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nity. Let every enterprise of noble daring, all generous self-devotion, all heroic sacrifice, claim admiration for the loftiness of His nature, who demands in his children willing suffering before selfishness, and courted death itself that others may happily live. And let purity of character which the Gospel cultivates exalt your veneration for that spotless holiness, which endures, only because it most deeply pities, sin, and "in whose sight even the Heavens are not clean."
To cultivate the love of God with still more efficient adaptation of our means to our object, regard should be had to our previous conceptions of his character. If we have been impressed with harsh and ungracious representations of it, and taught to view him as a rigid master, a sullen tyrant; it will be of advantage, to discard for a time even the indifferent expressions and titles which we have associated with these characteristics, and to contemplate him as much as possible under a new aspect, by using new phraseology. If we have hitherto addressed him as stern Jehovah, the ruthless king, who has created but to destroy again, and offers hope only to mock and disappoint; let us call him now-"Father!" 66 our Father!" """ the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!"" the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; full of compassion and long suffering; gracious and plenteous in mercy; pitying those who fear him, as a Father pitieth his children; because he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are but dust."
But if, on the other hand, the unhappy lot of our
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childhood and domestic experience has left unfavorable impressions of the paternal character, then let us call him-God! literally, God! that is, Good!-the only supreme and perfectly good being;-who loved us with earlier and purer regard than consanguinity ever excited; and who, "when father and mother forsake us on earth, will take us up in the arms of his parental protection:""for a father of the fatherless is God in his holy habitation."
In fine, our whole intercourse with mankind may be made the means of cherishing the love of God. Benevolence on christian principles cannot but foster piety. For the soft and amiable sensibilities of our nature are allied, and lend mutual support. Love man for God's sake, and it will be a lesson of love to God for his own sake. Let us bear it in our minds, then, in all the scenes of life, that uniform kind-heartedness to our brethren, as the children of God, exercised with reference to his character, example and will, tends to fill the heart with sublime emotion of love to Him, their Father in Heaven.
"HE THAT IS NOT AGAINST US IS ON OUR PART."
THE injustice of condemning a sect for the opinions and practices of individual members, has been often acknowledged. There is a similar injustice, not so gen
erally discerned, in condemning the principles and qualities of an individual in the gross, for the fault of some of his peculiarities. It is unjust; because there may be more principles true, and more qualities good in him, than there are false and bad ones.
It is not my object to advert to the wholesale censures thus unjustly passed upon liberal Christians. I would forgive and forget them, and only dwell on the recriminations to which we may be sometimes provoked. I for a truce to the warfare on our part, if not for sweet charity's sake, yet for the wisest policy's sake. It is warring against ourselves. It is warring against our own most valued principles, this undistinguishing hostility to the characteristics of our opponents. Not to speak of blunting the powers of moral discrimination, it is crushing those principles in our own breasts. Candor and charity are our first principles, and this proceeding exterminates them, and implants bigotry and intolerance in their place. It is, furthermore, crushing our principles in the breasts of our opposers: for our principles are there, though, it may be, blended with others, and sometimes neutralized and vitiated by them. Whatever is not directly and professedly against us, is for us. In this, our Christianity agrees with that Christianity, of which the divine author is speaking in the declaration at the head of our paper. presumption it affords in favor of the two, I will not now stop to point out.
How strong a identity of the
There are many things, we rejoice to say it, in those who will not say the same of us, that are good and wise.
Now all these things we claim of course as the peculiar marks and tokens of our party. I call them the peculiar signs, the distinguishing badges of our party; for the peculiarities to which we attach importance are not abstract doctrines, so much as practical virtues; not a creed, but a spirit; the spirit of liberal, concientious love of truth and goodness; and therefore our party may embrace a hundred creeds, provided none of them interfere with freedom of inquiry and perfect complacency in those who honestly dissent from our conclusions.
Now, should we not value more, might we not make more of this coincidence of practical principles between the contending sects? We should see that we are in fact of the same sect in these principles. While there are so many points in speculation, driving us apart, should we not prize more highly this community of active virtue? It would be a good thing, not only for our christian affections, but for the advancement of our religious views, to encourage as widely as possible this idea of resemblance, nay, of virtual union, of identity with the remotest and most repellant of the Orthodox denomination. It would insensibly but unfailingly draw us more frequently together; and from such intercourse we are warranted, both by the nature of the case and by experience, confidently to anticipate accessions to the cause of liberality. Only let its merits be dispassionately viewed, and we have no fears for the result; there being already so many sentiments unconsciously arrayed on our side in the breasts of Christians of all denomina
tions. The spirit of the gospel will not, cannot, be wholly smothered throughout any communion by all the incumbrances men may heap upon it; and wherever one spark of that spirit is, with its light for the mind, and its warmth for the heart, there is so much reasonableness and love; and there is hope and aid for us; there are our allies, whether they call themselves so or not, and whether they know it or not.
It is cheering to recount the particulars which even in the most calvinistic communities are for us; and to compare them, for number and nature, with those that are against us. It is cheering, and it will both enforce my plea for catholicism and charity, and at the same time furnish grounds incidentally for one or two presumptive arguments in favor of our simpler system of religion.
In the first place, then, there is no little indifference to the peculiar dogmas of Calvin in some of the most excellent people who call themselves by his name; and there is a great deal of thorough piety not built up on these dogmas, and entirely independent of them. There is doubtless a deep fund of sincerity and conscientiousness in many who hold them, and a heartfelt desire to obey the truth; and all this eventually is favorable to us. There is a considerable struggling against the spirit of Calvinism where its tenets are loudly professed; and in this neighborhood, of late years, there has been undeniably a softening of their harsher aspects, if indeed some of them have not been fairly shamed out of credit, and openly disavowed. And where the dark spirit has