« PreviousContinue »
The disciples of Cbrist were one with him in acting according to his coupsels, purposes, and directions; and in this sense was Christ one with the Father.*
Moreover if this be not the true meaniog of the text first mentioned, it will be impossible to reconcile it with others. Christ.says, “the Father is greater than I," and declares that he does all his works by the power and aid of the Father. But this would be impossible, if they were one being. How can a being be greater, than himself? If it be allowed, that Christ was one with the Father in promoting his designs, and conforming to his will, there will be harmony and consistency in all the tests, which allude to the character of Christ; but any other explanation will involve contradictions, which cannot be reconciled.
A Letter addressed to a Congregational minister on the
subject of a Funeral Sermon.
B, August 27, 1816. Rev. Sir-I hope you will excuse the freedom I take in addressing you, on the subject of your suneral exercise yesterday. I confess, Sir, my feelings were somewhat marred at bearing your performance; and I still conceive justly, from several considerations. peared to show a great reluctance to join with me in any part of public worship, tho you must be seusible you crossed the feelings of the father of the deceased child; and you even apologized to the assembly, because I was to make the concluding prayer. With the thun
* Critics have observed, that in the original of the text first quoted, the word translated one is hen,one thing, and not heis, one person or being. It may also be remarked of all the other texts quoted above, in which the word one is used. In the original it is hen, which is never used to denote a person. There is a parallel passage in 1 Cor. i. 8. “He that planteth and he that watereth are one,” (hen, one thing.) Yet no one will suppose, that Paul and Apollos were one being. Ther were one in will, consent, and purpose.
ders of future endless misery, you appeared to your mourning friends and the congregation, when you must be sensible it was altogether unacceptable to many of them and myself who was there invited to take a part on that solemn occasion, and at the funeral of a child not two years old, with a given text that spake of children, saying, “of such is the kingdom of God.' Sir, if your labors were conscientiously directed for the benefit of your hearers, onder a sense of accountability to your Maker, I humbly indulge the hope that you will not judge yoursell entirely free from this accountability, till you have endeavored scripturally and reasonably to defend the ideas on which you so strenuously insisted, where there is opportunity to reply. From such considerations, I trust this communication will be candidly answered.
In listening to your prayer with devotional attention, I soon perceived, that you appeared like one, who would give the Almighty a history of antiquity; and besides, you seemed to tell him, how he might bave saved himself much labor and been as free from guilt as he is
If my memory serves me, you told him, if he had never provided a Savior for man, his throne would have been forever guillless. Why so ? because meu are infpite sinners? This seems to be the import of your prayer. Then it appears if they were not so wicked, he would be some guilty if he did not save them! The sentence you used is frequently varied in this manner; “O Lord, if thou hadst come out agaipsi us in strict justice, we shouid ere now have been in the grave with the dead, and in hell with the damned." To tell the Lord, when he comes out against his people he has not come out in strict justice, to what does it amount but a plain accusation of injustice? If the Lord do not stric justice in his works, I think they must be unjust ; unless a thing can be said to be and not be at the same time
With respect to infants, I feel to oppose your opinion, tbat hing given in baptism initiates them into the kingdom of God. S. Paul said he was not sent to haptize, but to preach the gospel, and can a minister of the
present age, suppose his commission exceeds that of the chief apostle of the Gentiles ?
Being brought to Christ, according to your text, does not appear to make them heirs of the kingdom of God; but they were suffered to be brought, because they were already heirs of that kingdom. “For of such is” (not will be) "of the kiogdom of God." They were, therefore, brought to partake of the inheritance, that previously belonged to them.
I am, Sir totally unable to perceive the propriety of attempting to console mourners, by telling them the Judge of all the earth will do right, will execute justice, with your views of right and justice. I can see no consolation, on your hypothesis, unless he refrains from doing right, and averts the demands of justice, which if he do, there is bope ; otherwise, the whole human race must be eternally damned. To tell mourners that all men, to receive right and justice, would receive eternal damnation, and then attempt to condole them by telling them, to trust in God. —he will do right-he will do justice, could never console, till the school of torment had made the heart barder than a nether millstone.
I migbt make many more remarks, but a want of time and health forbid, at present. I hope you will take these into serious consideration, and endeavor to satis. fy the queries of an inquiring mind.
S. C. L. Rev. J. D.
The Rev. J. D returned no answer to the foregoing letter.
Extract of a Letter to the Editor, dated Portland, March
29, 1821. by Rev. Russell Streeter, who has reoently moved from Springfied, Vt to that place.
"In relation to my situation in this town, concerning which you will doubtless expect to hear, I have not much to communicate. I hardly am able to anticipate my own prospects. The attention, however is raised to a high degree.
“Our house is quite too small. About one thousand can crowd into it, and hundreds stand about the entry, and round the doors.
“Last Sabbath was very stormy ; the evening, tolerably pleasant. No sooner. was the house illuminated than the doors were crowded ; and those who belong to the society and came as ' late as ihe bour appointed, found no admission. Hundreds of others were in the same condition. This is the general character of our lectures.
“I have exbibited a disposition purely pacific. I preach my own faith, and exclude all others from my consideration. The truth is sufficient to interest the attention, without reluting other people's sentiments."
From Buck's Theological Dictionary.
SWEDEN BORGIANS, The followers of Emmanuel Swedenborg, a Swedish nobleman, horn at Stockholm in 689. He appears to have had a good education ; for bis learning was extensive in almost every branch. He professed himself to be the founder of the New-Jerusalem Church, alluding to the New Jerusalem spoken of in the book of the Reyelation. He asserts that, in the year 743. the Lord mavifested bimself to him by a personal appearance, and at the same time opened his spiritual eyes, so that he was enabled coristantly to see and converse with spirits and angels. From that time he began to print and publish various wonderful things, which he says, were revealed to bim, relating to heaven and hell, the state of men after death, the worship of God, the spiritual sepse of the scriptures the various earths in the vpiverge, and their inhabitants ; with many other sirange particulars
Swedenborg lived and died in the Lutheran communion. !il!! always professed the highest rrepiect for the church of England. He carried bis respect for the person and divinity of Jesus Christ to the highest point of veneration, considering him altogether as God manifested in the flesh, and as the fulpess of the Godhead united to the man Christ Jesus With respect, therefore, to the sacred Trinity, tho he rejected the idea of three distinct persons as destructive of the unity of the Godhead, he admitted three distinct essences, principles, or characters: as existing in it: namely, the divine essence or character, in virtue of which he is called the Father or Creator, the human essence, principle, or character, united to the divine in the person of Jesus Christ, in virtue of which he is called the Son and Redeemer"; and, lastly, the proceeding essence or princi. ple, in virtue of which he is called the Holy Ghost. He farther maintains, that the sacred scripture contains three distinct senses, ealed celestial, spiritual, and natoral, which are united by correspondences; and that in each serise it is divine truth accommodated respectively to the angels of the three heavens, and also to men on earth. This science of correspondences (it is gaid) has been lost for some thousands of years. viz. ever since the time of Job, but is now revived by Emmanuel Swedenborg, who uses it as a key to the spirituai ir iuter. nal sense of the sacred scripture : every page of which, he says, is written by correspondence, that is. by such things in the natural world as correspond unto and sig. nify things in the spiritual world. He denies the doctrine of alonement, or vicarious sacrifice'; together with ihe doctrines of predestination, unconditional electios, justification by faith alone, the resurrection of the material body. &c. and in opposition thereto, maintains That man is possessed of free will in spiritual things; that salvation is not attainable without repentance, that is, abstaining from evils. hecause they are sins against God, and living a life of charity and faith, according to the commandments ; that 'man, immediately on his decease, rises again in a spiritual body, which was encloged in his material body, and that in his spiritual mody he lives as a man to eternity, either in heaven or in hell, according to the quality of his past life. Tbat all