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civil government? How obvious is it, that what is in its nature most useful and excellent, will for this very reason become most hurtful and pernicious when misapplied or abused ? Christianity forbids every evil work. Its spirit is the spirit of forbearance, meekness, and benevolence. Were it to prevail in its genuine purity, and be universally practised, peace and joy would reign ever more. Uncharitableness, priestcraft, contention, and persecution, are evils which have taken place among its professors, in direct opposition to its scope and design. Is it not then hard, that it should be made responsible for these? Has it not a right to be judged by its genius and tendencies, rather than by any mischief, which blindness and bigotry, and the love of domination have done in the Christian church? For my own part, when I contemplate the horrid scenes which ecclefiaftical history presents to our view, instead of feeling disgust with Christianity, I am struck with the Divine foresight discovered by its founder, when he said, I am not come to send peace on earth, but a sword; and led to a firmer faith, arising from a reflection on the warning given in the scriptures, that an apostacy would come, and a savage power appear, which would defile God's sanctuary, trample on truth and liberty, and make itfelf drunk with the blood of faints and martyrs !
WHY do you not perfecute, at least, with
the tongue, those monstrous Unitarians ? Because I have no warrant from Christ to do so; nor the least inclination to forge one. This is well enough: But why do you praise them in every company? Because a mistaking man may merit praise for that very industry which hath led him into an error; and for that integrity which makes him, against his interest, support it. But what occation is there to keep company with them, and to maintain an intimacy with them? Because on every other article they edify me, and on this we agree to differ. In the possession of this truth, I think I have the advantage of them. In regard to many others, I am not worthy to speak to them; I glory in being their disciple.
In what light then do you consider a fincere man, who denies our Lord's divinity? In the light of a mistaken brother; in every other attitude an object of esteem, and in that of denying the divinity of my Lord, an object of my tenderest compassion. --All this argues great coldness to your Lord ! I would rather be frozen into a formalist, than inflamed with the fire of hell; in the first case, I should be a harmless ftatue ; in the last, a destroyer like the devil.
Which of the ten cominandments does a man brcak by following his own convictions in religion? Suppose the worst, that he is in an error; yet his error remaineth with himself. Is any of us less wise, less just, or less fafe, because another does that for himself which we every day do for ourselves? Our safety is not endangered by his taking the liberty to think for himself: It is we who endanger his fafety by taking the liberty to think for him. In such a cafe,' we should be lefs wife and less just than we ought to be; as he would be if he allowed us to run our liberty into fuch licentiousness. How is it that men, Christian men too, can see one another's sicknesses, and hear of one another's misfortunes, without any emotions of anger, and with all the feelings of humanity and pity that Christians ought to have for one another; and that they cannot bear to hear a conscientious man avow sentiments different from their own without a red resentment, that like a hot thunder-bolt hisses, and wounds, and kills where it falls ? No; it is not justice, it is not prudence, it is not humanity, it is not benevolence, it is not zeal for these dispositions; it seems as if it were the explofion of an infected heart, where the milk of human kindness never flowed. If such emotions can proceed from Christians, we must suppose what we are loth to think; that is, that some Christians are in some unhappy moments divested of all the principles of their holy religion, and actuated by the dispositions of the most ignorant and cruel of inankind. But, say they, though we receive no injury, yet God is dishonoured.. Ah! Is God dishonoured ? imitate his conduct, then; does he thunder, does he lighten, does he afflict this poor man? Behold his fun enlightens his habitation, his rain refreshes his fields, his gentle breeze fans and animates him every day, his revelation lies always open before him, his throne of mercy is
acceffible to him; and will you, rash Christian, will you mark him out for vengeance? I repeat it again, imitate your heavenly Father; and, at least, suspend your anger till that day, when the Lord will make manifeft the counfels of men's hearts, and then shall every man have praise of God.
Plea for the Divinity of Chrift,
and Village Sermons.
CALEB EVANS, D. D.
know, to give hard names to those that differ from me, even on subjects of the highest inportance; and you will not therefore expect any thing of this kind in the present publication. The wrath of man will never work the rightcoulness of God; and, I hope, I have learned to tremble at that word of my divine Master, Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? Railing accusations may be as easily applied to the support of error as of truth; and can only tend in either case to inflame, never to convince or persuade. We ought as fincerely and cheerfully to admire the virtues of those that may differ from us the most widely, as we would wish to detect and avoid their errors. But fuffer me to caution you against the opposite extreme, that of scepticism and indifference-a temper of mind, of all others, the moft unpardonable, and the most pernicious. It is the highest insult we can offer to the God of truth, and has the most direct tendency to banish truth, and with it, all true virtụe and happiness, out of the world. But amidst the clash of contending parties, and the jarring of such very discordant sentiments, as are propagated and zealously contended for in what is called the Christian world, in the present day, it becomes more neceffary than ever for all that would be able to give a reason of the holie that is in them, with meekness and fear, uprightly and impartially to search the scriptures, and judge for themselves. Your faith will otherwise be of no use to you, it will stand in the wisdom of men, and not in the power of God.