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demned, because he had refused to exercise that discretion. It is abundantly clear that those who love God and their fellow-men, with all their hearts and minds, have the gift of spiritual perception, and can, as they walk through life, unlock all the treasures they find, comprehending them with as much certainty as is consistent with the limited intellects and many infirmities of human nature. We are far from asserting that it is immaterial what men believe, so they are honest in their belief; we say that men may greatly err in doctrine and theology, and yet be safe. They are not excusable for remaining in error, when they have the means to escape from it. Every man, with the Scriptures in his hands, is bound to search them anxiously, carefully, and with an honest desire after the truth: it is his duty to supply himself with all the help he can, both from books and living teachers; but in the last resort he must believe for himself, and not by another; his belief must be built on his own

convictions, and not on those of another. A man's religious mind, the state of his soul in its relations with religious truths, must be made up from its own investigations, decisions, and exercises, and not those of another. He is bound to perfect himself in belief and practice, to the utmost extent of his capacity; and no doubt all men fall short of their duty in this respect. It is obviously absurd to bind men by creeds and confessions, and expect them to keep together and be uniform in faith or speculation. Such efforts can only produce a seeming uniformity, and exert a decided influence towards hypocrisy or want of candour. Happy are we indeed, that there is a way of salvation equally efficacious for errors of judgment as well as errors of life. No human scrutiny nor discrimination dare draw the line of doctrine or conduct which bounds the mercy of God in Christ. · Let every man, therefore, examine himself, upon his eternal peril, and see whether he has made that progress in truth of which he

is capable, and whether he may not be entertaining errors in doctrine, for which it is no excuse for him that others entertain them. And let all religious teachers take heed to their teaching, and not think they have done their duty by aiming at an apparent conformity of faith, to be maintained by church discipline, public opinion, and other external influences : let them remember that their hearers are to be made free in Christ, and not to have yokes laid upon them. They are bound to instruct them in the truth, but they cannot command their assent. The Reformation let in a flood of light, and set inultitudes free from the bondage of error; their minds rioted in religious truth, and, as a necessary consequence, diversities of opinion arose, and diversities of conviction resulted in a variety of sects. This was unavoidable; not only so, but freedom of religious thought not merely begets this variety of sects,—it must produce an equal diversity of opinion in the bosom of each sect: nay more, in the mind of every active

Christian there is much diversity. And it must be so, because it is clearly a part of God's mode of dealing with men, that they must be continually struggling between good and evil; continually deciding between truth and falsehood, between right and wrong; continually exercising patience, practising selfdenial, resisting temptations, and undergoing an infinity of trials of greater or less magnitude,-all which constitute the school in which souls take their form and character, which determine their capacity for everlasting happiness, or fix their destiny for unending misery. Men who by long and patient study acquire great knowledge, and by continual exercise strengthen their intellect, attain to a capacity for intellectual enjoyment not only great, but capable of indefinite enlargement. So those who exercise their religious affections, capacities, and graces, to their utmost power here, are the better fitted to enter upon the pure joys of the heavenly state, whenever called to a separation from the body. From this

preparation, in the infinity of these various exercises and experiences, operating on individual minds, there must necessarily be evolved an endless variety of thought, of character, and of opinions; a diversity as great as the number of individuals. As from these differences are constituted many sects, not agreeing in all things, but in many things which consist with harmony of action; it does not comport with God's government that these diversities of opinion should be obliterated or smoothed away. The cords which bind his disciples together should not be composed of opinions, nor doctrines, nor creeds: the cords provided for this unity are love to God and love to man; the ties of the affections are the real bonds of


with God and man. If the bonds of love be made strong enough, and drawn close enough, differences in theology will be little remarked and sectarian asperity will find no soil in which to grow. The struggle among sects will then be not to injure each other, not to surpass in

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