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I have stood, my friends, by the death beds of others. Not once nor twice is it that I have witnessed the power of Unitarian Christianity to cheer and calm the dying hour. I have witnessed it in scenes which must not here be more than distantly alluded to, where hope seemed so bright it was changed to certainty, and death was not only placid but triumphant. Elsewhere I have seen it sustaining the meek and pure spirit through agony not to be described, yet that agony subdued by the triumphant feeling of gratitude to Him whose goodness was most deeply felt, then when his afflicting providence was most severe. Alike in the aged and in the young have I witnessed its sustaining power; but never yet have I known an instance of one in life decidedly and religiously a Unitarian, renouncing the support of those pure and tranquil principles in the hour of death.
Brethren of other denominations, yet once more, we claim the character of Evangelical Christians, as sympathising in the Evangelical enterprises of the age. We honor the efforts of the missionary band. We desire to cultivate among ourselves the missionary spirit. Thus far indeed, few in numbers as we have been, and obliged to maintain continually a controversial position in our own land, we have not been able to engage as others have done in efforts for the extension of Christianity in other regions of the earth. Ere long, let us trust, we shall be enabled once more to test the efficacy for the missionary enterprise, of those doctrines which, from the lips of the ancient Arians, converted the barbarous invaders of the Roman Empire. Meantime, we have done and are yet doing, if not all we ought, still enough to show that we, as well as our brethren, feel the importance of the charge committed by our Saviour to his followers. In the support of sabbath schools, of domestic missions, of the cause of Christian education, and of the various institutions whose object is the relief of misery or the advancement of virtue, our denomination has been steadily and actively engaged. We say not this in a boasting spirit, but as an act of simple justice to those principles which have developed their influence in the exertions of our fellow-believers.
Brethren of this society, let us ever bear in mind that by our own conduct will the faith we hold dear be judged by our fellow-Christians. Claiming the name and character of Evangelical, let the spirit of the Gospel appear in our lives. Let us take heed to our course that nothing in word or deed, on our part, should give occasion to any for lightly esteeming that which we believe to be the truth; and in regulating word and deed, let us take care that our hearts also be right in the sight of God. Let us do, each in his respective place in society, all the good that may be in our power, faithfully discharging our duties in social and in domestic life, just and honorable to all with whom we have dealings, affectionate to our friends, bringing up our children piously and uprightly, distributing to the necessities of the poor, ever ready to shed the balm of consolation into the wounded heart, and both by example and precept, to lead the erring to the feet of our blessed Saviour. If thus we live, it will matter but little to us, if men, yes, even if those we respect and love, reject our claim of brotherhood. He, to whom our service is offered, will, we trust, mercifully accept it; his strength will be near us in our dying hour, his forgiveness blot out our repented sins,- and his infinite love receive us to a better world.
BY REV. J. SCOTT PORTER,
OF BELFAST, IRELAND.
PRINTED FOR THE
American Steitarian association.
BOSTON: James Monroe & Co. 134 Washington Street. May, 1842.
Price 3 Cents.
JOHN XIII. 35
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one towards another.
This was the test of membership which the dying Savior bequeathed to his church — the best undoubtedly that could be framed; and yet of all possible or conceivable tests, the only one which the bulk of his professing followers, at least in modern times, have never for one moment thought of employing. We have seen churches asserting that unless we submit our consciences to the yoke of their infallibility, we cannot be disciples of Christ. We have seen churches asserting, that unless we agree with them in every dim mysterious point of disputed theology, we cannot be disciples of Christ. We have seen them declaring that unless we solemnly profess to accord even with the political principles laid down in their creeds, framed in times of ignorance, and turbulence, and civil confusion, we cannot be disciples of Christ; and maintaining that unless we can go with them, even to the length of dooming to everlasting perdition the persons, who, in the exercise of their private judgment, arrive at different conclusions from those which they profess to