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against one single article, saps these three foundations of the law. He is, therefore, guilty, of a violation of the whole law.

He saps the foundation of that obedience, which is due to God considered as a master, if he imagine, he may make any reserve in his obedience; if he say, I will submit to God, if he command me to be humble : but not if he coinmand me to be chaste ; and so on.

He saps the foundation of that obedience, which is due to God considered as a lawgiver ; if he imagine God is just in giving such and such a law : but not in prescribing such and such other laws; if he suppose, God is just, when he appoints him to educate and provide for an only son : but that he ceaseth to do right when he commands him to sacrifice him, addressing him in this terrifying style, Take now thy son, and offer him for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains, which I will tell thee of, Gen. xxii. 2. He subverts the foundation of obedience to God as a father, if he suppose, that God hath our happiness in view in requiring us to renounce some passions : but that he goes contrary to our interests by requiring us to sacrifice some other passions, which he may suppose can never be sacrificed without his sacrificing at the same time his pleasure and felicity.

He, who sins in this manner, attributes to the objects, which induce him to sin, excellences, that can be in none but the Creator. He says, It is not God, who is my master, my sovereign: It is the world, it is my company, it is my custom. He says, it is not God, who is just : Justice is the property of my passions, my anger, my vengeance. He says, It is not God, who is the source of my true happiness: it is my gold, my silver, my palace, my equipage, my Dalilah, my Drusilla. To offend in one point in this sense is to be guilty of all; be

cause it subverts the foundation, on which our obedience is built. And this reason is emphatically assigned by St. James in the verses, that follow the text, Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all, for, adds the apostle, He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the laro.

2. The man, who offends in the manner, that we have described, he, who in his mind resolves to sin, and endeavors to force his conscience to approve vice, while he commits it, breaks all the

precepts of the law, because, whether he do actually break them or not, he breaks them virtually, and intentionally. He violates precepts of generosity : but he does not fall into debauchery. Why? Is it because he respects the divine laws, which prohibit debauchery? No, but because, not being alike inclined to both these vices, he enjoys less pleasure in excess than in avarice. Could he find as much pleasure in violating the laws, that prohibit excess, as he finds in violating those, which forbid avarice, then, the same principle, that impels him now to an incessant, immoderate love of gain, would impel him to drown his reason in wine, and to plunge himself into all excesses. By violating, then, laws commanding generosity, he violates, if not actually, yet virtually, laws prohibiting debauchery. What keeps him from violating the laws, that forbid clamor and dissipation, is not respect for that God, who commands recollection, retreat, and silence : but he effects these, because he has less aversion to retirement and silence, than he has to noise, clamor, and dissipation. Had he as much dislike of the first, as he has of the last, then, the same principle, that now induces him to be always alone, always either inaccessible or morose, would induce him to be always abroad, always avoiding a sight of himself by fleeing from company to company, from one dissipation to another. As, therefore, he does not obey the law, that enjoins silence, by his perpetual solitude, so he virtually annihilates the law, that forbids dissipation; and here again to offend in one point is to be guilty of all.

In fine, he, who offends in the manner, that we have explained, he, whose mind determines to sin, and who endeavors to force his conscience to approve his practice, sins against all the precepts of the law, while he seems to offend only in one point, because, there is sufficient reason to believe, he will some time or other actually break those laws, which now he breaks only intentionally. Here, my brethren, I wish each of you would recollect the mortifying history of his own life, and reflect seriously on those passions, which successively took place in you, and which by turns exercise their terrible dominion over all them, who are not entirely devoted to universal obedience. What proceeds only from a change of circumstances we readily take for a reformation of manners; and we often fancy, we have made a great progress in holiness, when we have renounced one vice, although we have only laid aside this one to make room for another, that seemed opposite to it : but which was a natural consequence of the first. What elevates you to-day into excesses of ungoverned joy is your excessive love of pleasure. Now, it is natural to suppose, this excessive love of pleasure, which elevates you into immoderate joy now that the objects of your pleasure are within your reach, will plunge you into depths of melancholy and despair, when you are deprived of these objects. That which induces you to-day to slumber in carnal se



eurity, is your inability to resist to-day the first iinpressions of certain objects; but if you

know not how to resist to-day the impressions of such objects as lull you into security, you will not know how to resist to-morrow the impressions of other objects, which will drive you to despair ; and so this very principle of non-resistance, if I may so call it, which makes you quiet to-day, will make you desperate to-morrow. There is no greater security for our not falling into one vice, than our actual abstinence from another vice. There is no better evidence, that we shall not practise the sins of old men, than our not committing the sins of youth. Prodigality is the vice of youth, and not to be profuse in youth is the best security that we shall not in declining life fall into avarice, the vice of old age. May one principle animate all your actions, a principle of obedience to the laws of God! then, what keeps you from haughtiness will preserve you from meanness; what saves you from the seduction of pleasure will preserve you from sinking "under pain; what keeps you from inordinate love to an only son, while it pleased God to spare him, will keep you from immoderate disquietude, when God thinks proper to take him away. Bat a man, who deliberately offends in one point, not only of fends intentionally against all the articles of the law: but, it is highly probable, he will actually violate all articles one after another; because, when universal esteem for all the laws of God is not laid down as the grand principle of religious action, the passions are not corrected, they are only deranged, one put in the place of another, and nothing more is necessary to complete actual, universal wickedness than a change of vices with a change of circumstances. All this is yet too vague.

We havé, indeed, en

deavored to explain, and to prove the proposition of our apostle : but unless we enter into a more minute detail, we shall derive very little advantage from this discourse. Those of our auditors, who have most reason to number themselves with such as sin deliberately, will put themselves in the opposite class. The most abandoned sinners will call their own crimes either daily frailties, or transient faults, or involuntary passions. We must, if it be possible, take away this pretext of depravity, and characterize those sins, which we have named sins of reflection, deliberation, and approbation, sins, which place him, who comınits them, precisely in the state intended by our apostle ; he offends in one point, and his disposition to do so renders him guilty of total and universal disobedience. This is our third part, and the conclusion of this discourse.

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III. St. James pronounces in our text a sentence of condemnation against three sorts of sinners. 1. Against such as are engaged in a way of life sinful of itself. 2. Against such as cherish a favorite passion. 3. Against persons of unteachable dispositions.

1. They, who are engaged in a way of life sinful of itself, are guilty of a violation of the whole law, while they seem to offend only in one point.

We every day hear merchants and traders ingeniously confess, that their business cannot succeed, unless they defraud the government. We will not examine whether their assertion be true, we will suppose it to be as they say, and we affirm, that ą trade, which necessarily obliges a man to violate a law so express as that of paying tribute to government, is bad of itself. That disposition of mind, which induces a man to follow it, ought not to be ranked either with those human frailties, transient

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