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from us, as the objects of his care. In display- | were once enlightened, if they fall away, to re ing his efficacy in the heart, he pretends not new them again unto repentance," Heb. ii. 4 to deal with us as with stocks and stones. I am aware that the apostle had particularly It is an excellent sentence of Augustine: in view the sin of those Jews who had embrac“God, who made us without ourselves, will ed the gospel, and abjured it through apostacy not save us without ourselves.” Hence the or prejudice. We ought, however, to deduce Scripture coinmonly joins these two things, this conclusion, that when the Holy Spirit has the work of God in our conversion, and the enabled us to attain a certain degree of light correspondent duty of man. “ To-day if ye and purity, if we relapse into our courses, we will hear his voice," here is the work of God, cease to be the objects of his regard. "harden not your hearts." Ps. xcv. 8. Here 5. But why this mass of various arguments, is the duty of man. “ You are sealed by the to show the absurdity of the sinner, who exHoly Spirit.” Eph. iv. 30. Here is the work cuses himself on the ground of weakness, and of God. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit.” Here indolently awaits the operations of grace? We is the duty of man. Behold, I stand at the have a shorter way to confound the sinner, and door and knock." Rev. v. 20. Here is the resolve the sophism adduced by his depravity. work of God. “If any man hear my voice Let us open the sacred books; let us see what and open." Here is the duty of man. “God conclusions the Scriptures draw from the docworketh in us to will and to do.” Phil. ii. 12. trine of human weakness, and the promised aids Here is the work of God. “Work out your of grace. If these consequences coincide with own salvation with fear and trembling." Here yours, we give up the cause; but, if they clash, is the duty of man. “I will take away the you ought to acknowledge your error. Show stony heart out of your fleshi, and I will give us a single passage in the Bible where we find you a heart of flesh.” Ezek, xi. 19. Here is arguments similar to those we refute. Show the work of God. "Make you a new heart, us one passage, where the Scriptures, having and a new spirit.” Ezek. xviii. 31. Here, the asserted your weakness, and the aids of the duty of man. What avail all these expressions, Holy Spirit, conclude from these maxims, that if it were merely the design of Scripture in you ought to continue in indolence. Is it not promising grace to favour our lukewarmness evident, on the contrary, that they draw conand fatter our delay of conversion? What are clusions directly opposite?--Among many pasthe duties it prescribes, except those very du- sages, I will select two: the one is a caution of ties, the necessity of which we have proved, Jesus Christ, the other an argument of St. when speaking of habits? What is this cau- Paul. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not tion, not to harden the heart against the voice into temptation; for the spirit is willing, but of God, if it is not to pay deference to all the the flesh is weak," Mark xiii. 33. This is the commands? What is the precept, “Grieve not caution of Christ. “Work out your salvation the Holy Spirit,” but to yield to whatever he with fear and trembling: for it is God that deigns to teach? What is it to open to God, worketh in you to will and to do,” Phil. ii. who knocks at the door of our heart, if it is 12, 13. This is the argument of St. Paul. not to hear when he speaks, to come when he Had we advanced a sophism, when, after havcalls, to yield when he entreats, to tremble ing established the frailty of human nature, when he threatens, and to hope when he pro. and the necessity of grace; we founded, on misese What is this "working out our salva- those very doctrines, the motives which ought tion with fear and trembling," if it is not to to induce you to diligence, and prompt you to have this continual vigilance, these salutary vigilance; it was a sophism, for which the cautions, these weighty cares, the necessity of Scriptures are responsible. “The spirit is which we have proved
willing, but the flesh is weak:" here is the Our fourth reflection is derived from the principle of Jesus Christ. “ God worketh in threatenings, which God denounces against you to will and to do:" here is the principle those who refuse to co-operate with the eco- of St. Paul. “Work out your salvation:” nomy of grace. The Spirit of God, you say, here is the consequence. Are you, therefore, will be stronger than your obstinacy; he will actuated by a spirit of orthodoxy and truth, surmount your propensities; he will triumph when you exclaim against our sermons' Are over your opposition; grace will become vic- you then more orthodox than the Holy Ghost, torious, and save you in defiance of nature.- or more correct than eternal truth? Or rather, Nay, rather this grace shall be withdrawn, if whence is it that you, being orthodox in the you persist in your contempt of it. Nay, ra- first member of the proposition of our authors, iher this Spirit shall abandon you, after a l become heretics in the second? Why orthocourse of obstinacy to your own way. He re-dox in the principle, and heretics in the consumes the one talent from the unfaithful ser- sequence? vant, who neglects to improve it; and, accord Collect now, my brethren, the whole of these ing to the passage already cited, God sends on five arguments; open your eyes to the light, those, who obey not the truth, strong delusion communicated from all points, in order to corto believe a he, 2 Thess. ii. 10, 11. Hence, rect your prejudice; and see how superficial St. Paul draws this conclusion: “Stand fast, is the man who draws from human weakness, and hold the traditions which ye have been and the aids of the Spirit, motives to defer contaught, whether by word, or by our epistle.” version. The Holy Spirit works within us, it And elsewhere it is said, “That servant who is true; but he works in concurrence with the knew his lord's will, and did it not, shall be word and the ministry, in sending you pastors, beaten with many stripes,” Luke xii. 47. And in accompanying their word with wisdom, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews af- their exhortation with unction, their weakness firms, "That it is impossible for those who with power: and you—you who have never
read this word, who have absented yourselves | 12. Content thyself with adoring the goodfrom this ministry, who have not wished to ness of God, who promises thee assistance, and hear these discourses, who have paid no defer- deigns to surmount by grace the corruptions ence to these cautions, nor submission to this of nature. But, while thou groanest under a power, would you have the Holy Spirit to con- sense of thy corruption, endeavour to surmount vert you by means unknown, and beyond the and vanquish thyself; draw from God's prolimits of his operations. The Holy Spirit mises, motives for thy own sanctification and works within us, it is true: but he requires instruction; and even when thou sayest, I am that we should seek and ask those aids, making nothing, I can do nothing, act as thongh the efforts, imperfect efforts, to sanctify ourselves: whole depended on thyself, and as though thou and would you wish him to convert you, while couldest “ do all things." you neglect to seek, while you disdain to ask; II. The notion of the aids of the Holy to say the least, while you give up yourselves Spirit, was the first source of illusion we have to inaction and supineness? The Holy Spirit had to attack. The notion of the mercy of works within us, it is true; but he requires that God is a second, on which we shall also prowe act in concert with his grace, that we ceed to reflect. « God is merciful,” say they, second his operations, and yield to his entrea- "the covenant he has established with man, is ties: and would you wish him to convert you, a covenant of grace: we are not come to the while you harden yourselves against his voice, darkness, to the devouring fire, and the temwhile you never cease from grieving him? pest. A general amnesty is granted to the
The Holy Spirit works within us, it is true; wicked. Hence, though our conversion be debut he declares that, if we obstinately resist, fective, God will receive our dying breath, he will leave us to ourselves; he will refuse the and yield to our tears. What, then, should aids he has offered in vain; he will abandon us deter us from giving free scope to our passions, to our natural stupidity and corruption; and and deferring the rigorous duties of conversion, you, already come to the crisis of vengeance, till we are nothing worth for the world?" to the epoch for accomplishing his wrath, to Strange argument! Detestable sophism, my the termination of a criminal career, can you brethren! Here is the highest stage of corruppresume that this Spirit will adopt for you a tion, the supreme degree of ingratitude. What new economy, and work a miracle in your do I say? For though a man be ungrateful, favour? The Holy Spirit works within us, it he discovers sensibility and acknowledgement, is true; but thence it is concluded in our Scrip for the moment at least, on the reception of a tures, that we ought to work, that we ought favour. Forgetfulness and ingratitude are octo labour, that we ought to apply to the con- casioned by other objects, which time and the cerns of salvation our strength of body, our world have presented to the mind, and which facility of conception, our retention of me- have obliterated the recollection of past favours. mory, our presence of mind, our vivacity of But behold, in the argument of the sinner, a genius: and you who devote this mind, this maneuvre of a novel kind; he acquires the ungenius, this memory, this conception, this happy art of embracing, in the bosom of his inhealth, wholly to the world, do you derive gratitude, the present and the future; the fafrom these very sermons sanction for an indo- vours already received, and those which are lence and a delay, which the very idea of those yet to come." I will be ungrateful beforehand. talents ought to correct? If this be not wrest. I will, from this instant, misuse the favours I ing the Scriptures, if this be not offering vio- have not as yet received. In each of my acts lence to religion, and subverting the design of of vice, I will recollect and anticipate the fathe Spirit in the discovery of our natural weak- vours which God shall one day give; and I ness, and the promised aids of grace, we must will derive, from this consideration, a fresh be proof against the most palpable demonstra- motive to confirm myself in revolt, and to sin tion.
with assurance." Is not this extreme of corEnough, I think, has been said, to establish ruption and ingratitude the most detestable? our first proposition, that the aids of God's But it is not sufficient to attack this system Spirit confirm the necessity of discharging the by arguments of equity and decency; this would offices of piety, in order to acquire the habit; be to make of man a portrait too flattering, by and that the difficulties adduced, are all con- inducing a belief that be is sensible of motives verted into proofs, in favour of what they so noble. This would effect the wicked little seemed to destroy. These are also, according more than saying, you are very ungrateful if to us, the pure divinity, and the truths which you persist in vice. The author of our religion ought to resound in our protestant auditories. knew the human heart too well, to leave it Happy, indeed, were the doctors, if, instead of unopposed by the strongest banks. Let us multiplying questions and disputations, they extend our hypothesis, and demonstrate, that had endeavoured to press these important those who reason thus build upon false princitruths. O, my soul, lose not thyself in abstract ples, on assurance of mercy, to which they have and knotty speculations; fathom not the mys- no possible claim. Hence, to find a compasterious means which God adopts to penetrate sionate God, they must “ seek him while he the heart. “The wind bloweth where it list may be found, and call upon him while he is eth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but near.” canst not tell whence it cometh, or whither it Here a scholastic method, and a series of goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” questions discussed in the schools, would per. John iii. 8. “Pride goeth before destruction, haps be acceptable, did we address an auditory and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Prov. xvi. of learned doctors, ready to oppose us with 18. “ Before destruction the heart of man is their arguments and proofs. But we will not baughty, and before honour is humility,” xviii. disturb the repose of these disputes and con
troversies; we will reduce all we have to ad- I confess, my brethren, that I discuss these vance to terms the most plain, and questions subjects with regret. I fear that those of other the most simple, and ask two things—Is the communions, who may be present in this asmercy of God offered in the gospel, offered ab- sembly, will be offended at this discourse; and solutely and without conditions? And if it publish, to the shame of the reformed churches, have prescribed conditions, are they of a na- that it is still a disputable point with us, wheture, to which you can instantaneously con-ther the renunciation of vice, and adherence to form on a death-bed, after having run a crimi- virtue, ought to be included in the notions of nal career? Here is a second question. faith, and in the conditions we prescribe to
On the idea you may form of these ques- penitents. “Tell it not in Gath, publish it not tions, will depend the opinion you ought to in Askelou," 2 Sam. i. 20. There are ignorant have of a man, who claims admission to the persons in every society: we have them also in throne of mercy, after a dissipated life. For our communion. There are members in each if the gospel is a definitive covenant, requiring denomination, who subvert the most generally nothing of man; or if its requisitions are so received principles of their profession: we also easy, that a wish, a tear, a superficial repente have persons of this description. There are ance, a slight recourse to piety, is sufficient, none but captious men; none but fools: none your argument is demonstrative, and our mo- but degenerate protestants, presume to enterrality is too severe. Profit by a religion so ac- tain those relaxed notions of faith and repentcominodating; cease to anticipate an awful fu- ance. turity; and reduce the whole gospel to mere A good protestant believes with our sacred request for grace. But, if the gospel is a con- authors, that“ he who confesseth and forsaketh ditional covenant; and if the conditions on his sins, sball find mercy,” Prov. xxviii. 13. which grace is offered, are of a nature that re- That with God there forgiveness, that he quire time, labour and application; and if the may be feared,” Ps. cxxx. 4." That God will conditions become impracticable, when deferred speak peace unto his people, and to his saints; too long, then your argument is false, and your but let them not turn again unto folly," Ps. conduct altogether absurd.
lxxxv. 8. A good protestant believes, that Now, my brethren, I appeal to the con “faith without works is dead; that it worketh science of the most profligate sinners, and to by love; and that we are justified by works,” casuists minutely scrupulous. Can one ration- Jam. ii. 21—26. A good protestant believes, ally hesitate to decide on the two questions that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand, in orAnd will it be difficult to prove, on the one der that men may bring forth fruits meet for rehand, that the gospel, in offering mercy, im- pentance,” Matt. iii. 3. 8. A good protestant poses certain duties; and, on the other, that we believes, that “there is no condemnation to reduce ourselves to an evident incapacity of those who walk not after the flesh, but after compliance, when conformity is deferred? the Spirit,” Rom. viii. 1, 2. That “sin sball
I. Say that the gospel is a definitive cove- not have dominion over us, because we are not nant, and you save us the trouble of attacking under the law, but under grace," Rom. vi. 14. and refuting an assertion which contradicts it- A good protestant believes, that " without hoself-for the very term covenant, implies a mu- liness no man shall see the Lord;” that “neitual contract between two parties; otherwise it ther fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, would overturn a thousand express testimonies nor effeminate, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor of Scripture, which we avoid reciting, because drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall we presume they are well known to our au- enter the kingdom of God," I Cor. vi. 8, 9. dience.
If this were not the true definition of faith II. The whole question then is reduced to and repentance; if faith and repentance were a this, to know what are the stipulated condi- mere wish to participate of the merits of Jesus tions. We are all agreed as to the terms. Christ; if, in order to salvation, we had but to This condition is a disposition of the soul, ask grace, without subduing the corruptions of which the Scriptures sometimes call faith and the heart, what would the gospel be? I will sometimes repentance. Not to dwell on terms, venture to affirm, it would be the most impure we ask what is this faith, and what is this re- of all religions; it would be a monstrous econopentance, which opens access to the throne of my; it would be an invitation to crimes; it grace? In what do these virtues consist? Is the would be a subversion of the law of nature. whole implied in a simple desire to be saved Under this supposition, the basest of men might In a mere desire to participate in the benefits have claims of mercy: the laws of God might of the passion of Jesus Christ? Or, if faith and be violated with impunity; Jesus Christ would repentance include, in their nature, the renun- not have descended from heaven, to save us ciation of the world, the forsaking of sin, a from our sins, but to console us in the commistotal change of life, an inward disposition, in- sion of crimes. A heathen, excluded from the ducing us to accept all the benefits procured by covenant of grace, would be checked in his riot the cross of Christ, does it not prompt us sin- by fears of the most tremendous punishment; a cerely, and with an honest mind, to detest the Christian, on the contrary, would be the more crimes which nailed him to it? In a word, is it encouraged to continue in sin, by the notion of sufficient for the penitent to say on a death-bed, a mercy ever ready to receive him. And you, “I desire to be saved; I acknowledge that my Celsus, you Porphyry, you Zosimus, you JuRedeemer has died for my sins;” or must he lian, celebrated enemies of the Christian name, subjoin to these confessions, sentiments propor- who once calumniated the infant church, who tioned to the sanctity of the salvation which he so frequently accused the first Christians with demands; and eradicate the crimes, for which authorizing licentiousness, you had reason to Jesus Christ has made atonement:
complain, and we have nothing to reply. So
many are the reflections, so many the proofs, will work the like miracle in your favour? Say that the faith and repentance, without which rather, how many presumptive arguments are we can find no access to the throne of grace in opposed in the first part of our discourse to a a dying hour, consist not in a simple desire to hope so preposterous. be saved, in a superficial recourse to the merits We conclude, that nothing is so doubtful as of Jesus Christ; they include, in their notion, | a tardy repentance; that nothing is so unwise the renunciation of the world, the abandoning as the delay of conversion. We farther conof our crimes, and the renovation of heart, of clude, that, in order to receive the aids of which we have just spoken; and, that, without grace, we must live in continual vigilance; in this faith, there is no grace, no mercy, no sal- order to become the objects of mercy, we must vation.
have both repentance and faith; and the only I know that there are tender conversions; sure tests of having these virtues, is a long that faith has degrees; that piety has a begin- course of pious offices. In the ordinary course ning; that a Christian has his infancy; and that, of religion, without a miracle of mercy, a man at the tribunal of a merciful God, the sincerity who has wasted his life in sin, whatever sighs of our repentance will be a substitute for its he may send to heaven at the hour of death, perfection. But do you call that a growing has cause to fear that all access to mercy will conversion, do you denominate that faith, do be cut off. you take that for repentance, which is the re All these things appear very clear, my bremorse of a conscience alarmed, not by abhor- thron; nevertheless, the wicked love to deceive rence of sin, but the fear of punishment; not by themselves; they affect rationally to believe the a principle of divine love, but a principle of things of which they are only persuaded by caself-love; not by a desire to be united to God, price; and they start objections, which it is of but by horror, excited by the idea of approach- importance to resolve; with this view we proing death, and the image of devouring fire? ceed to apply the whole of this discourse. Farther, is it not true, that to what degree so
APPLICATION. ever we may carry evangelical condescension, it is always evident, that faith and repentance We find people who readily say, that they include, in their notion, the principles, at least, cannot comprehend these things; that they canof detachment from the world, of renunciation not imagine the justice of God to be so severe of vice, and the renovation of heart, the neces as we have insisted; and the conditions of the sity of which we have pressed.
new covenant to be so rigorous as we have afThis being established, it seems to me that firmed. truth is triumphant; having proved how little What are the whole of these objections but ground a man, who delays conversion, has to suppositions without foundation, and frivolous rely on the mercy of God, and expect salva-conjectures? “ There is but an appearance: I tion. For, after having lived in neyligence, by cannot imagine: I cannot conceive.” Would what unknown secret would you form in the you, on suppositions of this nature, risk your soul the repentance and faith we have describ- reputation, your honour, your fortune, your ed, without which, access to the mercy of God life? Why, then, risk your salvation? is excluded? Whence would you derive these The justice of God is, perhaps, not so rigovirtues? From your own strength, or from the rous, you say, as we have affirmed. It is true, operations of the Holy Spirit? Do you say from that it may be so. If God have, by himself, your own strength? What then becomes of some covenant of grace not yet revealed; if he your orthodoxy? What becomes of the doc- should have some new gospel; if God have preirine of human weakness, and of the neces-pared some other sacrifice, your conjectures sity of grace; of which pretext you avail your- may be right. But if “there is no name under selves to defer conversion? Do you not per- heaven whereby we can be saved, but that of ceive how you destroy your own principles, our Jesus,” Acts iv. 12; if there is no other and sap with one hand, what you build with blood than that shed by this divine Saviour; if the other?
“God shall judge the world according to my Recollect farther what we established in our gospel,” Rom. ii. 16; then your arguments fail, first discourse on the force of habits. And how and your salvation is hopeless. can you presume that a habit formed by a thou Farther, what sort of reasoning is this? sand acts; a habit in which a man has grovel- “There is but an appearance: I cannot conled and grown old, should be changed in a mo- ceive: I cannot imagine.” And who are you ment? How can you dream that a man who that reason in this way? Are you Christians? has wasted so many years in sin; a man accus- Where then is that faith, which ought to subtomed to regard the world as his portion, and jugate reason to the decision of revelation, and virtue not as valuable, except as a final re- which admits the most abstract doctrines, and source; how can you think that such a man the most sublime mysteries? If you are allowed should be converted in a moment? Ah! and in to talk in this way, to reply when God speaks, what circumstances in an expiring old age, to argue when he decides, let us establish a new when the senses are dulled, when the memory religion; let us place reason on the throne, and fails, when reason is disturbed with reverie, and make faith retire. The doctrine of the Trinity when the vivacity of nature is extinguished, or obstructs my thought, the atonement confounds indeed, on the approaches of death, when the me, the incarnation presents precipices to me, mere idea of “the king of terrors,” agitates, af- in which iny reason is absorbed. If you are frights, and confounds him? Nothing then, disposed to doubt of the doctrines we have admost assuredly, but the extraordinary grace of vanced, under a pretext that you cannot comthe Holy Spirit can convert such a man. But prebend them, then discard the other doctrines; what assurance have you that the Holy Spirit | they are not loss incomprehensible.
I will go farther still; I will venture to af- | thing mercy with you, but that which permits firm, that if reason must be consulted on the a universal inundation of vice? portrait we have drawn of God's justice, it per You still say, if the conditions of the new fectly accords with revelation. Thou canst covenant are such as you have laid down, it is not conceive how justice should be so rigorous; then an arduous task to become a Christian, and I cannot conceive how it should be so in- and consequently very difficult to obtain salvadulgent. I cannot conceive how the Lord of tion. But do you think, my brethren, that we the universe should be clothed with human are discouraged at the difficulty? Know you flesh, should expose himself to an infuriated not, that“ strait is the gate, and narrow is the populace, and expire on a cross; this is the way, that leadeth unto life?" Matt. vii. 14. greatest difficulty I find in the gospel. But be Know you not, that we must "pluck out the thou silent, imperious reason; here is a satisfac- eye, and cut off the hand?” ver. 29. Surtory solution. Join the difficulty which thou mount the most dear and delicate propensities; findest in the administration of justice, with dissolve the ties of flesh and blood, of nature that which proceeds from thy notion of mercy; and self-attachment. Know you not, that we the one will correct the other. The supera- must“crucify the old man, and deny ourselves?" bundance of mercy will rectify the severity of xvi. 24. Know you not, that " we must add justice; for the severity of justice proceeds from to our faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to the superabundance of mercy.
knowledge patience, to patience brotherly kindIf the people who talk in this manner; if ness, to brotherly kindness charity, and to chathe people who find the divine justice too se- rity godliness,” 2 Pet. i. 5. vere; if they were a people diligently labour But you add, that few persons will then be ing to promote their own salvation; if they de- saved; another objection we little fear, though, voted an hour daily to the work, the difficulty perhaps, it would have been unanswerable, had would be plausible, and they would have ap- not Jesus Christ himself taught us to reply.parent cause of complaint. But who are these But is this a new gospel? Is it a new doctrine complainants? They are people who throw the lo say, that few shall be saved? Has not Jesus reins to their passions; who glory in their infa- Christ himself declared it I will address mymous intrigues; who are implacable in hating self, on this subject, to those who understand their neighbour, and resolved to hate bim dur- the elucidation of types. I will adduce one ing life: they are votaries of pleasure, who type, a very distinguished type, a type not spend half the night in gaming, in drunken- equivocal but terrific; it is the unhappy multiness, in theatres, and take from the day the tude of Israel, who murmured against God, part of the night they have devoted to dissipa- after being saved from the land of Egypt.tion: they are proud, ambitious men, who, un- The object of their journey was Canaan. Deut. der a pretext of having sumptuous equipage, i. 35, 36. God performed innumerable miraand dignified titles, fancy themselves autho-cles to give them the land; the sea opened and rized to violate the obligations of Christianity gave them passage; bread descended from heawith impunity. These are the people, who, ven to nourish them; water issued from the when told if they persist in this way of life, deaf rock to quench their thirst. There was that they cannot be saved, reply, that they can- but one in which they failed; they never ennot conceive how the justice of God should tered into Canaan: there were but two adults, treat them with such severity. And I, for my among all these myriads, who found admission. own part, cannot conceive how God should What is the import of this type? The very treat you so indulgently; I cannot conceive thing to which you object. The Israelites rehow he should permit the sun to enlighten present these hearers; the miracles represent thee. I cannot conceive how he, who holds the efforts of Providence for your salvation; the thunder in his hand, can apparently be an Canaan is the figure of paradise, for which you idle spectator of thy sacrileges. I cannot con- hope, and Caleb and Joshua alone were admitceive how the earth does not open beneath thy ted into the land, which so many miracles had feet, and, by its terrific jaws, anticipate the apparently promised to the whole nation. What punishment prepared in hell for thee by the do these shadows adumbrate to the Christian divine vengeance.
world? My brethren, I do not dare to make You say again, that this mercy, of which the application. I leave with you this object we draw so magnificent a portrait, is conse- for contemplation; this terrific subject for seriquently very circumscribed. But say rather, ous reflection. how is it that you dare to start difficulties of But you still ask, "why do you preach to us this nature? God, the blessed God, the Supreme such awful doctrine? It subverts religion; it Being, has formed you of nothing; has given drives people to despair." Great risk, indeed, you his Son, has offered you his Spirit, has and imminent danger of driving to despair, the promised to bear with you such as you are, men whom I attack! Suppress the poison, rewith all your infirmities, with all your corrup- move the dagger, exclude the idea of death tions, with all your weakness; has opened to from the mind, until the recollection of their you the gates of heaven; and being desirous to sins shall drive them to the last extremity.give you bimself, he requires no return, but the But why? The characters whom we have deconsecration to him of your few remaining scribed, those nominal men of apathy, those indays on earth; he excludes none from paradise, dolent souls, those hearts sold to the world and but hardened and impenitent men. How then, its pleasures, have they weak and delicate concan you say that the mercy of God is circum- sciences, which we ought to spare, and for scribed! What! is it imposible for God to be whom we ought to fear, lest the displays of diinerciful unless he reward your crimes? Is no- vine justice should produce effects too severe