Page images

and they will tremble to think what being they are worshipping, when they invoke a power capable of producing existence, in order to continue it in never ending torments. The God of the Assembly's Catechism is not the same God with the Deity of Thomson's Seasons, and of Hutcheson's Ethics. Unity of character in what we adore, is much more essential than unity of person. We often boast, and with reason, of the purity of our religion, as opposed to the grossness of the theology of the Greeks and Romans; but we should remember that cruelty is as much worse than licentiousness, as a Moloch is worse than a satyr. When will Christians permit themselves to believe that the same conduct which gains them the approbation of good men here, will secure the favor of heaven hereafter? When will they cease making their court to their Maker by the same servile debasement and affectation of lowliness by which the vain potentates of the earth are flattered? When a harmless and well meaning man in the exaggerated figures of theological rhetoric, calls himself the vilest of sinners, it is in precisely the same spirit of false humility in which the courtier uses degrading and disqualifying expressions, when he speaks of himself in his adulatory addresses to his sovereign. When a good man draws near the close of life, not free indeed from faults, but pure from crime, a life spent in the habitual exercise of all those virtues which adorn and dignify human nature, and in the uniform approach of that perfection, which is professedly unattainable in this imperfect state; when a man—perhaps like Dr. Price, whose name will be ever pronounced with affectionate veneration and deep regard by all the friends of philosophy, virtue, and mankind--is about to resign his soul into the hands of his Maker, he ought to do it, not only with a reliance on his mercy, but his justice; a generous con

fidence and pious resignation should be blended in his deportment. It does not become him to pay the blasphemous homage of deprecating the wrath of God, when he ought to throw himself into the arms of his love. He is not to think that virtue is one thing here, and another in heaven; or that he on whom blessings and eulogiums are ready to burst from all honest tongues, can be an object of punishment with him who is infinitely more benevolent than any of his creatures.

"These remarks may be thought foreign to the subject in question; but in fact they are not so. Public worship will not be tinctured with gloom, while our ideas of its object are darkened by superstition; it will be infected by hypocrisy, while its professions and tenets run counter to the genuine, unperverted moral sense of mankind it will not meet the countenance of philosophers so long as we are obliged to unlearn other ethics, in order to learn divinity. Let it be considered that these opinions greatly favor immorality. The doctrine that all are vile, and equally merit a state of punishment, is an idea as consolatory to the profligate, as it is humiliating to the saint; and that is one reason why it has always been a favorite doctrine. The indecent confidence of a Dodd, and the debasing terrors of a Johnson, or of more blameless men than he, spring from one and the same source. It prevents the genuine workings of real penitence, by enjoining confessions of imaginary demerit; it quenches religious gratitude, because conceiving only of two states of retribution, both in the extreme, and feeling that our crimes, whatever they may be, cannot have deserved the one, we are not sufficiently thankful for the prospect of the other, which we look upon only as a necessary alternative. Lastly, it dissolves the connexion between religion and common life, by introducing a set of phrases and a standard of moral

feeling, totally different from those ideas of praise and blame, merit and demerit, upon which we do and must act in our commerce with our fellow creatures.

"There are periods in which the human mind seems to slumber, but this is not one of them. A keen spirit of research is now abroad, and demands reform. Perhaps in none of the nations of Europe will their articles of faith, or their church establishments, or their modes of worship be able to maintain their ground for many years in exactly the same position in which they stand at present. Religion and manners reciprocally act upon one another. As religion, well understood, is a most powerful agent in meliorating and softening our manners; so, on the other hand, manners, as they advance in cultivation, tend to correct and refine our religion. Thus, to a nation in any degree acquainted with the social feelings, human sacrifices and sanguinary rites could never long appear obligatory. The mild spirit of Christianity has, no doubt, had its influence in softening the ferocity of the Gothic times; and the increasing humanity of the present period will, in its turn, produce juster ideas of Christianity, and diffuse through the solemnities of our worship, the celebration of our sabbaths, and every observance connected with religion, that air of amenity and sweetness, which is the offspring of literature, and the peaceful intercourse of society. The age which has demolished dungeons, rejected torture, and given so fair a prospect of abolishing the iniquity of the slave trade, cannot long retain among its articles of belief the gloomy perplexities of Calvinism, and the heart-withering perspective of cruel and never ending punishment."

From the (Gardiner) Christian Intelligencer.


If we do not greatly misunderstand both the letter and spirit of the Christian religion, its design is to make men better, and wherever it does exert its own salutary influence on the hearts and lives of its professors, we shall find them to be more honest, more faithful, more benevolent and more charitable members of society. We do want to see these fruits follow every profession of religion-if they do not, we cannot, in our souls believe that those who are destitute of them-we care not to what church they belong or how loud they are in their pretensions--are entitled to the appellation, religious. There is, if we mistake not, something that passes in the world under the venerable name of religion, which, though it induces its possessors to put on the external appearance of sanctity--to attend religious meetings, perhaps every day or night in the week-to contend earnestly for the creed of the church to which they may happen to belong, and to be zealous in support of the sectarian cause in which they may be engaged-instead of making them better, in the true and genuine sense of the word, renders them intolerant, morose, unkind, if not abusive to such as, in conscience, cannot subscribe to every iota of their faith. "We speak that which we do know, and testify of that which we have seen;" that which we know from personal experience, and see daily before our eyes. Bigotted and persecuting dispositions too generally, we fear-if we may "know men by their fruits"--fill a large space in the hearts and actions of those who make the loudest professions of knowing most of the gospel, and of enjoying the greatest measure of the spirit of Christ. Now we hold, that those who profess to be the best Christians,

we have a right to expect will consequently be the best men; and the best men will always readily be discovered by society, without the trouble of their undertaking to tell others that they are so-as the most useful citizens are the most accommodating and amiable neighbors, and are the best and most active friends to the poor and unfortunate. If f you wish to discover the evidence of a person's religion, look to his life; see what that testifies concerning him, and make up your opinion accordingly.


The publisher of the Christian Telescope and Universalist Miscellany, as the means of disseminating the pure principies of Universalism, and of subverting the deleterious effects of the numerous sectarian tracts, with which our land is at present completely inundated, and which he conceives to be only calculated to poison the inquiring mind, and to render it the passive and desponding subject of error, doubt and tormenting fears: proposes publishing by subscription, a monthly pamphlet of 16 pages, octavo, entitled The Gospel Preacher; each No. to contain two Original Sermons, from the pens of living Universalist Ministers, and each designed to give a clear and full explanation of some passage of Holy writ, and to explain the true principles of the Gospel as understood by Universalists.

This work will be issued on the most economical plan, so that it may be afforded at such a price, as to ensure its gratuitous circulation by such individuals as may be disposed to forward the important object.

Conditions.-The Gospel Preacher will be published on the first Wednesday of each month, handsomely printed on fine paper, and neatly stitched in colored

« PreviousContinue »