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pose; and, in disturbing this arrangement, we become transgressors. We cannot sin against God without also sinning against our own souls, for in them is the primitive revelation of God; and in thus sinning against our own souls, we may practically resist all the divine attributes of which our weak faculties are the dim reflection; God's wisdom in the abuse of n our intellect; his greatness in the loss of our moral dignity; his goodness in the destruction of our charities; his purity in the corruption of our hearts. Unitarians are accused of making sin a light matter. We protest against the justice of the accusation. We hold sin to be the greatest of evils, and the most dire of miseries. We hold it not as a mere social impropriety, but we regard it as a dark disloyalty against conscience and against God. Much suffering, we know, it inflicts on society; but slight, indeed, is it compared with the ruin and devastation it works in our own souls. Here, at first, God impressed his image; here, at last, he fixes his tribunal: it is here his voice was heard in kindness, it is here it shall be also heard in judgment. God's government is, like himself, spiritual. Man rules by outward power, God by inward inspiration; and it is the peculiarity of the divine legislation that, in the same individual, it attaches the condemnation to the crime ; forces transgression, to pronounce its own sentence, and to inflict its own punishment. Human society has set up various bulwarks to guard its security; human law-givers have accompanied their enactments with fiercest penalties; and before Draco, and since, millions upon millions of God's erring creatures have been offered, a sanguinary sacrifice to justice: superstition has personified all hideous evil in Satan,—the mighty sinner of creation,—the minister of eternal vengeance,—the great executioner of the universe; superstition has spread the limitless prisons of hell, and filled them with tortures, and lit those flames which it asserts are kept burning by the breath of an angry God, and are never to be quenched during his everlasting existence;

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but we assert, there is no scorn of society, there is no torture of most cruel laws, there is no hell of superstition. deep, burning, and eternal as it may be, that can equal the agonies which man's own sense of wrong and degradation heap upon his overwhelmed and sunken spirit. The glory of an immortal soul is beyond all outward glories; the majesty of empires and crowns, the splendour of the sun, the beauty of the firmament, the riches of the universe, are nothing in comparison. We say to those to whom it is our privilege to minister, though you were stripped of all that constitute your frail and present happiness; though saddest reverses became your lot; though God laid his hand heavily upon you and your family, tore you from that rank and station that now make your glory; though your children and friends were one by one snatched from you, until you stood in the world-wilderness like a branchless and a blasted tree ; though all illness of body and grief of mind were yours,-having an upright soul, it is but a light affliction compared with a guilty conscience, which could wield over earth a universal sceptre. The wages of sin is death, death in the most tremendous meaning of that tremendous word,--death of purity, death of holy confidence, death of self-respect, death of inward and outward peace. Sin is misery, and the worst of miseries, -one that carries with it its own vengeance, is self-punished and self-cursed. True, we recognize no omnipresent and invisible tempter; true, we hold no gross and eternal punishment; we preach no original malediction, and no inherent depravity; we proclaim no sin which blots out all light and hope around the mercy-seat of God, and scathes the heart of man with everlasting despair. True, we show you no maniac penitents, bewildered in the madness of remorse, shrieking on the death-bed which conscience peoples with furies. We announce no deity coming from heaven, putting on the trail existence of humanity, and expiating on the cross the which had closed all access to peace. We cannot, and I

could we would not, freeze your hearts with ideas of torture, nor appal you with threatenings, nor echo on your ears the groans that never cease, the weepings, the wailings, the knashing of teeth, the sighs and hopeless complainings that swell for ever and ever a thickening smoke of torment. Independently of these things, there are other considerations more solemn,-more solemn, because more true,—there is our conscience; there is our peace; there is the dignity of our whole spiritual nature; there is reverence for duty; there is the power to enjoy what is pure and beautiful; there is fitness for communion with God, with all the righteous and the excellent,—these may be lost, or clouded by sin; and they may be so lost as never fully to be recovered. We count sin no slight evil, either as to its inward spirit or outward influence: as I have stated, so we preach. And here, once for all, I enter my protest against the impeachment which charges us with stripping guilt of its danger and its awfulness.

I. Human nature, according to the point from which we regard it, has a good or an evil aspect, each perfectly distinct, and each perfectly true. The whole truth is then in neither separately, but in both conjointly. Fixing too intently on either, and carrying our ideas to extremes, we may, on the one side, flatter human nature above its merits; or, on the other, be guilty towards it of injustice : on the one side see in it all possible good, and on the other nothing but incorrigible evil : on the one side soar into Utopianism, and on the other descend into Calvinism. The Calvinistic view we hold to be false, the Utopian impossible. We have no idea of any perfect goodness or perfect happiness in this world, either possessed or to be attained. Whilst we pace our way in this earthly pilgrimage, sin and suffering must more or less track our steps; the prodigal's confession, and the publican's prayer, must still be ours; the most favoured of God's children have to meet, and bear their allotted griefs,—to see their glory grow dim, the desire of their eyes

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vanish, and to look onward and backward through the mist of tears. Sufficient of stern realities press upon us to crush at once the vision of a painless and sinless beatitude. Physical wants and sufferings, the inevitable condition of our mortal nature, were there no other, are of themselves equal to the purpose. While an hospital exists among men, breathing with groans and sickly in its very look; while a deathbed is found, steeped in the weepings of affliction; whilst a stone marks and commemorates a spot where the dust is sacred to affection and to sorrow; the wildest dreamer has enough to rebuke his enthusiasm, and to cool it into soberness. And extreme or exaggerated expectations of our nature, are in still stronger contradiction to our moral constitution than our physical. In every individual, however humble his grade, and however sluggish his faculties, there is abundance to make him aware that perfection here is neither his condition nor his destiny,-numberless desires, passions, hopes, fears, expectancies; and no one imagines that all his desires are to be gratified, all his passions fulfilled, all his hopes accomplished, all his fears removed, all his expectancies realized. Want and wish pursue their strife to the end. As it is with the individual, so is it with society: for as society is an aggregate of individual persons, social character is an aggregate of individual characters. Evils, sins, and sorrows, must always, we fear, exist, both in the depths and on the surface of the great community: we look for no period in future time, when those antagonist passions and rivalries shall be extinct—which place man into resisting contact to man, when riches, and fame, and power, shall not be sought for with avidity and strife, and create the throng of passions which spring from their desire and their abuse: we look for no period when the strong universally will use their strength in righteousness and mercy, when the poor and the weak shall cease to be victims, and have full justice done to

em: we dare scarcely hope for a period when the massive

throne of tyranny, whether political or sacerdotal, should be swept away upon the flood of emancipated progression; and, with equal fear, we think of the tyrannies of caste and creed, not less dark or obstinate; and although not entirely in despair, we look forward with timid anticipation to a time when the war òf opinion shall be changed for Christian peace, and the fierce cry of bigotry give place to the hymn with which the angels sung our Saviour's birth. We see no prospect that men shall lay aside their selfishness, and act in the spirit of universal charity, or that they shall so curb it as to harmonize it with the good of others ! that they shall become universally disinterested, forbearing, candid, and generous; that the proud man will put off his scorn, and the oppressor break or throw away his sceptre. Moral and social evils will unquestionably be mitigated, but the sources of them lie too deep for extinction,—were extinction desirable, which it is not: for these elements of our nature are wrong only accidentally; while, essentially, they are right. Knowing that an argument gains nothing by concealing the objections to it, I have thus far been liberal in admissions: I will make one admission more. I acknowledge that an over-estimate of the actual condition and prospects of human nature, as well as their undue depreciation, is likely to have injurious consequences. One of the worst is this : that, creating vivid and unreal hopes, they rebound with harsh and cruel disappointments; the fervour of expectation turns into despair; the glow of generous, but blasted enthusiasm, cools down into apathy, if it does not wither into cynicism ; exstacy that was too intense to last, and too extravagant to be well founded, either renounces altogether its early faith, or, casting away its hope, complains through life in grief and despondency. Desires, bright and beautiful, are broken, and their light scattered in the dust. Aspirations, once too big for utterance, turn back to the bosom that nourished them,-hitherto their palace, now their prison,—and there waste away in hopeless thinking, or die in

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