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But I know not but that I have already dwelt longer on this subject, than was necessary for
your conviction. It has been my wish to clear the sacred volume, on which I truly think the best hopes of the human race depend, from the reproach of ascribing the sinfulness of man to the Author of his being. It is this desire alone of vindicating christianity from what to many minds would be a fatal objection to it, that has led me to these observations. For among truly practical christians I never found any essential diversity on this subject to exist. All
that we are sinners, whose hope must be in the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. All agree that we are liable to sin in
every part of our nature, unless we watch and pray lest we enter into temptation. All agreewhether consistently or not is of little importancethat our original depravity must be understood in such a sense as is consistent with our powers to do our duty, and with ascribing the blame of it wholly to ourselves; consistent too, with those passages of scripture which declare that sin is a transgression of a law; that the fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children for the fathers, but every man for his own sin ; that the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, nor the father the iniquity of the son; that every one
; of us shall give account of himself to God. This is surely enough for all practical purposes. It is enough to place repentance, humility, and the necessity of conversion from sin, on the proper ground.
Let it then be the influence of this discourse, to increase our dread and detestation of sin. The view we have taken, so far from lessening, should heighten our sense of it, since we see that it is entirely a personal thing ; that we do not inherit guilt from our progenitors, and that we have no one to accuse for it but ourselves. Let us gather motives, by God's grace, to resist the power of sin, by thinking of its opposition to the character of God; to his benevolent purposes ; to our own true happiDess; to the harmony and happiness of the universe. Let us remember that it was to destroy sin that Christ came into the world; that it was for this he toiled and wept, and bled and died; that the voice both of nature and revelation proclaims that sin is that accursed thing which God's soul hateth. “O that my people had hearkened unto me. 0 that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end. Turn ye, turn ye,
for why will ye die, saith the Lord.”
Let us then be persuaded by the mercies and by the terrors of the Lord, by the certainty of death, by the solemnities of judgment, by our regard to the eternal welfare of our souls, to break off from our sins by righteousness, to abjure them entirely and forever, and to seek the Lord while he may be found.
UNITY OF GOD.
MARK, XII. 29, 32, 34.
And Jesus answered him; The first of all the com
mandments is, Hear, O Israel ; the Lord our God is one Lord. And the Scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth ; for there is one God; and there is none other but he. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.
It is my design, on the present occasion, my christian friends, to depart, in some degree, from the rule which I habitually prescribe to myself, in the selection of topics on which to address you
from this place; and to give you a brief survey of the question which has for so many ages existed in the christian church, with relation to the Unity of the Divine Nature.
In endeavouring to fulfil the duty of ministers of the Gospel of Christ, those, who bear that office
among you, have usually contented themselves with presenting those views of its great truths which have seemed to us, after the most careful inquiry we could make, to be the real doctrines of that gospel. We have ever believed, that the religion of Jesus stands clear of the controversies in which his disciples have engaged; and that it is possible to have a perfectly just view of its essential principles, with out the smallest knowledge of the greater part of those differences, which have so long troubled the repose of Christendom. Entertaining this belief, we have seemed to ourselves to discharge our duty, when, according to the measure of our best ability, we have unfolded, without addition and without diminution, what we have conscientiously thought to be the true principles of the christian system. It is very seldom that we have felt it necessary to allude to the different statements of those principles made by other christians. It was painful to dwell on what could not but be esteemed the mistakes, and sometimes the weaknesses of our fellow-believers. Thinking you to be very little exposed to danger from the influence of their errors, we could take no joy in holding them up to your derision, and still less, in exciting your animosity against those who have, in our judgment, departed from the simplicity that there is in Christ. We have, therefore, been always more solicitous to impress on you what is true, than to discuss what is false ; and have thought it more in the spirit of the religion of peace, to shew you in how much
, christians agree, than to magnify the importance of those points, in which they unhappily differ. We trust, that it has ever been the wish nearest our hearts to give you a practical impression of the nature, the worth, and the beauty of those great features of the gospel, on which our Lord himself insisted; under the influence of which, the true christian character is to be formed, and on which, therefore, our final hopes of salvation must depend.—The very last object of our ambition would be, to make you skilful controvertists; to indoctrinate
in the miserable technics of the sects; to narrow the magnificence of revelation to the paltry metaphysics of the schools; and to exhibit the solemn and sublime principles of christian faith and hope—so clear to the reason, so correspondent to the moral nature, so affecting to the heart of every fair and honest man—in the cumbrous and distorted dress, which was given them in the darkest ages of the church. Still more anxious have we felt, that you should not catch the spirit, any more than the language of controvertists. It is a spirit, deadly to the best virtues of the christian character. Nothing is more deplorable than its constant effects. It blinds the
eye; it hardens the heart; it obliterates the distinction between right and wrong; it makes evil good, and good evil; it leads men to think they are doing God service, and honouring the cause of their Saviour,