THE ''^â– ' '*' ^-^^
CONOREaATIONS AND FAMILIES.
ISSUED BY DIRECTION OF
THE GENERAL CONVENTION OF UNIVERSALISTS.
JAMES M. USHER, 37 CORNHILL.
BAZIW AND CHANDLER, PRINTERS,
We herewith present a Second Yolume of Sermons for
the use of Societies without ministers, of unorganized
circles of Worshippers, and of Private Behevers generally.
In sending it forth on its mission of love, we accompany it
with Christian Salutations to all of like precious faith.
We offer the volume itself as an embodied Prayer for the
extension and universal enjoyment of the blessings of
Christian Worship !
When called by the General Convention of Universal-
ists, at its late session, to the labor of editing this Vol-
ume, could I have foreseen that a confinement of several
weeks to my chamber by sickness, with some other un-
toward occurrences, would crowd that labor into the short
period of a single month, I should have felt it my duty to
decline the responsibility. In the hurried passage of
these pages through the press, at the rate of nearly a
" Form " a day, it is hardly possible but that some errors
will have escaped detection. It is hoped, however, that
few of them will be found of sufficient consequence to
attract the attention of the general reader.
To the Brethren who have so kindly and so promptly
responded to the call of the Convention for Sermons,
made upon them through the Editor, we hereby present
our most hearty personal acknowledgments and the
thanks of our entire Zion. For a more adequate recom-
VI EDITOR S PREFACE.
pense, we commend to them the gratitude of many hearts,
which, under the providence of God, may be born into
the Kingdom, or may be made to drink more copious
draughts from the Fountain of Life, through their instru-
The last sermon in the Volume, with the very appro-
priate title, " It is Finished," from the pen of our late,
most esteemed, and lamented Brother, Rev. L. L. Sadler,
was delivered in Lowell in the pulpit of the First Church,
in August, and was his last public discourse.
We have preserved the general style of the former
Volume ; designating the Prayers added by the Editor
by a [*] star, and assigning the Sermons in the Index
to the consecutive Sundays of the first half of the Year.
It should not be forgotten, however, that this arrangement
is in no degree based on the character of the discourses
themselves ; nor should it be allowed to prevent a de-
parture from that order, whenever bereavement, misfor-
tune, or other occurrences shall make such a departure
We send forth the work with the humble Prayer that
Divine Goodness may be pleased to bless it as a Means
of Grace. A. A. M.
INDEX OF SERMONS
Jan'y 3. 1858. ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST Page 9
BY REV. I. D. WILLIAMSON, D. Dâ€ž PHILADELPHIA, PA.
Jan'y 10, - - LESSONS OF ADVERSITY 26
BY REV. WM. S. BALCH, KEW YORK.
Jan'y 17, - EFFECTS OF OBEDIENCE 45
BY REV. L. L. RECORD, WEST SCITUATE, MASS.
Jan'y 24, - THE FATHER OUR HELP IN TRIAL 60
BY REV. A. G. LAURIE, CHARLESTOWN, MASS.
Jan'y 31, - THE DIVINE PROTECTION 72
BY REV. A. ST. JOHN CHAMBRE, NEWARK, N. J.
Feb'y7, - - THE TEST OF GOODNESS 84
BY REV. ASHER MOORE, HARTFORD, CT.
Feb'yM, - - PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN. .. .101
BY REV. WM. H. RYDER, ROXBURY, MASS.
Feb'y21, - - THE REIGX OF CHRIST 116
BY REV. JOHN BOYDEN, WOONSOCKET, R. I.
Feb'y28, - - EXCUSES FOR NOT PROFESSING CHRIST. .130
BY REV. R. A. BALLOU, MEDFORD, MASS.
March 7, - - THE ACCESS BY FAITH 144
BY REV. G. H. EMERSON, SOMERVILLE, MASS.
March 14, - - CHRIST APPROPRIATED 154
BY REV. R. TOMLINSON, PLYMOUTH, MASS.
Vlll INDEX OF SERMONS.
March 21, - - SEEKING AND SAVING THE LOST 167
BY REV. BENTON SMITH, SOUTH READING, MASS.
March 28, - - DRESSING AND KEEPING THE GARDEN. ..177
BY REV. SAMUEL GOFF, SACO, ME.
April 4,- - - THE DISCIPLES' CROWN 193
BY REV. M. BALLOU, PHILADELPHIA, PA.
April 11, - - IT IS WELL 208
BY REV. A. J. PATTERSON, PORTSMOUTH, N. H.
April 18, - - WALKING WITH GOD 221
BY' REV. C. W. MELLEN, WEYMOUTH, MASS.
April 25, - - METHOD OF SALVATION 237
BY REV. C. H. LEONARD, CHELSEA, MASS.
May 2, - - - CHRIST FAULTLESS 250
BY REV. I. C. KNOWLTON, OLDTOWN, ME,
May 9, - - - THE BIBLE, GOD AND CHRIST 266
BY REV. T. B. THAYER, BOSTON, MASS.
May 16, - - RELIGION A SOURCE OF STRENGTH 278
BY REV. C. A. SKINNER, CAMBRIDGEPORT, MASS.
May 23. - - SLEEP AND DEATH 289
^ BY' REV. A. R. ABBOTT, GARDINER, ME.
May 30, - - MAN A RELIGIOUS BEING 306
BY REV. D. P. BUNN, DECATUR, ILL.
June 6, - - - CHRISTIAN REDEMPTION 318
BY REV. J. S. BARRY, ROXBURY, MASS.
June 13. - - CHRIST A SOURCE OF JOY 332
BY REV. J. MERRIFIELD, MISHAWAKA, IND.
June 20, - - VALUE OF CHRISTIANITY 347
BY REV. SYLVANUS COBB, BOSTON, MASS.
June27, - - IT IS FINISHED 363
BY REV. L. L. SADLER, BOSTON, MASS.
ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST.
BY REV. I. D. WILLIAMSON, D. D. SCRIPTURE LESSON, JOHN VI. 27-71.
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go ? Thou
hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that
thou art that Christ, the Son of the Living God. â€” John vi. 68, 69.
In the preceding context our Saviour announced
himself as the " Living bread that cometh down
from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not
die." " The words that I speak unto you," said he,
" they are spirit, and they are life." This announce-
ment, together with the assurance that no man
could come unto him except it were given him
of the Father, seems to have staggered the faith
of many of his followers ; and, from that time
forth, they went back and walked no more with
him. " Then said he unto the twelve, will ye
also go away ] " Then answered Peter, saying,
as in our text, "Lord, to whom shall we go] Thou
hast the words of eternal life; and we believe and
are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the
Living God." The idea is, that Christ was all-
10 ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST.
sufficient; his words were enough to satisfy their
moral and spiritual wants ; â€” their faith in him as
the Clirist, the Son of the Living God, was en-
tirely satisfactory, and there was no other teacher
to whom they could go for instruction without
being losers by the exchange.
The subject thus introduced, leads us naturally
to treat of the All-sufficiency of Christ and his
Gospel, and the impropriety of departing from him
and his religion, at least, until we are quite cer-
tain that we have found something better.
I commence this discussion by saying, that, in
things spiritual and divine, man needs, and he
must have, a teacher. No human philosophy, no
depth or profundity of science, no effort of the
unaided reason of man, can penetrate the counsels
of God, or explore the secrets of the invisible and
the spiritual. These things must come to us by
revelation, if they come at all; and hence there
is a necessity for a teacher sent of God, who shall
be able to announce divine truth authoritatively.
Without such a guide, man wanders, he knows
not where. As the man who would explore the
Alps and find his way in safety through the awful
chasms where darkness reigns, and along the dizzy
heights where the avalanche thunders, needs a
trusty guide to direct his steps ; so the man who
would explore the " mountains of the Lord," and
penetrate the regions of the spiritual and invisi-
ble, must also have a reliable teacher and guide,
and must walk by faith in him. The truth of this
ALL-SUFFICIE^'CY OF CHRIST. 11
position, it is presumed, no man can gainsay or
successfully controvert. If we examine the his-
tory of the world, we shall find it true, in all ages,
that there have been a few leaders, who were men
of adventurous spirits, and, it may be, of com-
manding intellects, who have pitched their flight
into regions which the common mind could not
explore, and have thus become the teachers of
the world. They have led the way, and the masses
of men have been content to folloAV their lead.
Blind leaders of the blind, many of them have
been, beyond all question, and, as might be ex-
pected, both have often fallen into the ditch ; nev-
ertheless, the readiness with which the people of
every nation, sect, and creed have ranged them-
selves under the banners of their respective lead-
ers, and taken their places in the ranks to follow
on, is proof that there is an imperious necessity
for a guide of some sort, to lead the masses of
men in the way of truth and duty, and that man
must and will have a leader.
Further, let it be noted, that the erratic course
of the leaders themselves â€” the fact that they have
stumbled in the dark, and wandered in all sorts of
vagaries and errors of the most opposite and con-
tradictory character, is proof that they, too, needed
a guide not less than those that they essayed tr
The result is, that men need a guide, a r^^^^^ ^
teacher; and the real question with wh ^^uties
12 ALL-SUF^ICIE^^CY OF CHRIST.
have to do, is not wliether we will be taught at
all, but rather to ivhom shall we go ?
AVe, my brethren, professedly, at least, have
taken Jesus Christ for our teacher and guide.
We believe and are sure that he is the Christ,
commissioned of God to teach the world in the
way of wisdom â€” to reveal God to the world, and
to guide our wandering feet in the way of life.
We profess to be Christians, and to receive the
doctrines of Jesus as divinely true.
In these times, when many are saying, Lo ! here,
and lo ! there ; when the human intellect, with
teeming fecundity, is bringing forth theories and
speculations without number, and men who claim
to be High Priests of Nature, are urging us to
follow their lead, the question. To whom shall we
go, is surely legitimate, and should be pondered
well. In whom shall we find a more reliable
guide or safe teacher, than in him of Nazareth?
Are his teachings adequate to meet the moral and
spiritual wants of man ? And, if we leave him and
follow another, shall we be gainers by the ex-
change ] These are questions of deep and solemn
significance. They bear upon our best hopes and
our highest good ; and in matters of such moment
no man is justified in taking a leap in the dark.
Let us contemplate the teachings of Christ, for a
wo'l moments, as compared with others, and see
peneLs worth our while to forsake him.
ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST. 13
I. Consider his moral instructions.
There is nothing that the wise and the good
have more earnestly sought, than a system of
ethics adapted to man's nature, and able, at all
times, to guide man in the path of duty. Who
will show us any good ] Who w^ill teach us what
we must do, and how we must live, to attain the
true ends of life and arrive at the perfection of
our being] These are questions that have been
agitated from the beginning.
The answer has been sought in rules for the
guidance of the outward conduct. Codes of moral
laws, voluminous, conflicting, and contradictory, have
been drawn up, and duty has been defined in all
possible directions. One has pointed in one
way, and said. Do this, and ye shall live ; and
another has pointed in the opposite direction, and
said, Do that, and duty is done. Worship, prayer,
fasting, sacrifices, and privations have each had their
advocates, as comprehending the highest forms of
duty. Some have taught that to retire from all
commerce with the world, and live a life of aus-
terity and contemplation, is the true life. Others
have found the highest aim of life in the gratifica-
tion of the sensual appetites and passions. The
idolater thinks his highest duty is to cut his flesh
or cast himself down to be crushed beneath the
wheels of the car of Juggernaut. A pilgrimage to
Mecca, â€” a visit to the land of the prophet, and a
battle in defence of the faith, are the prime duties
of the Moslem. Fasting and penance, paternos-
14 ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST.
ters and prayers, are the highest duties known to
the followers of the Pope.
In the midst of this Babel of confusion, let us
pause for a moment, and ask of Jesus what we
must do ] He shall answer us thus : " Thou shalt
love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with
all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy
strength. This is the first and great command-
ment ; and the second is like unto it : Thou shalt
love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two com-
mandments hang all the law and the prophets."
But what shall we do in manifestation of this love
to man ] Answer : "All things whatsoever that ye
would men should do unto you, do ye even so to
them, for this is the law and the prophets." Here
then we have the sum and substance of the whole
matter, the great principle that runs unbroken
through all the tangled web of life, and indicates
with certainty the jD^th of duty at all times and
under all circumstances. No huge volumes of
statutes and laws, no long code of directions for
the regulation of the hands, is here. But the great
ininciple of all law, the solution of the problem of
all duty, is here. It all centres in, and proceeds
from, Love % This great law of love underlies and
terminates all laws, and is destined to supersede
them all. In its practice all duty is done, and he
that lives up to it never need doubt for a moment
that he is in the right path.
Let me ask now if the world has ever seen
or heard of a safer or better guide 1 Let any
ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST. 15
man reflect after this manner: Was I ever led
astray, or did I ever speak a word or do an act
for which I felt a pang of regret when I kept
close to this law of Christ 1 Well, then, if you
ask me to forsake Christ, as the great teacher
of morality, and seek another guide, to whom
shall I go ] If I go to the infidel, who abjures
Christ, he will tell me that the indulgence of
my appetites and passions is lawful and revenge
justifiable. If I go to Mahomet, he will put a
sword in my hand and bid me fight for the faith ;
and if I go to the Pope, he will bid me pray, con-
fess, do penance, and submit to my supervisors, and
leave the rest to the church.
But I am told that there are certain spiritual
manifestations in these days. A new era has
dawned upon the world, and the spirits of the de-
parted dead have come to the earth to teach man
in the way of duty, and we must learn of them the
path of wisdom. Very well ; but have the spirits
taught anything better than this 1. I must be per-
mitted to doubt if any spirit, living or dead, has
discovered a guide to duty safer or more excellent
than the great law of love taught by the Saviour.
But I am told that the spirits teach this same law
of love, and hence the utility of their mission. If
this be so, I do not see the necessity of their com-
munications in this regard. That law of love was
taught and embodied in the person and the life of
Christ ages ago. That old Bible which contains it
was rocked in our cradles with us, and we have but
16 ALL-SUFF ICIENCY OF CHRIST.
to open its pages to find and read it, in our own
native tongue. Why, then, should I leave Christ
to follow after spirits, in order to learn the law that
I have heard from him, from the days of my
youth? But if they do teach anything different
from this law of love, I would say, as Paul said,
" Though an angel from heaven teach any other
Gospel, let him be accursed." I have heard of no
spirit wiser than Jesus ; I have heard of none bet-
ter ; and I insist again that his teachings are an all-
sufficient guide in the path of duty ; and that the
man who will follow him need not err. When,
therefore, I am asked to leave the record of a Sa-
viour's precepts and life to go in search of another
guide, I must ask, " To whom shall I go 1 " In
whom can I confide more trustfully] W^ho will
guide me more safely 1 Until these questions are
answered, I will hold fast to the Saviour and I will
not let him go.
II. Consider the doctrinal teachings of Christ.
These are few and simple, and of great power
and mighty import. Let us briefly notice the main
features of these doctrines ; I mean those that are
peculiar to Christ as a teacher. They are
1. The paternity of God.
The existence of God had been taught among
the Jews before Christ, and the truth that He was
one and undivided was the distinguishing feature
of their religion. The heathen had a multitude of
gods, to whose agency they ascribed the various
ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST. 17
phenomena of tlie universe. The philosophy of
the world groped in darkness as to the cause of all
things, and busied itself then as now, with the ma-
terial and the secondary, never rising into the re-
gion of the efficient and the absolute. It was the
niission of Moses to reveal the one living and true
God, as the Creator of all things, the one single
and absolute cause of all causes â€” the ruler and
governor among the nations, whose power none
could resist, and whose sway none could escape.
The long line of prophets that followed him illus-
trated the attributes of God ; His wisdom and jus-
tice, and mercy and truth ; and set Him forth as the
King of nations and men. And this was the high-
est aspect in which they viewed or presented Him.
But Jesus revealed Him in the character of a
Father. He taught men that they should no longer
stand in the distance and appeal to God for aid
through burnt offerings and sacrifices, or through
the medium of the priests who ministered at the
altar in the temples. But that everywhere in the
city and the wilderness, in the darkness or the
light, on the land or the sea, the throne of God was
accessible ; that they might go to Him confiding in
His love, and call Him their Father^ and He would
own and bless them as His children. He removed
the veil that had so long obscured the excellent
glory, and taught the world that its God was a God
of love ; a being whom giving did not impoverish
or withholding make rich, and whose goodness ' ^^
full as the ocean and inexhaust^'ble as the li- Ye
18 ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST,
day. He revealed God as a being who is to be
loved and trusted ; whose care over us is so con-
stant and watchful that not a hair upon our heads
can perish without His notice ; and not a tear can
fall but it is seen of Him. And this goodness of
our Father runs through all the events and vicissi-
tudes of life, and stretches out through all the
boundless realms of the future, giving us the as-
surance that, under His kind paternal guardianship,
no real evil can befall us.
Now, then, what I wish to say, is simply this.
Man is by nature a religious being. He instinc-
tively feels after God, if haply he may find Him ;
and all history shows that, in every grade and con-
dition of life, he must, and he will, have a God of
some sort. If he cannot find the true God, he
will carve out an image and fall down and worship
that. Jesus teaches the best and the truest and
highest idea of God that it is possible for man to
conceive ; and of all the doctrines of God that
have ever been taught or propagated in the world,
this alone can satisfy the cravings of man's spir-
itual nature, and enable the soul to rest secure in
the consciousness that the arm of the Almighty
and the All-good is ever outstretched to protect
and defend. Would you seek after a teacher that
can lead you up to the author of your being, and
place your spirit in communion with the God that
^^mde it, and hush your anxious fears with the
^"n-ance that the love of God is with you, and
he arms of His mercy encircle you now, and
ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST. 19
evermore, you must find that sacred teacher in
Jesus; for in this respect it is true, that "never
man spake like this man." If you ask me to leave
him, I ask, with emphasis, " To whom shall we
go ]" Aye, to whom ? Where is the wise man or
the teacher that can give me a higher or a better
idea of God than I can learn of him ? There lives
no such being upon the face of the broad earth ;
and until such an one makes his appearance, I
hold fast to the Saviour and his Gospel.
2. The fraternity of man is a doctrine of Christ.
We are all children of one common Father and
brethren of the same great and blessed family.
The world is divided into nations, tribes, sects, and
parties, between whom there is a constant and
exciting antagonism ; so that they do not under-
stand that they have a common interest or a com-
Man looks upon his fellow-man with repug-
nance and, perhaps, with hatred. He sees in him
a mere mass of total depravity, or, it may be, a
child of the Devil and an heir of hell. He be-
lieves that he has no part in the love of heaven,
but is hated and rejected of God, and he hates
him too ; and the more he hates, the more he imi-
tates the God whom he worships. Hence come
strife, contention, war, fighting, and blood.. Jesus
lays the axe at the root of this mischief; and his
calm voice utters the word that is destined to
reduce this discord and unite our great race in
one common bond of brotherhood and love. Ye
20 ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST.
are all hrethren. One God has created you. One
Father cares for you, and one destmy awaits you,
is the magic word that transforms humanity in
our view, and makes us look " through mercies
melting eye," and " see a brother in a foe."
To whom shall w^e go for a higher or a better
view of humanity than we find here I The rela-
tion that man bears to his fellow-man has been
a fruitful theme, and in regard to it huge volumes
have been written. But none have gone further
than Jesus. The idea that our vast race is one
band of brothers â€” that each man is interested in
the welfare of every other man â€” that the blood
of a common life flows in all our veins, and a
nerve of that same life runs through every branch
of this brotherhood, so that when smitten in the
remotest limb the pain must shoot through the
whole body â€” this, w^e say, is the highest, the
holiest, and most salutary view of humanity ever
taught by mortal tongue or inspired pen. And
there is no necessity that we should go away
from Christ to learn this. It breathes from all
his teachings and speaks from his whole life. If
I am told that others teach it, and even that it is
the burden of the communications that come in
these latter days from the spirit world, all very
well ; only let them teach it in the name of Christ,
and give him the credit due to him as the " author
and finisher" of this faith, and I will not object.
But I insist that no living man, no spirit of man,
living or dead, has gone beyond Christianity in
ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF CHRIST. 21
teaching the fraternity of onr race. That no 7iew
truth, as regards the brotherhood of man, has been
revealed by spirits in the flesh, or out of it, since
the days of the Saviour. His religion is therefore
all-sufficient, and we have no need to turn away
from him to follow any other guide.
3. The doctrine of life and immortality was
taught by the Saviour.
If a man die, shall he live again] This is the
question that has agitated the world from the be-
ginning. The sages and philosophers of old pon-
dered it long ; but they found a veil over futurity
that their vision could not penetrate. They framed
theories, indeed, and faintly hoped that they might
live when their bodies should be in the grave.
But that hope often faltered ; and, in its best aspect
it was so mingled Avith fables and superstitions
of Erebus and Tartarus, that the life itself was a
thing to be dreaded rather than coveted or desired.
In two respects, at least, the teachings of Christ
are superior to all others u])on this subject. He
announced the doctrine of life and immortality
as a fixed fact, resting upon the will and purpose
of the Eternal God to raise man from the dead,
and admitted no doubt of the consummation of
this purpose. Nor did he rest satisfied with the
mere announcement of this great truth in theory.
On the contrary, he went himself into the grave,
and rose in the freshness of immortal life; and
thus gave, not merely the theory^ but the demon-
stration of the fact that there is a resurr*^ "^'
22 A L L-S U F F I C I E >â– C Y OF CHRIST.
from the dead, and assured us that, " as believers,
we shall live also."
But the great blessedness of his teachings, in