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Spirit of Christianity
To the Public, and especially to the Methodists
Universalism triumphant in death
Universalists respectable in Vermont
Uncommon thoughts on common sense
W. Skinner's Reply to I. Smith
HARTLAND, JUNE, 1825.
TO THE PATRONS OF THE CHRISTIAN REPÒ.
MY RESPECTED FRIENDS, I deem it not improper, on issuing my first number of the Christian Repository, to offer to your notice a few preliminary remarks.
The Christian Repository is of five years standing : It is one of the earliest of the Universalist publications. My much respected friend, Rev. Samuel C. Loveland, has been its only Editor to this time, and he has conducted it with that wisdom and prudence, which has increased its circulation, and has afforded to our christian fraternity a very general satisfaction. The Repository, perhaps, never stood higher in the estimation of the christian public than it does at this time. It is, therefore, greatly to be desired that the change of Elitors may not diminish the value and excellency of this publication. However, the new Editor would readily acknowledge, that he is not without his fears on this subject. But still he hopes, by the blessing of God and the assistance of his brethren, to render it in some small degree, useful to its readers. The subjects with which the columns of the Repository will be filled, will in part be original from the pen of the Editor and others. As the former Editor has ever maintained his independence upon christian doctrine, so will the present Editor, hoping, however, that none will be offended at him for this, while he readily grants to others the same privilege. The grand object of this religious Vol. VI.
publication will be to give a biblical representation of the character of God, his relation and love to his creatures, and forcibly to inculcate piety and morality among men.
It will be unnecessary at this time to say any thing more about the Editor's tenets, than merely to acknowledge that he is a firm, unwavering believer in universal salvation. He has been a public preacher of this glorious doctrine for almost ten years ; and never did his inind enjoy sweeter satisfaction and comfort in the truth, than it does at the present time. That others may enjoy the same comfort in believing the truth, is the sincere desire of the writer of this address. To accomplish this object, the Editor is not only willing to labor in the vineyard of his divine Lord and Master by preaching, but also to write, and select from the pens of others such sentiments as shall be calculated to produce in the minds of men reconciliation to God.
Brethren to whom this address shall come, permit your friend and brother to state to you, that the time of the singing of birds has come with us: the enormous strength of a usurped spiritual dominion has begun to give way before the progress of divine truth. Men are becoming enlightened in the arts and sciences. The thick fogs and clouds of the dark ages are beginning to disperse. Men are becoming more sensible to the dignity of their nature, and are learning to think and reason for themselves. With these facts before our eyes, let us take courage and press onward, believing that we shall come off more than "conquerors through him that loved us." The cruel and unmerciful doctrine of endless misery, which so much dishonors the character of God, is fast giving way to this more rational and divine sentiment contained in the message of the Angel to the shepherds, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
The Editor would inform his subscribers that it is his intention to obtain all those religious publications of his own denomination, out of which to make as careful selections as his judgement shall dictate, for the benefit of his brethren. As the subscription papers have not all been returned, and as it is probable there are more subscribers than have been received; so there will be a larger number of copies published of the first number, than are already taken up, to supply those who shall hereafter send in their names or become future subscribers.
· Each number of this volume will commence with a Sermon from the Editor, where there is no credit given. It is to be hoped that agents and brethren will endeavor to assist the Editor all they can; for he desires their friendly co-operation, and presumes be shall not be disappointed. As original matter will be read with a greater zest that that which is selected, so communications are solicited from the brethren in the various parts of the country. Now that this work may prosper, and be the means of increasing the spirit of the Redeemer's kingdom in the world, is the sincere prayer of the public's ever grateful and humble servant,
SERMON, NO. XXIII.
St. Luke xv. 11, 12, 13.-"And he said, A certain man had
two sons ; and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And, not many days after,
the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living
The passage of scripture which has been read, stands at the head of an important parable, all of which will be considered in our subject. It appears, from the New Testament, that it was a frequent custoni with our Savior, to speak to the people in parables, which you may learn by consulting the following places in scripture : St. Matt. xiii. 3; Luke v. 36, and xiii. 6, and xxi. 29. All the parables of our Savior, which he delivered to the Scribes and Pharisees, publicans and sinners, contain the most excellent morals. And our text, with its connexion, may very properly be reckoned, in this respect, neither barren nor unfruitful. It shows to us, in the sequel, the strength of a parent's love towards his prodigal child, and is representative of our heavenly Father's love towards all his sinful and prodigal children.
Id illustrating this subject, we shall attend to the following propositions.
I. We shall call into notice the youngest son, who gathered up his portion of goods, and went from his father into a far country, but afterwards returned.
Il. We shall bring to our notice the oldest son, who tarried at home, and was angry at his brother's return,
III. We shall notice the very proper conduct of the father towards these, his two sons ; and close the subject with suitable reflections.
I. We shall call into notice the youngest son, wlio gathered up his portion of goods, and went froin his father, into a far country ; but afterwards retarned. This youngest son, as it must appear, plainly represents the publicans and sinners of our Savior's day, or those persons whom the Scribes and Pharisees reckoned worse than themselves. They were probably the common sort of people, and industriously labored for their living,