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ceive the truth so as to derive any saving be. nefit from it, when you receive it, not as the word of men, but as it is, in truth, the word of God, which also worketh effe&tually in them that believe. The truth will be of no avail to you if
you are not fanétified by it, and made real Christians. And then only will you recommend it to others, to any good purpose, when it appears that you yourselves have been made by it truly humble, holy, heavenly minded, useful, active, and benevolent, abounding in every good word and work, as those that are wisely persuaded their labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.
In the early ages of Christianity there were converts, not a few, from amongst the Jewish priests and the Pagan philosophers; men eminent for their learning and the fplendour of their talents, as they were, even still more afier their conversion, for their faith and humble piety. The primitive church could boast of a Paul, a Polycarp, a Chryfoftom, an Irenus, a Justin Martyr, a Tertullian, with a multitude of others, who were bright ornaments to the cause of Christ and Christianity; and to the two last of whom we are indebted for two of the most able and eloquent apologies for Christianity, that, perhaps, were ever penned. In latter ages we have had an Erasinus, a Bacon, a Boyle, a Grotius, a Butler, and Edwards, with
an host of other luminaries, who have not been ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. Christ's kingdom is not indeed of this world, and we do not, therefore, consider the literature, or external fplendor of the members of it, as constituting any part of its essential and distinguishing glory. It is, however, pleasing to find that in every age the Christian Church has nourished in her bofom, those whose talents have been as brilliant as their humility and piety have been eminent and edifying. Can it be supposed they lost their reason when they became Christians ? Or did they not then become more illustrious than ever in the use and exercise of it? To' them that were called both Jews and Greeks, learned and unlearned, the gospel was the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Discourses on the Atonement,
THE foundation of all beauty, an ingenious
author has observed, is uniformity amidst variety. That the great founder of the Christian church hath, in this respect, formed it with ad mirable beauty, an attentive observer will evidently see. For amidst the infinit e variety of gifts and endowments of ranks and offices, of fenti ments and opinions, which his wisdom permits, or his counsel ordains, a delightful union, or uniformity, is exprefsly established. All the differently minded Christians are to be united in perfect charity; and, notwithstanding their diversity of sentiments and speculations, they are all to sit at one table, and to eat as of the fame bread, and to drink as of the faine sacramental
in token of their being fellow members of the same household of faith, and of their unfeigned love to one another. As far, therefore, as we destroy this unity or communion, by causeless feparations, or hinder. it from taking place, so far we hurt the heauty and the glory of the church, which is called the spouse of Jesus Chrifti Should not this confideration engage the various fects and parties amongst Christians, to heal the unhappy breach their feparation have made, and to receive one another to the common table of their Lord ? Shall the one body, the visible church of Carist, setting up a table in opposition to others, fencing it round with the peculiarities of their sect, and suffering none to cat with them but those who comply with the faine gestures and modes, and forins of thinking, or at least of speaking with themfelves? Is this that unity of spirit--that communion of saints---that mutual forbearance and fellowship with one another, which Chriftianity enjoins ? No; but the glorious fymmetry of that living temple, the body and church of Christ, is hereby grieviously hurt; envyings, mutual jealoufies, animofities, and party zeal, too naturally creep in, and four and contract the mind. Infidels insult, Christianity is wounded in the house of its friends, and charity, its life, runs out at the wounds !
Thus the religion of our Lord, that blessed Herald and Prince of Peace, which was mercifully designed, and is admirably formed to unite men's discordant minds, becomes the unhappy means of setting them at a greater variance, and of rendering them more estranged and unfriendly to one another.
Ought these things to be fo, Christians? We all know they ought not.
Let us each do what in himn lies to heal the fatal breaches which have been so long the disgrace, and had not Almighty Providence mercifully interposed, must long, ere this hour, have been the destruction of the Christian church. Let the worthy name of Christ be no more blafphemed, nor his religion despised, through the excess of our zeal about ritual, circumstantial, and speculative matters.
As the wisdom of God hath left them, perhaps, purposely surrounded with some degree of darkness, for the proof of our humility, moderation, and condescension to one another;, let us improve it to this happy end, by which we shall at once both reflect honour on our religion, and lay up for ourselves distinguished glory in hea
SAMUEL STENNETT, D.D.
DIED 1795 *.
"HAT men do reason very differently, and
that too. upon essential points of divine revelation, is acknowledged; and that many do make religion to consist in what does not really belong to it, and profess themselves to be what they are not, is likewise as certain. But it does not follow from these abuses of religion, that it is itself a vague, loose, and uncertain thing. There is but one way to heaven; and however the apprehensions of good men themselves, as to some lesser things, may not be alike clear, and their external forms of profession may, in many respects differ, yet the leading principles of their judgment, and the main feelings and experiences of their hearts, are strictly analagous and similar. Be not shocked, therefore, at the different appearances religion may assume. They are easily to be accounted for upon this plain and acknowledged principle, that, at the present, we know in
* A new edition of the Discourses on Personal Religion, whence the above extract is taken, has been announced by his son, the Rev. Joseph Stennett. Should this edi. rjon be accompanied with the life of his worthy father, it will render it a ftill more valuable acquisition. May the sentiments contained, and the spirit displayed in these difcourses, be lastingly impressed on the minds of the rising generation.