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ing with strong inpressions the truths, which he uttered. Had not all this been done by them, St. Paul might, with exactly the same success, have preached to the dead.

In the doctrine for wbich I contend there is, I apprehend, nothing embarrassing, and nothing which is even peculiar. God, as was observed in the first of these Discourses, is equally the sole Agent in the production of a crop. But it would be a palpable absurdity to conclude from this fact, that the crop

would come into existence without the labours of the farmer. Were he not to plough and sow the ground, a child knows that not a stalk of wheat would be produced. St. Paul contributed as really to the spiritual harvest, as the farmer to the natural one, and in the same sense ; for without his labours that harvest would not have existed. Neither Paul nor the husbandman is at all concerned in the creative act of God, employed in each of these cases. But both of them do that, without which this creative act would not exist. Accordingly, where the Gospel is not preached, regeneration does not take place; as crops have no existence, where the earth is not cultivated.

2. It is objected, that the use of the means of grace on the part of sinners is itself sinful; and that ministers therefore cannot conscientiously advise sinners to use these means; since this would be no other than advising them to commit sin.

As this in all probability is the objection on which the greatest stress is laid, and that which has contributed most to perplex those to whom, and not improbably those also by whom it is urged, I shall consider myself as justified in examining it at some length. It is presented in various lights. I will endeavour to follow the course pursued by the objectors themselves.

It is triumphantly alleged, that the Scriptures have decided the point in debate, and established the objection immoveably, by such declarations as the following :- The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,' Prov. xv. 8. • The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination : how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind, * Prov. xxi. 27. He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even bis prayer shall be an abomination,' Prov. xxviii. 9. If then the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination ; if the prayer of the wicked is an abomination; it cannot be lawful for the wicked to pray, nor for a minister to advise him to pray.

* Especially when he offereth it to serve some base end. Hodgson.

I have, I believe, alleged the objection in its full force, and in the very terms in which it is usually alleged. This, at least, has been my design.

It is not pretended, that sinners are in the Scriptures ecpressly forbidden to pray; nor that ministers are expressly forbidden to advise them to pray. The objection is inferred from other declarations of the Scriptures. Like other inferences, it is, however, to be suspected, until it shall be shown to be certainly and necessarily derived from such declarations. The authority of a certain conclusion, fairly derived from the Scriptures, I admit. But in order to this admission, I must be satisfied that it is certain, and fairly derived from the Scriptures. Let us now examine this inference.

1. The objection is founded on this general doctrine, that, whenever an individual will commit sin in any conduct, he cannot lawfully adopt, nor be lawfully advised to adopt, that conduct.

But from this doctrine it will follow, that sinners cappot lawfully do any thing, while in a state of sin, nor be lawfully advised to do any thing. There is as much certainty, that a sinner will sin in all other conduct which he adopts while he is a sinner, as in praying. The ploughing of the wicked' is expressly declared to be sin. Prov. xxi. 4.

Prov. xxi. 4. The way of the wicked,' that is, his universal course of life, is declared to be an abomination to the Lord,' Prov. xv. 9. • The thoughts of the wicked' are declared to be an abomination to the Lord,' Prov. xv. 26. Of course, the wicked cannot lawfully plough, think, nor live in the ordinary course of life, that is, converse, labour, buy, sell, and provide for their families ; nor be lawfully advised to do these, or any of these things.

It will be remembered, that all these declarations, and all those quoted in a preceding paragraph, were written by an Israelite under the Mosaic dispensation ; and written for men living also under the same dispensation. Yet, in that very dispensation, God required Moses to command all sinners of that nation to labour, to cultivate their own ground, to cir

cumcise their children, to celebrate the passover, to offer sacrifices, to be present at the public worship of God, to hear and learn his word from the mouth of their priests, and to teach all these things to their children. It will not, I presume, be questioned, that Moses, in enjoining these things upon the sinful Israelites, as well as upon the virtuous ones, acted lawfully ; or, in other words, was guilty of no sin. But what was lawful for Moses, in this case, is in itself lawful. Accordingly, it was lawfully done by all the ministers who followed him in the Jewish church. It cannot therefore fail to be lawful to Christian ministers, unless it has been plainly forbidden.

It will here be said, that Moses, in requiring this conduct of the sinful Israelites, neither commanded nor authorized them to continue sinners in performing it. This is unquestionably true. So far from allowing them to continue in sin, he required them to perform these various duties from supreme love to God. Equally true is tbis of the Christian minister, in directing sinners to use the means of grace, or to perform any of the other duties of life. Instead of directing or allowing them to remain impenitent, he directs them to perform every duty with a virtuous disposition.

From this doctrine it will also follow, that it is unlawful to advise Christians themselves to use the means of grace, or indeed to adopt any course of conduct whatever. Both the Scriptures and observation teach us, that Christians continually sin ; that they sin in their repentance, in their faith, in reading the Bible, in prayer, in the observance of the sabbath, in their attendance on public worship, in the education of their children, and in the ordinary business of life. Whatever conduct they adopt, we know that they will sin in performing it. On this principle, therefore, they cannot lawfully adopt, nor be lawfully advised to adopt that conduct. Of course, as our Lord, when he directed the apostles to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, knew that they would commit sin in obeying it, the direction itself, according to the scheme which I oppose, was unlawful.

It will here probably be asked, What then shall be done? Shall we advise men to commit sin? To this question I apswer, that according to the spirit of the objection you must either advise them to nothing, not even to repent and believe; or you must advise them to commit sin : for, according to the objection, advising them to any thing, even to repent and believe, is advising them to commit sin.

But I apprehend that this account of the subject is as unfounded, as the scheme enforced by it is impracticable. God, as it appears to me, deals with mankind, and, if he deals with them at all according to the system of providence which he has established, must deal with them as rational beings. As they are all originally sinners, every thing addressed to them, either by God or man, must be addressed to sinners. He has commanded and exhorted sinners in his own person, and has reqnired men also to teach and exhort them in bis name. In these commands and exhortations two things are included : the act to be done, and the disposition with which it is to be done. The command or counsel sometimes includes both expressly, and sometimes but one. Such commands and counsels as direct to the performance of the act, direct to that act which in the case stated is proper to be done ; and imply the disposition with which it should be done. Such as direct the disposition, require that, and that only, which is virtuous. Those which require the act regulate both the heart, and the external conduct. These, which require the disposition, regulate merely the affections of the beart.

Commands of both these kinds God has evidently given to men as rational beings merely, and often without discriminating at all their moral character. They are given to all men. The duties which these commands enjoin are numberless. They occur every day, and are as obligatory on the sinner as on the Christian. They bind with their whole force every man by whom they are known. Among these are prayer, attending public worship, reading the Scriptures, and industry in our lawful business. God requires every man to perform these various duties of life as they occur. He does not leave him at liberty to deter the performance, until he has discovered whether he is the subject of evangelical repentance. He requires the performance at the time ; and, if the individual refuses, God will not hold him guiltless. But, it will be asked, Is not every action to be performed from supreme love to God? An answer to this question has already been given. This disposition is implied in every action which God requires us to perform ; and God will accept of no perform

To such a per

ance which does not flow from this source. formance only is an impenitent sinner directed, when he is directed to pray, to read the Scriptures, to worship God in the sanctuary, or to use any of the means of grace.

It will be further asked, Whether the man, who performs the act merely, can be said to obey the command of God? What is here actually done is easily understood; so easily as to admit of neither debate nor doubt. The person in question performs the act which God requires. But if he does not perform it cordially, he is not obedient in the cordial or virtuous sense.

I shall perhaps be asked still further, Whether the man who performs the act merely is any better for performing it, than if he had neglected or refused to perform it? I answer, that, supposing the man's disposition substantially the same in both cases, he is less sinful when be performs the act, than when he neglects or refuses to perform it. This I say with confidence, because God bas said it repeatedly, and iv the most unambiguous manner. Of several kings of Judah, who were plainly sinpers, particularly of Joash and Amaziah, it is directly said, that they did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.' Of Joash it is said, that he did that wbich was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.' Of Amaziah it is said, that he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect beart;' that is, not with a good or virtuous heart. In other words, these princes performed those external actions which God had required. The same thing in substance is declared concerning several other kings of Judah. But who can doubt, that to do that which is right in the sight of the Lord, whatever it may be which is thus right, is less sivful than to do that which is wrong in the sight of the Lord? Who can doubt, that these declarations are intentionally commendatory; and that they exhịbit these princes as thus far less sinful, than those, of whom it is said, that they did evil in the sight of the Lord ?'

The same sentence of God concerning the same subject is given us, in another form, in the cases of Ahab and Jehu. Of Ahab it is said, that when he heard the words of Elijah, announcing to him the destruction of bis family, “ he rent bis clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. It is immediately subjoined,

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