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ought, therefore, to be given them, that will afford their consciences the least relief in the neglect of this reasonable duty. And I do not hesitate to say, it is at the peril of ministers to pursue any other course with them, than one which shall shut them up to the faith.
Do you say sinners will not be satisfied with these directions, and these directions will only discourage and distress them? Be it so.We do not wish to satisfy them, but to render their condition more and more distressing, as long as they stay away from Christ. On the other hand, we wish to add to the weight of their obligations, till they become so awful and accumulated as to be insupportable, and crush their rebellion. And this course commends itself to the consciences of convinced sinners themselves. It makes them feel just as the Spirit of God makes them feel. This is the work in which the Spirit of God is engaged with them, and we wish to fall in with it; and we know that any other course is to oppose the Spirit in his work." C.
FROM THE INVESTIGATOR OF JULY 31. A CHAPTER ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY is so constantly the topic of declamation, and so many alarms are given of its being in danger, that it seems desirable to attain clear and definite views of its nature, in order to know. the peculiar characteristics of the principles and the dispositions which are hostile to its existence.
By Religious Liberty we understand the liberty given by human laws to every sect of religionists to worship according to the dictates of their own consciences, to exercise and to promulgate in any manner not inconsistent with the equal rights of others, the religion of their own choice, without being thereby subjected to molestation or punishment, at the hands of the government, or its subjects.
Religious Liberty, then, pre-supposes the existence of different sects, and does not frown on their existence. On the contrary, it protects them. Their protection is indeed its sole object. If all the world were perfectly joined together in the same religious sentiments, affections and practices, there would be no need of the laws establishing Religious Liberty.
As Religious Liberty therefore, wholly consists in protecting sectarianism; so religious intolerance wholly consists in opposing sectari
Sectarianism consequently can never be opposed to Religious Liberty. Nothing can be opposed to Religious Liberty but anti-sectarianism. To assert the contrary would be a contradiction in terms.
How can sectarianism be opposed to Religious Liberty, which is the very foundation on which it rests? Can it be opposed to its own existence?
How can anti-sectarianism support Religious Liberty? Who will trust a man to protect that which he hates? Can that protect sectarianism, which regards it as an intolerable evil?
Different sects, it may be said, have mutually and alternately persecuted each other. This may be true. But their persecutions have always been owing, not to their sectarianism, but wholly to their anti-sectarianism. The principle of sectarianism is the principle of liberty and independence. But the principle of anti-sectarianism is the principle of dictation and passive obedience. It was so in the days of Luther. It is so still.
The Pagan persecutions of Christianity were all founded on antisectarianism. The Pagan Priests invited the fellowship of the Christians and offered to add the name of Jesus to their catalogue of thirty thousand gods. Nothing but the independent, conscientious, exclusive and sectarian sentiments and feelings of the primitive Christians prevented their accepting the offer. Some of them indeed did so, and mingled with the Pagans, and lived very quietly. But those who remained sectarians were persecuted by the anti-sectarian spirit of the liberal and enlightened Greeks and Romans.
And the persecutions of papal Rome have always been founded on the same spirit of anti-sectarianism. The Romish Church claimed to be Catholic, that is-universal-liberal. Accordingly it was anti-sectarian. It could not tolerate schism. It frowned on sectarianism. It could not permit its existence.
Whenever Protestants have persecuted, they have done so, precisely upon the same principle. They have been impatient of schismatics -herelics-sectarians. These three terms (so far at least as persecution is concerned) express very nearly the same thing.
Paradoxical as it may at first sight appear, it is demonstrably certain in theory, and historically true in fact, that no general persecution ever did, or ever can arise, from any other cause than from a spirit of excessive catholicism, which cannot tolerate sectarianism. The unity of one indivisible body, which it is deemed exclusive and sectarian not to embrace in the bonds of fellowship, has ever been the Utopian Moloch to which the liberty of sectarianism has been sacrificed.
Just as much as we have of a spirit of sectarianism among us, just so much we have of the bold, manly and unconquerable spirit of religious liberty and no more.
Just as much as we have of a spirit of anti-sectarianism among us, just so much we have of the spirit of religious intolerance: and no
Ascertain the amount of exertions to put down sectarianism, and Asyou ascertain the amount of exertions against religious liberty.
ertain by whom these exertions are made, and you ascertain from what quarter "our religious liberties are in danger,"
Those exertions are here intended, which would put down' sectarianism by outcry, clamor, or intimidation, Persuasive arguments to voluntary union and catholicism do not come under this head. There are some who entreat their brethren all to speak the same thing, and to be perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgment and there are others who entreat them to speak nothing at all, and to be perfectly joined together without being of the same mind and judgmont. Such entreaties are not necessarily connected with such exertions to put down sectarianism, as imply the spirit and principles of intolerance. Mild and persuasive arguments against sectarianism, are not persecutions, But when sectarianism comes to be regarded as intolerable, religious liberty is in effect proscribed as intolerable. Hence violent clamor against sectarianism is much the same thing as a violent clamor against religious liberty. Accordingly we find those publications which are bitter against sectarianism “solemnly protesting” against sectarians, for managing their own affairs in their own
If, in a land of liberty, a popular indignation should be raised against sectarianism, religious liberty would be in danger. To be indignant towards sectarianism is the same thing as to be indignan towards religious liberty.
If this clamor and this indignation should rise so high that the lawful efforts of sectarians to promulgate their peculiar religious sentiments, should be regarded and treated as an infringement of religious liberty, the disastrous result is self-evident. No class of citizens have a right to infringe on religious liberty. American freemen do not intend to permit any class of citizens to infringe religious liberty. If, therefore, American freemen can be made to regard sectarian efforts as infringements of religious liberty, they will of course, prohibit such efforts, and liberty will be DESTROYED in the mistaken ef fort to PRESERVE it.
HINTS TO PREACHERS.
Attach due importance to the devotional parts of public worship, and be solicitous to conduct them in a spirit of evangelical fervour.
It is to be feared that among the hearers of the gospel, there are not a few, who are in the habit of regarding the sermon as almost every thing, and the prayers as of very inferior interest and minor importance. And is there no ground of apprehension, that too ngar an approach to this state of feeling may be suspected also, in some who preach the gospel? Mr. Cecil went so far as to say, that "the leading defect in Christian ministers is the want of a devotional habit." And is not the truth of the remark too often exemplified? How often
is there a display of energy, elevation and fervour in the sermon, so as to form a contrast with the dryness and coldness of the prayer! Does it not seem as if the best feelings of the soul were allowed to lie dormant in communion with God, whereas they are all in a state of excitement when a discourse is to be delivered to fellow-men ?— And is there not a defect in point of spirituality, as well as in point of fervour? The prayer may indeed be protracted to a sufficient length, and yet be lamentably defective. There may be too many words, and yet, with regard to many blessings of the highest value, there may be too few petitions. There may be no want of petitions for temporal good; of petitions for individuals who request an interest in the prayers of the congregation; of petitions for our country, and for the general interests of the family of man; (and these should beyond a doubt occupy no inconsiderable space in the exercise of prolonged devotion;) but in how few words, in the prayers of some ministers, are those petitions comprised, which have reference to blessings of the highest order-blessings which a fallen, guilty, dying creature should most anxiously desire and most fervently implore? How few are the petitions for the fulness of spiritual blessings, for which the covenant of grace is primarily designed! How slight is the recogniz tion of the mediatorial character and work of the Lord Jesus Christ! How slight is the reference to the glorious operations of the Holy Spirit, and to the gracious and condescending promises of his aid, in answer to the prayer of faith! After studying the models of apostolic prayer which are left on record in the sacred writings, might not the devotional worshipper be in some instances almost tempted to think, that in conducting the devotions of the auditory, the minister had forgotten that the, object of primary importance in approaching the throne of Him who heareth prayer, is to "obtain mercy and to find grace ?"
Are there not some of our younger ministers, who have been accustomed to think too little of the importance of the devotional exercises of public worship? Ilave they not much need to cultivate, in the hours of retirement, those feelings, which, when habitually prevalent, will be the best preparative both for the prayers and for the discourses of the pulpit? Should it not be their most carnest desire, with this view, that the word of Christ may dwell in them richly, and that the Spirit of Christ may be to them in every act of worship, the Spirit of grace and of supplication?-H. F. Burder.
BURMAN MISSION. In a letter to a friend in Salem, Mrs. Boardman states, that, soon after their removal to their new station, Maulauing, they were awakened one morning just before day-break, and to their surprise and consternation, found every trunk and box in the
room broken open, and robbed of their contents. Their bureau had shared a similar fate; the looking-glass, watch, and silver spoons were gone, also a bunch of keys. After the first amazement had a little subsided, they discovered two large holes cut in the curtains suirounding their bed, the one at the head and the other at the foot where Mr. B. had been sleeping. It seems indeed remarkable, and is to be regarded as providential, that a band of plunderers should enter their dwelling, commit such depredations, and depart with their booty, and the slumbers of the owners, even of the "infant in its mother's bosom," remain all the while unbroken. But to this circumstance, under God, they probably owed their preservation. Verily he that keepeth Israel doth not slumber.'
INDIANS IN CANADA. Rev. Mr. Osgood, now in Philadelphia, is engaged in soliciting subscriptions to provide the means of instruction for the Indians and destitute settlers in Canada. A Society has been formed in Montreal to establish schools among them, of which Mr. Osgood is at present, the Agent. Mr. Osgood is favorably known as having been occupied in similar designs for more than twenty
HARVARD COLLEGE. By the annual catalogue it appears, that at this venerable seat of learning, there are candidates for the ministry 17-Students in the Divinity School 33-Students attending Medical Lectures 81-Law Students 6-other resident graduates 6of Undergraduates, Seniors 60-Juniors 47-Sophomores 69-Freshmen 74-and Students not candidates for graduation 5;-making a total of 401 pupils connected with the University. On comparing the present with the last year's Catalogue, we find an increase of 29 Undergraduates, and of 7 Divinity Students since October 1827. These pupils receive instruction from 17 Professors, and 5 Tutors.
REVIVAL IN NEW-YORK. In the central Presbyterian Church in Broome-St. as we learn from the N. Y. Observer, a silent and gradual revival has been in progress for nearly a year, during which about one hundred have found the Saviour precious, and rejoiced in hope.Of these forty-nine had joined the Central Church; about twenty had joined other churches, and twenty others were expected to make a public profession of their faith last Sabbath, 25th Oct.
FROM THE ANTI-UNIVERSALIST.
When TRUTH, resplendent as the orb of day,
(Ere ERROR from the realms of darkness sprang)
O'er the young universe held generous sway,
The morning stars in choral concert sang.'
No rage nor envy rankled in his breast.