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what Jesus Christ reproves in the Pharisees and Scribes of his time, IVo unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone, Matt. xxiii. 23. Perhaps these words of our Saviour may be parellel to those of St. James. The Apostle had been recommending love, and at length lie tells the Jews, who, in the style of Jesus Christ, omitted mercy, that whosoever should keep the whole law, and yet offend in this one point, would be guilty of all.

But, as we observed just now, St. James did not intend to restrain what he said to love. If he had a particular view to the theological system of some Jews, he had also a general view to the morality of many christians, whose ideas of devotion are too contracted. He informs them, that a virtue incomplete in its parts cannot be a true virtue. He affirms, that he, who resolves in his own mind to sin, and who forces his conscience to approve vice, while he commits it, cannot in this manner violate one single article of the law without enervating the whole of it. A man cannot be truly chaste without being humble: nor can he be truly humble without being chaste. For the same reason no man can deliberately violate the law, that forbids anger, without violating that, which forbids avarice; nor can any man violate the law, which förbids extortion, without violating that, which forbids impurity. All virtues are naturally united together, and mutually support one another. The establishment of one unjust maxim authorizeth all unjust maxims. This is the meaning of the proposition in our text, IV hosoever offendeth in one point is guilty of all.

Hitherto we have only explained the sense of our text, it remains now to be proved. The proposition of our apostle is founded on three principal reasons. He, who sins in the manner just now described, he, whose mind resolves to sin, and who forces his conscience to approve vice, while he commits it, sins against all the precepts of the law, while he seems to sin against only one. 1. Because he subverts, as far as he can, the foundation of the law. 2. Because, although he may not actually violate all the articles of the law, vet he violates them virtually, I mean to say, his principles lead to an actual violation of all the precepts of the law. 3. Because, we may presume, he, who violates the law virtually, will actually violate it, when it suits him to do so. These Vol. IV.



three reasons establish the truth of our apostle's proposition, and justify the sense, that we have given it. The discussion of these three reasons will be the second part of our discourse,

II. He, who violates one precept of the law in the manner just now described, violates all; because, first, he subverts, as far as in him lies, the very foundation of the law. This will clearly appear by a comparison of vice with error, heresy with disobedience. There are two sorts of errors and heresies: there are some errors, which do not subvert the foundation of faith, and there are other errors, that do subvert it. If, after I have honestly and diligently endeavoured to understand a passage of scripture proceeding from the mouth of God, I give it a sense different from that, which is the true meaning of ir; if I give it this sense, not because I dispute the authority of an infallible God: but because I cannot perceive, that it ought to be taken in any other sense than that, in which I understand it; I am indeed in an error : but by falling into this error I do not subvert the foundation, on which my faith is built. I always suppose the authority, and infallibility of God, and I am ready to renounce my error, as soon as I am convinced, that it is contrary to divine revelation.

But if, after it has been made to appear with irrefragable evidence, that my error is contrary to divine revelation, and if, moreover, after it has been made to appear, that revelation came from God, I persist in my error, then, by sinning against one point I become guilty of all, because, by denying one single proposition of revelation, I deny that foundation, on which all other propositions of revelation are built, that is the infallibility and veracity of that God, who speaks in our scriptures. I put in the place of God my reason, my wisdom, my tutor, my minister, whomever, or whatever de termines me to prefer my error before that truth, which I am convinced is clearly revealed in a book, that came from heaven.

In like manner there are two sorts of vices, some, which do not subvert the foundation of our obedience to the laws of God, and others, that do. In the first class are those sins, which we have enumerated, daily infirmities, transient faults, and involuntary passions. In the second class ought to be placed those sins of deliberation and reflection, of which we just now spoke, and which our apostle had in view. These

sins strike at the foundation of our obedience to the law of God.

What is the ground of our obedience to the divine laws ? When God gives us laws, he may be considered under either of three relations, or under all the three together, as a sovereign, as a legislator, as a father. Our obedience to God considered as a sovereign, is founded on his infinite authority over us, and on our obligation to an entire and unreserved submission to him. Our obedience to God as a legislator is founded on his perfect equity. Our obedience to God as a Father is founded on the certain advantages, which they, who obey his laws, derive from them, and on a clear evidence; that because he ordains them, they must be essential to our happiness. Now he, who sins coolly and deliberately 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 command me to be chaste, and so on. He saps the foundation of that obedience, which is due to God considered as a law giver ; if he imagine God is just in giving such and such a law: but not in prescribing such and such rıher 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, address ng 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, excellencies, 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, iny palace, my equipage, my


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Dalilah, my Drusilla. To offend in one point in this sense is to be guilty of all; because 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 law.

2. The man, who offends in the manner, that we have described, he, who in his mind resolves to sin, and endeavours 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 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 clamour and dissipation, is not respect for that God, who commands recollection, retreat, and silence: but he affects these, because he has less aversion to retirement and silence, than he has to noise, clamour, 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 inorose, would induce him to be always abroad, always avoiding a sight of himself by fleeing from company to company, from one dissipati 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 endeavours 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 security, is your inability to resist to day the first impressions 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



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. But a man, who deliberately offends in one point, not only offends in


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