Dirck C. (Dirck Cornelius) Lansing.

Sermons, on important subjects of doctrine and duty online

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Online LibraryDirck C. (Dirck Cornelius) LansingSermons, on important subjects of doctrine and duty → online text (page 1 of 22)
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Fage 61, sixth line from bottom, for "executing," road— exercising,

" 125, eighth line from bottom, for " promise," read — province.

" 133, eighth Une from bottom, for "him," read — them.

" 151, twelftli line from bottom, for "'men," read — me.

" 166, tenth line from bottom, for " cause," read — because.

" 223, fifth line from bottom, after "that," insert — they.

" 349, tenth line from bottom, after "these," insert — they-

" 257, last line, for " any thing," road — all things.

" 261, first line, for "parable," read — parallel.

" 270, third line from top, for "then," read — that,

" 271, first line, for "ever," read — even.

" 271, ninth line from top, for " of sons," read — of the soni.

" 280, last line, for " put asunder," read — put them asunder.

" 283, seventh lino from top, for " least," read — lest.

■" 308, eighth line from bottom, for " is," read — in.

" 315, second line from top, for " choice," read — chosen.

" 336, last line, after " would," insert— permit any tiling to exist, whick


The duty, ability, and present obligation of sin-

i-JKRS to repent.

Acts xvii, 30 — " B^it now commandeth all men, every
where to repent.'^ 17


The salvation of sinners an act of gracious sove-

Romans ix, 18. — " Therefore hath he mercy on whom he
will have mercy.'''' 35


That some sinners are saved, and not all, the re-
sult op sovereign divine influence.

Matthew sxii, 14. — " For many are called, but few
are chosen." 63

BBn-mons zv.

Sinners voluntarily darken their own understand-

Ephesians iv, 18. — " Having the understanding darkened,
being alienated, from the life rf God throngk the igno-
rance that is in them, because of the blindness of their
heart."" ' ' 71



The hearts of sinners control their understand-

Romans i, 21. — " And their foolish heart was darkened." 8&


The necessity of regeneration.
John iii, 7. — " Ye must be born again." HI

SS2P*I^03? irii.

The obligations of sinneis-s to love God.
Deuteronomy, vi. 5. — " Jind thou shall love the Lord thy
God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with
•11 thy might." 127


The inability of sinners voluntary.
Isaiah xlii, 18. — " Hear, ye deaf ; and look, ye blind, that
ye may see." 141


What it is to preach the gospel. *
Acts xiv, 7. — " Jlnd there they preached the gospel." 157


The hopes of sinners end with the present life.
Luke xvi, 25. — " Son, remember that thou in thy life time
receivedst thy good things.^' 179


On quenching the Spirit.
I. Thessalonians V. 19. — '■'■ Quench 7itt the Spirit." 193


The feelings of penitent sinners.
'Luke xviii, 13. — " God be merciful to me a sinner." 208 VO



The character and end of the righteous and the


Isaiah iii, 10, 1 1. — " Say ye to the righteous, that it shall
be well with him ; for they shall eat the fruit of their
doings. Wo unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him ;
for the reward of his hands shall be given him.''^ 225


The rejection of the gospel criminal, irrational,
and dangerous.

Acts xvii, 32. — " We will hear thee again of this matter.''^ 241


Ministers cannot preach so as to please both God
AND sinners.

Matthew xi, 16, 17, 18, 19. — '' Bui whereuvto shall I
liken this generation ? It is like unto children sitting in
the markets, and calling to their fellows, and saying —
We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced ; we
have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For
John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say,
he hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drink-
ing, and they say, behold, a man gluttonous, and a wine
bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners." 261


The abuse of Divine goodness an evidence of hu-

MiCAH vi, 3. — " O my people, what have I done unto thee ?
And wherein have I wearied thee ? Testify against me." 289


The transgression of the law is sin.

I. John iii, 4. (last clause.) — " For sin is the transgres-
sion of the law." 29!^




John viii, 47. — " He that is of God, heareth God^s words ;
ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." 313

ssRMon xzx.

The Bible a sure instrument in accomplishing the
end for which it was given.

Isaiah Iv, 1 1 . — "■ So shall my word be that goeth forth out
of my mouth ; it shall not rettirn unto me void, but it
shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall pros-
per in the things whereto I sent it." 328


Christians bound to seek the good of others.
Philippians ii, 4. — " Look not every man on his own
things, but every man also on the things of others." 347

To the Members of the Presbyterian
Congregation in Auburn, the following
discourses, which were originally pre-
pared, in the ordinary course of minis-
terial duty, for their improvement, are
inscribed, with an humble prayer that the
blessing of God may attend them, in the
form in which they are now presented —
By their affectionate


To the beloved people of my charge.

My Dear Friends, — Under a permanent and unwa-
vering conviction that we are forming characters for in-
finite joys, or endless sorrows, I have endeavoured, in ray
publick ministrations among you, to declare the whole
counsel of God. I am not conscious that I have in any
instance, either suppressed, or modified the truth, in ac»
commodation to the feelings, or the prejudices, the fas-
four, or the frowns of any man.

It has been an important point of labour with me, to
have my own mind deeply penetrated with a sense of my
responsibility, and with a conviction that I must meet you
all, in the great day of solemn adjudication. Time has
appeared too short ; the glory of this world too transient
and fading; eternity too near and certain in its approach ;
the honour of God, and the souls of men of too much,
value and interest; and a consciousness of my own dread
responsibility has been too deep and pungent, to permit
me to pursue a temporizing policy, when called to preacJf
to you, the eternal truth of the great God.

It is not to be denied that those truths of the Bible,
which charge upon man a character of utter hostility to
all that is lovely in God, and amiable, and sweet in
heaven, and which exhibit his responsibility and destiny,
are offensive to the feelings of his heart. I have been
far from supposing, however, that I might be justified on
this account in suppressing them; sensible as I am that
a faithful and just exhibition of them, is peculiarly adapted
to awaken in the sinner a conviction of his character of
guilt, and his condition of danger.

There is great reason to apprehend, that many of our
fellow-men may be deceived with regard to the ground
of their hope, and may think themselves reconciled to
God, under such views of his character as are utterly
abhorrent to his own heart. Thence, I have laboured
to exhibit such views of the character and government
of God, as it appeared to me he had sanctioned in his
own blessed Word.

The present day is characterized by a peculiar spirit
of Catholicism, which may result in great good, or great
evil to the Church of God. In the tendency which it
has to unite the efforts of Christians in disseminating the
Bible, and extending the boundaries of the kingdom of
our Redeemer, it furnishes occasion for f he liveliest gra-
titude and joy : Yet I hare a very deep conviction, and
not unfrequcntly a trembling apprehension, that the
enemy may improve it to the advantage of the cause of
errour, by lowering through its influence the standard of
Christian character; and lessoning the amount of plain,
faithful, and distinguishing preaching. I can unite with
any set of men, in giving the pure, and unadulterated

word of God, to every son and daughter of Adam:
But am I to choose a Missionary, an Expounder of the
word of hfe? How can I consent to send a man to watch
for souls, whose views differ from my own, on what
appear to me to be the essential attributes of revealed

That is a perversion, and an abuse of the law of
love, that requires any man to sacrifice, or suppress, or
modify, those views of Christian doctrine, which, from
his own experience, have proved themselves rich sources
of consolation to his heart, and which form the pillar and
ground of his faith.

While, therefore, we look with an eye of kindness
upon those who differ with us in their views of truth, let
us be careful that we do not abandon '^ the faith once
delivered to the saints ;^^ and in our zeal for Catholicism
sacrifice those high truths respecting God and his go-
vernment, without which, all the Catholicism in the uni-
verse, would leave us still under the mastery of sin, and
under the condemnation of God's holy and righteous

False views of that charity which the gospel enjoins,
are natural to the human heart ; and there are not wanting
those in community, who, though their lives are immoral,
and though they both virtually and in fact deny the only
Lord God that bought them, do yet claim it as their
right to be called Christians, and to be treated as such;
and whose liberal cathollck views would stop at nothing
short of an unreserved union, with that sentiment of
Pope, which places the gods of the heathen upon the
same throne with Jehovah of Hosts. Be the friends of


whosoever are the friends of Jesus Christ ; unite in the
kindest feelings of Christian love, with those who accord
to God, the universal and undivided sovereignty of all
worlds ; but avoid the advocates of that false philosophy,
which would despoil and blight the glory of your Sa-
viour, and annihilate your hope of future felicity, by
robbing the redemption scheme of its most distinguish-
ing attribute, the sacrificial, or vicarious nature of the
death of Christ.

We are thrown upon times, when, although religion
seems popular, there are few who can bear sound doc-
trine : And it can hardly be viewed otherwise, than an
unhappy indication of a decline in Christiaii knowledge,
that so many professed friends of the cause, express a
chilling indifference to doctrinal preaching, and think a
knowledge of the doctrines of the gospel of little moment.
What is denominated practical preaching, a preaching
which excludes the topical discussion of the great doc-
trines of the gospel, has precedence given it, by many
who profess to believe these doctrines, but who, because
they are offensive to the minds of impenitent men, do
not think it prudent to exhibit them.

Were this the place for discussion, I would do more,
than simply ask, in reply to such views — How those can
hope to be happy in God, let their professions be what
they may, who hate what he has declared true both of
himself and of them ; And further — Hovv' they can know
that they love God, and are pleased with his government,
whilst they are ignorant of the character of both ?

In the discourses which are now presented to you, and
which were originally prepared in the ordinary course of


ministerial duty, and without any view to publication, I
have endeavoured to present some of the important truths
of revelation in their practical relations and tendencies,
placing the principle, and the practice founded on it, by
the side of each other. What the result of this eflbrt
may be, an effort made in compliance with those solicita-
tions of friendship which my feelings would not suffer me
to resist, can be determined by that Being, only, who
employs the instrumentality of earthen vessels, to make
known the excellency of his own power.

To His direction, "loAo is the blessed and only Poten^
tate^ the King of kings, and the Lord of lords" would I
most humbly desire to commit the whole —
While I subscribe myself

Your affectionate and unworthy servant,
In Christ Jesus the Lord,

Auburn^ September 22-, 1825.

i^mm®!? i<

'•But now commandetk all men, every "where to repent.^''

Acts xvii, 30.

It is not my design, at this time, to inquire into the nature
of repentance, and to exhibit, in detail, that series of moral
feehng, that constitutes the essence of godly sorrow. I would
only remark, that the emotion of mind, which we denominate
sorrow, is the same in its nature, when produced by a convic-
tion of sin, as when produced by any other cause. It is the
sorrow of the world, and worketh death, when produced by
worldly causes. It is godly sorrow, and has its issue in ever-
lasting life, when produced by a conviction of having basely,
and causelessly offended our Maker. I forbear, therefore,
making any remarks, specifically, on the nature of repentance,
whilst I endeavour to press the duty, and the ability, and pre-
sent obligation of sinners to perform it.

I. It is the duty of all men to repent.

This duty is solemnly enjoined by the authority of God m the

text : — " But now commandetk all men, every where to repent^

The Scriptures, elsewhere, abundantly enforce it, Jesus


Christ preached that men should repent, and he has made it,
pecuharly, the duty of his ministering servants, in this particu-
lar, to imitate his example. He urged the necessity of repen-
tance upon the Jews, in a most solemn manner, when he applied
Jhe tragical end of those Galileans whose hlood Pilate had min-
gled with their sacrifices, to their case, and declared to them,
*' Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.^'' The disciples
**went and preached that men shotdd repent.'" " And tlnis it
behooved Christ to sitfer, and to rise from the dead the third
day ; and that repeniance and remission of sins should he
preached in his name among all nations.''''

The duty of repentance cannot, from its very nature, be
restricted to any definite and select number. All men are
sinners. All are to blame for being sinners. Their being
sinners lays the foundation for the necessity of repentance. —
If, therefore, the duty of repentance is oblig^jtory on one, it
is so on all. If they had always loved God supremely, there
would have been no ground for repentance ; but, having been
voluntary in their hatred towards him, it is impossible they
should love him, so long as they do not grieve for their
un.,riteful, and wicked conduct. This is impossible, because
a s'ate of impenitency, is a state of hatred and rebellion, and
these are incompatible with a spirit of submission and love.
H. nee, men can comply with the obligation, which all lie
under, to love God supremely, only, as they exercise a deep,
and ingenuous sorrow of heart, on account of sin. Whilst
the whole heart is opposed to God, it is impossible, that the
whole, or any part of the heart should be in love with him-


Thence it is, that what is termed the disability of sinners to
embrace Christ, and love him, is called a moral disability,
bee lusc it lies exclusively in the inclination ; it being impos-
sible, that the inclination should be equally strong towards
objects of a dirc;ctly opposite nature. Man cannot love, what
he hates ; not because he has not a capacity to love, but
because he hates ; and it is a palpable absurdity to suppose,
that h3 can, at tho same time, love with all his heart, what
he hates with all liis heart. As all men are bound to have
right feelings towards God ; and as tho}' can then only have
right feelings, when they are brought to exercise an ingenuous
grief for their sins, so, the obligation to repentance, running
parallel with their offences, lies upon all men.

\{all sinners are bound to repent, then the obligation rests
Hpou those who hear me. The command of the Almighty, to
all men, every where to repent, is addressed as directly to
you, as it ever was to any of his creatures. It is a duty, to
which you are solemnly called, by motives of the most tender
and impressive character. It is your Maker who calls you
back to your allegiance, and to happiness ; and you are urged
to submit, by every argument that can address the kind and
ingenuous principles of your nature. It is a duty which yoa
are able to perform, and for neglecting which, you are ren-
dering yourselves daily, more and more guilty, in the eye of
Heaven. This brings me to the

II. Article to which, in pursuance of our plan, I would
i-nvite your attention. Repentance is a duty which sin-


The ability of sinners, as well as their obligation to repent,
gppears from the fact, that God has commanded them to repent.
The command presupposes an ability, that constitutes the basis
of obligation ; for it is a dictate of common sense, that no one
can be to blame for not doing, what he is in no sense able to
do. Now if man is unable to repent, and thus, in every sense,
unable to comply with what God requires, when he commands
him to repent, he cannot be to blame if he does not repent.
But this is not all : If he can be held to perform, only, what
he is able to perform, then it is most palpable, that to require
of him, what lies strictly beyond the reach of those powers
that constitute him a responsible moral agent, must be incon-
sistent and unjust. We must conclude, therefore, since God
has commanded men to repent, and has threatened them with
his sore displeasure if they do not repent, either, that they
are able to repent, and thence, are both formally, and actually
guilty for not repenting ; or, we must adopt the only alterna-
tive, and implicate the rectitude of the Divine Being, in
requiring of his creatures, under the most tremendous sanc-
tions, the doing of impossibilities.

But, as the command to repent is in accordance with our
consciousness of obligation ; as it is a duty reasonable in its
own nature, arising from the perfections of God, and his rela-
tions to his creatures, it is most evidently safe, as well as
rational and scriptural, how repugnant soever the conclusion
may be to our corruptions, to take the side of our Maker
against ourselves, and under a conviction that we are to blame
for being sinners, to humble ourselves before him, and t©


«jonfess and forsake our sins, that we may obtain mercy. This,
we observe, is the most safe, as well rational and scriptural
course. That repentance is a commanded duty, is most obvi-
ous. It is a duty addressed to men, not under the influence of
conviction, not under the influence of a change of feelings, only,
but also, under the prevailing, and overpowering influence of
moral corruption, under the control of a heart at total enmity
against God. In the possession of a totally sinful character, and
whilst indulging feelings of direct hostility to all that is good,
does God command all men, every where to repent. Now
what must we conclude from this state of facts ? Are we
ready to go in the very face of our own consciousness, in the
face of the Bible, and charge the holy God with injustice and
cruelty, by aflirming, that lie requires us to do, what he knows
we are in no sense able to do ? Shall we not rather submit
to the just, though alflicting conclusion, that we might all have
exercised the most ingenuous godl}'^ sorrow for our sins, long
ago, if we had been inclined to acknowledge the claims of our
Maker, and to submit to his authority ? And that wc are in
our sins to-day, exposed to his righteous judgements, because
we have hated instruction, and did not choose the fear of the

The attempt to avoid this conclusion, is to little purpose,
by endeavouring to show, that it seems to be inconsistent with
those great and important truths of revelation, that exhibit
man as wholly depraved and dependent, and God as the sole
efficient in the work of regeneration. It is in full vietir of
ifeese iatexesting truthg, that God requires all men, every

where to repent. It is to be apprehended, however, that
some, at least in the legitimate tendency of their views, when
speaking of the disabihty and dependence of sinners, in con-
nexion with the sovereignty of God in the dispensation of
mercy, in labouring to avoid the unscriptural ground of
Arminius, have, unhappily, carried their points so far, as to
fall upon the border ground of Fatality and Antinomianism. —
Whilst it should be the devout study, and faithful labour of
every good man, to avoid, on the one hand, by an}' sentiments
he may adopt, invading the prerogative of the Most High ;
he should be equally careful, on the other, not to exhibit any
such views, as may lead the sinner to justify himself in im.pen-
itency, and enable him, successfully, to resist the most power-
ful and pungent appeals that may be made, to his sense of
right and wrong.

The doctrine of man's depravity, and disability, has been
carried to a dangerous, and we have reason to fear, in many
instances, to a fatal extreme. The human family have, by
some, been considered, as having sustained such a pectiliaF
relation to their great progenitor, that in him they lost, not
only the inclination, but the natural ability, also, of complying
with what God requires. The advocates of these views,
when pressed to reconcile the idea of a transfer of guilt,
which they undeniably involve, with the moral rectitude of
Gad, in holding his creatures personally responsible, and in
demanding of them present obedience, have been far from
lessening the obscurities attending their scheme, by replying,
that, although, by reason of the defection of Adam, mankind

lost their power to obey, yet, God has not lost his right to
commanfl. 'Tis true, God's right to the services of his crea-
tures cannot be vacated, so long as they possess those capa-
bilities that are necessary to constitute them moral agents ;
but justice revolts at the sentiment, that there may be responsi-
bility, where there is no capacity for moral action. It raen^
by the fall, lost their physical pcncer, as well as their inclina-
tion to obey God, then, since the fall, they have not been
moral agents ; and what claims soever the Divine Being may
be supposed to have had upon them, anteriour to that afflicting
event, must have become vacated, so soon as that event took
place. It matters not by what means they became dispossessed
of the capabilities of moral agents ; the fact that they at-e
dispossessed, and not the means by which they became so, it
all that justice inquires after, to determine the great question,
with regard to their individual and personal responsibility.
It is not the manner in Avhich creatures become moral agents,
that constitutes the basis of obligation, but ihe fact that they
are moral agents. Let the man who has taken the life of
another, be proved a maniac, and no one is prepared to sen-
tence him to execution as a murderer. Let it be determined,
that men are as destitute of the physical power, as they are
of the inclination to obey God, and the ground of their
responsibility, by a master-stroke, is swept away at once ;
and the whole system of human actions becomes like the
movement of an immense n:achine. It is not suflicient, that,
in a more happy state, and under a more happy order of
thingSj men once possessed ihe ability to obey God : To con-


stitute them the proper subjects of praise, or blame, reward,
or punishment,. it is necessary that they should have a present
capacity for obedience. Whilst it is strictly just, that men
should be held to do, what they have a capacity to do, it is,
at the same time, obviously unjust, that they should still be
held, when that capacity is lost, no matter by what means.

It is difficult to perceive, how a consciousness of obligation
can exist, where there does not exist, at the same time, a
consciousness of ability : And I do not know that I should
trespass against revealed truth, to say, that it would be incom-
patible with the moral rectitude of God, to create a conscious-
ness of obligation, where there does not exist, in fact, and for
the time being, an ability to perform commanded duty.

It has been observed, that a present capacity for obedience

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Online LibraryDirck C. (Dirck Cornelius) LansingSermons, on important subjects of doctrine and duty → online text (page 1 of 22)