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10 The Father spoke-the sun, eclips'd, appear'd ;
1 POWER divine, awake! and from the earth,
2 Suspend events, all thought beyond, so vast,
But fix their fate, and make them strong to bear
6 As many years let floods of torment rise,
As twinkling stars that speck the gloomy skies
The distant end still fleeting far from sight.
7 As many more increase the fire of hell,
8 In view of these, place all the happy race,
From Christ, though once he bled, nor saint, appear. 9 To make the mother, while her child shall cry In useless wailings but for leave to die,
Adore my justice, banish from her far
Though such, brute-beasts, in scripture language are.
1 AWAKE, Eternal Love! and from the earth
5 Let, by degrees, the day and night divide,
To teach the world their darkness, shame, and pride,
6 But yet be near, my Son, when foes invade,
9 To thee I give the charge of all that man has made,
10 The FATHER spoke-the Sun refulgent bright,
A world is free; a Conqueror now they own,
These three ideas are supposed to be the real definition of the three systems, though not what each individual of the orders may be apprised of.
WOODSTOCK, AUGUST, 1827.
SERMON, NO. XXXVI.
[The substance of a discourse, delivered April 15, 1827, in the first Universalist Meeting-House in Portsmouth, N. H. by Bro. Edward Turner.]
ACTS xxvi. 2.-I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee, touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews.
These words form the introduction to the very eloquent defence which the apostle to the gentiles made, when he stood in the presence of king Agrippa, to repel the unjust charges, that his countrymen had brought against him. These charges involved not only the apostle's doctrine, but his practice. Whatever degree of ignorance or malice might have induced the accusers of Paul to bring him to the king's judgment seat, the history of the transaction exhibits proof, that the mind of the accused was tranquil and collected, and that no passion, the exercise of which is incompatible with religious principle, was allowed to exert the smallest influence. So far from expressing any regret or displeasure at the conduct of his accusers, or treating them with harsh rebuke, or severe reprehension, he seems rather to have rejoiced that an opportunity was furnished for explaining his doctrine, enforcing the truths which he was engaged in supporting, and thus exculpating himself from the allegations that were brought against him. This part of St. Paul's history, as it presents his character in a pleasing and important light, and exhibits his conduct as worthy the imitation of all Christians, will always be read with deep interest, and inspire useful reflection. We may feel a persuasion that the doctrines, in which we firmly believe, are so well estaVol. 8.
blished by evidence, that they can never be successfully assailed; we may cherish the idea, that no person, whose religious views differ from our own, has the right to arraign us at his tribunal, to charge us with heresy, and to require us to answer to the charges which he brings either against the soundness of our opinions, the conclusiveness of our arguments, or the practical tendency of the principles which form the foundation of our faith. In these views, however, we may be mistaken; or, rather, we may carry our reasoning upon this subject to an unwarrantable extent. Scripture and experience show that doctrines, delivered with the highest sanctions, have been violently opposed, and that principles the most holy have been openly denounced. If others have no right to call us to account for what we believe; yet if they will do it, we are not at liberty to refuse an answer to their inquiries. We must "be ready to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us." Nor am I certain, that we can justly claim an exemption from even a rigorous inquisition, when there is reason to believe, as in some cases there will be, that an opposition to our distinguishing views is induced by honest motives, though it is marked by the grossest ignorance of our system of doctrine. Men possess the right to scrutinize whatever they suppose can produce practical effects, to determine whether the effects will be good or bad; and when they perceive, or think they perceive, that the tendency of any principles, or doctrine, or form of reasoning, is to produce evil rather than good, they possess the right, and we may expect them to exercise the right of denouncing such principles, doctrines and forms of reasoning, as absurd and licentious. In these cases, all we can expect, indeed, all we ought to desire, is to be heard in our own defence, that, if our opposers, either from ignorance, or from a worse cause, unjustly asperse our doctrines or