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brilliant meteors of night. How insignificant are the stories of the novelist, or the empty and hard-wrought fictions of the poet, compared with the history of Abraham's family; the discovery of Joseph to his brethren ; the passage of the Red Sea, and the triumphal song of Miriam, when Pharaoh and his host sunk as lead in the mighty waters. No characters are so worthy to be studied and exhibited, as those drawn on the sacred pages. In none, are there blended so much wisdom and truth. The legislators, and heroes, and philosophers of modern fiction or fact, shrink into insignificance, when placed by the side of Moses and David and Solomon. What
personage of history or romance ever stood forth like the Christ of the evangelists ? The subject of prophecy for two thousand years ; descending from heaven to earth to fulfil the purposes of infinite love ; his birth announced by myriads of angels ; in his life, pure and holy; perfect in wisdom, goodness, and power ; healing the sick, raising the dead, commanding the stormy seas to silence ; dying to redeem a world ; and at last, returning to heaven from whence he came, on clouds and chariots of fire ; the light and life and glory of the world. Nor is there any want of poetry to inspire and charm. It was the soft, the pensive, and the heart-melting strains of David, that taught the christian poet how to sing his delightful task. No fallen hero was ever made to sing the dirge of his misfortunes in language at once so simple and elevated, so touching and so true to nature as Job. The simplicity and fire of Homer, the sublimity and strength of Milton, cease to charm, when compared with the lofty and soul-stirring songs of Isaiah.
Faithfulness requires a minister to instruct his hearers in the fundamental doctrines of the bible. I well know that a great prejudice has gone abroad against doctrinal preaching. This has arisen, in part perhaps, from ignorance, but still more from the enemies of the truth. In consequence of it, even some good men think it prudent to waive the frequent discussion of doctrinal subjects in the pulpit. This however is being wise above what is written. It is following neither the instructions, nor the example of Christ and his apostles. It is a vain attempt to make the offence of the cross to cease. If the religion of Jesus is any thing more than “ an oriental fiction,” it is a system of doctrines, which must be believed ; and a system of duties, which must be practiced. The doctrines of the bible against which so much prejudice exists, are nothing more than a divinely authorized statement of facts. Some of these facts relate to the character and government of God; some to the way of salvation by Christ; and others to the moral character, duties, and destiny of man. The object of doctrinal preaching is, to instruct the hearers respecting these things. The character of God, the character of man, the way of salvation, the duty of repentance and faith, and the doctrines involved in them, are subjects which men must be made to understand, or they will be taught nothing to any purpose. The man who from any cause avoids the discussion of these subjects in the pulpit, forfeits the high character of an ambassador of heaven, and will fail to accomplish the great end of the christian ministry. It is the fundamental doctrines of the bible, which give permanency to the faith and hopes of the chris
tian. The fact that God is unchangeable in his character and purposes, is a never failing source of consolation to his children, and of terror to the wicked. Were it not for this, how could the christian know that God would not, at some future period, destroy the great spiritual building, which he has been erecting for six thousand years ; change his mercy to justicc, recall the atonement of his Son; and doom the church triumphant to the vengeance of eternal fire. Against the apprehension of all these evils, the christian is shielded by the declaration, I am the Lord, I change not. Firmly relying on the immutable goodness and the unchanging purposes of Jehovah, he goes forward to the moral conquest of the world, with an assurance of final triumph. When like Moses of old, he reaches the Jordan, over which he cannot pass, he cheerfully resigns his place to another, who will bear the banners of the cross onward, till the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ. The faithful pastor will study clearly and pointedly to inculcate the doctrine of total depravity. This doctrine is the statement of a single fact respecting the moral character of man. This fact is, that the moral affections of men, which ought to centre on God and holiness, centre on the world and sin. The doctrine of total depravity does not assert, or imply, that men are naturally destitute of amiableness, or kind social feelings. It does not assert that they are destitute of honesty in the various transactions of life; or that they are destitute of those desirable qualities, which make them good citizens, kind neighbors, faithful friends, affectionate husbands and parents. It does not affirm that men are wholly depraved in their
physical and intellectual powers, or their social affections. The physical and intellectual and social de. pravity of man is great, as every observer must be compelled to acknowledge ; for there is among men, a great perversion of these powers and affections. But still this perversion is not entire. This depravity is not total; for these powers and affections are employed, to some extent, as God designed they should be. If not by all men, yet by many. It is not in these parts of our nature that we look for total depravity. But this doctrine does assert, and does mean to assert, that men are destitute of holiness without which no one shall see the Lord. That their moral affections, which ought to centre upon God, are wholly perverted from their proper channel, and centre on themselves, their earthly plans and enjoyments. It asserts that they do not love God with all their hearts, nor with any part of them ; that they must be born again, or they cannot see the kingdom of hea
From the history of the world, and the declarations of the bible, this view of total depravity, is capable of proof by evidence of as high authority, as great, as clear, and as uniform, as that which supports any
maxim in the Newtonian philosophy; or of any science which has gained the universal consent of mankind. The doctrine of total depravity is truly fundamental in the christian system. It is that, in view of which, the plan of salvation was devised, and to which all its parts are adapted. Before the time of Newton, all the systems of philosophy were false and inconsistent, because they were not founded on that one law of attraction, which regulates all the movements of the natural world. So, all systems of religion, that
are not founded on the one fact, that men are totally depraved in their moral affections, are false and inconsistent, and no way fitted to teach men the truth, or lead them to God. All the fundamental truths of the gospel hang on this one fact. If men are not totally sinful, there is no need of an entire change of heart. If they are not wholly inclined to evil, they are not wholly dependent on the spirit of God for holy desires and holy affections. If they are partly inclined to love God, then he can never have the whole praise of their salvation. Let this one fact be established, that men are otally depraved in their moral affections, and in a moment the gospel becomes a system of truth, and love, and joy, well befitting a God to devise, angels to publish, and Zion's heralds to trumpet round this guilty world, The faithful inculcation of this doctrine confounds and puts to shame all infidel and heathen nations concerning the purity and perfection of our nature. It brings down lofty looks and high imaginations ; sweeps away the refuges of lies, that poetry and oratory have thrown around the character of the great ; brings man at the foot of divine mercy, a sinful, dependent suppliant; and thus lays a deep and broad foundation, for that living and lasting piety which the gospel requires.
Faithfulness requires the heralds of truth to preach salvation through Christ and his cross.
There is none other name given under heaven among men whereby we can be saved. Paul, the most successful preacher of the gospel determined to know nothing, save Jesus Christ and him crucified. The cross of Christ is the sun of the moral world. Before its rising, the intellectual and moral darkness of