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children use fire, to the injury of themselves, and all around them.

So again of social reforms, the readiest way of carrying them out, is to create an appetite and a longing for them, in the bosoms of those who require them. A people, among whom vice abounds, do not feel their wants; if you offer to supply them, if you give them the means of doing so, you effect little good; but when the mind awakes, and the moral regeneration takes place, they will seek for improvement of every kind, and if you afford them the power of earning what they feel they are in need of, you confer on them a real benefit. Alms of every kind, and under every form, are a questionable advantage; too much assistance becomes a real injury; they show the most kindness, who teach their fellow men how to help themselves; and this is done effectually in no way except the moral reform of individuals, through the agency of spiritual and practical religion.

The view which has been taken, is strongly and forcibly supported, by a consideration of the course adopted by Jesus Christ, when he had for his object the reformation of society, from a state, in many particulars, similar to our own. There was oppression, slavery, misrule, want, degredation, and distress, then as now; some classes of men were treated with cruelty and injustice; some were sunk in ignorance, and debased by their social position; some were filling unworthily high places of dignity and authority. Yet Christ originated no political revolution; he did not expressly denounce slavery, though providing for its removal by teaching the Fatherhood of God, and the brotherhood of man; nor denounce any existing institution; he strove to plant the seeds of right feeling and noble action in the human heart, and trusted that by making men conscientious, merciful, unselfish, and pure, he should lead them to remedy for themselves the evils which existed. We know what was the result, and to produce a similar effect in our own day, we need but use the same means as Christ has left them for us.

The work which has to be done is three-fold:-1. To clear away error, wherever we meet with it; to proclaim the pure and simple doctrines of Christ's gospel, as we ourselves understand them, from the records of the New Testament; on every subject, to speak the truth, as far as we know it, and can discover it, with bold and fearless honesty, and full sincere trust in the power, benefit, and final victory of truth. 2. To manifest in every relation of life, the spirit of our

religion, to urge on those, who, like ourselves, profess it, to exhibit its fruits; to aim at causing spiritual life, and its practical effects, in all with whom we are connected; to make it our business to labour at the work of religious and moral reformation, more than at any other plan of usefulness and philanthropy, if necessary to the exclusion of every other. 3. To co-operate with all who are engaged in similar attempts, to what ever class of society they may belong, whatever opinions they may hold, however weak and faltering may be their efforts, as long as they are working with zeal and sincerity in this good work, to work with them; to give our countenance and support to every good influence, and to engage in assisting to carry out every plan, which has for its object the individual, moral, and spiritual improvement of our brethren, in any shape or mode.

Much might be said to urge the duty, and to paint the delight of such efforts; it might be pointed out how every one may engage in them, and how none can do so in vain. But to those who assent to the views now given, this will be unnecessary. Be it left to their own good feelings, and the spontaneous dictates of their consciences.

J. W.


No. II.


We have been long disputing about Christians, about Christianity, and the evidence whereby it is supported. But what do these terms mean? Who is a Christian indeed? What is real, genuine Christianity? And what is the surest and most accessible evidence (if I may so speak) whereby I may know that it is of God? May the God of Christians enable me to speak on these heads, in a manner suitable to the importance of them?

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Sec. I. 1. I would consider, first, Who is a Christian indeed? What does that term properly imply? It has been so long abused, I fear, not only to mean nothing at all, but, what was far worse than nothing, to be a cloak for the vilest hypocrisy, for the grossest abominations and immoralities of every kind, that it is high time to rescue it out of the hands of wretches that are a reproach to human nature: to show determinately what manner of man he is, to whom this name of right belongs..


2. A Christian cannot think of the Author of his being without abasing himself before him: without a deep sense of the distance between a worm of earth, and Him that sitteth on the circle of the

heavens. In his presence he sinks into the dust, knowing himself to be less than nothing in his eye; and being conscious, in a manner words cannot express, of his own littleness, ignorance, foolishness. So that he can only cry out, from the fulness of his heart, "O God! What is man! What am I!"

3. He has a continual sense of his dependence on the Parent of Good for his being, and all the blessings that attend it. To Him he refers every natural and every moral endowment, with all that is commonly ascribed either to fortune, or to the wisdom, or merit of the possessor. And hence he acquiesces in whatsoever appears to be his will, not only with patience, but with thankfulnes. He willingly resigns all he is, all he has, to his wise and gracious disposal. The ruling temper of his heart, is the most absolute submission, and the tenderest gratitude to his Sovereign Benefactor. And this grateful love creates filial fear: an awful reverence toward him, and an earnest care not to give place to any disposition, not to admit an action, word, or thought, which might in any degree displease that indulgent Power to whom he owes his life, breath, and all things.

4. And as he has the strongest affection for the Fountain of all good, so he has the firmest confidence in him; a confidence which neither pleasure nor pain, neither life nor death can shake. But yet this, far from creating sloth or indolence, pushes him on to the most vigorous industry. It causes him to put forth all his strength, in obeying Him in whom he confides. So that he is never faint in his mind, never weary of doing whatever he believes to be his Will. And as he knows, the most acceptable worship of God, is to imitate Him he worships, so he is continually labouring to transcribe into himself all his imitable perfections; in particular, his justice, mercy, and truth, so eminently displayed in all his creatures.

5. Above all, remembering that God is Love, he is conformed to the same likeness. He is full of love to his neighbour, of universal love; not confined to one sect or party; not restrained to those who agree with him in opinion, in outward modes of worship, or to those who are allied to him by blood, or recommended by nearness of place. Neither does he love those only that love him, or are endeared to him by intimacy of acquaintance. But his love resembles that of Him, whose mercy is over all his works. It soars above all these scanty bounds, embracing neighbours and strangers, friends and enemies; yea, not only the good and gentle, but also the froward; the evil and unthankful. For he loves every soul that God has made; every child of man, of whatever place or nation. And yet this universal benevolence does in no wise interfere with a peculiar regard for his relations, friends, and benefactors; a fervent love for his country; and the most endeared affection to all men of integrity, of clear and generous virtue.

6. His love to these, so to all mankind, is in itself generous and

disinterested; springing from no view of advantage to himself, from no regard to profit or praise; no, nor even the pleasure of loving. This is the daughter, not the parent of his affection. By experience he knows, that social love, (if it mean the love of our neighbour) is absolutely different from self love, even of the most allowable kind. Just as different as the objects at which they point. And yet it is sure, that, if they are under due regulations, each will give additional force to the other, till they mix together never to be divided.

7. And this universal, disinterested love, is productive of all right affections. It is fruitful of gentleness, tenderness, sweetness; of humanity, courtesy, and affability. It makes a Christian rejoice in the virtues of all, and bear a part in their happiness; at the same time that he sympathizes with their pains, and compassionates their infirmities. It creates modesty, condescension, prudence, together with calmness, and evenness of temper. It is the parent of generosity, openness, and frankness, void of jealousy and suspicion. It begets candour, and willingness to believe and hope whatever is kind and friendly of every man; and invincible patience, never overcome of evil, but overcoming evil with good.

8. The same love constrains him to converse, not only with a strict regard to truth, but with artless sincerity and genuine simplicity, as one in whom there is no guile. And, not content with abstaining from all such expressions, as are contrary to justice or truth, he endeavours to refrain from every unloving word, either to a present, or of an absent person; in all his conversation aiming at this, either to improve himself in knowledge or virtue, or to make those with whom he converses some way wiser, or better, or happier than they were before.

9. The same love is productive of all right actions. It leads him into an earnest and steady discharge of all social offices, of whatever is due to relations of every kind; to his friends, to his country, and to any particular community whereof he is a member. It prevents his willingly hurting or grieving any man. It guides him into an uniform practice of justice and mercy, equally extensive with the principle whence it flows. It constrains him to do all possible good, of every possible kind, to all men; and makes him invariably resolved, in any circumstance of life, to do that and that only, to others, which, supposing he were himself in the same situation, he would desire they should do to him.

10. And as he is easy to others, so he is easy to himself. He is free from the painful swellings of pride, from the flames of anger, from the impetuous gusts of irregular self-will. He is no longer tortured with envy or malice, or with unreasonable and hurtful desire. He is no more enslaved to the pleasures of sense, but has the

full power both over his mind and body, in a continued cheerful course of sobriety, of temperance, and chastity. He knows how to use all things in their place, and yet is superior to them all. He stands above those low pleasures of imagination, which captivate vulgar minds, whether arising from what mortals term greatness, or novelty, or beauty. All these too he can taste, and still look upward; still aspire to nobler enjoyments. Neither is he a slave to fame; popular breath affects him not; he stands steady and collected in himself.

11. And he who seeks no praise, cannot fear dispraise. Censure gives him no uneasiness; being conscious to himself, that he would not willingly offend, and that he has the approbation of the Lord of all. He cannot fear want, knowing in whose hand is the earth and the fulness thereof, and that it is impossible for Him to withhold from one that fears him, any manner of thing that is good. He cannot fear pain, knowing it will never be sent, unless it be for his real advantage; and that then his strength will be proportioned to it, as it has always been in times past. He cannot fear death; being able to trust Him he loves with his soul, as well as his body; yea, glad to leave the corruptible body in the dust, till it is raised incorruptible and immortal. So that in honour or shame, in abundance or want, in ease or pain, in life or in death, always and in all things he has learned to be content, to be easy, thankful, happy.

12. He is happy in knowing there is a God, an intelligent Cause and Lord of all, and that he is not the produce either of blind chance or inexorable necessity. He is happy in the full assurance he has, that this Creator and End of all things, is a Being of boundless wisdom, of infinite power to execute all the designs of his wisdom, and of no less infinite goodness to direct all his power to the advantage of all his creatures. Nay, even the consideration of his immutable justice, rendering to all their due, of his unspotted holiness, of his all-sufficiency in Himself, and of that immense ocean of all perfections, which centres in God from eternity to eternity, is a continual addition to the happiness of a Christian.

13. A further addition is made thereto, while, in contemplating even the things that surround him, that thought strikes warmly upon his heart,

"These are thy glorious works, Parent of Good:" While he takes knowledge of the invisible things of God, even his eternal power and wisdom in the things that are seen, the heavens, the earth, the fowls of the air, the lilies of the field. How much more, while, rejoicing in the constant care which He still takes of the work of his own hand, he breaks out in a transport of love and praise, “O Lord! How excellent is thy name in all the earth! Thou hast set thy glory above the heavens " While he, as it were, sees

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