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“ I count it an honor,” says she, “to be a disciple ; but peculiarly so, to be a young disciple. I think myself happy that I am a member of the church; but peculiarly so, that I was admitted the youngest member belong. ing to the communion, the youngest member of our female society; as likewise the youngest of all my Christian friends. And though some may despise my youth, yet, since I know the grace of God has appeared more glorious by it, I will rejoice in it, if thereby the power of God may be the more manifested, and he ordain praise out of the mouth of a babe and suckling.”
Miss Anthony was not more than eight years old, when she entered the school of Christ, and began to sit, as a learner, at his feet. And to this circumstance is to be attributed, undoubtly, much of her future eminence in knowledge and grace. Her heart was now susceptible, and her mind docile. She had no strong prejudices to obstruct the truth, nor confirmed habits of sin to be resisted and overcome. Like
every young Christian, she had special promises for her encouragement;-and besides, she had almost her whole life before her, in which to advance in holiness, and be useful to others. And all these advantages are equally within the reach of every other young person, who is willing to commit his soul to Christ, and become a disciple of the Saviour. How important that such persons be sensible of their advantages, and be persuaded diligently to improve them! Every day they neglect religion is so much loss to them--a loss which they can never repair. Every day spent in sin is making the work of repentance more difficult, and increasing the fearful hazard that all their days may be spent in the same miserable manner.—Do any of our young readers revere the exalted character of Miss Anthony? Do they desire to be what she was on earth, and to dwell forever with her in heaven? Then let them, like her, in early life, renounce the deceitful pleasures of sin, and become the disciples of the Saviour.
4. The spirit of Christianity is a Missionary spirit. No sooner had Miss Anthony been delivered from her besetting temptations, and been brought into the clear light of the Gospel, than she began to be concerned for Jews and heathens ; and because she knew no other way in which to benefit them, she spent no small part of her life in prayer for their conversion and salvation. Could she have lived in our times, she would have been foremost among her benevolent sisters in efforts to send the Gospel to the destitute; and would not have hesitated to devote her life, and to wear it out, in so good a cause.
The spirit of the Gospel, wherever it has existed in high degrees, has always proved itself a missionary spirit. So it was pre-eminently among the primitive Christians. So it was through all that gloomy period which has been appropriately
called the dark ages. In order to discover any traces of piety during this period, Mr. Milner found himself obliged, as he tells us, "to travel with faithful Missionaries in regions of heathenism, and describe the propagation of the Gospel in scenes altogether new.?* And we know how the Christian spirit has developed itself in modern times. Look at the Reformers. Look at the early settlers of New England. Look at Whitefield, and Edwards, and Brainerd, and at a great multitude of the most devoted Christians, who have lived since their days, and are living now. It is just as natural for the engaged Christian to be a Missionary, at least in spirit, as it is for him to breathe. When Andrew had found Christ, he went and told his brother Simon. When Philip was called into the service of his Lord, he persuaded Nathanael to engage in the same service. John i. 40–50. The spirit of the Gospel is everywhere a spirit of benevolence. It prompts those who possess it to feel for others; and earnestly desire their conversion and salvation. And such desires are not circumscribed by the limits of kindred or country, but spread themselves abroad through the earth. They aim to bring all men to the knowledge of the truth, and to fill the world with the glory of the Saviour.
5. It has often occurred to us, in reading the writings of Miss Anthony, that though the spirit of religion is always the same, the ways in which this spirit manifests itself at different periods, is somewhat different.—That the spirit of true religion is at all periods the same, is witnessed in the experience of the people of God from the beginning of the world to the present time. Those who, in reading the Psalms of David, or the Epistles of Paul, or the devotional writings of Edwards, Brainerd, Mrs. Graham, or Miss Anthony, do not find a chord of sympathy-a unity and correspondence of feeling, in their own breasts, may be sure that they do not possess the spirit of religion.—Still, this spirit manifested itself in a very different manner in the days of David, from what it did in the days of Paul; and in a somewhat different manner in the days of Miss Anthony, from what it does now. Fifty years ago, the piety of the age was rather contemplative, than active. It prompted its possessor to seek retirement, and to commune much with his own heart, or with a select number of Christian friends. Religious books were then comparatively few, and these few were thoroughly read. Christians pondered much upon the doctrines of religion, and aimed at precision and correctness in
* Ecc. Hist. Preface to Vol. iii.
their doctrinal views. They kept days of secret fasting and prayer; searched deeply and accurately into their own hearts; and kept regular and continuous journals of their exercises and feelings. I hardly need say, that what may be called the fashion of the religious world, or the manner in which the spirit of religion now commonly shows itself, is different. Every thing now is in rapid motion; many are running to and fro; Christians are active, rather tban studious and contemplative; divine instruction is dealt out in small portions, in newspapers, tracts, &c., which are flying in every direction; a thousand benevolent enterprizes, unknown to our fathers, are in successful operation ; and the way is evidently preparing for great and important changes to take place in the world.
The times in which we live are certainly full of interest ; but it deserves consideration whether they are not also full of danger. If there was a tendency formely to a sort of contemplative indolence, or morbid melancholy, is not the tendency equally strong and dangerous now to spiritual dissipation? If Christians were too much occupied, in some former years, with theological speculations, are they not in danger now of satisfying themselves with only general and superficial views of truth? If Christians at present, by their activity, may be more generally useful to their fellow men; is there not danger that, in their zeal for others, their own vineyard may be neglected, and they fall far behind their brethren of a less favored age in attainments in holiness.—I know of no way in which these dangers may be more effectually counteracted, than by recurring often to the example of holy men and women who have lived before us, and holding them up for inspection and imitation, that a portion of their spirit may possess our hearts, and the peculiarities of their age be mingled, in some measure, with those of our own.
For the Spirit of the Pilgrims.
John xvii. 3.-" TO KNOW theE, THE ONLY TRUE God.”
Self styled “liberal christians” have attempted to make much of this passage, as an argument to show, that “the Father only is the true God.” Corsiderable warmth of feeling has been expressed, in view of the obtuseness of those intellects, which have not perceived the irresistible force of their arguments, and the obstinacy of those, who still maintain, that “Jesus Christ is the true God and cternal Life.” With how much candour and critical acumen their discussions have been made, let us now attempt to discover.
The words, úh.noivos 0eos, " the true God?," were specially designed to distinguish Jehovah from "fictitious Gods," as can be made fully apparent. The usage of scriptural writers with respect to intuvos requires us to understand it as opposed to that which is rain, emblematical, feigned and fictitious. It is employed twenty seven times in the New Testament, and thirty in the LXX. And an instance of any other use, than that above given, cannot be found in the scriptures. A few specimens may here be given ; John iv. 23, á úhrOvol aposzuvniai, unfeigned worshippers ; Heb. viii. 2. sxnvñs uñs ůhrOıvīs, the true tabernacle, and not one emblematical ; Heb. x. 22. ueta anlouis xapolas, with a true heart and not with hypocritical worship.
And when únoivòs is applied to God, both in the LXX, and in the New Testament, it always is done, to contrast him with those that are no gods, ii. Chron. xv. 3. “Now for a long time Israel had been without the (OrQ ahOivo) true God.” They had worshipped fictitious gods under every green tree, and on every high hill, Is. 65, 16." He, who blesseth himself in the earth, ,
· shall bless himself
in (10v beov tov oin Oıvov) the true God. And he, that sweareth in the earth, shall swear by (róv Oɛov tov ahnoivov) the true God.” They shall not look to ficticious gods,-to idols, for blessings; nor invoke false gods; but they shall acknowledge Jehovah in all things 1. Thess. i. 9. “And how ye turned to God from idols, to serve (0eQ Covti mai uhr Ouvộ) the living and true God." 1. John, v. 19, 20. “We are of God; but the whole world lieth in wickedness''- -are idolaters. And we know that the son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know
him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. durós esuv ó dhn Olvos oeos, This is the true God and eternal life.”
Now if all the passages, where úhrdıròs 0eds occur together, in the scriptures, (except this in John xvii. 3.) contrast the ti ue God with idols, is there not strong probability that it is used for this purpose in John xvii. 3 ? Especially, as Schleusner ranks it with 1. 'i'hess. i. 9), (where arbivos deos evidently distinguishes God from idols); and says “Diis fictitiis opponitur."
But, should it be said, that “the manner of address here excludes all but the Father ; and that he only, (to the excepting of the Son and Spirit) is put in opposition to false gods"? It is the kind of argument in which Unitarians delight “the petitio principii"-the assumption of the very thing that they ought to prove. Though the passage does exclude all but Jehovah from being the áhndivos Oeds'; yet it does by no means exclude him who is elsewhere called an Oirós beds, (1. John v. 20, before quoted) even Jesus Christ, the Son of God, “the true God and eternal life.”
I am aware of the attempts, which have been made to show, that dinovos Deds in 1. John v. 20, is applied to the Father, and not to Jesus Christ. But, legitimate principles of exegesis require us to apply it to Christ. Says Professor Stuart, “there are two reasons here, why d ůhn Oivos oeds, the true God may be referred to Christ. 1. The grammatical construction favours it. Christ is the immediate antecedent. I grant that pronouns sometimes relate to a more remote antecedent; but cases of this nature stand on the ground of necessity, not of common grammatical usage. What doubt can there be, that John could without scruple call the Logos the true God, o dirOuvos Ofùs, whom he had before asserted to be God, and to have created all things ?
But 2dly. My principal reason for referring the true God o dandırds Deds, to Christ is, the other adjunct which stands with it; “This is the true God-and the ETERNAL LIFE.” How familiar is this language with John, as applied to Christ !-"Now as I cannot find any instance in John's writings, in which the appellation of LIFE and eternal LIFE is bestowed upon the Father, to designate him as the author of spiritual and eternal life; and as this occurs so frequently in John's writings as applied to Christ; the laws of exegesis compel me here-to construe both και αληθινός θεός, and η ζωή αιώνιος both of Christ.” (Letters to Channing
It is surely a begging of the question, then, to say." The Father only is put in opposition to false gods." If Unitarians can prove, that He, who has all the names and attributes of Jehovah ascribed to him-He, whom inspired men worshipped-He, who made and upholds the universe, is not the true God; then may they argue, that he is excluded in John xvii. 3, from participating with the ahnoivos deos who is contrasted with false gods. And, if they can prove, that “the God, that made the heavens," "hath