General Convention of Universalists.

The Christian helper : or Gospel sermons for congregations and families (Volume 1) online

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This we regard as a most precious, though not an
intentional, compliment to our faith. We consider
it a confession that we have obtained a more excel-
lent ministry than all others. "Why is it that the
pious believer in endless wo should refuse to pray
for the truth of his doctrine'? Why does he pray
against his creed ] Ah ! my friends, his feelings have
assimilated to the spirit of the Friend of publicans
and sinners. His heart has approximated to the
purity of those celestial beings who rejoice in the
penitence of the erring children of humanity. His
soul breathes the heavenly atmosphere, and is so
strengthened by Divine love as to resist the assaults
of a cruel theory.

Blessed be God, we have no occasion to j)ray
against faith, nor to believe against prayer. Blessed
be His holy name, we can pray as we preach, and
preach as we pray ; and we can heartily close both
preaching and prayer with the apostolic Amen !



342 JOY AND PEACE.



Our work would not be complete without reference
to tlie obligations and duties involved in the posses-
sion of this more excellent ministry.

Considered merely as a theory^ the Gospel is not
preferable to the Law; nor merely as an abstraction
is either the Gospel or the Law any more desirable
than any speculation whatever. Doctrine is valuable
only so far as it tends to elevate the mind and to
purify the heart; and since we believe such to be
the legitimate tendency of faith in the better coven-
ant, it behooves us to furnish the world a practical
commentary on the sentiment we profess.

The world will not be convinced by abstract reason-
ing, nor can we be benefitted thereby. It is only by
cultivating the feelings of pure devotion, and by
manifesting in our lives that we are under the domi-
nion of the truth, that we can either enjoy the peace
of God ourselves, or bring others into the heavenly
light. We may demolish Babylon, but we shall not
thereby build up Jerusalem. We may confound our
adversaries by the power of argument alone — but it
requires the clearer reasoning of holiness of life, to
satisfy the really conscientious man that our doctrine
is of God.

It is not pretended that we are less worthy than
others, less upright, less commendable in our deport-
ment — but something more than this is required. If
we believe our ministry to be more excellent than
any other, we are obligated to be more heavenly-
minded, more devotional in our feelings, more reli-
gious in our demeanor, more punctiliously correct in
our conduct, than any other people under heaven.

And it is manifest that our faith is naturally calcu-



JOY AND PEACE. S'iS



latecl to produce these fruits of the spirit. Who is ,
there that can contemplate God in the relation of a
loving Father, without being subdued into all the
love and simplicity of a child] Who can behold the
sublime glories of His Divine nature, spotless and
pure, without experiencing a thrill of admiring de-
light '? Who can scan the loveliness of His perfec-
tions and the benevolence of all His plans, without
being feelingly inclined to observe His heavenly law \
Who can look forward to the glorious consummation
of His gracious purposes, without entering into the
rest and peace of the better covenant 1 My brethren,
an undcvoitt Uj liver sal ist is mad. He has not realized
the excellency and power of the Spirit of Truth.
He has not entered into the joy of the Lord. He
is but in the outer-court, and knows not the blessed-
edness of the New Jerusalem.

So soon as (and not before) we feel the indwelling
and redeeming power of our faith, we shall be pre-
pared to make full proof of our ministry. We shall
be prepared not merely to silence but to convince the
adversaries of the truth. Our weapons will be
mighty through God to the pulling down of strong-
holds, and to the building up of the walls of salvation.

Blessed is he who is thus prepared to " do the
work of an Evangelist," and blessed are they who
hearken to the testimony and the call of the " spirit
and the bride." In the heavenly unity of love, they
will go on their way rejoicing. The wilderness and
solitary place will be glad in their presence, and the
desert will blossom as the rose. Zion will be arrayed
in the habiliments of holiness. Her ministers will be



344 JOY AND PEACE.



clothed with salvation, and her saints shall shout
aloud for joy !

Our obligations are great, and our duty is plain.
The most excellent ministry of the most holy faith
has been committed to our charge, and all things are
to be counted but loss for the excellency of the know-
ledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. Should temptation
assail us, and the world present its popular induce-
ments for swerving from the truth, the remembrance
of our sublime sentiments will enable us ' to stand
against the wiles of the devil,' and to unite in the tes-
timony of a faithful soldier of the cross : " But none
of these things move me, neither count I my life dear
unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy,
and the ministry which I have received of the Lord
Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God."

LET US PRAY.

We praise and bless Thee, O Lord, for the joy of
thankfulness and devotion, and for the peace which
ever flows through patience and comfort of Thy holy
word.

The earth is full of the riches of Thy goodness ; the
gospel is full of the riches of Thy grace: and all Thy
perfections, and all our blessings, meet in the com-
mandment to love Thee with all the heart.

O let Thy mighty power descend and inspire us,
that OUT spirits may become emblems of Thine; and
endue us, we beseech Thee, with wisdom from above,
that we may turn many to righteousness, and shine as
the stars of the firmament for ever and ever. Ame)t.








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Online LibraryGeneral Convention of UniversalistsThe Christian helper : or Gospel sermons for congregations and families (Volume 1) → online text (page 23 of 23)