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Art against Nature....
The little glass of Brandy.
The Christian Pilgrim, (Poetry).
Life at Port Royal....

The Ladies'

Literary and Artistic.
Current Events..

Repository for 1870.


The REPOSITORY is now one of the handsomest monthlies published, and one of the best religious and literary magazines in the country. It has been received with great favor during the past year, and large additions have been made to the number of the subscribers. The publisher will spare no efforts to make the next volume of the Magazine fully equal to the present one.

The July Number contains a fine engraving of









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MR. GEO. W. BROWN is agent to solicit subscriptions for the "Ladies' Repository," "The Quarter""The Universalist," and "The Myrtle; " to take orders for books, and to make collections and he is commended to the favor and confidence of the people upon whom he may call.





OCTOBER, 1870.




HE Gospel was communicated in a person. Jesus Christ is not only the chief fact in the revelation known as Christianity, he is that revelation. God's message to men came as a life. The Word was made flesh. How much light this fact throws on much of the imagery of the New Testament, I cannot now pause to indicate; but may say that it is unquestionably the basis of those numerous declarations in which Christ or his religion is represented as bringing a peculiar vitality into the world. Christ is "the life of men." Becoming his steadfast disciple is described as "entering into life." Belief on him insures the possession of "everlasting life." He is the 66 way, the truth and the life." He is the "resurrection and the life." He "brought life to light." “Ile is our life." The gift of God in him is "eternal life." He is the "bread of life.” His words are "spirit and life." The Gospel is a savor of life" to them that acccpt it. The fruit of sowing to the spirit, as also the result of being spiritually-minded, is "life and peace." And these are but samples of the expressions with which the New Testament is crowded; all setting forth the grand conception of the religion of Jesus as a quickening, living, per

sonal force.


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"dead." Individual members understand that the highest compliment is paid to them when they are spoken of as "live men." We say that the Methodists are a "live" body. And when we wish to sum up, comprehensively, all our defects as a sect, we do it by declaring that we "lack life." As one who came out of Judaism or Paganism into Christianity in the early days of the Church, was said to have passed" from death to life," so has it ever been held that to be or to become a Christian, is to be so quickened in every moral energy that the whole man throbs with the life of God.

I wish to call attention to the three chief influences, (in any degree under human control), in the production of religious life. A few preliminary points must first be considered. 1. What is religious life? It is much easier to describe than to define it. No definition that I have seen or can frame is at all satisfactory. It will answer the present purpose, however, to say that, Religious life is a condition of the moral powers in which they act. Religious death is the inaction of the moral powers. There may be many grades of religious life, but what distinguishes it in every instance from sleep or death, is the activity of those powers that constitute man a spiritual and accountable being. 2. How does religious life originate? I should not dare to affirm that Jews, Mohammedans, Buddhists, Deists, Indians, have no religious life. Hence, I could not say that all religious life originates with Jesus, the Christ..

Undoubtedly God supplies in some measure to all human souls the quickening energy of his Holy Spirit, so that the devout and upright "out of every nation under heaven," may enjoy the sweet sense of spiritual growth. Yet, that Christ came for the express purpose of awaking the dormant energies of dead souls; that he introduced a more perfect "way of life" than any other known; that it is God's design to finally call all the morally dead to life through him; and that the best religious life out of him is poor compared with that which may be enjoyed in him, seem to me as evident as any propositions that can be stated. The gift of God is eternal life or spiritual, or religious lifeand this life is in his Son, says the apostle John. This is religious life, to know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent. For us, who have access to him who came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly, it is proper to affirm that there is no other adequate source of religious life than Jesus, the Christ. He is our fountain of life. Through faith in, and attachment to him, we are renewed, revived, regenerated. The contact of his life with ours, like the touch of his hand to the ruler's daughter, stirs the hitherto unfelt currents of spiritual being, and our dead moral energies start into divine activity.

Assuming, then, that religious life is a condition in which the moral powers are active, and that the only worthy form of this activity is born of direct contact with Jesus, let us pass to consider the three grand influences that stimulate Religious Life. These I call, Contemplation, Communion, and Action.

I. In all orderly growth, a period of comparative repose must precede the manifestation of vitality. Johnny Jumpup never saw a blade from his pretty calico corn that he planted in such a glow of hope. For Johnny would scratch into every hill daily, to see if the corn had sprouted. He gave it no rest, and it gave him no harvest. Paul Pry set out an orange-tree in the morning. Towards evening he thought it would grow better in a different place; so he pulled it up. The next day he changed his mind again, and before he had settled where he would have it remain, its roots were dead. Nothing

grows without a season of quiet in which to root or germinate. The religious Johnny Jumpups and Paul Prys never allow anything to get a start. They handle the delicate embryo of religious life as if it were silex, which must be crushed to get the gold out of it. They enter a human heart as if it were a mine, and dig into the walls of its organic symmetry with rough strokes, unconscious of the havoc they are making in the holy name of religion.

The mind must have time to fasten on anything before it can begin to appropriate it. The means by which it does this is contemplation. There are four subjects of contemplation that contribute directly to the production of religious life.

1. We may contemplate the character and providence of God, and be moved to adoration and gratitude. The perfection of His nature-His absolute justice, infallible knowledge, unlimited power, inexhaustible love; His faithfulness, giving us the sublime assurance that through the eternal years He changeth not; His beneficence, pouring blessing upon the children of men from the free heavens, in the sunshine that is as genial as when Adam walked forth at primeval dawn, and the dew and rain and purifying wind, without which earth must have been desolate, and all our delights and achievements in it unknown; His fatherly solicitude-breaking the silence of that eternity which he inhabiteth, with a voice of encouragement to man, and sending to him, at length, a messenger so full of wisdom and gentleness and help that the atmosphere of heaven lingers forever around the name of Jesus-these contemplations, joined with the further one, to complete and crown all, that He has provided for the final triumph of the attributes of His own nature in every soul and throughout every realm, so that at the last a hymn of glory, of which Justice, Truth and Love shall be the chords, shall rise from an emancipated world,

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we consider that there are in this land-not to lift our eyes to the white fields that invite us beyond-thirty-eight millions of people, more than one-half of whom are poor, and, as compared with what we feel they ought| to be, ignorant; a fearful proportion of whom are the victims of vice; multitudes of whom are hard and cruel; nearly one-half of whom have no regular place of worship; and all of whom are less pure, compassionate and wise than the grace which bringeth salvation to all would have them: when we consider the bad laws, the tyranny of partisan rule, the greed, the homes that are not homes because no love is in them, the feebleness of conscience, the might of money, the strength of lust and appetite, and the long, long road to the correction of these abuses: when we think that, although Jesus has been lifted up before the face of men while sixty generations have come and looked, there are now in all Christendom but a handful who dare trust his principle of attraction-his law of love-only a narrow gulf-stream, as it were, in the midst of a cold ocean, seeking to penetrate its vast and sullen bosom with the warmth of a perfect faith-we may well be incited to gird on our armor and hasten to the field. In other words, the contemplation of the great work which must be done, or our faith prove a delusion and a lie, must impel us to take hold of it with the resolution and strength that God shall give; which are but another name for religious life.

3. We may contemplate our own sins, ignorance, remissness, coldness, and feel the stings of self-reproach driving us to duty. Self-contemplation is a very questionable employment, unless we go into our Own hearts and relight the lamps in the chamber of memory to give us a more vivid impression of our poverty and wasted opportunities. Then it may awaken such a sense of loss and need, that all the better instincts will fly to arms to retrieve the past and lost. And by whatever means a spiritual energy is aroused, religious life is produced.

4. Or, we may indulge the more grateful contemplation of the success which has been vouchsafed our own and others' labors in the vineyard of the Lord, and draw the inspiration of encouragement. When Jesus went into the synagogue of Nazareth, how small

was the promise that his prophecy of himself would ever come true! He, the one of whom the prophet spoke, who should introduce the year of moral jubilee, heal the broken-hearted, deliver the captives, set free the chained? How absurd it seemed! Who could believe it? And when he was led away in the midst of that crowd of mingled exulters and sympathizers, how improbable appeared the prediction that the isles waited for his law! And even when Paul, after having carried the standard of the cross over so large a part of the known earth, was compelled to surren der his life, like his master, at the behest of cruel and wicked men, it was stili too dark a day for Christianity, to admit of a very enlarged interpretation of the apostle's statement, that by the obedience of one many should be made righteous. But the centuries have slowly marched along; new forces have entered the arena; philosophy, education, science, progress, have competed for human faith and love, and yet that name is “abɔve every name," brighter than the sun, dearer than life, sweeter than hope. Poor and distant though the homage be, yet what majestic power is that which multiplies itself age after age, and lights and gladdens the course of civilization over half the globe! Surely it was the Lord's work, and what wonder if it be marvellous in our eyes! I would be glad to recall the success which God has given to our own peculiar branch of His common vine. But I must not dwell here. contemplation of past successes, especially when they are so signal as in both the instances to which I have alluded, can have no other effect than to stimulate the heart and nerve the arm for new and larger conquests. The assurance of ultimate and universal victory, when based on the promise of Him whose arm is never shortened, and whose word never returns void, girds the soul even in the thick darkness of failure and defeat. But this promise, fortified by the accumulated proofs of an onward and upward march through the lines of the shattered kingdoms and dissolving pageants of eighteen hundred years, acquires the strength and kindles the enthusiasm of a victory already won.


By these four modes of contemplation the mind may fasten itself on the grand facts of

God, nature, providence, the human situa- | minds can measure. To get a satisfactory tion, its own state, and the work given it to do, as well as the encouragement that its labor shall not be in vain. Each contempla. tion, as we have seen, touches a living spring, wakes a vital chord, nourishes religious life. In the blended serenity and awakening of divine impulses, produced by these means, the spiritual nature begins to utter its holy secret of longing for the life of God.

II. While I distrust somewhat the talk I often hear about the soul's "yearnings," and question still more the theories which it is attempted to build on this vague foundation, I think it true that every human being has, as a result of, or as a compensation for, his own sense of incompleteness, a dim yet imperishable apprehension of some Infinite Intelligence, strong where he is weak, wise where he is blind, great where he is little, of whose eternal perfections he has in his limited powers a faint hint. To know that Intelligence is the soul's quest. Forever her eye is exploring the mysterious realm of spiritual life for the image that haunts her existence. This search for God is what we sometimes call the soul's eternal longing. This desire of our nature is the basis of divine communion. When the Being that fills this concep tion of a perfect Intelligence is introduced to our apprehensions, we do not simply adore and admire-we yearn to know Him; that is, we desire communion. To be assured of the existence of such a Centre of all our visions and aspirations, to catch a glimpse of that Perfection of which our own needs have been a daily prophecy, is to feel an unappeasable instinct to draw nearer to Him and bold full communion. The gratification of this desire is, I believe, the most direct and infallible means of quickening into high activity the spiritual powers: or, of producing religious life. This is religious life, to know Thee, the only true God. How can we hold such communion? The comprehensive answer has been furnished by him who spake the words he heard of God: No man cometh unto the Father but by me. Jesus is a human version of that grand Intelligence we lorg to know. In him the great God, whose glory fills the universe, is reduced within the compass of our feeble apprehensions. He is such an image of the invisible God as our

conception of a Being whose power pervades the whole creation, and is at the same moment employed in decorating a gold-fish and building a world; whose knowledge compre hends equally the motives prevailing in our hearts and those which impel the band of Persian gypsies to gather around their campfire on the distant plains of Khorassan; whose beneficence sends down on this NewEngland shore its white winter robe, and on far Borneo a garment of fire-is wholly impossible to the finite eye, until some object intervening gathers and focalizes in a visible person these vast and inconceivable attributes. Jesus Christ is the divinely-prepared tablet on which the lineaments of the Almighty are clearly printed. Looking into his face, we catch the grandeur and the loveliness of that face which no man hath seen, nor can see with mortal eye. He is God manifest in the flesh, and thereby made apprehensible and accessible to men. He is thus described by the apostle as the mediator between God and men. Through him we go to God. To master the secret of his grand personality is to know God, as fully as flesh and blood can know Him. To find and know God, is first to find and know him who is the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of His person. And, therefore, to hold communion with the Father is to become acquainted with the Son. He that hath the Son, bath the Father. He that is one with Christ, is also one with God, and into that soul the Divine Spirit comes and makes a home, so that its life and the life of its Creator and Father blend and com


If I seem to lay unusual stress on this point, my excuse must be the depth of my conviction that we are to seek God through the channel which He has himself made, and that we both defeat and delude ourselves when we try to climb up some other way. Fervently and tenderly do I exhort all who would kindle or revive the fire on the altar of their hearts by communion with that Infinite Love for which their souls ever yearn, to go to Jesus, through whom they may have direct and happy access to God. He comes near to us by his likeness to ourselves, and draws us near to God by the Divine simili

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