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word may be pardoned—for purposes of private influence and religious domination. Piety, then, will most assuredly flourish, when we make our worship and our ordinances the means, and not the end of religion, and when that end is well understood to be love, out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned.
To conclude, my christian brethren, are we among those, who seek after knowledge, and lift up our voices for understanding ? Have we made religion an object of as much inquiry and attention, as its lofty claims and eternal importance demand ? Is'our charity the cloak of ignorance and indifference, or a genuine principle of philanthropy uniting, with tenderness and indulgence towards others, a sincere desire of their improvement ? And are we careful to perfect and consecrate our love of truth and our charity by an inward and practical piety? My friends, we have much to do to wipe off the reproaches, which are continually cast upon one or the other of these blessed qualities; and we can do it only by uniting them in our own characters. It is the constant object of my wishes and prayers, and may it be the effect of my preaching, under the blessing of God, to contribute to the formation of that noblest of all characters, the christian, whose love, as the apostle describes it, abounds more and more in knowledge, and in all judgment, who approves the things, which are excel.. lent, and who remains sincere and without offence, till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
RIGHT HAND OF FELLOWSHIP,
DELIVERED AT THE ORDINATION OF THE REV. C. LOWELL, JAN. I, 1806,
The decorum, which belongs to this place and to this occasion, does not allow me to express all the pleasure which I feel, upon being called to begin the year by greeting a friend and classmate under the new, but not unexpected relation, of a brother in the gospel. If, in offering you the fellowship of the churches, I should suffer myself to dwell with too much fondness on expressions of personal good-will, you I know would forgive me, but I should hardly have performed the duty, assigned me by this honourable council.
In their name, therefore, and by their direction, I now present you this right hand of fellowship. Interpret it as the symbol of union; as a pledge freely granted you of our co-operation, counsel, and support. But it intimates yet more. It signifies affection as well as concord. Take it then again, my brother, as a testimony of our christian charity, which we pray may never fail; of our joy, which we hope will never be abated ; of our expectation, which we trust will not be disappointed. We and our churches are by this act united, not in the bonds of an ecclesiastical league, not under the dominion of an infallible superiour, not for the purpose of strengthening the secular influence of
our religious societies, nor in the spirit of any selfish and mercenary connexion; but in those equal and spiritual ties, which God has hitherto blessed and hallowed to the peace of the churches of New England. For we are united in the same faith and profession, in the same duties and hopes, in the same ordinances and liberties, and, as we trust, in the same spirit also, under one Lord even Jesus, and one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all.
Are not these grand principles of common faith in the divine authority of our religion, and common desires to promote the holy influence of its laws, strong enough to bind our hearts together, though our speculations may sometimes warp asunder? Is there not, amidst all the varieties of discipline and faith, enough left to us in common to preserve a unity of spirit? What though the globes, which compose our planetary system, are at some times nearer than at others, both to one another and to the sun, now crossing one another's path, now eclipsing one another's light, and even sometimes appearing to our short sighted vision to have wandered irrecoverably, and to have gone off into boundless space; yet do we not know that they are still reached by some genial beams of the central light, and continue, in their widest aberrations, to gravitate to the same point in the system? And may we not believe, that the great head of the church has always dispensed, through the numerous societies of christendom, a portion of the healing influences of his religion ; has held them invisibly together, when they have appeared to be rushing farthest asunder ; and through all the order and confusion, conjunction and opposition, progress and decline of churches, has kept alive in every communion a supreme regard to his authority, when clearly known, as a common principle of relation to him and to one another? · It is not with you alone, my brother, that we express our fellowship, but with this church also, which has spread out her arms to receive you, as a gift of God. Brethren, we rejoice in your prospects, which, as they should be, are brilliant; for your history has been illustrious, and we respect you, when we venerate your pastors. Surely the desk, where such men as MAYHEW and HOWARD have stood, is privileged above the common walks of public instruction. May we not venture to express our fellowship
with them also, though departed ? God grant, that we may some time join their communion! But their light has not yet vanished, though their orbs have set. Of MAYHEW we have heard and read only, but enough to know, that posterity will hear and read of him also. They will be curious to learn more of that intrepid spirit, which nothing could depress, of that vigorous understanding, which broke so easily the little meshes, which were spread to entangle it. However they may hesitate to follow him in all his speculations, they will never hesitate to admire his noble attachment to his country, its liberties, its churches, and its literature; they will not be interested to depreciate the independence of his virtue, the manliness of his piety, and his undissembled love for the cause of the Redeemer. HOWARD we have seen; and who that has seen him has forgotten the patriarchal simplicity of his character, united with a tenderness, which would have been admired even in a brother ? Who that knew him is not eager now to assure us, that he had ingrafted the most sublime virtues and honourable accomplishments of his predecessor on the sound and uncorrupted stock of his own integrity ? But we forbear, for we remember the words of one of their contemporaries : “he, who flatters the dead, would deceive the living."
Such, my brother, are the men who have gone before you. Blessed are the dead, that.die in the Lord. These have rested from their labours, and you have entered into the field, and I doubt not into the fruit of their labours. God grant you his presence and his smiles! and if I might be permitted now to express a wish for you and for myself, it would be this; that our gracious master, who, when he was on earth, sent forth his seventy evangelists by two, and two, to preach the gospel in Judea, would send us forth together by his authority, would permit us to travel in company through the journey of a useful ministry, and would enable us to return to his presence at last, rejoicing to find that our names have been written, with the names of our people, in the book of life.