« AnteriorContinuar »
hart, and prophesy in part; and that the best of us are fubject to prejudices, which, through various caufes, are almoft unconquerable. Religion is, however, but one thing; and if you are fo happy as really to know and feel what it is, you will have the teftimony of all good men, of every age, kindred, nation, and tongue, to join you in your humble and cheerful profeffion of it.
As we ought all to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the faints, fo we are obliged, by the fimplicity and famenefs of that divine spirit and temper which hath been infufed into our hearts, moft fincerely and affectionately to love one another. If the laws of humanity constrain us to express a tender regard towards mankind in general, purely upon this principle, that they partake of the fame nature with ourselves; the argument muft receive additional ftrength when it comes clothed with all the native dignity and generofity which religion gives it—at the fame time prefenting to our view the good man, who is born from above, as the object of this our efteem and affection. Can we believe him to be the offspring of God—the brother of Jefus, and a partaker of the fame nature with ourfelves, and not embrace him with the utmoft cordiality in the arms of Chriftian charity? God forbid that we fhould be infenfible to fuch divine impreffions! Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God: and every one that loveth is born of God, and know
eth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love. May this temper live and increase in each of our hearts, fo proving us to be the difciples of Jefus ; till at length it fhall arrive at its utmost perfection in the realms of light and glory above !
Difcourfes on Perfonal Religion.
ANDREW KIPPIS, D. D. F. R. S. and S. A. DIED 1795.
RELIGIOUS differences are a mighty cause
of the difputes and averfions that have taken place in the earth. In confequence of religious differences, mankind have been ready to view one another in a light peculiarly odious, and to cherish the most unfriendly, and even the most malignant fentiments. The quarrels that have arisen from this origin have been always too generally prevalent; and it is, alas! to be feared, that they will continue to prevail for ages yet to come. The effects of a temper of this kind must be extremely bad, if we confider the matter in a moral and religious light. What can be more contrary to the genius; what more contrary to the precepts of the gofpel, than ftrife, anger, and hatred? Does not the Chriftian revelation perpetually urge upon us the lovelieft, the gentleft graces and virtues? What was the character, and what the deportment of our bleffed Saviour? Was not
his character, altogether, composed of benevolence, humanity, mildness, and courtesy? Was not his deportment perfectly peaceable, kind, and tender? Did he ever engage in angry debates. and quarrels with his neighbours? Did he ever difturb the repofe of thofe around him, by a contentious and turbulent behaviour? Did he ever give way to the feelings of refentment and malice? On the contrary, was it not his intention to render us truly the fons of peace; to make us at peace with God, at peace with ourselves, and at peace with each other? For this purpose he endured the labours and fufferings of this mortal life; and for this purpofe he died upon the crofs. He hath fet before us the ftrongeft motives, and laid us under the higheft obligations, to cultivate the utmost friendhip, agreement, and harmony of our fellow-creatures. If, therefore, we are poffeffed of a different difpofition; if our hearts are full of wrath and ftrife, and rancour; if we fall out by the way, and turn the earth, as far as in us lies, into a dreary and uncomfortable scene, what will be the confequeuce? Why, as by fuch a temper and conduct we at directly reverse to the genius and design of our hoy religion, the confequence must be to the lal degree fatal. If we have not the Spirit of Chrift, we can be none of his. We muft, in fuch a cafe, have our portion with thofe who were contentious, who did not obey the truth, and were the flaves of their corrupt and turbulent paffions.
And now, if my voice could be heard, I would' ardently and affectionately call upon the bigots and perfecutors of the globe, no longer to violate the rights of conscience, but to grant to every man the privilege of worshipping his God and Father, in the manner that is agreeable to the dictates of his own mind. Be perfuaded, fince ye are difciples of the fame master, to live in love, even as Christ also loved you; and do not permit any differences in religious fentiments to interrupt the harmonious agreement with which it behoves you to march. on in the road that leads to the mansions of glory. In fhort, let each of us in our several stations and connections, be ftudious to cultivate the fentiments of universal meekness, good-will, and benevolence; and let us conftantly attend to the mighty arguments and motives to this purpose, which are set before us in the gofpel. If thus we be careful not to fall out by the way, we shall enjoy the truest satisfaction which the present life can afford, and fhall be preparing for the realms of complete concord and bleffednefs.
BENJAMIN GROSVENOR, D. D. * IGOTS there may be, and have been of all perfuafions; but an implacable, irreconcileable, cruel Chriftian, is of the fame figure of
In 1749, Dr. Grosvenor retired from all public fervices, and died 1758, in the 83d year of his age. He publifhed many fingle fermons, the moft diftinguifhing of
fpeech as a godly adulterer, a religious drunkard, or a devout murderer. A religion that inspires cruelty and revenge; that is fo far from forgiving injuries, that it multiplies them upon fuch as defire to injure nobody; that can allow its votaries to contrive, as near as poffible, the misery of poor people in this world, or their damnation in the next; as they do, undeniably, who first tempt a poor creature to fhipwreck his confcience, and strain upon him for not doing it; first tempt a man to be a hypocrite, and next punish him for not being fo: I fay a religion of this complexion needs no ftronger confutation, nor can be better proved to be none of his, than to be compared with the temper and spirit, with
which was one on the Temper of Jefus, which was reprinted at Cambridge in 1785—it was a transcript of his own heart and life—An Essay on Health, and an excellent treatise, entitled The Mourner, both of which have paffed through feveral editions, and will continue to be memorials of his genius, learning, and spirit. Of the latter, the following paffage in his diary, is an amiable fpecimen: "I thank God!" fays he, "for that temper of mind and ge▲ nius, which has made it natural for me to have an averfion to bigotry. This has improved constantly with my knowledge. And the enlarging my mind towards those who differed from me, has kept pace with my illumination and intellectual improvements. Agree to differ is a good motto. The reafon and loveliness of fuch a friendly difpofition would recommend it; and I am perfuaded people would almost take it of themselves, if it were not for the several arts used to prevent it.”
Toulmin's Life of Neal, prefixed to his new edi tion of the History of the Puritans.