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ther is not in him.” It is a plain saint, instead of a real sinner.--truth, that the least degree of The first and least exercise of true love to God implies supreme grace lays a foundation for every attachment to him, to his Son, to christian grace and virtue. his Spirit, and to his cause. And

3. The least degree of grace such supreme love ought to form will produce universal obedience a man's character and constitute to the divine commands. Grace him a real saint, and distinguish is love, and that love, which is bim from every one that has not the fulfilling of the law. The the love of God in him.

child that has true love to his 2. The least degree of grace parents, will obey them; the serwill naturally branch out into eve- vant that has true love to bis masry christian affection and moral ter, will obey him; so whosoever virtue. The least degree of grace loves God will obey him. Hence is supreme love to God, and dis- says the apostle, “ This is the interested love to man. The love of God, that we keep his least degree of supreme love to commandments.” Those who God, will produce repentance, have the least degree of true love godly sorrow, faith in Christ, un- to God, will have respect to all conditional submission to the di- his precepts, and obey them as vine government, humility, meek- universally, though not so conness, compassion, and a proper stantly, as those who are strong regard to the good of men. Love in faith. They will perform the is the fulfilling of the law; the most difficult and self-denying dubond of perfection, and the chari. ties of the gospel. They will de ty, which seeketh not her own.--- ny themselves~ take This holy affection naturally leads cross--confess Christ before the those who possess it, to feel and world ; give up their worldly inact properly towards every being, terests and dearest friends; and creature and object that comes in- even sacrifice their lives, to proto their view; and so to form a mote the honor and interest of perfect character in miniature.-- Christ. All this Christ requires While pure, holy, disinterested of every one of his sincere followand universal love reigns in the ers, whether, he has larger, or heart, it will dispose every one smaller degrees of grace. He to feel and act as he ought to feel acknowledges none to be his and act, or as a real saipt does friend, unless he is willing to do feel and act. When the heart of whatsoever he commands him. a sinner is changed from sin to He that is not against Christ, is holiness, from sellishmess to be- on bis part; and he that is on his nevolence, be becomes a new man; part will sincerely desire to do old things pass away, and all things every thing he can, to honor and

He becomes a real please him. Toast christian

up their

sme now


as sincerely desires to obey and thirst; but the water that I shall please Christ in all things, as the give bim, shall be in him a well of greatest and best disciple he has. water springing up into everlastEvery sincere follower of Christing life.” The reason of this perdesires to obey every one of his severing and fruitful nature of commands, though he does not grace the apostle gives us in his constantly obey any one of them, address to the Philippians. “BeThe least degree of grace, there. ing confident of this very thing, fore, forms the character of a real that he who hath begun a good christian, and prepares him to work in you will perform it, unpay universal obedience to what- til the day of Jesus Christ.”. ever Christ has commanded him. This he represents as the fixed I may add,

purpose of God in his epistle to 4. That the least degrec of the Romans, 66 Moreover whom grace is infallibly connected with he did predestinate, them he also persevering and increasing holi- called; and whom he called, them ness of heart and life.


our he also justified; and whom he Saviour has assured us, in the justified, them he also glorified." parable of the sower. 66 So is According to the divine constituthe kingdom of God, as if a man tion, there is an infallible connecshould cast seed into the ground, tion between the first and lowest and should sleep, and rise night degree of grace, and perfect and and day, and the seed should persevering holiness.

It is as spring and grow up, he knoweth certain, that the weakest chrisnot how. For the earth bringeth tian

shall persevere,

as the forth fruit of herselt, first the strongest, and as certain, that the blade, then the ear, after that the weakest as well as the strongest, full corn in the ear.” Such is the shall become perfectly holy.-

" growing and

fruitful nature of Hence there appears good reason, divine grace in the heart which why the least degree of grace Christ further illustrates by say- should constitute and denominate ing, “ He that received seed into a real saint, and place him among good ground, is he that heareth the friends of God and heirs of the word of God and understand. heaven. eth it; who also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundred fold, some sixty, some thir- 1. If the least degree of grace ty.” He said the same thing in constitutes a real saint; then ev. substance to the woman of Sama- ery sinner is totally depraved.-ria. 66 Whosoever drinketh of It is universally believed and genthis water shall thirst again : but erally allowed, that sinners are in whosoever drinketh of the water some measure, and in some that I shall give him, shall nerer pects, depraved. Some suppcse



that their reason, conscience, and ed sinner, it is in vain for any one all their intellectual faculties are to deny or attempt to disprove the in some measure, though not to- doctrine of total depravity. If tally weakened, obscured, or de- the least degree of grace constipraved. Some suppose, that their tutes a saint, it irresistibly follows, depravity lies in their hearts, that every one who is destitute of which are not perfectly holy, nor the least degree of grace, is a sinperfectly destitute of all moral ner. This single argument, ingoodness. But it appears from stead of a thousand, completely what has been said, that neither demonstrates, that sinners are toof these opinions is just. Deprav- tally depraved. It is strange, that ity lies in the heart, and not in those who deny total depravity, the understanding; and the heart have not met and refuted this aris not only partially, but totally de- gument, if they could ; for they praved. This appears very plain must have known, that if they refrom numerous declarations of futed this argument, they would scripture upon the subject. But all have refuted all arguments in sascriptural declarations are capable vour of total depravity, and estal: of being misunderstood, miscon- lished their whole scheme of Arstrued, and criticised away. There minianism. No other reason can be is no doctrine of the gospel, which assigned, why they have declined has been more opposed of late, looking this arguinent in the face, than the total depravity of sinners, but a consciousness of its being unand none which its learned ene- answerable. And so long as this mies have employed more ingenu- argument remains in unanswerable ity and criticism, to refute. But force, Calvinists have a right to though they have said some things maintain and believe, that sinners plausibly to pervert and miscon. are dead in trespasses and sins, strue particular passages of scrip- that they have not the love of ture, that, in their plain and true God in them, their hearts are sense, support the doctrine of to- fully set in them to do evil, that tal depravity ; yet they have not they are not on the part of Christ, presumed to deny or explain a- but against him; and that they are way that essential distinction be- enemies to all righteousness, and tween saints and sinners, which totally unfit for the kingdom of runs through the bible, and which heaven. has been clearly and abundantly 2. If the least degree of grace proved in this discourse ; and so forms the character of a real saint; long as it remains an acknowledg- then those who deny total depraved truth, that the least degree of ity, cannot draw the peculiar chargrace constitutes a real saint and acter of a real saint, in distinction forms the only essential difference from a sinner. Those who deny between him, and every unrenew. total depravity lo not and cannot



decently deny, that the inspiredwri- cises that a man ever had or cas ters continually speak of two sorts have; and one evil action out. of men whom they distinguish by weighs all the good actions that a very opposite appellations, calling man ever did, or can do. One unsome righteous and some unright- holy exercise of Adam outweigheous ; some godly and some ungod- ed all the holy exercises he ever ly ; some believers and some un- had, or will have; and one act of believers; some friends and some disobedience outweighed all the enemies of God; some holy and obedience he ever had paid, or some unholy; and some saints and will pay to God. This is true of some sinners. Accordingly, they Adam and of all his posterity, or

. make a free and familiar use of else there was no need of an these scriptural appellations, in tonement, in order to God's saving writing and preaching on religious him, or us. The notion, that the subjects; but they seldom under- holiness of men can overbalance take to describe these two classes their sinfulness, is not only unof men, and to point out any intern- scriptural, but absurd. It counal and essential distinction between teracts the very nature of things. them. They can very easily say, There is no way possible for those, that some are better than others, who deny total depravity, to draw or that some are not so bad as oth- the essential character of a saint, ers, in their external conduct.- in distinction from that of a sinBut this is nothing more than they ner. According to their potion can truly say of sinners; for some and description of a sinner, he is of them are better, and some are a real saint, for he has a lower, if worse than others. So long, there. not a higher degree of grace and fore, as they maintain, that all men it appears from what has been have, by nature some moral good- said, that the lowest degree of ness, they cannot distinguish a grace forms an essential distincsaint from a sinner, for they cannot tion between a saint and 'a sinner. tell how much goodness a man It is easy to keep this essential must have to become a saint. distinction out of sight in both If they say, as they sometimes do, writing and preaching, and when that a man must bave more holi- it is kept out of sight, it cannot ness, than sin ; or that he must do be known whether the writer or more good, than evil, in order to preacher is a Calvioist, or an Arbecome a saint; they cannot tell minian. It has become very how many holy exercises he must common at this day, for writers have to outweigh his sinful exer- and preachers to keep this discises, or how many good deeds he tinction out of sight, either bemust do, to outweigh his evil ones. cause they do not believe it, or The truth is, one unholy exer- because they know that the doccise outweighs al the holy exer- trine of total dapravity is very of





fensive to those who are totally love. Of course, they may,

and depraved, and think better of must fall away. There are oththemselves than they ought to ers, who call themselves Calvinists think.

and profess to believe in total de3. If the smallest degree of grace pravity, that nevertheless mainconstitutes a real saint; then re- tain regeneration to be not an ingeneration is not a gradual, but an stantaneous but a gradual change. instantaneous change. Many who They suppose, that sinners under deny total depravity, profess to serious, religious impressions, remaintain the doctrine of regenera- form, seek and strive, and grow tion. This is true of the Metho- better and better, until their fears dists. They talk and preach a abate, and their hopes increase, great deal about regeneration and and they gradually become recona change of heart. But it is very ciled to God, and to the way difficult to see their consistency. of salvation through Christ. Many For if men are not totally deprav. reputed orthodox divines have ed, and have real goodness at heart, maintained, that regeneration is a it is hard to see what need they gradual, and not an instantaneous have of a radical change of heart. change. But if the least degree Upon their principle, all that sin- of grace constitutes a real saint, reners need, to prepare them for generation must be an instanta. heaven, is sanctification or growth neous change of heart from total of grace, or to have their good depravity to real holiness. There affections awakened, enlivened, or can be no medium between selfstrengtheneđ. Accordingly, it ap- ishness and benevolence, between pears to be the great object of their loving and hating God, or being preachers to awaken their hear- on Christ's part and against him. ers out of stupidity, enkindle their The moment God sheds abroad affections, and raise their hopes of his love in the heart of a sinner, future and eternal happiness. And he becomes a saint; as when they have raised their self- God gives a new heart, he takes ish affections to a high degree of away the stony heart: as soon as joy and rejoicing in God, for his he gives an heart of love, an love to them, they view them as heart of hatred and enmity is slain. subjects of special, regenerating The change from natural death grace : and at the same time, sup- to natural life must be instantanepose they may fall from this spec- ous : and it is equally true, that ial grace. In this, indeed, they the passing from spiritual death are very consistent. For their to spiritual life must be instantaneconverts are only way side, stony ous. There is a difference beground hearers, whose affections tween regeneration and what is have not been changed from self- commonly called conversion, and ishness to pure, holy, disinterested sanctification, and the only differ

soon as

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