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son know, that an incendiary designed to fire a town, on such a night, and yet give no information to the inhabitants, the public opinion would scarcely be less unfavourable concerir ing him, than concerning the incendiary himself. He, who conceals a plot against the State, is punished by human laws, for misprision of treason.

Let it not be considered, therefore, as arbitrary or se vere, that the divine law condemns defects, as well as positive offences. We could scarcely find a person, who would deliberately deny the criminality of being indifferent to God, and the happiness of his creatures. It has now been shown, I conceive, that every action of man; that every intention and desire; and that every defect in devotion, gratitude, kindness and purity, is just matter of punishment. If it is not so, the contrary may he shown: but if it is so, to complain of the extent and preciseness of divine requisitions, will be worse than useless. If reason approves the divine law, it is unreasonable to complain.

The way is now prepared to make some direct inquiries, as to the human character. If the law has been correctly stated, nothing remains, but to apply it to human feelings and actions. That there is universally prevailing some degree of departure from this law; that there neither is, nor has been any person on earth, living to years of discernment, by whom the reasonable requirements of God have not been violated, in a degree, greater or less, is what may, without any impropriety, be taken for granted. For, although we sometimes hear persons mentioned, as perfectly innocent, and perfectly pure, the language is evidently the result either of passion or levity ;' and the person using it, when called upon, will hardly essay to make any defence. It is evidently true, then, as the scriptures declares, that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Therefore, wbatever be the penalties of the divine law, all are exposed to them.

If there is any difficulty in admitting this conclusion, you will consider, that to the determination of the general ques

tion of a man's innocence or guilt, it is not necessary to as certain the degree, to which he has violated the law. That may be necessary to a right apportioning of punishment, but not to a decision, that punishment is due. If I have walked uprightly in ninety nine instances, and perversely in one, it is as true, that the law is broken, as if the instances of perverseness were more numerous ; though the merited punishment is less. There are, in our civil code, laws against murder, robbery, theft, and forgery. Should a man be indicted for the last crime, and brought to trial, it would avail nothing to plead, that the crime had been committed but once. Nothing more than that is contained in the indictment. It does not set forth, that the crime has been repeated. Nor does the law declare, that forgery is no crime, unless repeated. One act of the kind renders a man liable to condemnation. So, if a person commit robbery on the highway, it will avail nothing to plead, that he has suffered a hundred persons to pass without injury.

It being conceded, that all have sinned in some instances, let those instances be ever so few, it is no less certain, that all are justly condemned; it being always understood, that punishment, following condemnation, will be proportionate to the degree of guilt.

Let us now inquire, whether the quantity of human guilt be small.

Perhaps there is no crime, which finds fewer advocates than ingratitude. Persons accused of this, may deny the charge; but they never attempt to justify the disposition. They never say, that there is no obliquity and demerit in being unmindful of benefits. If a moral fitness is discernable on any occasion, it is so on an occasion of favours bestowed and received. In proportion to these favours is the degree of demerit attached to ingratitude. Agreeable to this, is the sentence, so often quoted from Publius Syrus, Omne dixeris maledictum, quum ingratum hominem dixeris.

With what feelings do we receive and enjoy favors bestowed by our Creator? Qur dependence on him is abso

or

lute and universal. Existence is not more truly his gift, than are all those objects, which render existence valuable. To his munificence are we indebted for intellectual powers, and the means of their cultivation for the sustenance daily provided ;—for the enjoyments, derived from the active and varying scenes of the day, and, from the rest and trapquility of the night. His gift are the relations and friends, whom we love, and from whose affection to us, so considerable a part of the joy of life is derived. His are the showers, which moisten, and the sun, which warms the earth. From Him are the pleasure and animation of spring, and the riches of harvest-all, that satisfies the appetite, supports or restores the animal system, gratifies the ear, charms the eye. With what emotions, let it be asked, are all these objects viewed, and these blessings enjoyed ? Is it the habit of man to acknowledge God in his works, and to attribute all the pleasures and security of life to the Creator's munificence ? Possession and prosperity are enjoy. ed, not as a gift to the undeserving; but as the result of chance or good fortune, or as the merited reward of our own prudence and effort. Were gratitude a trait in the buman character, it would be proportionate to obligation; and where much is received, much would be acknowledged. In this case, the liveliest sense of obligation would be exhibited among the wealthy, and those whose prosperity had been long and uninterrupted. But do facts correspond with this supposition ? Are God, his providence, and bounty most sensibly and devoutly acknowledged by you, who feel no want, and are tried with no adversity? The truth is, our sense of obligations usually diminishes in proportion to the greatness and duration of blessings bestowed. A long course of prosperity renders us the more insensible and irreligious.

But, on no subject is human ingratitude so remarkably apparent, as in regard to the christian religion. I speak not of those, who reject; but of those, who believe christianity; and who, of course, believe that God so loved the world, as lo give his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him, might

not perish. Search all the records of every era and nation; look through the works of God, so far as they are open to human inspection, and you find nothing, which equally displays the riches of divine mercy. The son of God died to save culprits from merited condemnation. But is this subject contemplated with interest, with joy, with astonishment? It is viewed with the most friged indifference, or heart felt reluctance. The human mind, far from considering this, as a favorite subject, flies from it, when occasionally presented.

What inference are we to make from this circumstance ? What conclusion is that, to which reason impels us ? for we ask no gratuitous concessions. We ask you to entertain no opinions in theology, but such as are supported, and such, as, all things considered, it would be. irrational to deny. Ingratitude is universally allowed to imply baseness-moral corruption. Ingratitude towards God cannot, in its nature, be less criminal, than ingratitude to men. Our ingratitude towards our Maker is undeniably clear, and astonishingly great. We are therefore chargeable with a high degree of baseness and ill desert.

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LECTURE VIII.

000:

Human Depravity.

So far, as moral corruption is evinced by ingratitude, flagrant and long continued, the existence of such corruption in our species has been shown. The conclusion rests on this ground. 1. That ingratitude is a crime; and, 2. That men are ungrateful to the Supreme Being. If neither of these propositions is questionable, the conclusion is not to be resisted. If the want of grateful feelings is highly criminal; if it betrays peculiar baseness of temper; and if, at the same time, great munificence is exercised on the part of Deity, the amount of human demerit is not inconsiderable.

We will now attend to another argument. As in the material world the nature of different substances is known by their affinities; so, by its objects of affection and aversion, we ascertain moral character. Let it be known, with persons of what character a man is most fond of associating, and you find no difficulty in determining his own. Attachment to profligate characters, indicates profligacy. Attachment to the virtuous and upright, indicates purity of mind. Should there be in any town, or village, a person of unusual suavily of temper, benevolence of design, and universal correctness of behaviour; whose knowledge and discernment always selected the most suitable seasons and objects for the exercise of his benevolence, would it not follow, that his

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