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deemer and his great work of redemption and God. This is a necessary corollary do not reach the depth of this real and and consequence of what has gone bevital union with the Redeemer himself. fore. Where Christ is formed as the Doctrine is good, but it is not life. The life of a soul, or of a number of souls new and divine life which Christ actually who compose the Church, there his spirintroduces into the soul of man is that itual features must of necessity come out principle around which the Church crys- with more or less of distinctness. What tallizes and develops. Without this are these spiritual features or graces inward life in Christ there can be no true which characterize the true Church Church, let it be as venerable, as orderly, everywhere and in all ages ? In other as outwardly beautiful, as it may. We words, to reduce it to the simplest form, think that Christians will not differ here. what is true religion? Where true reliThey may differ in their views of the gion is, it will not, we think, be denied, best external form of the Church, in there the true Church is. their opinions as to the scriptural insti- Many answers have been made to this tutions of Congregationalism, or Pres- question, What is true religion ? Some byterianism, or Episcopacy ; but they have found it sufficient to say that it is cannot deny the fundamental truth that the working of the natural sentiment of Christ is the vital centre of the kingdom devotion, the sense of the infinite in man; or Church of God; that this kingdom of something higher and superior, which exists alone in the person of him who leads him at times out of and above himis invested with the true power and spirit self. There is, doubtless, such a sentiof God; who is God's " beloved Son;" ment in man; but this is not enough to who manifests the nature of God as insure that strong feeling of binding Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; who by obligation to God in the conscience and his incarnation, life, and atoning death, affections which is implied in true reliactually brings the souls of believers gion, neither does such a vague sentiment into personal union with God in him. account for that power and living energy In this way a living Church is formed out which true religion exhibits. of the world. In this way alone the real Religion has also been explained to be fellowship of the Church could be at- the development of the divine in human tained, by union with One who is above nature. In so far as man is a divine creall and in all. The true Church, there- ation, and made in the image of God fore, call it what you will, visible or with immortal powers, he is indeed invisible, has its foundation in the per- divine; but if there be such a divine son of Christ, and is composed of souls nature in man as makes him by the conwho depend upon Christ and live in him. stitution of his being a part or child of They look to him in spiritual things. God, why does not the divine principle • He is formed within them the hope of in man manifest itself from the beginglory. Their wills acknowledge him as ning and irresistibly in him? Why does Lord in whom all dominion dwells. In his nature develop itself invariably, contrast to the merely natural and tran- under all circumstances, favorable or sient life of this world, such souls, by unfavorable, in human imperfection, sortheir real union with Christ, have an row, and unholiness ? eternal life in them. This it is that im- But leaving such outside definitions, parts to the Church an everlasting and let us look at some of those which have divine life — that makes it a kingdom more of scriptural and vital truth in them. that shall have no end.
One such definition of true religion as 2. A common possession of the spirit- we have named is comprehended in the ual graces, or the true spirit of Christ idea of duty; making the principle of obedience to rightful law to be the Christian in order to bear him through essence of religion. The word “duty” is the common trials and temptations of truly a noble word. It has been the life. The school of the Christian in watchword of great deeds. It is, more- which he hardens and trains himself for over, an essential element of true reli- the prize of a higher life is the school gion. The human will must come into of self-denial. There can be no strong subjection to the will of God before any virtue that is not rooted by having stood man can lead a religious life. Religion trial. But even this strong and pure is certainly the doing of what man ought principle, this prominent characteristic to do. The law has its grand and appro- quality of Christianity, cannot of itself priate place in the gospel. It can no comprehend the whole of religion, bemore be blotted out or lost sight of than cause it must be regarded as a result or ean Mount Sinai in the whole scenery of fruit of true religion in the heart, rather spiritual truth; but the law has no renew- than the thing itself. And the same ing power.
The tie which has been might be said of the truth of repentance; broken cannot rebind itself to God. It because although a man cannot enter cannot of itself reform the lost relation, the kingdom of heaven without a hearty nor continue to hold man in a state of repentance of his sins, yet, when he living and joyful union with his heavenly repents of his sins, how is he to answer Father. “The law," the Apostle says, for the least of them before God, and “ was not made for the righteous man, how is he to become and continue a holy but for the sinner;” it is to reprove of man ? So, to go no further, although sin, to slay false confidence of the mind, these qualities that have been named are to warn, to restrain, to judge, to shine in the highest degree religious qualities, before the soul as a constant and holy and must enter into all true religion, yet standard of duty, to lead as a school- true religion itself, or the religious life master to Christ; but it has in it no that produces and comprehends them, spring of a new life, or of a new and is the Spirit of God in the heart; holy Church. If the best man's life were and this, above all, is the spirit of love. judged merely by what he has done, it That defines it in the shortest term. would be seen to be fragmentary, imper- Every one that loveth is born of God, fect, and sad. There would be no fin- and knoweth God.” Religion in its purished lives among us, nor in the whole est fact and essence is the being planted circle of the Church on earth; for it is in that divine love in which the withered love alone that gives to life the touch and and sin-deadened soul of man begins to glory of divine perfection.
put forth once more heavenly bloom and Religion, yet again, is often
fruit. hended in the thoroughly Christian prin- What we have said is, we think, fully ciple of self-sacrifice; which truth has confirmed by Scripture. Jesus, when still more of the Christlike element in it, asked the direct question, in what true is a still purer emanation of the cross, religion, whereby man inherited eternal and enters more profoundly into the life, consisted, answered, “Thou shalt very marrow and life of religion. We love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all feel the deep power of self-sacrifice; and with all thy soul, and with all thy that they who have moved us most to mind, and with all thy strength" — and strive after goodness have been they who, “thy neighbor as thyself.” Nothing is like the Saviour, have sacrificed most needed to be added to this, but only to for goodness' sake. Something of this develop and explain it. inward consecration or surrender of self For this we might go abundantly to to the Master must belong to every the Apostle John; but we will rather go
to the rugged and argumentative Paul. eousness. It can even hide its face of The twelfth and thirteenth chapters of sweetness and tender compassion, and the First Epistle to the Corinthians are put on the stern countenance of justice devoted to the subject of the Church, to as does God himself. But it does all its gifts, graces, and religious life. The things for the highest good of all as does apostle speaks of the miraculous gifts of God. It has no element of selfishness, prophecy, tongues, and healing; and of no drop of bitterness or malice, in it. the commoner gifts of knowledge, teach- It goes out continually for the good of ing, government, alms-giving and so on. others. It is the same principle of life These all he represents as but partial and action that moves God. It is the gifts of the Church of God, that will simplest state of the regenerate mind pass away with the need of them. They born into the divine likeness. It is in a are in a sense temporal in their nature, word the new spirit of God and Christ; and are suited to the condition of the and a man is thus brought to share in Church while on earth. Then he takes the life of God, and “ made a partaker up charity as that essential and divine of the divine nature.” We can indeed go principle that perfects and comprehends no farther than this in our analysis of all the gifts and graces of the Church, religion, and of the essence of the invisand ends with the words, “And now ible Church. It comes in fact all to this, abideth faith, hope, charity, these three: that true religion is not to be found in but the greatest of these is charity.” man, but alone in the life and Spirit of Here we seem to come to the substance, God. He that is born through Christ or the abiding essence of all that is good, into this new spirit of love and of of true religion. We can ourselves see God belongs to the true Church, whatthat this is so, and that there never was erer be his name or nation; and will or could be true religion, and above all manifest more and more of the divine true Christianity, without these eternal character and fruits of this inward elements uniting us with God, keeping principle. us in the enjoyment of God, and impart- It is this spirit of love and of the gosing to us the Spirit of God. Love, pel that is continually working like a which is called the greatest of these, is hidden leaven in the world, to bring men indeed in a peculiar sense the everlasting out from the kingdom of selfishness and ground-work of religion, in which as in sin, into the heavenly freedom and brotha divine soil all the plants of Christian erhood of the Church of God. Let us
express the hope that there are many “ Faith worketh by love," and without thus born into this invisible Church, love would be but à dead orthodoxy. who have not as yet become members Self-sacrifice without love would be of the visible Church. We may hold gloomy stoicism, and there must be love this belief, without at the same time for genuine self-denial to spring from; yielding in the least our conviction of repentance without love would be re- the necessity and importance of the vismorse, self-hatred, and despair ; prayer ible Church. Are we not permitted to without love would be but lip-service, point to an illustrious example of this like the praying of the Pharisees at the encouraging hope? May we not rejoice corners of the streets to be seen of men. to believe that although he did not live Love is thus not so much a definite act to become a public confessor of the or virtue, as it is the spirit of a man that Christian faith, the unselfishness, gentleenters into all his acts, faculties, and ness, and humility of him whom the being. It is not a mere feeling, but nation mourns, breathing the loving rather the steady principle of all right- Spirit of Christ, was an evidence that
Christ had truly touched his heart, had " And this is his commandment, that we refined and renewed his spirit, and had should believe on the name of his Son Jesus brought him into the fellowship of the
Christ, and love one another, as he gave us
commandment. And he that keepeth his invisible Church and kingdom of those
commandments dwelleth in him, and he in who love God, and of necessity love him. And hereby we know that he abideth their brother also ?
by the spirit which he hath given us."
A CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH was or- Lee was installed pastor of the Church ganized in Bristol, R. I., May 8, 1687, on the day of its formation. Mr. Lee although public worship had been held sailed for England in 1691, but was there for six years previous by the Rev. taken captive by the French, and died Benjamin Woodbridge. One of the of prison fever at St. Maloes soon eight original male members of the after. Rev. John Sparhawk was his Church was the hero of Philip's war, successor. He was ordained June 12, Col. Benjamin Church. Rev. Samuel 1695; and died April 29, 1718, in the twenty-third year of his ministry. The pastor, Dec. 14, 1831; was dismissed third pastor, Mr. Nathaniel Cotton, was Dec. 29, 1831. The present pastor, Rev. ordained Aug. 20, 1721. He was son of Thomas Shepard, D. D., was installed Rev. Roland Cotton of Sandwich, and April 30, 1835. The Church now numgrandson of Rev. John Cotton of Boston. bers eighty-three males and one hundred He died July 3, 1729, in the thirty-first and sixty-two females, a total of two year of his age, and the eighth of his hundred and forty-five, and is in a very ministry. Rev. Barnabas Taylor was harmonious and flourishing condition. .next ordained, Dec. 24, 1729 ; dismissed The new house of worship, of which we June 3, 1740. He was followed by Rev. give a fine engraving herewith, was built John Burt, who was ordained May 13, of stone, in 1856. It is situated on the 1741. He died Oct. 7, 1775, in the fifty- corner of Bradford and High streets, ninth year of his age, and the thirty- fronting the latter. Its dimensions are, fifth year of his ministry. Rev. Henry length one hundred and one feet, width Wight was next settled, Jan. 5, 1785. sixty-seven feet, walls twenty-eight feet He retired in 1828, and Rev. Joel Mann in the clear, and thirty-nine feet from was ordained as his colleague in Nov., the floor to the apex of the “nave of 1815, who was dismissed Sept. 14, 1826. the main arch.” There are one hundred Rev. Isaac Lewis, D. D., was installed and fourteen pews on the floor, and the eighth pastor in Nov., 1828, but was thirty in the gallery; seating between dismissed on account of the failure of seven hundred and eight hundred perhis voice, Sept. 28, 1831. Rev. John The architect was Seth Ingalls, Starkweather was installed the ninth Esq., of New Bedford.
(Said to have been written by Philip Sidney on his death-bed. See Edwards's Memoirs of
Libraries, i. 671.]
Why mourne ye then, my servants, friends, and kin?
Thus doe I lead my life.
My peace is inward strife;
Sinne doth my soul inherit.
God saves not man for merit.