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parent with individual love; he knows that he is an object of paternal fondness, that in his single capacity he enjoys the regards of a father's heart. So it is with our relation to our Heavenly Father, and so we must feel it to be. The Almighty is the guardian and friend of each one of us.
Again, we are exhorted to receive Jesus Christ as Master and Saviour. How is this doctrine to be made of personal benefit? By submitting ourselves to the control of Jesus, and by saving ourselves through an obedience to the motives which he has offered for our guidance. Each one of us should contemplate the sufferings of Christ as borne for himself. Christ died, the just for the unjust,—let the soul say—then I am one for whom he died; I owe him my gratitude and love. The feeling of personal obligation to the Saviour is something more than a sense of advantage derived from his mission through its effect upon the world, or upon that part of it in which we live.
This is not enough. We must perceive in our own souls that the work of redemption is accomplished. Jesus must save us by the efficacy of his teaching, his example, and his death, upon each individual.
• Trust not a general truth, which may be vain
Once more ; we are entreated to forsake every sin, to mortify evil desire, to perfect holiness in the fear of God. We should regard these precepts as addressed
particularly to us. When the word of christian exhortation is uttered in the assembly, every person should feel as if he alone were the object of the counsel—as if he were the man. Not that every hearer should imagine himself guilty of all wickedness; discrimination and justice in regard to characters are duties as imperative as repentance. But let each individual listen as if the entreaty was meant for him and no one else, for self-love will shield him from the blow which he ought not to receive. Let every man feel himself to be a sinner.
A personal interest in religion both produces and is increased by self examination. It teaches us to distinguish between what is good and what is bad in our characters. It inspires resolution and courage to amend our errors. It causes us to rejoice in the truth, and enables us to adopt for our support, and as the foundation of our hope, the promises of the gospel. Does any one say that such an habitual sense of religion is inconsistent with happiness ? He shows his ignorance. True enjoyment can only be found in the path of religious obedience and in communion with God and love of Christ. Does any one plead that he is too mueh occupied by this world's cares? Here lies the evil which you must remedy. Rid yourself of those cares which prevent your giving due attention to religion. You continue in them at your peril.
An habitual and intimate sense of God and his government will not interfere with any lawful prosecution of your business. Do you urge the excuse that you are too young? It
cannot be. Religion will not chill a single innocent joy, nor repress one pure feeling. Give to it then your heart. Does any one say that he is good enough at present ? Fatal deception! We never can be good enough till we are perfect. Does any one promise to think of this subject some time hence ? As fatal delusion! That time may never come.
great concern of your salvation. Enter in at the strait gate, while it is open; it is the gate of repentance. Walk in the narrow way, while invited; it is the way of obedience. Its course may be steep and rough, but its termination is in heaven.
AN EXTRACT FROM THE RIGHT HAND OF FELLOWSHIP,
GIVEN BY MR MAY OF BROOKLYN, CON., AT THE LATE ORDINATION OF MR WALCUTT OF BERLIN, FEBRUARY, 1830.
We came not here, my Brother, to bind you to our creed. This right hand was not extended to fasten upon you the shackles of ecclesiastical authority. I did not reach it forth to require at your hand a pledge of submission or adherence to our sect or party. No, we would throw around you the chain of christian friendship alone, sincerely hoping that, if differences of opinion do exist, or shall hereafter arise between us, this chain
may be brightened only by a free collison of thought, while it shall be strengthened by a unity of spirit into an enduring bond of peace. We would not be subject ourselves, therefore we would not subject others, to the fear of men, or too great a deference to their opinions. We would rather cherish in our bosoms, and enjoin it upon others to cherish the spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind;' the spirit of power to withstand the usurpation of those, who would lord it over God's heritage, the minds and hearts of men; the spirit of love, that we may bear meekly the injurious treatment we receive, may suffer long and still be kind; and the spirit of a sound mind, that we may follow with unfaltering step where reason and revelation lead us.
It is, you know, a fundamental principle with us, that the mind of every individual should be left entirely free to feel itself amenable for its opinions to God alone, who gave it power to think, to reason, and to judge. When the mind is released, or has dared to break away from restraints, in which it has ever been held, there may be some danger at first that it will expatiate beyond the limits, which reason and revelation have prescribed. But it will ere long, we trust, be brought into subjection to the mild, yet irresistible control of truth. In the enjoyment of this independence of human authority, future generations, we doubt not, feeling the whole weight of their responsibleness to God, will attain to more correct, more sublime ideas of his nature, of the purposes of Christ's mission, and of the present capacities and the high destination of man, than have ever yet entered into the conceptions of any one.
Who would not encourage and assist this progress of improvement? Who, if he could, would fix forever religious knowledge and opinion where they now are?
It is very natural, indeed, and very proper for us to place a high value upon our own views of divine truth. We shall evince a culpable distrust of them (culpable, because such distrust must arise from inattention to the evidence, which we pretend has satisfied us,) if we do not place so high a value upon our views, as to wish that others may enjoy them with us. I hope, therefore, we shall always be eager to do whatever the spirit of our religion will warrant, for the dissemination of what we believe to be the truth. I trust, we are not backward, on all suitable occasions, to press upon the consideration of those arround us the arguments, by which our faith is sustained, and labor to make them perceive that our views of God, of Christ, and of man, are more scriptural, more rational, more practical, more ennobling than any others;
for so we deem them. But if we cannot thus persuade our fellow Christians to accord with us, we may not therefore throw them without the pale of our kindness and courtesy, denounce and anathematize them. Such measures never wrought conviction in a mind, impervious to sound argument. Neither have we any right to attempt to force upon others the reception of our opinions; nor would it be either charitable or just to estimate the christian or ministerial worth of a man, by the fact that his speculative belief does or does not correspond with our own. To entertain precisely the