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to his heart, it hath, indeed, been unto him the ministration of condemnation, and a killing letter. He hath been able to say with another Universalist, I was alive without the law, but when the commandment came it slew me, and I died. And he considers himself, with respect to making peace with God or satisfying the demands of the law, either in its preceptive or penal view, as dead.
A consistent Universalist is made to understand, that Jesus was, from everlasting, ordained to be the Saviour of all those who were exposed to the curse of the divine law, that in the fulness of God's time, he was made under the law, and that all that Christ Jesus did, and all he suffered, was considered by the great Lawgiver, as done and suffered by every man in his own person; and that every man is as much interested in what our Emmanuel did, as the second Adam, as they were in what was done by the first Adam. It is in this view, that he considers God as just in being his Saviour, as he would have been in his eternal damnation, if the Head of every man had never made reconciliation for iniquity. Believing that Jesus was delivered for his offences, and raised again for his justification, he has peace with God through the LORD Jesus Christ; and as this peace was made through the blood of the cross, he is persuaded it can never be broken; believing himself accepted in the Beloved, and complete in him, he is persuaded nothing can ever separate him from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus; thus believing, he enters into rest, he ceases from his own works as God did from his ; he never can come into condemnation. His heart condemns him not; he has, at all times, the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of the Saviour from the dead. He does not consider himself under the law, any more than a woman considers herself under the direction or dominion of an husband, who is dead and buried. He considers himself in the condition of a woman, who, having buried one husband, is married unto another; this other and last husband, is Christ Jesus, whose name the believer bears, which is the new name given unto him, belonging to this one husband; to consider himself under the dominion of two husbands, would be to consider himself in the condition of an adulterous woman; but the consistent Universalist owns but one husband, and this Husband hates putting away.
The consistent Universalist is not afraid of death. He may be afraid of dying, but not of death; he is well assured, that Jesus hath abolished death, and that nothing now remains, but the shadow of death; and he is persuaded, that as he walks through the valley of the shadow of death, his Saviour will be with him; he is not afraid of the grand adversary; he believes his head is bruised, and that his power to kill is, therefore, destroyed; he cannot be afraid of hell, for his Saviour keeps the keys of death and of hell; he is assured his Saviour is the conqueror of both; and being persuaded, that all power in heaven and earth, is given to his Saviour, his Head, his Husband, his Father, his Brother, and his Friend, he discovers nothing in time nor eternity, to give him just cause of fear, that is, of tormenting fear. He is not under the spirit of bondage again to fear; he can serve God without fear all the days of his life. A view of the perfect love of God hath cast out all his slavish fear. But though the consistent Universalist has nothing to fear, he has every thing to hope; he lives in the hope of living with his Saviour to all eternity; and, experiencing the pain which is attendant upon the plague of the heart, he cherishes the cheering hope, that he shall shortly leave behind him this body of sin and death, and be clothed upon with his house from heaven. He lives in the hope, that all things shall work together for good, how evil soever they may, in this distempered state, appear. The hope of the consistent Universalist extends to the final salvation of the great family of man. He prays for this event, and he prays in hope, and his hope maketh him not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in his heart, and he is convinced, that the love of God is boundless. The consistent Universalist views mankind as they are viewed by their everlasting Father; and this Father is, he is persuaded, no respecter of persons; he dare not, therefore, injure any of his Father's children on any pretence whatever; he never conceives he can render service to God, by injuring any individual among the children of men, either in word or in deed; he would be happy to have it in his power to do good unto all, but in an especial manner, to those who are of the household of faith, inasmuch as their character has placed them in circumstances, which render the aid of their brethren more abundantly necessary. If he meets with any thing injurious from man, though conscious he does not
deserve it, he will not avenge himself, he will leave delinquents to the common Father of all. A consistent Universalist will do all the good he can for his own sake, being fully persuaded, that to be found in the paths of rectitude, is as much his interest as his duty. A consistent Universalist hates sin; but he loves human nature, and he will, as much as in his power lieth, live peaceably with all men; and he will keep his eye singly and constantly fixed on that holiness, without which no man can see the LORD.
Finally, A consistent Universalist, as a believer in, and a lover of God, ardently wishes to be pure, as God is pure. He is grieved to observe, that when he would do good, evil is present with him; so that frequently the good which he would do, he doeth not, and the evil which he would not do, that doeth he; yet he quietly waits, and patiently hopes for that blessed period, when, not only he, but every grain of his LORD's harvest, shall be thoroughly purged from every particle of chaff, from all filthiness of flesh and spirit; and thus purified, shall enter into that state, where nothing that defileth can follow him.
Thus have I aimed at giving you the information you appeared to desire; in thus doing, I have not studied elegance of style nor composition, nor the enticing words of man's wisdom. I have aimed at perspicuity; I have spoken to be understood, and, in the hope of obtaining my purpose, I have even risked tautology, giving line upon line, and precept upon precept. I have written for my plain, simple, honest, way-faring friends. If what I have written should have a tendency to lead your mind, or the minds of those with whom you associate, to a serious investigation, and should the result be your knowing and doing the will of God, we shall have reason to rejoice together; and that this may be the case, is the fervent prayer of yours, &c. &c.
Thanksgiving Sermon, delivered at the Universal meeting-house, in Boston, February 19th, 1795. Published at the request of the hearers, and now republished in consequence of the solicitation of a respectable character.
PSALM Ixix. 13.
I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
WHEN we consider the propriety of approaching the
God of our salvation with songs of thanksgiving, and of swelling to his name the glad orisons of praise; we confess that our bosoms are fraught with the animating glow of hope, that on such a day as this, there are very few who are not impelled, by sentiments fully correspondent with the occasion, to join the general joy.
To be called upon by the illustrious head of the United States,* to have this call seconded and enforced by the venerable head of this Commonwealth, to be thus invited to celebrate the praises of the august and benificent Father of our spirits, thus powerfully directed, to render thanks to him for the manifold displays of his goodness and mercy, vouchsafed toward us, must in truth elevate our hearts, must originate the most sublime and pleasurable feelings, and induce us to resolve with the royal prophet, That we will praise the name of God with a song, and magnify him with thanksgiving.
The apostle James directs those who are merry to sing psalms; and David said, I will praise the name of God with a song. The knowledge of God is productive of peace, This is life eternal to know thee, &c. Acquaint now thyself with God, and be at peace. The knowledge of God, as manifested in his name, has a tendency to fill the heart with joy, which will burst forth in songs of praise. But what is this NAME, the knowledge of which inspires the soul with a resolution to celebrate the praise of God in songs? What is the NAME, which contains so much matter for praise, and for thanksgiving? When Moses, the servant of God, was appointed to deliver a message to, and be the deliverer of the
people of God, he requested the God by whom he was sent to inform him, what answer he should give the people, when they should ask by whom he was sent. The reply of Deity is remarkable. Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you, and God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you; this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. After this declaration, the prophet was taught to inform God's people, that the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, was the God of the whole earth, and when he bowed the heavens and came down, for the purpose of performing all the rich promises so emphatically made to the fathers; when he took on him our nature, he bore the name of Emmanuel, which being interpreted, is God with us! Believing, as we do, that God was manifest in the flesh, whatever name he sustains in that character, we are to consider as expressive of his nature. Thus the name Jesus contains salvation, not only from the consequences of sin, but also from sin itself, which is styled, by the sacred penman, the plague of the heart. But it may not be improper to point out a few of the names, by which the only wise God our Saviour is designated.
ADAM, 1 Corinthians xv. 45. EVERLASTING FATHER, Isaiah ix. 6. Eternal Life, 1 John v. 20. Faithful Witness, Revelations i. 5. FRIEND of sinners, Matthew ii. 19. HEIR of all things, Hebrews i. 2. PROPITIATION, John vi. 33. For the sins of the whole world, REDEEMER, Isaiah lix. 20. REFINER, Matthew iii. 3. The LORD our righteousness, Jeremiah xxiii. 6. SANCTIFICATION, I Corinthians i. 30.
These and many more names, by which the just God and Saviour is made manifest unto men, are calculated to inspire the soul with grateful affection, and to induce us to say in the language of the sweet singer of Israel, I will praise the name of God with a song, and magnify him with THANKSGIVING. God is love, he is that love, which thinketh no evil. Herein is the love of God, not that we loved him, but that he loved us, and gave himself for us.
Much is said in the records of truth of the name of God. Be it known unto you, saith the LORD, for mine own name sake do I do this. The redeeming God frequently makes mention of