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sentiments which have prevailed, and may be expected to prevail, on certain difficult points, let every Christian judge for himself; and, with the enlarged benevolence of a Christian, leave others to do the same. As all the subjects of Christ's kingdom are equally entitled to the free and unmolested profession of those religious principles which they find in the Bible, so it is the unquestionable duty of all to cherish towards any of their brethren who differ from them, that forbearance and charity which the gospel so specially recommends, and which will be found to form the strongest and the best bond of union among Christians.
The spirit of Christianity, where it has thoroughly taken possession of the heart, is large, and liberal, and unconfined; and will not fail to counteract and subdue every thing little, and narrow, and uncharitable. Let this blessed spirit get possession of your hearts, my beloved brethren, and it will cause you to adorn the doctrine of your divine Master. It will lead
to honour all men, as members of the great family of God. It will induce you to treat your fellow-Christians, notwithstanding some diversity of opinion, not merely as children of the same Father, but as disciples of the same Saviour, with all kindness and tenderness of affection. " Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from among you, with all malice; and be ye kind to
one another, and tender-hearted, forbearing and forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you.” And where difference of sentiment may obtain, wider than any that can subsist among the disciples of Christ, remember that, even then, “ the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men; apt to teach ; patient; in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledgment and belief of the truth.”
Finally, brethren—the exhortations which I have taken the liberty of addressing to you, it is my sincere design, with God's blessing, to make the rule of my own religious conduct. Regarding the Bible as a revelation from heaven, and as containing in full purity and perfection the principles of Christianity, it is my resolution to make it the study of my life. Whatever doctrines and rules I find there, I purpose to embrace for myself, and with my best ability to teach and communicate to others. What I cannot find there, I will neither profess, nor teach, for any temporal consideration whatsoever. And from this determination, through the assistance of my God, no man, no body of men, shall either allure or frighten me. I shall call no man master of my faith or conscience ; nor shall I ever be terrified, by the face of man, from declaring what I believe to be the truth of God. Neither do I claim any authority over the faith or conscience of others. But as I am allowed to be put in trust with the gospel, I reckon it my duty to state to you the truth, so far as I am able, plainly, sincerely, and without reserve, in the reasonable confidence that you, on your part, are disposed, with all readiness of mind, to receive the truth in the love of it. Standing fast in the liberty of the gospel, I shall ever, I trust, be free to cultivate the spirit of the gospel. I shall endeavour, by God's grace, to live in peace and friendship with all my fellow-Christians, of every denomination. I would not willingly disturb, or displease, any human being. And if any choose to be displeased with me for the honest avowal of Christian truth, I shall be sorry for it; but I shall not sink under their displeasure. If I can but secure the approbation of God, and of my own conscience, I must learn to sit easy under the censure of man, whose breath is in his nostrils; who shall soon return to his dust; and, like myself, stand before the judgment seat of Christ, where we shall both meet with justice and with mercy.
It is my design, God willing, on the next Lord's day, to address you generally on the scripture terms of Christian communion. When I have done so, I shall have finished the series of discourses which I proposed; wherein I have calmly stated what I believe to be the truth; but wherein I neither had, nor wished to have, a word of controversy with any one. And I hope thenceforward to return to that quiet and unobtrusive ministration of the gospel, which I heretofore pursued, and which is much more congenial to the disposition of my mind. “Now the God of patience and consolation grant us all to be likeminded, one toward another, according to Christ Jesus; that we may all, with one mind, and one mouth, glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Grant this, O Father, for Christ's sake, and glory be to thy name for ever. Amen.
THE SCRIPTURE TERMS OF CHRISTIAN
EPHESIANS, iv. 1, 2, 3.
“I, therefore, beseech you, that ye walk worthy of the
vocation wherewith ye are called; with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”
In my last discourse, I addressed you generally on the sufficiency and perfection of the holy scriptures, as the rule of Christian faith and practice. I then offered you an exhortation, which cannot be too much, or too earnestly pressed upon the minds of those who desire to know and believe the truth as it is in Jesus,-to turn away from the conflicting opinions and decisions of mortal men, and to consult, with reverence, with impartiality, and with prayer, the “lively oracles of God,” as containing all knowledge necessary