The premium of three hundred dollars which was awarded to the writer of the Following Essay, was offered by Mr. John Dunlop of Edinburgh, Scot- land* The Judges appointed were, the Reverend Jeremiah Day, D. D. L. L. D. President of Yale Colleqe, the Reverend Edward D. Griffin, D. D* President of Williams Col- lege, and the Reverend Heman Humphrey, D. D. President of Amherst College. The publication of the Essay was delayed some time, for the purpose of receiving the directions of Mr. Dunlop.
But perhaps it may be said, ‘I believe this, but I do not find peace in my conscience.’ Nay, but you do not believe it: if you did, it would certainly bring present relief; for guilt comes from the broken law, and from the apprehension of punishment deserved : but the law has been restored to its dignity, and made infinitely honorable by the righteousness of Jesus—how can you believe this, and yet be under guilt? The punishment was laid upon Jesus, and he suffered all that was due to his people, as their atoning sacrifice—how can you believe this, and yet fear that justice will punish you? A debtor would not fear to be arrested, if his surety had paid the sum, and got him a full discharge. A felon, with the king’s pardon in his pocket, would dishonor it greatly, if he was to live in continual dread and terror of suffering for his crime. Examine carefully, and pray for the right understanding of your case: and depend upon it, you will find that either you do not believe the matter of fact, or the record concerning it.
When the Holy Spirit has convinced a sinner of his being in this unrighteous state, then it becomes an important inquiry — how can the Judge of all the earth ever look upon and treat a sinner, as if he was a righteous person ? To which the gospel answers direct- ly — " God hath made Christ to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
It sometimes happens, that of those who have been conversant one with another — who have dwelt together as neighbors, and have been often together as companions, or united in their relation, and have been together in darkness, bondage, and misery, in the service of Satan some are enlightened, and have their minds changed, are made to see the great evil of sin, and have their hearts turned to God. They are influenced by the Holy Spirit of God, to leave their company that are on Satan’s side, and to join themselves with that blessed company that are with Jesus Christ. They are made willing to forsake the tents of wickedness, to dwell in the land of uprightness with the people of God.
THE WANT OF A DIVINE CALL A MAIN CAUSE OF FAILURE IN THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.
We may sometimes trace Ministerial failure to the very threshold of the entrance into the work. Was the call to thesacred office clear in the order of the church, and according to the will of God? This question bears with vast importance upon the subject. Where the call is manifest, the promise is assured.1 But if we run unsent, our labours must prove unblest. Many, we fear, have never exercised their minds upon this inquiry. But do not we see thestanding ordinance of the church written upon their unfruitful Ministrations—” I sent them not, nor commanded them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the lord?”‘ The blast was not, that their doctrine was unsound, but that they preached unsent.
THE COMER’S CONFLICT: OR, THE BEGINNER’S BATTLE WITH THE DEVIL, WHEN ESSAYING TO COME TO CHRIST BY FAITH.
This subject was handled in two Discourses: The first was delivered at an evening exercise, on Saturday, July 19, 1735, before the celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, at Kinglassie, on the 20th. The second was preached on the Monday, after the administration of that ordinance.
“And as he was yet a-coming, the Devil threw him down, and tare him.” Luke 9:42
In your thoughts of Christ, be very careful that they are conceived and directed according to the rule of the word, lest you deceive your own souls, and give up the conduct of your affections unto vain imaginations.
Spiritual notions befalling carnal minds did once, by the means of superstition, ruin the power of religion.
Frequent thoughts and meditations on heaven under this notion do argue a man to be spiritually minded; for it is a convincing evidence that sin is a burden unto him, that he longs to be delivered from it and all its
consequents, that no thoughts are more welcome unto him than those of that state wherein sin shall be no more.
Not to faint under the daily decays of our outward man, and the approaches of death thereby, to bear afflictions as things light and momentary, to thrive under all in the inward man, are unspeakable mercies
and privileges. Can you attain a better frame? Is there any thing that you would more desire, if you are believers?
“But the men told him to take care of himself, and they would take care of themselves; and as to laws and ordinances they should keep them as conscientiously as he; and as to all his pretense of inward experience, the new birth, repentance and faith, and all that, it might do for such a ragged creature as he had been. All the neighbors knew that he had been a worthless wretch, and it was well indeed that he had got such a coat to cover his nakedness; but they had always gone well dressed, and having never been so bad as he was, needed not so great a change; their laws and ordinances would save them.”