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jured by clamorous reproaches, and to glory in them as our highest and exposed to contempt ; if the honour. Let us account it our ordinances of God are regarded privilege to retain the faith of with disdain and represented as the reformation, particularly that insignificant by the rich and doctrine of grace, which attribthe learned ; in such a case, for utes every step in the salvation churches, that have preserved of sinners to God, and no part of their integrity, to be ashamed of it to man. True wisdom will Christ's cause, to conceal his teach us to undervalue the caldoctrines, and retire into a corn- umny of proud adversaries. er, would be inglorious and base. Christian fortitude will never be In such a time, God expects that moved from the foundation of his people will openly avow con- truth by ridicule and slander. temned truth, and espouse its in- Contempt and reproach, in such terests the more earnestly, be- a cause, we may gladly bind upon cause it is misrepresented and our head, as a crown of glory. vilified by others.
And if, in many churches of Unhappily this is the case at which we hoped better things, the present day. Numberless divine truth has lost much of its heresies have crept into the purity and lustre ; we should church, and the minds of men reckon it the more indispensable are enchanted with the enticing duty, openly to maintain evanforms of error. With a great gelical principles, and the more part insolent reproach and cun- distinguished honour and happining sophistry triumph over the ness, to be free from the infecinterests of truth. Some of the tion of error. most important doctrines of Thirdly. By confessions of Christianity, which were reput- faith the churches may contribute ed of the highest value at the much to mutual comfort and edifi. reformation, and were received cation, and promote brotherly love with the warmest affection by and unity. the primitive worthies of New- They, who are animated by England, are not only disbelieve fervent zeal for religion, feel sen. ed, but branded with the most sible pleasure when it flourishes odious epithets, as the offspring in the world, especially when it of narrow, gloomy bigotry, and maintains its ground in the midst even abhorred, as blasphemous. of vigilant and powerful enemies. This is particularly the case with The faithful subjects of Messiah the doctrines of man's native de- love him with the warmest af. pravity, the deity and atonement fection. The glory of his em. of Christ, God's eternal decrees pire is the dearest object of their and electing love, his absolute desires. The more that empire dominion over all creatures, and flourishes and the more his his distinguishing, sovereign throne is exalted, the greater grace toward his people.
joy flows into their hearts. Ev. In such circumstances, ery victory of truth over error, ought to stand forth, as faithful and of grace over sin, yields witnesses for the truth, to assert them exquisite delight. When, with boldness the principles of therefore, churches, which emChristianity in their full extent, brace the same Christian doc
trines, publish authentic declara- enjoy with the Father and with tions of their faith, they give pi- the Son. ous satisfaction to each other. One means, by which the difThey afford the whole body of ferent parts of Christ's church believers that pleasure, which are to maintain a good corres. those, who are inspired with the pondence and happy communhighest esteem for the truth, ion, is the sameness of their faith, must receive from its establish- or their agreement in the same ment and propagation in the gospel doctrines.
The apostle world. Every view which a mentions faith, as one thing saint has of a church, or a per- which constitutes unity among són maintaining the same faith Christians. “ One Lord, one with himself, especially when it faith, one baptism." It is easy is abandoned by others around to perceive that creeds are well him, enlivens his feelings and adapted to promote among the comforts his heart.
churches the happy communion The only reason why men do here recommended. By publishnot see and feel, how excellent is ing their confessions, 'they ex-this end of confessions, is be. press Christian affection and fel.' cardse they have not an affection- lowship towards all in every ate regard for religion, and do place, who receive the same como not make Jerusalem their chief mon faith. joy. The bulk of professors,
It can, indeed,'be hardly exs* lukewarm and degenerate, pre- pected, that sincere Christians, fer their own interests before the while inhabitants of these cloudy interests of Christ, and so are regions, will perfectly agree in little affected with the boldness their religious opinions. This of his enemies, the wounding of happiness is reserved for that his cause, or the triumph of his world, where God himself is the grace.
Sun. But it is a most melan-' All the real churches of Christ choly consideration, that Chrisscattered over the earth, by what- tians are more divided in their ever peculiarities they may be affections, than they are in their distinguished from each other, sentiments.
Love is the pecucompose only one society, are an
liar character of our religion. iinated by one Spirit, governed And it is one of its precepts, that by the same maxims, invigorat- whereunto we have already attained by strength derived from the ed, we should all walk by ine same same source, and are all mem
rule and mind the same things. bers of that body, of which Christ Now there are few means better is the head. Thus all the sub- calculated to promote mutual jects of Christ's kingdom are love and fellowship, than a right joined together by the strictest use of confessions. This would bonds, and are laid under invio-' directly distinguish between those lable obligations to the most in- who are infected by prevailing timate friendship, the most ar- error, and those who hold the in: dent love. They should perse. corrupted faith of the gospel ; and, vere in uninterrupted harmony, at the same time, would make it and keep up that holy fellowship evident, that all the true servants with each other, which they all of Christ harmonize not only in
those principles which constitute to lay aside their controversies, the basis of Christianity, bat in or to manage them with moderaz every sentiment of special im- tion and charity. The little dis. portance ; and that they are one tinctions, which would remain in the temper of their minds, all among them, would not confine aciuated by the same motives, the noble freedom of their love, all serving the same divine Lord, Narrow party spirit would ex: pursuing the same object, and pire ; while the discussion of partaking the same pleasure. points on which they differed, be How would the discovery of this ing conducted with good temper agreement stifle every unfriend- and with prayer, would undoubtly passion and banish alienation. edly introduce an increasing uniHow would Christians be asham- formity. The warmth and zeal, ed of their unchar wbicness to
so hurtfully directed against fel. ward those, who adore and serve low Christians, would be employ the same Lord, and trust in the ed in a joint and vigorous oppo: same atonement. How would sition against their common enethey blush at their treatinent of my. Their union would inconthose, who hold in substance the ceivably augment their strength, same faith, and are cordially unit and render every measure for Zied to the same cause.
on's good vastly more effective. While a proper use of confes. Thus Christian virtue and piety sions would be likely to preserve would be strongly recommended the purity of Christian doctrine, to the esteem of mankind, and from the contagion of error, and the church, all its divisions, its to secure the ministry and the weakness, and deformity forgots church from those who deny the
ten, would look forth as the morni faith ; it would be a very power-ing, fair as the moon, clear as the ful means of bringing all good sun, und terrible as an army with men to embrace each other with banners, the warınest affection, and either,
For the Panoplist. though they are enacted with N TAE EXECUTION OF LAWş, consummate wisdom, and sanc;
tioned by the authority of a thous Among the many rules pro- sand Solons ; yet if the execuposed for deriving the greatest tion of them is attended with debenefit from laws, this is one lay and indecision, they will necs, of the most important; that they essarily be inefficacious. be promptly and speedily enforced. Present punishment is a much Though they combine in them more powerful preventive of the two essential qualities of crimes, than future punishment. strength and impartiality; tho' When present evil engages our. they are plainly and invariably attention, and threatens our bap: directed to the public good; piness, it appears highly alarm
ing, and how to avoid it is the ob- severe, if it is to be inflicted at ject of our immediate and anx- 'some future period. Thus by a jous inquiry ; but, if removed to prompt administration of justice, à moderate distance, it loses its the good of the community is proformidable aspect, and dwindles moted with the good of the offeninto comparative insignificance. der; a happy concurrence, which This wild judgment with respect the wise and benevolent legislato present and future objects en- tor will always strive to obtain. courages all the vices that deform When punishment accompathe human character. It is this nies transgression, and the conwhich makes the sluggard prefer nexion between them appears inpoverty and contempt, to wealth separable, the penalty is considand respectability ; which per- ered as more just, both by the suades the drunkard to indulge sufferer, and the public. If the in excess with the certainty of people once forin an opinion that losing health and reputation, and the laws are too rigorous, all the of becoming the object of uni- good to be expected from them versal disgust and abhorrence ; is entirely prevented. Pity is which induces the voluptuary to necessarily excited for the transplunge others with himself into gressor ; and where this passion the depths of infamy and sin; prevails, justice will not long and which leads millions of mor- maintain its authority. The ofal beings to postpone the con- fender, who has been soothed by cerns of eternity for the enjoy- the voice of compassion, feels ments of the hour. What we
half recompensed for his sufferapprehend to be near, is magnifi- ings, and quite justified in the ed by all the powers of the im- conduct, which brought them agination ; while we force our- upon him. But if he is led from selves to believe remote objects the very act to the place of punenveloped in clouds of uncertain- ishment, all will see the wisdom ty. But as a portrait is useless, of the law, which condemns him, when the living person is pres- and popular compassion will not ent to our view ; so I need not operate to disarm justice of its attempt to describe that which is terrors. For a short time after felt by every mind, and which it an offence is committed, all transrequires all the power of relig- gressors, but the most abandonion to overcome. Of this pro- ed, feel a compunction for their pensity the magistrate may the violation of the laws. This time more profitably take advantage, should be seized as the moment as it is peculiarly strong in those for the infliction of punishment who most frequently expose to the best advantage. But if themselves to the penalty of law; the decisions of conscience are men unaccustomed to reflect, suffered to be neglected and forand prone to seize on tempta- gotten before those of law are tion, equally regardless of the denounced, punishment will ancrime, and its distant consequen- swer no purpose to the sufferer, ces. A light punishment, there, but to make him the more infore, which follows an offence corrigible. without delay, strikes greater ter
Another fundamental requiTor, than one immensely more site to the happy regulation of a
community, is, that the execu- ly engraven on the heart of eve-
remorse, and stigmatized him
laudable, plainly and exactly If transgressors are punished drawn. It is an unspeakable in the beginning of their wick- privilege to have those, to whose edness, we may hope for ref- care the execution of the laws iş ormation. There is a progress entrusted, zealous to fix the prein villany. No man ever com- cise meaning of every statute. mitted murder, or treason, or But where some of the laws are burglary, as his first offence ; enforced, and some neglected; and few men ever would com- where some are dead, some ex mit these enormous crimes, if piring, and many in a declining their first offences were proper- state, the man is beside himself, ly reprehended. There is a who expects a cheerful obedi regular and almost impercepti- ence to the rest. He, who has ble gradation in iniquity, from frequently violated any law with the mischief practised by the impunity, soon justifies himself truant school boy, to the hardy in the violation of every other, adventures of the high-handed and at length becomes so hár-assassin. It is not a dictate of dened as to trample on every common sense, or sound expe- ordinance, both human and dirience, to use correction after vine. the offender has become incor- But the whole system of ju. rigible. Obsta principiis, is a risprudence should be shielded muxim, which ouglit to be deep- from contempt; and were all