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"Whoever has lived in the neighbourhood of ' certain preachers, will testify that it has taken ' place.'1
Who these certain preachers' are we are not told but this I can confidently say, that I have witnessed, in the places where the evangelical clergy are stationed, a degree of morality, even in those who did not fully enter into their views, beyond what I ever saw in any other places. It is true, that many learn from the preachers evangelical notions, and make a temporary profession of religion, who at length return, "like the sow "that is washed to her wallowing in the mire ;" and the last state" of these men is "worse than "the first." But, if they are to be considered as specimens of the company which they have renounced, or from which they have been excluded; while all those, who, " taught by the saving grace "of God, that, denying ungodliness and worldly "lusts, they should lead sober, righteous, and "godly lives," are quite overlooked: prejudice may easily bring in a verdict against the whole body. Thus Judas, Ananias, Sapphira, and Simon Magus might have been considered as specimens of the character of Christians, in the primitive times; and those of whom Paul "spake, even "weeping," of all the converts made by his ministry.
In populous places also, where in this land preachers of every kind are at present found, there will, no doubt, be men who adopt the wildest notions, and disgrace the truths which they profess
with the vilest conduct. They who pay sufficient attention to the subject will find, that this is the grief and distress of numbers, and especially of ministers; who, agreeing in some points of doctrine with these enthusiasts and Antinomians, (for we cannot give up truth because professed and perverted by wicked men,) are by superficial observers, and such as only behold the company from a distance, classed with the very persons whom they mourn over, and protest against, and oppose by every scriptural method in their power.
But, after every deduction, it may confidently be averred, that the stated congregations, and especially the communicants, at those churches, or chapels, in which the evangelical clergy officiate, are by far the most strictly moral part of the established church, in respect of exemption from gross vices; and, further, that they exert themselves in endeavouring to relieve the distresses of the poor, to instruct their children, and to forward every good work, with more decided diligence, earnestness, and liberality, than are generally manifested among their opponents. And I appeal to every candid observer, who differs from me in religious sentiments, but who has carefully compared our parishes and congregations with other parishes and congregations, whether this be not true and indisputable.
The doctrine of salvation through faith, if rightly understood, is strictly scriptural; and I 'do not mean to say that any bad effects are in'tended by insisting solely or principally upon 'this one point. But I think that this style of
preaching is imperfect and dangerous; and in support of my opinion I will venture to affirm, 'that the New Testament does not furnish one 'discourse of our Saviour, one sermon of any of ' his apostles, or one epistle, in which there is not an exhortation to the practice of moral virtue, or ' in which a reward is not promised to holiness of life. Let the preachers, to whom I allude, read ⚫ the conclusions of those very epistles, upon par'ticular passages of which they lay so much stress, ' and they will find the most earnest injunctions to 'the performance of the relative duties, and a variety of declarations and precepts all tending to encourage the cultivation of practical virtue. 'Let them constantly bear in mind the solemn di ́ ́rection given by St. Paul to Titus, whom he had appointed a preacher of the gospel, and let them 'observe that it immediately follows the assertion, that we are justified by grace." "This is a 'faithful saying, and these things I will that thou ⚫ affirm constantly, that they which have believed ' in God might be careful to maintain good works: 'these things are good and profitable unto men.” Justification therefore by grace, so far from rendering good works unnecessary, is the ground " upon which they are to be enforced by a Chris'tian minister; they are,' says Dr. Doddridge, to be the darling topics of your preaching, as you desire the edification and salvation of your 'hearers.' The instructions indeed, which St. 'Paul gave to Timothy and Titus for preaching 'the gospel, related principally to practical sub'jects, that their hearers might "adorn the doc'trine of God our Saviour in all things." Surely
then if the inspired apostles were guided to in'struct their disciples in this manner, it is incum' bent upon their successors, the present ministers ' of the gospel, to insist upon the necessity of good works, at least with as much earnestness and as frequently, as upon the necessity of faith. To obviate any misunderstanding upon a point of so great moment, the observance of the moral du'ties, upon the principles and motives required in 'the gospel, ought to be expressly enforced as indispensable to salvation; and, whenever faith is inculcated, the congregation should be reminded, 'that to shew faith by works is the only mode of shewing faith authorized by scripture, and not 'palpably subject to deceit and delusion.'1
The style of preaching' here stated, and very justly, to be imperfect and dangerous,' is I trust little known in our congregations. He, who insists solely on salvation through faith, is far indeed from declaring the whole counsel of God." Whatever God has made a part of his revealed word, that, as far as doctrine and practice are concerned, ought to have a proportionable place in our instructions; and most of the evangelical body, I trust, aim at this. It may fairly be said of many among us, that there is no one of our discourses or sermons, either printed or preached, which does not contain exhortations to the practice of moral virtue or Christian holiness; or in which a gracious reward is not proposed to the fruits of faith and grace. We hope that we both read, and endeavour to reduce to practice in our
ministry, what his Lordship here very properly recommends to our attention: and many will unite with me in earnestly praying, that all the clergy of our church, and all every where called the ministers of Christianity, may do this more and more. But here is our disadvantage: we read his Lordship's book, and the works of our other opponents; and we really know what their opinions are: but we cannot avoid thinking, that many of our opponents do not read our books, and are not acquainted with our sentiments. And this is, by far, the most candid construction we can put upon their conduct; for most certainly we are supposed to hold, and to disseminate doctrines, which we wholly abhor and most decidedly protest against.
'No clergyman should confine his public in'struction to subjects of morality or of theology. 'The sermons of a parish-priest ought to extend 'to all the doctrines and to all the duties of Chris'tianity. The one are not to be dwelt upon to 'the exclusion of the other. A faithful minister of the gospel will strive to "shew himself approved unto God," by "rightly dividing the ' word of truth," so as to embrace the whole Chris'tian scheme of human redemption. Sometimes 'he will give a summary of this wonderful dispensation, and explain its divine origin, necessity, extent, and inestimable value. At other times he will illustrate the various truths which ' it reveals, and enlarge upon the numerous pre'cepts which it contains; and whatever doctrine he inculcates, or whatever duty he enforces, he 'will be careful not to lead his hearers into the