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TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY

OF THE

REV. NOAH WORCESTER, D.D.

BY WILLIAM E. CHANNING.

PRINTED FOR THE

American Unitarian Association.

BOSTON:

JAMES MUNROE & Co. 134 WASHINGTON STREET.

NOVEMBER, 1837.

Price 4 Cents.

1. R. BUTTS.......PRINTER.......2 SCHOOL STREET.

TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY

OF THE

REV. NOAH WORCESTER, D. D.

Ir was the great purpose of Christ to create the world anew, to make a deep, broad, enduring change in human beings. He came to breathe his own soul into men, to bring them through faith into a connexion and sympathy with himself, by which they would receive his divine virtue, as the branches receive quickening influences from the vine in which they abide, and the limbs from the head to which they are vitally bound.

It was especially the purpose of Jesus Christ, to reweem men from the slavery of selfishness, to raise them to a divine, disinterested love. By this he intended that his followers should be known, that his religion should be broadly divided from all former institutions. He meant that this should be worn as a frontlet on the brow, should beam as a light from the countenance, should shed a grace over the manners, should give tones of sympathy to the voice, and especially should give energy to the will, energy to do and suffer for other's

good. Here is one of the grand distinctions of Christianity, incomparably grander than all the mysteries which have borne its name. Our knowledge of Christianity is to be measured, not by the laboriousness with which we have dived into the depths of theological systems, but by our comprehension of the nature, extent, energy and glory of that disinterested principle, which Christ enjoined as our likeness to God and as the perfection of human

nature.

This disinterestedness of Christianity is to be learned from Christ himself, and from no other. It had dawned on the world before in illustrious men, in prophets, sages and le ators. But its full orb rose at Bethlehem. All the preceding history of the world gives but broken hints of the love which shone forth in Christ. Nor can this be learned from his precepts alone. We must go to his life, especially to his cross. His cross was the throne of his love. There it reigned, there it triumphed. On the countenance of the crucified Savior there was one expression stronger than of dying agony, the expression of calm, meek, unconquered, boundless love. I repeat it, the cross alone can teach us the energy and grandeur of the love, which Christ came to impart. There we see its illimitableness; for he died for the whole world. There we learn its inexhaustible placability; for he died for the very enemies whose hands were reeking with his blood. There we learn its self-immolating strength; for he resigned every good of life, and endured intensest pains, in the cause of our race. There we learn its spiritual elevation; for he died not to enrich men with outward and worldly goods, but to breathe new life, health, purity, into the soul. There we learn its far

reaching aim; for he died to give immortality of happiness. There we learn its tenderness and sympathy; for amidst his cares for the world, his heart overflowed with gratitude and love for his honored mother. There, in a word, we learn its Divinity; for he suffered through his participation of the spirit and his devotion to the purposes of God, through unity of heart and will with his Heavenly Father.

It is one of our chief privileges, as Christians, that we have in Jesus Christ a revelation of Perfect Love. This great idea comes forth to us from his life and teaching, as a distinct and bright reality. To understand this is to understand Christianity. To call forth in us a corresponding energy of disinterested affection, is the mission which Christianity has to accomplish on the earth.

There is one characteristic of the love of Christ, to which the Christian world are now waking up as from long sleep, and which is to do more than all things for the renovation of the world. He loved individual man. Before his time, the most admired form of goodness was patriotism. Men loved their country, but cared nothing for their fellow creatures beyond the limits of country, and cared little for the individual within those limits, devoting themselves to public interests and especially to what was called the glory of the State. The legislator, seeking by his institutions to exalt his country above its rivals, and the warrior, fastening its yoke on its foes and crowning it with bloody laurels, were the great names of earlier times. Christ loved man, not masses of men ; loved each and all, and not a particular country and class. The human being was dear to him for his own sake; not for the spot of earth on which he lived, not for

VOL. XI.

NO. 124.

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