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their own destruction; we encour fall in with their amalgamating age others to listen to their deceit- schemes. And the consequence ful and alluring words to their eter- will soon be, that they will feel nal ruin, and we throw the whole more fellowship for such advocates weight of our influence more or less of error than they will for such directly into the scale of opposition friends of truth, and speak more to the truth. For those who think kindly and respectfully of them, that Arminians and Antinomians and do more to extend their influand other advocates of erroneous ence, and promote their cause.doctrines are about right in their And as union, and charity, and views and feelings respecting prac- liberality, are charming words, and ! tical religion, and deem it their du- the advocates of error have learnt ty to countenance and encourage by experience the great advantages them, and feel bound to entertain to their cause of a very free use of and express a favorable opinion of them; and as very many of the their piety, and think they are do- professed friends of truth seem to ing God service by endeavoring to be running into this snare, the most promote the most intimate union disastrous consequences are to be of all such in the same religious apprehended. community, must necessarily have 4. If the duties of the gospel their own feelings and practice are only the practical result of the very much affected by such views. doctrines of the gospel, then those Though they may still, for a time, who differ from us in the system of imagine that they themselves be- doctrines which they embrace, differ lieve and love the doctrines of the from us in the whole of their religgospel, they cannot long practice ion. Our practical religion is the upon their kind and liberal views result of the doctrines which we betowards the advocates of error with- lieve, and their practical religion is out losing their attachment to the the result of the doctrines which truth. And they will soon find they believe. If we believe the that if they continue to believe the system of doctrines taught in the truth at all, they will believe it as bible, and they believe an opposite though they believed it not. They system of doctrines, our practical will not so believe it as to give it religion is the religion of the bible, any practical influence over them, but their practical religion is someand therefore it will be the same to thing of a different and opposite them as if they did not believe it. character. Their love to God is of And if the advocates of error have a different nature from ours, and discernment enough to perceive for a different reason.
What we the necessary consequences of this call true love to God, they deny course, and art enough to encour- and reject; and what they call true age it by meeting these advances love to God, we deny and reject. with an apparent acquiescence in And as the true worship of God these liberal views, and the show consists in the expression of right efa cordial reciprocation of them, affections towards God in the lanthese liberal professors of the evan- guage of prayer and praise, their gelical doctrines will feel a growing worship of God is essentially diffeattachment to such advocates of rent from ours. What we call truc error, and a corresponding diminu- worship, they reject as false wortion of their attachment to those ship ; and what they call true worfriends of the truth who do not ship, we reject as false worship.
Their repentance for sin is of a differ- it is so; and they have made many ent nature from ours. What we call attempts, in former times, as well true repentance, they consider false as in latter times, to rouse the atrepentance ; and what they call tention of professed christians to true repentanca, we consider false these subjects, and lead them to repentance. Their faith in Christ discriminate between true religion is of a different nature from ours. and its counterfeits, that they may What we call true faith, they con- not be fatally deceived. Edwards sider as false faith; and what they and Brainerd, and Bellamy, in their call true faith, we consider as false day, deeply felt its importance, and faith. Their self denial is of a dwelt ruch upon it in their preachdifferent nature from ours. What ing, conversation, and writings.we call the only true self denial, And if any suppose that these difthey reject as unnecessary and ferences are less now than formerwrong ; and what they call true self ly, it is because they have attended denial, we consider as having noth- less to the subject, and are not acing of the nature of self denial in quainted with the actual state of it. The same difference exists things among the different denomwith respect to every part of prac- inations of professed christians.rical religion. The duty of sub- It may be true, indeed, that there mission to God, and the duty of is less apparent difference now prayer, are duties acknowledged to than formerly, because there is less be such by all; but the views attention paid to the subject. And which are entertained of their na- it may be true that one system of zure are as different as are the doctrines and duties is received by views of those doctrines of which greater numbers now than formerthese duties are the practical result. ly, and is more generally prevailWhat is called true submission by ing; and that another system of the one, is not so called by the doctrines and duties is received by other; and what is considered right smaller numbers, and is less extenprayer by the one, is not considered sively prevalent. But the difference right prayer by the other. There between the two systems remains is the same difference also on the the same. I do believe that what subject of christian experience.- I consider the system of doctrines What is considered a genuine chris- and duties taught in the bible, is tian experience by the one, is con- less valued and less insisted on now sidered a false experience by the than it was some years ago ; and other, and as having nothing of that what I consider an opposite the nature of true religion in it. system of doctrines and duties, and And what is considered evidence one fundamentally and fatally of a change of heart by the one, is wrong, is fast gaining ground, and considered as no evidence at all threatens to overspread our land & by the other. Our experimental sweep away every opposing barrier. and practical religion differ as wide. And when I see the appathy of the ly and as essentially as our doctrinal churches on this subject, and the views ; and it cannot be other- prevailing disposition to consider wise, if we are consistent with our- all religions about equally good, selves. And those who are par- and all experiences as about equal. ticular in their inquiries, and dis- ly genuine, and to hurry all who criminating in their views, on these obtain a hope into the church as subjects, have long understood that soon as possible, I cannot but con
sider it as one of the strongest in- great room for improvement, even dications of the ultimate triumph in the best informed churches and of error and false religion which congregations. And if they were this gloomy period exhibits. ever so well acquainted with the
5. If the duties of the gospel doctrines of the gospel, and could are only the practical results of the not increase that knowledge, the doctrines of the gospel, then it is continued exlibition of those docessential to the prosperity of tlie trines would still be
necessary, cause of religion that the doc- both to promote the advancement trines of the gospel should be care- of christians in practical religion, fully studied by the people, and that they might be more and more be faithfully inculcateu from the “sanctified through the truth," pulpit and the press. There is, and to promote the conviction and indeed, much that is called experi- conversion of sinners, that they mental and practical religion, might be “ begotten by the word which has no connection with the of truth, and purify their souls in doctrines of the gospel, and flour- obeving the truth." If the duties ishes most where those doctrines are of the gospel are the practical remost concealed ; but it is the prac- sult of its doctrines, and are tical result of other doctrines than forced by those doctrines, then the doctrines of the gospel, and when practical duties are stated owes its existence and progress to and urged, they must be enforced the open exhibition or the secret by the doctrines of the gospel, by belief of those other doctrines. those great truths which furnish All that experimental and practi- the most powerful motives to cal religion, however, which is not discharge of every christian duty. the result of the doctrines of the The duties of religion are not disgospel, is not the religion of the charged with sufficient constancy gospel. It is a religion of another and faithfulness, even where the kind than that which the bible most powerful motives are presentteaches. It is a dangerous and ed ; much less, where they are fatal delusion. It deceives the urged and enforced by motives of soul with a fair appearance and less weight. As well might a leads those who trust in it to de- watch be expected to be regular struction and perdition. If true in its movements when deprived of practical religion is to be kept the main spring, as a christian to alive and made to flourish, those be regular in the discharge of the doctrines of the gospel of which it duties of the gospel when they are is the result must be kept before not inforced by its doctrines. the mind, by a continued and There is also, in human nature, a faithful exhibition of them from strong tendency to lose sight of the pulpit, and by a lucid state- the great doctrines of the gospel ; ment and able defence of them and when any have been brought from the press. Let it not be im- forward to a certain degree of agined that any people are so well knowledge in them, if no means acquainted with them that there is are used to keep up that knowlno need of this. Those ministers edge, it will enevitably decline. who take pains to ascertain how It is so in other kinds of knowlmuch their people know of the edge, in which the heart has no doctrines of the gospel, will find concern ; and much more in this,
in which the heart has so much to gospel inculcates, but something do. Christian affections are ex- totally different in its nature. cited by presenting the proper ob 6. If the duties of the gospel are jects of those affections ; and if only the practical result of the those objects are not presented, it doctrines of the gospel, then inis in rain to call upon Christians difference to any doctrine, or opto put forth right affections. We position to it, is as decisive evimay complain of them, and blame dence of a bad state of heart, as them, for being cold, and stupid, indifference or opposition to the and un feeling ; but this will not corresponding duty. All consider make them have right feelings, indifference to any duty enjoined unless the proper objects of feel- in the gospel, and especially, oppoings are presented. The doctrines sition to that duty, as evidence of a
of the gospel present the proper bad state of heart. When God í objects of feeling; and an exhi- commands, and we are unwilling
bition of them is indispensable to to obey, no one doubts that we are keep Christians from backsliding. criminal. But when any doctrine And if the doctrines of the gospel is exhibited, many think indiffeare not continually presented and rence to it is excusable, and some urged upon the attention of those that even opposition to it is a virwho are not Christians, their de- tue. Some, indeed, pretend that cided opposition of heart to the they love the doctrine, while they truth, and their native love to er- are opposed to its being exhibited. ror, will soon lead them to disbe. But this seems impossible. For if liere those doctrines, and embrace they love the doctrine, how can the contrary errors. These things they but love to think of it, and to have often been verified by expe- converse upon it, and to hear it rience. Churches that have once from others?
But all such oppobeen well acquainted with the sition to the doctrines of the gospel, doctrines of the gospel, have, in a and all indifference to them, is just very short time after those doctrines as criminal as opposition or indifhave been suppressed, sunk down ference to the corresponding duinto a state of indifference towards ties. It is even more criminal, bethem, and then into opposition to cause it is more mischievous in its them, and the rejection of them ; tendency and consequences. Opand whole congregations that were position to a particular duty, may once willing to hear the great doc- be considered as having reference trines of the gospel faithfully only to an individual case ; but preached, and verily believed them opposition to the doctrine of which to be true, have gone over to the that duty is the practical result, side of error, and are now the de- strikes at the foundation of that cided opposers of those doctrines. whole class of duties, and extends And their practical religion, as we to every case. If it is criminal to have seen, is necessarily of the poison a stream, from which one same nature with the doctrines may drink and die, it is much more they embrace. If they have ever criminal to poison the fountain, so much of what they call practi- from which thousands draw their cal religion, it being the result of a supplies. When, therefore, we false system of doctrines, is not the hear any man avow his opposition true practical religion which the to any doctrine of the gospel, we
may justly consider him as not on- enforced by those doctrines, their ly avowing his opposition to the opposition is strongly excited tocorresponding duty in his own wards those doctrines. They are particular case, but as avowing his full of complaints against those opposition to that class of duties, in doctrines, as perplexing, difficult to every possible case. He would not be understood, and quite unnecesonly free himself from the discharge sary to be known or believed in orof a duty to which he feels a re- der to please God. If it were true, luctance, but he would destroy the as is often reproachfully asserted obligation of all others to perform of the doctrines of the gospel, that it also. And hence, opposition to they are matters of mere speculathe doctrines of the gospel, calls tion, and of no practical tendency, more imperiously upon a church men would have no motive to opfor the exercise of discipline to- pose them, any more than they wards one who makes it, than a ne have to oppose
the philosophical glect of the corresponding duty in doctrines that the planets are inhis own particular case possibly habited, or that the earth is hollow. could do. It is generally admitted But since the doctrines of the gosto be the duty of a church to dis- pel have a practical tendency, and cipline a member who neglects are the foundation of certain duties the discharge of any of the great which men are unwilling to perduties of the gospel, and justifies form, and they see no way to free himself in it; but it is not so gen- themselves from the obligation to erally admitted to be their duty to perform those duties, but by den discipline a member who opposes stroying the doctrines of which 'the corresponding doctrines. The those duties are the practical reman who obstructs the stream must sults, their enmity is excited abe taken care of, while the man who gainst those doctrines, and their efdestroys the fountain must be suf- forts are directed to their destructfered to go on in his work ! ion. If any really believed that
7. If the duties of the gospel arc the doctrines of the gospel were as only the practical result of the doe- void of any practical influence, as 'trines of the gospel, then opposition those doctrines of philosophy which to the doctrines of the gospel is ea- have been mentioned, they would sy to be accounted for. The doc- feel the same indifference towards trines of the gospel are so plain, tiem, and be as willing that others 90 reasonable, and so clearly should believe them. So that every taught in the scriptures, that it has degree of opposition that is manioften been matter of wonder that fested towards any of the doctrines it shonld be so dificult to make of the gospel is acknowledgment. people see and believe them. This that those doctrines are of practical stbjet discloses the secret of all importance, and do enforce duties the difficulties, and all the object- which are repugnant to the feelings ions, and all the opposition which of those who make that opposition. those doctrines have to encounter. It is plain, in the light of this subIt all proceeds from the heart.-- ject, that all opposition to the docMen are not willing to perform the trines of the gospel proceeds from duties of the gospel
. And when unwillingness to perform the corthey see that the duties which responding duties of the gospel, they are unwilling to perform grow and that when men become willing eut of certain doctrines and are to perform any duty, they no long