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plain preachers; and let the opinion of hearers be taken upon this point, and undoubtedly nine in ten will confidently say that they could never understand any preachers so easily and fully, as those who preached the very same doctrines which Paul preached, and called milk. These doctrines always were and always will be plain and intelligible to all classes of mankind; and it is only the objections, which are made to these plain and fundamental principles of Christianity, that are really dark and hard to be understood.

4. If the foregoing observations are just, then there is no reason to think that any people are unable to bear the doctrines which Paul preached to the Corinthians. Many preachers seem to imagine that their people are not able to bear the doc. trine of total depravity, or the doctrine of regeneration, or the doctrine of election, or the doctrine of divine agency, or the doctrine of the Trinity; and for this reason, suppose it is a point of prudence to pass over these subjects in silence in their public discourses. But this is a great mistake. There is not a congregation in the world, who are unable to bear the doctrines which Paul preached to the Corinthians. Any people who are able to bear any preaching, are able to bear the pure, simple, essential doctrines of the gospel. These are milk, and not strong meat. These are the plainest doctrines which can be preached or heard. Though Paul knew that the Corinthians were not able to bear some divine truths, yet he knew that they were able to bear the doctrines which he actually preached. And it is absurd to suppose that there are any congregations at this day, who are not able to bear the same truths which the Corinthians were able to bear, who had enjoyed no other than the dim light of nature. The truth is, that people have always been unwilling, but not unable to bear the disagreeable truths of the gospel. The plainest truths are the most disagreeable to the depraved heart; and this is the real reason, why people complain that they cannot understand them. Their inability to bear the peculiar doctrines of Christ, lies in their heart, and not in their understanding. So Christ himself told his hearers, who complained of his hard sayings. “Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word.” Again he demanded, “ If I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words. Ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” The people at this day are just as able, and just as unwilling, to bear the plain and reproving doctrines of the gospel, as they were in Christ's and the apostle's day. There is no conceivable reason, therefore, why the ministers of the gospel should not preach precisely the same doctrines to every people, at this day, which Christ and the apostles preached in their day. But,

5. It appears from what has been said, that now is a proper time for ministers to feed their people with milk, and not with

Our churches and congregations, in general, are in a situation very similar to that of the Corinthians. Though they are increasing rapidly in human knowledge, yet they are declining fast in the knowledge of divine things, and need to be taught, again and again, the first principles of the oracles of God. It is a gross mistake, that people are generally well indoctrinated in religious sentiments. The truth is, notwithstanding all their religious advantages, they are generally very ignorant of the peculiar and fundamental doctrines of Christianity. This may be partly owing to the negligence of private and public instructers, but perhaps more to the dissipation and licentiousness which are every where spreading and prevailing. How many are there in all our congregations, who know nothing but the name of the Christian religion, and need to be taught the plainest doctrines of it! Besides, the land is full of deceivers, who are zealously engaged to subvert every principle of morality and religion, and to propagate Atheism, Deism, and every species of infidelity. It is the age of blind reason and vain philosophy. These engines are industriously employed to corrupt the sentiments and hearts of old and young, and to lead them into strong and fatal delusions. It highly concerns the ministers of Christ, at this day, to make a bold and firm stand against ignorance, infidelity and vice. And the peculiar weapons of their warfare, are the pure, primary and essential doctrines of the gospel. These weapons have been mighty to destroy the strong holds of the enemies of truth. And there is abundant reason to believe that if the preachers of the gospel would unitedly employ these weapons in defence of it, they would effectually check the rapid progress of destructive errors, and revive the sinking cause of Christ. It is impossible for any man in the world to understand the gospel and yet disbelieve it. If ministers, therefore, would universally preach so as to make their people really understand the gospel, there would not be a single person who could become an: infidel. It now depends, under God, upon ministers, to save their people from the errors and destruction of this untoward generation, by feeding them with milk, and not with meat.

May these thoughts sink deeply into his heart, who is about to take the charge of the flock of Christ in this place.

Dear Sir, — If you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and have been fed with the sincere milk of the word, you will feed your people with knowledge and understanding. You will love to preach those precious truths to others, which you have found pleasing and profitable to yourself. You will believe that your people are able to bear the doctrines which

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are the best adapted to awaken and convince sinners, and to quicken, comfort, and edify saints. You will believe that your people ought to be satisfied if you feed them with the same doctrines with which the apostle fed the Corinthians. You will believe that if they do complain of such doctrines, you ought to regard God rather than man, and preach the truth, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. It is true, you will feel the propriety'and importance of prudence in preaching; but your prudence will consist, not in concealing the doctrines of grace, but in holding them up in the clearest, strongest and most consistent light. The gospel carries its own evidence with it; and, if you represent its peculiar doctrines in their proper order, harmony and connection, they will approve themselves to every man's conscience. Though all men naturally hate the doctrines of the cross, yet their reason and conscience are always on the side of divine truth. Address these powers and faculties of the soul, before you attempt to move the passions. Rightly divide the word of truth, and give to every one his portion in due season. Always aim to instruct your people upon every subject which you handle in public. But if you would instruct them, you must instruct yourself. Give yourself to reading, meditation and prayer. Study the Bible and your own heart; and you will be able, through the whole course of your ministry, to bring forth out of your treasury things new as well as old. In a word, remember that you watch for souls as one who must give account, and if you are only faithful to God and to your people, you will be a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish.

Brethren and friends of this Church and Congregation - Permit me to ask you on this solemn and interesting occasion, whether you are as well united in the gospel, as you are in the man whom you have called to preach it? Do you desire to be fed with “the sincere milk of the word ?” Are you willing to receive the same precious truths which the primitive Christians gladly received from the lips of the apostle? If these are your desires and feelings, there is a promising prospect before you. Your pastor will preach with pleasure, and you will hear with no less pleasure and delight. The more he unfolds the gospel, the better you will be pleased with his preaching; and instead of becoming his enemies, because he tells you the truth, you will sincerely and ardently love him for his work's sake. “ Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” If you only receive the truth in love, your peace and harmony will increase, and the union between you and your pastor will strengthen, and you will be happily preparing to be each other's joy and crown of rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus." Amen.

SERMON XI.

PAUL'S METHOD OF PREACHING.

ORDINATION OF REV. STEPHEN CHAPIN, TO THE PASTORAL CARE OF THE

IURCH AND PEOPLE IN HILLSBOROUGH, JUNE 19, 1805.

TESTIFYING both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and

faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. - Acts, xx, 21.

As the apostle Paul was returning from Macedonia to Jerusalem, he came to Miletus, from whence he sent and called the elders of the church of Ephesus. When they had come together he delivered a discourse, which was directly calculated to assist and animate them in the work of the gospel ministry. And among other things he called their attention to his manner of preaching, while he formerly resided among them. “ Ye know,” says he,“ how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shown you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” As these words were originally designed to administer instruction to the ministers of Christ, they naturally lead us, on the present occasion, to consider how the apostle Paul preached the gospel, and the propriety of his mode of preaching

I. Let us consider how the apostle Paul preached the gospel. Though he sometimes preached to the Jews and sometimes to the Gentiles, and though he sometimes preached on one subject and sometimes on another, yet amidst all this variety, there was a certain uniformity in his preaching which deserves particular notice. 1. He always made a point of explaining the gospel. To

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preach is to instruct; and to instruct on any subject, it is generally, if not always, necessary to explain it. Much of the force and perspicuity of preaching consists in explaining the gospel, and making men see the real design of God in the method he has taken to save sinful and perishing creatures. Here Jews and Gentiles, all men of all descriptions, stand in peculiar need of instruction. The apostle, therefore, determined to know nothing in his preaching save Jesus Christ and him crucified. He knew that it would be preposterous to call upon men to embrace the gospel, before he had explained it to them in a clear and intelligible manner. And it appears from the whole history of his ministerial labors, that he excelled all the other apostles, in unfolding the meaning, the harmony, and the connection of the first principles of Christianity. Just as he was about to take his final leave of those whom he addressed in the text, he called upon them to bear testimony to his fidelity in explaining to them the gaspel of divine grace. “And now behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." To declare all the counsel of God is to explain the great plan of redemption, which was concerted before the foundation of the world, and which comprises all the designs and operations of the Deity. Hence the apostle viewed it a privilege, as well as a duty, to explain the gospel to all his hearers. In the third chapter of his epistle to the Ephesians he says, “ Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see, what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known, by the church, the manifold wisdom of God, according to his eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” By this declaration it appears that the apostle meant to explain the gospel so plainly and fully, that all his hearers might see God, and Christ, and angels, and saints, and sinners, and all created objects, in that relation and connection which they bear to each other in the work of redemption. Whether he preached to the Jews or to the Gentiles, to the learned or to the unlearned, he made it a primary object in his public discourses, to unfold the nature, design, and final consequences of the gospel, without the least ambiguity or reserve.

2. After he had explained the gospel to his hearers, he next

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