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10 him as his children. God is the Father, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier, of men ; the best Friend ; the supreme Benefactor; and the highest Portion. He is also the righteous Law. giver, and Sovereign, of the universe. In this covenant we publicly avouch Him as our God, in all these characters.

Ourselves, as children we devote to him with all our talents ; and services : engaging, through his grace, to obey, honour, and glorify him, according to his good pleasure, as revealed to us in the Scriptures.

The Consequences of this transaction are eternal life, virtue.

and glory

Can it be asked, whether, in such a transaction, God requires, that we should be sincere ; that we should mean what we say ; and that with the heart we should choose him as our God, and give ourselves to him as his children? In such a transaction, can he fail to require truth in the inward parts? Surely in this case, if any, he demands, that we should not love in word, nor in tongue, but in deed, and in truth. If Ananias and Sapphira were so awfully punished for insincerity in professing to give their property to God; can the guilt be less of those, who insincerely profess to give their souls? The views, which God entertains concerning this Covenant, are strongly declared when he so frequently styles it an Oath. He, who has thoroughly considered the guilt of perjury, will, I think, be well prepared to estimate justly that of intentional falsehood in this still more solemn transaction.

IV. The Doctrine is forcibly illustrated by the Nature of Chriss tian Communion.

Christian Communion is a participation of the heart in the same interests, and pursuits, of Evangelical Religion.

That evangelical Love is indispensable to such Communion is evident from 1 John, i. 7. If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another. Here, walking in divine light, or possessing Evangelical religion, is exhibited as absolutely necessary to the existence of fellowship among Christians. The same truth is also taught in the questions, immediateby following the text. In these questions it is most explicitly declared, that there is no fellowship, no communion, between the righteous and the unrighteous, between believers and unbelievers.

What the Scriptures thus declare, both Reason and Experience unanswerably prove. The doctrines and precepts, embraced by persons of these opposite dispositions, may be indeed, and have in many instances been, in substance the same. here there would often be very serious diversities; furnishing a wide foundation for very unhappy differences. The iron and the clay, however nicely fashioned into well proportioned members, and however skilfully united, so as apparently to constitute a single body, would yet, whenever the form began to move, be easily separated ; and show, that it was partly iron, and parlly clay. Frequently also, persons, so unlike in their wishes, although originally agreeing in these respects, would cease from this agreement by the mere progress of events. Unrenewed men, continuing unrenewed to old age, often give up their ori. ginal orthodoxy, and wander very far from the truth. All this is abundantly attested by Experience.

Still more unharmonious would these two classes be in their dispositions. Men, who disagree in the essential doctrines and precepts of religion, and often in those which are unessential, are apt, whatever inay be their dispositions, to agree very imperfectly in their views and measures. When they are possess. ed of dispositions very unlike, especially when wholly opposed, it is impossible for them to act together with harmony or success. Religion is an object of so much importance, that by men, really religious, it cannot be given up. It cannot be given up in parts: it cannot be modified, softened, or in any manner altered, so as to make it more palatable, or less offensive, to those, with whom they have intercourse. All its doctrines are taught, and all its duties enjoined, by the authority of God. Pious men, therefore, can neither add, diminish, nor alter. Yet such alterations would often be very convenient, and therefore very pleasing, to their unrenewed brethren: and such, as refuse to make them, would be pronounced illiberal, imprudent, unkind, and bigoted. Among persons, so circumstanced, harmony is already destroyed. VOL. V.


One of the great Christian duties is the Reproof of our brethren for their faults. A religious man is prepared by his religion both to administer, and receive, Evangelical reproof with the meekness, and gentleness, of the Gospel. In his view a sin is a great evil; to reclaim, or be reclaimed, from which is a preeminent blessing. Reproof is the proper, efficacious, and Evangelical means of communicating, or acquiring, this blessing; and will, therefore, be administered, and received, with the kindness of the Gospel.

But to sinners, Reproof is the pain ; and Sin, the pleasure ; for reproof will always be regarded merely as the means of restraining, and lessening, this pleasure. It will be viewed, therefore, with feelings of hostility: and he, who administers it, will be considered as an enemy. Nor will the sinner himself ordinarily administer it to others, unless when prompted by some selfish motive; nor without very visible emotions of superiority, resentment, or contempt.. Sinners, therefore, are plainly unqualified to take any useful part in this important branch of Christian communion.

Nor are they better fitted either for giving, or receiving, Religious Consolation. It is plainly impossible for them to enter cordially, and deeply, into interests, which they never felt; to indulge emotions, which they never experienced ; to feel the force of motives, whose import they cannot understand; or to derive either peace, or hope, from the truths, or promises, of a Religion. to which, though professing it, they are still strangers.

But a single point will set this part of the subject in the clearest light. It is this : Christ has enjoined upon all his followers. Brotherly Love. This affection, as I have formerly observed, is that, which is commonly called Complacency, or the love of Virtue ; and is directed, not like benevolence towards the happiness of Intelligent beings, but towards the Virtue of Good beings. That sinners cannot exercise this affection will not be questioned. But this is not the point, at which I aim. Christians cannot exercise this affection towards Sinners; because sinners do not possess the virtue, which this command requires Christians to love. Christ cannot require of his disciples any thing, which is physically impossible: but it is physically impossible to love

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virtue in those, who have it not. Yet Christ has required all the members of his Church to exercise this affection towards all. He intended, therefore, in this command, as well as elsewhere, that all the members of his Church should be such, as could be the objects of this affection.

To this command he accordingly subjoins the following declaration : Hereby shall all men know, that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another. But it is impossible, that sinners, who are not his disciples, should be known to be his disciples. Sinners, therefore, were not included by him in the number of those, of whom he speaks in these passages : or, in other words, are not proper members of his Church.

Universally; There is, there can be, between Christians and sinners, as members of the Church of Christ, no community of interests, views, affections, or designs. A church, intentionally made up of these discordant materials, may be a decent company of men; but it will very imperfectly sustain the character of a church of Christ.

V. With similar clearness is the Doctrine illustrated by the Nalute of Christian Discipline.

Of this subject I can give only a very summary exhibition. Christian Discipline consists of Private Exhortation, Public Admonition, and Excommunication. The end of all these administrations is the amendinent of the offender, and the peace, purity, and edification, of the Church. By every Christian they will be regarded as institutions, eminently useful to himself, and eminently beneficial to that great interest, which supremely engrosses his heart. To him, therefore, they will be objects of affection and reverence. When a fellow-christian expostulates with him kindly, evangelically, and between themselves, concerning a fault, which he has really committed, he will be gained by his brother; because, with a Christian spirit, and with Christian views, he will feel, that his brother has designed good to him, and conscientiously performed his own duty. Under the influence of the same spirit, he will receive an admonition from the Church with reverence and awe; because he knows, that the Church is merely discharging the same duty, and aiming at the same benevolent end. Even if he should be excommunicated; an event, which in such a Church will rarely take place ; he will of course, when his passions have subsided, and the period of self-examination has returned, resume the character of a penitent; humbly acknowledge the rectitude of the administration; and by an ingenuous confession of his fault, and the reformation of his life, become reconciled to his fellow-christians.

Sinners, on the contrary, will receive all these acts of disci. pline with reluctance, and resentment; and will never realize their necessity, nor their usefulness. The faults, for which discipline is instituted, they will usually consider as commendable actions, as matters of indifference, or at the worst as mere peccadillos, about which no man ought to feel any serious concern. Remonstrances against them they will regard as flowing from personal pique, pride, or a spirit of meddling; and every subsequent measure of discipline, as springing out of bigotry, persecution, or revenge. An ecclesiastical process will be viewed by them as a mere prosecution ; and those, concerned in it against them, as mere litigants, influenced only by selfish passions, and not by a sense of duty.

In the administration of discipline, unless stimulated by such passions, they will either not unite at all, or unite with indifference, and reluctance. They will be too prudent to provoke their neighbours, and too worldly to trouble themselves about the peace, or purity, of the Church. It may, I believe, be truly said, that Christian discipline never was, and never will be, for any length of time maintained, where the majority of those, entrusted with it, are, or have been, men of this character.

VI. This truth is decisively proved by the Manner, in which the Christian Church is spoken of in the New Testament,

The common name for the Church in the Old Testament is Zion. Under this name it is spoken of as a Holy Hill; as loded by God; as the Heritage of God; as the Zion of the Holy One of krael. It is said, that Christ is her King ; that God will place

. Salvation in her; that he will reign in her ; that he commands there the blessing, even life for ever more. In these, and a multitude of other, instances, exactly the same character is given of the Church, under the Mosaic, which was afterward given of it, under the Christian, Dispensation. This fact furnishes unan

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