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one, and then you never need fear that your zeal is misplaced, be then "zealously affected always."
What more noble object is there to which human zeal may be directed, than the inculcation of just views of God, and of the blissful immortality of all mankind? This sentiment wipes the tear of sorrow away, and removes the causes of anxiety, despair, insanity, and suicide, which have so sorely afflicted the community. What more noble object is there to which human zeal may be directed?The preachers of the doctrine of universal mercy may well be zealous, zealous always, for it is good to be zealously affected in a good thing. Members of Universalist societies may be zealous. Their object is a good one. It is the overthrow of the kingdom of darkness, it is the cause of philanthropy, and the highest welfare of mankind. It is the cause of civil and religious liberty. Their design is to make men truly happy, by exposing and bringing into discredit, those errors which are the fruitful sources of their greatest sorrows. This cause does not require of men that they should make themselves monks, or ascetics, or self-torturers; but it does require a strong, steady, and unfailing zeal; and a truly reasonable man, who is not buried in the world while he lives in it, but who gives himself time to reflect upon his relations and his duties, will find himself moved by such a zeal. And here is one word which we wish to drop for the benefit of our societies in general; if you wish to convert others to the truth, and bring them to be co-workers with you in the great and good cause which you have espoused, you must be zealous yourselves. You never can make others zealous unless you are so. No man can impart a feeling to others, that he does not possess in himself. You may as well endeavour to warın another with an application of ice, as to make him feel zealous in a cause in which you show no interest your selves. If you will consider how much zeal will do in a bad cause, you will have a tolerable idea of what it will do in good cause. How much have the Catholic
zealots in Europe been able to do for the Roman Church, by nothing but their zeal. Every reflecting man knows, that men are brought sometimes to respect and venerate even the most absurd notions, and practices, merely by the zeal of those who undertake to establish them. If a man appears to be sincere and earnest, and fully engrossed in any scheme, (it does not matter so much what it is,) others will respect it, and will think there is surely something of reality in it; but they will never think so, if he shows that he does not think so himself. Now apply this principle to a good cause, which will do so much even for a bad one, and it becomes much more efficient. The members of almost every society which does not flourish, must take the blaine to themselves, for they might flourish, if they would be steadily engaged. They may overcome any obstacles, and accomplish any purposes, and win over others to their own views, feelings, and pursuits, by showing that they respect their own cause, that they believe there is something of reality, something worthy of the attention of men,-in it; and depend upon it, brethren, yoU CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT.
VIII. As a member of a Universalist society, it will justly be expected of you, that you will do every thing you can to advance the cause of Universalis:n in the world. It is the cause of God's grace; it vindicates his character; it is the cause of human morality, happiness, and consolation; and is worthy of your highest efforts. Let all your exertions be directed to the advancement of truth. Bend your private partialities to this great object in all things. The fault of many members of Universalist societies is, that they do not feel their responsibilities. To join a society is not the only duty; it is necessary to feel, continually, that you are a member. In pecuniary things, do as much as you are able, without injury to yourself, and do no more. If your income is small, retrench your expenses as well in the superfluities of your family as in your contributions to the cause of religion. But this is not all, that the
members of a society should do. You should make it a rule to be present at all the meetings of the society, both for business and for public worship. Show your zeal for the cause by your presence; it is better than ten thousand professions. It is too often the case, that the responsibility of doing the annual business of a parish is thrown upon a few individuals; and then, if they do not adopt such measures as please everybody, they are very unjustly blamed for it. Every member of a society should think himself of some consequence, and remember that he fills a place, which, if he is not present, is vacant. In every society, there should be union; this gives strength, and enables the body to carry all its measures into effect. A society may well be represented by a wheel. The hub, spokes, and felloes are not a wheel. All these different parts must be fixed in their proper places, and then there is a wheel; but it is even then weak, unless a strong tire is drawn around it, to keep every part firmly bound together. So twenty or thirty individuals are not a society. They must be placed in their stations, and this gives them the form of a society. But without union, they will have no strength; they can accomplish no important object. A strong band of love must unite them, and press them compactly together. Here, then, we see the importance, that every member should fill his place, and discharge his duty. If we strike but one spoke from a wheel, it mars its beauty, and diminishes its strength; it weakens the whole. If one member in a society be negligent or remiss, he is not only missed in person, but the burden he would bear is thrown on others, who, being unable to discharge the double duty, sink beneath its weight. How important, then, that every one should be ready to discharge the obligations that rest upon him
Again, look at the effect of this remissness in another point of view. Its influence on the minister of the parish is pernicious. No clergyman has stoicism enough in him to make him insensible to the remissness of his
parishioners. It lays like an incubus upon him, throughout all his labors. If he is writing a sermon, he knows not that many will come to hear it; and think you, that this will enable him to throw more fire and fervor into his composition? When he goes to conduct the services of public worship, he sees about half as many people as there are pews, scattered over the house, some below, and some in the gallery; no singers, so that the joyful part they perform must be omitted. He begins with a prayer, but there is no feeling; he knows not what to say; he labors through it, and it seems to every one, a long, dull, and unsuitable one. He announces his text, and endeavours to preach, but it is lifeless reading after all. His congregation have fixed themselves in a situation to suffer the least torture; if in summer, they sleep and nod; if in winter, they bury themselves in their cloaks, and go into a torpid state. How can any man preach to such a congregation? It would be easier to preach to the walls, or as many statues; because, then, the preacher would not feel himself insulted, and he would be able at once to account for the indifference of his auditors. No clergyman of common feeling, could remain with such a congregation. He would go where, if he had any talent, it would be appreciated; and where people would respect heaven, in its message of love, by feeling and manifesting a due interest in the gospel of Christ. There is yet another consideration, which weighs upon the mind of the clergyman. His character, as a parish minister, is somewhat connected with his success; and, with such a society as we have described, he feels that he suffers in his reputation, which, to literary men of common ambition, is a sting they cannot long bear.
The present age is, to Universalists, a highly interesting one. New societies and new meeting-houses rise in the prospect in quicker succession than they ever did before; and it cannot be denied, that there is a great and constant call for ministers of integrity and talent. A society, which has such a clergyman, has a
prize, that it should esteem a great misfortune to lose. For, aside from the danger of division, to which a society is always exposed on a change of pastor, it may not be easy to make his place good. How, then, shall societies, which have good ministers, keep them? We shall say nothing here in regard to a prompt discharge of pecuniary obligations, because everybody knows the importance of this; we will speak of that which is not so generally thought of. generally thought of. We say, then, in the language of Paul, that the best way to encourage your minister, and render his residence among you pleasant, is to be "steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." Be sober, be vigilant ; let benevolence shine in all your actions; love the courts of the Lord; prefer to be a door-keeper there, rather than dwell in the tents of wickedness; attend to the ordinances of the Gospel; "then shall your light break forth as the morning, and your health shall spring forth speedily."
IX. This brings us to consider, that earnestness, heartfelt zeal, and perseverance, are the surest pledges of the success of a society. There is no society, that can live where these virtues are absent; there is none but what will live and flourish, where these virtues exist. They overcome all obstacles; we may say, as was said of faith, If ye have these virtues like a grain of mustard seed, ye shall remove mountains.
We will give you the history of a prosperous society. It is situated in the town of -. Eleven years ago, there was not known to be a Universalist in the town. "The people walked in darkness, and dwelt in the land of the shadow of death." A gentleman, of middling property, about thirty-six years of age, a Universalist in deed and in truth, whose wife believed, enjoyed, and exemplified the same doctrine with himself, moved into the place. Business imperiously demanded his removal; but it was a sore affliction to him to leave his Christian friends, the "little flock" with whom he had so often worshipped God, to go among strangers, in all of whom