« VorigeDoorgaan »
If you make all your great names bow, and pay homage to Christ; let them bring forth their army, on the other side: and let Calvin, and Luther, ard Zuinglius, and Knox, and Laud, and Baxter, and all other idols, bow down to Christ. Let Christians cease to be called by their names; and let them who have one master, have but one common denomination.
And let the whole be sealed with the kiss of charity, and with all the tokens of benevolence and love.
But whether you, or they, will hear, or forbear ; whether any thing of this sort shall be done, or not done ; I have delivered my soul.
I had an impulse upon me, to say all this. I have follow ed that impulse : and what I have said, I have said.
I have opened my heart to your Holiness and you may make what use you please of it.
If you think fit to accept my correspondence, I faithfully promise to give you from time to time, an exact account of the state, in which we protestants are, or are like to be.
For the present; without farther ceremony, or apology, I kiss your Holiness's feet, not in a religious, but in a civil manner; and am,
Your most faithful friend, or,
MR. KNEELAND'S FAREWELL SERMONS. Delivered in consequence of his dismission from the Church and Society in Langdon, N. H.
SERMON I. Heb. xiii. 1. “ Let brotherly love continue.”
Of all the exhortations ever given to man, none can be more conducive to their present peace or future felicity than the excitements to brotherly love and as this principle is necessary to the present happiness of mankind, so the continuance of this principle is necessary for the continuance of that happiness.
The All-wise and beneficent Jehovah, our heavenly father, in giving to mankind a constitution consistent with his plan of infinite goodness, placed himself, whom the spirit of di` vine revelation declares to be LOVE, as the everlasting and immutable foundation of all that good that was to be ultimately enjoyed by all his rational creatures. And if God be love, a manifestation of this divine principle in us, clearly demonstrates that we are the sons of God." Hence the rational contemplative mind is ready to conclude, that every quality of moral nature of which we are possessed, is a modification of the sime Divine Being manifested in us his children. And as all these modifications have been directed by infinite wisdom and goodness, they prove to us beyond all contradiction, that the love of our heavenly Father to his own offspring, or to brings produced by an action of his own divine nature, can be nothing short of infinite love. In this point of view the love of God may be justly consid ered parental, because it must embrace in its affection the best good of all creatures whom it has been the means of bringing into existence. The apostle undoubtedly had reference to this love when he said, " But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ." (Eph. i: 4,5) The exercise of this heaven y principle in min, being directed by that wisdom which dwelleth with prudence, and that charity which seeketh not her own, is styled brotherly love and well it may be-beéause, being allied to, and of the same nature of the fountain from whence it sprang, it embraces in the arms of its affection, and bears on the altar of its most feeling heart, each and every rational creature which his descended from the father of the spirits of all flesh.
We shall not attempt to describe this heavenly principle, nor to analize it, abstractly from its effects None by searching can find out the almighty to perfection." • The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou heareth the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it go-th: so is every one that is born of the spirit
As your ever affectionate brother and friend, who has ever felt interested in your present happiness, as well as your future felicity, through the interposition of that Allwise providence who seeth not as man seeth, is about to ad
dress you, probably, for the last time-as the place where he has spent his principal labors, for upwards of eight years, is now to be vacated-and as the events of futurity are hidden from our present view-he has felt the weight of the exhortation of the inspired apostle, and a sincere desire to impress its importance on the minds of those for whom he has so long travailed in birth, that Christ might be formed in them the hope of glory; and to leave it as his last will and testament, the legacy of his affection, to be their guide to every thing that is truly desirable in this world, and to be the ground work of all their hopes in things pertaining to that world which is to come. “Let brotherly
The present occasion, as well as the importance of the text, is too interesting to suffer an individual to be indifferent to the subject. It is a subject that equally concerns all. The old and the young, the rich and the poor, the wise and the ignorant, are equally benefited by brotherly love. It is not confined to any particular sect, or denomination of people, but it is that, and that only, which adorns all who are blest with its benign influence. "Love is of God; and he that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love-hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."
You are not, my brethren and friends, on this occasion, hailed with the tale of woe; your ears are not corroded with the unwelcome tidings of sorrow; (unless it be at the thoughts of the departure of him who has ever endeavored to promote your present and ultimate good ;) you are not saluted with the angry looks of an injured friend, nor with the grim sentences of a disappointed foe; you are not accused with the want of brotherly love, but my text rather supposes the contrary; and you are therefore saluted on this occasion with the sweet and most profitable exhortation, "Let brotherly love continue," enforced by one whose first and last wish concenters in your present and future felicity:
In attending to this text, I shall follow the path, and make use of the arguments of a worthy brother* who has gone on the same subject; and then close with an applica
* Brother Hosea Ballou. See his festival Sermon, delivered at Chester, Vt. June 24, A. L. 5806.
tion, as the occasion may require. And in order to not lose sight of the analogy between causes and their effects, I shall
I. Shew the cause, source, or fountain, from which brotherly love proceeds, arguing its agreement, or consistency with its cause.
II. Shew the effects of brotherly love, arguing that those effects are perfectly consonant to their cause. And,
III. Shew the necessity of the continuance of brotherly love, in order to continue its glorious and happy effects.
I. I am to shew the cause, source, or fountain, from which brotherly love proceeds, &c.
1. As each and every moral faculty which exists in us is derived from the father of the spirits of all flesh, the father of our moral nature, it must be evident that those faculties existed in God anterior to their existing in us; therefore the cause of our possessing any, or all of them, is, they have an original existence in God: And the cause of our possessing any natural faculty or propensity, is, they have an original existence in the principles of nature. It is an eternal law of nature that nothing can give that which it does not possess. Hence, the creator gave no property to his offspring which did not first exist in him. Parents can communicate, by the laws of generation, no quality to their offspring that they do not first possess in themselves. Could this be done, in as great a degree as it was, the offspring would have no relation to its parents. And could it be effected in every quality, then in such a case, there could be no relation at all. But our wisdom and understanding extend no further than to behold in the offspring the qualities of the parents, and that the reason why those qualities exist in the child, is, parents possessed them first.
2. God having in his divine fulness, power to communicate his own moral nature to the works of his hands, is a second reason or cause of brotherly love. The simple existence of love, in God, could never have produced its likeness in us, if deity had not been possessed of the power of emitting, or, some other way, of communicating, that principle to his creatures, in the eternal laws by which he constituted us moral dependent beings.
3. The Great Creator and organizer of nature has wisely constituted and ranged the various properties and qualities of
our existence is perfectly consonant to the harmony of his own divine nature, fixing in each moral being the same moral principles whose nature is an eternal union.
4. God, in giving man a conscious existence made his own happiness the greatest possible object of all his actions, and placed brotherly love as the centre of that happiness. Thus each individual happiness, however unknown to the creature at present, is inseparably connected with the happiness of all, and the happiness of all embraces the happiness of each individual.
5. Our daily experience, by which we, not only come to the knowledge of ourselves, but also learn the relation in which we stand to our fellow creatures of the same species, is productive of brotherly love. This, though it may be considered the immediate cause, stands in relation to all the rest; so that it could not exist without the foregoing, neither could the former be effective without this, Agreeably to those causes, collectively, the effect is produced, and brothely love is brought forth in the rational mind.
The eternal love of Jehovah, that great love wherewith our heavenly father loved us, when we existed only in the eternal mind, which love is the essence of his nature, is a boundless ocean, which can neither be increased nor diminished, and is the same to every rational creature which the power of God has produced. This kind of love, by the power of God, is fixed as a principle of our moral nature; which renders love the centre of all rational happiness. The knowledge of this, i. e. that love, or the exercise of the eternal principle of moral existence, is the centre of all rational felicity, we obtain only by experience, which experience finally produces the desired effect, bringing our souls into a rational union in the divine affections, and thereby brotherly love is implanted in the understanding.
This brotherly love, as an effect produced in us by the foregoing causes, agrees with and answers to the causes that produce it.
1. It is as extensive according to the knowledge and experience of the creature, as the fountain from whence it sprang, affectionately embracing all rational beings who are constituted with those same moral principles, which in themselves are divine. It is no more in the power of a man who understands the principles of his own moral nature, and is