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minds of all, that we find it very difficult to get rid of it. The eye of reason is not so dim but that it can discern between good and evil approve the one, and dislike the other. And this discernment, though sadly defective in the execution, is taken for rectitude, or some kind of merit in us, and set up as an equitable claim upon divine goodness for remission and indulgence, if not favour and reward. Hence the rejection of all revelation in some; and in others, a mistaken notion, or partial acknowledgment, of the Christian scheme of redemption, as if it was only a better rule, enforced by a perfect example in its Author, with a fuller discovery of future rewards and punishments.

I would, therefore, humbly propose a passage of St. Paul to consideration, as a compendious state of the whole nature and design of Christianity, and a clear exposition of its ends, means, and manner of operation; or how it is fitted to effect the great purpose of reformation in the deep ground of the heart, promote our return to God, kindle our love, and secure our obedience to him, by faith in Christ, as the Mediator between God and man, saving us from wrath by the sacrifice of himself, and communicating his merits to us for our final acceptance. The passage I mean is this, 1 Tim. i. 5. “ Now the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith ụnfeigned. The end of the commandment"


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what God requires of us, and intends to bring us to by the Gospel — " is charity” – the love of God, and of our neighbour, consequent upon it“ out of a pure heart” – a heart purged from idolatrous love of the creature, and purely devoted to him—“ of a good conscience ” — a conscience

a established in a sense of peace and reconciliation with God — “of,” and by, “ faith unfeigned.” So that, according to this genealogy of charity, as Dr. Hammond calls it (though he does not give each part of it its proper distinction), faith is the parent of a good conscience, or a conscience purged from the sense of guilt, as that is of a pure and love, springing from them all, completes the character of the Christian, and gives us a full view of this masterpiece of divine wisdom for the recovery of man to holiness. If we keep close to this method, we may be sure our endeavours in religion will be crowned with success. And, on the contrary, if we build upon any other foundation than faith in the pardoning love of God, we have no reason to hope thạt any thing we do will prosper in our hands.

in our hands. We shall consider him, in the main, as a hard task-master; and, by neglecting the means of his appointing, fail of the great end he intends to bring us to, and in which the health and recovery of our natures, our fitness for present communion with him, and the everlasting enjoyment of him consist, viz. freedom of spirit in his service, and willing obedience from love,

Let it be taken for granted as much as you please, though it is far from being true, that men generally propose this end to themselves, still the question recurs, how, and by what means, it is attainable ? By repeated efforts ? By reflections on the loveliness of God, his goodness in nature, and wisdom in the formation and support of the universe? Let them convince us of his being and providence, as they ought; let them be the subjects of our inquiry and admiration, as they deserve ; let them be admitted as helps to build us up, when once we are upon a right foundation, and have gained a competent knowledge from Scripture of the grounds and reasons of our vanity and misery. For it must be owned that the world is a mixed scene at the best. Our comforts are few and transitory; our disappointments great and lasting. Sin, like poison, working in our blood, must necessarily trouble our repose; and God, to show his displeasure against us for it, ever and anon breaks in upon the order of his own establishing, in his severe judgments and calamities; and crosses, sickness, and death, are the common lot of all. Now, the contemplation of a Being who made us for happiness, and for the most part withholds it from us, cannot have the desired efficacy to fix us in a state of pure love, unmixed gratitude, and filial subjection to him. He does not expect it should. He has pointed out to us surer means, and furnished us with better helps, for the attainment of our great end ; I hope I have the Christian reader's leave to say what;-"His love shed abroad in our hearts

“ by the Holy Ghost.” And if the manifestation of it, in the manner declared in Scripture, by sending his Son to be the propitiation for our sins; if his unspeakable grace and goodness to us in our fallen state of weakness, impurity, and alienation from him, does not draw from us suitable returns of love, and unite us to him in a sacred bond of everlasting, unalterable gratitude, we may venture to say that nothing else will.

Here, then, is one insuperable difficulty in the way of the religion of nature. Suppose discernment, and choice of the end, yet the means of attainment are, if not wholly wanting, yet insufficient; though I believe we are chiefly beholden to revelation for our knowledge of both. I would not be understood as if I thought these, or any other means, would be effectual without the operation of a Divine. Spirit; and I fear those who think so are not enough sensible of the depth of their corruption, the deadness of their wills, impotence to good, and natural inability to bring themselves up to their duty; or else they take a false measure of it, and too easily persuade themselves, that what they can do in their own strength is all they ought to do, and all that God expects from them. But then, as God has made us rational intelligent creatures, and reason the governing faculty in us, so he acts with us suitably to our natures. He informs and enlightens the


understanding, shows us the best end, stirs us up to the prosecution of it by the best motives, and works with us in the use of them; and though we can do nothing without Him, he will do nothing without us. Though he is beforehand with us in his instructions, offers, persuasions, and influences, yet, without approbation and compliance on our parts, and the due exercise of our intellectual powers, no effect will follow. Reason is first blind in the things of God; but, with the help that is offered us, capable of admitting the light when it is presented to it, as the bodily eye does that of the sun; and one has no more light of its own to see by than the other. But when it is restored to itself, so as to acknowledge its incapacity, and depend upon God for direction and assistance, it will be the instrument, in his hands, of conducting us to happiness. We may now appeal to it for decision in those capital points of revelation, necessarily previous to a new state of faith and love, the dreadful malignity of sin, the necessity of repentance, and the unavailableness of it without the great atonement. For, admitting the truth of that assertion, wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,” supposing the guilt and damnableness of sin, what can man do for the removal of it from his conscience ?. Can we, under a forfeiture by our manifold transgressions of the divine law, and sure to repeat them, presume upon the favour of

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