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And truly, this must be effected some way or other, or we shall certainly be ruined by our iniquity. Now I say, the pious regulation of families, in this nation, would render the whole nation regular and religious; as the healing of all the parts of a leper makes the whole body sound; and therefore every governour of a family is either a publick benefactor, or a publick grievance, according to the good or ill management of his family.

Upon the whole matter, then, whosoever prudently consults the glory of God, the purity of his church, the interest of his religion, the prosperity of his country, the temporal and eternal welfare of his children, the diligence and faithfulness of his servants, the quietness and comfort of his family, the honour of his name, the peace of his conscience, and the salvation of his soul, will find constraining reasons to engage in constant family prayer, and religious household government; without which he appears too little concerned for his greatest publick and private interests on earth, as well as for his immortal concerns.

And how will ye bear it, my bre. thren, when ye come at last to sum up the mercies ye lost for want of asking, and the sins and disorders that multiplied in your families for want of a due discharge of your duties as the governours thereof?

Truly, sirs, my heart bleeds, and my bowels are pained, when I consider the dismal end of this contempt of God. What can you say, by way of apology, for so pernicious a neglect? What pain would it have put you to, to have worshipped God in your family? What could you have lost by such a blessed and becoming practice? How could you think it a loss of time from your other business, when by it your other affairs would certainly have prospered better in your hands? How could you refrain from prayer, under the many doubts, and fears, and miseries, of this uncertain life? Since you acknowledge an infinitely wise, great, and good God,

that governs all things, how could you slight both his favour and his wrath? If you have a friend, on whom you very much depend for your outward livelihood, you court and crouch to him continually, and gladly lay by all other business, when you can do any thing to serve him. And can you neglect your infinite Benefactor from day to day?

Does he not preserve your

life and being? Does he not open his hand, and fill you with all manner of plenteousness? Does he not offer you the unsearchable riches of his love in his only begotten Son? And must you not perish now, and for ever, without his grace and mercy? Alas! where is your reason, your conscience, your common sense, when you omit any sort of requisite devotion to our infinitely glorious and bountiful God, whom to serve is perfect freedom, to whom to be related as a regenerate child, is the greatest honour, and whom to enjoy is the greatest happiness.

How will the very heathens rise up in the last judgment and condemn you? They had a notion of some deities which particularly watched over their domestick affairs, and defended and succoured them in their houses: these they called lares and penates, and were punctual in their daily oblations to them. These, alas! paid a superstitious worship to imaginary deities. But we have the knowledge of the only true God, and the only Mediator, and the spiritual and true worship, which alone he will accept. And how inex. cusable shall we be, if we put not ourselves and families under the shadow of his wings? Especially since we know his condescending promise, that, "if we love him, and keep his commandments, he will love us, and come unto us, and make his abode with us."

Let me, therefore, beseech you, my brethren, as you would give me hope of doing any considerable good among you, and of our comfortable meeting together in another world, that each of you would piously take up Joshua's resolution: "As for me, and my house,

we will serve the Lord." Show yourselves such serious votaries of our holy religion, as to call your families together, at least twice every day; and after the serious reading of some part of God's holy word, unite in prayers to your heavenly Father, for his blessings upon you in soul and body, in this life, and that to come; and may it please him, "who sees you in secret, to reward you openly," amply, eternally. So prays your affectionate pastor, J. W.



ST. JOHN xiv. 25, 26. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comfor ter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. THAT the Christian religion is a divine revelation, is a proposition, to which every person who professes to be a Christian will readily assent.


that the constitution of the Christian church was formed by divine wisdom, is also admitted by a large portion of the Christian world.

Still, although these propositions gain a general assent, unless the particulars included in them be seriously and attentively considered-unless the manner in which this revelation was

communicated, and has been preserved -unless the way in which the church was organized be particularly traced, the faith, on these points, will be de

fective and a defective faith will seldom fail to beget errours in doctrine, and deviations from the divine arrangements of the church. For such a faith yields too much scope for pride and

* Preached before the general convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, October 31, 1821.

vanity and against these, it is certain, we can never be too strongly for tified.

In this discourse, therefore, we shall endeavour to trace the origin, progress, and final establishment of the Gospel: together with the formation of the Christian church. These things, although different in themselves, were intimately connected and must continue so, to the end of the world.

Not long after our blessed Lord entered upon his publick ministry, he selected his twelve apostles. These were to be made his immediate companions to learn his doctrines-to witness his miracles, and to be spectators of his pure and pious life. It is true, he sent them out into the world, but the message they proclaimed was barely, "that the kingdom of heaven was at hand." He vested them with power to work miracles, but as yet they were only qualified to call the people to repentance, inasmuch as the reign of thẹ Messiah was about to commence.

For nearly three years, these men heard his publick preaching and his were his constant companions. They private illustrations: and it might be supposed, that they must have acquired a pretty correct knowledge of his doctrines. But admitting that they were men of good capacities, and we have no reason to suppose that they ligion were of so high a character, and were not, the leading points of his rethe circumstances of his birth, his life, and his death, were so completely interwoven with his teaching, that it of the whole system, until the scene was impossible to have a distinct view was closed, and he had ascended into heaven. And with regard to what they did hear and did comprehend while he fallacious nature of the human memowas present with them; such is the Ty, that without the security promised in the text, we could have had, but slender confidence in the correctness of their witness. But the assurance that the Holy Spirit would bring all things to their remembrance, yields

the most complete satisfaction that what they heard and what they understood was faithfully preserved.

The writers of the new testament were not all of the number of the apostles and still, in this respect, they were all placed very much on the same footing. St. Mark was converted at an early period of the church, and sent out by the apostles themselves as an evangelist. He was under the eye of St. Peter at Rome, when he wrote his gospel, and of course the information derived from the apostle, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, preserved him from errour as well as rendered his account of our Saviour's life and teaching complete. Writing for the benefit of the Christians at Rome, he either avoids or explains names and references well understood in Judea, but not in Rome. St. Luke in the same respect, may be viewed as similarly situated with St. Mark. He acquired a perfect knowledge of all things from the very first, and he was under the same divine direction.

This then seems to be the way marked out by divine wisdom, to preserve the religion of our blessed Lord. Human agency was used in its proper sphere, and to its full extent and divine assistance came in to guard against the imperfection of memory, and to fill up the measure of knowledge. And it is remarkable, that the apostles, in choosing a person in the room of Judas, selected one of those men, who had accompanied them all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among


But the false prepossessions of the Jews, with regard to the Messiah and his reign, the manner in which our Saviour's doctrines were unfolded, and the practical results which belonged to his death, it was impossible for the apostles fully to comprehend. Although they often taught in anticipation, still their eyes very gradually opened to the truth, and so momentous and so magnificent a business was it, to'show how his teaching and his death

were to effect the salvation of mankind, that human intelligence and human power seemed to be quite inadequate to the purpose. "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth." And I think we may venture to say, that if we had only possessed the gospels, without any account of the manner in which the religion of Christ was applied by his inspired followers, and the most prominent objections brought against it answered, we should have had a very imperfect knowledge of that religion.

With regard to the object of Christ's death-when the angel of the Lord told Joseph that he should call his name Jesus, lest he should have too low an idea of the business of this Saviour, the angel added, "for he shall save his people from their sins." When John the baptist saw Jesus, he said, "behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world ;" and our blessed Lord himself declared, that he came to give his life a ransom for many,"


These expressions, we should sup pose, were so clear and so intelligible, particularly to the Jews, that they could hardly have been misunderstood. And still even his apostles after the crucifixion were " in doubt about him." -But when the Holy Spirit had led them into all truth and brought all things to their remembrance, they then clearly understood this doctrine, and as clearly showed how it was to be applied. St. Peter in his first sermon said, "let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ." And upon another occasion the same apostle declares, that "there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."

In the epistles of St. Paul, this point is illustrated in a most satisfactory manner. "Christ bath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering

and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour." "He who knew no sin was made a sin offering for us." "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Then was the permanent doctrine of the Christian religion unfolded and illustrated. And it now stands as the consolation of every Christian, that the death of Christ was an atonement for sin, and that through faith in this atonement pardon of sin is to be secured. Again; with regard to the opera. tions and influence of the Holy Spirit; the same course was pursued. When our blessed Lord said to his apostles, "The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you;" this must be understood as applying to the propagation and establishment of his religion, and to the organization of his church. But still such was the state of the world, that something else was wanting to enable the apostles to execute their high of fice. The prejudices of the Jews were inveterate the idolatry of the gentiles was deeply rooted, so that an overwhelming influence was necessary to carry the religion of Christ in triumph over the world. Our Saviour promised to send the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father; and he directed the apostles to wait in Jerusalem until his promise should be fulfilled. But how the Spirit was to operate was not explained: and even the appearances on the day of Pentecost would have still left this matter in doubt. For although the apostles immediately spoke a variety of languages -and went on to perform miracles, still all the operations of the Spirit might have remained little understood, had not St. Paul enumerated and explained them.

Nor would this have been less the case with regard to the sanctifying and moral influence of the Spirit. Had this

matter rested upon the promises of our Saviour, room would have been left for the fancies of a lively imagination, or the agitation of a troubled mind. But when we are explicitly told, that "the Spirit helpeth our infirmities”that "if we live in the Spirit, we must walk in the Spirit ;" and that "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance," the matter is made plain and delusion excluded. We find that the divine influence of the Spirit co-operates with all the other means of grace to subdue the bad passions and evil propensities of our nature, and to give energy to correct principle-to spiritualize the affections, and to bring the souls of men to that holy condition which will fit them for God's everlasting kingdom.

And farther with respect to a future state. Our blessed Lord declared, "that the hour was coming, in the which, all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life: and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." Still had not St. Paul in a most elegant and conclusive manner, obviated those objections which seemed to rise from the nature of the body with which the soul shall be clothed, there might have been some, who would continue to say, "how are the dead raised, and with what body do they come !"

From this view of the subject, how powerfully is the mind impressed with the wisdom and goodness of God! Our blessed Lord, with a reference to the power of the human mind and to the moral state of the world, when he appeared, unfolded his religion as far as his apostles were in a condition to receive it. And when he had finished his gracious work, and returned to his Father, he sent the Holy Spirit to bring all his teaching to their remembrance, and to lead them into a complete knowledge of his religion.

This then yields to us a ground of the most delightful consolation, that we possess the religion of Jesus Christ in its genuine purity. But now, as well as in the time of our Saviour, human power and human industry are to be applied to obtain a full knowledge of this religion. The sacred book, in which this religion is recorded, was written by men thus guided by the Holy Spirit, and it is from this book that we are to learn it. If, with fair and honest minds, we apply all our powers, and use every assistance placed within our reach, to obtain a knowledge of this religion, we need not fear but the Holy Spirit will also direct and assist us and should we fail in acquiring an extensive knowledge on this subject, the points on which our salvation more immediately depends, we shall easily understand. Some men, as soon as they feel conviction of sin and receive religious impressions, consider themselves qualified to teach the gospel. And it requires some considerable time and also study to convince them, how little they know and how inadequate they are to lay open so extensive and so grand a system. Still, such will sometimes plead, that the apostles were illiterate men and called from the lowest occupations of human life. That they were illiterate while they were engaged, some at their nets on the sea of Galilee, and some at the receipt of custom, is not to be denied. But their theological learning was from the purest source, and of the most complete kind. They who were instructed in the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven by our blessed Lord himself-they to whose remembrance the Holy Spirit brought all things whatsoever they had learned from him, and led them into all truth; surely such men were instructed in a manner and to a degree superiour to any thing to which common men can lay claim.

We come now to the second topick of our discourse, the formation of the Christian church.

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When the world became depraved to an extraordinary degree, so that the Almighty determined to destroy so wicked a race of men, he entered into covenant with Noah and his family to save them in an ark. And this may be viewed as the first instance, when God chose a particular people, and distinguished them by high and gra cious privileges.

After the flood, when the world had again greatly degenerated, and sunk into idolatry, Abraham and his family were called from the land of their fathers, and with this pious and good man God made a well defined covenant.

And thus, from time to time, God formed covenants with particular families, until the Jewish church was completely organized in the most minute particulars.

It was made evident, however, that this was not the highest and last dispensation. There were types which prefigured things of a more spiritual cast-there were sacrifices, which pointed to one, which would actually atone for sin-there was a priesthood, which ministered in holy things, but that priesthood was to yield to one of a more excellent nature→→→→ there was a high priest, who entered into the holy of holies once a year to offer a sacrifice for the sins of the people; but this high priest was to be superseded by One, who was once to offer himself a sacrifice to put away sin. And a new covenant was to supersede the Mosaick. And thus, in all ages, the people of God have been formed into distinct communities, and enjoyed peculiar privileges. But while in former times these communities were specially limited, the Christian community is destined to embrace the whole earth. Jews and gentiles are received into this community, and we are told that ultimately God will give to his Son, "the heathen for his inheritance and the utmost parts of the earth for his possession."

While our blessed Lord was here on earth, he was the source of all truth

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