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tion; among which the following I conceive to be the most considerable.
1. Her doctrine must be evangelical. She must not teach repentance without faith, pardon without atonement, nor morality without grace. Christ must be exhibited in virtue of his obedience unto death, as exalted to be a saviour as well as a prince; as seated on a throne of grace and mercy, dispensing the aids of his spirit and the blessings of forgiveness, as well as on a throne of dominion issuing his laws and commandments. Again, the doctrine of repentance must be thoroughly opened; the false notions concerning it, and that have always prevailed in the world, must be detected; its true nature must be unfolded, and shown to consist in nothing short of a moral revolution, by which a man becomes so much changed in his principles and views (and not barely in his outward conduct) that, in the language of scripture, he may properly be denominated (xorn 27015) a new creature. Further, in explaining the means by which this change is effected, it must be shown, that it is not educed from any powers of nature; that it neither originates from any principles derived to us as the offspring of Adam ; nor follows as a natural consequence, either from our own exertions, or from the arguments or persuasions of others; that it is not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God; and must be sought as a gift from the Saviour of the world, who is no less the source of repentance, than he is of pardon and of divine acceptance. Lastly, when the church instructs her members in the duties and offices of civil and social life, let her not forget to connect them with those motives and considerations peculiar to the gospel, besides such as the gospel holds in common with natural religion. A doctrine thus evangelical, when duly dispensed by men who are truly interested in its success, can never fail to attract both a numerous and a willing audience.
But if the people be presented with nothing but a dry morality; if they be pressed with obligations, and have no adequate direction how they may discharge them; if duty be disunited from grace and pardon
ing mercy, through the merits and sacrifice of Christ; or our duties towards man from those we owe to God; if reformation of life be separated from renovation of heart; or the doctrine of manners be substituted for the doctrine which is according to godliness: in these cases, the people either will not listen, or listen with indifference or discouragement. The hungry sheep look up and are not fed; and we cannot wonder, if they betake themselves to other pastures, where they find a more nutritious, or, at least, a more relishing and agreeable aliment.
2. She must pay a proper attention to elementary and catechetical instruction. How important it is to be well grounded in the elements of any art or science, and even of any ordinary business or profession, every one must be sensible; and it would be strange to suppose 'it less necessary in respect to the knowledge of God, and of our moral and religious obligations. Yet, however strange it may be, there are many in these times who think, or at least who speak, and many more who act, as if religion was the only thing which, without any care or culture of man, would grow up of itself, or be inspired of heaven, in its proper or appointed season. But the church, if a true mother, has different thoughts, and will deal otherwise with her children. In dependance on divine aid and blessing, she will take them betimes under her tuition; she will train them up from early childhood in the discipline and admonition of the Lord; she will proportion herself, both in the matter and manner of her teaching, to the measure of their capacity; her matter will be milk and not strong meat, the first and simplest principles of divine truth, natural or revealed, till they are capable of higher discoveries; and her manner will be familiar and catechetical.
Without this introductory mode of teaching, which is now fallen into so much neglect, no church, I conceive, can be very prosperous. It is a primary defect, which afterwards cannot easily be supplied. Children uncatechized may go for years together to church or meeting, without any sensible advance in religious knowledge or improvement; whereas, if prepared by more familiar lessons, there are few sermons that would not yield them some profitable instruction. And let me add, that catechetical lectures are scarcely less proper for some of a more advanced age, who, for want of elementary principles, are almost equally unqualified to understand any regular and digested discourse on divine subjects; nor are they improper for christians of any age or standing, or require less ability in the teacher. “ In truth,” says Bishop Hall, “ the most useful of all preaching is catechetical.”—“For my part,” he adds, “ I have spent the greater half of my life in this station of our holy service : I thank God, not unpainfully nor unprofitably: but there is no one thing of which I repent so much, as not to have bestowed more hours in this exercise of catechizing. In regard whereof, I could quarrel with my very sermons, and wish that a great part of them had been exchanged for this preaching conference *.” And Dr. Fuller, well known for his church history, expresses his earnest desire that, “ The ancient and primitive ordinance of catechizing might be restored.”