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Paul prepared the Gentiles, when he was sent to

eyes, and to turn them from “ darkness to light, and from the power of Satan “ unto God':" and it was a very different vifion to which he was obedient, when he repelled the charge of insanity by speaking forth the words of truth and foberness; and forced from the royal Jew that memorable and disinterested confession, “ Almost thou persuadest me to be a

Christian.”

Now unto God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, three persons in the ụnity of one Godhead, be all honour and glory for ever, Amen.

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DISCOURSE VII.

Matt. xviii. 2, 3.

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him

in the midst of them, And said, Verily, I say unto you, Except ye be con

verted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

ALL the dispensations of Providence are tempered by an barmonious principle; and in the moral, as well as in the natural, world, every effect has an evident relation to its cause. In operations, whether intellectual or material, it is irrational to expect fimilar results in cases, between which an important difference prevails, as to the powers of the agent, the disposition of the patient, and the numerous contingent circumstances, by which they are respectively modified.

Eye-witnesses of the life, miracles, and resurrection of Christ; capable from their perfonal observation of demonstrating the fulfil

ment of ancient prophecies; armed themselves also with miraculous, power, and endued by the Holy Ghost with the faculty of speaking the language of every nation under heaven ; the Apostles preached the doctrines of Chriftianity to men, whose senses bore testimony to the supernatural endowments of the preacliers: and thus, “ in the demonstration of the

Spirit and of power,” they converted multitudes to a steadfast belief in Christ, and to consequent holiness of living. But therefore to fuppose that the eloquence of a mere human preacher, affifted only by the ordinary visitations of divine grace, is to be followed by the immediate conversion of multitudes of finners, to whom the truths of the Gospel have been long familiar, to uniform habits of Christian purity, were as grofs an abfurdity as to fuppose, that a peasant could verify the boaft of Archimedes, and move the earth : or that an astronomer could realize the fiction of romance, and divert the fun from his orbit.

The doctrine of conversion, as it is delivered by fome of our modern fectaries, is so much at variance with the more fober, more rational, and (I truft) more evangelical doctrine of the national clergy; and it is fo vehemently enforced as absolutely neceffary to salvation, and the preaching of it is represented as so indispensable a criterion of the preaching of the Gospel", that it of course claims a place in the present inquiry; and it is so closely connected, and by some persons so thoroughly identified with regeneration, which was examined in my laft discourse, that it naturally presents itself for the subject of our present reflections.

Conversion, according to our notions, may not improperly be said to consist of a rational conviction of fin, and sense of its wretchedness and danger; of a sincere penitence and sorrow of heart, at having incurred the displeasure of a holy God; of steadfast purposes of amendment with the blessing of the divine grace; of a regular and diligent employment of all the appointed means of grace; and of a real change of heart and life, of affections and conduct, and a resolute perseverance in well-doing.

The triumph of such conversion as this is not attended by alternations of extreme joy and despondency; of the most ecstatic rapture, and the most gloomy despair ; fometimes by heavenly exultation, and fometimes by the agonies of hell. It has little of what is brilliant and dazzling to decorate; little of what is magnificent and imposing to dignify and exalt it. It cannot be described as intended by the Lord to set the world in a flameb: the

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* See Whitefield's Eighteen Sermons, p. 130.
• Whitefield's Works, vol. i. p. 200.

minister, who is God's instrument to effect it, cannot be pompously represented to be carried as on eagle's wings; or be elevated into a comparison with Joshua, going from city to city, and subduing the devoted nations : its direction cannot be said to be marked out by a sign from heaven, as the cloud employed by Providence to conduct the people of Ifrael on their march through the wildernessd: its progrefs cannot be described to be terrible as an army with banners : its effects cannot be extolled into a rivalry with the success of the victorious and imperial Conftantine. But if its operations are flow, they are certain ; if its effecs are milder, they are more secure, if its conquests are less extensive, and it draws a lefs numerous crowd of fuppliants at its chariotwheels, it exerts a more permanent dominion over those, whom it has subdued. Unambitious of earthly diftinction, and contented with doing good, its throne is the humble and contrite fpirit, and its sceptre is righteousness and peace.

But I am anticipating remarks, which might appear more pertinent after the comparison, which I propose to institute in the present

c Whitefield's Works, vol. i. p. 367.

Ibid. vol. i. p. 370, 407, 451, 477. e Ibid. vol. i. p. 398. { Wesley's Farther Appeal, p. 92.

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