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a letter from a friend for the purpose of reading an extract from it to this meeting this very morning. It was from the lawyer of Portland, Mr John
and entirely corroborated what we had already heard. In it the writer stated that he and his wife had lived in all harmony, and, as they thought, wisdom, trying to do good to their country after their fashion, but entirely without God. Nor had they discovered any defect in their scheme, till their own cherished and highly educated sonboy," as he was called-bad disappointed their hopes and grieved their hearts. Then they asked each other what could have been omitted in his training that could leave him a prey to evil pursuits, and suddenly they remembered that they had, in the midst of many accomplishments, failed to teach him anything of his spiritual relations to God. They opened the Scriptures for themselves, and their hearts were opened by the Holy Spirit, so that they made a thousand discoveries.
It was joyful to hear the outflowing upon new objects, new motives, new influences, new purposes; “Behold, I make all things new," seemed written on his capacious heart; and if he had served his country zealously as a politician and lawyer, his plan and purpose now was to serve it as a Christian. One felt sorry, as a stranger, to have no familiar hand to take, as many did, in fervent and thankful gratulation. Another gentleman was requested to offer prayer and thanksgiving, which it was most
pleasant cordially to join in. We then sung a few more stanzas—and presently arose a little, thin, threadbare, tidy, sweet-looking, but evidently simple man—who said he had something to say to his brethren and sisters—and one might notice ladies tightening their shawls, and gentlemen clearing their throats, as if preparing for the exercise of endurance. Here, thought the interested observer, is a specimen of the effect of a popularly constructed meeting. He has a right to speak, and the chairman has no right to prevent him—and why should he ? If he is one of the Lord's simple ones, one would like to hear what he has got to say.
And then the mild man, in a silver tone, told us how he had been perplexed by Christ's command to “love his enemies”—for if they were wicked, he ought not to love them. “Do not I hate them who hate thee ? yea, I hate them with a perfect hatred.” But at last he discovered that he was to hate the wicked who were Christ's enemies, but he was to love and pray for those who were his own.
“ And 80," said the innocent, modest man, “fearing that any of you, my brethren and sisters, might be perplexed by the same passage, I am happy to help you with my explanation of it.” And now, the time being exhausted, we parted with a closing prayer.
In a far country I long to hear of the answer which we expect, even a refreshing time from the presence of the Lord, on the churches and city Boston.
The most , touching feature of this meeting is, that it had been held daily, with the exception of the Sabbath, for the last four months, and that it consisted of all denominations that hold the head, even Christ, without sectarian inquiry or impediment. Who of all that breathing company thought to inquire with which of the sects that lawyer and his wife at Portland had cast in their lot? enough that they were united to Christ, and were gone forth with brethren to labour in the vineyard. If we really have our spirits moved with divine love, and if we dwell in the light of our Saviour's countenance, that ruling sentiment will occupy the room which might otherwise be filled with heartchilling and deadening influences.
A dream, as it is called, though probably it was a dream by daylight, or rather a very pregnant parable, comes forcibly to mind in this connexion.
A man dreamed that his soul was disunited from its earthen dwelling-place, and flew boldly up to “that great city, the holy Jerusalem," and frankly addressing one of the twelve angels who stand by the twelve gates, he asked for admission, as he was a faithful member of the Church of England. “But,” said the guardian of the glorious portal, "we do not know any such citizens here." “ Why,” expostulated the candidate for admission, " that is strange! Who have you here?—have you any Baptists ?” “] never heard of them,” replied the angel. “Any byterians ?”
“ I know not what you mean.”
“ Any Methodists ?” “No such names are known here.” “Well, then,” asked the baffled and alarmed soul, lingering by the gate, to enter which had been his heart's longing for years, “have you not any members of the body of Christ here?” “Ah! yes
—all who enter here are members of his glorious body. If you be one of these, enter, and welcome.”
If the churches were, according to the beautiful figure of James Montgomery, “ distinct as the billows, but one as the sea,” how profound would be the unity of the Spirit beneath, compared to the sectarian undulations on the surface! The “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”—that is what must possess us if we ever dwell in heaven, and therefore what we must aim at even in this carnal world. The mighty ocean which laves our continents and islands is ever the same, and by its beneficent cloud-collecting and wind-diffusing powers, the whole world is fanned and watered—but what is this universal beneficence compared with that of the “ fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness ?” There must every soul of every denomination have washed before it has learned to commune with God.
And if all are indebted to the same cleansing flood, how can we stand aloof as if we were strangers? If even the ten lepers associated together in their misery, shall not those who are healed associate together in their thankful union?
“ Lift high thy banner, Prince of Peace;
Let discords die, and love increase."
THE SACRAMENTAL SERVICES.
In the dark parts of the earth we find shadowy intimations of Scripture truths. Some have three united idols for their god. Some have traditions of the original pair who peopled the earth. Some have an account of Noah's flood, not very unlike the truth. All these are valuable, as intimating the one source from whence they draw their origin.
They have by tradition a dim representation of what we have by inspiration. Even those things which are distinctly stated in the New Testament become modified in the course of ages, and under the different degrees of light or liberty of the Christian Church.
Thus, some baptize by immersion, some by sprinkling, some in a house, others in a running stream. But all derive the rite itself from the divine record. And so of the Lord's Supper, which continues to shew forth the wonderful sacrifice made for man. It will remain “ till He come,” but under varied forms. It has been touching to me to observe such