict ana faithful ob- 
nvance of the duties, which He has required. 

5. It is demanded by our own highest Interest. 

The Sabbath is eminently the dau of salvation. On Zion the 
orrf commanded the blessings even life for ever more. On that holy 
liy, and in the holy place, this incomprehensible blessing is stiu 
»be found. Where that day is not observed, and that place is 
H frequented, this blessing. ceases to descend. If we love our 

279 THE HANNER' Df WBH/^j^j^ , [SEB. CVnL 

. pelves, then ; if we love our families ; if ^M^bve our country ; if 
^ '* we love mankind; we shall exert ourselves, to the utmost, to up- 
hold the SabbalJSl in its purity, in our hearts, in our conversation, 
and in our conduct. We shall keep the Sabbath from polluting it; 
shall observe it with the most faithful exactness ; and by precept, 
and example, solemnly recommend it to the exact observance of 
1\ others. 








^^^^^ EiODDS IX. 11. — When/art Iht Z-onf Jiurtd (A« Sabtalh 4tg. 

In the four preceding discourses, I have corisidered Ike Ptr- 
fttual Establishment of (he Sabbath, and Ihf Manner in jnhich U i» 
(d bt obttrved ; and have endeavoured to annncr suck Objtttiom, 
u occurred lo me against the doctrines, which 1 have fell myself 
bound lo maintain, concerning these subjects. I shall now close 
BT observations on the Sabbath, with some of Ikost R.jiicliont, 
inich this very solemn and interesting aubjeci naturally suggesU 
toa serious mindi 

The First Consideration whiek strikes sitch a mini!, whtn conlem- 
jtaling the Sabbatkjia the pre-eminent Wisdom of this diviiir Iwilitur 

Wisdom, as applied to conduct, denotes the choice of desirable 
•nds, and the selection of happy mea'ns for their accomplishment. 
The ends, aimed at, in the institution of the Sabbath, arv numer- 
ous, and all of them eminently desirable. The means, by which 
they are accomplished, are, at the same lime, eminenilj happy. 
The Sabbath, and iht things immediately connected with il, are 
Uie amount of them aQ. 
Among these ends Itt me remark; since God himself has been 
, pieaaed to mention it, ind to mention it in the fourth command of 
•fce decalogue; the prooiaion, jukick this holy day furni\bta, of a 
I *«fiM of rest to labouriiq Animals, 

A riehUous tnan rtga-ds the life of his beast, says the wisest of all 
*»en: Prov. X. 12. In this fact we behold a strong rcs'.-rnblance 
^ a righteous man to hii Creator. The goodness of this glorious 
Bfing IS forcibly displayed in the provision, which he h;i3 made, 
Or the rest and comfort of labouring animals, in the Moral Law. 
Wlhe hands even of pndent and humane masters, it is clearly 
fcen, that such animals Ere sufficiently employed when they labour 
■» iiys of the week, and are released to rest and refreshment on 
be seventh. God, who perfectly knew what their sucngth was 
)Ie 10 bear, and who perfectly foresaw how greatly iliry would 
oppressed by avarice and cruelly, was pleased, in tins solemn 
r, and at this early period, to provide for their relief, by se- 
^ 10 them the quiet and restoration of one day in seven. la 
merciful provision, the divine lenderoess is displayed in a most 
ible and edifying manner. The humble charact'T (if even 
"" ' did not place them below the compassionate care of 




God. Elsewhere, he has commanded us to supply them with food. 
Here, he has commanded us to furnish them with rest. In both 
cases, he has taught us, that the Lord is good and kind to allj and 
that his tender mercies are over all the zoorks of his hands* This 
indulffence to aaimals is enjoined with infinite authority ; and se- 
cured fay the same sanction, which enforces justice and beneficence 
towards mankind. By bringing up this subject, also, in form, thus 
solemnly, regularly, and often, he has formed our regard towards 
these creator iotp a habit ; and prevented us firom the possibility 
of being inattentive to this duty. 

In the same manner are Rest and Refreshment secured to mankmL 
Children and servants, particularly, are by this institution preserv- 
ed firom the oppression of severe masters, and the unfeeling de- 
maqds of ynnatural parents. Every industrious man will teU yoa 
firom his own experience, that the season of labour is sufficiendy 
long, and this return of rest absolutely necessary for the preserva- 
tion of health, and strength, and life ; that greater toil would fit- 
tigue the bodily powers into decay ; and that the weekly cessation 
firom business is not more firequent than our worldly interests 
clearly demand. Hence, unless when under the dominion of ava- 
rice, ne will consider the Sabbath as a benevolent provision for 
his true worldly interest. What will thus . be approved by (he 
man, who labours voluntarily, and for himself, cannot fail to be 
cordially welcomed by him, who is compelled, through indigence^ 
to toil for others : the servant drudging for a hard master, and the 
child trembling under the rod of an unfeeling parent. 

Jfor is the usefulness of the Sabbath less visible in thepromotitm 
of Jfeatness and Cleanliness ^ especially amcne the inferior classts 
ofmtmkind. Nq person is willing to appear in a religjious assem- 
bly, unle^ cleanly and decently dressed. So true is this, that 
pr(!i)ably in aU countries, where the Sabbath is observed, every 
one, not prevented by absolute poverty, his what is proverbially 
called a aunday suit of clothes. The spirit of cleanliness and de- 
cei]i,cy^ awakened by the return of this hcly day, is alwaus thus 
aw^^ned^ Ezcitea every week, it is of course excited tnrough 
th^ week ; becomes an immoveable habit ; extends its inffuence 
through all the concerns of human life ; and, in the end, constitutei 
the standing character. Individuals are ibus prevented fit>m be- 
co^lin^ brutes in their appearance ; and a nation is fashioned into 
an entire and delightful contrast to the native dirt and slovenliness 
o/ man, always exhibited, in so humiliating a manner by Savages. 
Vke influence of this single fact on the comfort of human life, can- 
not be calculated. 

iueparablif connuted nith this article^ u the Softness and GvUiljl 
ofMomcr^y to which the Sabbath, more than any thing else, alluies 
m^nlMnd. Every thing pertaining to the Sabbath generates,' of 
course, this desirable conduct. The neatness of jdress, and the 
d^ffxcj of 9j>pearaAce, justinentioned, 8trongl|;||in|uade to iu' A 

■ ■'"i 


Eerson, better dressed than in the ordinaiy manner, wiU, reeularly, 
ehave with more than ordinary decency, unless kabittiaTiy thus 
dressed. The association in our thoughts between the dress 
and the manners, (both of which are intended to make us appear 
with advantage) is instinctive, and inseparable. Every thing con- 
nected with the Sabbath, also, inspires such views and aflfections, • 
as contribute to the manners in question. We are, of course, 
united to a respectable assembly ; on a sacred day ; in a sacred 
^place ; upon a most affecting occasion ; and for ends the most 
solemn and important in the universe. We are immediately be- 
fore God, and are employed in his worship ; in confessing our sins, 
in seeking the forgiveness of them, and io labouring to obtain an 
interest in his favour. We cannot, here, fail to feel our needy, frail, 
guilty, dependent, character; to see bow little and insignificant we 
are ; how unbecoming are pride, unkindness, and insolence ; how 
becoming humility, modesty, condescension, and gentleness ; how 
amiable, in the sight of God, is the omumini of a meek and qtiiet 
tpirit ; and how necessary for every puijjose for which we have 
assembled, the establishment of these things in our hearts. From 
these considerations must spring, of course, in every man, who is 
not void of all propensity to that which is good, both gentleness of 
mind, and sweetness of manners. 

I have already glanced at ilu tendency of the Sabbath to abase our 
pride^ and to remove our native ruggednesn of disposition. This part 
of the subject deserves a further consideration. One of the cnief 
deformities of character in the rich, the learned, and the great, is 
that haughtiness of mind, which, on account of their peculiar ad- 
vantages, they are ever ready to feel ; and one of the chief causes 
of sunering to the poor, the ignorant, and the powerless, is that in- 
solence of oehaviour, which from this haaehtiness they are com- 
pelled to endure. But when the superior classes of mankind as- 
semble in the house of God, they sink, at once, even in th^ir own 
eyes, if they open them, down to the same level with their fellow- 
worms. In the presence of Him, before whom all nations are as 
nothings the glare of splendour, the pride of wealth, the self-suffi- 
ciency of learning, and the loftiness of power, are annihilated in 
a moment. Those, who, a little while before, felt themselves to be 
rich, and wise, and ereat, find that they are ]>oor, ignorant, little, 
^ilty, odioss to Goa, exposed to his wrath, and hopeless, except 
m the mere character of suppliants for mercy. 

When a great man, in the Sanctuary, looks around him on a 
Buxed asseinoly of his equals and inferiors ; he will be compelled 
often to feel, and secredy to confess, that his poor neighbour, whom 
perhaps he woiUd have disdained^ on other occasions, to set witk- 
the dogs of his iock^ is, in all probability, more excellent, more 
wise, more lovely, and in every sense greater, in the sight of the 
&ghest^ than himself. Nothing can humble pride more than the 
dievation above itself of those, whom it despises. This elevation 


•■■ L- 


of the humble, this useHil depression of the haughty, is no where 
more perfect than in the house of God. 

Here, as will be realized from what has been already said, the 
poor and lowly rise, of course, above their usual level. The rich 
and the poor^ says Solomon^ meet together ; the Lord is the JIUur 
of them all. In the house of God they meet together in a manner 
wholly peculiar ; are placed exactly on the same level ; and are 
more strongly, than any where else, reminded, that tlu Lord it the 
Maker of them all. Here, they assemble as creatures of the same 
God merely. Here, all their earthly distinction*, vanish ; and a 
new distinction, formed only of sin and holinifn, commences; 
which, unless terminated in the present world, will endure, and 
widen, for ever. Here, then, the poor man rises to his proper 
independence and distinction, forgets the depression of his circum- 
stances ; and, without the aid oi pride, assumes an elevation of 
character, not less necessary to him for the faithful discharge of 
his duty, than the humility of the Gospel to the lofty-minded. 
Thus the Sabbath, like its Author, putteth down the mighty fr(m 
their seats j and exalteth them of low degree. How perfect, in this 
important particular, is an institution, which produces these oppo- 
site and inaispensable benefits in those, whose situation so plainly 
and loudly demands them ! 

Another immense benefit of the Sabbath is the Imtructionj wUck 
it furnishes in Morals and Religion. 

The value of knowledge is admitted by all civilized men. It 
will usually, and ought ever, to be admitted, also, that moral and 
religious knowledge is of far more^value than any other. It ii 
more necessary, more practical, more useful, more enlarging to the 
mind, more refined, and more exalted. The least acquaintance 
with the subject will place this assertion beyond a doubt. 

As the knowledge itself is more valuable ; so the Sabbath fur- 
nishes means for obtaining it, which are far cheaper, and far more 
eflBcacious, than were ever furnished by any other institution. 
Here, on a day devoted to no employment but the gaining of this 
knowledge, and the performance of those religious dul*»ps which 
unite with it in perfect harmony ; in a place convenient and sa- 
cred; on an occasion infinitely important; and with the strong 
power of sympathy to aid and impress ; a thousand persons are 
taught the best of all knowledge ; the most useful to themselves, 
and the most beneficial to mankind ; for a less sum, tkan must be 
expended by a twentieth part of their number, in order to obtain 
the same instruction in any other science. No device of the heath- 
en Philosophers, or of modern Infidels, greatly as they have 
boasted of iheir wisdom, can be compared, as to its usefulness, with 
this. The Sabbath, particularly, is the only mean^ ever devised, of 
communicating important instruction to the great mass of mankina. 
Here, all may assemble, all may learn, from the prince to the beg- 
gar, from the man of grey hairs to the infaiU of days. Had the 



Sabbath been a device of man, men would be able to boast of im- 
mensely ercater ingenuity and wisdom, than they have hitherto 
display ca; and would be justly pronounced to have forn^ed a more 
successful and more patriotic institution, for the benefit of man- 
kind, than any which is found on the page of history. Here, a 
real and glorious equality of privileges is established, not only 
without confusion and discord, but with strong enforcements of 
peace and good order. In these great blessings, all are, here, 
alike interested, and all partake alike. 

To the blessings of Peace and Good order^ universally^ the Sab- , 
bath contributes, also, in a pre-eminent denree. Moral and reli- 
^ous knowledge is the knowledge of our duty, and of the rewards, 
which God will give to such as perform it. To this knowledge 
the Sabbath adds the highest motives to the performance, which 
are found in the universe. All good, internal, and external, in 
time and eternity, allures to it, as a direct and certain reward. All 
evil compels to it as a threatening, and deters from the omission as 
a punishment inevitable and endless. This knowledge, and these 
motives, the Sabbath furnishes, with a solemnity ana force alto- 
gether unrivalled. From the house of God they are carried with 
us into every concern of life, where duty is to be performed ; and 
duty is to be performed in every concern. With the influence of 
the Sabbath on his mind, man every where feels himself ac- 
countable to his Maker ; and in darkness and solitude, in the 
secrecy of thought, as well as in the conduct inspected by the 
public eye, realizes, that the ^-searching God is a constant wit- 
ness of whatever he thinks, speaks, or ooes. From this consi- 
deration, more than from the dread of the dungeon and the halter, 
most men are inchncd to restrain their hands from injustice and 
violence, from tumult and confusion. In the mean time, the peace 
and good order of religious assemblies, on the Sabbath, furnish 
the highest specimen of this happy conduct, that was ever seen in 
the present world. Fifty-two oabbaths, every year, is this con- 
duct repeated. Hence, it becomes a powerful as well as desirable 
habit ; and clings to him, who steadily visits the house of God, 
through the remainder of every week. In this manner, it is dif- 
fused through the life ; and influences the thoughts, words, and 
actions, towards men of every class and character. The magis- 
trate and the subject, the parent and the child, the master and the 
servant, the friend and the neighbour, are benefitted by it alike. 
All of them acquire more peaceful dispositions ; exhibit a more 
amiable deportment ; pursue a more orderly conduct, and fill their 
respective stations with greater propriety, than either would do 
under the influence of every other cause, except the immediate 
agency of God. 

It will not be denied, that each of the things, which I have spe- 
dfied. is an important benefit to mankind, nor that all of them 
united are of advantage inestimable. But the Sabbath has bless- 


ings to give, of a still higher nature. Among them this is one, of 
supreme moment ; that ike Sabbath is the great mean of preserving 
in the world the Knowledge^ and the Worships of the one living and 
true God. Wherever the Sabbath is not, there is no worship, no 
religion. Man forgets God ; and God forsakes man. The moral 
worJd becomes a desert, where life never springs, and beauty never 
smiles. The beams of the Sun of Righteousness never dawn upon 
tl|8 .miserable waste; the rains of heaven never descend. Putrid 
witb sin, and shrunk with ignorance, the soul of man loses its ra- 
tional character ; and prostrates itself before devils, men, beasts, 
and reptiles, insects, stocks, and stoned. To these man oifcrs his 

Srayers, his praises and his victims ; to these, he sacrifices his chil- 
ren ; and to these, he immolates the puritv and honour offals wife. 
A brutal worshipper of a brutal God, he nopes for protection and 
blessing from the assumption of every folly, and the perpetration 
of every crime. 

If his mind becomes enlightened by science, and these absurdi- 
ties, as they sometimes may, become too eross and too naked to 
be received by him ; he becomes an infidel, a sceptic, an atheist. 
The absurdity, here, is not indeed less, but greater. The only 
material difference is, that it is less palpable, less exposed to vul* 
gar eyes, less susceptible of ridicule. The former is the madness 
oT a biockfaead ; the latter of a man of learning : that the folly oi 
the clown ; this of the man of fashion. In this case, the votary wan- 
ders through all the labjrrinths of subtile disquisition ; proves right 
to be wrone, and wrong to be right ; and demonstrates, that there 
is nothing either right or wrong. Freed from these incumbrances, 
men of this character cast their eyes towards the enjoyments oi 
this world, and covet their neighbour's house, and their neigh- 
bour's wife; his man-servant, and his maid-servant; his ox, and 
his ass ; and every thing that is their neighbour's. Nothing, now^ 
intervenes between themselves and the objects coveted, but the 
apprehension of resistance, and the dread of punishment. Ele- 
vate them to power, and the Sabbath is changed into the decade^ 
and the hoiise of God into a stable ; the Bible is paraded through 
the streets on an ass, and consumed upon a bonfire ; immortal ex- 
istence is blotted out of the divine Kingdom ; the Reedeemer is 
postponed to a murderer ; and the Creator to a prostitute, styled 
the Goddess of Reason. The end of this progress might be easily 
foreseen. Legalized plunder, legislative butchery, the prostitu- 
tion of a kingdom, fields drenched in human blood, and cities biunt 
by human mcendiaries, fill up the tremendous measure of ini- 

Suity ; bewildering the gazing world with astonishment ; awaken 
le shouts of fienos ; ana cover heaven itself with a robe of sack- 

But for the Sabbath, this assembly had now been prostrate be- 
fore the stock of a tree, or sitting round the circle of a pawaw ; or, 
frantic with rage and frenzy, had been roaming the mountains b 


honour of Bacchus ; or drowning with shouts and screams the cries 
ofa human victim, offered up to appease the wralh ol'an imagina- 
rv Dcily. 

" But thanks he lo God for this unsptakahU gift .' The Sabbith, 
according to his abundant mercyt returns, at the close of every 
week, ID shine upon us with Its peaceful and benevolent beams. 
Al the close of every week, with a still, small zoiee it summons us 
lo the house of God, Here, we meet, and find, and know, and 
serve, our glorious and blessed Creator, Redeemer, and SanctiSer< 
Here, on thr mercy-neat, he sits" enthroned, to hear our complaints. 
and petitions, to receive our praises, to accept our repeiilance, and 
lo forcive our sins for the saice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here, 
he maltes known his pleasure and our duty. Here, he promises to 
those, who obey, divine and eternal rewards ; and threatens those, 
who disobey, with terrible and never-ending punishments. Seen 
every week in these awful and amiable characters, God cannot be 
unknown nor forgotten. Accordingly, throughout the ages of 
Christianity, liis presence and ago.ji.-y are understood everywhere, 
and by every person, who frequeiii-- ihc house of God. The little 
child is as famiharly acquainted with them, as the man of grey 
hairs ; the peasant, as the monarch. All, in this sensn, /mota God, 
from Ike least lo the greatest ; and there is no occiiiio.i for a man 
to taif to his neighbour. Know the Lord. ^^ 

Intimately connected with this vast and interestiiig subject, and 
in an important sense the effect of the Sabbaih only, u the Attain- 
meni of holiness and salvation. 

Man, an apostate, guilty and condemned, infinitely needs a ren- 
ovation of his character, a reversal of his sentence, an escape from 
his punishment, and a reinstatement in the glorious privileges from 
which he has fallen. To accomplish these inestimable and be- 
nevolent ends, God, according to the language of the text, has 
halloaed, and blessed, the Sabbath. Througli every age, and through 
every land, where the Sabbath has been kept holy unto the Lord, 
ihis blessing has, regularly, and uninterruptedly, descended. 
There, the glad tidings of salvation have been published, and re- 
ceived. There, men nave sought, and found, Jehovah, their God j 
rejjented of their sins ; believed on the Lord Jesu.s Christ; renew- 
- cd their allegiance to iheir rightful Sovereign ; obtained the par- 
don of their sins, and the justification of their souls } triumphed 


r death and the grave; ascended to heaven; and liegun the 
session of everlasting joy. iPherever even two or three have 
met together in the name of Christ, there he has been in the midst of 

them, and blessed them with his peculiar blessing. This holy, 
heavenly season has regularly opened the correspondence between 
this miserable world, and the world of life and glory, and preserv- 
ed the connexion between God and men. To it, earth owes its 
chief blessings ; and heaven no small part of its inhabitants, and 
of its Lnfadiiig joys. 



But where mankind have forsaken the assembling of themstlvti 
together^ as the manner of some is^ all these blessings have ceased. 
The fruitful land has been converted into marshes, and miry placesy 
which could not be healed, and were therefore given to salt. In such 

E laces, the world, and sin, and Satan, take entire possession of the 
eart, and leave no room for God. All the thoughts and desires 
the offspring of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the 

prifU of life. Like Mab, men sell themselves, to work wickedness: 
: like Jeroboam, they sin, and make all around them to sin. There, 
no prayers ascend to heaven ; no voice of mercy is heard from 
^ that happy world, inviting sinners to faith and repentance in the 
Lord Jesus Christ. God is neither sought, nor found. None ask 
for mercy ; and none receive it. Noneknock at the door of life; 
and to none is it opened. All enter into the broad and crooked road, 
and go down to the chambers of death ; while God, with an awful 
voice, proclaims, concerning them, Ephraim is joirud to Idols : let 
him alone. 

Pause now, for a moment, and recollect the number, the great- 
ness, the glory, of these Ends ; and tell me if the Institution, which 
unites and accomplishes them all, in perfect^ harmony, is not su- 
premely wise, and worthy of God. How easily does it accomplish 
them; how perfectly ; how wonderfully ! How happy is the fre- 
Quent, convenient, necessary return of this holy day ! After how 
desirable mtervals ; with what usciul regularity ; with what sweet 
serenity ! How necessary is it to the sinner, to call him off from 
the world, from stupidity, from sottishness ! How necessary to 
awaken his attention to God, to holiness, and to heaven ; to en- 
gage his thoughts on spiritual and divine objects ; to begin his 
repentance, faith, and love ; and to place his feet in the path, which 
leads to immortal life ! How necessary to the saint, to rouse him 
from sloth ; to recall him from sin ; to remind him of his duty ; to 
increase his faith and holiness, and to help him forward in his jour- 
ney towards heaven! How necessary to Adam in his innocence; 
how infinitely necessary to all his ruined offspring ! In a word, how 
plainly has the Sabbath been blessed, as well as hallowed! bless- 
ed, from the beginning to the present time; blessed, in a multitude 
of particulars ; olessed, in every land, where it has been known, 
with the immediate and peculiar favour of God, with the nearest 
resemblance to the blessings of immortality ! 

2. The mind of a gdbd man cannot fail, also, to be deeply affect" 
ed with the Solemnity of this Institution. 

When God had ended the glorious work of Creation, he rested 
the seventh day from all the work, which he had made. The crea- 
tion was now" fresh from the forming hand of Jehovah. The creat 
Architect had builded his stories in the heaven ; had numbered the 
Stars, and called them all by their names ; had appointed the moon 
for seastyns, and caused the sun to ktww his going down. He had 
filled the world with beauty and fragrance, with glory and grand- 



eur, with life and immortality. In the full view of this transport- 
ing, this amazing scene ; in the strong apprehension of the infinite 
• perfections, which it unfolded; the horning Stars sang togtiher^ 
and all the sons of God shouted for joy : while the Autnor of all 
thinp beheld the works, which his hands had made, and pronounc- 
ed them vert/ good. The praise, begun by Angels, our first pij rents 
reiterated, on the first morning of their existence ; and made ihetr 
delightful residence vocal with hymns to their Creator. The first 
employment of Paradise, tfce first work done by man, was the wor- 
ship of God. Thus the dawn of human existence was opened by 
the same divine employment, which will unceasingly occupy the 
everlasting day of heaven. When the command to remember this 
day was given, there were, in the morning, thunders, and light- 
nings ; and a thick cloud, upon Mount Sinai, and the voice of the 
trumpet exceeding loud, fb that all the people who were in the camp 
tremhled. And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke ; because 
the Lord descended upon it in fire, and the smoke thereof ascended 
as the smoke of afur^iace, and the whole Mount quaked greatly. In 
the midst of this amazing grandeur, in the midst of these awful 
terrors, God, with his own voice, spoke this command, and wrote 
it with his own finger. With this example, and with these solem- 
nities, was one day in seven consecrated to Jehovah. 

When the new Creation was finished, the Creation of holiness in 
the soul of man, the creation of a Church, comprising imrnonse 
multitudes of immortal minds, as a holy and eternal kingdom unto 
God ; Christ arose from the dead to endless life and glory, became 
the first fruits of them that slept^ and their forerunner into the Inav- 
ens. On this divine occasion, the same exalted beings ; who sang 
together, when the heavens and the earth were made, an^l pro- 
claimed glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will Uh 
wards men, when the Saviour of the world was born ; now renew- 
ed their songs, and entered with Christ into the highest heavens, 
with all the pomp and splendour which invested Sinai, at the pro- 
mulgation of the law. 

On this day the Spirit of grace and truth desciended upon the 
Apostles of our Lord and Saviour; baptized them with fire; endu- 
ed them with inspiration, the gift of tongues, and the spirit of 
prophecy ; gave them to understand the Gospel in its glorious 
mysteries; and enabled them, with wonderful miracles, to prove 
its divine origin, and thus to erect the spiritual kingdom of God in 
^ .the world. 

All these examples, the most august, the most amazing, wl.ich 
the universe ever beheld, leave their whole weight, their infinite 
authority, upon this institution Every Christian, therefore, while 
he keeps the Sabbath holy unto God, ought, in order to cjuick- 
en himself in his duty, to rem? nber, that on this sacred day (iod 
rested; that his Redeemer rested ; that the Spirit of Grace de- 
scended ; and that angels repeatedly united together in eni*aptiired 
Vol. III. 36 


pituse* Nor ought he, in any wise, to forget that no institution 
can plead so many, and so great things, done to solemnize and 
, consecrate it as holy unto God, and as indispensably biqding upon 

. 3. We learn from the observations already made^ with what emo* 
tions the Sabbath ought to be regarded by its. 

We assemble in the house of God, to glorify him in the religious 
worship which he has appointed ; to seek the everlasting life of 
our own souls; to obtain and increase hoHness in our hearts; to 
remember, admire^ and celebrate, the wonderful works of ihe old 
and new creations, and the glorious perfections of the Creator and 
Redeemer. What emotions ought we to feel while engaged in this 
divine employment? Such, unquestionably, as Angels experi- 
enced, when these works were done, and these perfections were 
displayed. • 

Particularly, the Sabbath demands of all men profound Reverence 
and solemn Awe. All the things which have been mentioned are 
supremely great, sublime, and wonderful. The most awful of all 
beings is brought near to our hearts, and presents himself before 
our eyes, in manifestations of the most, majestic and astonishing 
nature. Had we been present at the work of creation, and heard 
the awful command which brought into being the immense mass of 
original elements : had we seen the light at the bidding of die 
groat Workman, disclose, and involve the formless confusion ; the 
sea and the dry land separate ; the grass, the heibs, and the trees^ 
instantaneously arise, and clothe the earth in one universal robe of 
life and beauty ; the sun, the moon, and the stars lighted uj» in the 
heavens; the various animals filling the world with Jiving beings; 
^d man the lord, the crown, and the glory of the whole, formed a 
tetional and immortal being, to understand, enjoy, and C( K brate, 
the divine work : could we have failed to experience the most pro- 
found awe, amid this complication of infinite wonders, and lo glo- 
rify the great Author of them with that fear of the Lord^ zvhick is 
the beginning of wisdom 1 

Had we again been present at the Crucifixion of our divine 
Redeemer, and beheld the earth tremble, the rocks rend, ihe veil 
of the temple part asunder, the graves open, the saints ari>e, and 
tbe sun hicle his face in darkness ; had we accompanied his body 
to the tomb, and watched the descent of the Angel, ihe convul- 
sions of the second earthquake, the lightnings which siieamed 
from his countenance, and the swooning of the guards who kept 
the sepulchre ; had we seen our Lord resume his life, come forth 
from the grave to his doubting, trembling disciples ; had we 
seen him rise from the earth, enter the bosom of the cloud of 
glory, and, with a solemn and magnificent progress, ascend to the 
neaven:? ; must not the same awful emotions have been instinctively 

• * 


But all these things, this sacred day, this divine festival, plitces 
before our eyes. It, at the same time, we further remeni her, that 
we are in the house of God ; that hither he comes to meet' us oa.', 
designs of infinite love ; to forcive our sins, to renew, receive, and ' 
rfave our souls ; that we stand before him as sinners, as ap.ostates, 
coiKiemned, ruined, helpless, and, in oursqlves, hopeless, "also ; 
that we are suppliants for mere mercy, dependent on the obedience 
of another, and without any righteousness of our own ; must we 
not feel our littleness and our guilt ? Must we not, insiiiK lively, 
lav our hands on our mouths, and our mouths i»the dust, and cry, 
" Unclean ?" Can we fail to fear that glorious and /earful nanUj 
Jehovah, our God?" 

This emotion every thing in the Scriptures conspires to improve 
and strengthen. The Law of God, with all its commands, promises 
and threatenings, its divine rewards and amazing penalties; the 
Gospel, with its splemn estabhshment of ihe Law, its remedies for 
the nn perfections of the Law, as the means of life for sinners, its 
glorious invitations, suj)reme allurements, and heavenly promises; 
conspire with infinite force to persuade Ub to fear the Lord our 
God^ and to tremble at his word. He, who is thoughtless and irrev- 
erent here, ought to have considered how he would have felt amid 
the thunders, the lightnings, the earthquake, the sound of tiie trum* 
pet, and the flame of devouring fire, irom which tlie Creator said, 
Kemember the Sabbath day ^ to keep it holy. To this mail, inope than 
to almost any other sinner, is addressed that humbling rebuke, 
The ox knoweth his owner^ and the ass his master^s crib ; but Israel 
dcth not know ; my people doth not consider. 

At the same time, the Sabbath is to be regarded with peculiar 

All things relating to the Sabbath, are not only solemn, but JMi» 
fill, things. At the Creation, a new Universe started up inta)Mh 
ing ; and life, reason, virtue, and immortality, were given to an 
endless multitude of creatures. At the New Creation, an endless 
multitude of perishing sinners, destined to eternal sin and eternal 
wo, were recalled from the melancholy regions of death and de- 
pravity to immortal holiness, life, and glory. On these stupendous 
occasions all the Sons of God shouted for joy. We are siill more 
interested in the last of them, than they could be : for we amfte 
miserable beings, who are redeemed, and saved. On the Sab- 
bath, the great body of the Church has been brought into the , 
kingdom of grace, and prepared for the kingdom of glory. On 
tlic first Sabbath, upon which began the great work of erecting 
the kingdom of Christ in the worla by the Aposdes, three thousand 
souls were added unto the Lord. On the first Sabbath, the Apostles 
were baptized with the Holy Ghost^ and with fire, and divinely em- 
powered to spread salvation through the world. On the Sabbath, 
the souls of men liave ever since been flocking into the kins;dom of 
Christ, and taking possession of immortality* The Sabbath has 


' fe4 R£F£ECnONS ON [SER. GDL 

been the great means of preserving that kingdom. To the Sab- 
bath it is owing, that the glad tidings of salvation are now heard in 
this desolate world. To the Sabbath it is owing, that in this land, 
where, ever since the deluge, nothing was heard but the bowlings 
of wild beasts, the war-screams of savages, or the groans of tor- 
ture and death, now through a thousand Churches is weekly re- 
sounded tlie music of heaven, and the proclamation of life eternal 
to mankind. The Sabbath is appropriately the accepted time^ it is 
eminently the day of salvation. To the Sabbath will our salvation 
be owed, if we attain salvation. On the Sabbath, all Christian 
assemblies meet to offer up their humble prayers ; to send up their 
hymns of praise to \hm Father who is in heaven^ to teach, and re- 
ceive, the words of eternal life ; to be baptized in the name of the 
Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; and to receive the body 
and blood of their crucified Redeemer. On the Sabbath, the 
Christian world bears, in this manner, no unhappy resemblance of 
heaven ; and a little part of the melancholy hours of time becomes 
a fair image of the pure and never-ending Sabbath beyond the 

^Yilh these delightful things in view, can we fail to unite with 
the Church ofthefrst-born^dnid the innumerable company of Angels^ 
and repeat and respond their divine exultation ? Shall not our 
sons bear an hi^ble unison with theirs? Shall not the joy which 
- they fc*l V|l4he '^at business of this day, the repentance and re- 
turn of sinners, fmd a welcome admission to our hearts ? Shall we 
not rejoice in Him that made us ; shall not the children of Zion be 
joyful in their King ? 

God on this day rejoiced over the creation, which his hands had 
made. Angels rejoiced in the wonders of the work, and in the 
i/divine Workman. Christ rejoiced over the Church, which here- 
. fleemod with his own blood. Heaven has rejoiced at every return 
of this delightful season ; and renewed its transports over all the 
sons of Adam, whom this day has with divine eflScacy raised from 
death to life. The Lord God is now our Sun, and our Shield, 
Now he gives grace and glory. This day he withholds no good 
thing from them that walk uprightly. Let mortals behold mesc 
things with wonder and gratulation ; and anticipate the pure and 
permanent transports of the everlasting Sabbath in the heavens. 

Nor is this holy day to be less regarded with Gratitude, 

All the benevolent things, which God has done for us, this day 
brings before our eyes. Our being, our daily blessings, our Re- 
-demption, our Salvation, the resumed character of holiness, the 
title to endless life, the final escape from sin and misery, this heav- 
enly season proclaims with an unceasing voice. At this seasoO) 
God comes aown to dwell among men, devested, with respect to 
all who are willing to receive him, of the awful frowns of an of- 
fended Juvlge, clothed with the smiles of an eternal benefactor, and 
adorned with the endearing titles of the Father, the Redeemesr, 


8ER. COL] THE SABilTH. t35 

and the Sanctificr, of man. Here, the calls to ^titiide are all 
united. The blessings of earth and heaven, of tune and eternity, 
here invite us to love, and praise, the Author of all our mercies. 
Can we fail to render to him according to his benefits ? Can we fail, 
this day to ascribe blessings and honour, and glory , 0nd power, 
to Him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and 

4. How ought the Christian Church to bless God for this Insti- 

To this Institution we owe far the CTeater part of the spiritual 
blessings, which we enjoy ; and in a nigh sense, we owe them all* 
But for this day, we should peither have sought, nor secured, eter- 
nal life : for where no Sabbath is, there is no religion. But for 
this day, earthly things would have engrossed all our thoughts* 
Honour, wealth, and pleasure, are the real Syrens, which charm 
mai\kind to shipwreck and death. To their songs the eiair of man 
is by nature attuned, and the heart beats in regular response* 
But for this day, the world, as a canker, would rust, corrupt, and 
consume all the disposition to piety, and all the hopes of heaven. 
The soul would be oenumbed. Keligion would die. God would 
be forgotten. The death of Christ would be vain. Mankind, 
would cease to be saved : and heaven would fail of her destined 
inhabitants. How desolate the prospect ! How strongly would 
this world resemble the regions of final despak} Td^||lMl9r<Sab- i< 
bath dawns ; where no prayers nor praises ascend ; no sermons 
proclaim pardon and peace to sinners ; the voice of mercy never 
sounds ; and the smiles of forgiving, redeeming, and sanctifying 
love never illumine the dreary valley of the shadow of death. 

All things, pertaining to salvation, are social things ; ilnnes of 
general participation and powerful sympathy. They exist chiefly 
m multitudes. Without the Sabbath, there is no reason to believe, 
that they could exist at all. Not where one is employed in reli- 
gious worship, merely, nor principally ; but where two or thrts 
are met together in the name of Christ ; is his presence promised* 
Not in the closet, the recess, or the solitude, out on Zion, whither 
the tribes go up, has the Lord commanded the blessing, even life 
for evermore. 

5. IVhat an illustrious type is the Sabbath, of the everlasting resl^ 
enjoyed by the Children of God ! 

The Sabbath is a rest from sin, business, and pleasure ; a day. 
in which God is worshipped, divine knowledge improved, and 
holiness attained and increased ; a day, in which saints delight* 
fully commune, and joyfully celebrate the wonders of Creation, 
anci the sublimer wonders of Redemption. On the Sabbath, God 
is peculiarly present, reconciled, forgiving, and sanctifying ; and 
the spirit of truth eminently communicates comfortable evidence 
of divine love, whispers peace, and inspires joy. The Sabbath 
is, therefore, the day of nope and consolation, of enjoyment and 


Si6 4' RSnECnONSi fce. [8EB.C0L 

triumph ; the foret^te of heaven ; the entrance to the glorious as- 
sembly of the bleiMicl. 

The future rest of the children of God is ^vinely formed of 
these delightful ingredients. Here eternal peace begins its undis* 
tUrbed reign over all the great kinsdom of Jehol^ah. Here, im- 
mortal minds are consummated in uat hqlness, which is (^ imagt 
of thdheavenlif Jldamm Here, those minds, in the exercise oi 
that hi^ness^.'<mth ezalfed friendship, and pure vnbosome^ illter- 
course, commence their everlasting joy. Here, God is allifalL 
Here^ be unvtils l^s face, and discloses the amiles of infinitii Jove 
to* the assembly of 4he first bom. And hereMk Lamb, the 

tf Godj and tlU ii^ht of heaven/illumines alf dieir thoughts, (;piclt- J 
ens all their affections, /«e(if (Aem «u<A /tvuijg brecut^ leads them U ^ 
•fowUams of living waters^ Had awakens into transport^ their hj/nmt 
f^neter-^fidifig praise. 



noKT Uyjattirr anil llivmoihCT,lhat thydayi 
\t land v/liicli Ike Lordlhn Gadgitclk tlite. 

T.HE four first Commands of the Decalogue enjoin ihose which 
'e called the Ditties of Pieli/. These were written on (he first ta- 
le; and were summed uphy Moses, and by Christ, in this general 
le : 7'hou skalt lote the Lord thy God with all thf heart, mil/t all 
y soul, icUh all thy mind, and jcilh all thy strength. \Vc are now 
liering ujwn the consideration of the fix last; directing what are 
loimonly called the duties of Morality, or our dtUies tooiards man' 
nd. These were written upon the second table, and are summed 
) by Moses, by Christ, and by St. Paul, in the second great com- 1 

and, styled by St. Jam'.a, the Royal law : Thou shall love thy t^- 

ighhmir as thyself. The first of these Commands is the text. A 

i a general preface to the observations, which I propose (omake, * ■ 

ccessively, on these Commands, it will be proper lo remark, that ft^ 

ey are universally to be extended according to the interpretation, # , 

ren by our Saviour of the sixth and seventh, in his Sermon on the i 

ount. In commenting on the former of these, Christ teaches us, 
It to be angry mth our brother icilkout a cause, lo say unto him 
tea, or thou fool, is to be guilty of a breach of this command. | 

commenting on the seventh, he declares thai whosoever looktih \ 

a woman, to lust after her, the same hath commUted adultery mtK . 

r, already, in his heart. Generally, all these precepts are to be 
videred as directing our duly, in all respects, which by inference 
analogy, can be fairly arranged under them. Accordingly, (lo . j 

re an example) 1 Bhall consider this command as regulating tie M 

lies, reciprocally owed by parents and children, magistrates " 

d subjects, and by other classes of mankind in 'heir several 
alions. Thai I am warranted in this mjde of explaining 
!se precepts, is, I think, evident from the conduct of our Sav- I 

ir. 1 shall only add, that in this manner they have been gen- I 

lily understood by divines, and extensively declared in Gate- j 

isma : For example, in that of the iVestmitister Asapmh\y, that H 

Dr. XoKell, and that of King Edward. In the examination of ' 

I subjects, involved in this command, 1 shall begin with that, 
lich IS directly expressed : rus duty or Childrcn to their 






The word honour^ by which this duty is here enjoined, is chosen 
with supreme felicity; as being sufficiently comprehensive, and 
suflBcionily definite, to express with as much exactness, as can easi- 
ly be compassed, all the several branches of duty, which parents 
can equitably demand of their children. Particularly, it is ex- 
plained by Christ, commenting. Matt. xv. 3, on the vile fetch, by 
which the Pharisees released meir disciples from obedience to this 
precept, to involve the obligation of .children to support their pa- 
rents in tlieir indigence^ ana old age* It is also explained by SU 
Paul, as enjoining the universal obedience of children* In its own 
primary sense, also, it denotes all the affectum, and veneration^ 
which children owe to their parents^ and which constitute so exten- 
sive and important a part of filial piety. 

Filial duties are so numerous, that many volumes mieht be writ- 
ten on this subject only, without particularizing them an. Within 
the limits prescribed to these discourses, it is obvious, nothing more 
can be done, than to exhibit briefly the prominent things, included 
in this and the following precepts. Nothing nnore, therefore, will 
be attempted. According to this plan, Filial Duty may be ad- 
vantageously comprised under the following heads. 

I. Children are bound to regard their parents with respect and 
reverence at all times. 

Particularly, these exercises of filial piety are, 

1 . To exist in the Thoughts. 

Keep thy hearty said David to Solomon, with all diligence ; for 
out of it are the issues of life. All good proceeds from this source, 
as well as all evil. In vain will children labour to perform their 
duty in any other manner, if they neglect it in this. Here, the 
whole course of filial piety begins ; and, if not commenced here, 
will never be pursued with any success. Thoughts are the soul, 
the living principle of all duty. Every thing else is a lifeless body 
without a soul, a shadow without a suDstance. 

Every child is bound to entertain the most respectful and rev- 
erential thoughts concerning his parents, and concerning the pa- 
rental character. He is to remember, and regard his parents, as 
standing in the most venerable, and the most endearing, of all earth- 
ly reunions to him; as those, to whom, under God, he owes his 
being, and the great mass of his blessings. He is to regard them 
as the [)'^rsons, to whose kindness, care, and government, he has 
been cc>mmitted by God himself. He is to consider them as the 
best or all friends; the most affectionate, the most faithful, the 
most confidential, the most persevering, the most watchful, the most 

Hif> afections towards them ought ever to be reverential, grateful, 
warm, and full of kindness. Whatever his plans or purposeiare, 
he ought invariably to feel, that they will be most safely, and in 
ever}' case of any importance should be regularly, entrusted to 
them for advice and direction. Parents, unless when under the 




immediate influence of some strong passion or prejudice, very 
rarely oppote, of design, the real interests of their children. AI« 
most all the counsels, injunctions, and reproofs, which they give, 
and which the children at times consider as unkind, are given, in- 
tentionally at least, for their good; and ought to be regarded only 
in this manner. Children arc bound to fix in their minds a habit- 
ual sense of the superior station, and wisdom, of their parents, and 
of their own inferiority in all these respects. Their tnoughts and 
affections towards them ought, universally, to spring from this sense 
of their superiority : a superiority, originated oy the creating hand 
of God, and consummated by his most holy law. To this serse 
ought all their views to be conformed, llie beginnings of irrev- 
erence, the first tendencies towards disadvantageous, hght, disre- 
spectful apprehensions concerning them, they are bound to crush 
in the bud, and to cultivate with watchful care every affectionate 
and respectful emotion. 

By the Providence of God it is frequently brought to pass, that 
parents are in humble life ; uneducated; ignorant; little regarded 
oy the world ; irreligious ; not unfrequently openly vicious, and 
sometimes plainly scandalous. Here, filial piety, it must be ac- 
knowledged, becomes a harder task; and especially in the last 
mentioned cases, is attended with serious difficulty in its various 
duties. Children are, however, to ropembcr, that God has given 
even the children of such parents no dispensation, with respect to 
their filial duties. The Command in the text is addressed to thtm 
no less absolutely than to other children. As their case is more 
difficult ; they are required to make more careful and vigorous ex- 
ertions; to forget the personal character, and to remember., only 
the parental. The children may be better educated ; may know 
more ; may have better dispositions; and may sustain better char- 
acters. Let them remember, that to God in the first place, and 
ordinarily, to these verj parents in the second, they owe these 
blessings : and let them show their gratitude, their superior under- 
standing, to the eye of Him, from whom they derive their all, by 
cultivatmg the sentiments which I have urged!, and by resisting ef- 
fectually those which I have condemned. He who gave tnem 
parents, he who made them children, he. who said to them, Honour 
thy father and thy mother j has an indisputable right to require this 
conduct at their hands. If the duty is difficult ; it is proportional- 
ly excellent, honourable, and lovely. 

2. The same exercises of filial piety art to be manifested in th$ 
Words of children* 

The words, uttered by children, which respect their parents in 
any manner, are to correspond with the thoughts, which nave been 
here recommended, and, if effectual care is taken to make the 
tlionghts right, the words will be right of course. 

\V ncn children speak to their parents, they are required ever 
to speak modestly, submissively, and respectfully. Whatever 

Vol. 111. 37 

290 ' - D^^TT OF CHILDREN. [SER. CX 

opinions children may entertain, which may differ from those of 
their parents in any case, it is their duty to propose with humility, 
meekness, and respect. They are to address them, not as dispu- 
tants ; not as equals ; but as children ; as modest inferiors. Both 
their words, and their manner of uttering them, should bear une- 
quivocal evidence, that they are conscious of this character. 

When children speak of their parents to others, they are bound 
to speak with the most exact cautipn, and with similar respect; 
and never to say any thing concerning them, which they would be 
unwilling to say to them, when present. It is their duty invaria- 
bly to endeavour, so far as truth and propriety will admit, to ren- 
der tboHiharacter of their parents respectable in the eyafjof others. 
The iaults of their parents it is their duty to conceal ; uieir excel- 
lencies always readily to admit ; and to experience, and manifest, 
their satisfaction, when others admit them. They are not indeed 
to boast of the good <{ikalities of their parents ; as they are not to 
boast of any thing else ; but with modesty and propriety to wel- 
come them, when mentioned by others ; and, when they have a 
becoming occasion, to speak of them themselves. 

Sometimes children are compelled to the mortification of hear* 
ing their parents ill spoken of by others. Their duty then requires 
them, w&enever they can do it with success, to repel the ungener- 
' Otis attack, and to defend the character of their parents. If this 
is not in their power ; they are bound to manifest their indigna- 
tion and disgust, by such aeclarations as the nature of the case 
demands ; and at least to prevent themselves from the pain, and 
mischief, produced by such conversation, by withdrawing finally, 
^ fixMii' persons of this unreasonable and abusive character. 

S* The same spirit ought to appear in all the Deportment of 

The deportment of children, when their parents are present, 
ought to exhibit every mark of respect. The honour, required in 
the text, ought, in the literal sense, to be here invariably render- 
ed, without qualification, without reserve, without reluctance. 
However humole the station, the circumstances, the education or 
the manners of parents may be; the child, instead of discovering, 
that he is ashamed of theniy or of assuming to himself airs of impor- 
■ tance, is bound cheerfully to acknowledge their proper superiori- 
ty ; to exhibit towards them a respectful deference ; and always to 
Srevent even a remote suspicion, that he is reluctant to give them 
leir proper place. 
\ II. Children are bound to obey the Commands of their parents. 
'■ ^ That it is the province of parents to govern, and that of Chil- 
ian to obey, will not be questioned. Nor will it be doubted, 
that children are equally hound to abstain from things, prohibited 
by their parents, as to perform those, which they enjoin. Of this 
obedience it may be observed, 

1. TTiat tt ought to be uniform andfaithfuL 



ChildrtTi, says Si. Pom/, obey jfonr parents in all things ; for 
this it right, and niell'pleaaing to the. LotH. To the universality 
of this precept there is but one escpptlon ; and that is when the 
injunction is contrary to the Law of God. The obedience of Ut- 
ile children ought undoubtedly to be implicit. They are plainly- 
incapable of directing their own conduct ; and parents are appoint- 
ed by God himself to direct it. While il is the duly of the parent 
lo instruct his child in the nature of moral conduct, and the rea- 
sonableness, and rectitude of his own commands, as fast as the 
understanding of the child will permit ; and to give no commands, 
which are not agreeable to the will of God : il is undoubtedly ine 
duly of itechilalo obey every parental precept, except Boch as 
are of this, nature. To this rule I know of no exception. 

Filial obedience is commonly rendered without much difficulty, 
when parents are present. Every child should remember, that 
his obligations to onedicnce arp not lessened by their absence; 
that God is then present ; that he has required iliem not to obey 
with eye-service ; and that he records all ibcir conduct in the book 
of his remembrance. 

They are, also, ever to keep in mind, thai they are required to 
obey difficuU commands, as well as those which are easy; those 
which require much scl ."-denial, labour, and Irouble, M well as 
those which are altendc.i only with pleasure ; those in wtuch their 
disobedience will never be delected, as well as those in which it 
will certainly be known. No other obedience deserves the name 
of faithful. 

2. Pdial Obedience ought to he ready and cheerful. 
This is the only obedience which commends itself to the com*" 
mon sense of mankind, or which is of any value in the sight of 
God. In this obedience the heart is concerned, and the child ac- 
tive. Every thing else, which goes under this naiue, is constrain- 
ed ; hypocritical ; a cheat ; a sin. No other is regarded \a the 
Scriptures. To suslain this character, the obedience of children 
should be rendered without opposition, and without delay. A great 
part of the value of Filial Obedience arises from the manner, in 
which it is rendered. God himself lovei the cheerful giver. Man- 
kind have esaclly the same views of this subject ; and universally 
consider that, which is done grudgingly, as little better, and often 
worse, than if it had not been done at all. 

ill. Children are bound to do wkatevtr viilt reasonably contribvla I 

to the happiness of their parents, whether commanded or not. 

The modes, in which this part of filial duly is to be rendered, 
are so numerous, that it is impossible to reciie them. It will be 
fiulficient to observe, at the present lime, that no filial piety is mora 
lovely, or more accordant with the text, than that which attentive- 
ly prevents the wants, the commands, and the wishes, of parents ; 
. which adds to their comforts, and lessens their troubles, in a thou- 


sand indescribable ways, readily ofiering themselves to the mind 
of a dutiful child. 

One of the happiest, modes of obeying the text is found in the 
discreet^ amiable^ and virtuous^ behaviour of children. Parents are 
delightfully honoured, when their children exhibit excellent con- 
duct before mankind ; and thus acquire the apj^robation and good- 
will of those around them. In this case they render a very pleas- 
ing, and very honourable, tribute to the parental wisdom, care, 
and faithfulness, employed in their education ; and show in the 
strongest manner, tnat the precepts, by which they have been 
trained up, have been received by thera with such reverence and 
piety, as to have a commanding influence upon their lives. In this 
manner children become the gtory of their parents j and the crovm 
of grey hairs. 

The deities of children obviously change with the change of agt 
and circumstances. When they are very young, their obedience, as 
I remarked, must be implicit. They are to obey without investi- 
gation, inquiry, or doubt; for this plain reason, that they are inca- 
pable, altogether, of judging for themselves. But they are to be 
S ^ ^^ J"^S^' ^^ early as thoir years and understanding will 
t. This is indispensal ! ^ : ! ?cause by learning, habitually, 
lasoDS on w: :;^h their j .•• jiiio' commands are founded, they 
will soon learn to think, that they are all reasonable ; and obey 
' them with more readiness, and exactness, on this account ; and be- 
* cause many cases will occur, in which their parents cannot be 

Present, and in which, therefore, they must judge for themselves, 
'his, it is plain, they cannot do, unless they are taught. Jls they 
advance in years and understanding, the nature of their obedienCC 
will vary, chiefly from this circumstance, that they understand their 
duty, and the reasons on which it is founded ; and are therefore re- 
quired to perform it from a due regard to its nature and importance, 
to the law of God which established it, and to the character and 
kindness of their parents which demand it from their reverence 
and their gratitude. In other respects, their obedience is found- 
ed on the same principles, during the whole period of their 

Nor do the same rules apply to them in a very different man- 
ner, after they have arriSea at adult years ; so long as they con- 
tinue in their father's house, and are members of his family. In 
this situation, however, the circumstances of both parents and 
children vary so much, that the relations and duties of both are 
usually modified by some plan, or compact, between them, suf- 
ficiently understood to serve as a rule, by which the conduct of 
the child is to be directed. I shall, therefore, think it necessary 
only to observe, that, when children have faithfully performed 
their duty to this period, they rarely fail of performing it after- 


When children have left their father^s house ; (heir circumstan- 
ces become more materially changed, and with them, in sctc- 
ral respects, their duties. They then have separate interests, and 
business of their own ; and usually families also. When God iti^ 
stituted marriage, he authorized children to leave the house, and 
government, of their parents. For this cause, said the Creator, " 
shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his 
wife. Matthew xix. 4, 5. In this situation, then, children become 
parents, heads of families, invested with all the authority, possessed 
of all the rights, and subjected to all the duties, pertaining to their 
own fiarents. It is impossible, that in these circumstances they 
should fulfil their former duties, as children under the government 
of their parents, unless they neglect those, which are indispensable 
in their present situation. From many of these duties, tnerefore, 
they are released. 

Still ; as they are more indebted to their parents than to any other 
human beings, and incomparably more indebted, at least in ordi- 
nary cases ; their remaining duties to their parents are numerous 
and important. In this situation, more frequently than any other, 
they are required to contribute to the maintenance of dieir pa- 
rents. This is made by our Saviour to be so important a oranclt 
of the command in our text, that he declares the Pharisees^^yfho 
by a fraudulent comment on this precept had released men from' 
the duty in question, to have made this command of God of none ef* 
feet hu their tradition. \n this period, also, they are bound as much as 
may be, to nurse and sooth their parents in pain and sickness ; to 
bear patiently and kindly their infirmities of body and mind ; to 
alleviate their distresses ; to give them the cheermg influence of 
their company and conversation ; and in these and various other 
ways to serene and brighten the evening, but too frequently a 
melancholy one, of old age. 

The children of sinful parents have always a difficult task to 
perform. To a pious child, a parent, visibly going down in the 
broad and crooked road that leads to destruction, is a sight be- 
yond measure distressing. That a child, thus situated, is bound 
m every discreet and efficacious manner to prevent, as far as may 
be, the awful catastrophe, will not be Questioned, unless by an 
atheiht. What is to be done in so dreadful a case, it will be im- 
possible to prescribe here, unless in very general terms. Every 
child will know indeed, without information, that his prayers are to 
be offered up for his parent, and his own pious example pre- 
sented to him, without ceasing. Every child also knows, that all 
his own measures, whatever they may oe in other respects, are to 
be obedient, modest, and reverential. No other measures can, in 
these circumstances, be hopefully followed by any good conse- 
quences. Still, they may be sufficiently plain and unequivocal M 
to their meaning. 





Among the efibrts, made by such a child in addition to his own 
. discrc'tri personal conduct and conversation, few seem better fitted 
^ Joiapswer the end in view, than inducing persons, possessed of 
/ XtoQWri wisdom and piety, especially those of an engaging deport 
mtnt. frequently to visit the parent, and persuading him also ofieo 
to visit them; placing books of a religious nature, written in a 
plea'iiiii; and interesting manner, within his reach ; alluring him 
reguLirly to the house of God, and to private religious assem- 
blies ; and introducing without any apparent design, religious topics, 
especi;»lly those which are peculiarly interesting, as often as may 
be with propriety. In my own view, the child is also b6und mod- 
estly, submissively, and discreetly, to remonstrate against the 
visiDle wickedness of the parent. 1 can see no reason, which will 
justify a child' in the omission of this duty ; although I am not 
unaware of the peculiar difficulties which attend it, nor unapprised 
of the peculiar delicacy, and prudence, which it demands. Re- 
prooi', even from equals, or superiors, requires more skill, and 
care, in order to render it successful, than fall to the lot of most 
men. In a child to a parent it must be singularly embarrassing. 

A l|ss delicate task, yet still attended with many difficulties, lies 
in avoiilin^ the influence, naturally presented, and often but too 
efficaciously, by the sentiments, precepts, and examples, of evil 
parenis. The parental character is so venerable, so authoritative, 
so endearing, and so persuasive, that the child, who escapes its 
mali^^.'iant influence, when employed to encourage sin, may well 
be considered as eminently the object of the divine favour. Still 
it is possible ; and has existed in multiplied instances. Abijah es- 
caped even in the house of Jeroboam; Hezekiah in that of Ahaz; 
and Josiah in that of Amon. Thus, also, has the fact often been in all 
succeeding ages of time. Children, therefore, instead of despair- 
ing, should gird themselves with watchfulness and resolution, suit- 
ed to their circumstances ; should continually, and fervently, 
beseech God to guard them by his good Spirit from the dan- 
gers, in which they stand; should watch their own conduct with 
peculiiir anxiety; should seek for wisdom, and direction, from 
religious books, especially from the Scriptures; and should 
ask a' 1 vice, countenance, and assistance, from those among their 
friend-i who are persons of piety. The company of such per- 
sons counteracts, in a manner invaluable, the influence of evil 
eXamj;lc. He that walketh with wise men, says God, shall be 

Having thus given a summary account of the Duties of chil- 
dren, i shall now proceed to mention several Reasons to enforce 

1 . /JiYry considerate child will feel his filial duty strongly urged 
by thi Excellence of this canductj and the Odioasness of filial 

» • 1 


8ER. ex.] UUTT OF CHILDREN. 295 

Tbi^ is one of the few moral siibjects, concerning which all men 
are a^uctl. Tne writers of all ages and of all couniries, hive' f 
taught \!> with a single voice, that to the coqimon eye of manfcin^. * 
no oi>j< ( t is more amiable, or more delightful, than a dutiful am - 
virtuuj> child. TIjis charming object commends itself, at first 
view, i'> ihc natural feelings, the judgment, and the conscience, 
of all ii.ciu It commends itself at once, without dehbei*ation, and 
without doubt. It has commended itself to persons of every char- 
acter, ill every age, and in every country. It is esteemed : it is 
loved. The afibction which it excites, and the reputation, which 
it protiuces, are sincere, solid, and permanent. Nothing more 
certainly generates esteem: nothing more uniformly creates friends. 
It is a kind of glory, surrounding the <:hild, wherever he goes, 
seen, foit, and aclcnowledged, by all men, and conferring a distinc- 
tion, otherwise unattainable. All persons presage well of such a 
child : and he is expected, of course, to fill every station, to which 
his talents are suited, with propriety, and honour. 

An uhdutiful child, on the contrary, brands his own character 
urith odiousncss and infamy. No person sees him, or thinks of 
him, without pain and disgust. No parent is willing, that his own 
children should become his companions. The vilest persons re- 
gard him with contempt and abhorrence ; the best, with pity and 
indignation. A parent, on his death-bed, hardly knows how to ask 
a blessing for him: and those, who survive, are still more unable 
to believe it will descend upon his head. 

2. Considerate children will find another powerful reason for 
filial dutij in the Pleasure^ which it gives their parents. 

Nothing, which takes place in human life, creates a higher, more 

S?nuine, or more unmingled, pleasure in the minds of parents, than 
e pious and dutiful conduct of their children. It is indeed inx- 
i)ossible, that a child should form adequate conceptions of the de- 
ight, which such conduct awakens in tne parental heart. Experi- 
ence only can completely teach the nature of this emotion. Still, 
children cannot but know, that their parents in this manner find 
exquisite enjoyment ; nor can they be ignorant, that to produce it 
is one of their own chief blessings, as well as one of their indispen- 
sable duties. Filial Piety is a continual feast; an ample reward 
for every parental care, toil, watching, anxiety, and prayer. It 
sweetens all the bitterness of human life ; and adds an exquisite 
relish to every comforL The burdens of life it makes light and 
easy ; and is the most supporting stay, on this side of heaven, to the 
weary stops of declining age. 

An undutiful child, on the other hand, is a broken reed^ on whichj 
if a man Ican^ it shall thrust through /tis hand^ and pierce him. A 
foolish son '^ a heaviness jaiWke to his father and his mother^ a spot 
on their character; a trial of their patience ; a blast upon their 
hopes ; a nuisance to their family ; and a thorn in their hearts. 

'■ .»• 

. \t : 





3. Tfu demands of Gratitude present a combination of such lM» 
eons to every such child^for the same conduct. . ^^ 

. Parental love is unrivalled by any affection of the human br^k 
in its strength, its tenderness, its patience, its permanency, and its 
cheerful self-denial. The labours which it undergoes, and the 
willingness with which it undergoes them, are unexampled in the 
concerns of man. Mo other affection toils with the same readiness 
and patience, or voluntarily encoujiters the same waichings, cares, 
pains, and anxieties. None prompts so many prayers ; none 
awakens so many tears* Most of , human life, after we arrive at 
adult age, is spent in providing for the wants, alleviating the suf- 
ferings, removmg the diseases, furnishing the education, guarding 
the conduct, securing the safety, accomplishing the settlement, 
and promoting the salvation, of children. More is done by pa- 
rents, and daily done, than children can ever realize, until they are 
called to do tne same things for their own offspring. All, at the 
same lime, are efforts of tenderness merely. These eflTorts are 
almost without number; this tenderness almost without degree. 
What child, who remembers that he is indebted to his parents for 
his being, and under God for almost every blessing which he en- 
joys, for almost all that he is, and almost all that he has, can fail to 
feel, and to acknowledge, that the utmost, which he can do in the 
proper course of filial piety, is an imperfect requital for such affec- 
tions, and such blessings, as these ? That there are such beings I 
am reluctantly compelled to confess. Children they ought not to 
be callcHJ. They are unworthy of the name* They are monstrous 
productions, out of the course of nature ; and, like all such pro- 
ductions, fill the mind only with loathing and horror. Let suck. 
children remember, that thev are objects of still more abhorrem 
to God, than to men. Let tnem remember, that this gi*eat and aw- 
ful Being, who has styled himself the Father of mankind, and who 
has imaged his own tenderness for his creatures by that of a father 
to his children, will, at the final day, vindicate the parental rights in 
a terrible manner by inflicting the severest punishment on undutiful 

4. The great Advantages of filial piety present strong reasons 
for the practice of it to children of every character* 

Of the text St. Paul observes, when enjoining the duties of it 
upon the children of the Ephesian Christians, that it is the first 
Commandment with promise. Accordingly, he urges their obe- 
dience to it upon the very ground of this promise, that their dmjt 
also might be long upon the land^ which the Lord their God had giv- 
en them. This promise, therefore, to such an extent, that an Apos- 
tle thought proper to urge it upon the Ephesian Christinns, extends 
to the Gentiles. The promises to the Jews, in most instances, an- 
nounced temporal blessings only. Those, which are made to 
.£^istians, chiefly convey spiritual blessings. But that, which ifl 
tontained in the text, conveys temporal blessings also* In ooit 


TWSing wilh ihe plain people of this country, distingaished for 
Ibetr good sense, and careful observaiion of facts, I have found 
them, to a great extent, firmly persuaded of the verification of thig 

firomise in our own days ; and ready to produce a variety of proofs 
rom cases, in which they have seen the blessing realized. Their 
opinion on ihis subject Is mine ; and with their experience my own 
has coincided. 

Indeed, no small measure of prosperity seems ordinarily inter- 
roonen'wiih a course of filial pieiy. The comfort which ii insures 
to parents, the harmony which it produces in the family, Ihe peace 
which it yields to the conscience, are all esseniiai ingredients of 
happiness. To these ii adds the approbation of every beholder, 
the possession of a fair and lasting reputation ; the confidence, 
and good-will of every worthy man ; and, of consequence, ani op- 
portunity of easily gaining those useful employments, which wor- 
thy men have to give. Beyond this, it naturally associates wilh 
itself that temperance, moderation, and sobriety, which furnish a 
solid foundation for health and long life. In my own apprehen- 
sion, however, these are not all its blessings. I do not believe, 
that miracles are wrought for its reward. Neither will 1 say, that 
purer gales breathe, to preserve its health; nor that softer suns 
arise, or more timely rains descend, to mature its harvests; nor 
that more propitious winds blow, to waft its ships home in safety. 
But I will say, that on the tide of providence multiplied blessings 
are borne into its possession, at seasons when ihey are unexpect- 
ed, in ways unforeseen, and by means unprovided by its own 
|_ forecast, which are oCten of high importance ; which altogether, 
^^^tituie a rich pfo'portion of prosperity ; and which, usually, are 
not found by persons of the contrary character. 

At the same time, those, who act well as children, almost of 
course act well as men and women ; and thus have taken, without 
design, the cion of happiness from the parental Adck, and grafted 
it upon other stems, wnich bear fruit abundantly to ibeusclTea. 
Here, in the language of Dr. Watts, 

It IS also never to be forgotten, that filial piety, if derived from 
an evangelical source, is entitled to the peculiar favour of God in 
the present world, and to the everlasting blessings of the world 
to come. 

b. Tkt DeclaralioTis of God coTtcerning this important tnihitct, 
fumiih reasons at once alluring and azn/ul, for the exerdse ofjilial 

The text is an illustrious example of this nature, of the most 
persuasive kind. Deut xxi. 18, gives us a terrible one concern- 
me the slubboro and rebellious son. The eye, says jigur, that 
Vol. 111. 38 

197 ■ 




• "i 
mocketh at his father , and refuseth to obey his mother ^ the ravens rf 
the valley sluill pick it out^ and the young eagles' sliall eat it. 

One of the most interesting accounts of this subject to be found 
in the Scriptures, as it has struck my mind, is exhibited in the 
d5th ChapUEr of Jeremiah* Jonadab^ the son ofRechaby command- 
ed his children, and their posterity, neither to drink wine, nor to 
build houses, nor to sow seed, nor to plant vineyards, btd to dwell m 
tents from generation to generation. The Rechabites obeyed his 
yoice ; and, at the time of Jeremiah, had, for three hundred years, 
liyed in the manner which their Ancestor enjoined. As a reward 
of their filial obedience, the Prophet Jeremiah was sent unto tlie 
Rechabites with this remarkable message. Thus saith Jebotah 
of hosts, the God of Lrael ; because ye have obeyed the command' 
ment of Jonadah, your father, and kept all his precepts, and done 
according to all that he hath commanded you ; there/ore thus saiA 
JEHoyAH of hosts, the God of Israel, Jonadab the son of Rechab, 
shall not want a man to stand before me for ever. 

6. The Example of Christ is a reason, of the highest import^ to 
compel the exercise of filial piety. 

This wonderful persotk, notwithstanding his ^eat and glorioog 
character, and sublime destination, was the fairest specimen oT 
obedience to parents, eyer seen in the present world. Let chil- 
dren remember, that, if they have not the Spirit of Christ, they art 
none of his. He was subject to his parents, as a child of their &m- 
ily, until he was thirty years of age ; and forgot not, when he hung 
on the cross, to proyide an effectual support and protection for his 
Mother. Let aU children remember, when they are weary of la- 
bouring for their parents, that Christ laboured for his ; when they 
are impatient of,iheir commands, that Christ cheerfully ol^ed; 
when they are liRuctant to proyide for their parents, that 0ffist 
forgot himselfiOnd proyided for his mother, amid the agoiMifcof 
crucifixion. llieMectiotiate language of this Diyine exainpNto 
every child is, Go thou, and do likewise. 




pBOTsmBt xxii. 6. — TVotn t^ a ehUd in the way he should go ; andt^en heitoidh$ 

mil not -depart from it. 

In the preceding discourse, I gave a brief account of the Du" 
Har ^ Children, 1 shall now proceed to consider the Duties of 
Parents. This, also, I must consider in a very summary manner, 
notwithstanding the copiousness, and importance, of the subject. 

In this passage of ocriptore, parents are directed to train ta> 
ikeir children in the way in which they should go : and, to encour- 
age them to this duty, a promise is given, that their children, if 
trained in this way, will not depart from it. The word, train^ orr- 
ginally denotes to draw along by a regular and steady course of eX' 
trtians ; and is, hence, very naturally use<f to signify drawing from 
me action to another by persuasions^ promises avM other efforts^ con- 
tismallu repeated. In a loose and general sense, therefore, it may 
easily mclude all' the duties of Parents to their children. 

Tne way in which a child should go, is undoubtedly the way, 
in which it is best for hind to go, with respect both to his temporal 
and eternal well-being. 

These duties are customarily, and justly, distributed under three 

The Maintenance ; 

Tht Education ; znA^ 

-J^' Settlement ; of Children. 

Tke Maintenance of Children must unqu^stionaUy be such, a» 
tbe circumstances of the parents will admit, consistently witb the 
dictates of prudence ; and such as will secure comfort to their 
children. Their food and raiment, their employments and grati- 
fications, ought to be all such, as to promote their health. They 
are carefiilly to be nursed in sickness, and yarded from danger. 
Their enjoyments of every kind ought invariably to be innocent ; 
reasonable in their numoer and degree ; evident testimonies of 
parental wisdom, as well as of parental affection ; such as shall 
prevent them from suffering unnecessary mortification ; and such 
as shall not flatter pride, foster avarice, or encourage sloth or sen- 
suality. They ought also to be such, as to pkce them upon the 
same level with the children of other discreet parents in similar 

77ie education of children involved their Instruction^ and Goveny* 

The Instruction of children includes, 


Tht Things, which they are to be taught^ and, 

J%« Manner of leaching them. 

The Things, which Children are to be taught, may be distributed 
under the two heads of Natural Knowledge ; and Moral Knaah 

Natural Knowledge includeS| 

L Their Learning. 

By this I intend every thing, which they are to gain from books: 
^ whether it be Learning, appropriately so called, or the knowledge of 

Arts and Sciences. Of this subject I observe, generally, that, like 
the Maintenance of Children, it must comport with the circum- 
stances of the Parents. It ought, also, to be suited to the char- 
acter, talents^ and destination, of the Child. But an acquaintance 
with Readine, Writing, and Arithitfelic, is indispensably necessary 
. to everu Child. It is indispensable, that every child should read 
the Scriptures ; highly important, that he should read other reli- 
^6us l^ooks ; and very useful, that he should enlarge his mind by 
such diversified knowledge, as may render him beaeficial to him- 
self and to mankind. 

2. Natural Knowledge includes, also, an acquaintance with at 
least some one kind of useful Business. 

Ordinarily, this acquaintance can be gained only in the practical 
manner ; that is, by placing the child, at an early period of life, 
in the business, which is to be learned. After he has been instruct- 
ed in Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, which are indispensable 
to the advantagebiiis prosecution of every kind of business, he 
should be required to do the very business, in which he is to be edu- 

There is no greater mistake on the part of rich parents, than 
their neglect of educating their children to the thorough knowledge 
of some useful business. It is often observed, and generally felt, 
that such an education is unnecessary, because their children are 
to inherit fortunes. The children also feel and are taught by their 
parents to feel, that such an education is utterly unnecessary for 
themselves. Both, at the same time, are but too apt to consider 
active employments, and even the knowledge necessary to direct 
.them, as humiliating, and disgraceful, to the children. These are 
very great mistakes; the dictates of pride and vanity, and not of 
good sense. Were nothing but the present prosperity of childien 
to be regarded ; they ought invariably to be educated in the know- 
ledge of useful business. Almost all the wealth in this countjyis 
in the hands of those, who have acquired it by their own industry: 
and almost all those, who inherit fortunes, dissipate them in early 
life; and spend their remaining days in poverty and humiliation. 
Ignorance of business ; and its consequences, idleness and profu- 
sion ; will easily, and in a short time, scatter any estate. A fortune 
iS a pond, the waters of which will soon run out : well-directed in- 
dustry is a spring, whose streams are perenniaL 


Besides, the man, who pursues no useful business, is without 
significance, and without reputation. The sound coirmon sense 
oi mankind will never annex character to useless hfe. He who 
merely hangs as a burden on the shoulders of his fellow-men ; 
who adds nothing to the common stock of comfort, and merely 
spends his time in devouring it; will* invariably, as well as justly, 
be accounted a public nuisance. 

Beyond all this, eveiy parent is bound by his duty to God, and 
his children, to educate them to useful business, in order to enable 
them to perform their own duty ; to become blessings both to 
themselves and mankind ; and to possess the rational enjoyments, 
furnished by a life of industrious activity j^ in their very nature in- 
comprehensibly superior to sloth and profusion. 

Moral Knowledge is all included^ as well as enjoinedj in the Scrip* 
tures. It is also, in its own nature, Jfcither direcdy, or indirectly^ 
all practical. 

Knowledge of this kind is naturally distributed under the fbU 
lowing heads : 

1. Pitty. 

To this head belongs Reverence to God. Every child should be 
taught, from the beginning, to fear that great and glorious Being, 
to whom he owes his existence, his blessings, and his hopes. This 
knowledge is indispensable to all rectitude of character. As I have 
considered the general nature of this subject in a former dis- 
course ; I shall only observe here, that nothing will, in an equal 
degree, secure a child from sin ; strengthen him against the force 
of temptation ; or fix his feet immoveably in the path of righte- 

Inseparably connected with this subject is a sense ofAccounta' 
hleness. Every child should know, as soon as he is capable of 
knowing, that he is a Moral being in a state of probation, for his 
conduct, in which he will be hereafter judged and rewarded; that 
God is an eye-witness to all his secret and open conduct alike ; 
and that every thing, which he speaks, thinks, or does, will be the 
foundation of his final reward. Proper impressions of these two 
great subjects, habitually made in the early periods of childhood, 
will influence the life more than any other considerations ; will re* 
vive, after they have been long thought to have been forgotten ; 
and will produce happy eflfects, when all other causes have lost 
their power. 

With the same care, should children be accustomed to read the 
Scriptures^ whenever they have become able to read. Here they will 
find these great subjects, as well as all others of a similar nature, 
placed in tne strongest light, and taught in the most perfect man- 
ner : a manner suited to every mind, capable of understanding 
such subjects at all. Here, particularly, facts, and charactei^, of 
a moral nature, are exhibited with a felicity altogether unrivalled. 
With both of these, children are dehgtited ; and &8teu on both 

» « 


with that peculiar earnestness, which prevents them from being 
ever obliterated. As they are presented in the Scriptures, they 
are eminently entertaining to children ; and to a great extent, are 
set in so obvious a light, as to be easily understood even by very 
young minds. 

Every child should he taughi, al§o, that he is a sinner; and^ as 
such^ exposed to the anger of God. The eflScacy of this instruction 
upon the early mind is of the most desirable nature. Nothing 
more successfully checks the growth of pride ; the mpst universal 
the most pleasing, the most operative, and the most mischievous, 
of all the human passions. Without this instruction, also, all 
other religious teaching will be in vain. He, who is not conscious 
that he is a sinner, will never take a single step towards salva*ion. 
Happily, children very easily receive and admit, this instruction. 
In the earlier periods of life the conscience is so far unbiassed, and 
possesses so great power, as to indiuce the heart, however reluctant 

'if^ itself, regularly to acknowledge the truth of this important doc- 


As sotim as A is practicable^ every child should be conducted to the 
knowledge of the Saviour. On the infinite importance of this indis- 
pensable knowledge I need not here dwell. Suffice it to obsenrei 
that children will sooner imbibe this knowledge, than parenti 
are usually aware ; and that childhood is, often, the only oppor- 
tunity for obtaining it, which they ever enjoy. 

Finally, children should be carefully instructed in all the exiemai 
dtUies of Piety. They should be effectually as well as unci0isine- 

• ly taught to mention the name of God, and every thing obviousFy 
related to this awful Being with profound Reverence only; to ob- 
serve the Sabbath, from tne begmning to the end, with religious 
exactness ; to be present punctilicusly at the public worship of 
God, and to attend to all the ordinances of it with reverence and 
care; to attend in the same manner upon family worship; and in 
the same manner to perform, regularly, every morning and every 
evening, the duty of secret prayer. 

All tnese things should be explained to children in such a man- 
ner, as to render their views of them just, and rational, and their 

* practice of them Evangelical, and not a mere matter of form. 

2. Morality ; or the jDutieSy which respect our fellow-men. 

Among these, Truth should hold the first place. As I expect 
. speedily to examine the nature and importance of this subject, as 
well as most others ^hich will be mentioned in this discussion ; it 
will be unnecessary to expatiate upon thpm at present. It will be 
sufficient to say here, that a profound and reverential regard to 
truth should be awakened in the mind of a child, from the moment 
when he begms to assert any thing ; that no variations from it, 
either in jest or in earnest, should ever be permitted to pass with- 
out animadversion ; that its natui^ and importance should be ex- 
plained to the child, as soon as be is able to understand them ; that 



resistance to falsehood and prevaricaliori should invariably be 
made unconditionally, and without any abatement ; that this re- 
sistance should be made in every hopeful manner, and to every 
necessary degree, and should never cease, until the veiacily of the 
child shall be effectually secured ; that every encouragement to 
veracity, which prudence can suggest, should be holden out to^ 
him continually ; and that a rigid example of speakine truth, arid . 
fulfilling promises, should be set before him by all, with whom he 
corresponds, especially by the parents and the family, without any 
variation from it, either in reality pr appearance ; that all seeming 
departures from it should be carefully explained to him ; and that 
. he should be obliged to fulfil all his promises, if not unlawful, 
however inconvenient the fulfilment.may be to the parents, or to 

Justice^ by which I intend Commutative Justice, is a kindred vir- 
tue to truths and should be tausht. from the same period, with the 
same care. Every child should be taught to pay all his debtA was^ 
fulfil all his contracts, exactly in the manner, completely in tlio 
value, and punctually at the time. Every child should be discour- 
aged from tnc propensity to make bargains ; so eariy, so strong- 
ly, and so universally, visible. He snoiild be discouraged, also, 
mm every wish to make what is called a good bargain / the com- 
mon source of all cheating ; and should be taught, that he is 
bound to render an equivalent for what he receives. Every bar- 
gain, disadvantageous to himself, he should be bound scrupulous- 
ly to fulfil. Every thine, which he has borrowed, he should be 
obliged to return, uninjured, at the time : and every thing be- 
longing to others, which he has lost, he should be required to 
replace. In this manner he will grow up to that sense of justice, 
without which it is impossible for virtue to exist. 

Morality, begun in truth, and advanced in justice, is finished in 
Kindness. The minds of children may be easily rendered kind 
by a wise cultivation ; and by the want of it will easily become 
unfeeling and cruel. Children should be taught, the first moment 
they are capable of being taught, a lively tenderness for the feel- 
ings, the sufferings, and the happiness, of all beings, with whom 
they are conversant. The Emperor Domitian has proved, thql 
cruelty, when it cannot satiate itsislf on human misery, can be 
gratified even with the death of flies. Every child should be in- • 
variably instructed to exercise kindness towards animals, and to 
shun cruelty even to an insect. The plundering of birds' nests, 
and the capture of their young, is in all ordinary cases, notwith- 
standing it is so generally allowed, an employment, fitted only to 
harden the heart, and prepare it to be insensible to human sufler- 
ings. Still worse is the deplorable practice, extensively allowed 
also, of setting up poultry as a mark, to be destroyetl by gradual 
torture. Worse still is tne practice, so widely ana shamefully ex- 
tended in some parts of this country, of cock-fighting; abomina- 



bic Tnr il^ rnielty, and dcfeelablc for Its fraud. Children should 
never injure animals wiibouL reproof solemnly adminisiered, nor, 
I as Ihe case may be, wiihoul punishment. All their unkindness to 

1 each other, and alt the unkindness of others which falls wilhin 

■^ their knowledge, should bo strongly and unconditionally repro- 

bated. At the same time, every instance of ihcir spontaneous 
tenderness, and beneficence, should be strongly commended ; and, 
as prudence may direct, followed by suitable rewaras ; whiio 
every instance of cruelty should be treated with efficacious dis- 
countenance, and strenuous opposition ; and should be seen (o 
awaken in the mind of the parent detestation and horror. Among 
the exercises of kindness, which are of prime importance, one ol 
M the most difficult to learn is tbe forgiveness of injuries. On this 

r account it should be taught early, unceasingly, and strenuously, 

f with powerful persuasion, and distinguishing rewards. An unfor- 

giving and revengeful spirit, on the contrary, should, however 
diCicuU and discouraging (he task, be ai all events broken down ; 
and no attempt should be omitted, until this work ts cH'ccluaJly 

3. Self-Governmenl. 
^ Children should.' from Ike ' '■;""■! "iVig, bt taught to be mduti 

f The value of tiiT!- shoulii L . .| 1 mied to ihem, as the m^ 

all usefulness ainl enjoyment, of duty and salvation. Tcj 
them to employ it in the best manner, they should be ( 
customed to methodize it by useful divisions; allotting f ^ 
one period to devotion, another to business, and anotner^to r** * 
creation. Their business, also, should be mcihotlized by s^bo^ 
dinate divisions : one period being regularly destined to one em- 
ployment, and another to another. In this manner they will soon 
see, thnt far more can be accomplished, than by loose and desul' 
tory eiibrts. industry, naturally disagreeable, may be rend 
^ pleasing by address and habituation, advi(.'e and example. 4 

this is the fountain, under God, of all human attainments, ande^ 
joymenis; no wceitions should be leTl untried to establish it, at,*! 
very early t^t'^ in the minds of children. jL 

Upon Industry, in his child, every parent should grafi EconorMi. 
Jo economy, the human mind is more reluctant, than even to in* 
dustry. In order lo relish it, two great difficulties must be ovei^ 
came. One Is the powerful relish for the graiificalions, which oc- 
casion our expense. The other is the constant, laborious atten- 
tion, so necessary to the practice of that br.uich of economy whicf 
is employed in preserving the various kinds of property. "^ 
latter of these is usually the greater difficulty ; but may, as ..-^, 
as the other, be overcome by long-continued, prudent, and unrt^ a 
milted exertion. \ 

Thf children of the honest and industrious poor, and of persoiis I 
in midorale circumstances, arc usually taught economy from ne? f 
Qcssiiy ; in moat instances, however, not so thoroughly, and haj^ f 


pUy, as ought to be wished. The children of opulent parents, 
anu of the idle poor, arc, to a great estcnl., sadly neglected, as 10 
this necessary pari of ihcir education. The cotisciju^nce is, that 
the children of ihe one arc kept poor, and the children of the 
other frecjuently reduced to poverty. Economy is at least as nev 
. cessary lo nrospcrily, even in a moderate degree, as Industry iU 
self. Equally necessary is it to furnish us the power oC doing justice , 
to others ; safely from temptations to fraud, falsehood, and innu- 
merable other evils; support in sickness, and old age; the educa- 
tion, and comfortable settlement, of our families ; and a host of 
other blessings. It is, therefore, an indispensable duly; apd is 
made such by the example, and precept, of.our Saviour. When he 
had fed a mullllude by a creative act of his own, he directed bis 
disciples 10 galkfr tip tht fragments, ihal nolh'tng might be hit. 
What was their duty, in such a case, is certainly the duly of all 
men, in all cases : and, however it may be despised by the proud, 
and the prodigal, or however forgotten by the thoughtless, will be 
found of incalculable importance to iheir children. 

At the same time, they should be carefully guarded against alt 
tendencies to coveiousness, and to every other exercise of a mean 
MS narrow mind. Economy furnishes us with the ability to per* 
qpil^geiierousacls. Meanness prevents their existence; and de- 
stEpVS the spirit, from which they spring. Meanness, also, roots 
up, in whatever form it may esist, all the tendencies to virtue ; 
every stem, pn which it may be hopefully grafted. 

Another, thing, which ought to be cultivated with great care in 
the early minds of children, and which may be properly ranged 
under this head, is Me exercise of the Gentle afftctiona. Violent 
affections seem to be the chief preventives of virtue, and its chief 
enemies. Gentle atfeclions are the best preparation for it; and the 
best friends to it, which are furnished by human nature. All the 
affections of virtue are ordinarily gentle ; the most amiable ones al- 
ssys. This is probably one powerful reason, why so many more 
Christians are usually found in the female sex, thaa'^fn ours ; viz. 
that the softness and sweetness of thtHraifeclions naturally coincide 
■with religious jmpressions ; while the violence of ours naturally 
Raist them. Children should regularly be checked, and subdued, in 
every ebullition of passion ; particularly of pride and anger. Nor 
should they be less carefully opposed in ihc more unobserved pro- 
gress of avarice and ambtlion. The mischiefs of these, and of all 
other inordinate passions, are known, and acknowledged, by all 
men. !t will be only necessary to remark concerning them here, 
that, while they continue id full sircnf;th, they absolutely forbid all 
access of Religion, and fix the mind in immoveable hostility to the 
divine pleasure. He, who wishes his children to become the sub- 
jects of piety, should make it a jirime object in their education, lo 
check all their inordinate passions with an etficacy of resistance, 
proportioned to the demands of each case ; and should, with equal 
Vol. III. 39 





jnxifii'. icaoh ihem to check, restrain, anJ subdue, ihcnisclvcs, 
^ai).i!fy, jhls work may in cfirly ctuIdilvH.J be easily dour ; but 
unh»|<|<ily is Looofirn nrgleclcH. The pa^sloasin ihc niind, like 
Vecil- m a garden, Bufficieully lender and feeble ai first, i 
sti'CJu'ilieh tneoiselvcs to such a degree by rankness of gro 
that I" subdue ihem beconies difGcuIt, If nol Impossible. 

Eersfiii have, then, fltiHIclciii resolution to undenakc the lask; : 
av •iillicieiit [jcrseveryiite lo cxcculc ll. When begua in seas* 
r' it is (ir.*inarily atle:idcd with Utile ditKcully. 

Gertie aRecliotis should be eMAUT^ged m children!)]' all tl 
inea>i,-i tn our power. They sbotiH coftslamly iviiness them in i 
Theftx-'irise of them, in lliemsclves, should from lime to lime 1 
comyi' ■iided; the amiaMeness of them explained, and enforc 
Com:i;iiiion3, pos?'?3sed of such affections, sbould be selecicd 1 
thcnn, and books, containing persuasive examples, and illtuUI 
*, , tion>^- ■-'I (his character, Itould be put inlo tlicir hands. 

1/1 "Miely coniiecled with this subject is CiviUly and Sairlnt 
of m iiitri. Lord C/icj[ei/cW justly ol»erres, that such o 
are > ncctly required by our Siiviour's pUftctical csposilion of ti 
secoi.'' ..reat Confloaiid of the moi-al law: Tliat we should do \ 
olhc ' irhalfontfttiviould t/iat ibty abfuld do lous. All men l( 
to br /n'Cfet/ with civility ; and are bdund, therefore, by the 1 
of G "1, to eshibil sucn Ireaimcnt to others. The Chinese pr»-' 
vertj' ifj', and justly, observe that a man without civility is a man 
withi :,i common sense. Such manners are the proper pohsb of 
that i.i'isi beautiful of all diamonds, Virtue; and enable it to 
ahlne with lis own peculiar lustre. They render the cbaracier 
lovelv ; increase exceedingly ihe power of those who possess 
thciri^ lO do good ; and secure lo tncm a thousand kind offices, 
to, vMs.. coarse, rough, and brutal men are utterly strangers. 
CIiil(wt), in order to be taught such manjiers, be^des being paN •■ 
ticuLifly instruct(^d in their natlMPe, should, especially, be accus- " 
tome I (1 the company of those.ibom whom they may be success- 
fiillv ' "picd. 

Tim ic ia.jqarcely a fault, to which childri^n arc prone, which is 
mon- 'l.iBcuK to be prciented, than ihe Imprudence <^ the Tongw 
Pa'-.: ■ prompts ihem to expressions of rashness Tind violencjj 
ex.111 . '.'', to profanencsa ; the love of being Mstened to, to ihe 
tr,i_\u ^ of uerets, the telling of marvellous si'ories, the rccilatiofl 
of jir.iiie Mfi)j>ry, and the utterance of slander. In these ai 
other =inrlar*liys they often wound their own character, and ^ 
• peaci 'loth of tocmselvcs and their connexions. Every atle 
of ev ry such kind ought to be repelled at once, and elTectu) 
erosJj. '. Neglect, here, Is countenance ^ inaltonlion, encoid 
ageii' It. Whal. then, shall be said of parcnW, who directljj 
lisic], o their children, while thus employed; and in this manW 
BOliciVlbeDi lo transgr^jsj Few evils need to be more sti '" 
watBH^dj'or mor^OTrfiffjjajIy resisted, than Uiis. A prude t 


wpll-^ncrned. tongue is aninvnluiible posspssion ; whclher we 
roiisf'l'i- the peace of ihe possessor, ihpcimiforl of his family, or 
the /|ii ■■liipaftof his neighbourhood. W biKif-bod}/ m o/At nun's 
insert is classed by Si. Pettr with murderita, lliitvM, and male- 

Un ■- r>;illy, children shottid be gttarded, and laiiftht lo guard 
kttm ■' i 1, n'llk lltetUnosi lart, a^auisl Icinplationt. Tiicy -siiouid 
"he cnjiifincci not to go, mid rcsiriincd from goiiii;, lo places of 
evil rcttirt* Tlicy should be anxiously pieventcd from ihe compa- 
ny ot tfw^fld children ; andfiu^ch ;is may be, fnim that of all 
oihcr persons, from whom ibtr^iriU hear dangerous seniimciits, or 
who will set before them dangetous conduct. Tbey should also 
be never brought, when it can be avoided, into contact with dan- 
gerous und fascinating objects. From such objects indeed, and 
from such company, they cannot be entirely secluded, in such a 
world us this. By watchful and faithful ifiarents, bowfiv^'much 
toay be done : it is impossible to say how much : bal probably so 
much, Ks, in ordinary cases at least, perhaps in al), lo aCCure (he 
child from the evil, to i^ch be is exposed. One impoHant mean 
of security, never to be forgolten, is an early, strong, and habitual 
impression of their exposure lo temptation, accotoipanicd by ex- 
plicit iirid thorough iulonnafion of the evils, which will certainly 
result from yielding to its influence. This will prove a safeguara 
to ihc child, when the parent cannot be present, to warn hmi of 

b tia dani'cr. 

f It win be remembered, that I originally proposed to mention 
apart only of those things, which are lo be taught lo children. 
Those, which have been mentioned, are, if i mistake not, pos- 
sesscrl of distinguished importance; and will, 1 suppose, be ac- 
knowledged lo claim a primary place in parental instruction. I 

I shall MOW proceed to consider Ihe Manner, m loAic/i thei/ should be 

t taught, 

1, Tlie Instruction of Chiidrm should be begun in -ce.ry Early 


Very young children are capable of learning matiy things of 
_incalcubble importance to themselves. All parents appear to aie 
vto labuur under serious mistakes with regard to this subject ; and 
begin to teach their children many things, al least, at a later pcii- 
od dian that ia which l^r^y would advantageously begin 1« rcceivtt 
ibcm. The infant mind opens faster, than we are apt 10 be aware. 
ThJ4 is the troe reason, why very young children are almost al- 
i>lln4hought peculiarly bright and promisit.^. We customarily 
attnbnie this opinion to parental fondneES ; in Gome degree per- 
haps, jiisily ; but it arises extensively from the feci, that the intel- 
lect of iittle children outruns in its progress our utmost expecta- 
tions: the goodness of God intending, 1 suppose, to provvde by 
this constitution of things the means of receiving the insifvctlnn, so 
itidispciisable to cliildren at diat period. Of Uiis advuiUage every 




siong. J 

;r w 
thai _ 



parent -hoiilJ carefully avail himself. At the same lime he should 
rememl)cr, thai this is the season foriHaking lasting impressloag.. 
The irilaru mitid lays strong hold of every thing, which it is 
I Bolh iti understanoing aiicfaflcctions arc then unoccupied, 

i^ atfeciioiis are then, also, remarkably susceptible, tender, and ^ 

orous. Every person knows the peculiarly impressive power i^ 
novelty. On iheinfanl mind every thing is powerfully impressed, 
f» ■ because every thing is new. From ihese causes is derived thal^ 

remarkable fact, so commonly observed, that early impressions '" 
fluenCf llie character and the life beyond all others ; and rem: 
strong and vivid, after most others are worn away. 

From these remarks must be seen, with irresistible evidence, ibe 
immense importance of seizing this happy period,' to make reli- 
k gious iinpi-essiona on ihe minds of our offspring. He, who lose* 

this season, is a husbandman, who wastes the spring in idleness, 
f and soivs in midsummer. How can such a man rationally ex] 

a crop ,' To the eflbrts of the parent, at this period, the profe: 
Inslrucier is bound to add his own. The luslructer, who in 
school, a college, or an university, does not employ the opporl 
A ties, wliich he enjoys, of making religioas impressions on ihe'm 

L of his pupils, neglects a prime part of bis duty ; and so far wraj 

m his tali':it in a napkin, and buries it in the earth. 

2. Children should be Gradually instrucled. 
Knowledge plainly should be communicated in that progressii 
course, m which the mind is most capable of receivinj, it. Tl 
ft first tilings which children attain, are words, and facts. To th( 

m succeed, after no great interval, plain doctrines, and precepts, 

r they advance in years and understanding, ihey gradually coinj . _ 

i hend, and therefore reUsh, doctrines of a more complicated and 

difficuk nature. This order of things, being inwrought in the con- 
J stitution of the hunian mind, should be exactly followed. When 

it is counteracted, «■ forgotten, thplaskof instruction will everbc 
^ difficult; and the progress of the pupil slow and discouraging. ' « 

A Ioosl' and general attention to this great rule of instruction seen* ^| 
^ to have prevailed in most enlightened countries, but a far less a&-jfl 
• cii|ate nne, than its importance deserves. "^ ■ 

* Among the facts and doctrines, suited to the early mind, none 

are imbil)ed with more readiness, or fastened upon with more 
I atrengtii, than the existence, presence, perfection, and providence, 

1^ of Goi ; the Creation of all things by his power ; its own accounU 

Iabjenpss to him ; and the immense importance of his favour, i 
therefore, of acting in such a manner as to obtain his approbal 
H These ihings, then, together with such as are inseparably com 

■ ed with them,should, without fail, be always taughlat tliedav 


t3. The imprtisions, which are useful to children, should be 

■». CXJ] DUTT OP VARSNT3. ]^^ '■ 

Children, morelhan any other persons, naed ^'ne vpim line, and 
rteept upon precept; here a little, and there a litUt. ll js in ao 
Eiise sulBcient lo oave laoght them either. Iniths, or dulics. The 
weal's duty is, tlun, only begun. He is not only lo leach, but lo 
^Icate ; to recall what has been forgolten; lo explain what laas 
een imperfectly apprehended ; to rectify what liae been misun- 
erstood, to illustrate what has been obscure ; and to enforce what 
as been unfelt. A few minds are, indeed, so happily susceptible, 
s readily !o understand, deeply to feel, and pennanenilylo retain, 
lost of thai, which they are taught. But such raiads are rare, end 
iklitary. Almost all children demand, and ought to receive, in- ' 

truction in the manner here recommended. 

4< InMlructittn should be communicated lo children, tcilh unaatried *^ 

alienee, ] 

'Christ, in this and many other respects, has left Instruclcrs a , 

erfect example. Although his disciples wendtiUof hearing, and I 

low of heart to believe; although they had many, and those often 
ery unreasonable, prejudices; his patience was never lessened. 
[e taught ihem in the gradual manner, which I have recommended; | 

I, in his own language, ihey were able to bear. JIc taught ihem, 
Iso, without weariness, without frelfulness, without discourage- ^ 

lent, withoU reproaches, and without intermission. At times, in- I 

leed, he reproved ihem, and with some degree of severity ; but 
Iways with tenderness and good-will. 

In this manner should parents k-ach their children ; should be 
latieiit wiih iheir ignorance, their backwardness lo receive instruc- 
ioQ, their mistakes, their Jbrgcifulncss, the necessty of icacbing 
bem again and again, and the doubts and dillicullies, which from 
ime lo lime they suggest. In all this, the parents should manifest 
ot only (juictness of mind, but cheerfulness, and wilUngncss to 
epeat their instructions. 
5. fnslruclions ihoidd be given Persim»ivthf, 
Children are often discouraged from learning by being compel- 
•d to this employment, and punished for not learning; by the 
looiny countenance, morose temper, and forbidding manners, of 
le Instrucler ; by being unreasonably confined, and unreasonably 
ebarrcd from those harmless gratifications, which are necessary 
> preserve their health and spirits; and not unfrcquenlty by the 
nposiiion of harder tasks, than they are able lo perform. If I 
ipposed such persons to act understandingly ; I should believe, 
lat ihey intended to prevent children from learning ; and that 
leir measures were skilfully contrived for this purpose. But to 
le end, for which they are professedly adopted, they coidd scarcely 
c fitted in a more unhappy manner. 

To most children learning may be made an alluring objocL 
leasantness of disposition, aHabilily, condescension, serenity of 
mntenance, and sweetness of manners, in the Inslructer ; cngag- 
g books, moderate tasks, reasonable confinement to study, a 

310 vapc OF pabeMts. [ser. en' 

rfxroper' allowance of ||fitreation, commendation kindly given when 
men ted, and well-ditlbcted rewards for improvement ^ are usually 
sufficient persuasives to engage children in a spontaneous ana 

f)leasurabie course of learning. THe Instructer, who will not (bl- 
ow this course, must be very imperfectly fitted for his employment 
6m' Children should be taught by Example. 
Ally men will admh^^'that the moral branches of education can 
never be taught successfully without the aid of Example. Exam- 
ple has, in a ^eal^oneasure, the same influence on every othef 
part of education. Children do little^ beside imitating others. Pa- 

'"qoence in this important concern. 

7. Children should be taught in such a manneryas to be prompted 
unceasingly to the most vigorous exertion of their own talents. 
. The human mind is not a mere vessel, into which knowledge 
is to be poured. It is better compared to a bee, fed during toe 
first periods of its existence by the labours of others ; but intend- 
ed, ere long, to lift its wings in the active employment of collecting 
sweets from every field within its reach* To such excursions, and 
to the accomplishment of such purposes, the mind sht^ld be early 
and sedulously allured. This is the only way to give it energy 
and strength. Without the active exercise of its powers, neither 
body, nor mind, can acquire, vieour. Without bodily exertions, 
Qoltathy six cubits high, would nave been, only a gigantic boy: 
without mental eflbrts, Newton would have been merely an inftad 
tf days. 





• • ■ 









Proyebbs. xxii. 6.— TVoin up a child in the way he thquld go ; a$id w/icn he'isMki 

will rwl depart from it. ^ 

IN the preceding discourse, I distributed the duties of pareoti^ - 

under three heads : ^ ]^TJ ' 

: The Maintenance^ '-i^ti- 

The Education^ and **" ' 

The Settlement^ of Children. 

The Education of Children I [Nrojx)sed also to consider under 
the two heads of 

Instruction^ and 


The first of these general heads, together with the former divis- 
ioD of the second, were examined in that discourse. I shall now 
proceed to make some observations on the remaining subjects pro- 
posed for discussion at that time. 

The Parental Duty, which, according to the plan mentioned^ 
next demands our attention, is Me Government of Children* The 
observations, which I shall make concerning this subject, will 

The Nature, 

The End, and, 

The Importance of this Government ; and. 

The Manner, in which it is to be administered. • 

Concerning the Nature of Parental Government, its End, and iU 
Importance, my observations must be very summary. 

The Nature of all government is justly defined to be the control 
of one being over the actions of another. This control in the 
hands of parents over their children \s at once the most absolute, 
perhaps, and clearly the most gentl6 and indulgent, dominion, . 
which is exercised by mankind. The parentis will is the only 
law to the child; yet, being steadily regulated by parental affec- 
tion, is probably more moaerate, equitable, and pleasing to hiSi, 
than any other human government to any other subject. It Ire- 
sembles the divine government more in its nature, anc^ when wise^ 
ly administered, in its eflScacy, than any other. Correction, som&p 
times esteemed the whole of it, is usually the leastp^ : a part, 
indispensable indeed, and sometimes efiicacious, ^mjfk all others 
have failed. Beside correction it includes advice, cqAmendation, 
blame, reproof, rebuke, admonition, expostulation, influence, re* 


Btraint, confinement, rewards, the deprivation of enjoyments, the 
infliction of disgrace, the denial of favour, and various other things : 
each possessing peculiar efficacy ; and all of them efficacious, not 
only m themselves, but also by the variety of administration, which 
they furnish, and the relative power, which they derive merely 
from the fact of succeeding each other. 

The End of parental govemmerU is undoubtedly the good of cAt/- 
*dren. The end of all government is the good of the governed. 
Children are given to parents, not to be a convenience to ihemj 
but that they may become blessings to the children. In this way, 
and ordinarily in this alone, will the children become blessings to 
t)ie parents. Every parent should fix in his mind a strong, habit- 
ual sense of this end. The good, to be accomplished for the child, 
should be the object of inquiry in every administration of this na- 
ture. The kind, the degree, and the continuance, of the punish- 
ment, and the reward, should be all determined by it. In a word, 
it should absolutely govern ^11 the conduct of the parent towards 
the child. 

The importance of parental government will demand very few 
remarks; since no man will question it in earnest. Every parent 
ought to remember, that hiscnildis committed to Atm; that all his 
interests are put into his hands; and that to train up his family for 
usefulness, and for heaven, is ordinarily the chief duty, which God 
requires him to perform; the chief good, which he can ever accom- 

f^lish. If he neglects this duty ; he ought to expect that it will be 
eft undone : for no other person will usually undertake it. If Ae 
does not accomplish this ffood ; he ought to believe, that it will 
never be accomplished., v^n the contrary, the child will be left to 
himself; to evil companions ; to men, whose business it is to cor- 
rupt the young ; to unbridled lusts ; to unrestrained iniquity ; to 
Satan, and to ruin. He ought also to remember, that childhood, 
is the seed-time for all good ; the season, when every useful im- 
pression is most happily made ; the time, when almost all that, 
which can be done for the child, is to be done. He should remem- 
ber, that the encouragement is very great. Experience abun- 
dantly proves, that well governed children are almost always well 
behaved; and that almost all religious persons are of this num- 
ber. What experience declares, the Scriptures ratify. The text, 
if not an absolute promise, is yet a glorious encouragement to this 
parental duty. In the mean lime, tne peace and pleasantness of 
nis family ; the filial piety, amiable conauct, and fair reputation, of 
his children ; furnish a rich hope, that he will in the end assemble 
around him his little flock, and be able to say with exuluition and 
transport, Behold^ here am /, and the children^ whom thou hast 
given me. 

The Manner inwhichparental government ought to be administered^ 
demands a more extensive consideration. 


The observations which I propose to make concerning it, I shall' 
arrange under the following heads. 

1 • The Government of Children should begin with the d^n of 
their reason. 

I have already applied this observation to parental Instruciion:' 
It is stUl.more forcibly applicable io parental government. The 
habit of submission can never be eiiectuated without difficulty, 
unless commenced at the beginning. The first direction of the 
infant mind has been often, and justly, compared to the first figure, 
assumed by a twig ; which is ordinarily its figure during every 
subsequent period of its growth, if children are taught effectu- 
ally to obey at first ; they will easily be induced to obey ever af- 
terwards. Almost all those, who are disobedient, are such as 
Lave been neglected in the beginning. The twig was suffered 
to stiffen, before an attempt was made to bend it mto the proper 
$bape. Then it resumed, as soon as the pressure ceased, its 
former figure. If begun in season, the task of securing filial 
obedience will usually be easy, and the object effectually gained. 
If then neglected, it will be attended by a multitude of difficul- 
ties, and discouragements ; and its efficacy will be doubtful, if not 

2. Parental Government should be administered with Constancy. 

The views manifested by the parent concerning the conduct of 
the child, should ever be the same. His good conduct should be 
invariably approved; his bad conduct invariably disapproved. The 
measures of the parent, also, should be, universally, of the sam^. 
tenour. All proper encouragement should be regularly holden out 
to obedience, and all rational opposition be steadily made to dis- 

The active superintendance of the child should be unremitted. 
He should feel, that he is ever an object of parental attention ; 
ever secure, when his behaviour ments it, of parental favour;, 
and ever conscious, that his faults will expose him to fi*owns and 
censures. This unremitted consciousness of the child can never 
be produced, but by the unremitted care, and watchfulness, of the 
parent. The Roman maxim, Obstaprincipiis^ Resist the beginnings 
of evil ; is in all cases replete witn wisdom ; but is applicable 
to no case, perhaps, with such force, as to those of cnildren. 
All thoir tenaencles should be watched. Every commencement 
of evil, every tendency towards it, should be observed, and re- 

The efforts of parents in this employment should, also, be xm" 
wearied. Discouragement and Sloth are two prime evils in the con* 
duct of parerJal Government. The parent, seeing so many, and 
so unceasing, exertions necessary for the accomplishment of his 

Eurpose, usually feels, either earlier or later, as if it could never 
e accomplished ; and hence, from mere discouragement, at first 
relaxes, and finally gives over, his endeavours. Frequently, also. 
Vol. 111. 40 

9 'V 

314 Tnjrr of parents. [ser. cxn 

he becomes, after a moderate number of trials, wearied of a duty, 
which he finds so burdensome ; and through mere indolence desists 
from every strenuous attempt to discharge it. Such parents ought 
to remember, that they are labouring for the salvation of their chil- 
dren ; that this mighty object is pre-eminentlv committed to them; 
and that these reasons for their negligence will be unhappily alleged 
at the final day. 

(l have elsewhere compared the mind of a child to a rude mass 
of silver, in the hand of the silversmith. A single stroke of the 
hammer, a hundred, or even a thousand, change its form in a very 
imperfect degree; and advance it but little towards the figure, and 
beauty, of the vessel which is intended. Were he to stop, nothing 
valuable would be acconiplished. A patient continuance of these 
seemingly inefficacious efi(3rts, however, will, in the end, produce 
the proposed vessel in its proper form, and with the highest ele- 
gance and perfection. ) With the same patience and perseverance 
should parental exertions be made, when employed in forming 
the minds of children. Thus made, they will usually find a similar 
issue. ^ 

3. 17ie government of children should be uniformly Kind. 
Parents not unfi^equently administer discipline to their children, 
because they feel themselves obliged to it by conscience ; or to 
gratify anger ; or to retaliate some offence ; or to compel their 
children to accomplish some pleasure of their own. Whenever 
they act under the proper influence of conscience, they are certain- 
ly so far to be commended. But whenever they intend merely to 
unburden their consciences, and feel, that this is done by merely 
punishing their children, whether the punishment be wise, just, 
and useful, or not; either their consciences must be very ill in- 
formed, or they must be very little inclined to satisfy their demands. 
In the other three cases the discipline is merely selfish ; and par- 
takes as little of the true nature of family government, as that of 
a den of thieves. There are parents, who frankly, biit foolishly, 
declare, that they cannot correct their children, unless when they 
are in a Passion. Such parents I should advise never to correct 
them at all. Children, even at an early age, easily understand the 
nature of such government, and indeed almost always discern more 
perfectly the nature of our improper conduct, than we either wish 
or suspect. He, who thinks his child incapable of undenstanding 
his open infirmities, will almost of course be deceived. The fijov- 
ernment of Passion^ children will always perceive to be ra«iMjless, 
variable, weak, and sinlul. The parent, who administers ity will 
be dreaded by them, indeed ; but ho will only be dreaded in the 
same manner, as a wild beast. He will neither be reverenced, nor 
loved. His commands, so far as they cannot be avoided without 
danger, will be fc^wed by obedience : so far as they can, they 
will be neglected. The obedience will be a mere eye-service | 
and never spring firom the heart. When the parent is abseot. 


therefore, the child will pursue his own inclinat^nsf and will gen- 
erally counteract his parent's pleasure, whenever his own safety 
will permit. Such a government prompts the wickedness of chil- 
dren ten times, where it restrains it once. 

The government of Retaliation is the govemrpent of revenge ; 
and, therefore, not the government of a parent, but that of an en- 
emy. In this manner it will be regularly regarded by the child* 
Accordingly, he will, as far as possible, prevent its effects by con- 
cealing his faults in every way, which his ingenuity, or circumstan- 
ces, can suggest. In pursuit of this object, he will practise every 
trick, and fetch, and fraud, which his cunning can devise ; and ul- 
timately utter every equivocation, and every direct falsehood, 
which the necessity of extricating himself may require. Nor will long, before he will consider his parent as one party, and him- . 
self as tne other. He will then begin to retaliate in turn. In this 
ipanner, a controversy will be instituted, in which it will be the 
business of each to provoke, and injure, the other. The child will 
not, indeed, be able to meet his oniagonist in the open field; but 
he will endeavour to supply this defect by watching every op- 
portunity to do mischief secretly, pnd by making up in cunning 
what he wants in power. A species of Indian hostilities will thus 
be carried on by him; and frequently for such a length of time, as 
to embitter the peace of the parent, and to ruin the character of 
the child. 

The government, which is employed merely in making a child 
.tubstrvient to the Caprice^ and Convenience,^ of a parent^ is too ob- 
viously selfish, and sordid, ever to be misunderstood : and it needs 
only to be understood, to be detested. From parents, certainlji^ 
if from any human beings, we look for disinterestedness ; especial- 
ly in the management of their children. But there are parents, 
who regard their children, as hard masters regard their slaves ^^ 
and value them, only as they hope to derive profit from their la- 
bour, or convenience from their subserviency to their selfish wish- 
es. No words are necessary to show, that such views, feelings, 
and conduct, are contradictions to the parental character, and 
duties, alike. Equally hostile are they to the good of the child; 
and are calculated, only to destroy all his tendencies towards be- 
coming a useful man. Persons, who act in either of these modes, 
have never set before their eyes the true End of parental govern- 
ment ; and have no conceptions of the real nature of that great 
duty, to which they have been called by their Maker. A little at- 
tention to this subject would convince them, that all their govern- 
ment is to be administered under the controlling influence of kind- 
ness only ; kindness, directed solely to the good of their children. 
They are, indeed, to reprove, and to punish, them : but this is to 
be done only for their good; and never toiptify the resentment, 
nor to promote the selfish purposes, of tnr parent. It is to he 
done, because their faults are to be repressed, and because these 


are the proper means of repressing them ; because it is necessary, 
that the children should be sober, discreet, virtuous, and useful; 
and because these are the proper means of preparing them to be- 
come so. As such means, only, is all discipline to be used. In 
every other view the nature of discipline is subverted. ' Reproof 
becomes reproach, advice contumely, and ccrrection an assault. 
Instead of rendering the child what he ought to be, the parent will, 
in this way, destroy all the worth, which ne at present possesses; 
and prevent that, which he might acquire. 

Among the modes of exhibiting kindness in governing our chil- 
dren. Calmness and Moderation in reproving, and correcting, are 
indispensable. He, to whom this office falls, ought, more than in 
almost any other case, to be in perfect possession of himself. Ev- 
ery thing, which he does, or says, ought to prove, ths t he is so. 
His countenance ought then to be mud ; his accent gentle ; his 
* words free from all unkindness ; and his conduct such, as to prove, 
that he is compelled to this unwelcome office by duty only. 

With this spirit, parents will naturally be led not to govern their 
children too much. Like certain Mohammedans, \vho estimate the 
degree of their devotion by the number of prayers, which they 
utter, some persons suppose their duty of governing their children 
to be performed meritoriously, merely because they reprove and 

Eunish their children very often ; and accordingly make it their 
usiness to find fault with them ivy.n morning to night, and to pun- 
ish them week to week. In Liiis way, both reproof and pun- 
ishment lose all their power ; and only serve to case-harden the 
child against his duty. Children are as easily injured by too much 
government, as by too little. Children ought always to be watdi- 
ed with attention and tenderness, but not to be harassed. 

Another important office of kindness is to administer reproof, and 
punishment. Privately, Children sometimes commit their foults 
before others, when the parent is present ; and necessity may then 
demand, that they should be reproved on the spot, and in the pres- 
ence of those, who witness the fault. Whenever this is not the 
case, it will, in almost every instance, be desirable to administer 
the proper discipline in private. In this case the child will feel, 
that his character is saved ; and will be solicitous, in future, to 
preserve his own character by good conduct. He will feel also, 
that he is treated kindly; ancl will be grateful for the kindness. 
His mind will be left free for the undivided exercise of veneration 
for his parent. The parent at the same time, will enjoy the best 
possible opportunity for reproving him freely, largely, pungently, 
and solemnly; without that embarrassment, which will necessarily 
arise from the presence of others. In the presence of others, the 
child will feel his pride wounded, his chai^acter sacrificed, and 
himself disgraced ; and all this without any visible necessitv- He 
will, therefore, be angry, stubborn, pert, and not improbably dis- 
posed to repeat his former faults, ancl to perpetrate others. These 



emotions and these designs, he will, not unnaturally, disclose to 
his companions ; and they, not less unnaturally, will enhance and 
encourage them. Thus the whole force of the parental adminis- 
tration will always be weakened, and most frequently destroyed. 

4. Tkt Government of Children should always be accompanied by 
Proofs of its reasonableness and Equity. 

Many parents err through too much indulgence; and many 
through too little. Both extremes are unhappy, as well as unrea- 
sonable. Every child ought clearly to see, that his parent's cen- 
sures are not unkind ; and that his indulgence is not foolish. To 
this end, he ought regularly, and as soon as his capacity will admit, 
to be taught the reasons, on which the conduct of his parent, from 
time to time, is founded : not as a piece of respect to him, which 
he may demand ; but as wisely -directed information, which will be 
eminently useful to both parent and child. To the parent it will 
be useful, by establishing his character in the eyes of his child, as 
a ruler whose measures are all originated, and directed, by solid ^ 
reasons and sound wisdom, steady equity and unfailing kindness : 
as a ruler, whose government is to be reverenced, whose corn- 
man is are to be obeyed, and whose wishes are to be accorded 
with, from their reasonableness, as well as their authority ; from 
the benefit, as well as the duty, of obeying ; and from the plea- 
sure, universally experienced in conforming to the will of such 
a ruler. In this case the parent is secured of the obedience of the 
child, when he is absent, (as for the greater part of the time he 
must necessarily be,) no less than when he is present; and is as- 
sured also, that his obedience will be voluntary, and exact, and on 
both these accounts, delightful. To the child this information will 
be highly advantageous, because it will early accustom him to 
obey Irom the reasonableness of obedience ; and will insensibly 
lead him to examine, feel, and submit to, ^predominating reasons; 
lot only in cases of filial duty, but in all Olhcrs. Thus ne will ha- 
oitually grow up to a general accordance with the dictates of rea- 
son, and the representations of conscience ; will sustain a far more 
elevated and desirable character, than a child governed by mere 
authority ; and, when absent abroad, or arrived at the years of 
self-direction, will be incomparably more safe. The family, in this 
case, will exhibit the delightful spectacle of rational beings, go- 
verned by rational bemgs ; and not the humiliating one o[ slaves, 
struggling under the domination of a master. 

5. The government of children should be Self -consistent. 

Every parent ought to possess himself of a scheme of govern- 
ing his cnildren, before he commences the practice. In this 
scheme the same things should be uniformly aimed at; the same 
things required ; and the same things prohibited. The chamcter 
of the parent, also, as displayed in the execution of this scheme, 
should invariably be the same ; and that s/iould be the character, 
formed of reasouaod principle only. In all the parent's measures 



the child should sec, uniformly and irresistibly, that the parent 
hates vice above all things, and above all things loves virtae. 
This hatred to vice, and love to virtue, ought to appear to be in- 
wrought in the very constitution of the parent's mind ; to be in- 
separable from his habitual views and feelings ; and to be the first, 
the unvarying, and, as far as may be, the only, movements of his 
soul, with respect to these great subjects. Of course, all 1ms con- 
duct ought to present the unauestionable proof which practice and 
example foonish, that this is his real characters 

In consequence of this consistency, children will unifornily ex- 
pect the same parental opposition to their faults, and tl-e same 
countenance to their virtuous conduct. Few motives will Gj>erate 
more powerfully, than such expectations, eitheivto persuade them 
to virtue, or to restrain them from sin. Fewer crimes will, there- 
fore, be committed by them ; and of course the parent i^ill have 
fewer ti'ansgressions to reprove, or punish. In this maimer, a 
great part of the parent's labour will be prevented ; and not a 
small part of his pain. What remains to be done will . be in- 
comparably more pleasant. His encouragement to proceed will, 
also, be unspeakably- greater. To see the efficacy ol our endeav- 
ours is the most animating of all earthly inducements to continue 

Besides, cliildren will, in this case, regard their parents with far 
more veneration than any other. Consistency of character is es- 
sential to all dignity. A changing man, even when not a laulty 
one, is almost necessarily regarded as a trifler. A man, on the con- 
trary, exhibiting unifonn views, and principles, in a life, uniformly 
directed by them, governed, and governing, by the same rules, and 
an unchanging regard to them, is always possessed of dignity; 
and, when seen to be steadily opposed to sin and folly, and at- 
tached to wisdom and virtue, is possessed of high dignity. This 
character, seen in a parent, will invariably engage the highest filial 

When children become satisfied, that the restraints and correc- 
tions, which they experience from their parents, spring only from 
a conviction, that they are right, and necessary ; their consciences 
will almost always acquiesce. What is remarkable, and would, 
were it not common, be surprising ; they love the parent, who ad- 
ministers them, much more, than nim who neglects them. Between 
parental government, conducted in this manner, and that which 
is passionate, desultory, and fraught with inconsistencies, the dif- 
ference can scarcely be calculated. 

At a general conclusion of my observations concerning the edu- 
cation of Children, I add that all the efforts of the parent ought to 
hf. uecompanitd wiA Prayer to God for his blessing. It is ihc in- 
dispensable duty of mankind to pray always with all prayer. Few, 
very few, are those employments in human life, which so loudly 
pall for thi9 foithful performance of this duty, as that, which has 

8£R CXil.] AifTT OF PARENTS 310 

been under discussion. Wisdom, patience, faithfulness, kindness, 
and constancy, are rarely demanded of man in any concern, either 
so unceasingly, or in so great a degree, as in this. All these quali- 
fications, are indispensable to our success ; and we need them indis 
pensably from the Father of lights who alone can furnish these aikd 
all other good gifts. If we possessed them all ; we should equally 
need his blessings to give an eflBcacious and happy issue to our 
exertions. Both ibe qualifications, and the l)les$mgs, then, are to 
be asked of God wiho giveth liberally unto all ; and wfea hath as- 
sured us, that every one who asketh shall receive. The [)arent, 
who educates his children with the greatest care, and yet fails to 
invoke the blessing of God upon his labours, has done but half his 
duty ; and is entitled to no promise of success. 

III. / shall now make a few obsermiU>ns xonceming the Settle • 
ment of Children. 

The parent's duty with respect to this subject will b6 principal- 
ly concerned with the following things. 

1 . The choice of that Business j in which he is to spends princv' 
pally, his life. 

In selecting this object, a parent is bound to regard the state of 
his own circumstances ; the reasonable expectations of his child ; 
his talents ; his inchnations ; the probability of his obtaining a 
competent subsistence ; the prospect of his usefulness ; and the 
security of his virtue. It will be easily seen, that all these are dis- 
cretionary things ; to be judged of as well as we are able, and re- 
ducible to no precise general rule. Where children are not peculiarly 
froward,and parents not peculiarly prejudiced, the advantage of the 
child will, in ordinary cases, be sufficiently consulted. The prin- 
cipal difficulty, here, will usually be, to determine how far regard 
is to be had. to his inclinations. A degree of indulgence is always 
to be given them. When they direct to a prudent and profitable em- 
ployment, there can be no controversy ; nor when they direct to a 
dangerous one. All the real perplexity will spring from ca^es of 
a doubtful nature. Here the child's inclinations are supposed to 
lean one way, and the judgment of the parent another. If the pa- 
rent apprehends the bias of the child to be iovincible ; it will be 
both prudent, and right, to yield his own inclinations :.If not; he 
may lawfully require the child to make an experiment of the busi- 
ness, which he has preferred. The child is then bound to submit 
quietly to the choice of the parent ; and to endeavour faithfully to .„ 
subdue his own opposing inclinations. If, after sl fair trial, he finds 
them unconquerable ; the parent is, in my view, bound to yield the 
contested ppmt. The happiness of the child ought, here, to be the 
commanding object ; and no child can be happy, who is prevented 
from following the business which he loves, ana compelled to pur- 
sue that which he hates. 

Universally, the parent's duty demands of him to ploce his 
child, so far as the case will permit, in that employinent, which up- 



on the whole is best ; which will probably be most prodcictive of 
his comfort, reputation, usefulness, and piety. To some children, 
on account of their peculiar dispositions, certain employments are 
sufficiently safe, which for others arc to be regarded as eminently 
dangerous. The business, in which children are to be placed, 
when they are exposed by their dispositions to peculiar tempta- 
tions, should, as far as may be, always be such, as to counteract 
their dispositions. The employments, which awaken a moderate 
ambition, and a moderate desire of wealth and pleasure, and 
which yet disappoint no reasonable expectations of children, are 
usually preferable to all others. Those of a contrary nature, 
and those, particularly, which are expected to produce sudden 
opulence, and speedy aggrandizement, or which conduct to volup- 
tuousness, are fraught wito infinite danger and mischief. They that 
will be rich^ or great, or voluptuous, fall into temptation^ and a 
snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, that drown men in 
destruction and perdition. The love of these things is the root of 
all evil : and those, roho covet after them, pierce themselves through 
with many sorrows. Most parents wish these things for their chil- 
dren ; but they know not what spirit they are of Most parents, 
also, wish their sons to be geniuses, and their daughters to be 
beauties. How unfounded, how self-deceiving, are all these de- 
sires ! I do not deny, that many men of high office, and of great 
wealth, men who have .possessed in abundance all those, which 
are called the enjoyments of life, have been pious ; and, so far as 
this world permits, happy. I do not deny that such has been the 
j character, and state, of many men, remarkable for their talents; 
>;and of many women, distinguished for their beaatj. I do not de- 
ny, that all these things arc, in their nature, to be regarded as 
blessings ; or that they sometimes are actually blessings. But to 
most of mankind they are plainly curses; and probably to all who 
ardently desire them. What a melancholy history would the whole 
history be of beauties, geniuses, and men in high ofl5ce, of great 
wealth, and determined sensuality! 

2. Marriage. 

With respect to this subject, children are usually governed by 
inclination only, or chiefly : their parents sometimes by judgments; 
sometimes by avarice ; sometimes by ambition; sometimes by ha- 
tred to the family, or person, with whom the child is intended to be 
connected; and sometimes by favouritism for other persons, or 
families. The parent ought to be influenced by his unbiassed 
judgment only. By every thing else he will, without suspecting 
It, be deceived ; and sometimes in a degree which can neither be 
foreseen, nor limited, render both himself, and his child, unhappy 
through life. 

Parents can never lawfully compel their children to many pe^ 
sons, who are objects of their dislike ; nor use at all for such a 
purpose that influence, or those persuasives, whiclLoperate upon 


391 ^ 


tender and susceptible minds as the worst kind of compulsion. 
The reasons are plain. The child would be made miseitibic ; and 
could not, in any event, without a prevarication, of the same na- 
ture with perjury, lake upon himself the marfiage vows. But, 
during the minority of his children, he may be required by indis- 
pensable duty to restrain them from marrying, in certain cases. 
This, however, is an extreme exercise of aulhority; and should 
take place, only where the cases are extreme; cases, for example, 
in which the intended partner Is an infidel ; or grossly vicious ; or 
of a family, scandalous for vice; or in some other case of a 
similar importance. In all inferior cases, the parent's duty is, in 
my view, confined to information; to persuasion, kindly and rea- 
sonably conducted; and to such delays of the intended connexion 
as will furnish opportunity to give these dissuasives their full ope- 
ration. In these cases, children are bound to listen with the ut- 
most wilhngness, and impartiality, to the parent's reasons; and 
deeply to ieel, and lo respect his pleasure. If the reasons are 
solid ; ihey ought to be influenced by their whole force ; and, as 
far as may be, to overcome their own inclinations : remenjbering, 
that, ahhough their own happiness is xhe^rst thing to be regard- 
ed in forming such a connexion, thai of their parents is the si candj 
and that parental opposition to their wishes can rarely aim [iiany 
thing but their own good. When children have useci all reasona- 
ble expedients to bend their inclinations to the wishes of ilieir pa- 
rents, and are yet unable lo subdue them, their non-compliance can 
lawfully neither be punished, nor resented. 

3. Assistance towards acquiring a compettnl living. 

When children commence their settlement in life, they ofipn nee4 
assistance, at least as much as in earlier periods. This assistance 
is, however, principally confined to two articles; giving advice, 
and furnishing pecuniary aid. All parents, perhaps, are sullicienl- 
ly willing to give advice ; and most, I believe, are wdlinif lo be- 
friend iheir children with pecuniary assistance, in such a decree, 
as is not felt to be inconvenient to themselves. There arc those, 
however, who imparl sparingly enough; and there are others, still, 
who are disposed to give little or nothing. Avarice sometimes in- 
fluences the parent's conduct in this respect; and oftencr, I be- 
lieve, a reluctance lo lessen the heap, which we have been long 
eathering; and oftener, still, ihe wound, which pride feols at 
being thought to possess less wealth, than the utmdBI of what we 
have amassed. These are always wretched reasons ; and, in this 
case, reasons for wretched conduct. A child, when selling out in 
the world, finds himself surrounded by a multitude of diliJcullies; 
to struggle with which he must be very imperfectly prepared. 
Unexperienced, alone, suddenly plunged into many pcrplc lilies, 
and unacquainted with the means of relieving themselves, children 
are often distressed, discouraged, and sometimes broken down; 
when the hoping hanil of a parent would, with no real inconven- 

VoL. HI. 41 


I 1 4 






ience to himself, raise them to hope, resolution, and comfort. That 

Sarents, so situated, are bound oy plain duty to assist tbeir chil- 
ren in these circumstances can need np^itoof. He, who will not 
thus relieve the offspring of his own bowels, even at the expense 

. of being thought less rich, or of being actually less rich, deserves 
not the name of a parent ; and ought to be ashamed to show his 

, ikce among those wno do. F'or my own part, I cannot conceive, 
that a man, who* will not deny himself a little, to befriend bis own 
children, can have ever compassed the self-denial of forgiving his 
enemies; nor understand how he can possess sufficient confidence 
to stand up in morning and evening worship, at the head of his 

' funily, and say, in his own name pr^ ♦KpJr« Our Father^ ».**, /r^ ;. 


* • 


' r 





•DVt n. 12. — BwMwr thy father and thy iMihetf that thy day$ 9My te long 

the land which the Lord thy God gweth thee* 


Beside the direct import of this precept, it has been general- 
and justly, considered as by a very obvious analogy including 
>se duties, which are reciprocally to be rendered by men in va* 
us other relations : particularly those of superiors and inferiors, 
atever may be the basis of their relative characters. To an 
amnination of all these duties it might fairly lead. I shall, how- 
sr, make it my guide to the investigation of one claA of them 
ly: viz. TTie Duties of Magistrates and Subjects. 
The relations of Magistrate and Subject are so obviously 9nal- 
)us to those of parents and children, that Magistrates have been 
en styled the fathers of their people ; and their people often call-* 
their children. No lan^a^e of commendation is with more 

Juency, or with more emphasis, applied to a prince, distinguish- 
br his wisdom, justice, and benevolence, than that he wa§ afa^ 
r to his subjects. In this manner mankind have acknowledged 

similairity of these relations; and from a similarity of relations, 
TV man knows, must arise a similarity of duties. Accordingly, 

dfuty to magistrates is enjoined in the very same terms, as wkt 
ich is owed to parents. 

?ear God^ says St. Peter; honour the king. We are also di- 
ted by St. Paul to render reverence^ honour^ custom^ and In6- 
to the several orders of magistracy, as from time to time ikej 


t is my design in this discourse to state, in a summary manner, 
Jfdture of civil government ; and the respective duties of Rulen 
I Subjects. This I shall do without even a reiQOte reference 
«r to the past, or present, state of our own government. I 
er preached what is commonly called a political sermon, on 

Sabbath, in my life: and I shall not begin now; although to 
ach such sermons is unquestioiAbly the rieht, and in certain 
BS as unquestionably the duty, of every Minister of the Gospel* 

that I shall attempt to perform, is to exhibit some of the prima- 
)rincip1es, and duties, which pertain 16 government, as a branch 
loral science. The knowleage of these is in some degree ne- 


cessary to every man, who wishes to discharge either the duties of 
a ruler, or those of a subject. 

Hie foundation of all government w, undoubtedly^ the Will of God. 
Government, since the days of Mr. Locke, has been extensively 
supposed to be founded in the Social Coinpact. No opinion is more 
groundless than this. The great man, whom I have mentioned, 
was probably led to adopt it, from his zeal to omose the ridicu- 
. lous whims of Sir Robert Ftlmer ; who taught, that kings had a 
divine, hereditary right to their thrones, hy virtue of the original gift 
of universal dominion to Adam. In opposing this monstrous ab- 
surdity, Mr. Locke fell into another not a \vnit more rational, or 
defensible. This doctrine supposes, that mankind were originally 
without any government j and that in an absolute state of nature 
they voluntarily came together, for the purpose of constituting a 
body politic, creating rulers, prescribing their functions, and mak- 
ing laws directing their own civil duties. It supposes, that they 
entered into grave and philosophic deliberations; individually 
consented to be bound by the will of the majority ; and cheerfully 
gave up the wild life of savage liberty, for restraints, which, how- 
ever necessary and useful, no savage could ever brook, even for 
a day. Antecedently to such an assembly, and its decisions, this 
doctrine supposes, that men have no civil rights, obligations, or 
duties, and of course, that those, who do not consent to be bound 
by such a compact, are, now, not the subjects of either : such a 
compact, in the apprehension of the abettors of this doctrine, be- 
ing tliut, which creates all the civil rights, obligations, and duties, 
of man. 

The absurdities of this doctrine are endless. He, who knows 
any thing of the nature of savages, knows perfectly, that noiavage 
toas ever capable of forming such a design; and that civiUt^ life 
is indispensably, necessary to the very perception of the thiDes, 
pre-su()posed by this doctrine, and absolutely pre-requisite to the 
very existence of such an assembly. Every one, acquainted at 
all w:ih savages, knows equally well, that, if they were capable 
of all this comprehension, nothing, short of omnipotence, coidd per- 
suade them to embrace such a scheme of conduct. There is nothing, 
which a savage hates more, than the restraints of civilized life; 
nothing, which he despises more, than the civilized character, 
its refinements, its improvements, nay, its very enjoyments. To 
have formed such an assembly, or even to have proposed suck 
a system, men must have already been long governea, and cifHfj 

At the same time, there is no fact, more clearly evinced by the 
history of man, than that such a compact never existed. This even 
the abettors of it are obliged to confess ; and this cuts up the doc- 
trine by the roots. For if the social compact was not a fact 5 it is 


But i[ is alleged, that, a/iAow|'A ihis compact watnneran 
presi one, i( may, still, bi fairly considered as a ladl and implied 
compact. To the very existence of a compact it is indispensable, 
that the coritracling parly should be conscious, that the subject of 
the compact is proposea 10 him for his dchberalion, choice, and 
consent; and that he does actually deliberate, choose, and con- 
sent. But there is not even the shadow of a pretence, that any 
man, considering himself as being In a state of nature, and subject 
to no civil government, was ever conscious of being invited to be- 
come a party to such a compact, and of having this question ever 
proposed to him for such deliberation, or such consent. There u, 
ihere/ort, as liult foundation fur the supposition of a tacit, at for that 
of an express, social compact. 

It is further alleged, that this schtme, although confessedly ima- 
gtnary, may yet be advantageously employed to illustrate the nature 
of civil govcmmenl. In answer to this allegation, ! shall only 
observe, that the philosopher who believes falsehood (o be neces- 
sary, or useful, to the illustration of truth, must be very hardly 
driven by his own weakness, or by the erroneousncss of his 

If it were indeed true, that government is thus founded, then 
these fatal consequences would follow. 

Everu despotism on earth must stand as long as ike world conhn- 
MM. Every subject of despotic power is by this doctrine suppos- 
ed to promise his obedience to it ; and no man can ever withoraw 
himself from the obligation of his own promise. A new govern- 
ment can never upon this scheme be substituted for a former, but 
by the choice of the majority of those, who are subject to it: and 
as mja come into the world, there never can be, in any country, 
a majority of inhabitants, who have not already promised obetii- 
ence to the existing government. A minority, therefore, must 
always comprise the whole number of those, who can lawfully act 
in the business of modelling the government anew. Nor could 
even these act in concert, without Dcing guilty of rebellion. Nor 
couU those, who had already promised obedience, be released 
from their promise. I^ therefore, a new government were to be 
constituted ; there must be two sets of inhabitants, every where 
intermingled throughout such a country, and obeying two distinct 
and hostile governments. 

If any man, in any country, declines his consent to the compact} 
'"Ae IS wider no obligation to ob'y Ike existing government. Personal 
consent, according to this scheme, is all, that constitutes such ob- 
ligation. Such a man may, therefore, Sijl himself in a slate of 
nature. If he attacks others, indeed ; they may attack hira in 
turn : but the government cannot lawfully meddle with him, nor 
irith his concerns. 

If the niier should violate any, fvcn the least part of his own m- 
gagemtntt; then the subjects are relett4td from their engagements i 

3S5 I 


* ' 


and of course^ from all obligation to obey the laws. In other words, 
from the least violation of the ruler's engagements, a state of an- 
archy lawfully and necessarily ensues. If the subjects pass by 
such violation in silence ; their consent to it is equally implied with 
their supposed original compact. Of course the ruler may law- 
' fully commit the same violation again as often as he pleases ; nor 
can the subjects lawfully complain ; because they have consented 
to it in the sapie manner as to the pre-existing government. Ev- 
ery such violation, therefore, which is not openly resisted, is fiuaal- 
ly sanctioned* 

Od llk^l{|rf4her band, if a subject violate any of his engagements^ 
however '9lhall ; the ruler may lawfully make him an Outlaw y ani 
deprive him of every privilege^ which he holds as a eiiigtn* 

Jl foreigner J passing through such a country j can ie under no ob- 
ligation to obey its laws ; ana^ if he does any things which may ic 
construed as an outrage^ must either be suffered to do it with impih 
nityj or must be attaclUd by private violence. Such attacks, a few 
times repeated, would convert any people into a horde of robbers. 

J>fo man could^ in such a government^ be punished with death} 
however enormous might be his crimes } because no man ever thought 
of making, or has any right to make, a surrender of his own Sfe 
. into the hands of others. 

All these, '$Lnd a multitude of other, deplorable consequences 
follow, irresistibly follow, from the doctrine, that government is 
founded on the social compact. 

Government^ as I have already remarked, is founded in the WiU 
of God. The evidence of this position is complete. That God 
made mankind in order to make^tliem b^ppy, if they themselves 
will consent to be so, cannot b^ questioned. As little can it be 
questioned, that government is indispensable to their happiness, 
and to all the human means of it ; to the safety of life, liberty, and 
property ; to peace ; to order ; to useful knowledge ; to morals; 
and to religion. Nay, it is necessary to the very existence of any 
considerable numbers of mankind. A country without government 
would speedily, for want of those means of subsistence and comfort, 
to the existence of w hich it is indispensable, become an Arabian 
desert ; and that, however fruitful its soil, or salubrious its cUmate. 
Mankind have never yet been able to exist for any length of time 
in a state of anarchy. What reason so completely evinces, the 
Scriptures decide in the most peremptory manner. TTie powers 
that 6e, says St. Paid, are ordained of God : in other words ; 
Government is an ordinance of God. 
K^ ^ It is not here to be intended, that God has ordained a given forwi 
iff government. This he has never done, except in a single in- 
stance. He gave the Israelites a system, substantially of tne re- 
1)ublican form. This fact may, perhaps, afford a presumptioo fal 
avour of such a form, wherever it is capable of existing, out can 
do ndthing more. Nothing more is here intended, than ihat God 

8X21. CXUl ] DUTY OF KULER3. 337 

hus teilUd ike existence of Government itself. He hns undouhlcd- 
ly left it to nations to institute such modes of it, whenever (his is 
in iheir power, as should best suit their own state of society. 

As God willed the existence of govern rp en 1 for the happiness of 
mankind; it is unanswerably certain, that every government is 
agreeable to his will jusl so far, aa it promotes that bapniness; 
ibat that government, which promotes it most, is most agreeable to 
his will; and that that government, which opposes human happi- 
Bc&s, is equally opposed to his will. From these undeniable prin- 
ciples both rulera and subjects may easily learn most of iheir 
own duty. Whatever is conformed to ihem is right: whatever 
is contrary Co ihem is wrong of course. This, it wtU be remem- 
bered, is the dictate both of common sense, and of the Scriptures. 
Every ruler is accordingly bound to remember, that he is raised 
to the chair of magistracy, solely for the good of those whom he 
governs. His own good he is if Imd in the consciousness of hav- 
ing jiromoted that of others; tu I in the support, affection, and 
respect, which they render, and ure bound to render, him for dis- 
charging this important duty. Tiicre is no greater mistake, there 
is no more anti-scriptural, or contemptible, absurdity, than the 
doctrine of millions made for one ,■ of a ruler, raided to the chair 
of magistracy, to govern for himself; to receive homage ; to roll 
io splendour ; to riot in luxury ; to gratify pride, power, and ambi- 
tion, at the expense of the toils and sufierings of Us fellow-men. 
Such a ruler is only a public i-obber. Every man in office, how- 
ever elevated, is bound to remember, as a being equally account- 
able to God with his fellow-men, that his personal rights are by 
the divine constiiution and pleasure the same, as those of others ; 
that his personal gratification is of no more importance, and can 
claim no greater sacrifices, than that of others; that peculation, 
fraud, falsehood, itijustice, ojipression, drunkenness, gluttony, 
lewdness, sloth, profanencss, irreligion, and impiety; in a word, 
every crime; is accompanied by greater guilt in him, than in men 
St large ; because of his superior advantages to know ; and his 
superior inducements to perform, his duly. Forsaking all private 
gratifications, then, so far as they are inconsistent wiln the public 
happiness, just so much more important than his, as those wno en- 
joy It are more numerous, he is required, indispensably, to see, 
that his government has that happy and glorious influence upon 
his people, which is described by a man, thoroughly versed in this 
subject, in the following beautiful language ; The Spirit of the Lord 
tpake by me ; and his laurd mat in m;/ tongue. The God of Israel 
iM taid, the Rock of Israel spnke lo me, He that rvlelh over men must be 
jutl, ruling in the fear of God ; and he shall be as the light of tht 
morning, when the svn ristlh, even a morning tvilhoul clouds ; ailhe 
tender grass, springing out of the earth bg clear shining afler ram, 
• S Sam. xiiii. 2 — 1 




To possess this beneficent influence ; like this glorious luminary 
to diffuse light, and warmth, and animation, and nappiness, to all 
around him ; a Ruler ought, 

1 . To be a man of absolute Sincerity • 

Or the ruler x^f the Universe it is said, that it is impossHbUy that 
he should lie. Mercy and trulhy said the wisest ruler that ever 
lived in this world, preserve the king. The lip of. tfuthj says the 
same prince, shall be established for ever. " If truth," said King 
John of France^ " were to be banished from the world ; it ought 
still to find a residence in the breast of Princes." On the impor- 
tance of truth I shall have occasion to dwell hereaflen It ought, 
however, to be observed here, that truth is the basis, on which 
rest all the natural and moral interests of Intelligent beings ; that 
neither virtue nor happiness can exist without it ; and that false- 
hood, generally diffused, would ruin not only a kingdom or a 
world, but the universe ; i^ould change all rational beings into 
fiends, and convert heaven itself into a hell. 

There are two kinds of government; that of force} and that of 
persuasion. A government of persuasion is the only moral, or fi4e 
government. A government of force may preserve order in every 
case, which that force can reach ; but the order is that of a church- 
yard; the stillness and quiet of* death. The inhabitants of a 
Kingdom, goferned in this manner, are tenants of the grave : mov- 
ing masses, indeed, of ilesh and bones : but the animating princi- 
ple is gone. The soul is shrivelled, and fled ; and nothing re- 
mains, but dust and putrefaction. 

A government of persuasion subsists only in the mutual canfdenct 
of the nJer and the subjects. But where truth is not, confidence is 
not. A deceitful niler is never believed for a moment. If we 
could suppose him desirous to do good ; he would want the pow- 
er: for. none would trust either his declarations, or his promises. 
The only feelings, excited in the minds of the community, towards 
him and his measures, would be jealousy and hatred. Even fools 
know, that upright and- benevolent measures not only need no 
support from falsehood, but are ruined by it. The very connec- 
tion of falsehood, therefore, with any measures, proves Irresistibly 
to all men, that the measures themselves are mischievous, and that 
the Author of them is a villain. Where confidence does not exist, 
voluntary obedience cannot exist. A lying ruler, if his govern- 
ment is to continue, makes force, or despotism, indispensable to 
his administration. So sensible are even the most villainous ma- 
gistrates of these truths, that they leave no mea&ure untried to per- 
4suade their subjects, that themselves are men of veracity. Nay, all 
sagacious despots carefully fulfil their promises to such of their 
suBjects, as they think necessary to the support of their domination, 
and to the success of their measures. Falsehood may, indeed, in 
the hands of a man of superior cunning, succeed for a time ; but it 


can never last long : and, whenever detection arrives, it draws af- 
ter it a terrible train of avengers. 

Besides, lying is the most contemptible of all sins. Ye are of 

your father^ the devily said our Saviour to the Jews ^ for he was a 

liar from the beginnings and the father of it. This contemptible 

resemblance to the vilest and most contemptible of all beings, tlje 

source of complete debasement to every one who is the subject 

^of it, is pre-eminently contemptible in a ruler. He is, of course, 

the object both of public and private scorn. No degradation is 

more indignantly regarded, than that of being governed by a liar. 

- If a ruler hearken to lies ^ says Solomon, all his servants are 

wicked* Such a magistrate will be served by none but profligate 

men. The evils ot his government will, therefore, spread, by. 

means of his subordinate officers, into every nook and corner of 

the land. Like the Simoon of Jfubioj he spreads poison, death, 

and desolation, over the wretched countries subjected to his sway. 

2. ^ Ruler is bound to be a Just man. 

He that ruleth over men, saith God, must be just. This, indeed, 
is united, of course, with the preceding character. He that speak* 
tth truth, saith Solomon, sheweth forth righteousness. The impor- 
tance of justice in government is, like that of truth, inestimable; 
and, as it respects the divine governrpent, is exhibited with won- 
derful force in that declaration of Moses, He is the ^ck ; that is, 
the immoveable foundation, on which the universe rfets. Why? 
The answer is, His work is perfect : for all his ways are judgment, 
or justice ; a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is He. 
On the truth and justice of the infinite Mind the universe is built, 
as a house upon a rock. " Fiatjustitia ; ruat coelum;^^ is an ad- 
age, proverbially expressing the judgment of Common sense, con- 
cerning this subject. Let Justice be doAe, although heaven itself 
should tumble into ruin. 

This comprehensive attribute demands in the 
First place, Of the Legislator, that he enact just laws. 
Laws are the rules, by which rulers themselves, as well as the 
people at large, are, or ought to be governed. If these are unjust 5 
the whole system of administration will be a system of iniquity ; 
and the mass of guilt, thus accumulated, will rest primarily on the 
head of the Legislator. 

Secondly; Of the Judge, that all his Interpretations of law, and 
all his Decisions, founded on it, be just. Wo unto them, saith 
Isaiah, who justify the wicked for a reward, and take away the 
righteousness of the righteous from him. Ye shall do no unright-- 
tousness in judgment ; saith God to Israel, thou shall not respect 
the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty : but 
in righteousness shalt thou judge thy tuighbour. It is not good, 
says Solomon, to have respect of persons in judgment. He that 
saith unto the zoicked, that is, in a judicial sentence, JTiou art right- 
eous / him shall people curse : nations shall abhor him. But to 
Vol. in. 42 

390 ^^'^^ ^^ RULERS. [SER. CXIIL 

them that rebuke him shall be delight ; and a good blessing shall 
come upon them. Tribunals of justice bring laws to every man's 
fireside ; and apply them directly to his property, Kberty, person, 
and life. How just soever, how reasonable soever, laws may he\ 
an iniquitous tribunal may prevent all their good effects; and ren- 
der a country as miserable by its decisions, as it could be by the 
operations of original tyranny in the legislator* When God estab- 
lished the government of Israel, he himself formed the constitution, 
and enacted the laws. . All the political evils, which that people 
suffered, therefore, were' effectuated by the unjust applications oi 
those laws. They were, however, oppressed, at times, as intense- 
ly, as the nations, who have been unaer despotic dominion. The 
guilt, and the mischiefsj of this oppression, are in the Scriptures 
charged wholly, and truly, to the judicial and executive magistra- 
cy. The same evils, in the same degree, may be derived to any 
people from the same sources. A wise and upright judiciarj' is a 
public blessing, which no language can adequately exhibit ; which 
no people can too highlv prize, and too strenuously vindicate ; and 
without which no people can be safe, or happy. 

TJiiTdly ; Of the Executive magistrate, that he execu'e the laws 
faithfully, invariably, and exactly. This is so plain a truth, and 
so universally acknowledged, as to need-no illustration. The end 
of ajl legislative and judicial efforts is found here; and, if thb 

freat duty is unaccomplished, both legislative and judicial efforts, 
owever wise, and just, and good, they may be, are a mere pup- 

3. A Ruler must be a Benevolent man. 

Of the Universal Ruler it is said, God is love. Of the same 
character ought all his earthly delegates to be possessed. 

Under the influence of this spirit, mfinitely important to the hap 
piness of intelligent beings. Riders are bound to make the public 
good their sole object in governing. Their own personal interests, 
compared with the general interest, are an unit to many millions ; 
and are immensely better promoted by securing the common good, 
than by any possible pursuit of that, which is private and selfish. 
If they think otherwise ; it is either because they cannot, or will 
not discern the truth. 

Under the influence of this spirit also, he is bound to administer 
justice with mercy. In th^ conduct of such beings, as men, there 
^e very many cases, in which a rule, generally just, becomes un- 
just by a rigid apphcation. For these cases* wise governments 
nave endeavourea to provide by entrusting the proper magistrate 
with a discretionary authority ; in the exercise of which, clemency 
may be extended wherever it mav be extended with propriety. 
Even where a strict application of law is right, and necessaiTi 
there may be a harshness and unkindness in tne manner of appli- 
cation, sometimes scarcely less cruel, than injustice in the appiica* 


lion itself. A benevolent ruler will never -administer government 

in this manner. ..f 

Universally, a bene-polent Ruler will prevent^ redress^ reliete^ and 
remove^ the wrongs both of the public and of individuals, as far, 
and as soon, as it shall be in his powor. He will cast an affection- 
iite eye on. all the concerns of his countrymen ; and, w^herever he 
sees calamities arise, will kindly interpose with those means of re- 
lief, which God has placed in his hands. . The extensive power 
of doing good, with which he is entrusted by his Creator, he will 
consider as thus entrusted, only that he may do good ; and will 
fbel himself delightfully rewardfed by having been selected as the 
honourable instrument for accomplishing so glorious a purpose. '. 
That all this is demanded by his duty, it is unnecessary even to 

4. A Ruler is bound to respect the Laws of his Country^ 

By this I intend, particularly, that he is bound to conform to them 
in all his conduct, personal and public. The laws of every free 
country prescribe alike the conduct of the ruler and the ruled. 
The official conduct of all magistrates, whatever be their office, is 
directed by particular laws. To every one of these, so far as his 
own duties are marked out by it, each magistrate is bound to con- 
form with absolute exactness: not generally and loosely only, 
but with respect to every jot and tittle. The personal conduct of 
the ruler is prescribed by the same laws, which direct th%t 01 his 
iellow-citizens. These laws, also, it is his duty faithivrtly and 
scrupulously to obey : a duty enforced by higher obligations, than 
those, which respect men in general ; because he is fairly supposed 
to understand more perfectly the duty and importance of obeying; 
and because in violating law, his evil example will weaken the 

S>vernment, and prompt others to the same violation, more than 
at of any private individual. The ruler, who. violates the laws 
of the land, and yet attempts to compel, or persuade, others to 
obey them, labours, with the Danaides, to fill with water a tub full 
of holes. 

Concerning the king, whom God foresaw the Israelites would 
one day elect to govern them, Moses^ by his direction, says to 
Israel, // shall 6e, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom^ 
that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book^ out of that which 
is before the priests, the Levites ; and it shall be with him ; and he 
shall read therein all the days of his life ; that he may learn to fear 
the Lord his God^ to keep all the words of this law, and these statutes, 
to do them : that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren^ and 
that he turn not aside from the commandment to the right hand or to 
the left. Deut. xvii. 19, 20. 

5. ^ Ruler ought to be a rnan of Piety. 

That a ruler is bound to sustain this character by all the obliga- 
tions, which are incumbent on other men, will not be questioned. 
I intend something more. A ruler b under peculiar obiigaticns to 


susflaiitihis character, beside those, which are common to other 
men. As a private citizen, he was under all the common obliga- 
tions to sustain this character. As a ruler, he is under new ones. 
His duties arc become more iniportant, and arduous ; and drinand, 
in an eminent degree, the blessing of God to enable him to jj^riorm 
them aright. He has greater means of doing good put into his 
hands, and needs, in a peculiar degree, the divine assistance, ta 
enable him to use them. If he should be left to unwise, or wicked 
measures; they will be far more mischievous to his countr^mco, 
than any thing, which he could formerly have done, when he was a 
' private citizen. His persomU conduct, also, cannot fail to be 
much more beneficial, or much more noxious, to his country, thao 
if he had not been invested with a public character. 

In accordance with these observations, the Scriptures infoimus, 
that the rulers of /yrae/and Judah were eminent blessings, or emi- 
nent curses, to the people, over which they presided, DaTid^ Je- 
hoshaphni ^Hezekiah^ afid Josiali^ arc remarkable example:? «;f the 
glorious influence, which a ruler may possess, towards reforming 
a nation, and rendering it happy. Jtrohoam and j?Ac6 aro terri- 
ble proofs of the power, which a ruler may exert, to changf' a na- 
tion into a horde of profligates. What magistrate, except sj:ch as 
Ahub and Jcrobvam^ would not covet the cnaracter, and inr.ucncc, 
of iho four first of these princes ? Whatman of common t;(;brie- 
ty woijld not shrink with horror from the thought of rcscij)bling 
the two last? But the lour first were men pf exemplary piety: 
while the two last were impious beyond example. 

At the same time, God usually blesses a nation for the snke of 
pious rulers : whereas an impious one cannot fail to become a 
curse. But all blessings ore given in answer to prayer. Jlsk^ and 
ye shall receive^ is the only promise of good to man; in\olviDg 
the condition, without which, it is never promised. If rulers, 
then, would obtain blessings either for thc^mselves, or their people; 
they, like all other men, must pray for them. Rut Ike sacrifice of 
the wicked^ and of wicked rulers as well as of other wicked men, 
is an abomination to the Lord : while the prayer of the upright is hit 
delight. Which of these men ought we here to suppose, tnai God 
will answer, and bless ? 

6, ji Ruler is bound to become a blessing by his Example. 

The chanicter of a good Ruler is forcibly, and perfect Iv, de- 
scribed by St. Paul, wnen he styles him a Minister ofG('d,for 
good unto his people. This is his whole business; and, while he 
pursues it, he is acting in his only proper character. To form 
this character, every thing which I have mentioned, contributes, 
as an essential part. But every thing, which has been sal:], ex- 
cept what was observed concerning his personal obedience to the 
laws of the land, and his piety, respects his official duties. The 
observation, now to be illustrated, respects his conduct, as a man. 


As a man, he is peculiarly reouired to be an example of all the 
Christian virtues. Whatever ne does, others will do, because he 
does it : and many more will imitate him, than if he were a private 
person. The weight of power, and the splendour of office, give 
to the example of the ruler, especially in an. elevated station, an 
anthority, a persuasiveness, a cnarm, which fascinates multitudes. 
If his example be virtuous ; it will ereatly discountenance, and 
check, vice ; and ercatly encourage, diffiise, and strengthen virtue* 
If vicious; it will oecome pestilential ; and spread contagion, de- 
cay, and death, through all around him. No man can be so great 
a blessing, or so great a curse, in this respect, as a ruler : and the 
example of every man in high office will invariably be either a 
public curse, or a public blessing. Jeroboam and Ahab were in- 
comprehensible curses to the Israelites, through cveiy succeeding 
age of their national existence. What man of common sense, in 
sach an alternative, can balance a moment concerning the choice, 
which he shall make ? 

7. Every ruler, vested with the appointment of subordinate officers^ 
w under indispensable obligations to select men of the very same char^^ 
meter, which has been already described* 

Moreover, thou shalt provide, said Jethto to Moses, out of all the 
peepUj able men ; such as fear God ; men of truth ^ liating covetouS'^ 
netf ; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, aiid rul* 
er» of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and nders of tens; and let them 
judge the people at all seasons. Judges and ojjicers, said Moses to 
the Israelites, shalt thou make thee in all thy gales, which the Lord 
ihf God giveth thee throughout thy tribes ; ana they shall judge the 
pt^le with just judgment. Thou shalt not wrest judgment ; thou 
fkalt not respect persons ; neither take a gift; for a gtft doth blind 
the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. Him^ 
says David, speaking oi this very subject, him, tluU hath an high 
look, and a proud heart, I will not suffer. Mine eyes shall be upon 
the faithful of the land; that they may dwell with me ; he that walk-' 
dA in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He that worketh deceit shall 
not dwell within my house ; he that telleth lies shall not tarty in my 
oight. These passages need no comment. The voice of God has 
here determined this point, in a manner which cannot be misunder- 

With this decision exacdy accords that of Experience and that 
of Common sense. Subordinate officers are eyes, and ears, and 
liands, and feet, to their superiors in office. They are the means 
of furnishing them with the most necessary information ; that of 
the wants^ circumstances, dangers, and sufierings, of the nation ; 
that of the real influence of governmental measures, whether ben- 
e&cial or mischievous ; and, generally, all that, on which future 
Regulations ought to be grounded. They are the immediate 
aieaos of executing every law, and carrying into effect every 



measure of administration. Their own conduct, example, and 
influence, reach every neighbourhood, every fireside, ffations 
have almost almttis sunered incftinparably more from a multitude 
"^ of little tyrants, than from a single great one; axid have been im- 

\^ * ^lensely more coniipted by a host of evil examples, than by a sol- 
itary pattern of wickedness, however great and splendid. In vain 
.^ . will tne wisest, most upright, and most benevolent ruler, labour to 
S promote public happiness ; if he conunits the administration of his 

measojres to profligates and villains. It is, however, to be re- 
membered, that a ruler will of course appoint to subordinate offi- 
ces, men, mrbose character corresponds with his own. A wise and 
^ good ruler, so far as his information extends, will choose none 
bat wise and eood men, to aid him in the business of governiD^. 
A bad ruler will find none but bad assistants, convenient for his 

8. A Ruler is under the highest obligations to be industrious* 
Industry is the duty of all men,' and pre-eminently that of a ruler. 
The vaiiious, complicated, and arduous business of governing de- 
mands the full exertion of all the talents, and the full employment 
of all the time, allotted to man. Persons in high offices, particu- 
larly, are bound to improve their talents by every well-directed 
•efibrt. They are under indispensable obligations to gsiin, so bi 
as is in their power, the most enlarged, and exact, information of 
their official duties, and the best modes of discharging them ; of 
/the interests of the people, and country, over which they preside^ 
ko{ the means, by which their rights may be most efifectually secur- 
ed ; of the dangers, either at home, or abroad, to which they are 
•exposed, and of the ways, in which those dangers may be avert- 
ed; of the b^st means of private safety, and national defence; 
and, in a w(^, of all those measures, by which may be insured 
the safety, peace, good order, and universal happiness, of the 

On this information ought to be founded a course of unremitted 
. industry in eflfectuating, by the most useful measures, all these 
great and good purposes. A weak and ignorant ruler may de- 
serve pity : a lazy one can only merit abhorrence. Both are, of 
course, public nuisances. When God was about to punish the 
Jews in a terrible manner, for their sins, he announced the alarm- 
,' ing judgment in this remarkable prediction : Behold the Lord, ih 
Lord oj hosts J doth take away from Jerusalem, and from Judak, th 
stay and the staffs the zohole stay of bread, and the whole stay of 
'■' water ; the mighty man, and the man of war ; the judge, ana tht 
' prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient^ the captain of fifty, and 
, tht honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and 
the eloquent orator. And I will sive children to be their princes y and 
babes shall rule over them. And the people shall be oppressed, evtrj 
one by another j and every one by his neighbour. The child shall ie- 




SS5. i.;. 

Aave himself proudly against the andetUj and the oase against the 
honourable. In the view of God, therefore, thekMS of wise and 
able rulers, and the government of weak ajid focmflh ones, such as 
indolent men in Qjfice always are, are both terrible judgments upon 
a nation, and severe inflictions of the divine vengeance il|x>a. guill^ -• 
of no common die. 


v^ ; 


?ii .'. 

^ \p ' • ^ 



BioDOi XX. 12. — Himour thy father and thy mothttf thai, thy day» wum ie ham flia 

th€ land which the Lord thy Ood gipelh Uu€. ^ 

In the last discourse, I considered at some length, the Dukf ^ 
HultTu I shall .now go on to examine thai of SiAjecU. As a 
free Government is that, with which alone we nave any practical 
concern ; my observations will be especially referred to a govern- 
ment of this kind. All Subjects have, indeed, rn^ny duties in 
common ; but there are some, which are peculiar to men. fiving 
under despotic dcmiinioa. These I shall not think it necessary to 

Every free eovemment is more, or less, elective. The privi] 
of choosing those, who are to govern them, is, to every pe< 

Eossessing it, a blessing of inestimable importance ; and like ol 
lessings, brings with it the corresponding duties. Out of it pa^ 
ticularly arises the 

1 • Ureat duly of free citizens j which is to Elect always j as far as 
may be^ Riders j possessing the several characteristicsj mtntioruiin 
the preceding discourse: such as are sincere; just; benevcrfent; 
disposed to respect the laws of Xheir countrv ; pious ; ezemphiy; 
indusirious ; and thus prepared to select K)r subordinate offices, 
whenever vested with the power of selecting, men of the same 

That such Rulers are agreeable to the Will of God ; and that 
he has required all Rulers to be such; cannot be questioned. J!fo 
more can it be questioned, that one great reason, why He has re- 
quired them to pe of this character, is the establishment, in this 
way, of the happiness of the people, whom they rule. In every 
orcfinance of this nature, God has directly consulted the happiness 
of his creatures ; and has undoubtedly chosen the very best means 
of accomplishing it. The establishment of national hnppiness, 
then, demands indispensably, that Rulers be of this character. 
&ut in the case supposed, the people themselves elect their Rulers* 
Thoy are therefore bound, indispensably, to elect such, and such 
only, as are agreeable to the will of God, as unfolded in his Word; 
such, and such only, as will contribute directly to the establishment 
of Piii^lic happiness. 

Evrry People ought to remember, that in this ccwe, the marulro- 
cyis of their opm citation; that just such men are introduced*into 


it, as thej please; and that, if tjhey are not men of wisdom an4 
Tirtue, the electors are the sole and blameworthy cause. In die 
very act of electing weak and wicked men to places of magistra- 
cy, they testify publicly to God, and the world, that they choose to 
have weak and wicked men for their rulers. All the evils of a yeak 
and wicked administration of government are, therefore, charge- 
able, in the first instance, and in Che prime degree, to themselves 
only. By what solemn obligations, then, ai*e they bound to take 
the most effectual care, that those, whom they elect, be men of ac- 
'..'Vnowledged wisdom and virtue! To choose men of the contraiy 
character is to rebel against the known Will of God ; to sport 
with their own happiness ; and to hazard that of .their posterity* 
The only part of tnis subhct, about which a question will be rais- 
ed, and the part, about wnich no question can, consistently either 
with the Scriptures or Common Sense, be ever raised, is the de- 
claration, tluU a Ruler ought to he a virtuous man. To the ques- 
tion concerning this subject the scriptural answer is short : As a 
roaring /ton, and a racing bear ; so is a wicked Ruler over the poor 
people. This, it is to be remembered, is the decision, not of 00/9- 
mon only, but of God. Common sense, directed by its own uner- 
ring rule of experience, has regularly given the same decision ; 
ana mustered before the eyes 01 mankind a long host of tyrants 
and public plunderers, of profligate legislators and abandoned 
magistrates, whose names have been followed by the hisses, and 
loaded with the execrations, of mankind. Virtuous Rulers, on the 
contrary, have always, unless in times of peculiar violence, and 
prejudice, been seen, and acknowledged, to be public blessings. 
Indfeed, it may be doubted whether the general proposition, now 
under consideration, was ever seriously questioned by a sober man. 
All the doubts concerning it, all the opposition which it has met 
with, seem to have arisen in seasons 01 party and dissension ; frqm 
the wish U> carry some favourite point, or the desire of advancing 
to place and power some favourite person. 

In the preceding discourse, I have illustrated this subject, in a 
aummary manner, from the political history ofJudah andisraelj r«- 
corded m the Scriptures. This illustration, corresponding exactly 
with every other of the same nature, and in the light and convic- 
tion, whicn it conununicates, totally superior to them all, deserves 
lobe resumed in this place, and to be insisted on particularly: 
much more particularly, indeed, than the present occasion will 
permit. Every virtuous prince of Judah was regularly a public 
Diessing ; beloved of his people ; devoted to the advancement, 
and seoulously engaged in employing the means of accomplishing 
the actual, and extensive, advancement, of their happiness ; the 
acknowledged object of peculiar Divine favour ; the cause, in this 
manner, for which peculiar blessings descended on lus nation; 
and the honourable instruinent of producing a sudden, gcneraU and 
ipiportant reformation, not only in his court, but throughout his 
' Vol. hi. 43 




kinedom. Whenever such a Prince ascended the throne, piety 
andmorality immediately lifted up their heads, and began to find 
firiends to*exert their influence^ to abash vice, to silence murmors, 
to diminish sufierings, and to create, what they always create, 
public and individual happiness. Such Princes, also, regularly 
appointed, so far as it was in their power, men, resembling them- 
selves, to the subordinate offices of government ; and thus station- 
ed public benefactors in. every comer of their country. For all 
these reasons, their names, as a sweet memorial, have been wafted 
down the stream of time with distinctio^i and honour, and have 
commanded the esteem of every succeeding gener^tioh. Such 
Rulers were Moaesj JoshuOj Gideon^ Deborah^ Samuel^ David^ Sobh 
mon before his declension, Jehoshaphat Hezekiah^ Josiah^ and .ATc- 
hemiah. Such, also, were the brave and virtuous Maccahett. I 
shall only add, that these Rulers strenuously defended the coun- 
try; which they coverned. 

Take, now, the reverse of this picture. The wicked Princes, 
to whose dominion these nations were at times subjected, blasted 
both their virtue and their happiness. Ahaz^ Manasseh^ Amorij and 
the three last Kings of Judah^ were malignant, and aif« cting, exam- 
ples of this truth. Weak, as well as wicked, these Princes rained 
their people at home, and provided no means for their defence 
against enemies abroad. With an unobstructed, and terrible ra- 
pidity, the nation, which they ruled, slid down the steep pf declen- 
sion^ and plunged suddenly mto the gulf at the bottom. 

Still more instructive is the account, giyen us concerning the 
Kings of brael. Of Jeroboam^ the first of these princes, the most 
dreadful of all characters is communicated to us in this remarka- 
ble declaration ; that he sinned, and made Israel to sin. A pol- 
luted, and profligate wretch himself, he converted all around him 
into profligates ; and began a corruption of religion and morals, 
which, extending its baleful influence through every succeeding 
age, terminated in the final ruin of his country. The evils intro- 
duced by him' operated with a commanding and universal efficacy; 
and they were cherished and promoted by Mtdab his son, BaasM 
his murderer, Elah his son, and Zimri his murderer ; and by Omri^ 
Ahabj and every one who followed them. By their pestilential ex- 
ample, and under their deadly influence, the nation became aban- 
doned. Truth, Justice, and Piety, sighed their last farewell to 
the reprobated race, and took their final flight. A nuisance to the 
world, and an object of the Divine abhorrence, the unhappy na- 
tion became lost to every hope of recovery ; and was finally given 
up as a prey to the Assyrian / at that time the general scourge, 
and destroyer, of mankind. 

It is impossible for any people, with its eyes open, to wish for 
such Rulers, as these. When it is remembered, that this testi- 
mony concerning evil Rulers is the testimony of God Himself: 
that the same causes vrill always produce the same effects ; and 


SEB. cxnr.] 




that evil Rulers were no more injurious to Itrael^ th^ they will 'he 
to every other People,' governed by them 4 it is plain, that no peo- 
ple can elect iBuch Rulers, without assuring themselves, that, in this 
eery act, they are accomplishing their own iniin. A nation, which 
elects .wicked Rulers, it ought ever to be r^niembered, is charge- 
able, not only with the ^uiU of being corrupted, as Israel was, but 
irith the additional and peculiar guilt, also, of originating the means 
of its own corruption, it not only becomes wicked, but makes itself 
wncked^ by giving to evil men the power and influence which (enable 
them to spread the plague of vice through every part of the poUti- 
calbody. Whatman of common sense, and sober reflection, can 
consent to make himself chargeable with these evils ? 

But it may be sa^d, that those, who elect, will often be unable to 
distinguish virtuous men from such as are not virtuous. I answer, 
that .Churches of Christ are also unable to make this (discrimination 
widi certainty ; yet, wherever they are faithful and vigilant, they 
find no serious mfficulty in keening themselves, to a good degree, 
pure, and safe from gross and unhappy mixtures. T answer iur- 
ther, that a steady, regular aim, ou tne part of a whole nation, or 
otbef body politic, to choose virtuous Rulers, and none but such 
BUI are virtuous, will ordinarily accompfish this invaluable purpose. 
Should it. fail in any instance ; the nation will still have done its 
3uty. As to extreme cases ; such as those, in which no virtuous 
man can be found to fill the office contemplated ; they must occur 
BO rarely, as hardly to require rules of direction. It will always 
be in the power of a people to select from th^ candidates the best 
man ; ana such a selection will undoubtedly answer the demands 
of duty in a case of this nature. The true difficulty does not lie 
in our inability to determine who are virtuous men ; nor in their 
irant of the- proper qualifications for office ; but in the want of a 
fixed and general determination to choose them ; in our dfsfective 
estimate of the importance of virtue to public office ; in our pre- 
ference of o/Aer qualifications to/ Ai^; in p&rty attachment ; inper- 
lonal favouritism ; and in gross and guilty indifference to the rub- 
lie Good. . All these are deplorable prejudices, and palpable 
orimes ; miserably weak, as well as dangerously sinfiil ; fraught 
•rith innumerable evils, not always immediate, perhaps, but always 
near, certain, and dreadful. 

3. Subjects are bound faithfully to Obey their Rulers. 

Concerning this truth, in the abstract^ there will probably be no 
debate, except what is excited either by passion or by. frenzy. 
The only serious questions,, which can rationally be made here 
are: How far is this obedience to extend? and What are the cases^ 
in which it may be lawfully refused ? The importance of these 
questions must be deeply felt by every man. tiy St. Paulj every 
mnd is required to be subject to the higher powers ; because, as he 
informs us, the powers^ that be^ are ordainea of Godi By the same 
Apostle we are further told, that whosoever resisteth the power j re* 





sisteth the ordinance of Godj and skill receive to himself damnaiuM } 
that is, not damnation in the proper sense, ot* as the word is now 
understood, but the condemnation, denounced by the law of God 
against all sin. By St. Peter we are directed to submit to ever/ 
ordinance of man, for the Lord^s sake : whether it be to the Ktngj as 
Supreme; or tmto Governors, that is, generally, to all persons pos- 
sessing lawful authority ; for such, he declares, tr the will of God. 
With these precepts m Ms hand, no Christian can fail to believe 
the questions, mentioned above, to be of incalculable importance 
to him, and his fellow-men. It is as really the duty of a Minister 
to explain this part of the Gospel to his congregation, and to en- 
force upon them these precepts, as any other. Nor can he be at 
all excused in passing tnem by. I shall, therefore, exhibit toyoa, 
on the presetit occasion, my own views concerning this long, and 
vehemently disputed topic. 

In the first place : Subjects are not hound to obey the commandi of 
magistrates, as such, when they are not warranted bv IMw. 

The law creates magistrates; and defines all their powers, and 
rights. Whenever they require that, which is not warranted by 
law, they cease to act as magistrates ; and return to the character 
of mere citizens. In this character they have plainly no authority 
over their fellow-citizens. It is not the man, out the magistrate, 
whom God requires us to obey. 

Secondly. Subjects are hound to ohey magistrates, when acting 
agreeably to the laws, in all case^ not contrary to the toiUofOod, n 
unfolded in the Scriptures. 

This I take to be the true import of the directions, given by SL 
Pc/cr and St. Paul. These Apostles cannot, I think, be rationally 
supposed to enjoin upon subjects obedience to those commands of 
a Kuler, which contravene the laws of the land; or which lie be* 
yond the limits of his lawful authority. They require our obedi- 
ence to the magistrate, acting as a magistrate, or within the limits 
of his lawful authority; and not to the magistrate, transgressing 
the bounds of law, and acting, merely as a private individual, ac- 
cording to the dictates of his own discretion, caprice, or whim. 
Much less can thev be supposed to require our obedience to 
those commands of a Ruler, which are opposed to the Law of 
God. Whether we should obey God rather than men, can never 
be seriously made a question by Common sense, any more than by 

There may be, there often are, cases, in which, from motives of 
prudence and expediency, we may feel ourselves bound to obey 
magistrates, for the time at least, when acting beyond their au- 
thority, and aside from law. This subject is too extensive, to be 
particularly considered on the present occasion. I shall only ob- 
serve, therefore, that we are bound to fix in our minds a high sense 
of the duty, and importance, of obeying rulers ; and of the dan- 
ger, alwajj^i threatening the public peace, and prosperity, ttok 



unnecessary disobedience. Such a sense will, it is believed, 
prevent most of the real difficulties, to be apprehended in cases 
of this nature. 

The observations, already made concerning this general subject, 
will prepare the way for settling our opinions concerning a par- 
ticular Question, involved in it, which is of high importance to man- 
kind. It is this : Whether a nation is warranted to resist Rulers^ 
when seriously encroaching on its liberties ? It is my intention to 
confine the answer, which will now be given to this question, to 
lAe Ittwfidness of such resistance. The expediency of it, 1 shair sup- 
pose to be granted ; so far as the safety, and success, of the re- 
sistance is concerned. In other words, I shall suppose the People, 
immediately interested in the question, to have as fair an oppor- 
tunity, as can be reasonably expected, of preserving, or acquiring 
political liberty ; and of establishing, after the contest is ended, 
a free and happy government. In this case, the resistance in 
question is, in my own view, warranted by the Law of God. It 
is well known, that this opinion has been adopted by some wise 
and good men, and denied by others. But the reasons, alleged 
by both classes for their respective doctrines, have, so far as they 
have fallen under my observation, been less satisfactory, than I 

A nation, already free, ought, whenever encroachments upon 
its freedom are begun, to reason in some such manner, as the fol- 
lowing : 

^' Despotism^ according to the universal and uniform experience 
of man, has regularly been fatal to every human interest. It has 
attacked private happiness,