Puslapio vaizdai

ments which engaged the minds of the giddy multitude. These un certain, versatile things come short of giving the noble, the intellec tual offspring of God that satisfaction and enjoyment which the reasonable soul requires. But in the devotions of the house of God, and in the solemn services of the holy sanctuary, the rational mind had, by happy experience, found that real, substantial enjoyment which is here acknowledged in such highly comparative terms.One day is better than a thousand; and the lowest service in the house of God is rather to be chosen, than the best accommodations that wickedness can afford. This is genuine religion. Its meanest services are preferable to the most honourable employment of sin.False views of religion are widely different from this very just repre sentation. We are often exhorted to get religion, to practice religion, and to endeavour to promote its cause among men, not because it is rather to be chosen for its own virtue in preference to irreligion, but because the Divine Being has seen fit to promise a vast reward for its services in the future, eternal state. While on the contrary he has determined to punish everlastingly those who are not religious in this life. In arguing against the blessed and glorious doctrine of God's universal goodness to mankind, the opposer often contends that this doctrine strikes at the very vitals of piety and devotion; for "if the irreligious in this world are to share the Divine favour in the next, then there is no necessity of being pious, or religious in this world. Men may just as well live in sin, and commit every abomi nation as to break off their sins by righteousness, and their wickedness by repentance and reformation of life." They often enlarge greatly on this theme, and endeavour to surprise their hearers with the character of this wicked, dangerous doctrine of Universalism, which denies the necessity of repentance, of faith in Christ, of rege. neration, and even of good works; which sets at naught the duties of religion and of devotion, and holds that men, even all men, can go to heaven in their sins!

These disputants, we think, do not understand the doctrine which they endeavour to oppose, nor do they understand the nature of true piety and devotion to God, and religion. That is, they have not the views of piety and devotion which are expressed in our text. For the opinion which they hold forth is, that if all men are to fare alike in the eternal world, and are there to enjoy the favour of God, it is best to live in all manner of sin while we continue here. But the author of our text said, "A day in thy courts is better than a thou. sand: I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." Now if one day in the service of God is better than a thousand days spent in sin, how much would a

man gain in fifty years by serving God, more than by living in wickedness? And if the meanest service in the house of God is better than the best accommodations of sin, where is the propriety of persuading our fellow-creatures, that there is more happiness in sin, than in righteousness?

It really seems that many people marry to religion from no better motive than one takes a companion in wedlock, not because of love to the person, but because of a large dowry. In this case deception would be masked with great pretensions to love, and the deceiver would be full of words on this engaging topic. But should the pretended lover find that the expected wealth does not exist, and that the person is all the treasure, then would the deceiver manifest the truth and show at once that hypocrisy and not love reigned in the heart. Pure religion will never give her holy hand to such hypocritical lovers, but there are false religions enough to accommodate all such hypocrites, and they are equally mated. But the pure heart which loves the service of God, one who can say, "I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness," has a treasure which he prizes far above rubies.


The frequent use made by Mr. Ballou of the history of Joseph and his brethren, the parable of the prodigal son, and the case of Saul of Tarsus, has by many been considered an objection to his manner of discoursing. To this it has generally been replied, that said illus. trations, as used by Mr. Ballou, present innumerable bearings; and that he seldom introduces them without communicating a new idea, elicited by some particular point in the narrative. The following original anecdote may not be out of place:

After the delivery in a certain city (not Philadelphia) of the discourse which in this volume is entitled "Influence of Divine Grace," one Universalist minister said to another, in a goud-humoured way, "The old man is always harping on Joseph and his brethren, the prodigal son, and Saul of Tarsus!" "Well,” said the other, “it is a GOOD harp, nevertheless, and Mr. Ballou knows how to play upon it. He always plays a new tune, and I could listen to him all night!"


With Universalists it is a cardinal principle, that duty and interest are substantially the same. By this we mean, that no man can pro mote his true interest by a neglect or violation of his duty; and that he who carefully regards the monitions of the Spiritual Father does, at the same time, subserve his own true interest. The ground-work and results of this general principle, are pointed out by Mr. Ballou, in the following article, which is extracted from the Universalist Magazine, vol. vii. pp. 89, 90.

"For God is paid when man receives;

T'enjoy is to obey.”—Pope.

According to this approved maxim, our heavenly Father requires nothing of us merely for his own benefit, but solely for our enjoy. ment. Now that we may know for ourselves, that this sentiment is verily correct, it is only necessary to examine carefully and minutely what God has commanded us to do, and what not to do, and the na tural tendency of obedience, in relation to our enjoyments. And if further argument were needed, it might be amply supplied by duly calculating the inevitable consequences of disobedience, relative to ourselves.

There seems to be no necessity of proving that the Creator and upholder of all things can receive no benefit from it, for this is grant. ed by all, as it must be, so long as the infinite fulness of God is by all acknowledged.

The Supreme law-giver requires that we love him with all the heart, without the least reservation. Let us examine this require. ment, that we may understand how intimately it is connected with our moral felicity. Obedience to this command can never be render. ed until every attribute which we behold in God appears to us to be entirely lovely. So long as error presents us with any attribute in the divine Being, which appears, in any way, unlovely, it is impossi ble that we should love him with all the heart; there must be a reservation corresponding with the exceptionable attribute which error has figured to the mind. But when every dark cloud has passed away, when every spot has disappeared, and one bright flame of ce lestial glory forms the character of God, the enraptured beholder is attracted by a resistless charm, and exclaims, "Thou art altogether lovely!"

Though this transporting vision may be of short duration, owing to the variations incident to imperfect minds, yet while it continues

there seems to be a full compliance with the divine command; and also, at the same moment, a bliss is enjoyed, which is as perfect as the love which fills the heart and exerts all its powers.

The view here taken of this first and great command discovers the necessary relation between obedience and enjoyment, and gives the understanding full conviction of the fact, that complete obedience is complete happiness. It evidently belongs to this subject, to try the reverse, that we may understand that our infelicity must necessarily correspond with our want of conformity to the divine command, just noticed. If it be acknowledged that love constitutes our happiness, it follows, of course, that our infelicity must correspond with our want of love, and rise in an exact ratio with our hatred.

If we examine the divine requirement, in which our duty to one another is enjoined, we shall at once be satisfied that he who commanded us to love our neighbours as ourselves, saw that our happiness necessarily depended on this duty, and designed the commandment and ordained it unto life. It seems impossible to express this doctrine more plainly or more beautifully than in the words of the sweet singer of Israel: "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oint ment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forever more." But that our conviction may come short in nothing, let the opposite of this happy fraternity be examined. What now presents itself? Rational human beings acting contrary to reason and in violation of humanity, hateful and hating one another, while every evil work is the employment of their hearts and hands. The weight and mea. sure of all this wickedness, is the exact weight and measure of infelicity endured by these workers of iniquity, and the distance they are from loving each other as they love themselves, is the precise distance they are from that enjoyment which satisfies the soul.

Keeping in view the maxim of the poet, which heads these remarks, and endeavouring to preserve a due harmony in the arguments here presented, I will add, by way of conclusion, that the two commandments, which have been noticed, are a perfect example of the whole duty of man in all its various operations, through its infinite variety of particulars; and that our arguments relative to them, will apply, exactly, to every duty binding on us, as rational, moral beings,


When the venerable Murray resided and preached in Boston, a young man from the interior of Massachusetts, went into that town to establish himself in business. On leaving the paternal mansion,

the father, who was a rigid Calvinist Baptist, was above all things, very particular in charging his son to beware of that dreadful Murray, and his more dreadful doctrine, Dr. Stillman was a great favourite of the father, though it seems he was not sufficiently acquaint. ed with him to recognize his person. On his meeting, he charged his son to attend, and in his sentiments to have implicit confidence: adding, "Go not near that Murray, on peril of your soul's eternal destruction; for his doctrine is the snare of satan."

When a person is prohibited in that which he sees free to others, a greater desire is generally created by the very prohibition, to know what the "forbidden fruit" can be. It was so with this young man. For some time he remembered and rigidly regarded the paternal injunction; but his curiosity increasing, the more he thought upon the subject, and considering "himself sage," he at length ventured to hear Mr. Murray deliver a lecture. The young man was much disappointed. He had expected, according to the assurance of his father, to hear every thing bad; but nothing fell from the lips of the venera. ble speaker, which was not, on the contrary, very good. So agreeable was his disappointment, that he renewed his attendance on Mr. Murray's meeting; till at length he became a believer in the final resto ration, and joined Mr. M.'s society.

The father, hearing of his son's alteration in his views, harnessed his horse with all possible haste, and drove, Jehu like, into town.It was of a Saturday night that he arrived, and he hastened to ac cuse his son of infidelity, and to warn him of his eternal danger. After considerable conversation upon the subject of doctrines, which had the effect to make the enraged father a little more conciliatory, it was agreed, on the morning of the Sabbath, that the father should attend the son's meeting in the forenoon; and in the afternoon the son should the father's. The son's meeting was Mr. Murray's; and the father's, Dr. Stillman's. Accordingly, at the proper time, they both set out for Mr. M.'s place of worship, but as the father was a stranger in town, the son succeeded in conducting him to Dr. Still man's meeting, which the former supposed all the while to be Mr. Murray's. On returning from meeting, the young man inquired, "Well, sir, how did you like my minister?" "Oh," said the father, “he was most abominable; there was not a word of truth in all he said: don't I conjure you, go there again.”

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