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of her child, from whose pallid cheek life has departed, but her countenance brightens and her tears cease to flow, when, by the hope which is implanted by the benevolent Author of our being, assisted by the mild religion of Jesus, she beholds her child in the arms of infinite kindness, joining in the endless anthems of the blessed.
It is a principle inherent in man to look forward for something better and more glorious than what he has yet received. He is continually pointed by the index of hope to a world lying beyond the narrow strait of death, where he hopes to receive from the hand of God, a bright crown of everlasting rejoicing. Suffer us to inquire for what purpose this principle was implanted in the human heart? Has God determined to withhold the blessing for which he leads us to hope ? Will any of his rational offspring, when they awake from the night of death, find that the anterior decrees of Jehovah, rendered their hope a mere delusion ? Will the Author, thus baffle with a frown, the gift he has bestowed ? In the light of reason and scripture we hesitate not, in boldly answering, No; he will not. Is it not infinitely more compatible with the character of the glorious God, to suppose he has designed, in the exercise of infinite goodness, during the dispensation of the fulness of times,” to “satisfy the desire of every living thing ?”
Another characteristic inducing the opinion that hope is a good and perfect gift, and of divine origin, is its impartiality. No rational creature, can desire his own eternal felicity, at the exclusion of all others. He rejoices in the contemplation of universal happiness. The expectation of others' felicity blesses the hopes of his own. Though mankind augment each other's misery for the moment, influenced by passion and self-love, yet, can we infer from that circumstance, that any rational child of God, could desire the endless wretchedness of any fellow being ? O, Charity, thou child of heaven, what sayest thou ?
Hope is not only “ an anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast, entering into that within the veil,” but it is also a principle which renders society agreeable, gives to life a cheering cordial, and presents at the verge of the grave, a distant shore, blooming with life eternal.
It may be asked, whether this truly animating hope will not be disappointed, unless we possess it regardless of our accountability ? and shall we indulge ourselves in such expectations, to the denial of the punishment denounced in the scriptures? We answer ; the scriptures inform us that
every man, shall be rewarded according to his works,” and that "no chastisement for the present is joyous, but grieyous ; nevertheless, afterwards, it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness unto them who are exercised thereby.” This chastisement, or punishment is, therefore, designed, in the divine administration, to bring the suffer ers to the acknowledgment of the truth, and the obedience required. This effect is agreeable to the desires of every devout and real christian. Whether this emendatory punishment be inflicted in this, or a future state, is of little consequence, as it does not alter its nature, and designed effect. Suffer us then to inquire, why the world is so unhappily divided, and the many opposing the few, because they believe what every new-born soul sincerely desires may be true, and what they are authorised in professing, by the undivided testimony of the inspired writers, the sincere conviction of their own hearts, the devout prayers of the christian Church, the impartial mediation of the blessed Jesus, and the universal benevolence of the Most High God? Let us walk, by the light of the lamp of hope, sheath the sword of persecution, turn the tongue of contumely to an instrument of praise and thanksgiving to the Author of all good ; that our righteousness may break forth as the morning, and the light of truth as the noon-day; and the glory of the Lord go before us, and be our defence, forever. L. B.
THE CLERICAL THERMOMETER. When the eye lights on the title of this piece, you almost involuntarily inquire, What can the writer mean by such an unintelligible phrase? But on saber reflection, do you, reader, wish to know? If you do, read the following quotation, observations and criticisms, and, if good language be that expression of our ideas, by which we are best understood, I engage you will have no great reason to complain. Ministers of the gospel, when zealously engaged for the
salvation of sinners, through the mediation of the Lord Jesus, are said to be full of divine fire. When less zealous and animated, they are called warm, or cool, or cold, as the temperature of their heat may be higher or lower. When the clergy, as a profession, become indifferent, and careless respecting the salvation of sinners, it is called a RELIGIOUS DECLENSION. Now the instrument by which the concern or indifference, zeal or dulness of ministers, respecting the conversion and consequent happiness of sinners may be known, is, what I call a Clerical Thermometer : it serves to measure the degree of heat or fire in that profession. Not stopping to contend about the technical correctness of the name and definition, let us hasten to the examination of an example, and its application. The New-England Calvinistic timekeeper, the Boston Recorder, of Nov. 10, 1821, under the head “Declension of Religion," has the following remarkable and interesting quotation from one of the Rev. Dr. Thomas Scott's sermons, on the means of promoting a Revival of Religion.” The discourse was founded, and, from the extract, we think, justly founded, on Paul's words, “I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.” Now to show how full of the blessing of the gospel, a minister ought to be, he says, “If all my parish were converted, and there were only one left in his sins, I would have a struggle with the Devil for that one." Transporting declaration and is nothing short of this, a fulness of the blessing ? Surely not. As we cannot suppose the Dr’s. parish better than men in general, we may charitably conjecture that were the Dr, as tall as a "mighty Angel," and could he 6 set one foot on the Atlas and the other on the Andes," and, with a voice louder than Stentor's, address the whole world, he would possess the same fulness of the blessing; and while one remained in his sins, strive for his conversion; though, if Satan had but one captive, it is not probable he would have a severe - struggle,” in wresting him, with strength Herculean, from his fiery hands. But now comes the test; if it be a proof of religious declension, as we allow, for preachers to be unwilling “to struggle” with the Devil, while one sinner is in bondage, what is the state of religion in those churches, where the preachers and people are demonstrating, with all the apparent composure of an arithmetician, the final impenitence and endless misery of the many of mankind, for the glory of God and the good of his people? This question is as important as though proposed by the ghost of a martyr. And further; if Dr. Scott had no more divine fire than he ought, which none will pretend, when he would wrestle with Satan for one soul, what must be the temperature of religion in those divines, who expect to rejoice in the impenitence and hopeless misery of the greatest part of their parishioners? Taking the Dr’s. statement for a Thermometer, how many degrees are they above Zero ? To use his own instrument in the trial, have we not reason to lament the declension of religion in those who are, in point of doctrine, professionally his offspring? Not to exaggerate, would not the temperature of his atmosphere be as different from theirs, as was Newton's comet from the moon? Dr. Scott felt the apostolic electricity when he wrote the above sentence; and would all his admirers warm their parishes with the same holy fire from heaven, the “struggle with the Devil” would soon be closed ; and the last sinner being converted, the world would enjoy the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ; nor need he again ask, as it were from the tomb, “ Are we not fishers of ease, FAME,
MONEY: rather, than fishers of MEN ?"
A SHORT ANSWER TO A LONG SERMON. Being requested to examine and answer a Sermon, delivered at Winthrop, (Me.) April 12, 1821, at the annual Fast, by Rev. David Thurston, designed to prejudice his hearers against the doctrine of Universal Benevolence, we issue the following remarks, as all which it merits.
His text was, Ezra vi. 1, 2, 3, and, as the reader will see by examination, related to the unfriendly and superstitious feelings of the Jews and their neighbors, the Samaritans. That a preacher should wish to excite those enmities, is lamentable. A similar enmity and jealousy prevailed in the time of our Saviour's ministry; and if the parable of the man travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho, Luke 10th, and the treatment of the Samaritan woman, according to John 6th, be not enough to correct and suppress in his followers, the same disposition, remarks in this place would be altogether unavailing.
However, Mr. Thurston appears to be so much milder and more reasonable than many opposers of the doctrine, that we are bound to treat him as a friend at heart, however direct his opposition in words and sentiments, or inconclusive his arguments. He observes that “certain truths are essential to the gospel. Every system has some cardinal, some fundamental points. Take these from it and you make it something else, another system. You may take from a man a hand, or a foot, or both hands and feet, and though you maim him, he will still be a man. But if you take away his head or his heart, you destroy him.” This is applicable to the sermon. Four cardinal points are stated; viz. 1 st the real Divinity of Christ, 2d his proper Atonement, 3d regeneration, 4th the eternal duration of future punishment. Every thing else is considered mere “bands and feet," which may well be dispensed with, without affecting his system.
His reasoning in regard to the real divinity of Christ is, that 'if his opposers are right, then he and his friends are wrong;' which, I think no rational man will dispute. His paragraph on the atonement is equally conclusive: that, if none have been made, those believe a lie, who believe in one. In relation to regeneration his conclusion is, “that those who deny it, have never experienced it;' and what is plainer ? He ihinks the denial of the doctrine of endless misery would not be so alarming, if it did not lead to the denial of other fundamental truths of more consequence.
Indeed he says, that in stating those points, he does not mean that to deny any one of them would exclude a man from heaven! An individual may deny either of them, and yet be saved.' Let us review, and compare these statements with others. Speaking of Christ, he says, “If Christ be truly God, such as deny it, do not believe in him; and he that believeth not shall be damned.” But observe, he does not mean but that he may be admitted to heaven, though he do not believe that point! Who understands such logic as that, unless he understands the word, damned, in a limited sense? Again : “ If Christ has made a proper atonement no one can be saved, unless he rely upon it.”
Still he does not mean that no individual shall be admitted to heaven, who denies that atonement! He also tells you, that no one who has experienced regeneration will deny it; and yet, allows that if one