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being forced by any superior power to turn my eyes toward one of these points, rather than towards the other: when I admit these propositions, I find myself guided by brightness of evidence, which it is impossible to find in the opposite propositions. A sophist may invent some objections,which I cannot answer; but he can never produce reasons, that coun

from the world, and thereby enabled him to adopt this comfortable declaration of Jesus Christ, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father, which is in heaven.' 2. Let us remark the efforts which preceded faith. God has been pleased to conceal the truth under veils, in order to excite our arduous industry to discover it. The obscuri-terbalance those which determine me; he ty that involves it for a time, is not only may perplex, but he can never persuade me. agreeable to the general plan of Providence, In like manner, an infidel may unite every but it is one of the most singularly beautiful argument in favour of a system of infideldispensations of it. If, then, you have at- ity; a Turk may accumulate all his imaginatended to the truth only in a careless, indo- tions in support of Mohammedism; a Jew lent manner, instead of studying it with may do the same for Judaism; and they may avidity, it is to be feared you have not obtain- silence me, but they can never dissuade me ed it; at least, it may be presumed, your at- from Christianity. The religion of Jesus tachment to it is less the work of Heaven Christ has peculiar proof. The brightness of than of the world. But if you can attest that evidence, which guides the faith of a you have silenced prejudice to hear reason, Christian, is a guarantee of the purity of the you have consulted nature to know the God principle from which it proceeds. of nature; that, disgusted with the little progress you could make in that way, you have had recourse to revelation; that you have stretched your meditation, not only to as certain the truth of the gospel, but to obtain a deep, thorough knowledge of it; that you have considered this as the most important work to which your attention could be directed; that you have sincerely and ardently implored the assistance of God to enable you to succeed in your endeavours; that you have often knocked at the door of mercy to obtain it; and that you have often adopted the sentiments, with the prayer of David, and said, 'Lord open thou mine eyes, that may behold wondrous things out of thy law!' Ps. cxix. 18. If you can appeal to Heaven for the truth of these practices, be you assured, your faith, like St. Peter's, is not a production of flesh and blood, but a work of that grace which never refuses itself to the sighs of a soul seeking it with so much vehement desire.

3. The evidence that accompanies faith is our next article. People may sincerely deceive themselves; indeed erroneous opinions are generally received on account of some glimmerings that hover around them and dazzle the beholders. The belief of an error seems, in some cases, to be grounded on principles as clear as those of truth. It is certain, however, that truth has a brightness peculiar to itself; an evidence, that distinguishes it from whatever is not true. The persuasion of a man, who rests on demonstration, is altogether different from that of him who is seduced by sophisms. Evidence has its prerogatives and its rights. Maintain who will, not only with sincerity, but with all the positiveness and violence of which he is capable, that there is nothing certain; I am fully persuaded that I have evidence, incomparably clearer, of the opposite opinion. In like manner, when I affirm that I have an intelligent soul, and that I animate a material body; when I maintain that I am free, that the Creator has given me the power of turn

4. Observe the sacrifices that crown the faith of a Christian. There are two sorts of these: the one comprehends some valuable possessions; the other some tyrannical passions. Religion requires sacrifices of the first kind in times of persecution, when the most indispensable duties of a Christian are punished as atrocious crimes; when men, under pretence of religion, let loose their rage against them who sincerely love religion, and when, to use our Saviour's style, they think to do service to God,' John xvi. 2, by putting the disciples of Christ to death. Happy they! who, among you, my brethren, have been enabled to make sacrifices of this kind! You bear, I see, the marks of the disciples of a crucified Saviour; I respect the cross you carry, and I venerate your wounds. Yet these are doubtful evidences of that faith which the grace of our heavenly Father produces. Sometimes they even proceed from a disinclination to sacrifices of the second kind. Infatuation has made confessors; vain glory has produced martyrs; and there is a phenomenon in the church, the cross of casuists, and the most insuperable objection against the doctrine of assurance and perseverance; that is, there are men, who, after they have resisted the greatest trials, yield to the least; men who, having at first fought like heroes, at last fly like cowards; who, after they have prayed for their persecutors, for those who confined them in dungeons, who, to use the psalmist's language, ploughed upon their backs, and made long their furrows,' Ps. cxxix. 3, could not prevail with themselves on the eve of a Lord's supperday to forgive a small offence committed by a brother, by one of the household of faith. There have been men who, after they had resisted the tortures of the rack, fell into the silly snares of voluptuousness. been men who, after they had forsaken all their ample fortunes, and rich revenues, were condemned for invading the property of a neighbour, for the sake of a trifling sum, that bore no proportion to that which they had quitted for the sake of religion. O thou

There have

ing my eyes to the east, or to the west; that'deceitful, and desperately wicked heart of while the Supreme Being, on whom I own man! O thou heart of man! who can know I am entirely dependant, shall please to con- thee!' Jer. xvii. 9. Yet study thy heart, and tinue me in my present state, I may look to thou wilt know it. Search out the principle the east or to the west, as I choose, without from which thine actions flow, content not Ꮓ



thyself with a superficial self-examination; and thou wilt find, that want of courage to make a sacrifice of the last kind is sometimes that which produces a sacrifice of the first. One passion indemnifies us for the sacrifice of another. But to resign a passion, the resignation of which no other passion requires; to become humble without indemnifying pride by courting the applause that men sometimes give to humility; to renounce pleasure without any other pleasure than that of pleasing the Creator; to make it our meat and drink, according to the language of Scripture, to do the will of God; to deny one's self; to crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts; to present the body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,' John iv. 34; Matt. xvii. 24; Gal. v. 24; Rom. xii. 1, these are the characters of that faith which flesh cannot produce; that which is born of the flesh is flesh,' John iii. 6, but a faith which sacrifices the flesh itself, is a production of the grace of the Father which is in heaven.' 5. To conclude, St. Peter's faith has a fifth character, which he could not well discover in himself, before he had experienced his own frailty, but which we, who have a complete bistory of his life, may very clearly discern. I ground the happiness of St. Peter, and the idea I form of his faith, on the very nature of his fall. Not that we ought to consider sin as an advantage, nor that we adopt the maxim of those who put sin among the all things which work together for good to them that love God,' Rom. viii. 28. Ah! if sin be an advantage, may I be for ever deprived of such an advantage? May a constant peace between my Creator and me for ever place me in a happy incapacity of knowing the pleasure of reconciliation with him! It is true, however, that we may judge by the nature of the falls of good men of the sincerity of their faith, and that the very obstacles which the remainder of corruption in them opposes to their happiness, are, properly understood, proofs of the unchangeableness of their felicity.


St. Peter fell into great sin after he had made the noble confession in the text. He committed one of those atrocious erimes which terrify the conscience, trouble the joy of salvation, and which sometimes, confound the elect with the reprobate. Of the same Jesus, to whom St. Peter said in the text, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;' and elsewhere, we believe, and are sure, that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God;' of the same Jesus he afterward said, 'I know not the man, John vi. 69; Matt. xxvi. 72. Ye know not the man! And who, then, did you say, had the words of eternal life?' Ye know not the man! And with whom, then, did you promise to go to prison and to death?' Ye know not the man! And whom have you followed, and whom did you declare to be the Son of the living God? Notwithstanding this flagrant crime; notwithstanding this denial, the scandal of all ages, and an eternal monument of human weakness; in spite of this crime, the salvation of St. Peter was sure; he was the object of the promise, 'Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not,'


Luke xxii. 31, 32. And Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona,' was not only true but infallible. The very nature of his fall proves it. Certain struggles, which precede the commission of sin; a certain infelicity, that is felt during the commission of it; above all, certain borrors which follow; an inward voice, that cries, Miserable wretch! what hast thou done? A certain hell, if I may venture so to express myself, a certain hell, the flames of which divine love alone can kindle, charac terize the falls of which I speak..

This article is for you, poor sinners! who are so hard to be persuaded of the mercy of God towards you; who imagine the Deity sits on a tribunal of vengeance, surrounded with thunder and lightning, ready to strike your guilty heads. Such a faith as St. Peter's never fails. When by examining your own hearts, and the histories of your own lives, you discover the characters which we have described, you may assure yourselves, that all the powers of hell united against your salvation can never prevent it. Cursed be the man who abuses this doctrine! Cursed be the man who poisons this part of Christian divinity! Cursed be the man who reasons in this execrable manner! St. Peter committed an atrocious crime, in an unguarded moment, when reason, troubled by a revolution of the senses, had lost the power of reflection: I therefore risk nothing by committing sin coolly and deliberately. St. Peter disguised his Christianity for a moment, when the danger of losing his life made him lose sight of the reasons that induce people to confess their Christianity, then I may disguise mine for thirty or forty years together, and teach my family to act the same hypocritical part; then I may live thirty or forty years, without a church, without sacraments, without public worship; when I have an opportunity, I may loudly exclaim, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;' and when that confession would injure my interest, or hazard my fortune, or my life, I may hold myself always in readi ness to cry as loudly, I know not the man I may abjure that religion which Jesus Christ preached, which my fathers sealed with their blood, and for which a cloud of witnesses, Heb, xii. 1, my contemporaries, and my brethren, went, some into banishment, others into dungeons, some to the galleys, and others to the stake. Cursed be the man who reasons in this execrable manner. Ah! how shall I bless whom God hath not blessed.'


I repeat it again, such a faith as St. Peter's never fails, and the very nature of the falls of such a believer proves the sincerity and the excellence of his faith. We would not wish to have him banish entirely from his soul that fear which the Scriptures praise, and to which they attribute grand effects. A Christian, an established Christian I mean, ought to live in perpetual vigilance, he ought always to have these passages in his mind, Be not highminded, but fear. Hold that fast which thou hast that no man take thy crown. When the righteous turneth away from his righteousness shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned, in his sin he shall die,' Rom. xii. 20; Rev. ii. 1. and Ezek. xviii. 24. From these Scriptures,

such a Christian as I have described will not infer consequences against the certainty of his salvation; but consequences directly contrary; and there is a degree of perfection which enables a Christian soldier even in spite of some momentary repulses in war, to sing this triumphant song, "Who shall separate me from the love of Christ? In all things I am more than conqueror, through him that loved me! Thanks be unto God, who always causeth me to triumph in Christ!' Rom. viii. 35. 37, and 2 Cor. ii. 14,

peatedly been fearful and unclean! perhaps I may be so again! Perhaps I may forget all the resolutions I have made to devote myself for ever to God! Perhaps I may violate my solemn oaths to my sovereign Lord! Perhaps I may again deny my Redeemer! Perhaps, should I be again tried with the sight of scaffolds and stakes, I might again say, 'I know not the man! But yet, I know I love him! Nothing, I am sure, will ever be able to eradicate my love to him! I know, if I love him,' it is 'because he first loved me,'1 John iv. 19; and I know, that he,' having loved his own who are in the world, loved them unto the end,' John xiii. 1. O my God! What would become of us without a religion that preached such comforttruths to us? Let us devote ourselves for ever to this religion, my brethren. The more it strengthens us against the horrors which sin inspires, the more let us endeavour to surmount them by resisting sin. May you be adorned with these holy dispositions, my brethren! May you be admitted to the eternal pleasures which they procure, and may each of you be able to apply to himself the declaration of Jesus Christ to St. Peter, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father, who is in heaven.' God grant you these blessings! To him be honour and

· O! how amiable, my brethren, is Christian-
ity! How proportional to the wants of men! O!
how delightful to recollect its comfortable doc-
trines, in those sad moments, in which sin ap-
pears,after we have fallen into it, in all its black-able
ness and horror! How delightful to recollect its
comfortable doctrines in those distressing pe-
riods, in which a guilty conscience drives us to
the verge of hell, holds us on the brink of the
precipice, and obliges us to hear those terrify
ing exclamations which arise from the bottom
of the abyss: The fearful, the unbelieving,
the abominable, whoremongers, and all liars,
shall have their part in the lake which burn-
eth with fire and brimstone! Rev. xxi. 8.
How happy then to be able to say, I have sin-
ned indeed! I have repeatedly committed the
crimes which plunge men into the lake that
burneth with fire and brimstone! I have re-glory for ever. Amen.




All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. THE object that St. Paul presents to our view in the text, makes very different impressions on the mind, according to the different sides on which it is viewed. If we consider it in itself, it is a prodigy, a prodigy which confounds reason, and shakes faith. Yes, when we read the history of Christ's ministry; when the truth of the narrations of the evangelists is proved beyond a doubt; when we transport ourselves back to the primitive ages of the church, and see, with our own eyes, the virtues and the miracles of Jesus Christ; we cannot believe that the Holy Spirit put the words of the text into the mouth of the Saviour of the world: All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.' It should seem, if Jesus Christ had displayed so many virtues, and operated so many miracles, there could not have been one infidel; not one Jew, who could have refused to embrace Christianity, nor one libertine, who could have refused to have become a good man: one would


The style of reasoning which runs through this and the whole of its moral character, must place the author among the first of preachers, and the

best of men. J. S.

think, all the synagogue must have fallen at the feet of Jesus Christ, and desired an admission into his church.

But when, after we have considered the unsuccessfulness of Christ's ministry in itself, we consider it in relation to the ordinary con duct of mankind, we find nothing striking, nothing astonishing, nothing contrary to the common course of events. An obstinate resistance of the strongest motives, the tenderest invitations, interests the most impor tant, and demonstrations the most evident, is not, we perceive, an unheard-of thing and instead of breaking out into vain exclamations, and crying, Ŏ times! O manners! we say with the wise man, That which is done, is that which shall be done and there is no new thing under the sun,' Eccles. i. 9.


I have insensibly laid out, my brethren, the plan of this discourse. I design, first, to show you the unsuccessfulness of Christ's ministry as a prodigy, as an eternal opprobrium to that nation in which he exercised it. And I intend, secondly, to remove your astonishment, after I have excited it; and, by making a few reflections on you yourselves, to produce in you a conviction, yea, perhaps a preservation, of a certain uniformity of corruption, which

we cannot help attributing to all places, and to all times.

O God, by my description of the infidelity of the ancient Jews to-day, confirm us in the faith! May the portraits of the depravity of our times, which I shall be obliged to exhibit to this people, in order to verify the sacred history of the past, inspire us with as much contrition on account of our own disorders, as astonishment at the disorders of the rest of mankind! Great God! animate our meditations to this end, with thy Holy Spirit. May this people, whom thou dost cultivate in the tenderest manner, be an exception to the too general corruption of the rest of the world! Amen.

I. Let us consider the unbelief of the Jews as a prodigy of hardness of heart, an eternal shame and opprobrium to the Jewish nation, and let us spend a few moments in lamenting it. We have supposed, that the text speaks of their infidelity. Christians who regard the authority of St. Paul, will not dispute it: for the apostle employs three whole chapters of his Epistle to the Romans, the ninth, the tenth, and the eleventh, to remove the objections which the casting off of the Jews might raise against Christianity, among those of that nation who had embraced the gospel.

One of the most weighty arguments which he uses to remove this stumbling-block is, the prediction of their unbelief in their prophecies; and among the other prophecies which he alleges is my text, quoted from the sixty-fifth of Isaiah.

It is worthy of observation, that all the other passages, which the apostle cites on this occasion from the prophets, were taken by the ancient Jews in the same sense that the apostle gives them. This may be proved from the Talmud. I do not know a more absurd book than the Talmud: but one is, in some sort, repaid for the fatigue of turning it over by an important discovery, so to speak, which every page of that book makes; that is, that whatever pains the Jews have been at to enervate the arguments which we have taken from the theology of their ancestors, they themselves cannot help preserving proofs of their truth, I would compare, on this article, the Talmud of the Jews with the massbook of the church of Rome. Nothing can be more opposite to the doctrine of the gospel, and to that of the reformation, than the Romish missal: yet we discover in it some traces of the doctrine of the primitive church; and although a false turn is given to much of the ancient phraseology, yet it is easy to discover the primitive divinity in this book, so that some authors have thought the missal the most eligible refutation of the worship prescribed by the missal itself. We consider the Talmud, and other writings of the modern Jews, in the same light. The ancient Jews, we see, took the prophecies which St. Paul alleges, in the three chapters that I have quoted, in the same sense in which the apostle took them, and like him, understood them of the infidelity of the Jews in the time of the


Jews took this prophecy in the apostle's sense, and we have this gloss on the words of Hosea still in the Talmud: "The time shall come, wherein they, who were not my people, shall turn unto the Lord, and shall become my people,' chap. ii. 23.


St. Paul, in Rom. ix. 23, cites a prophecy from Isaiah, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling-stone,' chap. viii. 14. The ancient Jews took this prophecy in the same sense, and we have still this gloss in the Talmud; When the Son of David shall come,' that is to say, in the time of the Messiah, the two houses of the fathers,' that is, the kingdom of Israel, and that of Judah (these two kingdoms included the whole nation of the Jews,) 'the two houses of the fathers shall be cast off, according as it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling-stone.'

St. Paul, in Rom. ix. 25, quotes a prophecy from Hosea, 'I will call them my people, which were not my people.' The ancient

The apostle, in Rom x. 19, alleges a passage from Deuteronomy; I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people," chap. xxxii. 21. The Jews, both ancient and modern, take this prophecy in the same sense, and one of their books, entitled, "The book by excellence,' explains the whole chapter of the time of the Messiah.

Qur text is taken, by St. Paul from Isaiah's prophecy,' All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.' The ancient Jews took the words in the same sense, as we can prove by the writings of the modern Jews. Aben Ezra quotes an ancient Rabbi, who explains the prophecy more like a Christian than a Jew. These are his words: I have found the nations which called not on me but, as for my people, in vain have I stretched out my hands unto them.' St. Paul proves that the hardness of heart of the Jewish nation was foretold by the prophets, and the Jews, in like manner, have preserved a tradition of the infidelity of their nation in the time of the Messiah: hence this saying of a Rabbi, God abode three years and a half Mount Olivet in vain; in vain he cried, Seek ye the Lord! and therefore am I found of them who sought me not.'

We have, then, a right to say, that my text speaks of the unbelief of the Jews in the time of the Messiah. This we were to prove, and to prove this infidelity is to exhibit a prodigy of hardness of heart, the eternal opprobrium and shame of the Jewish nation.. This is the first point of light in which we are to consider unbelief, and the smallest attention is sufficient to discover its turpitude.

Consider the pains that Jesus Christ took to convince and to reform the Jews. To them he consecrated the first functions of his min istry; he never went out of their towns and provinces; he seemed to have come only for them, and to have brought a gospel formed on the plan of the law, and restrained to the Jewish nation alone. The evangelists have remarked these things, and he himself said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,' Matt. xv. 24. When he sent his apostles, he expressly commanded them' not to go into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans to enter not,' chap. x. 5. And the apostles, after his ascension, began to exercise their ministry

after his example, by saying to the Jews, Unto you first, God sent his Son Jesus to bless you,' Acts iii. 26.

Consider, farther, the means which Jesus Christ employed to recover this people. Here a boundless field of meditation opens: but the limits of these exercises forbid my enlarging, and I shall only indicate the principal articles.


What proper means of conviction did Jesus omit in the course of his ministry among this people? Are miracles proper? Though ye believe not me, believe the works,' John x. 32. Were extraordinary discourses proper? 'If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin,' chap. xv. 22. Is innocence proper? Which of you convinceth me of sin chap. viii. 46. Is the authority of the prophets necessary? Search the Scriptures, for they are they that testify of me,' chap. v. 39. Is it proper to reason with people on their own principles? Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me,' ver. 46. Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?' chap. x. 34-36.

Consider again, the different forms, if I may be allowed to speak so, which Jesus Christ put on to insinuate himself into their minds. Sometimes he addressed them by condescension, submitting to the rites of the law, receiving circumcision, going up to Jerusalem, observing the sabbath, and celebrating their festivals. At other times he exhibited a noble liberty, freeing himself from the rites of the law, travelling on sabbath-days, and neglecting their feasts. Sometimes he conversed familiarly with them, eating and drinking with them, mixing himself in their entertainments, and assisting at their marriage-feasts. At other times he put on the austerity of retirement, fleeing from their societies, retreating into the deserts, devoting himself for whole nights to meditation and prayer, and for whole weeks to praying and fasting. Sometimes he addressed himself to them by a graceful gentleness: Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Learn of me, for I am meek, and lowly in heart. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Matt. xi. 28, 29; xxiii. 37. At other times he tried them by severity, he drove them from the temple, he denounced the judgments of God against them; he depicted a future day of vengeance, and, showing Jerusalem covered with the carcasses of the slain, the holy mountain flowing with blood, and the temple consuming in flames, he cried, Wo, wo to the Pharisees! Wo to the scribes! Wo to all the doctors of the law! ver. 13, &c.

Jesus Christ, in the whole of his advent, answered the characters by which the prophets had described the Messiah. What

characters do you Jews expect in a Messiah, which Jesus Christ doth not bear? Born of your nation,-in your country,—of a virgin, of the family of David,-of the tribe of Judah,-in Bethlehem,-after the seventy weeks, at the expiration of your grandeur, and before the departure of your sceptre. On one hand, 'despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted; wounded for your transgressions, bruised for your iniquities; brought as a lamb to the slaughter, cut off from the land of the living,' as your prophets had foretold, Isa. liii. 3—8. But on the other hand, glorious and magnanimous, 'prolonging his days, seeing his seed, the pleasure of the Lord prospering in his hand, justifying many by his knowledge, blessed of God, girding his sword upon his thigh, and riding prosperously on the word of his truth,' as the same prophets had taught you to hope, ver. 10, 11, and Psal. xlv. 2, 3. What Messiah, then, do you wait for? If you require another gospel, produce us another law. If you reject Jesus Christ, reject Moses. If you want other accomplishments, show us other prophecies. If you will not receive our apostles, discard your own prophets.

Such was the conduct of Jesus to the Jews. What success had he? What effects were produced by all his labour, and by all his love; by so many conclusive sermons, and so many pressing exhortations; by so much demonstrative evidence, by so many exact characters, and so many shining miracles; by so much submission, and so much elevation; by so much humility, and so much glory; and, so to speak, by so many different forms, which Jesus Christ took to insinuate himself into the minds of this people? You hear in the words of the text;All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.' The malice of this people prevailed over the mercy of God, and mercy was useless except to a few. The ancient Jews were infidels, and most of the modern Jews persist in infidelity. Is not this a prodigy of hardness? Is not this an eternal reproach and shame to the Jewish nation?

II. But we have pursued the unbelief of the Jews far enough in the first point of view; let us proceed to consider it with a view to what we proposed in the second place. We will show that men's obstinate resistance of the most pressing motives, the most important interests, and the most illustrious examples, is not an unheard-of thing: and we will prove, that all which results from the example of the unbelieving Jews, is a proof of the uniformity of the depravity of mankind; that they who lived in the times of the first planters of Christianity, resembled the greatest part of those who lived before them, and of those who have lived since. Would to God this article were less capable of evidence! But, alas! we are going to conduct you step by step to demonstration.

First, We will take a cursory view of ancient history, and we will show you, that the conduct of the unbelieving Jews presents nothing new, nothing that had not been

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