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er of all that concerns us and our intercourse in the world, that I was let to such close correspondence for some time past as brought me an extraordinary share of communication with that eminent servant of our common Lord, in the very last scene of his life. Oh may I have grace to improve such a blessing to excite some measure of that spirit which breathed in every thing that dropped from him by word or writ.
“ Please let me know what sermons or other perfore mances of Mr Maclaurin's are to be found
his papers fairly wrote out. Copies of sermons of his had got into several hands; some I heard him preach in Glasgow before he was a minister there: and I have read some of these copies I mentioned ; from which, and others of the same masterly composition, I am persuaded a volume may be furnished out, which nothing I ever saw in print would exceed.-
Falkirk, Sept. 10. 1754. JOHN ADAMS.”
“ I heartily approve the inserting some account of Mr Maclaurin's character in the preface to his sermons. Since you desire it, I shall hint a few particulars, which I think worthy of your notice. Ist, His habitual spiritual-mindedness and devotion, evidenced by frequent ejaculatory prayers and thanksgivings, and by his delight to turn conversation into a religious and edifying channel. 2d, His unwearied diligence to promote whatever he thought tended to the welfare of the church, of which he was a member. His warm concern for the advance. ment of religion even in the most distant parts; and his joy for agreeable appearances of the success of the gospel. 3d, His deep insight into the doctrines and duties of religion, and the most proper methods of removing prejudices and objections against them. The strength of his genius, and the solidity of his judgment, furnished him with sentiments new and ingenious, and yet solid and convincing, when explaining, or vindicating some of the most important articles of our Christian faith. When consulted upon controversies, which seemed quite exhausted by the labours of others; he would often strike new light on the question in debate, and offer a more distinct and satisfying solution of difficulties, than had hitherto been advanced. Such was his knowledge of the nature of religion, as equally preserved him from right and left hand errors. He saw and felt, that the true Christian does not act merely from selfish and ina terested motives ; but is animated to duty, by love to God, to Christ and to holiness, flowing from views of their intrinsic glory and excellency; and yet he caue tiously avoided the dangerous extremes of enthusiasts and popish mystics. 4th, Boldness, courage, zeal and faithfulness, in opposing whatever he thought contrary to the interest of the Redeemer's kingdom. 5th, Ree markable humility, which appeared in preferring those to himself who in gifts and graces were much his inferiors; in his excessive nodesty, which made him unwilling to publish his excellent compositions, though frequently im. portuned by the best judges; and in preaching usually in the plainest and most familiar manner, though many of his manuscripts discover his uncommon genius for abe stract reasoning; and in some of them, his sermon on Gal. vi. 14. the sublimest sentiments are expressed in a lively and eloquent manner. There are passages in the above sermon, which will stand a comparison with an excellent paper in the Spectator on the same subject. 6th, A spirit uncommonly vigorous and active. Few made greater conscience of redeeming the time, and spending every moment in planning or executing something worthy the man and the Christian. One while he is engaged in closet devotions; another, pursuing his studies; then, discharging in the most exemplary manner, the various duties of his ministerial function; then conversing or corresponding with others on subjects of general importance: next approving himself the best and most faithful friend, and the most valuable and affection ate relative. I account it one of the most pleasant and happy circumstances of my life, that for eleven years this eminent servant of Christ, honoured me with his friend. ship, and often profited me by his instructions and adyice.
-". As his departure is a loss to me in some respects irreparable, and I apprehend a great loss to the church of Christ in general, and especially in Scotland; it has been a very sensible affliction to me ever since I heard it, and is like in some degree to last as long as I continue here. My chief consolations are, that the glorious Head of the church, who so singularly raised him up, accomplished and adorned him, and enabled him by his Spirit to do signal service to his church, has the same cause and interest. to maintain, and has the residue of the Spirit.
“ I heartily sympathize with you. May we double our diligence, be faithful to our Divine Redeemer to the death, and meet together in the world above with unmixed and unceasing joy. In the mean while, I am very desirous to know when he died, with the circumstances of it, &c. Whether there be
any funeral on him, or character of him published ; and if there are, to have them; as also any of his writings published. For as he was a most agreeable correspondent with me, his writings and memory will be ever dear and precious to me. And as his fame is known and valued by many here, if I could have been informed of those particulars, I should have gratified many by printing the most maBerial passages concerning him in our Newspapers.Boston, Dec. 23. 1754.
Adorn'd with learning, taste, and manly sense,
THE SINS OF MEN NOT CHARGEABLE ON GOD *.
JAMES i. 13.
Let no man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted of
God : for God cannot be tempted with evil ; neither tempteth he
any man. THE THE word of God frequently teaches us, that a
principal hindrance of our embracing Christ's righteousness, is want of a due sense of our own unrighteousness. There is a stupidity in this, as unaccountable in its nature, as it is dangerous in its effects. All men are persuaded that they have broken the precepts of God's law ; it might be expected of course, they should be persuaded also, that they have deserved to suffer the penalty of it: But experience makes it evident, that it is otherwise. All men are convinced that they are sinners, but very few are convinced that they deserve to be miserable. The word of God, which searches the heart, unfolds the secret cause of this. In like manner, men are insensiblo of their ill-deserving ; not that they absolutely deny their sins, but that they excuse them: Nor is this a new artifice; it is as ancient in the world, as
• This sermon was preached about the year 1720, when the Author was Minister at Luss.
sin itself. It is natural for our affections to biass our judgment; and therefore, when sin has polluted the one, no wonder it should pervert the other. The first man on earth was no sooner accused, than, since he could not deny it, he strove to defend it, and heightened his guilt by a presumptuous attempt to extenuate it. We his offspring, to this day, do not more resemble him in committing sin, than in excusing it, when we have done. Generally either men do not regret their sins at all, or else regret them as misfortunes, rather than faults, and as deserving pity, rather than punishment. Prosperous sinners scarce see the harm of sin at all; others, while they feel the harm of it, redounding to themselves, lay the blame of it on something else. It were less unaccountable if men only justified or excused themselves to their fellow creatures, their partakers in guilt: One sinner may easily find a thousand plausible answers to the upbraiding language of another sinner ; for how can a man be at a loss for a defence against those who cannot accuse him without condemning themselves; he may answer them in the apostle's words, Rom. ii. 1. Thou art inexcusable, o man, whosoever thou art, that judgest another : for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself ; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But the misery of men's self-love, is, that it makes them pretend to vindicate themselves, not only against the oftentinies too partial contempt of their guilty fellow-creatures, but also against the most impartial challenges of their offended Creator. When men vindicate themselves, only against their associates in guilt, it may be constructed as a pretence only to equality with others; but for men to defend themselves before God, is in effect a pretence to innocency. By this means the chief vexation many have about their most unrighteous practices, is murmuring against God's most righteous precepts, according to the old complaint, Who can bear these hard sayings ? Many are not so sorry for their sins against God's law, as for the se