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the Gospel, that these opposite, natural

PREFACE. As no subject is so important, so none is, naturally, so liable to create dissension, as Religion. The feelings of the heart, when once earnestly engaged in it, are so warmed by its radiance, so attuned to its high-toned promises, that the bare suggestion of error in the grounds upon which it has been embraced, is sufficient either to chill them into uncharitableness, or to kindle them into resentment; and it is only by the benign influence of

propensities are to be repressed, in those who aim to separate truth from error in the sacred cause. Hence, even the advocates for the same system, for the

same form and doctrine, who differ in some points from each other,, not, perhaps, in the ultimate end, but in the means by which that end is to be obtained, too frequently lose sight of that moderation which ought to guide dispassionate enquiry, and which is the discriminating feature of the cause they strive to defend.

Men are constituted with minds and feelings so diversified, their views so various, and their conceptions so different, that an attempt to bring them to any thing like a general uniformity of opinion must be abortive ; at the same time, much may be done towards it by a sound discretion and judgment, and more, by the exercise of temper and modesty. It is only sufficient to look into the religious annals of any country,

, whose history is extant, to be persuaded how utterly impracticable it is to force conviction upon the minds of the com

munity, and compel men to think alike; for neither are the weaknesses of mankind to be removed by forcible opposition, nor their prejudices to be destroyed by recrimination and controversy. All religious feuds and wars, kindled by intemperate zeal, have only opened wider the breaches of dissension, and made men more the enemies of heaven and of themselves than they originally were; yet, evident as all this is, it is impossible to make, even in these times of amended liberality, the advocates of religion sensible of the necessity of bearing with the differences of their brethren, or of holding their own sentiments with a humility becoming frail and sinning beings, who need strength and forgiveness. In fact, the genuine spirit of the Gospel, whatever may be our professions, whatever our advancement in the knowledge and practice of it, has not been uniformly diffused among us — “if the meal be not

thoroughly intermingled, the whole cannot be leavened.”' Charity, that sweet, comprehensive, and most excellent quality of Christianity, does not possess our inward souls, or they would be attuned to such feelings as would produce effects never to be attained by other means. If we mark the conduct of the Saviour and his Apostles, it will invariably be found that they appealed to the reason, sensibility, and feelings of those whom they addressed. Eloquence, simple though sublime, was their weapon, and they used it with a benignity of temper which showed their words and deeds to proceed from “love unfeigned.”

Charity, then, in its most comprehensive sense, is the basis upon which alone the Christian can support the structure of his religion, if he would have it the temple into which all people and nations are to resort. Charity, comprehending the ineffable love of God, and the uni

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