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on sure grounds, if it were to depend solely on the reasonings of men." It must stand in the wis dom and testimony of God. "The presumption of examining the secret things of God without the power of such examination, is apt to mislead" the friends of revelation; and is similar to the presumption of its enemies, who reject the gospel because they do not find in it the wisdom they seek for. Those who exclude Mediator, and those who attempt to explain the reasons which guided the divine counsel in the appointment of the Mediator between God and men, presume that the designs of the infinite mind may be known without being revealed, or further than they are revealed. "Our duty is to adore, with the lowest submission of our hearts and minds, things which pass all understanding." The gospel was not designed to inform us what God might possibly have done; it only informs us what he hath done. All things, which do not imply a contradiction, are possible with God. But shall we undertake to say, in all cases, what things do or do not imply a contradiction? God hath made him, who knew no sin, to be a sin-offering for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. This it ly concerns us most seriously to consider; and it is all which it concerns us to know on this subject.
salvation. This is to assume the authority of the Head of the church. Let him in all things have the pre-eminence. The poor have the gospel preached unto them. The greatest part of the hearers occupy the room of the unlearned. To such, abstruse speculations and refinements are unadapted. When the preacher's mind is properly impressed with the dignity and importance of his subject, he will endeavour to instruct and edify, rather than to appear learned and eloquent. A reputation for skill in abstract reasoning, or in the art of speaking, will be a small thing with him. He will address the hearers in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel, esteeming all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ crucifi ed; seeking by manifestation of his truth, to be commended of ev ery man's conscience in the sight of God.
On the deep things of God, we know not how to order our speech. Human theories and deductions may never be substituted for the doctrine of Christ and the aposules. We shut the kingdom against men, when we would impose any human system as essential to
By a perspicuous statement of the doctrines, duties, privileges and hopes of the gospel; by keeping one leading point in view in every discourse, the preacher may best preserve that just distinction on the various branches of Christian divinity, which marks a scribe instructed un to the kingdom of heaven. I will hazard a thought, that were the sacred oracles studied and compared more, godly edification would be better consulted.
The preacher who has a clear view of his subject, will find no difficulty in the arrangement, or in expressing his thoughts with precision. Loose declamation, Borid and sonorous language, affected oratory, warm extempora neous effusions, may afford a momentary gratification to light
minds: But religion is a reasonable service. Shall the passions usurp the throne, and keep reason at their footstool?
Paul's manner was to reason with his hearers: with the Jews out of their scriptures. With the heathen he appealed to the works of nature and providence ; and to the law written in their hearts. With both he appealed to the miraculous confirmation of the gospel. His preaching indeed was pungent as well as rational. No one ever learnt from him a frigid, unanimated address to men on immortal con
The design of preaching is to shew fallen creatures their poverty, misery, blindness and nakedness; and, by proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ, to persuade them to buy of him refined gold, and white raiment. How remote from this design are discourses which are merely calculated to gratify an Athenian curiosity; or to please a few who have a taste for fine speculations; or to exhibit the preacher as a champion in religious controversy?
A clear manifestation of the truth, as it is in Jesus, is a more sure as well, as more eligible course to maintain and spread his cause, than a direct and formal refutation of error. "Error," it is observed, "possesses a wide domain; and he who undertakes the conquest of the whole, undertakes a labour that is almost infinite. Error is various and changeable, a circumstance of which a skilful hand
will avail himself: When his weapon is ready to be wrested from him, he will take entire possession of it under another shape. He who engages in controversy will find himself surrounded in a net, where, though he may think it easy to break each single thread; yet it will prove an endless labour to break them all; and whilst he is thus engaged, his opponent, if skilful, will not forget to weave the
The gospel exhibits no such idea of God's grace, as precludes the atonement, and the necessity of the operation of the Spirit; nor such an idea of atonement, as enervates our obligations to the grace which provided it, or denies the necessity of the renovation of the Holy Ghost; nor such an idea of the Spirit's energy, as implies that the subject of it may plead his own perfection, and therefore needs neither a ransom nor grace to justify him. The first would be to rely on grace in contempt of the plan through which it superabounds. The second denies the honour due to the Father of mercies, who first loved us; and, as the highest instance of love, gave his only begotten Son to be the propitiation for our sins. The last is to say that we have no sin; which is to make God a liar. The grace of God found
ransom for rebels against heaven. The voluntary sacrifice of Christ is the purchase of their pardon. The sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience is the qualification of the gospel. These distinguishing
doctrines God hath joined together. The rejecters of atone ment frustrate grace and the death of Christ. The solifidian makes void the law.
He, who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, shall he not with him also freely give all things? all things connected with our interest in this greatest gift. No conclusion can be plainer.
The gospel of the grace of God, which the chief of the apostles preached with all assiduity and zeal, he comprehends in two words, repentance and faith. These he considered as of the highest importance. Haying constantly testified them, on all occasions, public and private, he was assured that he had declared the whole counsel of God; and called upon the pastors of Ephesus to bear witness that he was pure from the blood of all men. Reviewing this apostolic course, and resolved to persevere in it amidst all trials, he was confident of a glorious issue. His solemn charge in this connexion, to the Ephesian pastors, implies, that Christ's ministers then take heed to themselves and to Christ's flock, when they plainly, continually, and forcibly preach faith and repentance to all men every where.
eternal life;" these things affirm constantly, to the intent, that believers might be careful to maintain good works. Doctrinal points should be discussed in a manner adapted to warm and improve the heart, as well as to inform the judgment. Let their religious uses be pointed out and applied in an impressive manner. No doctrine of relig ion can be treated properly, unless it is shewn to be of use in regulating our affections and passions, and in the conduct of life.
All evangelical preaching is practical. These things I will that thou affirm constantly; that is, "free grace through Jesus Christ our Saviour" in the "justification" of sinners; "regeneration, the renewing of the Holy Ghost," and "the hope of
Ye are, said Jesus to his ministers, the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. It behoves us to be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom we should shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life. Upon their maintaining this character depend consequences of high moment to themselves, to their hearers, to the church, and to the world.
Sound doctrine and a good conversation in Christ will best put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.
To keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace should be the mutual care of all denominations. For there is one body, and one Spirit, even as we are called in one hope of our calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all. As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy, through Jesus Christ.
CONSTITUTION OF PHILLIPS' ACADEMY.
The seminary, of which the following is the Constitution, was the first of the kind established in Amer. ica. Many others have since been founded on similar principles, and the means of good education, in consequence, have been increased and extensively diffused.
A SHORT reflection upon the grand design of the GREAT PARENT of the Universe in the creation of mankind, and on the improvements of which the mind is capable both in knowledge and virtue, as well as upon the prevalence of ignorance and vice, disorder and wickedness; and upon the direct tendency and certain issue of such a course of things, must occasion in a thoughtful mind, an earnest solicitude to find the source of these evils and their remedy; and a small acquaintance with the qualities of young minds, how susceptible and tenacious they are of impressions, evidences that youth is the important period, on the improvement or neglect of which depend the most important consequences to individuals themselves and -the community,
A serious consideration of the premises, and an observation of the growing neglect of youth have excited in us a painful anxiety for the event, and determined us to make, in the following conveyance, a humble dedication to our HEAVENLY BENEFACTOR of the ability, wherewith he has blessed us, to lay the foundation of a public Free School or Academy, for the purpose of instructing youth, not only in English and Latin Grammar, Writing, Arith-. metic, and those sciences, wherein they are commonly taught, but more especially to learn them the great end and real business of living,
Earnestly wishing that this institution may grow and flourish; that the advantages of it may be extensive and lasting; that its usefulness may be so manifest, as to lead the way to other establishments on the same principles; and that it may finally prove an eminent mean of advancing the interest of the GREAT REDEEMER, to his patronage and blessing we humbly commit it.
[Here follows an account of the first bequest made by SAMUEL PHILLIPS, Esq. of Andover, and JOHN PHILLIPS, Esq. of Exeter, consisting of lands and money, to the following gentlemen, who constituted the first board of Trustees, viz. Hon. WILLIAM PHILLIPS, Esq. OLIVER WENDELL and JoHN LowELL, Esqs. of Boston; Rev. JoSIAH STEARNS, of Epping, Rev,
ELIAS SMITH, of Middleton,
The trustees shall meet on the last Tuesday of April instant, and ever after once in every year on such day, as they shall appoint, also upon emergencies, when called thereto, as hereafter directed; and a major part of the trustees shall, when regularly convened, be a quorum, of which quorum a major part shall have power to transact the business of their trust, except in cases hereafter excepted.
There shall be chosen annually a President, Clerk and Treasurer, as officers of the trust, out of their own number; who shall continue in their respective of fices, till their places are supplied by a new election; and upon the decease of either of them another shall be chosen in his room at the next meeting. The master shall not be chosen President, and no member shall sustain the office of clerk and treasurer at the same time.
The President shall in all cases give his voice and vote in com
Present Board of Trustees.
mon with any other member;
And upon the decease of the
The clerk shall record all votes of the trustees, inserting the names of those present at every meeting. He shall keep a fair record of every donation, with the name of each benefactor; the purpose, to which it is appropriated, if expressed, and of all expenditures; and a true
The present number of students is copy of the whole shall be taken,'
and kept in the seminary, to be