« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
spring to endless life in an age to come. The death of Jesus Christ as the head of every man, exhibits the closing of the state of mortality and suffering. And his personal resurrection exhibits the final portion of human nature ! For life and immortality are brought to light in Christ ; not as a new scheme adopted after creation ; but revealed as the antient path of eternal wisdom and infinite love. As we read, “ IR this was manifested the love of God, that he sent his Son into the word, that we might live through him.
This book also contains, love-inspired exhortations and counsels respecting moral conduct among men, conformable to the grace given unto us in Christ Jesus from the be. ginning. This Book, I am called by this Society to deliver to you in form, as the open expression of their opinion and confidence in you, as able to teach, and to minister to them in holy things.--Take it my Brother-Ít is the oracle you venerate as holy.Studj it as the theme of divine wisdom. It is a treasure of learning, which has nothing among men equal to it. And I exhort you ; or in other words, to express more vehemence of spirit, and real interest in your success as a servant of the Gospel, I will say, I charge you in brotherly love and friendship, that you be faithful to the light you have received. If you should temporise and say in your heart, “ I have my opinions it is true, which I must ever respect as truth, and can no more deny than I can deny the light, nor cease to be attached to, than I can be indifferent to my own welfare ; but the world is full of prejudices, and I must meet those prejudices, with a mode that will not offend the prevailing current opinion, which may perhaps be as uselul as particular statements of what I deem truth.' Such reasoning we shall not be able to justify before the Omnipresent throne of God, and of his son Jesus Christ, our head and Sovereign Lord. But I rejoice, my brother, that I feel fully persuaded of your rigid faithfulness to what you esteem divine truth. You will only attend to discretion, that you run not, nor labour in vain. Let your statements be clear, and so placed, that no deduction unfavorable unto them may be made from them.
My Brother, preserve alive in your heart that feeling and sympathy derived from your first perception of truth. -Let this first love" be sacred, and cherished as the holy fire. From this divine principle, teach, exhort, reprove, persuade.
Here: my brother, you have open ground before you-encrease and multiply in the truth, and God give you many seals to your ministry. You have here a convenient and handsome house to speak in, for God, and a beautiful flock to feed in the rich pastures of grace. Study to shew yourself approved of God and rational men. Visit your society in their afflictions--Account them as so many brothers and sisters, having one Father and one glorious inheritance as joint heirs with Christ Jesus.
And you, the Universalist Society in Charlestown, whom God hath enabled to work wonders, and unto whom he hath said “Show yourselves.” I beseech you to aid and strengthon the hands of our beloved Brother-while he touches the harmonious strings of the Gospel harp—while he bears the
commission of the everlasting Gospel, preached unto every | creature under heaven! And may the peace of God our
father in Christ Jesus be ever your portion.- AMEN.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCHES AND SOCIETIES, AS PRESENTED TO THE REV. AB. NER KNEELAND, AT HIS REINSTALLATION IN AND OVER THE FIRST UNIVERSAL SOCIETY IN CHARLES. TOWN, MASS. SEPT. 5, 1811. BY EDWARD TURNER, MINISTER OF THE FIRST UNIVERSAL SOCIETY IN SALEM.
When we consider the relations, connections and dependences which exist between the several orders and classes of men in social life, it becomes matter of much satisfaction, that an all superintending and ever watchful parent has granted his offspring the means of expressing the relation they feel to cach other, the fraternal sentiment which glows in the affectionate heart. For this purpose, outward sigas and appropriate emblems have been adopted, as impressively significant of the internal sensations of the heart; and their utility has been sanctioned by the happy experience of past and present ages. Nor need we wonder at this, when we reflect that it is the established method in which God deals with his rational creatures ; for his unchanging love, wisdom and power are exhibited through the medium of
sensible signs, which pleasantly conduct the mind to the highest object, the thing signified. The forms, accompanied with moral instructions, as they have obtained in the Christian churches, are to be understood in the relation we have mentioned ; they are not used for their abstract value, but for their reference to moral and social things. The records which testify that the Apostles gave to their minis. tering brethren the right hand of fellowship, when appointed to their special depariments of evangelical labor, have holden up an inducement to the same practice from that day to the present. On this solemn occasion, we are to follow the laudable example. Therefore, as the organ of this installing council, reverend, respected and beloved brother, I affectionately present and beg you to accept this right hand ; and permit me to say that I cordially offer this testimonial of fraternal affection on behalf of these ministering brethren; of the general convention, of which you are an acknowledged member ; of the Universal Society in Salem, to which I have the honor to minister; and lastly, for myself as an individual. By this token, be assured that the council, united with you in your faith and labor of the gospel, rejoice in your present establishment, as a larger sphere of duty and pleasure, where your gifts may be improved to increasing numbers of believers. That, the general convention, impressed with a sense of
usefulness, as a laborer in the vineyard of the Lord, which they have known from an acquaintance with your studious habits, experimental knowledge and love of the truth, bear you upon their hearts and will use all exertions for your spiritual welfare, strength and improvement. Your Christian brethren, composing the field of my special labors, have often profited by your administrations ; they rejoice that their immediate pastor will have so
near him a co-worker to animate his heart and strengthen his hands. It has been my happy lot, my broth. er, ever since my first acquaintance and connection with you, to be a gainer by your conversation, and often have I been edified by your public labors and private communica. | tions. It is a service, very grateful to my feelings, to ex press in this manner, my fellowship with you in the spirit, while I offer a testimony of the union of the associated churches, with you in faith.
As the ministers of Christ we promise to render you all
the assistance in o’r power ; to do our utmost for your greater usefulness among your brethren and your own enlargement of mind and growth in grace; for in these exerlions, my brother, we doubt not as the satisfaction is mutual, so will be the benefit which results from such endeavours. In all trials, that may attend your path, we shall consider it our duty to bear a part. We shall rejoice in your prosperity and public success, as in our own ; for the cause of truth is one, and its teachers should be one also, in faith, in practice, in sorrow and joy. Friendship to you, the love of your people, and the utility of exercising the variety of gifts will dictate, when convenient, those pleasing exchanges which in various ways are beneficial to the heaiers of the word ; and when proximity of situation, or necessary journeyings in your vicinity shall admit, such exchanges will be considered as objects of moral importance. And now, brother, our prayers are that the Great Shepherd of the sheep would ever go before you and make your way prosperous ; that amidst the revilings of men, the calumnies of the ignorant and the scoffings of sinners, your bow may abide în strength. May your to the conyersion, instruction and edification of many ; and your private conversation in times of sorrow or joy, sickness or health, life or death, be improving, salutary, comforting and instructive. Uuder your administrations, may the dear people of your charge fourish like a watered garden. God grant, that within these walls hoary age may often worship, leaning upon the staff of promise, and tender youth grow up as reeds by the brooks and willows by the water courses ; and even early infancy lisp Hosannas to the son of David. And when this earthly course shall be finished, may you my brother, with the flock of your charge, grown into a meetness for the inheritance of the saints ia light, receive the promised inheritance of eternal life, in the Sheepfold of the great Shepherd and Bishop of Souls. AMEN.
NOTE:--The ivery of the scriptures and charge, to the Rev. ABNER KNEELAND, by the Rev. THOMAS JOSE$, at his reinstallation in and over the First Universal Society in Charlestown, Mass. not having been received in season for the second number of the Gos. pel Visitant; must serve our readers as an apology for its appear. aoce in this, together with the Fellowship of the Churches, by the Rev. EDWARD TURNER ; both of whichi, should have followed the discourse delivered on the occasion, by the Rev. TIOSE A BALLOU, published in our last number,
My Dear Christian Friend and Brother.
The subject of our friendly conversation yesterday, is perpetually revolving in my mind, and its importance as continually magnifying.
This is not because the subject is new, nor is it because I have not heretofore spent much time and study to make myself acquainted with the general tenour of the written testimony on it: but the way in which you and your brethren in the ministry of your particular order, understand and communicate this subject, as stated by you yesterday, makes it evident to my mind, that an investigation of so weighty a subject, in a friendly way and with a christian spirit, may tend to the manifestation of divine truth and to the honor of the redeemer. I would further state, that the impressions on my mind which urge me to make this communication are not from any desire to perplex your mind with unnecessary queries ; but, if I am not deceived, these impressions are of a truly religious nature, presenting as an ultimate motive, the advancement of the knowledge of salvation to the honor of the Saviour and the peace and harmony of his sincerc disciples.
The subject to which I allude is that of atonement, on which we had a short conference as we walked in christian friendship yesterday.
Your statement of this momentuous point of gospel doctrine was as follows. “I believe in Universal Atonement, but not in Universal Salvation." I endeavoured to turn your attention immediately to explain the difference between atonement and salvation, after I had obtained your consent that atonement and reconciliation are synonymous.. As our opportunity was short, however explicit your remarks might appear to you, I collected nothing definite on the subject ; therefore pressed the invitation which through your goodness, procured me a promise of a conference on the same subject this day, if you did not leave town. As I eonceived it quite uncertain whether I should have the pleasure of the wished for conference, I was induced to improve the carliest hours of my study this day, in arranging the following enquiry into the merits of the general subject, that