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ceive the truth fo as to derive any faving 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 alfo worketh effectually in them that. believe. The truth will be of no avail to you if you are not fanctified by it, and made real Chriftians. And then only will you recommend it to others, to any good purpose, when it appears that you yourfelves have been made by it truly humble, holy, heavenly minded, ufeful, active, and benevolent, abounding in every good word and work, as thofe that are wifely perfuaded their labour fhall not be in vain in the Lord.
In the early ages of Chriftianity there were converts, not a few, from amongst the Jewish priests and the Pagan philofophers; men as eminent for their learning and the fplendour of their talents, as they were, even still more after their converfion, for their faith and humble piety. The primitive church could boast of a Paul, a Polycarp, a Chryfoftom, an Irenus, a Juftin Martyr, a Tertullian, with a multitude of others, who were bright ornaments to the cause of Chrift and Chriftianity; and to the two laft of whom we are indebted for two of the most able and eloquent apologies for Chriftianity, that, perhaps, were ever penned. In latter ages we have had an Erafmus, a Bacon, a Boyle, a Grotius, a Butler, and Edwards, with
an hoft of other luminaries, who have not been afhamed of the Gospel of Chrift. Chrift's kingdom is not indeed of this world, and we do not, therefore, confider the literature, or external fplendor of the members of it, as conftituting any part of its effential and distinguishing glory. It is, however, pleafing to find that in every age the Chriftian Church has nourished in her bofom, thofe whofe talents have been as brilliant as their humility and piety have been eminent and edifying. Can it be fuppofed they loft their reafon when they became Christians? Or did they not then become more illuftrious 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 wifdom of God.
Difcourfes on the Atonement.
MICAJAH TOW GOOD,
EXETER. DIED 1792.
THE HE foundation of all beauty, an ingenious author has obferved, is uniformity amidst variety. That the great founder of the Chriftian church hath, in this refpect, formed it with admirable beauty, an attentive obferver will evidently fee. For amidst the infinit e variety of gifts
and endowments of ranks and offices, of fentiments and opinions, which his wifdom permits, or his counsel ordains, a delightful union, or uniformity, is exprefsly established. All the dif ferently minded Chriftians are to be united in perfect charity; and, notwithstanding their diversity of fentiments and fpeculations, they are all to fit at one table, and to eat as of the fame bread, and to drink as of the fame facramental cup, in token of their being fellow members of the fame houfehold of faith, and of their unfeigned love to one another. As far, therefore, as we deftroy this unity or communion, by caufelefs feparations, or hinder it from taking place, fo far we hurt the beauty and the glory of the church, which is called the fpoufe of Jefus Chrift. 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 vifible church of Carift, fetting up a table in oppofition to others, fencing it round with the peculiarities of their fect, and fuffering none to eat with them but those who comply with the fame geftures and modes, and forms of thinking, or at least of speaking with themfelves? Is this that unity of fpirit-that communion of faints-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 Chrift, is hereby grieviously hurt; envyings, mutual jealoufies, animofities, and party zeal, too naturally creep in, and four and contract the mind. Infidels infult, 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 defigned, and is admirably formed to unite men's difcordant minds, becomes the unhappy means of fetting them at a greater variance, and of rendering them more eftranged and unfriendly to one another. Ought these things to be fo, Christians? We all know they ought not. Let us each do what in him lies to heal the fatal breaches which have been fo long the disgrace, and had not Almighty Providence mercifully interpofed, muft long, ere this hour, have been the deftruction of the Chriftian church. Let the worthy name of Christ be no more blafphemed, nor his religion defpifed, through the excess of our zeal about ritual, circumftantial, and fpeculative matters. As the wisdom of God hath left them, perhaps, purposely furrounded with fome degree of darkness, for the proof of our humility, moderation, and condefcenfion 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 *.
THAT HAT men do reafon very differently, and that too upon effential points of divine revelation, is acknowledged; and that many do make religion to confift in what does not really belong to it, and profefs themfelves to be what they are not, is likewife 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 apprehenfions of good men themselves, as to fome leffer things, may not be alike clear, and their external forms of profeffion may, in many refpects differ, yet the leading principles of their judgment, and the main feelings and experiences of their hearts, are strictly analagous and fimilar. Be not fhocked, therefore, at the different appearances religion may affume. They are easily to be accounted for upon this plain and acknowledged principle, that, at the prefent, we know in
A new edition of the Difcourfes on Perfonal Religion, whence the above extract is taken, has been announced by his fon, the Rev. Jofeph Stennett. Should this edition be accompanied with the life of his worthy father, it will render it a ftill more valuable acquifition. May the fentiments contained, and the fpirit difplayed in thefe difcourfes, be laftingly impreffed on the minds of the rifing ge