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which sets the mind at rest and the heart at peace—which furnishes milk for babes and meat for strong men—and which the learned Greek and the ignorant Scythian may alike receive, and find alike the power of God unto salvation.

I ascribe, however, the withdrawals from our communion chiefly to the prevalent omission of teaching the grounds of our dissent from Trinitarian Christians.

They went out from us because they were not of us.' In this, too, we have been misled by the speciousness of a false liberality. Aware of the misuse which is often made of the power of the teacher over the taught, to pre-occupy the tender mind with unscriptural and illogical conclusions with false fears and false hopes—with a sense of its own worthlessness in strange conjunction with an assurance of its own infallibility—we have been led to the extreme of leaving it undirected, unimpressed, till the arrival of maturity Grieved at the extravagance of genuine fanaticism, we have resolved to teach nothing but a practical Christianity—that is, as it has sometimes proved in practice, a morality without religion, or religion without a Saviour, or a philosophy constructing its own ends and its own means. Others' dogmatism has driven us to latitudinarianism. The result has been a loss to the cause of truth, both in our families and in our Sunday schools. The minds we left free, others have occupied. The dissatisfaction created by our negations has been supplanted by the acceptable fulness of orthodox instructions. The chill of our silence has been gladly exchanged for the ardour of their enthusiasm. With no barrier to withstand the inroads of an essentially aggressive and exclusive faith, young people have yielded almost without resistance and at discretion. We have dealt with children as we should deal with philosophers. Nay, philosophers themselves are not slow to teach nor late to learn. We have acted in religion as we act in no other concern. It would be thought any thing but a sign of wisdom were we to leave our children uninstructed in their duties, their destiny, the history of their kind and their country, in the fear of tainting their minds with prejudice, or misleading them by a mixture of error. In secular concerns we are content to take the ill as the price of the good. It is the common lot of humanity. He that waits for perfection will not only lose good but inevitably get harm. And the only mode of action which wisdom and experience justify, is in all things to make the good as large, and the ill as small, as possible.

As then all other things are taught, so let Unitarianism be taught. By direct and indirect means let us encourage the young to inquire, to learn, to judge, to determine ; let us give them opportunities of knowing wherein we differ, and why we differ, from our fellow Christians. We must, indeed, guard them against

a disputatious spirit; and we must not fail to impress them with a sense of their liability to error, and the need they have of Divine guidance. With these precautions, let it be ours to make them feel the real dignity of their calling as religious reformers, and the incalculable value of their privilege as being servants to none but Christ, and recognising no authority but the all-sufficient guidance of the New Testament.

0.

THE FUTURE LIFE.*

This day is set apart by the Christian world to the commemoration of Christ's resurrection. Many uses may be made of this event, but it is particularly fitted to confirm the doctrine of another life, and to turn our thoughts, desires, hopes, towards another world. I shall employ it to give this direction to our minds.

There is one method in which Christ's resurrection gives aid to our faith in another life, which is not often dwelt on, and which seems to me worthy of attention. Our chief doubts and difficulties in regard to that state, spring chiefly from the senses and the imagination, and not from the reason. The eye fixed on the lifeless body, on the wan features and the motionless limbs—and the imagination following the frame into the dark tomb, and representing to itself the stages of decay and ruin, are apt to fill and oppress the mind with discouraging and appalling thoughts. The senses can detect in the pale corse not a trace of the activity of that spirit which lately moved it. Death seems to have achieved an entire victory; and when reason and revelation speak of continued and a higher life, the senses and imagination pointing to the disfigured and mouldering body, obscure by their sad forebodings the light which

and

revelation strive to kindle in the bereaved soul. Now the resurrection of Christ meets, if I may so say, the senses and imagination on their own ground, contends with them with their own weapons.

frame, on which death, in its most humiliating form, had set its seal, and which had been committed in ulter hopelessness to the tomb, rising, breathing, moving with new life, and rising not to return again to the earth, but, after a short sojourn, to ascend from the earth to a purer region, and thus to attest man's destination to a higher life. These facts, submitted to the very senses, and almost necessarily kindling the imagination to explore the

It shows us the

very

* The Future Life; a Sermon preached on Easter Sunday, 1834, in the Federal-street Church, Boston, by William E. Channing. Boston, U. S.; 1835.

reason

unseen world, seem to me particularly suited to overcome the main difficulties in the way of Christian faith. Reason is not left to struggle alone with the horrors of the tomb. The assurance that Jesus Christ, who lived on the earth, who died on the cross, and was committed a mutilated, bleeding frame to the receptacle of the dead, rose uninjured, and then exchanged an earthly for a heavenly life, puts to flight the sad auguries, which rise like spectres from the grave, and helps us to conceive, as in our present weakness we could not otherwise conceive, of man's appointed triumph over death.

Such is one of the aids given by the resurrection to faith in immortality. Still this faith is lamentably weak in the multitude of men. To multitudes Heaven is almost a world of fancy. It wants substance. The idea of a world, in which beings exist without these gross bodies, exist as pure spirits, or clothed with refined and spiritual frames, strikes them as a fiction. What cannot be seen or touched, appears unreal. This is mournful, but not wonderful; for how can men, who immerse themselves in the body and its interests, and cultivate no acquaintance with their own souls and spiritual powers, comprehend a higher, spiritual life? There are multitudes who pronounce a man a visionary, who speaks distinctly and joyfully of his future being, and of the triumph of the mind over bodily decay.

This scepticism as to things spiritual and celestial, is as irrational and unphilosophical as it is degrading. We have more evidence that we have souls or spirits, than that we have bodies. We are surer, that we think and feel, and will, than that we have solid and extended limbs and organs. Philosophers have said much to disprove the existence of matter and motion, but they have not tried to disprove the existence of thought; for it is by thought that they attempt to set aside the reality of material nature.

Farther; how irrational is it to imagine that there are no worlds but this, and no higher modes of existence than our own. Who that sends his eye through this immense creation, can doubt that there are orders of beings superior to ourselves; or can see any thing unreasonable in the doctrine, that there are states in which mind exists less circumscribed and clogged by matter than on earth; in other words, that there is a spiritual world ? It is childish to make this infant life of ours the model of existence in all other worlds. The philosopher, especially, who sees a vast chain of beings and an infinite variety of life on this single globe, which is but a point in creation, should be ashamed of that narrowness of mind which can anticipate nothing nobler in the universe of God than his present mode of being.

How, now, shall the doctrine of a future, higher life, the doctrine both of reason and revelation, be brought to bear more

powerfully on the mind, to become more real and effectual? Various methods might be given-I shall confine myself to one. This method is, to seek some clearer, more definite conception of the future state. That world seems less real for want of some distinctness in its features. We should all believe it more firmly, if we conceived of it more vividly. It seems unsubstantial from its vagueness and dimness. I think it right then, to use the aids of Scripture and reason, in forming to ourselves something like a sketch of the life to come. The Scriptures, indeed, give not many materials for such a delineation, but the few they furnish are invaluable, especially when we add to these the lights thrown over futurity by the knowledge of our own spiritual nature. Every new law of the mind which we discover, helps us to comprehend its destiny; for its future life must correspond to its great laws and essential powers.

These aids we should employ to give distinctness to the spiritual state ; and it is particularly useful so to do, when excellent beings, whom we have known and loved, pass from earth into that world. Nature prompts us to follow them to their new abode, to inquire into their new life, to represent to ourselves their new happiness; and perhaps the spiritual world never becomes so near and real to us, as when we follow into it dear friends, and sympathise with them in the improvements and enjoyments of that blessed life. Do not say that there is danger here of substituting imagination for truth. There is no danger, if we confine ourselves to the spiritual views of Heaven, given us in the New Testament, and interpret these by the principles and powers of our own souls. To me the subject is too dear and sacred to allow me to indulge myself in dreams. I want reality; I want truth; and this I find in God's word, and in the human soul.

When our virtuous friends leave the world, we know not the place where they go. We can turn our eyes to no spot in the universe, and say they are there. Nor is our ignorance here of any moment. It is unimportant what region of space contains them. Whilst we know not to what place they go, we know what is infinitely more interesting, to what beings they go. We know not where Heaven is, but we know whom it contains, and this knowledge opens us an infinite field for contemplation and delight.

Ist. Our virtuous friends, at death, go to Jesus Christ. This is taught in the text. "God raised Him from the dead, and exalted Him to Heaven. The New Testament always speaks of Jesus as existing now in the spiritual world; and Paul tells us, that it is the happiness of the holy, when absent from the body, to be present with the Lord. Here is one great fact in regard to futurity. The good, on leaving us here, meet their

Saviour; and this view alone assures us of their unutterable happiness. In this world, they had cherished acquaintance with Jesus through the records of the Evangelists. They had followed him through his eventful life with veneration and love; had treasured in their memories his words, works, and lifegiving promises; and, by receiving his spirit, had learnt something of the virtues and happiness of a higher world. Now they meet him, they see him. He is no longer a faint object to their mind, obscured by distance and by the mists of sense and the world. He is present to them, and more intimately present, than we are to each other. Of this we are sure; for whilst the precise mode of our future existence is unknown, we do know that spiritual beings in that higher state must approach and commune with each other more and more intimately in proportion to their progress. Those who are newly born into Heaven, meet Jesus, and meet from him the kindest welcome. The happiness of the Saviour, in receiving to a higher life, a human being who has been redeemed, purified, inspired with immortal goodness by his influence, we can but imperfectly comprehend. You can conceive what would be your feelings, on welcoming to shore your best friend, who had been tossed on a perilous sea; but the raptures of earthly re-union are faint compared with the happiness of Jesus, in receiving the spirit for which he died, and which, under his guidance, has passed with an improving virtue through a world of sore temptation. We on earth meet, after our long separations, to suffer as well as enjoy, and soon to part again. Jesus meets those who ascend from earth to Heaven, with the consciousness that their trial is past, their race is run, that death is conquered. With his farreaching prophetic eye, he sees them entering a career of joy and glory never to end. And his benevolent welcome is expressed with a power which belongs only to the utterance of Heaven, and which communicates to them an immediate, confiding, overflowing joy. You know that on earth we sometimes meet human beings, whose countenances, at the first view, scatter all distrust, and win from us something like the reliance of a long-tried friendship. One smile is enough to let us into their hearts, to reveal to us a goodness on which we may repose. That smile with which Jesus will meet the new-born inhabitant of Heaven, that joyful greeting, that beaming of love from him who bled for us, that tone of welcome,-all these I can faintly conceive, but no language can utter them. The joys of centuries will be crowded into that meeting. This is not fiction ;it is truth founded on the essential laws of the mind.

Our friends, when they enter Heaven, meet Jesus Christ, and their intercourse with him will be of the most affectionate and ennobling character. There will be nothing of distance in

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