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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. RELicious 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 Liberly 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, wholy consists in protecting secterianism; so religious intolerance wholly consists in opposing sectarianism.
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 sectarianist, 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 perseculion ever did, or ever can arise, froin any other cause than from a spirit of excefsive catholicism, which cannot tolerate sectarianism. The unity of one indivisible body, which it is deemed exclusive and sectarian pot 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 more.
Ascertain the amount of exertions to put down sectarianism, and you ascertain the amount of exertions against religious liberty. AsSertain 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’ secuarianism 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 judg. mont. Such entreaties are not necessarily connected with such ex: ertions to put down sectarianism, as imply the spirit and principles of intolerance. Mild and persuasive argunents aggirst sectarianista, are not persecutions, But when sectarianism comes to be regarded 23 intolerable, religious liberty is in effect. proscribed as intolerable. Ilence 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 Bectarianism “ solemnly protesting” against sectarians, for inanaging their own affairs in their own way.
If, in a land of liberty, & popular indignation should be raised against sectarianism, religious liberty would be in danger. To be indignant towards sectariarism 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 frecmen do 1:ot intend to pernit 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, pre hibit such efforts, and liberty will be DESTROYED in the mistaken effort 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 strmon as almos: every thing, and the prayers as of very inferior interest and milior importance. And is there no ground of apprehension, that too near an approach to this state of feeling may be suspected also, in soine 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 excmplified ? Ilow cflen
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 Jie dormant in communion with God, whereas they are all in a slate of excitement when a discourse is to be delivered to fellow-men ?And is there not a defect in point of spirituality, :s 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 bighest value, there may be too few petitions. There may be no want of petitions for lemporal 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 fainily of man; (and these should beyond a doubt occupy po inconsiderable space in the exercise of prolonged devotion ;) but in how few words, in the prayers of soine 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 recogni, tion of the mediatorial character and work of the Lord Jesus Christ ! llow 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 tho devotional worshipper be in some instances almost tempted to thivk, 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
Are there not some of our younger ministers, who have been accustomed to think too little of the importance of the devotional excrcises of public worship? IIave they not much need to cultivate, in the hours of retirement, those feelings, ivhich, when habitually prevalent, will be the best preparative both for the prayers and for tic discourses of the pulpit ? Should it not be their most earnest 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.
INTELLIGENCE. LURMAN MISSION. In a letter to a friend in Salem, Mrs. Boardman states, that, soon after their removal to their new station, Maulamuing, they were awakened one morning just before day-break, and lo their surprise and constcrnation, 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 surrounding 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 circunstance, under God, they probably owed their preservation. Verily ne 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 destituie 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 uz having been occupied in siinilar designs for more than twenty years.
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 6 of Undergraduates, Seniors 60-Juniors 47--Sophomores 69–Freshmen 74-and Studenis 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 Uo. dergraduates, 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 Proome-St. as we learn from the N. Y. Observer, a silent and gradnal 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 nad 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.
When TRUTH, resplendent as the crb of day,
(Ere Error fro:y the rening of darkness sprang) O'er the young universo held generous sway,
• The inorning stars in choralconcert sang.' Earth then was fair, e'en in her Maker's view,
Aid nan adoring bow'd, supremely blessid, No pain nor grief nor sorrow then he knew,
No rage nor envy rankicil in lois breast.
Rewards and penalties, he understood;
For all, hc feit, were holy, just and good.