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The relations between the Creator and his intelligent creatures, are not only near and important, but indispensable, also, to the happiness of such creatures. Out of them arises a great part of all the thoughts, affections, duties and enjoyments, of which they are capable. These are also the foundations, on which all other valuable thoughts, affections, duties, and enjoyments, rest; and are necessary to their existence, as well as their worth. In the relation of Children, only, do we, or can we, apprehend the endearing and glorious character of JEHOVAH, as the common, most affectionate, and most venerable Parent of the Virtuous Universe; feel towards Him the various filial affections; and perform the various filial duties, which are included under the general name of piety. In the same relation, only, can we enjoy the peculiar and pre-eminent happiness of loving and glorifying Him as our Father who is in Heaven. In this relation, only, do we also receive, and feel, the unnumbered proofs of his parental tenderness, and unlimited mercy.

As children of God, and by means of the filial views and affections, which in this character we entertain, we begin first to understand, and to feel, that we are brethren. This character is the true inlet to all the fraternal regards of virtuous beings; and to the endless train of spiritual sympathies, and social endearments, which spring up in sanctified minds; and which with new strength, purity, and delight, will for ever grow and flourish in the Heavens above.

But without Union to God, no relation, whether natural or moral, can be of any use to ourselves. Without this union, the blessings, flowing from these relations, cannot begin. When minds do not coincide with him in their views, and are not united to him in their affections and character, He cannot with propriety give, nor they possibly enjoy, these blessings. The nearest relation to God, if unperceived, unfelt, and unacknowledged, is in the apprehension of the soul, which sustains it nothing. It is the cordial, grateful sense of such a relation, the welcome, delightful recognition of it, which makes it the foundation of all this good. With such a sense, with such a recognition, the soul draws nigh to God with affections harmonizing with his pleasure, and with views coinciding with all his revealed designs. Separated from God, the soul can entertain no such views, and can feel no such affections, towards him. Nor can it perform any duties, nor realize any rational, or lasting, enjoyment. In such a state of separation, it is a plant, on which the beams of the Sun of Righteousness cease to shine; and is, of course, chilled, shrunk, and de-. stroyed.

4. Faith in Jesus Christ is the only possible Union between man and his Maker.

God, in the Covenant of Redemption, has promised to receive, justify, and save for ever, all who are Christ's at his appearing :

that is, all who become his by a voluntary surrender of themselves to him. But the only method, in which man ever does, or can, surrender himself voluntarily to Christ, is the exercise of Faith or confidence in him, as the Saviour of the world. This is the only method of becoming His, which is proposed to us by Christ himself. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, is the sole language of the Scriptures concerning this subject. On this, however, I need not insist; because I have heretofore, if I mistake not, satisfactorily proved the doctrine at large. Still it may be useful to consider the nature of the subject with some degree of attention, and particularity, as being capable, at least in my view, of illustrating the doctrine in an impressive and edifying manner.

Christ offers to save sinners, who are condemned and perishing, and who are therefore utterly unable to save themselves. In this offer he declares himself able, willing, and faithful, to save to the uttermost all that will come unto God by him. Now it is impossible for us to come to him, or to God by him, unless we confide in this as his true character, and in the declarations, by which he makes this character known to us. It is impossible for us to receive his Instructions, as the means of knowledge, and guidance, to us in the path of duty and salvation; his Precepts, as the rules of our obedience; or his Ordinances, as the directory of our worship; unless we confide in the Character of Him, who has taught them as a wise and faithful Teacher. It is indispensable, that we confide in him as a Teacher, who knows, and who has told us, that which is true, right, and safe for us, in these immensely important concerns. It is indispensable, that we believe in him, and trust in him, as vested with all the Authority, necessary to this character of a Divine Instructor; and regard him, as certainly and fully disclosing the Will of God concerning our duty and salvation. Unless we can confide in these things, we can never receive his Instructions as rules either of our faith, or of our practice. Without these things they would all dwindle at once into mere philosophy; mere advice; mere opinions; to obey which, no person would, or could, feel the least obligation.

His Atonement, in the same manner, would be nothing to us unless we could cordially believe it to be efficacious, sufficient, and acceptable in the sight of God. It is only because we regard it as the Atonement of so glorious, sufficient, and acceptable a person, that it possesses, in any sense, the Character of an Atone ment. Accordingly, the Socinians, who consider Christ as a mere man, generally do, and, if they would be consistent with themselves, must, believe, that he made no Atonement, but was merely a martyr, or witness to the truth.

Christ also requires us to commit our souls to his care, and keeping; or, in other words, to become his by voluntarily surrendering ourselves into his hands, and looking for safety and happiness to VOL. IV.


his protection, mercy, and truth. This we cannot do in any other manner, nor by any other means, beside the exercise of Confidence in him. Who would commit his everlasting well-being to a person, in whose kindness and truth, in whose power and wisdom, he did not confide? No man ever did, or could commit himself, or his interests, even in this world, to any person whatever, unless in the exercise of confidence. How much more difficult, how contrary to the first principles of our nature, how absolutely impossible, must it then be to commit our eternal interests; ourselves; our all; to a being, in whom we do not entirely confide!

In the exercise of Evangelical Faith, or Confidence, in the character of Christ, we become united to him, according to the declarations of the Scriptures, and according to all the views, which Reason can form of this subject, in a very near, most desirable, and most delightful union. He himself says to his disciples, John xv. 4, 5, I am the Vine; ye are the branches. Abide in me; and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. St. Paul says, We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones: and again; Now ye are the body of Christ, and members one of another; 1 Cor. xii. 27; and again, Col. i. 18, He is the Head of the body, the Church. The whole Church, also, both in Heaven and on earth, is exhibited as gathered under one Head, that is, Christ: Eph. i. 10. But our Saviour himself has given us the most sublime and glorious exhibition of this subject, which was ever made to mankind, in the following passage of his Intercessory Prayer: John xvii. 20-23, Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also, which shall believe on me through their word: That they all may be one : as thou Father art in me, and Iin thee; that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe, that thou hast sent me. And the glory, which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me: that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know, that thou hast sent me; and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. This transcendent, this divine union, here exhibited to us as being of all possible importance, is, and can be, accomplished for mankind, only by Evangelical Faith, or Confidence, in Christ.

5. To the happiness of the soul it is also indispensable, that it should always Obey its Creator; and of this obedience, Evangelical Faith is the only source.

That Obedience to God is necessary to the happiness of rational creatures, and that their uniform obedience is necessary to their uniform happiness, has been already proved under the first head of this discourse. If sin is fatal to happiness, and incompatible with its existence; it follows of course, that obedience is indispensable to happiness. Obedience and disobedience are the only two possible moral states of an Intelligent being. If, then, disobedience creates misery; obedience of course creates happiness.

It may, however, be useful to consider the subject somewhat further. It was shown in a former discourse, that God, and God only, knows what conduct will produce, or ensure, happiness; and that He only is alway, invariably, and infinitely, disposed to have that conduct exist. He only possesses the authority also, and the power, to require it of his creatures. Hence, He only can be the uniform and efficient Director of his creatures to their real good. If, then, creatures are to be happy at all; it is indispensably necessary, that they obey his directions, and conform to his pleasure, as the only possible rule of right, the only possible way to real and universal good. All, who wander from this path, are soon lost in a wilderness of error, distress, and despair; and will never find their proper home.

But we cannot obey God, except from Confidence in his Character, as a perfectly Wise, Just, and Good Teacher and Lawgiver, who has instructed us in our truc interest; a Lawgiver, who has prescribed wise, just, and benevolent precepts, to regulate our duty. Unless we consider his precepts concerning all things to be right; we can never voluntarily obey them. Confidence, therefore, in the Character of God, and in his Instructions and Precepts, as flowing from that Character, and partaking of his Wisdom and Rectitude, is the true, and only, possible source of that spontaneous obedience, which is acceptable to Him, virtuous in us, and indispensable to all our real good.

Thus, if I am not deceived, Repentance towards God, and, Faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, are the substance of the means, by which sinners are delivered from sin, reinstated in the character of children, restored to the favour of God, entitled to eternal life, and prepared for everlasting obedience and enjoyment in the heavens above.


1. From these observations it is evident, that the objections, made by Infidels against Evangelical Repentance, as mean-spirited and contemptible, are groundless.

Mr. Hume observes, that "self-mortification, self-denial, and humility, stupify the understanding, sour the temper, and harden the heart." Whatever produces these consequences by its proper efficacy is undoubtedly, in its nature, vicious or sinful, since the consequences themselves are plainly of a sinful nature. Selfdenial, self-mortification, and humility, are all essential ingredients of genuine repentance; and without them, such repentance cannot exist. A just, clear, and humble sense of our guilt and unworthiness, is the very basis on which every thing else, contained in repentance, is founded. With such a sense of our character, it is impossible that we should not endeavour to mortify those inclinations, and deny ourselves that gratification of them, which, together, have constituted our guilt, our odiousness, our debasement, and

our danger. The humble thoughts which we thus experience, and the humble emotions by which they are accompanied, are the only just thoughts concerning our character, and the only proper emotions with respect to ourselves, so far as this character exists. Every opinion, every feeling, not accordant with these, is false and groundless; the silly dream of a vain and silly mind. A little self-knowledge, a very limited degree of candour, united with a very moderate self-examination, would convince any mind of the visionary nature of such opinions, and the absolute impropriety of such feelings.

Proud and vain men have, however, always despised humility, and regarded it as deserving their contempt. Still, it is unquestionably the first honour, which belongs to our nature, and the beginning of every thing else, which is really honourable in man. All sin is shame and, let it be remembered, there is nothing shameful, except sin. The very pride, the very vanity, from which these decisions of Infidels spring, is itself gross sin, and not less shameful than the other exercises of the same spirit. All men see, and declare, this under the guidance of mere common sense; and, although each cherishes it in himself, every one hates, despises, and condemns it in his fellow-men. How little would Christ have merited, how plainly impossible would it have been for him to have gained, that exalted estimation, which he now holds in the minds of Angels and of men, had he been a proud and vain, and not a meek and lowly, Redeemer! How infinitely distant is the character of this Glorious Person from that of Alexander, or that of Cæsar! The character of these men is fitly imaged by the smoke, ascending from the bottomless pit: while the aspect of the Saviour is that of the Sun, shining in his strength.

But, aside from these considerations, Repentance, however reprobated by haughty-minded men, is in itself real good, and essential to all other real good. It is the only possible removal of sin; the worst of all evils, and the source of every other evil. It is the only possible security against the resumption of that guilty, debased, and shameful character. It is the commencement of virtue in the soul; and indispensable to its very existence. It is real dignity in itself; and the beginning of all real dignity. It is plainly the only solid basis of peace of conscience, and well-founded self-approbation. By Hume it was seen, so far as he saw it at all, only at a distance; and through the false optics of philosophical pride. It was, therefore, erroneously seen, understood, and represented. Neither this writer, nor his companions in infidelity, appear to have discerned the distinction between the repentance of a mercenary slave, regretting his faults merely from the expectation of punishment; and the ingenuous contrition of a child, sorrowing for his disobedience, loathing his guilt, and returning with a new and better heart to his filial character and duty.

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