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3. Are there not some of you who have in time past trembled like Felix at the word? Where now are your impressions of mind, where are your convictions? Have you shipwrecked them amidst the cares or the pleasures of the world? Ye have trembled at the voice of a mere mortal. The time is coming, when the voice of God shall speak to you in thunder. That voice will convulse all nature, start the dead from their graves, and summon the countless nations to Jehovah's bar for
judgment. To be prepared for this grand and solemn event, you must be “ created in "Christ Jesus unto good works." Without an interest in "the blood of his cross," you are under the condemnation of the divine law.
Since, then, your state is fearfully perilous, be alarmed. “Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." Surely it is better to suffer here than hereafter. Let conscience do its duty: you have sought to stifle it once; do so no more. You may indeed succeed for a while; but soon its power will revive. "A wound"ed spirit who can bear"?"
f Eph. ii. 10. g 2 Cor: v. 11.
You are pre
h Prov. xviii. 14.
paring for yourselves an awful period of suffering. Conscience will awake in the hour of dissolution; or if not then, it will assuredly in eternity. Yes, it will awake amidst the ruins of the world, and the horrors of the judgment-day. What a scene will you
then behold! The heavens and the earth passing away with a great noise, and the elements melting with fervent heat. that tremendous moment, your hopes perish; your controversy with God terminates; your fate is irrevocably fixed in outer darkness! AMEN.
THE PERFECTION OF CHRISTIAN
HEBREWS V. 12, 13, 14. and VI. 1, 2.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God: and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness : for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith towards God; of
a Preached at the opening of the Presbytery of New-York, April, 1811.
the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
THE Gospel of Jesus Christ, my brethren, will bear the strictest examination of friends and foes. Resting on irrefragable evidence for its divinity, the more its contents are studied, the more they approve themselves to the mind as just and rational. So far is ignorance from being the mother of devotion, that faith, to be genuine and saving, must be built on knowledge. If it want this, it is mere credulity: and the religion professed, gross superstition. They who profess themselves followers of the blessed Redeemer, the glorious day-spring from on high, must walk before the world as children of light. To do this, they must understand the system which they have embraced, not superficially, but deeply. Their knowledge must not be cramped within narrow bounds, nor confined to a few particulars; it must embrace every thing essential to Christianity; the higher and more noble parts, as well as the lower and more humble.
For a deficiency in this respect, the apostle in the text censures the believing Hebrews, whom he addressed. He had just mentioned Melchisedec, after whose order Christ was a priest; and was proceeding to say many things concerning him, by which Christ's priesthood would be illustrated and confirmed, when he recollects that "they
were dull of hearing." He describes them as men hardly acquainted with the first principles of Christianity, although they had grown old in the profession thereof: and then urges them to leave these principles, and go on to perfection; that is, to a thorough and complete understanding of the whole system.
This description does not merely suit those to whom Paul wrote: it is applicable to Christians of every age, but especially of the present. We may then with propriety consider the exhortation as addressed to us, and one more seasonable there cannot be. That we may understand its full import, we shall
I. Show that Christianity is a connected system of divine truth, drawn from the Scriptures: