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soundest deductions of philosophy. There are those, we well know, who regard the idea of a new birth, or second creation, on which the New Testament so strenuously insists, as only fit to be embraced by weak and canting enthusiasts. But we take our stand on the broad ground of common sense, and affirm, that, without a radical change of views, and feelings, and pursuits, a being naturally corrupt can never become virtuous and happy. And how is this great revolution to be effected? We answer, only by divine power. We admit that moral suasion may, in some instances, produce a partial and temporary reformation. We farther admit that it may even produce a partial reformation that shall be permanent. But it can do no more. It cannot regenerate the soul. It has no creative energy. Vainly does it issue its fiat“ Let there be light,” across the dark chaos of man's heart. The mandate is an empty sound. No light rises into being. The gloom remains as thick and palpable as it was before. We repeat it-regeneration can be accomplished only by the agency of the almighty Spirit. The same power which gave existence to the human being at first, is requisite to new-model his depraved affections, and re-constitute his entire moral system.

But, brethren, we may admit the fact of man's natural corruption, and we may farther admit the doctrinal inference as to the necessity of regeneration, which has just been drawn from it-we may admit both these truths, as a matter of mere speculation, and yet be really in no better condition, as to our immortal interests, than those who will concede neither the one for the other. The grand question is, Have we been born again ? Have our souls been renovated by the power of the High and Holy One?-Let us entreat you, dear hearers, to urge this momentous query on your consciences. O! remember

that, without a change of heart, you must perish-perish for ever. Rest assured, that the threshold of heaven shall never be crossed by one individual of the human family, who has not been the subject of a second creation -in whom old things have not passed away, and all things become new, Without holiness-that holiness which has its origin in regeneration—no man shall see the Lord.

SERMON VIII.

VIII.

JEREMIAH II. 12, 13.

“Be astonished, Oye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”,

Jeremiah commenced his ministry in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah. He was very young when called to the prophetical office, and on this ground would gladly have excused himself. “Ab, Lord God,” said he, “behold, I cannot speak, for I am a child."

This modest plea, however, could not be admitted by Jehovah. His language to Jeremiah was: “Say not, I am a child : for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee, thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces; for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.” We are told, that God then put forth his hand and touched the prophet's lips, adding, “ Behold, I put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build and to plant."

It was the lot of Jeremiah to sustain the prophetical office at a period in which the Jews had grown exceedingly corrupt. He was commissioned by God to reprove them for their abandonment of the divine ordinances, and to warn them, that, if they continued in their idolatrous practices, the severest national judgments would be the certain and the speedy consequence.

The prophet, speaking in the name of his God, here accuses his countrymen the Jews of two enormous sins; first, their abandonment of Jehovah; and second, their adherence to idols. The former is represented under the figure of their forsaking the fountain of living waters, and the latter under that of their bewing out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that could hold no water. Now, such conduct was surely unwise and criminal in no ordinary degree. It indicated the deepest ingratitude towards their best Benefactor. It likewise betrayed the most glaring disregard for their own truest interests. Well, therefore, might the inhabitants of heaven be solemnly called upon to contemplate it with astonishment and horror.

But the passage before us, though penned originally in reference to the ancient Jews, may be readily accommodated to the case of many in our own day. There are not a few. at the present period, with regard to whom it may be affirmed, that they have done the identical thing here alleged against the idolatrous descendants of Abraham--that they have committed two evils; one in forsaking the fountain of living waters, that is, rejecting the gospel of Christ; and another in hewing out for themselves cisterns, that can hold no water, that is, relying for pardop and acceptance with the Deity, ou views of their own suggestion, and schemes of their own invention.

We bave said, that the number of those wbo thus act, is considerable. By this assertion it is not intended to intimate that a formal and an avowed substitution of some other system of religion in the room of Christianity, prevails to any extent in our own country. Such an intimation would be incorrect. Infidelity, in the strictest sense of the term, has been going out of fashion for the last fifteen or twenty years. Our politicians, whose business it is to study the thermometer of public sentiment and, feeling, are not now ambitious of the reputation of sceptics. They have generally no desire to display their familiarity with the writings of unbelievers. An honest Christian is no longer backward in saying, that he thinks the “ Age of Reason,” the production of an ignorant, a vulgar, and an impious mind. All this he may venture to assert without hearing in reply, that he should not speak harshly of one to whose services as a political writer our country is so much indebted, as if any thing could make amends for open, deliberate, and high-banded blasphemy, and as if the services in question had not been more than repaid by the very kind of consideration for which they were rendered.—The number of professed infidels, then, is now small. But the number of virtual infidels-of those who, whatever may be their theoretical views of the gospel, reject it in practice—is not small. We may presume, without a breach of charity, that there are such in the audience before us, and consequently, that the passage to which we would direct your attention this morning, is by no means inapplicable and inappropriate. May the Spirit of the Most High-the all-powerful Agent of salvation-accompany our remarks with his blessing!

The first sin condemned in our text, is that of " forsaking the fountain of living waters,” or, as we propose to understand the passage, “ rejecting the gospel of Christ.” The position which we lay down is this, that the bare rejection of the Christian system, no matter what may be the particular merits of the scheme substituted in its stead, is a flagrant offence in the estimation of Godan offence sufficient to ruin eternally the individual who commits it-an offence of such a nature, that all the pure beings in the universe look upon it with mingled emotions of wonder and dismay.

We shall here take it for granted, that the gospel, or, in other words, the system of religion exhibited in the New Testament, is divine in its origin. Our limits will not allow us to present even an outline of the various evidences which might be urged in support of this truth. We may confidently affirm, that they are quite sufficient to produce the fullest conviction in every attentive and impartial mind. Certain it is, that they obtained the assent of Newton and Locke, two of the most illustrious master-spirits of our race. We know, indeed, that some have referred the faith of those great men to the influence of prejudice, and that an infidel of the last century, distinguished for his wit, has adverted to Newton's belief in Christianity, as a signal instance of the occasional weakness, into which intellects of the highest order may fall. But we have no right to presume, that philosophers, in whom cautiousness of inquiry and slowness of decision were eminently characteristical traits, would yield a hasty credence to the gospel of Christ. All that we know of their mental qualities and habits forbids us to suspect, that they embraced the Christian system without a careful and thorough investigation of the grounds on which it challenges the homage of mankind. They, no doubt, closely

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