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rage me to expect an increasing harvest I may you be found among the fruitful sheaves that will be preserved! And as to the inconsiderate members of our community, that they may escape the pollution that is in the world, through sin, and that they may at last obtain an eternal inheritance in the realms of bliss ;-this must constantly employ our fervent supplication; so that, whether few or many, we may at length become one fold, under one Shepherd, the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Redeemer of all who obey his laws, and trust in him for mercy, even Jesus Christ, the eternal Word. To whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be ascribed all power and praise, for ever and
ROMANS, X. 17.
word of God. You
ou may remember, my brethren, that, some time since, I promised to give you a weekly Lecture, or Discourse, upon that short summary, or account of our Christian faith and practice, commonly called the CHURCH CATECHISM. I have already preached three Sermons to you, as introductory to this undertaking *. My design in it is the pure regard to the welfare of your souls, and an humble and zealous wish to discharge the duties of my ministry among you,
* These three Discourses were published in the second volume of Sermons on several Subjects and Occasions ; printed in 1790, and sold by P. Elmsly in the Strand. VOL. I.
in the most profitable manner I can devise. I have already said so much to you, in the Sermons alluded to, on the usefulness of early Christian knowledge, that it would be difficult to add any thing on the subject, without repcating the very words of those Discourses ; I shall, therefore, make the present introduction as short as possible, and proceed to such a plain explanation of our Church Catechism, as, by serious attention, and prayer to God to assist your humble and hearty endeavours to become his faithful servants, I trust, in due time, will contribute to improve your minds, and amend
Ignorance and idleness are the instruments which assist our great enemy, the evil spirit, in most of his work. It is my earnest wish that none present should afford him such an opportunity against themselves; to which end, I exhort you to come constantly to church, and to listen diligently to what is delivered to you there. Faith (saith the Apostle in the text) cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God: so that you see, the word of God (or Holy Scripture) is the means appointed by God himself, whereby you are to get faith. Now, though many of you cannot read the word, yet all may hear it, if not through your own fault: as, therefore, we are told, that the thing without which we cannot be saved, cometh by hearing, they who forbear coming to hear, are plainly without excuse. It is my duty to afford you every possible means of instruction; but I can do no more: Paul planteth, and Apollos watereth, but it is God only that giveth the increase. To him, therefore, you must apply. But as we all are unworthy to approach him, through the imperfection and sinfulness of a fallen nature; you must avail yourselves of his great mercy towards you on this account, and implore the intercession and interest of that ever-adorable Person, who left the glories of heaven, lived a miserable life on earth, and died a cruel and shameful death, in order that you might have a mediator or friend in himself, to present your imperfect petitions, and help your numberless infirmities. You must call upon Jesus Christ, my friends, the Saviour of the world; whose love was so great towards mankind, from his knowledge of our dreadful condition without a Redeemer, that he humbled himself for our sakes, and took upon him our weak nature, that we might become finally capable of partaking of his divine nature. He lived in this wicked world, to set us a bright example what we must do, if we wish to follow him into glory: he suffered all manner of reproach, poverty, and pain, nay, even the curse of the law, to satisfy that rigid justice we had offended, the effect of which we must otherwise have felt for ever ; and he rose again, to declare his triumph over sin, death, and hell, and to make us again the sons of God, being reconciled to our heavenly Father, through the merits of his most precious sacri. fice. To Him, my brethren, you must apply, to whom is given all power in heaven and earth, even to this blessed Saviour, who sitteth on the right hand of God the Father, to plead for all who trust in him. He will prevail with his Father, to vouchsafe you such a portion of his Holy Spirit, as will enlighten your minds, subdue your carnal lusts and appetites, and assist you in forwarding the needful work of your sanctification. To this end, God, at first, created man. To this end, his beloved Son came into the world to redeem hini. Well, therefore, may we exclaim, O the depth of the riches of God's mercy towards the children of men! that he should design an eternity of happiness, past all description or conception, for creatures, who (if strict justice were to take place) deserve an eternity of punishment! But his mercy is as infinite as his justice, and exacts our gratitude and praise for this astonishing instance of boundless love towards