Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

port. That the language and sentiment, of your discourses, may, like the rains from heaven in their descent upon the earth, and their passage to the sea, enrich and fertilize the regions on which they fall, and through which they pass, is the earnest wish of a stranger. MARCUS T. C. GOULD.

Reply.

WASHINGTON, 3d. month 30th, 1825.

TO MARCUS T. C. GOULD-I received thine, dated the 29th inst. As to the papers thou sent for my examination, I would rather they had not been written, believing that if the gospel is rightly preached, it must be in the demonstration of the spirit and power of the gospel, and adapted to the states of those who are present at the time. But as I endeavoured to perform what I believed to be my duty, I must leave the consequences, having no right or property in what thou hast written, and of course, can exercise no authority over it, being a matter entirely out of my control. I have, according to thy request, however, looked over the manuscripts, and so far as I have discovered, they are substantially

correct.

I remain respectfully thy friend,
THOMAS WETHERALD.

SERMON I.

BY THOMAS WETHERALD,

DELIVERED AT PINE STREET MEETING, PHILADELPHIA, MAY 21ST, 1826.

"Whereunto shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? They are like children sitting in the market-place and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you and ye have not danced, we have mourned unto you and ye have not wept." Now whilst we are under the influence of these feelings of crimination and recrimination, it is impossible that we should "bear one another's burthens, and thus fulfil the law of Christ." It is impossible that when any one member suffers, the others can suffer therewith; and, on the contrary, it is equally impossible that when any thing is "piped or harped," and one member rejoices, all the other members will be able to rejoice with it, and to dance at the sound thereof. Whilst we are under the influence of

these childish feelings we never can drink at the same fountain, because we are not governed by that unerring spirit which leads into unity and not into dissension, but under the influence of those exciting feelings which are natural to the perverted dispositions of men. Under the influence of these they become zealous, but with a kind of zeal which the people of Israel were represented to have possessed. They were represented by Paul as zealous, but not according to knowledge. Hence, under the influence of these feelings, many systems have been formed, and the duties thus enjoined may have been performed, for there is an abundance of religion in the present day. There are a great many high professions, and from whence does all this spring? It originates in the ingenuity and invention of man, whose works tend to corruption; for "God hath made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions." And all the inventions of man, notwithstanding the beauty and excellency of their first appearance, can do nothing more than "lead to bewilder, and dazzle to blind."

I can believe in the principles and doctrines of almost all the various societies with which I am acquainted. I can believe with the Catho

lics, that there is no salvation without the pale of the holy, catholic, and apostolic church. With the Episcopaliaus, in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. But that he descended into hell I dare not believe, because he declared unto the thief on the cross, this day wilt thou be with me in paradise. I can believe with the Calvinists, that the elect only will be saved. With the Baptists, that baptism is essential to salvation. I can believe with a variety of other societies: with the Universalists, that all men may be saved. With the Unitarians, that there is "one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." And I can believe with the Quakers, that "the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."

And where are we to look for this glorious appearance? Are we to look to external circum

B

stances? No. "For God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people." Now, my friends, let us look over the whole of these systems, and the effects which they have produced on mankind. Their promoters have been very active in their operations and exertions, for, within my recollection, there has been a very great increase, and strenuous efforts have been made. to cause a greater increase; but it is all a spurious growth; for, with the increase of religious profession, it is evident that wickedness has increased in our land, very much in the same ratio. Hence, there is something in this kind of religion, which, though it does not produce the effects proposed, is calculated to please man. Its origin is in human invention; it is planned by human wisdom. But this can never lead to any other results, than to make its followers "like children sitting in the markets and calling unto their fellows, and saying, we have piped unto you and ye have not danced, we have mourned unto you and ye have not wept."

And with respect to principles, doctrines, and matters of opinion, there is no salvation to be experienced from them. What is the salvation that we want, as men and creatures? even that

« ПредишнаНапред »