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Proceedings of the General Convention of Universalists,
do on the Rich man and Lazarus
INTRODUCTION. Our subscribers who have been acquainted with this work froin its commencement, need only be told, that the general aim to be pursued in future, is similar to what has been made the object of the past. To render his labors useful and instructing to his brethren in general, and to others who may peruse the pages of the Christian Repository, has ever been the wish of the Editor. He does not anticipate the cordial approbation of all his readers. This would be calculating too much on the various sentiments, tastes, and passions of men. It is enough to prevent his hands from becoming weary, and his heart from fainting, to be fully persuaded that his labors are useful; that they answer, in a great measure, the benevolent object of their design; and that they are blessed by the provident hand of our Father in heaven.
Were less indulgence granted to some correspondents, a few readers, perhaps, would be better gratified; but it was not consistent with the original plan of the work to limit every writer to the peculiarities of the Editor's views. It is still thought best not to deviate from this plan. Writers of all denominations of Christians, whose works bear evident marks of candor, will be admitted to a reasonable extent; but the Editor would claim the privilege of offering his remarks upon them, if he thinks proper. He does not, however, wish to be considered responsible, tho some things from his correspondents which do not fully agree with his sentiments, should pass unnoticed. To descend to every particular of this kind, would be a labor, that could render no essential benefit to our readers. The Editor, however, will endeavor to exercise a watchful care, that such liberties to an undue extent shall not be taken.
No. 1. Vol. V. 1
In a work like this, calculated for readers of various tastes and habits of life, it is thought best in selections, not always to cull from literary sources, nor wholly to exclude a few biblical criticisins, tho they may deal in terms which, to the mere English reader, are hard to be understood. But in relation to these things, a middle course, for the most part, will be pursued.
The doctrine of future punishment is a subject on which our brethren are much divided, and which, heretofore, has been made a subject of no small contention. Had each one been willing that his neighbor should have enjoyed his own faith unmolested, those difficulties might have been the more easily handled, and the more readily laid aside. But the ambitious zeal of the aspiring, is not easily conquered. And if the spirit of proselytism among us, has not compassed sea, it has spread like a contagious disease, on land.
It is not to be expected that we can wholly avoid subjects which treat of future punishment. It would be inconsistent with the plan of this work, and with that liberty which is our right, and which others, who have the same right, are disposed to indulge. Why should we be thought aggressors, because we would show our reasons for believing future punishment to be a scripture doctrine ? Have we a standard of orthodoxy, aside from the Bible, by which we would try religious sentiments ? Did we acknowledge the Pope, father, he should be our standard. Had we created bishops, archbishops, or primates, to their decisions we would submit. But now we only ask, that they would regard us as they wish that we should regard them, and be willing to grant us as much liberty, as they are disposed to take themselves.
Whatever is calculated to illustrate that which may be thought obscure in the Scriptures, or hard to be understood, will be admitted in the Christian Repository. Subjects doctrinal, controversial, historical, biographical, practical, and obituary, will comprise the greater portion of its contents. Proceedings of Universalist Associations, religious intelligence, particularly of the L'niversalist connexion, and poetical productions, as heretofore, will be inserted, Favors from correspondents are solicited; particularly, the intelligence of religious concerns in our own State. Where no credit is given, the pieces will be understood to be editorial. The continuation of sermons, contained in the following numbers, will be understood to be Br. Turner's, till a contrary notice is given.
Matthew xxv. 29.-For unto every one that hath shall be giv
en, and he shall have abundance ; but from him tbat hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath.
The correct understanding of the doctrine of the text, will depend in some measure, upon an explanation of its phraseology, which doubtless appears singular, and as involving some difficulty. The first assertion may be more easily understood than the last. We can understand how he, who already possesses something may receive more ; but it may be difficult to conceive how he, who hath not can have taken from him that which he hath. Apparent difficulties in a sentence, are to be removed by reference to the same subject, where it is treated in other words, and in those which are explanatory, and by comparing one part of the discourse with another. In St. Mark's gospel we have the same idea as we find in the last sentence of our text, but expressed differently, “from him that hath not, shall be taken away, even that which he seemeth to have.” A man máy seem to have much, and yet possess nothing. He may retain in his possession the property of another, which
may be called his own, but as he does not render it productive, he cannot therefore be called rich ; in the sense of the text, "he hath not ;” and when called to surrender his ostensible wealth, the real proprietor
takes from him what she seemed to have.” This condition is the direct opposite of that, described by the apostle Paul, and the knowledge of the one will enable us to understand the other ; "as poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." You will not consider it hard to decide to which condition to give the preference, to apparent wealth, with real poverty, or to apparent poverty with real wealth.
The words which have been read as the foundation of a discourse, are a part, and form the conclusion of a noted parable, generally called the parable of the talents. We shall read the whole, that
you may clearly see the connexion of its several parts. “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one, went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money, After a long time the lord of those servants coineth, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had receiver five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents ; behold, I have gained besides them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant : thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things : enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents : behold, I have gained two other talents besides them. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things : enter