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more plainly, profitably, and successfully, than the Apostle Paul. He surpassed all the other Apostles in both the manner, matter, and success of his preaching. He was instrumental of turning thousands, if not millions of mankind from darkness to light, and from the delusions of Satan unto God. And still his mode of preaching is every where spoken against, both by preachers and people, but more generally by preachers, who are afraid of being reproached for metaphysical preaching; though it is utterly impossible to allege one solid objection against his mode of preaching, which was the best calculated to answer the best and most important ends of preaching the gospel.

3. If Paul, for good reasons, chose and adopted the very best mode of preaching; then no other reason can be assigned for disliking and reproaching it, but a dislike to the precious and important doctrines of the gospel, which his mode of preaching exhibits in the clearest and strongest light. And this is the very cause, which those, who dislike and reprobate it, either indirectly, or directly show to be the cause of their disapprobation and reproach. Some ministers show this to be the cause of their disapprobation, by neglecting to preach upon the same subjects and in the same manner, that the Apostle did ; and others, by openly and boldly preaching against the doctrines, which he preached, and the manner of his preaching them. And people manifest their disapprobation, by saying, they love to have it so, and by choosing to have such preachers. Now, it is easy to see, that whenever both ministers and people generally unite in disliking the doctrines that Paul preached, and his manner of preaching them, that metaphysical preachers will be neglected, or opposed, or set aside. And whenever there are none, or but very few, who dare to go into a synagogue, or house of publick worship and reason three sabbaths, or three months, or a year and six months, upon the great and essential doctrines of the gospel, as Paul did ; a wide door will be opened for the propagation and spread of gross and fatal religious errour among all


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classes of people. It is no small, venial evil, for either ministers or people to speak reproachfully and contemptuously of metaphysical preaching, for the real purpose of bringing the essential and fundamental doctrines of the gospel into contempt. No person, who loves these doctrines,is ever displeased in hearing them explained, proved, and set in the strongest light, by preachers. It is not metaphysical preaching, but the doctrines metaphysically preached, that is so much disliked, opposed, and reproached. When we hear either preachers or people speak against metaphysical preaching, we need to be at no loss, what their meaning, or design is, or what consequences will flow from their artful and pernicious conduct. They employ the smoothest, easiest, and most effectual method, to prevent the spread of truth, and promote the spread of errour, that ever has been, or can be employed. Such

, deceivers are extremely dangerous, and their artifice ought to be exposed, condemned, and resisted, by all preachers and lovers of the truth.

4. If Paul preached plainly, in order to preach profitably; then other ministers ought to preach plainly, for the same important purpose. Paul's plain preaching offended and disaffected many of his hearers. But this did not prevent his preaching plainly; for his design in preaching was not to please men, but to profit them, and please God. So he said to the Galatians, who had forsaken him, and followed false teachers. “I marvel, that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, than that we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you, than that ye received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." If Paul could not please both God and man, by preaching divine truths plainly, then, no other ministers can expect to please both God and man by plain preaching. But as Paul chose to please God and profit men, by preaching plainly, rather than to please men to their own destruction; so ministers ought to make the same choice, and preach in the same manner, and leave the event to God, whether the truth they deliver shall be a savour of life unto life, or a savour of death unto death to their hearers. Plain and profitable preaching will always produce one, or the other of these important effects. Paul was willing to please men in every thing, except neglecting to preach truth plainly, and all ministers should be wilsing to do the one, and not the other. No preacher in the world can find a solid excuse for not preaching plainly and profitably, through fear of offending, or a desire of pleasing men. This, in many cases, is an extremely great trial. For by preaching plainly and profitably, many ministers have lost both the favour and support of their people, and involved themselves in great, distressing, and lasting temporal evils. But though such calamities may be foreseen, in consequence of ministers preaching plainly and faithfully, they have no right to shrink from the trial ; but feel and say with the Apostle, “ None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

5. If ministers ought to preach plainly and profitably, as Paul did; then people ought to approve of their preaching in such a manner, though it be not pleasing to their natural hearts. People have no right to desire preachers to seek to please them simply, but they ought to desire them to seek to save them. How thankful have many been, who have been recovered from the delusions of false teachers, to the knowledge of the great and saving truths of the gospel, by plain and profitable preaching? Thousands, whom Paul instrumentally turned from pagan and fatal delusions,

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were ready to give him their eyes, for joy. People never desire their physicians to please them at the risk of their life, and it is no less criminal and absurd, to desire their ministers to please them, at the risk of their eternal salvation. But how many at this day, are running after false teachers, who are crying peace, peace to them, while they are standing on the brink of endless destruction! Such persons will not so much as give a hearing to plain and profitable preaching, and endeavour to prevent others from hearing it. Their folly will sooner or later be made manifest.

6. This subject calls upon all to inquire, whether they approve, or disapprove of plain and profitable preaching. There is nothing more sensibly affects the heart than preaching, and therefore there is nothing, which has a greater tendency to discover to every person, whether

his heart is good, or bad, than his feelings under preaching, whether the preaching be good, or bad. To be pleased with bad preaching, is one of the surest marks of a bad heart; and to be pleased with good preaching is one of the surest marks of a good heart. You have all had an opportunity to hear both bad, and good preaching; now let me ask, which has been the most pleasing? Your feelings are a mark to yourselves, if you never express them to others; and they are a mark to others, if you express them. How ready are people to express their feelings in respect to preaching, not considering that they thereby expose both their understanding and hearts. Be entreated then, to examine your feelings, for your own benefit, and for the benefit of others.




GENESIS xviii. 25. That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked : and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

When God was about to destroy Sodom, he appeared to Abraham and told him his design. This deeply affected the benevolent heart of that pious man, who instantly offered the most fervent and importunate cries to the Father of mercies, to spare that corrupt and degenerate city. And the only plea he urged before the Supreme disposer of all events was the rectitude of his own character. 66 And Abraham drew near and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city : wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this mannar, to slay the righteous with the wicked; and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Abraham implicitly acknowledges, that it would be right for God to punish the guilty who deserved to be punished, but not to punish the innocent who did not deserve to be punished. This leads us to conclude,

That Abraham knew, that God is a being of moral rectitude. I shall show,

I. That God is a being of moral rectitude; And,
II. Consider how Abraham could know this.

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