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DIVINE TRUTH. The boundless universe is governed by one infinite, eternal and immutable God; by whom it was originally formed for the glorious purpose of communicating hap-. piness, in different ways and degrees, to an innumerable multitude of beings of various capacities and orders. The system which was devised by infinite wisdom, distinguished by unlimited goodness, and executed by omnipotent power, is of all possible systems the most glorious, because it will eventuate in the greatest ultimate holiness and felicity of all intelligent creatures. Evils were not permitted, either physical or moral, to frustrate the accomplishment of God's benevolent purpose ; but are so overruled and super-directed, as to constitute a process of discipline and improvement, conducive to the welfare and final happiness for which man was created. The mediatorial appointment of Jesus, his filiation, and miraculous gifts ; his divine labors, his sufferings, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and exaltation, to the right hand of the Majesty on high,” were a necessary part of the original purpose of Jehovah, and perfectly adapted by infinite intelligence, to make the brightest display of the divine glory, in the immortality and bliss of the rational universe. Salvation from sin, error, and all unreconciliation, must precede that virtuous and holy exercise of the moral faculties and affections, in which alone true happiness consists. Neither
in the present nor future state of being, can accountable agents indulge themselves in “the transgression of the law." without experiencing a corresponding retribution of punishment or suffering, designed to suppress vice, humble the sinner, and, by the gracious interposition of the word of divine truth, reclaim and save him from final perdition and death. Hence the disobedient are commanded and exhorted to repent of their iniquitics, reform their lives, and obey the gospel, that they may come to an immediate participation of that joy, which is appointed to all, “in the dispensation of the fulness of times."
To this representation of the divine character, and such views of the final destination of man, can liberal and benevolent souls object? It is rational, scriptural, and divinely consolatory in the hour of affliction and death, leading the mind through the temple of creation and providence, to its great author in the skies. There, in the Zion of eternal solemnity and glory, is the final home of the redeemed.
Reader; if we profess to believe in salvation from sin and unrighteousness,shall we not appearextremely unreasonable, in being inattentive to practical godliness ? Did not an apostle judiciously observe, “bodily exercise profiteth little; but godliness is profitable unto all things, having proinise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come?" Divine truth, or the true system of religion will promote the great and weighty interest of society, by a determined suppression of vice and an energetic excitement to virtue.
Supreme love to our heavenly Father, is the fundamental requirement of the law and the gospel, and is a moral exercise of the affections happily preparatory to increasing and higher degrees of glory. No being, however exalted in the chain of dependent existence, can be superlatively blissful, while in any degree unreconciled or unholy; nor is it possible for rational intelligencies to love an object supremely, which is not, in their estimation, supremely lovely. As they “love God because he first loved” them, it is proper to display to the eyes of their understanding, the infinite goodness and beneficence of the Great Lord of all, to excite in their feelings, corresponding emotions of love and veneration. The tongue of an angel can never be too eloquent in proclaiming divine goodness, infinite goodness ; nor could a pen dipped in heaven write the law of love in the heart, in too high and glowing characters. To be perfect, all immortal creatures, must love God with all their affections and faculties.
Good will to men is another commanding trait in the character of a christian. Without it,
Without it, real peace cannot be enjoyed. A disposition to enmity and malevolence, is a merciless tormentor of its possessor; while a friendly and benign spirit, conducts to the bosom, streams of continual peace and delight. Good will to each other, converts the world, which without it is a dreary and sunless wilderness abounding with monsters, into a variegated landscape, beautiful, delightful, and luxuriant as Eden regained. Springs of living water gush from burning plains, and flowers and fruits enamel and enrich mountains of sterility. Friendship on earth is a prelude to heaven; it wipes the tear from the weeping eye, applies its balm to the anguished bosom, and points the mourner to that celestial world, where death is overwhelmed in victory, and friends in triumph unite, crowned with immortal life.
Gratitude to God for his innumerable mercies, and especially “for his unspeakable gift,” constitutes an essential part of a truly religious character. By a proper exercise of the affections, men may antedate the joys of futurity, and, in mental participation, feast on the rich dainties of heaven. Gratitude to Him who is infinitely above all praise, will constitute a part in the song of Moses and of the Lamb; and the reasons for its celebration be ever realized in the increasing and pure felicity of a redeemed world. In the heaven of heavens no objects of compassion will be found; no Lazarus begging for crumbs; no widows weeping in sackcloth ; no infant mourners, helpless, homeless, and forlorn, lisping a faint prayer for favors. Let us then, christian reader, in testimony of our hearts gratitude, indulge a liberal hand according to our ability, and give to the suffering an opportunity of exercising one of the noblest affections of which our nature is capable. The religion which successfully enjoins these divine principles, is the river of paradise, making glad the city of our God. In addition to all other enjoyments it affords the anticipation of those pleasures, where without a cloud to interrupt, ALL will enjoy the full radiance of the divine countenance.
No complexity or mysteriousness in the great plan of redemption will shade with obscurity “the grace of God” 'displayed in the “ salvation of all men.” The divine benevolence and glory in the humiliation, sufferings, death, and resurrection of the Saviour, will shine on the redeemed possession, in cloudless meridian splendor; and the revelation of “life and immortality," through his mediation, have a clear and full exposition, in the gratitude and praises of every intelligent creature in heaven and in earth. A halo of everlasting glory will encircle the head of our exalted Redeemer, and every ascription of honor from the harps of the blessed, of every nation and language, give it additional extent and lustre, and the high hosannah be lost, in the holy mental eloquence of solemn, joyous, silent adoration. The glorious Son, at the head of his vast reconciled empire, "redeemed from the bondage of corruption,” will bow to Him from whom all power is received, and the infinite GOD OF LOVE “be all and IN ALL.'
FOR THE CHRISTIAN INTELLIGENCER.
ANSWERS To the three Questions on the last page of Vol. 2, No. 1.
1. Jesus being delivered,” implies his subjection to bodily and mental suffering, as the head of the body for the offences of whose members he was delivered. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.”—1 Cor. xii. 12.
2. Christ being made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, was crowned, (and the crown is always placed on the head) that by the grace of God, he should taste death, (the wages of sin) for every man; and therefore, all who believe the truth, may “reckon themselves dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” His resurrection is proof that he put away that for which he died, (John i. 29,) and his being seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high, is still further proof that he accomplished the end for which he suffered; for it was after, (not before) he had purged our sins, by the sacrifice of himself, that he was thus exalted.
3. Christ being released, gave those for whose offences he was delivered to sufferings, a right to reckon themselves released, by faith, from the bondage of corruption or death. He whose body saw no corruption, and whose soul was not left in hell, arose to immortality, as the head of every man, the whole body, for whose united offences he suffered ; and he ascended on high to the bosom of the Father, that he might ultimately fulfil his promise; “ And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me. And this he said, signifying what death he should suffer."
FOR THE CHRISTIAN INTELLIGENCER.
“ WHAT IS YOUR RELIGION ?"
Elm-Trees, Aug. 16, 1822. Sir—A few days since as I was reading a philosophical Sermon in the “Christian Intelligencer," a neighbor came in and asked me what I was perusing, so devoutly; for I did not notice him till I heard his voice. Something about religion, I answered him. About religion! he echoed, it seems to me you spend a great