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fully lay open the gospel scheme, and thereby lay open the nature and importance of all created and uncreated objects, as they stand connected with it. And this at once gives both meaning and weight to every expression they use. Accordingly, when they speak of God, they are understood to mean that Being who exists of himself, who determines all events, who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will, and who carries in his hand the eternal interests of the whole creation. When they speak of the law of God, they are understood to mean a law, which requires perfect obedience on pain of his eternal displeasure. When they speak of the justice of God, they are understood to mean that justice, which will doom all the finally impenitent to endless perdition. When they speak of the mercy of God, they are understood to mean that sovereign mercy, which saves one sinner, and which leaves another to perish in his sins forever. When they speak of love to God, they are understood to mean that impartial, universal, disinterested charity, which never seeks her own, but always prefers the divine glory and the general good, to the personal happiness of any

individual. When they speak of submission to God, they are understood to mean absolute, unconditional submission. When they speak of obedience to the divine commands, they are understood to mean nothing short of true holiness. When they speak of regeneration, they are understood to mean the renovation of the heart by the divine Spirit. When they speak of saints, they are understood to mean the elect of God, vessels of mercy, and heirs of glory. And when they speak of sinners, they are understood to mean totally depraved, guilty, hell-deserying creatures, who are constantly exposed to eternal destruction. In short, let them treat on what subject Oeca,


they will, their meaning is both plain and important, which gives a peculiar weight and energy to every word they speak.

Besides, they have the advantage of speaking under the united weight and influence of the whole of the divine system. As they consider every subject in .connexion with the whole counsel of God, so the whole counsel of God seems to be more or less brought into view by every subject they bandle, which necessarily gives it additional force and solemnity. For, the whole counsel of God inseparably connects time and eternity, heaven and hell, all worlds, and all beings in the universe. And every truth exbibited in such a connexion as this, must appear unspeakably weighty and solemn to every discerning mind. Hence their preaching has a superior power to seize the hearts and consciences of men; and the gospel, as it falls from their lips, falls, as our Savior says, like a weighty stone, which will grind every opposer to powder. Hence,

5. It is of vast importance, that those who undertake to preach the gospel, should make it appear as it really is, one great, comprehensive, and perfectly connected scheme. This is the apostolic mode of preaching, and this is the best mode of preaching, that ministers can possibly pursue. There is no other, as we have just observed, which will give their discourses such a superior weight and solemnity. But besides this advantage, they will derive many others of equal importance, from exhibiting the full import and extent of the gospel

One is, that they will preach much more consistently. This is a point worthy of their particular and constant attention. For, consistency is the beauty and ornament, if not the essence of good preaching. And this arises from considering the relation which one truth bears to another, and which each bears to

the whole counsel of God. While preachers lay open this uniform scheme, they are obliged to keep the general connexion of divine truths in view, which will naturally produce a beautiful consistency through all their discourses. But, whenever they explode systems and despise forms in preaching, they are perpetually liable to fall into the grossest contradictions and absurdities. And indeed we find this two often exemplified. A series of inconsistency runs through the whole course of some men's preaching. They not only contradict in one discourse, what they have said in another; but they say and unsay, assert and deny the same things in the same discourse. Such inconsistency is very disagreeable and detrimental in preaching. It strengthens infidels, and wounds the feelings of believers. And therefore to avoid this, it is of absolute importance, that ministers should preach the whole counsel of God.

Again, they must preach in this manner, if they wish to distinguish themselves from false teachers, who corrupt the gospel and destroy the souls of men. Such teachers, amidst all their follies and absurdities, always preach some truth, but not the whole truth, The best way therefore, to expose their errors, and to defeat their influence, is to preach the whole truth, or declare the whole counsel of God, which contains that perfectly uniform and consistent scheme of religion, which stands opposed to all the dreams and delusions of weak and wicked men. If any preacher will only lay open the great design, the full extent, and final opera . tion of thegospel, he will effectually distinguish his character and convince every hearer,that he is no Arminian, no Antinomian, no Socinian no Arian, no Universalist, no Deist. And surely every faithful minister must feel the importance of distinguishing himself from the va. rious species of lieretics, in order to discountenance ersor, and throw the whole weight of his influence into the scale of truth.

Again, by preaching the whole counsel of God, ministers will convey the largest portion of knowledge to their hearers. Those preachers, who perpetually swim upon the surface of the gospel, never teach their people any real knowledge of the great system of Christianity. For no subject in divinity can be said to be really known, without being known in its various connexions with the other branches of divinity, and with the general scheme of divine grace. But superficial preachers, who never lay open the gospel as one great, uniform, consistent design, never represent one doctrine of religion in its full and proper connexion. Hence they never convey much real instruction to their hearers, by their vague and indeterminate preaching. But those who declare the whole counsel of God, are always instructive. They truly enlighten the minds and enlarge the views of their hearers, by every sermon they peeach. For, in every discourse, they further unfold some part of the great design of the Deity. And after their hearers have once become acquainted with the general scheme of the gospel, they will receive instruction with peculiar ease and avidity. Common people are capable of understanding the gospel, if it be plainly and fully exhibited. Their ignorance therefore, which is so often complained of, is more owing to a want of opportunity, than to a want of capacity or disposition to learn. Let ministers only declare the whole counsel of God, and it will soon appear, that their people are very ready and very able to understand the gospel.

Once more, ministers must declare not only the truth, but the whole truth in their preaching, if they mean to be faithful either to themselves, or to their

people. So Paul thought. "I am pure from the blood of all men.

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” He sincerely aimed to represent God, and Christ, and heaven and hell, and all beings, and all objects, in the very same light, in which he really expected they would finally appear, at the winding up of the glorious gospel. By this mode of preaching, he told his hearers the truth, and the whole truth, and so did all that lay in his power, to save them from ruin, and to raise them to happiness. This was real faithfulness to them, and to himself. And this accordingly gave him inward peace and satisfaction of mind, and made him feel that he had been an honest and faithful minister of Christ. If ministers then, wish to be pure from the blood of all men, and to gain the approbation of God and of their own minds, they must declare, with fidelity and plainness, the whole counsel of God. Nothing short of this can entitle them to the present character and future rewards of the faithful.

I now beg leave, according to a long established custom on these occasions, to apply this discourse to my fathers and brethren in the ministry.

REVEREND SIRS! My subject suggests one distinguishing mark of ministerial fidelity. And it deeply concerns us to inquire and determine, whether we have this mark in our favor. Let us then seriously ask, and permit conscience to answer, such questions as these_Have we really intended to declare the whole counsel of God, without the least ambiguity or reserve? Have we honestly en. deavored, as far as our opportunities and abilities would permit, to make our people know all that we know about the gospel, which comprises all the designs and

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