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(such as become Christians above all others,) to join together in this sacred and brotherly banquet; the EUCHARIST would be the means of establishing and securing UNIVERSAL PEACE, PUBLIC, as well as PRIVATE, throughout all Christendom.
It is wonderful with what RANCOUR and ANIMOSITY, persons, calling themselves Christians, will express their hatred against the PERSONS of INDIVIDUALS; who, in the vicissitudes of human affairs, become PUBLic enemies; and how little they seek PEACE (if they seek it all) in the SPIRIT OF PEACE. The sanctimonious Pretenders to Religion, when they think WAR advantageous to their political party, are the last to forgive.
Of the Opinion that the POSITIVE Duties
of Christianity may be neglected, without incurring Blame, by those who observe the Moral Duties.
The social duties of Man to Man appear to be considered by some as the sum and substance of Christianity. Such duties as the reception of the Eucharist are called POSITIVE, and mentioned with contempt by many in comparison with moral duties. “ I may surely be excused from forms and ceremonies,” says the self-complacent moral philosopher, “ while I take care to possess and practice the essentials of virtue; while I pay my debts, do no harm to anybody, and add my mite, when I think proper, to the contributions raised in support of public and approved charities : I am a Christian ; for I was baptized in my infancy, and my parents were such
before me; but, with respect to mysterious doctrines or ordinances, I shall not trouble myself with what I do not understand, but be contented with acting a just, beneficent, and honourable part in the society in which I was placed by fortune. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper I number among positive and formal duties, if it is to be numbered among duties at ali, and consider it as inferior in value to the virtues which I daily practice in the common intercourse of life. I leave it therefore to zealots, to 'enthusiasts, and to formalists; and maintain, that I may be, and am, a good Christian without it.”
On this soliloquy, which has all the plausibility of worldly wisdom, I have only to observe, that whoever utters it may be a scholar of Socrates or Epictetus, but not of Jesus Christ. For, whatever moral virtues we may possess, He expressly declares, “. Except we eat the flesh of the “ Son of Man, and drink his blood, we have no life in us;" tliat is, unless we partake the benefits of the grand sacrifice on the Cross, by partaking of, the feast upon "it, instituted by Christ himself, we have
do spiritual life, no assistance of the Holy Ghost, no exemption from death eternal. What will our soliloquist's morality do to supply that, without which, our Saviour says, we can have no spiritual life? Is the soliloquist sure that his moral virtues are sound and sincere? The heart is deceitful and may flatter him, as it has many, with a self-approbation, not founded on merit, but on pride.
I would say to him, “ Add divinity to pure morality and you will animate a beautiful body with the warmth and vigour of life ; divest morality of divinity, separate it from all connection with the will of God, and you leave it a specious form, indeed, but comparatively lifeless and insubstantial. Divinity, like the sun in the world of nature, cherishes a vital principle of the soul, promotes its growth, and raises it to full maturity.”
The Gospel teaches morality; all the discourses of those who preach the Gospel inculcate morality ; every doctrine of our religion is connected with morality; but then it is a morality invigorated, sublimed, and refined by divinity, by a pious de
ference to the God who made us, and can destroy us forever.
Morality, independent of divinity, considers mau as related only to man; but man is also related to God, as a stream to its fountain ; and his most important duties originate from that relation.
Morality, independent of divinity, seems to view man as an inhabitant of this world only; but the Sacraments, as Dr. Waterland observes, « raise the mind higher, even to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, to angels and archangels, and the whole host of heaven, tending to produce dispositions proper for living in conjunction, or union, with that blessed society. So that, with respect at least to the life to come, the Sacraments have the advantage over other duties called moral, forming the mind to higher views, and being more perfective of man's nature. In secular, or worldy duties, secularity or worldly-mindedness is apt to creep in too much, and it is not very easy always, in performing them, to keep the heart and mind intent upon God, or to perform them upon a purely religious principle. But in