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BY A. DICKINSON.
of this Sermon about thirty thousand copies have already been distributed. It is stereotyped, and such arrangements are made that any quar:tity will be furnished at $25 a thousand, on application to the Editor, 144 Nassau-street, N. Y., or to A. Russel, 5 Cornhill
, Boston, or B. Wells, 17 Franklin-Place, Philadelphia.
Says the N. Y. Evangelist; “It is admirably adapted to tell upon the churches generally, and ought to be universally circulated.” Says the Journal of Humanity; “ The author's Appeal to American Youth, on the same subject, has had an unprecedented circulation; we commend this pamphlet to equal patronage," says the Journal of Health ; " It contains an appeal to all sects and denoininations, and ought to be in every fainily throughout the land.”
Upwards of fifty Clergymen, of five Christian denominations, and belonging to sixteen different States, most of whom are well known to the public as Authors, have furnished, or encouraged the Editor to expect from thom, Serinons for this Work; among whom are the following:
Rev. Dr. Richards, Professor in the Theological Seminary at Auburn ; Rev. Dr. Proudfil, Salem, and Rev. Mr. Beman, Trry; Rev. Drs. Mason, Milnor, Matheus, Spring, Woodbridge, and De Will, New York City; Rev. Dr M Dowell, Elizabethtown, N. J.; Rev. Drs. Aleronder and Miller, Professors in Princeton Theological Seminary; Rev. Professor MClelland, Rut. gers College, New Jersey ; Rev. Drs. Green, Skinner, and Bedell, Philadelphia ; Rev. Dr. Taylor, Professor in New Haven Theological Seminary ; Rev. Dr. Fich, Professor of Divinity, Yale College ; Rev. Asahel Neulelon, Killingworth, Con. ; Rev. Dr. Wayland, President of Brown University; Ri. Rw. Bp. Griswold, Salem, Ms.; Rev. Dr. Griffin, President of Williams College; Reó. Dr. Humphrey, President of Amherst College, Ms.; Rev. Dr. Beecher, Boston; Rev. Professors Porter, Woods, and Stuart, of Andover Theological Seminary ; Rev. Dr. Fisk, President of the Wesleyan University, Middletuwn, Ct.; Rev. Daniel A. Clark, Bennington, Vt. ; Rev. Dr. Rales, President of Middlebury College; Rev. Dr. Matthews, Hanover Theological Seminary, Indiana ; Rev. Dr. Rice, Union Theo. Sem., Virg. ; Rev. Dr. Tyler and Rev. Dr. Payson, Portland, Me.; Rev. Dr. Lord, President of Dartmouth College; Rev. Dr. Church, Pelhain, N. H.; Rev. Dr. Leland, Charlesion. S. C.; Rev. Dr. Coffin, President of E. Tennessee College ; Rev. Prof. Halsey, Western Theo, Seminary. Rev. Dr, Hawes, Hartford, Conn.
LUKE xxiii. 34.-Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do!
THESE words of Christ, which appear to have been uttered at the moment when the pains of the cross began, while they seem in one sense to extenuate the crime of his murderers, in another they aggravate it upon our view. While the Redeemer prays that their sin may be forgiven, on the ground that it was not committed against such an amount of conviction as to render it unpardonable, he clearly intimates that they are doing a deed of more tremendous guilt than they are aware. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, addressing these same murderers of Christ, improves upon the hint here given, and charges home upon them, with all his might, the guilt of having killed the Prince of Life ; and then throws in the intimation, that through ignorance they had done it, and therefore their guilt, however great, was pardonable on their repentance. The prayer of the Savior in the text was in full harmony with the main design of his mission. The same words which convey the idea, that the sin of his murderers was of that class which might be forgiven, express as strongly as words can express the aggravated nature of their crime. They know not what they are doing! They know they are murdering a guiltless man, but his full innocence and worth they do not know. They know they are killing a prophet; but how much more than a prophet, they do not know. They know they are offending the God of heaven, but they do not know the high and awful nature of the offence ;-do not know that every stroke of their wicked hands sends a pang to the heart of God's only Sun.
In such a sense it is true of all sinners that they know not what they do. Sin is quite a different thing in fact, from what it is in the general estimation of sinners. This truth I shall in this discourse endeavor to illustrate, and carry round to different classes of sinners.
In order to do this I shall attempt to show, in the first place, how sinners come at their limited and inadequate views of sin ;-In the second place, I shall show that their views of it are thus limited ;-And, in the third place, apply the truth to different classes of sinners.
I. How do sinners come at their notion that sin is so trifling an affair. They form their estimation of it by false standards, and behold it in a very partial or imperfect light.
They have, in the first place, a very limited view of their own feelings and purposes, while in the course of sin, and infer that they cannot be very guilty because they have never been conscious of a very evil intention. In all their sins, perhaps, they do not remember of having once intended harm against God, or his kingdom. Though the constant feeling of their heart has been that it is a vain thing to serve God—though they have withheld their whole hearts from his service, and withheld obedience from every divine command -have treated God's authority with a contemptuous neglect—have cherished a settled alienation of feeling towards the holiness of God's character and government—and set up a thousand idols in the heart, they think their sin to be trifling, because they think they have meant no harm. They are so deceived as to think they have had no evil intention, and no feeling of opposition to God, when in fact the whole course of their affections has been opposed to his authority and government; when they have been hardening themselves against all the kindness of God, expressed in the gospel, and been wading recklessly through the currents of redeeming blood. They imagine they have done it all out of a feeling of mere good-nature, and that God will not be severe upon them for it.
Again-many derive their limited views of their sins from their meager conceptions of the divine law. They forget that God is a Spirit, spreading the wide canopy of his government over an empire of spirits, and bringing every thought and desire, as really as the doings of the hands and the motions of the tongue, under the control of his law. If a man would carry the impression that every coveting of what it would be sin to gain, is a high offence, and then bring up the remembrance of the ten thousand instances which every day's history would furnish of such coveting, he would no longer look upon his sin as a trifle. Forgetfulness of the holiness and goodness of the law, ministers also to the same levity of feeling on the subject of sin. If the law could be regarded as it is, as a transcript of the heart of God, or letting out of the feelings of infinite love, a barrier reared for the protection of our highest good, and standing between us and endless ruin, the offence against it would appear in some of its true colors of malignity. And then if sin could be seen as it is opposed to God's character, as it comes out in the face of all his holiness and goodness, with a desire to dismantle his throne of every attribute that is lovely to holy beings, the sinner might have some idea of what he is doing. But overlooking these facts, and forgetting that God has an eye that looks in upon the heart, and throws daylight upon the most concealed purposes, he makes little account of what passes within. Though there should be a perpetual flow of that love of the world which is idolatry, a feeling of alienation from God, an aversion to all the forms of communion