Imatges de pàgina

correct principle and religious purpose, we need not fear excess in the moral virtues. But that counterfeit righteousness, that faith without works, that false and deceitful piety and virtue, that hypocritical and imposing pretension to preeminent goodness, by which men too often deceive themselves as well as others, and which may belong to men of corrupt minds and sinful habits, is worthless. This is the righteousness intended by the prophet Isaiah, and from such righteousness the christian world has never been free.



Messrs Editors : On reading the volume of Dr Abbot's Sermons, recently published, I was particularly impressed with the gentle, pacific, and in all respects, christian spirit, they, throughout, breathe. This spirit, I am told, corresponds with his whole character and life; and it is one of those qualities, which will render the present publication an acceptable offering to those who are anxious to cultivate the meek and benevolent affections of the gospel. It is exhibited particularly in his sermon before the Convention, in 1827, and in another, preached on the anniversary of our Lord's birth, from the text, Peace on earth, good will toward men. Some passages in the latter, suggested very forcibly to my mind the opposition between christian precepts and christian practice, and led me into a train of thought, which, if suited to your purpose, you

are at liberty to publish. The passages 1 particularly refer to are these.

• The earth has always been an aceldama, a field of blood. War has been called the natural state of man. Certain it is, that it has raged with almost ceaseless fury in all generations of men, and its desolations have been more calamitous and destructive than famine, pestilence, and every other judgment, which an angry God hath ever sent upon a wicked world for its correction. It is time that the voice of the Prince of peace should be obediently heard; and that all his disciples and subjects, imbibing his spirit, should exert themselves in the holy cause of peace.' pp. 219, 220.

• But there is a peace among men, more dear to the Prince of peace, than a civil peace; I mean an ecclesiastical peace; peace among the churches; peace among all the professed disciples of one common Master, by whatever modes of opinion or diversity of ceremonies they be distinguished, or human names they be called. These shades, and this diversity, are perhaps unavoidable, in the present imperfect state. Nor are they of much consequence, if they be not made the occasion of uncharitable censures and bitter alienation. Indeed, they may be improved as the occasions of exercising, strengthening, brightening some of the sweetest virtues and graces of the christian character. Let them be so improved, if we would please our blessed Master. It is time that Christ be no longer wounded in the house of his friends ; it is high time that the * head be no longer pierced in the unchristian strife of the members. We must learn to receive one another, but not to doubtful disputation; to judge one another less by opinions, and more by the graces of a christian temper, and the beauty of holiness. pp. 221,


Jesus came to proclaim the benignity of the Divine Being, and to introduce and perpetuate on earth the blessings of

peace and love. But what has been the result? How far has christianity attained its end? What monuments of its power meet the eye? Has it put an end to the evils of denunciation and strife ? Has it lulled to rest the revengeful passions of man? Has it freed the earth from the crimes and miseries of war? Were the records of our Saviour's words obliterated, and you were left to infer the character of his religion from the general practice of nations and communities, calling themselves christian, in all ages since the hand of pagan persecution was withdrawn, what would be your conclusion ? That christianity breathed a spirit of peace? That it was a religion whose very essence is love? That pride, and selfishness, and lust of power were forbidden, and meekness, and charity, and forbearance, carefully and earnestly enjoined ?

Let us suppose that an inhabitant of some other planet were permitted to visit the earth, with which he was before wholly unacquainted; and that, after the surprise occasioned by the novel scene, that would burst on his view, had a little subsided, he should resolve to render himself familiar with the character of the new race of beings found here, and with the occupations in which they have been engaged for centuries. And let us suppose his first inquiries to be confined to christian nations:

You go back with him to the days of the first christian emperor, Constantine, when Christians, having ceased to be persecuted from without, began to persecute and torment each other. You tell him of the schisms, which from that day to the present, have rent the church ; of the bitter animosities, which have been generated in its bosom ; of anathemas, fines, imprisonment, exile, and death, inflicted for differences of opinion, often relating to points of the most trivial, or abstruse nature. You introduce him to a knowledge of the sophistical reasonings, the contentions, and cabals of councils and synods, which were for centuries the disgrace and pest of christendom. You go over with him the history of ecclesiastical usurpations and tyranny. You describe to him the pride, the indolence, the luxury and vices of the clerical and monkish orders. You take him into the dungeons of the inquisition; you bid him mark the instruinents of torture which lie scattered around him; and you tell him of the multitude of unoffending victims who have writhed in mortal agony there. You traverse with him the various countries of christendom. You show him the bloody edicts which have deformed their statute books. You tell him of the benefactors to science, to religion, and to humanity, who have been rewarded with a prison, or the stake. You point to Galileo, condemned to cells of the inquisition in Italy, and Grotius sentenced to perpetual imprisonment in Holland. You visit Geneva, where you behold the learned and good Servetus, a victim to the arts of Calvin, burned by a slow fire of green wood. You accompany him to France, and among other atrocities committed in the name of religion, you inform him of the dreadful tragedy of St Bartholomew, during which, mpany thousands of Protestants were massacred in cold blood, by the command of a monarch styled, Most Christian. You pass over to England, where he sees Protestants burning Catholics, and Catholics, Protestants, as either acquire the ascendancy. You tell him of the multitude of unfortunate beings, who there, and in this country, were put to death for the imaginary crime of witchcraft. You show him the bloody record of Spanish cruelty in South America. You take him on board an African slave ship, and there describe to him the infamous traffic in human flesh, in which christian nations have been engaged. But

you have not yet done. You have one spectacle môre to exhibit. You have yet to show him the horrors of public war. You take him to a field of battle ; you point to the heaps of slain ; and bid him listen to the agonies of the wounded and dying. You follow with him the march of the victorious army, through devastated provinces, and bid him mark the peaceful inhabitants, flying from their hoines, their labors interrupted, their shops and their farms deserted, their towns and villages plundered and burnt. You enter with him a besieged city ; you bid him observe the ravages of famine and pestilence within its walls; and show him the brutal license and excess which follow its capture, and which spare no age, nor sex. Turning from scenes of carnage, you conduct him to the homes of the slain, now the habitation of the widow and orphan.' And when he inquires of you

the cause of these accumulated horrors, you tell him perhaps, that it is a war of conquest, waged from mere lust of dominion; or perhaps, a war undertaken by some tyrant, to defend a point of false honor; perchance a religious war, a crusade against heretics, or infidels. '. And you inform him that, leaving out of view wars and insurrections of less magnitude, the great wars in which christian nations have been engaged, by recent computation, amount to two hundred and ninety; of which ninety have been either wars of ambition, plunder, or revenge ; forty-one, arising from disputed titles to crowns; and twenty-eight, wars under

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