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of the most solemn expressions, you teach others to disregard the ideas to which these expressions are applied. You thus allay the terrors of guilt, diminish a sense of moral obligation, and remove those flood-gates, which oppose the torrent of general profligacy. In a very palpable sense, therefore, you act the part of enemies to God, and to the illustrious cause of virtue and righteousness. Marvel not, therefore, that we say unto you, that ye must be born again. Being not only alienated from the life of God, but enemies to him by wicked works, a reconciliation, implying a radical change of heart and character, is the only condition, on which you can enjoy any rational hopes of escaping the wrath to come.
II. It has been shown by the direct testimony of an inspired apostle, that every intemperate person is destitute of piety, and has therefore need to be regenerated. Whether the epithet can justly be applied to any among you, I know not. But that there have been those to whom it did apply; those, who, during their academical life, formed those habits, in consequence of which, they are at this moment, lost to virtue and honour, lost to their friends and society, and lost to every well founded hope, either as to the present or future life, is a fact which I blush to acknowledge, but which can neither be denied nor concealed. When it is considered, as merely possible, that some individuals among you, may now be insensibly advancing to the same deplorable state, you will not be surprised, at my recalling your attention to intemperance and dissipation, as a mark of irreligion; as indicating the necessity of a moral change.
III. Those, on whom religion makes no deep impression, were said to need a spiritual renovation. That this character belongs to the most of those, whom I address, will probably be admitted without hesitation. If there are many, who can repel the charge, from such we readily withdraw it. It would afford a degree of joy not easily expressed, were we ascertained, that many among you possess
minds highly sensible to religious truth-tremblingly alive to the denunciations and promises of the Gospel. But if it were so would not the exercises of the sabbath excite a greater interest? Would discourses on the great doctrines of christianity, or concerning death and the retributions of eternity, operate like those unmeaning sounds, whose only influence is to paralyse thought and produce sleep?
IV. It was shown that regeneration is necessary for those who are incapable of enjoying the kingdom of God. This proposition is so perfectly obvious, that there can be neither doubt nor error concerning it, excepting as to its application.
As Heaven, or the Kingdom of God, is a state of happiness, and you have a capacity for happiness, you may feel confident that you are capable of enjoying this state. But would the presence of God, and the constant devotions of heaven render you happy? It has been observed by a writer, in whose praise one is scarcely in danger of being extravagant, "That every species of creatures is designed for a particular way of life; to which the nature, the capacities, temper, and qualifications of each species, are as necessary, as their external circumstances." For want of such temper and qualifications, those circumstances, and that condition, which afford to one person the highest enjoyment, may, to another, be indifferent, or even disgusting. As to your susceptibility of celestial happiness, a correct opinion may be formed from the enjoyment, which you receive from intercourse with such as are fairest candidates for it; from those duties, which most resemble the employments of saints in light. If the character, law, and providence of God;-if the nature, interposition, and offices of our Saviour;-if that state of perfect moral purity, and unutterable glory, which the superabounding grace of God has prepared for his people, are the most pleasant subjects of contemplation;-and if the worship of God is that employment, which you more esteem than
any other, you are not to be considered, as incapable of enjoying the Christian Paradise. But, permit me to ask, whether this is a claim, the establishment of which will be generally attempted? Is it not certain; and, from the view which has been taken of the subject, does it not appear so, that you are not susceptible of the joys of the new Jerusalem; or in the words of St. Paul, not meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light?
This class will comprehend not only all, who were mentioned under the preceding descriptions, such as the profane, dissolute, &c. but some whose morals are scacrely reproachable.
Many who are present, it is believed, are now convinced, that when we are speaking to the unregenerate, we are speaking to them; and that to them are directed all the threatnings and expostulations, which in the word of God, are addressed to unpardoned sinners. Such as the following, "Say ye to the wicked, It shall go ill with him, for the rewards of his hands shall be given him. God is angry with the wicked. If ye turn not he will whet his sword: He hath bent his bow and made it ready. He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death. Except ye repent, ye shall all perish." Whatever may be your intellectual powers or acquirements, whatever of ease and accommodation there may be in your circumstances, however inviting may be those worldly prospects, which are opening upon you, there is this appalling consideration, that without piety of heart, God is not your portion. The bounties of his providence, in which you are permitted to share, evince his be-nevolence toward you, but not his approbation. Whether you are engaged in your common pursuits or at leisure ;— whether in company or in solitude;-whether you retire to rest, or rise from the bed of slumber, you are in the hands of a Being, to whom you are not reconciled, and from whose bounty the impenitent have nothing to hope beyond the present life.
No task can, indeed, be more ungrateful, than that of making a representation, so gloomy and so alarming. But, if the representation is founded in scripture, the truth it contains, ought not to be concealed. And, that it is thus founded, has, it is presumed, been sufficiently shown.
Again, it was shown in preceding lectures, that regener ation is not effected, merely by the communication of additional light. The reason why the sinner does not love the moral character and moral law of God, is not, that he is ig norant of either. The more accurately moral subjects are understood, the more striking will be the contrast between virtue and vice. The more clearly the divine purity is displayed to the sinner's mind, the more obvious will be the moral difference between God and himself; by consequence, he sees more of a character opposite to his own.
Neither does the sinner reject the terms of salvation, for any cause, corresponding with what is usually called physical impossibility. It is merely a disinclination to moral rectitude. It is the want of that disposition, and those feelings, which reason and scripture unite to approve. The difficulty with the sinner is not, that he is ignorant of the character of God, but that he has no complacency in it.
Facts in melancholy abundance corroborate this sentiment, Wicked men, in the immediate view of death, are not renewed by the prospect before them. Many in this condition fully believe, that the salvation of the soul depends on their immediate repentance; and that, without this, the pains of eternal reprobation will, in a few days, or a few hours, be experienced. They not only acknowledge this; but the prospect throws them into the greatest terror. This terror, however, does not effect any radical change of character. It does not inspire them with love to that, which was pre viously odious to them, nor render offensive that, which they formerly loved.
Further, it was shown, that there is an essential difference between the saint and the sinner, and that the character of
the former does not consist in his possessing, in greater degrees, that, which is common to both. The one has nothing of that quality, which, in the other, will receive a divine reward. The words of Christ to the Jews, "I know you that ye have not the love of God in you," are applicable to every unrenewed person. In this consists his criminality, and hence will arise his punishment. This want of love to God disqualifies him for the divine presence, and for a partici. pation in the bliss and employments of heaven. Hostile to the Supreme Being, and excluded from heaven, his misery arises from his own depravity, and from the impiety and malevolence of other beings, who resemble himself. This being true, the unrenewed person ought never to consider his condition secure. Retaining his present character, he refuses to repent, he refuses to love and serve his Maker, -he rejects that gracious covenant, which has been established in the blood of Christ. And though he may, at one time, be more restrained, and sin with less boldness of determination, than at another, the great account to be exhibited against him, is perpetually enlarging; because every sin forms a new article, and he refuses the terms on which the whole may be cancelled. It follows, therefore, that were light poured into the mind in streams ever so pure and copious, no radical change of character would be hereby ensured.
I am painfully sensible of the difficulty of presenting this subject, in such manner, as to make any impression on the minds of the young. You feel, as if health were firm, death far distant, and religion unseasonable. Your natural aversion from serious contemplation, gives additional deception to these appearances. You consider it perhaps, as one of the privileges of youth to treat religion, with indifference, if not with levity. In this you feel supported by prevailing custom. In the majority of those around you, nothing is perceived to reprove your impiety, but something to give it ⚫additional boldness, and to swell it to a fearless daring. So,