Imágenes de páginas

judged. Judge yourselves, and ye shall not be judged. The judgment to come is that last great day, when all who bave not judged themselves, all unbelievers of the human race, and all the fallen angels, through whose influence unbelievers are held in a state of darkness and blindness, and who, as the deceivers of mankind, are reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day; these shall then all be judged by the Saviour of the WORLD. But the angelic, and the human sinner, shall then be separated; the one shall be placed on the right, the other on the left hand; the one addressed as the shecp for whose salvation the Redeemer laid down his life; the other as the accursed, whose nature he passed by. The human nature as the offspring of the everlasting Father, and the ransomed of the LORD, shall by divine power be brought into the kingdom prepared for them before the foundation of the world; the angelic nature will be sent into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

The scriptures lead us, by various and striking figures, to the contemplation of the Prince of peace, and to his contrast the prince of the power of toe air. Sometimes these figures are taken from men; sometimes from things : cvery thing good is expressive of Christ and his salvation; every thing bad of the adversary and his destruction. The Prince of peace came to save human nature from the power and dominion of the devil and his works ; he came to destroy the latter, that he might save the former, He was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, and he shall save his people from their sins. This indeed he hath done when he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and this he will do, when he shall give his holy angels charge, to collect every seed sown by the enemy in the human nature, that as tares, as evil seed sown by the evil one, they may be separated from the good seed, which when it was sown by the Son of man by whom all things were made, was pronounced very good, and will again be as good, when the evil, that came from the evil one, is separated from it. The Son of man, agreeably to the records of truth, shall take out of his kingdom ; which kingdom will be composed of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, for the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of God, and of his Christ : out of this kingdom, I say, the Son of man will take out every thing that offends, and those who do iniquity.

There is nothing can give offence but sin, and sin is the work of the devil, of that spirit, which now worketh in the hearts of the children of disobedience; as then this evil spirit is the worker or doer of whatever gives offence, Jesus, as the the Saviour of the world, shall in the fulness of time separate from his kingdom both the evil worker, and his evil works; the evil workers in the characters of goats, the evil works in the character of tares.

When the sower of the evil seed, and all the evil seed sown, shall be separated from the seed which God sowed, then the seed which is properly the seed of God, will be like him, who sowed its holy and pure, as God is holy and pure; when the veil shall be taken away, and the face of the covering from all people; every eye shall then see the Savicur as he is, and they who see him as he is, shall be like him ; for the Redeemer is able to change even these vile bodies, that they may be fashioned like unto his own gloriogs body, according to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself. Thus stands the gospel of the grace of God, as revealed in the scriptures. It must be confessed, there are in the Bible

many things, which may appear dark to us, our weakness is even infantile, and the prejudices of education tyrannise over the mind; the power of the adversary is great, and the purpose of God reserves the complete manifestation of himself to futurity. Our Saviour teaches us to look forward to a brighter day, when we shall attain a perfection of knowledge, knowing as we are known; here we know but in part; but blessed be our divinely gracious teacher, who in mercy hath made us acquainted with the purpose purposed on the whole th, who hath assured us it is the will of God, that all men should be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth, while reason as well as revelation teaches us, that a being who is almighty, will do all his pleasure, and fulfil all his will. I wish, therefore, that as new born babes you may desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.

It is the business of him who deceiveth the nations, to keep the children of men in ignorance; they never would have seen the revelation of God, could he have prevented it, and when, by divine favour, the revelation was published in a living language; he made use of eyery art to persuade men, they were not to un

derstand its divine author as he spake, so that upon this principle we are not the wiser for the given revelation, and when he can no longer hold us under his dominion in this way, his next device is to turn us from the plain, luminous truths of the law and the gospel, to the more dark and mysterious parts of revelation. I pray God to give you understanding, that you may not be ignorant of satan's devices. After reading a portion of the sacred oracles, if any

brother have a word of exhortation, let him deliver it; but let there be no contention, no disputation, have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.

After reading the word, give thanks to God, praying that you may be continually under his direction; sing a hymn of praise to your Redeemer, when some member of your association may, in the name of your Saviour, pronounce the concluding benediction.

You would, I say, do well upon the first day of every week, to establish such regulations. If you have a meeting-house, it is well; if not, any apartment consecrated to this employ will answer your purpose. The first churches of the living God, were thus convened in one house and another, as they found most convenient. Our God is not confined to places; wherever two or three are met together in his name, there God is, neither was it the place upon which the compilers of the constitution had their eye, it was the thing, it was piety, religion, and morality.

Piety, it is said, consists in that communion and fellowship between the spirits of men, and the Father of their spirits, with which they are indulged through our Lord Jesus Christ; or, it is more strictly a reverential adoration of Deity, a devotion of soul, and an earnest desire to be found in the paths of duty.

Religion is the assembling ourselves together, in a regular, orderly manner, at stated times, to worship God, and to receive instruction respecting the effectual and acceptable performance of duty.

Morality is the duty we owe to ourselves, to our families, to our brethren in the same faith, to our enemies, and to all mankind. In the practice of religion and morality, we adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour. A man may attend to the observance of religion and morality, and have no piety, but I pre

sume no man can be pious, without attending to the practice of religion and morality.

If thus you conduct, you do, as I conceive, come up to the spirit and letter of our Constitution.

But you wish, when you are formed into a christian Church, to be made acquainted with your duty respecting ordinances, and on this head, also, the scriptures will afford you

sufficient information and direction. As christians, you will not conceive yourselves bound to observe those ordinances contained in the Jewish Ritual, or what is commonly called the ceremonial law; but instead of all these, it has been thought by the generality of professing christians, that our divine Master has substituted the ordinances of baptism and the LORD's supper. Beside these, there are other ordinances, to which some professors of christianity tenaciously adhere, but baptism and the Lord's supper have, by a greater part of the religious world, been deemed an essential part of the christian religion. There are, however, a very respectable denomination of christians, which have totally rejected the external use, as well as the abuse of both these ordinances, and this they have done, from a full persuasion that the words of our common Master were spirit and life. Perhaps, there are not many in any denomination, who being able and willing to judge for themselves, will not agree with our Apostle, in considering ordinances merely shadows.

The Universalists, as christians, admit of but one baptism. The baptizer Christ Jesus, and the elements made use of the Holy Ghost, and fire. Yet they believe, that John, by divine direction, baptized with water; but even this, though established by divine authority, they consider in the same point of view in which they are directed to consider a variety of other ordinances, that were established by the same authority ; in that dispensation, they consider it merely as a figure. Water is a purifying element; but it can only remove external filth, it, however, goes as far as a figure can go, and very properly preceded that one baptism of our divine Master, which should effectually cleanse from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. Hence, he who baptized with water said, He that cometh after me is mightier than I ; I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

Vol. III.


We consider the ordinance commonly called the Lord's supper, as a very expressive emblem of the salvation of the human family in Christ Jesus. We are, however, informed, that this emblem may be used worthily or unworthily ; and that he who eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation or condemnation to himself; and we are furthermore taught, that the worthy receiver, in receiving, discerns the Lord's body, and that the unworthy receiver does not discern the LORD's body.

Yet, although the people called Universalists, associating as christians in church fellowship, generally adopt as their most reasonable service, this divinely expressive ordinance, yet, they do not hold themselves in subjection thereto, they are subject to no shadows ; and while they hold this ordinance in the highest estimation, as an ordinance, yet they think the exercise of charity much greater, and are, therefore, determined that difference of mind or manners, respecting the use or disuse of this, or any other ordinance, shall never interrupt the gentle flow of their christian affection toward each other. On the whole, the people called Universalists determine, with the Apostle, to know nothing either as a whole or a part, directly or indirectly essential to their salvation, but Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Permit me again to caution you respecting your conduct, as a Church; let it appear to all, that you are under the influence of the spirit of God; and, as two or three, met together in any place in the name of the Saviour, constitute a Church, so, thus meeting and conducting with christian propriety, you will cause your light so to shine before men, as to oblige them to glorify your Father who is in heaven ; But, as your peace and happiness will, in a great measure, depend on your conduct and character, let no individual have fellowship with you, but such as are seriously disposed to act a consistent part, to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour-To adorn this doctrine is equally the interest and duty of every professor. Let no one take refuge under your name, merely from pecuniary motives; if you tolerate such proceedings, you will justly suffer as evil doers, and you will lose your glorying, you will be found resisting the powers that are ordained of God, and, as

re so very mild and gentle, in resisting them, you must expect censure and condemnation. Let every one who joins with you pay regularly

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »