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PRAYER AFTER THE SERMON.
QUICKEN our faith, Almighty God. O thou Saviour that hast loved us, and loved us in our weakness and want, and art loving u into strength, and into truth, aud into justice, and into patience, and into godliness, love us still. This is a wonder that we never could interpret if we had not been parents ourselves. See how we love our children, though they be erring. Others do not love them in their weakness, but we do; and thou lookest out of a larger heart of the same kind as ours. But while thou knowest how to teach the lore of love, thou knowest how to lay upon men responsibility: for whom thou lovest thou chastenest, and scourgest every son whom thou receivest. May we, then, have more and more confidence in thee, and accept the duties and discipline of life with more gratitude and cheerfulness and hopefulness, looking forward; for we are not to stay a great while here. We are in tabernacles. The city that hath foundations is not far off. We hear the voices of its inhabitants. From off the walls come wafted to us, now and then, the word of cheer, Come; and he that hears repeats it, and says Come; and whosoever will, let him come. And all are coming. All find their way back toward the Sun of Righteousness.
Grant, O Lord our God, that we may have more faith in thee, more hope for the world, more sympathy for the race, more kindness toward each other, so that we may stand holding each other up, pitying each other's faults, helping those that are cast down, and doing most for those that are most needy. May we seek out those that are in sorrows, and minister to them. Make us like thyself, thou that didst give thy life, laying it down and taking it up again, and that art forever, in heavenly places, carrying thy life, not for thyself, but for others; and being made like thee, may we be called sons of God, and find rest with thee in the heavenly land. We ask it through riches of grace in Christ Jesus. Amen.
"For as we have many members in one body, and all member bave not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."-ROM. xii. 4, 5.
Is this sympathetic unity a peculiarity of church life? Are these words meant to explain simply that when a great number of persons are joined in a church connection they are in a spiritual, sympathetic unity? Yes, it means that, on the way to something a great deal larger than that. It is the declaration and the spirit of it runs through the New Testament, and colors every part of it-it is the declaration that the ideal condition of the human race is one in which mankind are knit together by a sympathy which makes one man the brother of another man, the world over; and that too, as is explained by the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians, the 12th chapter, without regard to nationality, or sect, or condition in life-whether bond or free, Jew or Gentile, in the church or out of the church. The ideal condition, or that condition toward which God's providence is steadily conducting the races of the world, and which they will reach when they shall be ripe, is a condition in which every man shall feel that every other man is a part of himself; or, in other words, in which every man shall feel as a parent feels in the family, that every other person is in one sense a part of himself. Mankind will yet come-they are not in a hurry, but they will come to that condition in which nothing will be so
Preached at the TWIN MOUNTAIN HOUSE, White Mountains, N. H., Sunday morning, August 30th, 1874. Lesson: Rom. xii. Hymns (Plymouth Collection): Nos 102,
near to the heart of inan as man, without regard to the fact of relationship, kindred, interest, or neighborhood. The time is approaching when the mere fact that one is a human being will open and kindle the hearts of men toward him in all sympathy and kindness.
It is of this unity, which springs from the Gospel—the sympathetic unity of soul with soul-that I shall speak this morning.
I have said that this was not a matter of the artificial life of the church; and let me say that I look upon the church, not as a substitute for anything, but simply as an instrument, as an educating institution, by which God attempts to diffuse the light and knowledge of true manhood throughout the race. It is a subservient institution. It is not itself a primary thing. It is secondary. In the work of ages the church is full of grandeur and excellence; yet it is simply subordinate, doing the Master's will.
God's heart and God's purpose are the salvation of the world; and it is the deliverance, the elevation of every living human being on the globe, that lies before the divine mind as the reason and motive of administration through the periods of time; and the church bears relation to this great end just as the common school bears relation to the prevalence of intelligence through the community. We believe in schools and academies; but we value the community more than we do even them. Their worth lies in the fact that they are blessing the whole community. They are not in themselves sacred; they are not valuable except for such worthy objects as they may serve; they are good for what they do: and the church is good for only that which it accomplishes. What is greater than any church is that for which the church was created-namely, universal mankind.
We are therefore to suppose, not that God is working for the Jew or for the Gentile, for the Asiatic or for the African, for the European or for the American, but for all of them.
We are not to suppose that the divine providence is watching alone over good people, virtuous people, healthy people; it watches over all alike. It makes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and
on the unjust. The divine purposes have respect to every one, everywhere, without regard to nationality or condition.
Such is the ideal state. It is one toward which the feelings of sympathy, of benevolence, and of love, man for man, are perpetually tending.
So, when we speak of the unity which all mankind are seeking, we shall not be able to form a just opinion respecting it unless we take into consideration this internal unity. Everybody wants unity in the churches, everybody is striving to bring them together; and there would be no difficulty in uniting them outwardly if that were enough; but what would be the advantage of a mere external unity of the churches?
What advantage would it be in a village if all the inhabitants should say, "The citizens of this village should be perfectly united; and, therefore, let us move our houses up so that they will touch each other. Moreover, let all the people of this town have the one name, Adams. Let them all call themselves, and be called, by that name. Besides, let us all have breakfast and dinner and supper at the same hour and minute, at the stroke of the bell." They might secure unity in these outward things, so as to be able to say, "There is not such a united village in the world as we are;" but what would be the advantage of mere external unity in a village? Suppose every village in the land should march in such a unity, as soldiers march on a parade, would they be any better or happier? Physical, material unity may flatter pride, perhaps, and give argument for boasting; but it will not raise a man one step in the scale of intelligence, or make him kinder, or destroy his prejudices. It will not make the cruel man lenient, nor the impatient man long-suffering, nor the despotic man merciful. It will do no good.
But the churches have been calling to each other for unity. The Presbyterian church is going to have one church throughout the world when the kingdom of Christ comes; and that one church is going to be a Presbyterian church. The Episcopalian church is going to have one great church; and that great church is going to eat up all the little churches; and it is going to be an Episcopal church.
same is true of the Baptist and Methodist churches. But the Congregationalists believe in none of these hierarchies; they believe that each of them has some elements of truth, and that when the millennium comes, that which is good in all of them will be gathered up and brought together; and this means that all Christendom is going to be Congregational !
But the church a man is in is much like the clothes he wears, provided he is fitted. I wear black, and some of you wear blue. Some of you wear short coats, and some long. Some wear one kind of hat, and some another. It is not the hat, not the coat, nor anything of the kind, that we think about in judging of a man's character; and the fact that there are different denominations or sects is of little account if only they behave themselves, and do not quarrel, and are peaceable, and are not arrogant, and do not pretend that they are the one people who know God's secrets, and do not claim to be ordained to rule over their fellow-men, and do not sit on their peculiar throne of creed or church and say to all others, "Bow down to us when you hear our sackbut and psaltery, or we will burn you up." The trouble is, not that there are so many sects, but that they are often weak in that which is good, and strong in that which is bad.
It is not, therefore, organic unity, nor unity of belief exactly, that we are seeking. I never saw a man who was large enough to report the whole truth in respect to anything which he looked at. It has not been considered safe, I think, in heaven, where the manufactory of men is, to put everything in everybody. The result is, that one man carries so much, another man so much, and another man so much. Why, it takes about twenty men to make one sound man. One man is hopeful and impetuous; another is cautious and slow; and the two put together would make a much more evenly balanced man than either of them is separately. One man is reflective; another is perceptive; and the two united would make a better man than either of them alone. One man looks at things as an enthusiast; another sees things in a matter-of-fact light; and if the two were put together they would temper each other. And when fifteen or twenty men come together, and accept the truth as it is seen by all