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but one sermon. The form, the mould into which it was cast, was different according to the different texts, but the matter was altogether the same. You had invariably the preacher's whole system, original sin, the incarnation, the satisfaction, election, imputed righteousness, justification by faith, sanctification by the Spirit, and so forth. As to the practical part, including the duties which our religion requires, whether it was, that it appeared more obvious or of less consequence, I cannot say, but it was very rarely and very slightly touched. The discourses of such people have often put me in mind of the clay, with which children sometimes divert themselves. The very same mass, they at one time mould into the figure of a man, at another into that of a beast, at a third into the shape of a bird, and at a fourth, into the appearance of a table or stool. But you are sure of one thing, that whatever be the change on its external form, its substance is unalterably the same. Yet these people argue with an apparent plausibility. Such a one explaining the character expressed in the words pure in heart, tells us that in order to understand it rightly, we must consider it in its source, the sanctifying operation of the Holy Spirit. The better to understand this, we ought to consider our previous natural corruption. This brings us directly to original sin, which makes it necessary to inquire into that original righteousness whereof it is the privation. And this being implied in the expression, image of God, leads us to the examination of the divine perfections. These again are best illustrated by the effects, the works of creation and providence, and especially the work of redemption. This method of arguing puts me in mind of a story told by Alembert in an essay on the liberty of music. Dioptrics," said a certain profound philosophical professor to his pupils, “is the science which teaches us the use of spectacles and spy glasses. Now these are of no value without eyes; the eyes are the organs of one of our senses, the existence of our senses suppose the existence of God, since it is God who gave us them ; the existence of God is the foundation of the christian religion, we purpose therefore to evince the truth of the christian religion, as the first lesson in Dioptrics." I shall only say in general of this method, when intro. duced into the pulpit, that however acceptable it may be with the many, with whom sound always goes much farther than sense, and favourite words and phrases to which their ears have been accustomed, than the most judicious sentiments, I know no surer method of rendering preaching utterly inefficacious and uninstructive. To attempt every thing is the direct way to effect nothing. If you will go over every part, you must be superficial in every part; you can examine no part to any useful purpose. What would

you fessor of anatomy, who should run over all the organs and limbs and parts of the human body external and internal in every lecture, and think himself sufficiently excused by saying that there is a connection in all the parts; and that the treating of one naturally led him to say something of another ; and so on, till he got through the whole ? Or, what would your opi. nion be of a lecturer in architecture, who in every discourse discussed all the five orders, and did not leave a single member or ornament in any one of them unnamed ? From such teachers, could a reasonable man expect to learn any thing but words? The head

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of the learner would, in consequence of this extraor. dinary manner of teaching, very quickly be stuffed with technical terms and phrases to which he could affix no definite signification. He might soon be made an accomplished pedant in these arts, but, to the end of the world, would not in this way be rendered a . proficient. And do we not see among the common people many such pedants in divinity, who think themselves wonderful scholars, because they have got

the knack of uttering, with great volubility, all the favourite phrases and often unmeaning cant of a particular sect or faction? It is indeed solely to be imputed to that jealousy, which party spirit and our unhappy divi. sions in religious matters have produced, that this futile manner owes its origin. In consequence of this party spirit, many hearers whose minds are unhappily poisoned with its malignity come to a new preacher with an anxious concern, not to be instructed but to be satisfied, whether he is what they call orthodox, is a true partizan and has the shibboleth of the party in him ; and the preacher on the other hand, either because he hath imbibed the same sectarian spirit, or because he is more ambitious to please than to edify, takes this way, which is by far the shortest and the easiest, of ingratiating himself into their favour. But to return to the particular instance which gave rise to these observations, all that in regard to the two points grace and salvation is previously necessary to the explication of the only point, which makes the subject, is to observe in so many words, that grace means here the unmerited favour of God, and salvation deliverance from all that evil which is consequent on sin. And this may be sufficiently effected in the exposition of the

text, or in a paraphrase upon it. Nay, whatever further is of importance as to both these points, grace and salvation, will necessarily and more naturally occur, without doing any violence to the unity and simplicity of the discourse, in the illustration of the subject, which is purely to show in what respect divine grace is the genuine source of man's salvation. But would you have only one point? Where is then the distribution or partition of the subject, of which you spoke before? I would indeed have but one subject, though, where the nature of the thing will admit it, distributed for order's and for memory's sake into its different members, and then the several points in the division must appear as the constituent parts of one subject and one whole, and not as so many distinct though related subjects or wholes. Thus the forementioned subject may be illustrated under these two articles, which will make the heads of discourse : the plan itself of our redemption by the mediation of the Son is the result of grace or unmerited favour; the completion of it in us by the operation of the Spirit also the result of grace. Both these manifestly center in the same point; salvation springs from grace. But if ye must draw in every thing that is related, you can never have done, till you have made your sermon a complete system of christian divinity.

The method in making sermons, which for a long time hath carried the vogue in this country over every other, and which is considered as very simple compared with the more laboured and intricate methods for. merly in use, is a division of every text, into what the schoolmen call the subject, the predicate and the copula. Thus, suppose the topic to be discussed were

the nature of the divine faithfulness, and the text ! Cor. x. 13. “ God is faithful ;” this most simple and apposite passage would be divided into thiree heads. The first would be the divine nature, the second the attribute of faithfulness, and the third the connection between the two. This is not discoursing on the subject, but cutting the text into fritters, where if the subject come in for a share, it is much ; often it is eluded altogether. But the impropriety, and if it were not for the commonness, I should say the puerility of this manner will appear better by applying it to other matters, in which the pulpit is not concerned. I shall suppose one hath it prescribed to him as the subject of an oration, an inquiry into the antiquity of rhime. Accordingly he goes to work, and having well weighed every word and syllable of the question, he thus lays down his plan of operations. First, says he, I shall consider what is implied in the word antiquity, and all the different acceptations of which the term is susceptible; secondly, I shall consider the nature, import and properties of what is called rhime ; and thirdly, the relation in which the one stands to the other, or how far and in what respect the one may be justly predicated of the other. Could any one imagine that such a disquisitor understood the subject? Good people are sometimes offended at the application of the word eloquence to preaching. They think it savours of something merely human and too artificial. But the art of preaching, as in fact it hath been long taught and practised by the men, whom those people generally most admire, is the genuine offspring of the dialectic of the schools, and fifty times more artificial, or if you will mechanical, than that which true rhetoric

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