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is estiinated, 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 foriner mode of preaching have 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 bis 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 as surance 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 the acts of devotion. That is the most satisfactory ground of assurance, when we hope to enjoy the inberitance, 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 his grace to a few highly favoured souls.
Further 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 assisted in devotion ; helped in aspirations ; and 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 ; and 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 inind, 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 suppliants 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 the worshippers. Hence we should exhort all penitents to expect the like deliverance, God being ready to shine on alĮ hearts the moment repentance has prepared them for the reception of his grace,
Some may here object, that many well-disposed Christians, whose piety has been adorned with benevolence, have never, on the subject 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 enquiry, those well-disposed Christians, whose sincerity I revere, have sat under a ministry, which scarely went so far on the doctrines of the Spirit as SAURIN.-Perhaps 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 their reckonings with Heaven. Perhaps their religious connections 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,
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 hiin to speak with dignity appropriate to his situation. And if, in point of pure eloquence, he was a single