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66 Be ye,
a God whose perfection may be safely imitated. You can love, and imitate your God; but others, to imitate their God, must hate. You can find peace and joy in obeying the injunction of our great Master, therefore, perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Remeinber, brethren, there is no other way to be perfect, but that in which God is perfect. Universalists, having so reasonable and benevolent a doctrine, are laid under more sacred obligations to be virtuous than any other class of men. A man who believes in God's hatred to men will be in great danger of hating his fellow-creatures ; but in this case it is his misfortune rather than his fault. In a Universalist it would be sin of the deepest dye, — sin against heaven: it would be ingratitude, — unkindness, — rendering back to God evil for his good. For all evil done to God's creatures is evil done to him. “Inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of my disciples, ye have done it unto
Brethren, let us remember these things continually. Wherever scattered abroad, let this characteristic distinguish us all, that we love the Lord God with all our hearts, and our neighbors as ourselves. This is better than burnt-offerings or sacrifices; it is the whole duty of man, for want of which nothing can atone.
VIII. To sum up, then, what are the peculiar duties of those who believe in the infinite goodness of God, and in the final holiness and happiness of all men ?
They should love, worship, honor, and serve God as a Father. Shall not he who watches over us with an almighty and unchanging love, have the return of our feeble gratitude and obedience? If our professed faith is not mere speculation, we must show the fruits of it in our lives. “Faith, without works, is dead.” Endeavour, then, to cherish a constant and lively sense of the paternity of God. Such a sentiment, dwelling in the heart, will not only induce us to love and serve God, but will sustain us in the season of adversity, lift us up in the times of our deepest trials, chasten every
pleasure, and bear the soul gently through the dark valley of the shadow of death. As saith the poet,
“ Is there a lone and dreary hour,
When worldly pleasures lose their power
And set each thought of darkness free.
Which scorns the prospect of relief?
And bid my heart its calm resume.
When hope is all my soul's employ?
Until they rest with thee, their home.
The dawn or twilight's sweet serene;
Shall own nay Father's grace and power.” The Universalist should always bear in mind, that God is no less the Father of others, than himself. As he is the Creator, so is he the Parent, of all. See, then, that there is a common bond, tie, uniting the vast family of man. No national boundary can dissolve this tie, no distance, -no circumstance of birth, or of color,
no misfortune, no oppression ; neither poverty, nor vice, nor disgrace, nor death, can sunder it. It is as indissoluble as the love of God. When men caii cease to be the offspring of God, then they will cease to be a brotherhood. Who, believing and realizing this, can be unkind ? Who can be entirely engrossed in his own welfare? Who can be the oppressor of his brethren ? Who can be deaf to the moan of the sufferer ? to the plaintive entreaty of the poor? The more powerfully the true principles of Universalism operate on the heart, the more kind, faithful, and actively benevolent shall we be. Let us, then, endeavour to be Universalists indeed, — Universalists in spirit as well as in profession, - Universalists in practice as well as in precept. We think too little of God as a Father, and too little of man as our kindred in body and in soul. Never
yet was a man led into wrong doing, by following closely the influences of Universalism. We do not deny, that there are men professing to be Universalists, who dishonor the name they bear ; but their wickedness does not spring from the fact, that they are Universalists indeed, but from the fact, that they are not so. Let Universalism, then, be fully and faithfully preached. Ye servants of the living God, who minister at his holy altar, fail not to impress most deeply upon the hearts of your hearers, the principles of this holy faith. Yo cannot make men love God too well. If they love him, they will love their brethren.
Dwell frequently on the moral power of your doctrine, and urge believers to good works. Rest assured of this, that the more closely you bring your hearers to practise the principles of the doctrine we have defended, the more heavenly-minded and obedient will they be. Be careful to put your hearers on their guard against a mere speculative, or dead faith. There is but one way to determine whether your faith be a living faith. Doth it bring forth good works? That is the test.
IX. Any science, any theory of pliilosophy, in order to be tested, must be put into practice. If men never should put their arithmetical knowledge into practice, of what benefit would it be to them? If the welltaught navigator should fail to apply his knowledge to the working of his ship, it would do him no good. His theory must be put into practice, or he can derive no benefit from it. It was designed for practical application. If totally regardless of the science in which he had been instructed, he should lose his way upon the pathless deep, and find himself among rocks and quicksands, his misfortunes would not be attributed to the system in which he had been instructed, but to bis failure to apply the principles of it to practice. This is equally true of the Christian. If he, by departing from the sound principles of the doctrine of Christ, gets lost in the mazes of sin and folly, his faults are not to be attributed to the influence of Christian faith, but
to the want of that influence. The Universalist knows, that the sentiments he cherishes, have none other effect upon him than that which is good. The natural influence of them, is to promote love to God and love to man, — comfort and hope in seasons of the deepest aflliction, — reconciliation to God at all times, and confidence in the hour of death. But to produce these consequences, the sentiments must not be merely assented to. “ He is not a Jew which is one outwardly,' saith the apostle ; " neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter." So he is not a Universalist which is one outwardly ; he must have the doctrine in his heart; and if there, like an ever-living fountain, it will continually send out streams of truth, and purity, and love. When Universalists do wrong, it is not because they obey the influences of the doctrine they profess, but it is because they do not obey them.
X. It was a sound remark of Dr. Franklin, the most eminent of our philosophers, that “no system in the Christian world was so well calculated to promote the interest of society, as the doctrine which showed a God reconciling a lapsed world unto himself.” We have this on the authority of his daughter, Mrs. Bache, in whose house he died. It appeared first in England, in the “ New Monthly Magazine,” and was afterwards copied into the “ Mirror," Vol. IX. p. 203. See “Modern History of Universalism,” p. 413. Such was the sentiment of that great philosopher. A simiJar acknowledgment was made by the eminent philosopher and divine, Dr. Joseph Priestley. He said, in a sermon delivered in the Lombard Street church, in Philadelphia, “I express my concurrence with the minister, and the congregation worshipping here, in their opinion concerning the final happiness of all the
- a doctrine eminently calculated to promote alike gratitude to God, and consequently every
other virtue ; and, since this doctrine is perfectly consistent with the belief of the adequate punishment of sin, it is far from giving any encouragement to sin
“ Modern History of Universalism," If the sentiment of these two eminent philosophers be true, (and Universalists surely will not dispute it,) how necessary is it, that all who profess the doctrine of universal love, should manisest the power of it in their actions. They should let their souls be each a mirror, in which the image of the doctrine shall be seen. We ask of them only, that they sedulously endeavour to understand the nature, and feel the power, and display the excellence, of their faith. Then will they honor and glorify God, in their bodies and spirits which are his, and live in constant good-will towards their fellow-men. They will hate sin, and flee from it, not on account of punishment merely, but because it is a violation of the commandments of God. In every event of life, they will recognise his overruling hand. They will part with all they hold dear on earth, if it be God's will; and with humble resignation they will kiss the rod with which they are smitten. And when, at last, they are summoned to depart, hope shall lift up its teariess eye to the throne of God, and the spirit shall return to Him who gave
it. XI. If there be any one thing which particularly concerns the substantial interests of the Universalist denomination, it is the formation of Vital Godliness. We do not mean that Universalists should become the encouragers and promoters of fanaticism, in any of its protean forms, for we have yet to learn, that any of these are identical with vital godliness. But is it demanded what we mean by the phrase which we have employed ? Our answer is simply this: We mean those peculiar exercises of the mind and the affections, which the doctrines embraced by Universalists are so preï minently calculated to produce, if they be allowed to exert their legitimate influence. Universalists believe that Jehovah is as wise, and as powerful, and as