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For the Christian Spectator. piety towards God, and of justice and Professor Everett's definition of a benevolence to his fellow-men? What Christian.
is there, except the external rites of A late Sermon by Professor Ever- worship, which was not actually ett, of Harvard College, contains the found, in no ordinary degree, in the following sketch of the christian char- sceptic, Hume; and yet Mr. Everett acter :—" Be upright and honoura- goes on to assure his hearers who ble, punctual and trusty in the affairs possess this character, “ You will reof life; let your word and your prom- quire no ingenious defence of your ise be sure and faithful ; your inter- tenets; you will not need the aid of course kind, friendly and open ; be learning and of eloquence; you will not too forward, but always ready for not need to ask for respect and charievery kind and charitable work; let ity; they will be more than paid, they your houses be the abode of decency will be given, they will be showered and of order, of purity and of peace; upon you." enter with moderation into the cheer Religious belief, then, constitutes ful and innocent pleasures of life, for no part in the character of a Unitariwhich Heaven has given us the sen
an christian ; for it is undeniable that ses, the faculties and the tastes; build a man may be all that is here describan altar of family worship in your ed, while he rejects every doctrine of dwellings; and be not superstitiously the scriptures, except the being of a precise, but regular and punctual in God. Besides, all that is enjoined, your aitendance on the public wor reaches merely the external conduct. ship of this place, and you will not Not a word escapes the preacher as Deed to assert your claim to the name to the principles or motives which and character of christians.".
control the outward act : nothing In this full-length portrait of a Uni- which excludes the most abandoned tarian christian, what trace is there hypocrite, who puts on the mask of which we do not find in thousands, virtue to accomplish his designs.and tens of thousands around us, whó But Mr. E. it may be said, undoubtare moral, charitable, warm-hearted, edly meant to imply that a man and punctual in the observance of should be sincere in the conduct spereligious institutions; and who yetcified. Be it so. May not a man are supremely devoted to the world, be sincerely " upright and honouraactuated solely by its principles, im- ble, punctual and trusty,” from momersed in the pursuit of merely tem- tives of selfishness, from a sense of poral good, and who are too honest to shame, or the influence of early habmake the slightest pretensions to the its and associations ? May he not be character of those who walk by “kind, friendly, and charitable” from faith and not by sight?” What is the force of those instincts and feelthere that may not be found in the ings, which are implanted at our consistent Deist, who on his own birth, and which are sometimes principles, is bound to the exercise of stronger in the notoriously vicious,
Vol 3.-No. III. 15
than in the established christian?- reliance on the merits of Christ, and Would not a refined taste alone dic- of gratitude to Him as the author of tate that his house should be the salvation. Repentance becomes less abode of decency and of order, of pungent, as the evil of sin is extenupurity and of peace”? May not fam- ated; the necessity of christian watchily and public worship be the cold fulness is proportionally diminished; tribute of the understanding, without conformity to the world becomes less one correspondent emotion of the guilty and less dangerous; the line heart? or the transient burst of sym- of separation between the christian pathy, the enlivening glow of sublim- and the sober moralist is obliterated, ity, or the offspring of a mistaken and and that change of heart which proselfish gratitude ? Let all these qual- duces the christian character, requires ities be united in their liveliest exer no influence of divine grace, but cise, and most graceful proportions, merely the gradual culture of our soand still without the controling influ- cial feelings, and the subjection of ence of supreme love to God, they are the passions to the control of reason. pronounced by the apostle to be" as It is not surprising, when we considsounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.” er what human nature is, that this acWhat shall we say of a christian, in a commodatiog system is popular in high-wrought sketch of whose char- many of our large towns. What can acter, no trace of repentance is found ? be more gratifying to a class of highno intimation of a daily conflict with spirited and worldly minded men, indwelling sin ? nothing of his reli- who are bent on obtaining the name ance on the Holy Spirit for strength? and character of christians, but who of his being “crucified to the world, are held back by the firmness of a and the world crucified to him ? faithful minister, who flashes their What would the apostle Paul have true character in their face, and from said to a christian who rejects the tenderness to their souls repels them atonement of the Redeemer ; who is from the circle of that covenant to not“ justified by his blood,” or found which their hearts cannot subscribe “glorifying in nothing save the right- what can be more gratifyiog than that eousness of Christ;" who pours forth false and fatal liberality which breaks no fervent thanksgiving“ to Him down the barriers between the church who loved us and washed us from our and the world ; sets aside the merits sins in his own blood;" who makes of the Redeemer; disclaims the neno self-denying exertions to bear the cessity of renewing grace; and reglad tidings of eternal life to the duces the standard of christian charheathen nations ? What would the acter to the principles and convenSaviour say to that christian, who lays ience of the natural man? Where claim to no higher qualifications than such a system prevails, what motive those of that amiable youth whom He has any man to be an infidel, when rejected, when on earth, as destitute all that is humbling to the carnal of holiness?
mind, is obliterated from the scripMr. Everett has honestly disclosed tures ? The fact so confidently urgthe result of Unitarian principles. A ed by Dr. Ware, that the ranks of system which tears the doctrine of open Infidelity have been deserted Atonement from the christian dispen- since the prevalence of Unitarianism, sation, and makes nothing necessary is perfectly natural, and carries with to vindicate the character and uphold it the condemnation of his cause. the government of God in the pardon That the spirit of Unitarianism is a of sioners, must of necessity reduce compromise with the spirit of the sion to a trivial evil. It changes the world, must be evident to every one whole aspect of the scriptures as to who has traced its progress in Engthe character and condition of fallen land or in this country. A remarkman. It takes away all ground of able fact in confirmation of this
statement, is, that a leading Uni- benefitted by the discipline, is enjoytarian clergyman in Boston, has ed with new interest and increased recently invited the whole body of forgetfulness of God. The death of his congregation, without even the a child often increases the attachment formality of a public profession, to of parents to their surviving children, commune at the table of Christ.— and, by a stronger attraction, draws Let our churches ponder this subject their hearts away from God. As the deeply; and let every man who is se- shipwrecked mariner clings to the duced by the allurements which are last plank with a desperation proporspread in the path of Unitarianism, tioned to its insufficiency to save, so look at the precipice to which it do our hearts, when the world fails, leads.
B. F. and God is not our refuge, cling to the
last fragment of worldly good. In all these cases, the providential instruction is lost, and the effort of heaven
to withdraw the heart from idols, does 2 Cor. vii. 10—The sorrow of the but strengthen the destructive alliworld worketh death.
2. In other cases, the sorrow of the By the sorrow of the world may be world destroys, by creating a powerunderstood those griefs and afflictions ful diversion of the attention from of the present life, which are endur- God and the concerns of the soul. ed without religion. These may be Through the hardness of the heart produced by temporal calamity, or by the eye of the understanding becomes the illumination of the Spirit causing fixed exclusively upon second causes, conviction of sin. When it is declar- and the sufferer does but philosophize ed that these sorrows of the world and apply to the physician, when he work death, it is not to be under should be seeking after God. The stood that this is always the fact. more he suffers, the more intensely Thousands have been rescued from are his thoughts fixed upon the causdeath by means of sanctified aftlic- es and the remedy of his disease. tions, and all who are saved, experi- The louder the voice of God, the more ence doubtless more or less convic- profound is his deafness ; the more tion of sin, which serves as a school- distressing the stroke of the divine master to bring them to Christ.- rod, the less does the sinner regard But in these cases another influence the operation of the hand which interposes, and prevents the regular wields it. When the destroying ancatastrophe to which these causes gel enters towns and cities, then is not alone would have conducted the soul. the time for religion to revive, and It is therefore the tendency and ter- the souls of men to prosper. The atmination of these two streams of tentions to the sick and dying, with worldly sorrow, which it is proposed the panic influence of fear, withdraw to trace in this discourse. With re the thoughts from eternity, and spect to the effect of unsanctified sor ( chain them down to sense." row, occasioned by temporal calami In like manner, sudden reverses in ties, it is observed,
worldly circumstances operate, where 1. That it sometimes works death there is no religion to counteract the by increasing the attachment of the tendency. Such new and powerful sufferer to the world.
demands are made upon the time, alThe loss of property, when it does tention, and strength of the afflicted not break the spirit, nor wean the man, that he feels as if it were imposheart from idols, augments the desire sible to attend to the concerns of his of gain, and quickens the energies of soul for the present, and then his sorworldly enterprise. llealth restored, low worketh death. after long sickness, if the heart is not 3. Another common effect of the
sorrow of the world, is hardness of exhausts the patience, and winds up heart.
the nervous system to a state of unInstructions repeated and misim- managable irritation. proved, harden the heart, and afflic At length, perhaps, a dark cloud iions unsanctified have, upon the of melancholy settles upon the mind, same principle, the same effect. At and heart-withering discouragement first the stroke of heaven may startle unmans the soul. Exhausted nature the conscience, but the design of the sometimes fails and finds a respite in chastisement being at length disre- the grave. But in other instances, a garded, the conscience slumbers amid still more deplorable result ensues.the sighs and tears of suffering.- Unmitigated anguish drives the sufThus were the chastisements upon ferer to seek a momentary alleviathe Israelites reiterated, till the whole tion in inebriation; and he drinks head was sick, and the whole heart though every exhilerating draught, faint; being often reproved, they augments the nisery of his condition hardened their neck, and were sud- and shakes his soul with increased adenly destroyed. There is also an larms. And now, pressed by woes, insensibility, the effect of sorrow, reason totters on her throne and yields which results from the frailty of our her sceptre to madness or to idiocy; animal nature. There is a limit to or if strong to suffer, no alleviation our capacity of feeling, and excessive comes unsought, an alternative still grief often terminates in apathy. The more terrific remains. Goaded by man becomes a statue, and his heart, suffering to desperation, the barriers stone.
of life are forced, and the tortured 4. The sorrow of the world work- spirit urges its way from destruction eth death, in some instances, by pro on earth, to destruction in hell. ducing a murmuring disposition, and II. With respect to that sorrow rousing the enmity of the heart against wbich results from the illumination of God.
the Spirit, it may be proper to show In prosperity, such feelings were that it is, strictly speaking, the sorrow not perceived, nor the possibility of of the world. their existence suspected, as the un The consideration that this sorrow provoked adder basking in sunshine is an effect of light which God has feels no rage: But the repeated shed upon the mind, has led some to strokes of the Almighty try the heart, insist that it has something in it which and rouse its latent malignity to con- God regards with complacency, and tend with God. “What have I done which renders the strivings of sinners, to deserve such chastisement? Why while under its sole influence, accepshould this affliction fall on me? table to God, and available for the atWhy should I suffer so much more tainment of further divine influence than others ?" And the feeling of the and even of conversion. Is it not, heart is, that God is unjust, and that say they, an effect of what God has the sufferer has cause to be angry. done, and will not the Divine Being
It may here be observed that this be pleased with the effects of his own Spirit of daring controversy with God, influence upon the heart? becomes, in all the relations of social But the position, that God must life, a spirit of petulance and vexa needs be pleased with all the consetion. The softer social affections quences which result from his power seem to be drowned in sorrow, while as exerted upon free agents, is most all the maligoant passions of the soul fallacious and absurd. Such agents grow rank as in their most congenial always have the power of perverting soil. No object ministers comfort, his blessings, so that what God does but every object, directly or by asso. for their good they may turn to evil. ciation, occasions sorrow, and thus God upholds all the faculties of free continued visitation of mental pain agency, but is he of course, pleased
with all the ways in which they are and the impossiblity of rendering to exercised? God sends mercies, but God any service which he can actheir tendency when perverted is to cept, unattended in some form or othharden the heart. Is God therefore er by that love which is the fulfilling pleased with hardness of heart? He of the law and the spring of every sends judgments, but misimproved christian grace and evangelical duty. they produce death. Is God pleased 2. This increased knowledge of with death, because it is a conse the nature and extent of duty, causes quence of an impression which he, by the disclosure of a corresponding exhis providence, has made upon the tent of guilt. By the law is the knowlheart? God exhibits instruction in edge of sin. While the sinner reads his word and ordinances, and these and understands the letter only of the often become a savour of death unto law, he feels as if he had only sinful death. Has God any pleasure in actions to answer for—duties not the death, of him that dieth because done, or sins committed, as also that it is accelerated and rendered more to balance these defects he has many dreadful by what he has done? good deeds upon record; but when
God by his Spirit convinces of sin. the commandment of God brings its But this conviction of his Spirit, like claims home to his mind and heart, the common light of his word, may sin revives, and he sees himself to be resisted and abused, and it is abu- have done nothing according to the sed and resisted until the sioner yields true meaning and intent of the law. to the energy of divine truth. Is What things were gain to him, are God then, when he has awakened a now counted loss. The crime of spirsinner, pleased with his fears and ter- itual disobedience which has atienrors while he continues to rebel, not- ded every action of his life, sinks him withstanding his increased light and in debt, where he verily thought he obligation. It might as well be in- was forming a balance of good deeds isted that he is pleased with the in bis favour. feurs and the wailings which roll the 3. This same illumination of the ride of lamentation and woe through Spirit brings into view more clearly, eternity. Conviction of sin, in its and presses on the heart more powhighest degree and most terrific con- erfully, the motives to obedience. It sequences, will reign in hell forever; sets before the sioner dangers of which but God will see nothing in that dark he little thought, and which he felt world but objects of abhorrence. still less; life far exhausted with all
Salutary and indispensable as the its uncertainties of continuance; God conviction of the Spirit may be, how- angry with the wicked every day, and ever benevolent his design and determined by no means to clear the pure his influence, this inestimable guilty; Christ pleading in vain, and price to get wisdom may be in " the the strivings of the Spirit resisted, or hands of a fool who has no heart to compensated with tears, and the repeit” and who by his perverseness will tition of resolutions unfulfilled; the make it, as well as the preaching of soul awaking to its own majestic imthe word, a savour of death unto death. portance, still dying with the wounds And we are to trace in the remaining of sin and still left to die without a part of this discourse, the melancholy single application to the Great Physiprocess by which one of heaven's cian; and the Spirit, the sinner's last greatest gifts is made to accelerate the hope, warning him that he will not al, work of death.
In this manner, fear 1. It increases the extent and clear. literally comes upon him as desolaness of knowledge. This is especial- tion, and distress and anguish take ly the fact with respect to the spiritu- hold on him. ality of obedience or the claims of God In this condition, Jesus, following in all his requirements upon the heart, the footsteps of the law, which has