EXPLAINED AND DEFENDED
SERIES OF SERMONS;
TIMOTHY DWIGHT, S. T. D. LL. D.
LATE PRESIDENT OF YALE COLLEGE.
THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.
IN FOUR VOLUMES
PUBLISHED BY T. DWIGHT & SON,
AND SOLD BY LEAVITT, LORD & CO.
180 BROADWAY, NEW YORK.
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DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT, ss.
BE it remembered, that on the fifth day of January, in the forty second year of the Independence of the United States of America, Timothy Dwight, and William T. Dwight, both of said District; Administrators of the Rev. Timothy Dwight, now deceased, and late of the said District, have deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as Administrators as aforesaid, and Proprietors, in the words following, to wit:
Theology; explained and defended, in a Series of Sermons; by Timothy Dwight, T. D., LL. D. late President of Yale college. With a Memoir of the Life the Author,. in five Volumes. Vol 2.’’
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, " An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors arid proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned."
Clerk of the District of Connecticut.
A true copy of Record, examined and sealed by me.
Clerk of the District of Connecticut.
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REGENERATION.—ITS NECESSITY AND REALITY.
John iii. 3.—Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot sea the Kingdom of God.
HAVING considered the character of the Holy Ghost, and his agency in the work of regeneration, I shall now proceed, according to the plan originally proposed, to examine the work itself, under the three following heads:
I. The Necessity;
II. The Reality; and,
III. The Nature; of Regeneration.
1. I shall consider the Necessity of the work of Regeneration.
In the preceding discourse, I took the fact, that some men are regenerated, for granted; and on this ground,, attempted to prove, That the agency of the Spirit of God was necessary for the accomplishment of our regeneration. The question concerning the necessity of regeneration itself, and the question concerning the necessity of that agency in producing it, are entirely distinct. Yet it will be readily perceived, that the arguments, adduced under the later question in the preceding discourse, may with unabated force be, in several instances, applied to the former; that, which is now under consideration. Particularly is this true concerning several passages of Scripture, then adduced. For example, John iii. 5, 6. Rom. viii. 6, 7. Gal. v. 19—23. 2 Thess. ii. 13. 1 Cor. vi. 11, connected with the context; are all, together with several others, of this nature. On these, to avoid wearying my audience with .repetitions, I shall not at present insist.
At the same time, the certainty, that there is nothing in our moral character, which will lead us to regenerate ourselves, as exhibited in that discourse, is one, and an important one, among the reasons, which evince, in connexion with other argument, the necessity of our regeneration; and is, therefore, With propriety, recalled to your remembrance on the present occasion.
But the great proof of the necessity of regeneration is found in the depravity of our nature. The
universality, and the degree of this corruption, have been shown, if I am not deceived, in a manner, too evident to be rationally called in question. In the discourses which I formerly delivered on these subjects, I produced a long train of passages of Scripture, in which the natural character
See Sermons xxix. [ 29 ] to xxxiv. [ 34 ] inclusive.
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of man is, in the most unequivocal terms, declared to be corrupt, sinful, and abominable in the sight of God. This truth I elucidated, also, by arguments drawn from reason, and experience, which, to my own view, were unanswerable. Among these, I specified the opposition made by mankind to the Gospel; the testimonies, which mankind have themselves given concerning the subject in their Laws; their Religion; their History; their Conversation; and their conduct, both in amusements, and in the serious business of life. From these, and several other things, I derived it as a consequence, flowing, in my own view irresistibly, from the premises, that in our flesh or native character there dwelleth no good thing.
This doctrine St. Paul teaches in the most explicit manner, in the three first chapters of the Epistle to the Romans; and commenting on his own words, says, We have proved both JEWS and GENTILES, that they are all under sin.
I shall consider this point as being actually proved; and on this basis shall found the following arguments, designed to show the Necessity of Regeneration.
1st. It is unreasonable to suppose, that God can admit sinners to the blessings of heaven.
God is perfectly holy, and therefore regards sin only with hatred and abhorrence. Every sinner opposes his whole character, law, designs, and government; loves what he hates; hates what he loves; and labours to dishonour his name, and to frustrate his purposes. The designs of God involve the supreme and eternal good of the Universe. In the accomplishment of this Divine purpose his glory is entirely manifested; because the best of all characters is thus displayed in the most perfect degree. But these designs, and the character discovered in accomplishing them, the sinner steadily hates, and opposes. Were it in his power, he would frustrate the accomplishment; and prevent the glory of God, and the supreme good of the creation.
This character of the sinner God discerns with clear and unerring certainty. Both his guilt, and its desert, are naked to the Omniscient eye. It is impossible, therefore, that he should not regard it with abhorrence. To suppose him, then, to approve, and love such a character, is to suppose him to approve of that, which he sees to be deserving of his absolute reprobation; and to love that which he knows merits nothing but his hated. Should he in fact do this, he would invert his whole system of dispensations towards the Universe; and exhibit to his Intelligent creatures a character totally new, and directly opposite to that which he has displayed, hitherto, in his Law, and Government; especially in the work of Redemption. Of course, he would not only cease to be unchangeable, but would become a being of a totally opposite character to that perfect one, which he has hitherto challenged to himself. He
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would renounce his Deity: and cease to sustain the excellence, involved in the incommunicable name, Jehovah.
Further; should God, without approving of a sinful character, confer upon the unregenerated sinner the blessings, which are the proper rewards of virtuous creatures; he would, equally desert his character, and government; and overthrow the wisdom, equity and end, of his designs. Every external favour, shown to guilty beings after their probation is ended, is a testimony on the part of God, that he approves of their conduct during the probationary state, and a reward for that conduct. It is a definitive testimony, a testimony, given when all their conduct is before him; a solemn judicial testimony; a testimony of action, the surest interpreter of the thoughts. In the present case, it would be the highest and most solemn of all testimonies; because he would bestow on them the greatest of all rewards, the blessings of heaven.
If, then, he did not feel this approbation, he would, in the case supposed, declare the grossest possible falsehood to the Universe viz, that impenitent sinners merited the highest rewards which it was in his power to bestow. He would declare, that such sinners deserved the same proofs of his favour, as his obedient children, and were, therefore, of the same character; that rebels were faithful subjects; that enemies were friends; and that, although he had heretofore denounced them as objects of his wrath, they were still the objects of his infinite complacency. This would be no other than a final declaration on his part, that right and wrong, holiness and sin, were the same things; that his Law, and the Government founded on it, were introduced to no purpose, unless to excite wonder and fear in his intelligent creatures that the redemption of Christ was accomplished to no end; and that all the Divine conduct, solemn, awful, and sublime as it has appeared, was wholly destitute of any object, and really of no importance in the view of the infinite Mind.
2dly. This change of heart is absolutely necessary for the sinner himself, in order to make him capable of the happiness of heaven.
Heaven is the seat of supreme and unmingled happiness; of enjoyment solid, sincere, and eternal. The foundation, on which, so far as creatures are concerned, this happiness ultimately rests, is their holy or virtuous character. All their affections, all their pursuits, all their enjoyments, are virtuous without a mixture. Hence heaven is called the high and holy place; and, from the dispensations of God towards these unspotted beings, is termed the habitation of his holiness. With such companions a sinner could not accord; such affections he could not exercise; in such pursuits he could not unite; in such enjoyments he could not share. This is easily and familiarly demonstrated. Sinners do not love virtuous persons here; exercise no virtuous affections; engage in no virtuous pursuits; and relish no virtuous enjoyments. Sinners in the present world love not God; trust not in the Redeemer; delight not in
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Christians; and regard neither the Law of God, nor the Gospel of his Son, with complacency of heart. Sinners in this world find no pleasure .in the Sabbath, nor in the sanctuary; and never cordially unite either in the prayers, or the praises, then and there offered up to their Maker;
How, then, could sinners find happiness in heaven? That glorious world is one vast sanctuary ; and the endless succession of ages, which roll over its happy inhabitants, are an everlasting sabbath. Their great and commanding employment is unceasing and eternal worship. They rest not day nor night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, who wast, who art, and who art to come.
As the worship of God is uniformly burdensome to sinners, here; the same worship must be at least equally burdensome to them there. Nay, it must be far more burdensome. The more holy, the more spiritual, any thing is, in this world, the more loathsome, the more painful, is it to the mind of a sinner. But all the employments of heaven are super-eminently, holy and spiritual. These, then, must be far more disgusting, than any thing, which Religion, or its worship, can present to his view in the present world. In heaven, therefore, he would be far less happy, than he is here. Every thing, with which he was conversant, would more oppose his taste, contravene his wishes, and disappoint his expectations. Nothing would give him pleasure: every thing would give him pain.
If, then, a sinner is to be admitted into heaven, it is absolutely necessary, that he should have a new heart, a new disposition. Otherwise, it is plain, that, amid all the blessings of that delightful world, he would find nothing but disgust, mortification, and sorrow.
3dly. Such a change is necessary for the Sinner, also, in order to his becoming a useful inhabitant of heaven.
All the inhabitants of that happy world are formed to do good, as well as to enjoy it. Their enjoyment itself is supremely the result of a disposition to do good, and of conduct, in which this disposition is completely carried into efficacious practice. There, is realized in the most absolute manner, the whole nature of that perfect rule of righteousness, delivered by our Saviour, that it is more blessed to give, than to receive; to do good, than to gain it from others. Virtuous beings are assembled here for the very purpose of exhibiting in their conduct the divine nature, and transcendent effects, of this evangelical rule of righteousness; and from their united efforts flows, in streams continually enlarging, universal, unceasing, and immortal good.
The good, here enjoyed, is a common, or public, good; in which one great and general interest is proposed, and pursued; and to which all private, personal interests are cheer fully subordinated. No selfish affection operates here: no selfish purpose exists. Every mind is expanded with affections, all embracing the common interest. Every design is elevated to a happiness, rendered
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noble and supreme, because it is universal. To this object every pulse beats: every heart thrills; every tongue vibrates. On it, as if magnetically influenced, every eye is fixed: to it every hand is turned.
But every sinner would feel, that all these things were against him. His affections are only selfish; and his designs concentre solely in private, separate ends, and in interests opposed to the general welfare. His only scheme of happiness, also, is to gain enjoyment from others, and never to find it in doing good to others. This is a subject, of which, as a source of enjoyment, he forms not a single conception. All his plans for happiness are matters of mere bargain and sale; in every instance of which he intends to get the advantage of those, with whom he deals. Good, to him, is good, only when it is separate and selfish; and he knows not what it is to see his own happiness enlarged by the general participation.
In the great, commanding, and sole pursuit of the heavenly world, a sinner would be unable to unite at all. Every wish of his heart must oppose the wishes and designs of all around him, and the great object, for which heaven itself was formed by the Creator; which renders it delightful in his eye; and for which he has gathered into it the Assembly of the First-born. Of course, he would be alone; separated from his companions by a character, totally opposite to theirs; hostile to them in all his wishes, and pursuits; marked by them as an alien; despised as useless and worthless; pitied as miserable; and loathed as sinful.
Sin is the real and only cause of the wretchedness, experienced in the present world; and, the immediate, as well as the original, cause of the woes in the regions of perdition. Were sinners admitted into heaven, the same lust, fraud, and cruelty; the same injustice, oppression, and violence; in a word, the same wickedness and wo, which prevail in this world; would revive in that. Of course, the whole system of happiness, begun there, and intended to be carried on throughout eternity, would be either prevented, or destroyed. That God should permit these evils to exist, is incredible, and in my view impossible.
4thly. It is absolutely necessary that this change should be accomplished in this present world.
The present state is, to man, the only state of probation. All beyond the grave is a state of reward. The reward ought plainly to be such, as to suit the character of every probationer; a true testimony of God to his real character; a reward such as he has merited; and such as a righteous God may be expected to bestow. Of course, the testimony, actually given, must be a testimony to the character, with which he leaves this world of probation, and with which he goes to the Judgment.
Besides, Man enters that world with the very same character, with which he leaves this, a Death makes no moral change in man; but it is a mere passage from one state of being to another; a mere
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dismission from this world to that, of the probationer from his probation. A simple termination of the animal functions, a mere separation of the soul from the body, plainly cannot alter the moral state of the soul, or change at all its views, affections or character. Of this truth the Scriptures furnish abundant evidence. Do, says Solomon, whatever thy hand findeth to do, with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, the world of departed Spirits, whither thou goest. The night cometh, saith our Saviour, that is, the night of death, in which no man can work. Both of these are direct declarations, that both the work, and the state, of probation, are terminated by the grave, and will never exist in the future world. Accordingly, no change in the character of man, either in the article of death, or at any succeeding period of existence, is indicated in the Scriptures. Of course, every man will appear at the judgment with the very character which he has when he leaves the present world; and in this character only will he be rewarded.
Accordingly, the Scriptures teach us, that we shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body; and rewarded according to our works, accomplished on this side of the grave. It is plain, Then, that if men enter the future world, without being regenerated in this, they enter with all their sins upon their heads; and must be rewarded for their sins only. But a reward for sin can never be happiness. If, then, sinners are to be admitted into heaven at all, they must undergo this great change of moral character here; of sinners must become holy; must cease from their rebellion and disobedience; must bow their wills to the will of God; and must yield themselves to him as voluntary instruments of his glory.
II. The Reality of this change in man may be satisfactorily evinced in the following manner.
1st. It is declared in the Scriptures.
Besides the evidence, derived to the reality of regeneration from the absolute necessity of it to mankind, the Scriptures declares the existence of it in a great variety of forms. Of his mercy he saved us, says St. Paul, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who is made unto us, of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. To be sanctified is to be regenerated; and here it is declared, that Christ is become, of God, sanctification to all his children. Ye have put off the old man with his deeds, says St. Paul, to the Colossians, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of Him that created him. Put-off, says the same Apostle to the Ephesians, the old man which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind: and put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness, and true holiness. In these passages of Scripture we are plainly taught the following things.
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1st. That the natural character is considered by the Apostle as differing from the regenerated according to the full import of these two names: the old man, and the new man:
2dly. That the regenerated character is a new character:
3dly. That the assumption of this new character is equivalent to being renewed, or created anew: both of these expressions being used to denote it:
4thly. That the former character, or old man, is a corrupt character, conformed to deceitful lusts, or under the influence of such lusts:
5thly. That the new man, or new character, is created after, or in, the image of God:
6thly. That this image consists in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness.
For we are his workmanship; created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Eph. ii. 10. Here the Ephesian Christians are declared to be the workmanship of God, as to their Christian character; and to be created in, or through, Christ Jesus unto good works.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love, wherewith he loved us, even when tee were dead in sins, hath made us alive, together with Christ, or rather by Christ. Here, the former state of the Ephesians is declared to have been a state of death in sins; and their new state is declared to be a state of life: and this they are said to have derived from God. But St. Paul himself explains the import of this passage, if it needs explanation, by informing us, that to be carnally minded is death; and that to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Saints also are said to be sanctified, to be washed, to be purified, by the Spirit of God.
It is impossible, that the reality, or the greatness, or the importance, of this change should be expressed in stronger or more definite terms. Those, who are the subjects of it, are said to be made clean, pure, and holy; to have a new heart, a right spirit; to be renewed; to be born again; to be born of God; to be born of the Spirit of God; to be made alive from the dead; to be created anew ; and to be new creatures. Can any language more strongly declare, that a real change is made in the moral character of man? that he becomes the subject of a character altogether new, and never belonging to him before? As a child, when born, has a new state of existence; so he, who is born of God, has also a state of existence equally new to him. As a thing, when created, begins then first to have existence; so he, who is created anew, begins then to have spiritual existence. Accordingly, St. Paul says, I Cor. xiii. 2, Without love I am nothing; that is, without holiness, the love of the Gospel, I have no spiritual being; no existence in the Spiritual creation, or kingdom of God.
2dly. The Reality of Regeneration is clearly proved by the Scriptural accounts of the first Christians.
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Of the conversion of these Christians, and their consequent character, we have ample accounts in the Acts, and the Epistles. Those who were Jews, we know beyond a doubt, were bitter and obstinate enemies, and furious persecutors, of Christ and his Apostles; hated the religion, which they taught; were bigoted votaries of a religion, consisting in mere external services; children of wrath, and children of disobedience. What the Gentiles were, is amply unfolded in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans; where they are declared by St. Paul to be lost in absolute abandonment, and profligacy of character. Yet in consequence of the preaching of the Apostles, the same Jews and Gentiles assumed an entirely new character; and continued to exhibit it with increasing beauty throughout the remainder ‘of their lives. Instead of their former fleshly works, enumerated by St. Paul, Gal. v. 19—21, they showed in all their conversation, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance; the divine and delightful fruits of the Spirit of Grace. Instead of persecuting Christians, they exhibited towards them all acts of kindness; and suffered persecution with them for the sake of the same glorious Redeemer. Instead of their former empty and merely ceremonious religion, —they embraced the genuine piety, and pure morality, of the Gospel. All their intemperance, impurity, deceit, injustice, pride, and bigotry, they renounced; and in their place substituted, permanently, —the sober, chaste, sincere, equitable, candid, and benevolent, spirit —of the Christian system. Through life, they exhibited this spirit in every amiable form; and, at death, sealed this unexceptionable testimony with their blood.
Now it is certain, that an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth evil things; and a good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things. It is certain, that a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, nor a corrupt tree good fruit. In other words, the heart will always characterize the conduct. Whence then, let me ask, was the difference in the conduct of these Jews and Gentiles, before, and after, their conversion to Christianity? The only answer which can be given, consistently with these declarations of Christ, is, that their hearts, before corrupt, and proving themselves to be so, by a life distinguished by all kinds of wickedness, were now made holy; and were proved to be so, by a life adorned with every good work. To add to this decisive evidence, if it can be added to, it may be observed, that all the remaining Jews and Gentiles, who were not the subjects of this conversion, continued, still, to exhibit the same wickedness, which their countrymen had, also, before exhibited; and were just as odious —in the sight of God and of man.
3dly. The same truth is abundantly evident in the present experience of mankind.
It cannot be asserted, to the satisfaction of a rational inquirer, that the external, visible change in the conduct of a man, who,
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before his regeneration, has with a good degree of uniformity exhibited a conscientious, becoming, and amiable life is, after his regeneration, so great, as to convince the mind, that he has experienced this radical alteration of character. Converse, however, even with such men, in a course of intimate Christian familiarity; and you will always find a radical difference in their views, sentiments, and conduct; a difference realized by themselves, and obvious to you. On this subject a Minister of the Gospel ought to be allowed to possess peculiar knowledge, because he has peculiar advantages for acquiring it. Ministers converse in this manner more extensively than any other class of mankind; and have, therefore, more various, and more abundant, opportunities of gaining an acquaintance with facts of this nature. These opportunities I have myself enjoyed; and have here declared nothing but what I have often witnessed.
Yet these are not the cases, which ought to be here insisted on. Instances, less liable to doubt and misconstruction, exist in numbers, amply sufficient to place the point in debate beyond every reasonable objection. Wherever known Infidels, or other open and gross sinners, have suddenly, and finally renounced not only their false opinions, but their evil practices; and have continued through life to profess uniformly the doctrines, and to exhibit regularly and increasingly, the duties of Christianity; the case becomes decisive; and must, unless we cease to reason concerning human nature and human conduct upon known and established principles, satisfy every candid inquirer. The conduct in both cases proceeds from the heart. The state of the heart, therefore, or its moral character, was in the one case as opposite to what it was in the other, as the conduct. The evil conduct proceeded from an evil heart; the good conduct from a good heart; and this change of the heart from evil to good, or from sin to holiness, is the very change, which in the Scriptures is styled regeneration.
Among instances of this nature, Col. Gardiner may be mentioned as one; and the Rev. John Newton as another; both extraordinary, convincing, and, so far as I can see, unexceptionable. I have known a considerable number of instances, scarcely less extraordinary; some of them by unquestionable information; others by; personal acquaintance. Two of these were examples of habitual drunkenness, perhaps the most hopeless of all evil habits; and the reformation was so entire, and the piety so evident, uniform, and long continued, as to leave no doubts in the minds of sober men, acquainted with the facts. A third instance, well meriting to be mentioned, was a young man of superior talents, formerly educated by me in this Seminary. He devoted himself to the profession of Medicine; and entered upon the practice with advantage. This youth was not only a determined infidel, but an open scoffer at the Bible, Christianity, Christians, and most other subjects of a religious nature. All these he exposed with a pungency of wit, and
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keenness of satire, which few men are capable of employing, and which very few are willing to employ in the same open, gross manner. After some years, spent in this violent course of wickedness, be became seriously alarmed, (I know not on what occasion) concerning his sinful character, and future destiny. If I remember right, he almost, or entirely, despaired, for a time, of the mercy of God; and considered his perdition as sealed. At length, however, he acquired hopes of salvation; and manifested in his conduct the spirit of Christianity, so evidently and uniformly, as to excite a set-tied conviction in The minds of those around him, that he was sincerely a Christian. With entirely new views and purposes, he then quitted the medical profession, and entered upon the study of Theology. After some time he was regularly inducted into the Ministry of the Gospel; and sustained to his death, which happened about twelve or fifteen years afterwards, the character of an able, faithful, and unblameable Minister of Christ.
Instances, of this nature generally, I could multiply extensively, but the time forbids me to proceed any farther in this part of my subject.
4thly. The state of Christianity in the world at large may be fairly adduced as a convincing proof of the reality of this change.
The history of real Christianity is not to be sought for in the accounts, given us of the life, policy, ambition, and violence, of such Rulers, Statesmen, and Warriors, as have assumed the Christian name. The real nature, and influence, of the religion of Christ, are not to be sought for in Camps and Cabinets, in Courts and Palaces. These are the seats of pride and luxury, ambition and cunning, wrath and revenge. Christianity, here, is only put or as an upper garment, to adorn the character, to comport with the fashion or to cover unchristian designs. I do not intend, that this is always the case. There are undoubtedly good men to be found even here. But I mean, that it is much more generally the case, than a good man would wish, or be willing, it should be. When Infidels take their accounts of Christianity from the proceedings of the great; from their luxury, statecraft, conquests, and persecutions they do not, and probably intend not to do, any justice to the subject. In these accounts they impose on their readers, and perhaps on themselves. But they deceive no man of common candour, and tolerable information.
The real effects of Christianity on mankind are to be sought, and found, in still life, quiet society, peaceful neighbourhoods, and well ordered families. Here a thousand kind offices are done, and a thousand excellencies manifested, of which the great and splendid rarely form a conception; and which, nevertheless, present the human character to the view of the mind with an aspect incomparably more lovely than any other.
But, even on the great scale of examination, Christianity has meliorated the affairs of this unhappy world in such a degree, as,
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if thoroughly examined, strongly to evince the truth of this doctrine. If we compare the state of Christian nations, especially the most enlightened and virtuous of them, with that of the most the improved Heathen nations; the only fair mode of instituting a comparison; we shall see ample proof of such a melioration of the human character, as can be justly attributed to nothing but this important change of the human heart. Christianity has removed from among the nations who profess it, polygamy; the selling of children, as slaves, by their parents; the general and brutal degradation of women; the belief of the rectitude of slavery; the supposed right of masters to kill their slaves; the exposure of parents, in their old age, to be devoured by wild beasts; the same exposure of children by their parents; the sacrificing of human victims; the wanton destruction of human life, for amusement, in public games; the impure, brutal, and sanguinary worship, practised in the regions of idolatry; together with many of the horrors of war, and captivity, and many other enormous evils of a similar nature. At the same time, it has introduced milder and more equitable government; established equitable laws, by which nations have, in a considerable degree, regulated their intercourse; given a new sanction to treaties; provided legal support for the poor and suffering; secured the rights of strangers; erected hospitals for the sick, and alms-houses for the indigent; formed, with great expense, a rich variety of institutions for the preservation, and education, of orphans; the instruction of poor children ; the suppression of vice; the amendment of the vicious; and the consolation of the afflicted. It has made better rulers, and better subjects; better husbands, and better wives; better parents, and better children; better neighbours, and better friends. It has established the rational worship of the One, Living, and True God; built churches, in which all men do, or may, worship him, and learn their duty; and, with immense expense, has sent, and is sending, these blessings to the ends of the earth. Whence this difference? Not from the difference of light. The Greeks and Romans were sufficiently enlightened at least to have begun this progress. But they did not take a single step towards real reformation. All that can be said is, their wickedness was a little more polished, than that of their barbarian neighbours. No; it has sprung from that honest and good heart, which is not in man by nature, but is given him by the Spirit of God. Such hearts, found here and there, like dispersed stars, seen through the interstices of a clouded sky, diffuse a feeble radiance over Christian countries, and prevent the otherwise absolute darkness. Howard, intensely illumined with the benevolence of the Gospel, shed a lustre over the whole Christian world. Inferior lights are every where scattered; and their combined influence is every where felt. Were the same character that of all men; the change in human affairs would be such, as to
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demand no arguments to prove a change of heart. As the state of things is, it is plain; that the spirit of the Martyrs was not in their persecutors, the spirit of Howard was not in Voltaire: the spirit of Alfred was not in Frederick II. He who cannot see this is unable because he will not, and may well assured, that under the influence of his present temper he has lost the power of moral discrimination.