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SAURIN'S SERMONS, one hundred and sixtyeight in number, are comprised in twelve volumes. I have read them with edification and delight. Actuated by these sentiments, I doubted whether I could better employ my leisure moments than in preparing an additional volume, to those already before the English reader.

The three Discourses on the Delay of Conversion, are a masterly performance, and in general, a model of pulpit eloquence. They are not less distinguished by variety and strength of argument, than by pathos and unction: and they rise in excellence as the reader proceeds. Hence, I fully concur in opinion with Dupont, and the succeeding editors, who have given the first place to these Discourses: my sole surprise is, that they were not translated before. Whether they were reserved to ornament a future volume, or whether the addresses to the unregenerate were deemed too severe and strong, I am unable to determine. By a cloud of arguments derived from reason, from revelation, and from experience, our author certainly displays the full effusions of his heart, and in language unfettered by the fear of man. The regular applications in the first and second Sermons, are executed in such a style of superior merit, that I lament the deficiency of language to convey his sentiments with adequate effect.

On the subject of warm and animated addresses to wicked and unregenerate men, if I might be heard by those who fill the sanctuary, I would venture to say, that the general character of English sermons is by far too mild and calm. On reading the late Dr. Enfield's English Preacher, and finding on this gentleman's tablet of honour, names which constitute the glory of our national church, I seem unwilling to believe my senses, and ready to deny, that Tillotson, Atterbury, Butler, Chandler, Coneybeare, Seed, Sherlock, Waterland, and others, could have been so relaxed and unguarded as to have preached so many sermons equally acceptable to the orthodox and the Socinian reader. Those mild and affable recommendations of virtue and religion; those gentle dissuasives from immorality and vice, have been found, for a whole century, unproductive of effect. Hence, all judicious men must admit the propriety of meeting the awful vices of the present age with remedies more efficient and strong.

Our increase of population, our vast extent of commerce, and the consequent influx of wealth and luxury, have, to an alarming degree, biassed the national character towards dissipation, irreligion, and vice. We see a crowd of families rapidly advanced to affluence, and dashing away in the circles of gay and giddy life; we see profane theatres, assembly-rooms, and watering-places, crowded with people devoted to pleasure, and unacquainted

with the duties they owe to God; we see a metropolis, in which it is estimated that not more than one adult out of fifteen attends any place of divine worship. Ought not ministers so circumstanced, to take the alarm, and to weep for the desolations of the sanctuary? If impiety and effeminacy were, confessedly, the causes of the desolation of Greece and Rome, ought we not to be peculiarly alarmed for our country? and while our brave warriors are defending it abroad, endeavour to heal at home the evils which corrode the vitals? Ought we not to adopt a mode of preaching like that which first subdued the enemies of the cross? If our former mode of preaching has failed of effect; if the usual arguments from Scripture have no weight; ought we not to modify those arguments according to existing circumstances, that, fighting the sinner on the ground of reason, and maintaining the rights of God at the bar of conscience, we may vanquish the infidelity of his heart? The wound must be opened before he will welcome the balm of Calvary, and be enraptured with the glory and fulness of the gospel. Hence, I am fully of opinion that we ought to go back to the purest models of preaching; that addressing the sinner in the striking language of his own heart, we may see our country reformed, and believers adorned with virtue and grace.

But, though our author be an eminent model in addressing the unregenerate, he is by no means explicit and full on the doctrines of the Spirit: his talents were consequently defective in building up believers, and edifying the church. It is true, he is orthodox and clear, as far as he goes: and he fully admits the Scripture language on the doctrine of assurance; but he restricts the grace to some highly favoured souls, and seems to have no idea of its being the general privilege of the children of God. Hence this doctrine which especially abounds in the New Testament, occupies only a diminutive place in his vast course of Sermons. On this subject, indeed, he frankly confesses his fears of enthusiasm; and, to do him justice, it seems the only thing he feared in the pulpit.

But, however prepossessing and laudable this caution may appear in the discussion of mysterious truths, it by no means associates the ideas we have of the divine compassion, and the apprehensions which awakened persons entertain on account of their sins. Conscious of guilt on the one hand, and assured on the other that the wages of sin is death, mere evangelical arguments are inadequate to allay their fears, and assuage their griefs. Nothing will do but a sense of pardon, sufficiently clear and strong to counteract their sense of guilt. Nothing but the love of God shed abroad in the heart, can disperse their grief and fear, Rom. v. 5; Luke xxiv. 32; 1 John iv. 18. Nothing but the Spirit of adoption can remove the spirit

of bondage, by a direct assurance that we are the children of God, Rom. viii. 15, 16. Every awakened sinner needs, as much as the inspired prophet, the peace which passeth all understanding, to compose his conscience; the Spirit of holiness to regenerate his heart; the Spirit of grace and supplication, to assist him in prayer; the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, and the joy unspeakable and full of glory, to adopt the language of praise and thanksgiving, which seem to have been the general sentiments of the regenerate in acts of devotion. That is the most satisfactory ground of assurance, when we hope to enjoy the inheritance, because we have the earnest; and hope to dwell with God, because he already dwells with us, adorning our piety with the correspondent fruits of righteousness. Revelation and reason here perfectly accord: Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find. If ye being evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much more shall your Father, which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him. Hence, SAURIN, on this subject, was by far too contracted in restricting this grace to a few highly favoured souls.

Farther still, it is not enough for a minister to beat and overpower his audience with arguments; it is not enough that many of his hearers weep under the word, and form good resolutions for the future; they must be encouraged to expect a blessing before they depart from the house of God. How is it that the good impressions, made on our hearers, so generally die away; that their devotion is but as the morning cloud? After making just deductions for the weakness and inconstancy of men; after allowing for the defects which business and company produce on the mind, the grand cause is, the not exhorting them to look for an instantaneous deliverance by faith. In many parts of the Scriptures, and especially in the Psalms, the supplicants came to the throne of grace in the greatest trouble and distress, and they went away rejoicing. Now, these Psalms I take to be exact celebrations of what God did by providence and grace for his worshippers. Hence we should exhort all penitents to expect the like deliverance, God being ready to shine on all hearts the moment repentance has prepared them for the reception of his grace.

their reckonings with Heaven. Perhaps their religious connexions have hindered, rather than furthered, their religious attainments. If these sincere Christians were properly assisted by experienced people; if some Aquila and Priscilla were to expound unto them the way of God more perfectly, Acts xviii. 26, they would soon emerge out of darkness into marvellous light; they could not long survey the history of the Redeemer's passion, without loving him again: they could not review his victories without encouragement; they could not contemplate the effusions of his grace, without a participation of his comfort. They would soon receive

"What nothing earthly gives, or can destroy, The soul's calm sunshine, and the heart-felt joy." Another defect of our author (if my opinion be correct,) is, that he sometimes aims at oratorical strokes, and indulges in argument and language not readily comprehended by the better instructed among the poor. This should caution others. True eloquence is the voice of nature, so rich in thought, so abundant in motives, and happy in expression, as to supersede redundant and meretricious ornament. It unfolds the treasures of knowledge, displays the amiableness of virtue, and unveils the deformity of vice, with the utmost simplicity and ease. It captivates the mind, and sways the passions of an audience in addresses apparently destitute of study or art: art, indeed, can never attain it; it is the soul of a preacher speaking to the heart of his hearers. However, SAURIN ought to have an indulgence which scarcely any other can claim. He addressed at the Hague an audience of two thousand persons, composed of courtiers, of magistrates, of merchants, and strangers, who were driven by persecution from every part of France. Hence it became him to speak with dignity appropriate to his situation. And if, in point of pure eloquence he was a single shade below Massillon, he has far exceeded him as a divine.

With regard to the peculiar opinions of the religious denominations, this venerable minister discovered superior knowledge, and admirable moderation. Commissioned to preach the gospel to every creature, he magnifies the love of God to man; and charges the sinner with being the sole cause of his own destrucSome may here object that many well-dis- tion (Sermon, Hosea xiii. 9.) Though he asposed Christians, whose piety has been adorn-serts the perseverance of the saints, it is, nevered with benevolence, have never, on the sub-theless, with such restrictions as tend to avoid ject of assurance, been able to express themselves in the high and heavenly language of inspired men; and that they have doubted, whether the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins, Luke i. 77, were attainable in this life. Perhaps, on inquiry, those well-disposed Christians, whose sincerity I revere, have sat under a ministry, which scarcely went so far on the doctrines of the spirit as SAURIN. Per-dissonant to a multitude of Scriptures. haps they have sought salvation, partly by their works, instead of seeking it solely by faith in the merits, or righteousness, of Jesus Christ. Perhaps they have joined approaches to the altars of God, with the amusements of the age; and always been kept in arrears in

disgusting persons of opposite sentiments. Against Antinomianism, so dangerous to salvation, he is tremendously severe: and it were to be wished that the supporters of these opinions would profit by his arguments. It is much safer to direct our efforts, that our hearers may resemble the God they worship, than trust to a mere code of religious opinions,

May Heaven bless to the reader this additional mite to the store of public knowledge, and make it advantageous to his best interests, and eternal joy!

JOSEPH SUTCLIFFE. Halifax, Nov. 21, 1805.




Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.

series of reflections, derived from three sources: From man;-from the Scriptures;-and from experience. We shall have recourse in order, to religion, history, and experience, to make us sensible of the dangerous consequences of deferring the work. In the first place, we shall endeavour to prove from our own constitution, that it is difficult, not to say impossible, to be We shall secondly demonstrate that revela converted after having wasted life in vice.-tion perfectly accords with nature on this head; THAT is a singular oath, recorded in the tenth and that whatever the Bible has taught conchapter of the Revelation. St. John saw an cerning the efficacy of grace, the supernatural angel; an angel "clothed with a cloud; a rain- aids of the Spirit, and the extent of mercy, bow encircled his head, his countenance was as favour in no respect the delay of conversion. the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. He Thirdly, we shall endeavour to confirm the stood on the earth and the sea. He sware by him doctrines of reason and revelation, by daily obthat liveth for ever and ever, that there should servations on those who defer the change.be time no longer." By this oath, if we may These reflections would undoubtedly produce a credit some critics, the angel announces to better effect delivered in one discourse than dithe Jews, that their measure was full, that vided, and I would wish to dismiss the hearer their days of visitation were expired, and that convinced, persuaded, and overpowered with God was about to complete, by abandoning the mass of argument; but we must proportion them to the licentious armies of the emperor the discourse to the attention of the audience, Adrian, the vengeance he had already begun and to our own weakness. We design three by Titus and Vespasian. discourses on this subject, and shall confine ourselves to-day to the first head.

We will not dispute this particular notion, but shall consider the oath in a more extended view. This angel stands upon the earth and the sea; he speaks to all the inhabitants of the world: he lifts his voice to you, my brethren, and teaches one of the most terrific, but most important truths of religion and morality, that the mercy of God, so infinitely diversified, has, notwithstanding, its restrictions and bounds. It is infinite, for it embraces all mankind. It makes no distinction between "the Jew and the Greek, the Barbarian and the Scythian." It pardons insults the most notorious, crimes the most provoking; and extricating the sinner from the abyss of misery, opens to him the way to supreme felicity. But it is limited. When the sinner becomes obstinate, when he long resists, when he defers conversion, God shuts up the bowels of his compassion, and rejects the prayer of those who have hardened themselves against his calls.

From this awful principle, Isaiah deduces the doctrine which constitutes the subject of our text. "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." Dispensing with minuteness of method, we shall not stop to define the terms, "Seek ye the Lord, and call ye upon him." Whatever mistakes we may be liable to make on this head, and however disposed we may be to confound the appearance of conversion with conversion itself, errors of this kind, it must be acknowledged, are not the most destructive. We propose to-day to probe the wound, to penetrate to the source of our depravity, to dissipate, if possible, the illusive charm which destroys so many of the Christian world, and of which Satan too successfully avails himself for their seduction. This delusion, this charm, I appeal to your consciences, consists of, I know not what, confused ideas we have formed of the divine mercy, fluctuating purposes of conversion on the brink of futurity, and chimerical confidence of success whenever we shall enter on the work.

"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." On this subject, to be discussed in order, shall our voice resound for the present hour; if Providence permit us to ascend this pulpit once more, it shall be resumed: if we ascend it the third time, we will still cry, "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." If a Christian minister ought to be heard with attention, if deference ought to be paid to his doctrine, may this command change the face of this church! May the scales full from our eyes! and may the spiritually blind recover their sight!

Our mind, prevented by passion and preju dice, requires divine assistance in its ordinary reflections; but now attacking the sinner in his chief fort and last retreat, I do need thy invincible power, O my God, and I expect every aid from thy support.

I. Our own constitution shall supply us today with arguments on the delay of conversion. It is clear that we carry in our own breast principles which render conversion difficult, and I may add, impossible, if deferred to a certain period. To comprehend this, form in your mind an adequate idea of conversion, and fully adunit, that the soul, in order to possess this state of grace, must acquire two essential dispositions; it must be illuminated; it must be sanctified. It must understand the truths of religion, and conform to its precepts.

First. You cannot become regenerate unless you know the truths of religion. Not that we would preach the gospel to you as a discipline having no object but the exercise of speculation. We neither wish to make the Christian a philosopher, nor to encumber his mind with a thousand questions agitated in the schools. Much less would we elevate salvation above the comprehension of persons of common understanding; who, being incapable of abstruse thought, would be cut off from the divine favour, if this change required profound On the delay of conversion, we shall make a | reflection, and refined investigation. It can

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