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of the body, the gestures, the expression of the face, with a large number of other bodily movements, these made up the substance of religion. And it is hardly exaggerating the facts to say, that an Egyptian, a Greek, or a Roman might have performed all the duties of his religion without formning a new acquaintance — indeed without having an acquaintance ! Christianity then, worked a revolution in the religious nature and practices of men, in so far as it made men feel, that while they owed supreme love to God, they, at the same time, owed universal love to men. The basis of this great social obligation, we repeat, is the sympathetic bond which makes the human family one.
2. Again, the truth that all men are vitally connected, making the best good of the humblest individual identical with, and inseparable from, the best good of all men, is a clue to the principle of Divine retribution, and is to be borne in mind when we are forming our conceptions of the proper conduct of God as the Sovereign of man. When, for instance, it is asked, Why does God punish the sinner ? the principle we have endeavored to elucidate, determines the answer. It cannot be said that God punishes a sinner merely for his good; because, if the good of one soul is inseparable from the good of all souls, it is impossible that punishment should do the sinner good without at the same time being of service to other beings. Neither can it be said, that God punishes the sinner merely for the good of other persons,-in common phrase, the saints, leaving the good of the sinner himself wholly out of the account; because it is impossible that punishment should benefit those who do not receive it, without, at the same time, benefitting those who do receive it. The justice of endless punishment for sin is often defended on the ground, that while it can do the sinner no good, it will nevertheless “ enhance the bliss of the saints !" But such a notion supposes that one portion of the human family can be benefitted at the expense of another portion ; and is wholly at war with the great and glorious truth, that if one member of the human race suffer all the members suffer with him, and if one member is honored all the members rejoice with him.
3. The same truth will also guide us in forming a conception of the requirements of Divine justice. No man can sin without injuring others than himself-no man can sin without involving the innocent in the baneful consequences of his guilt. Even then if it could be shown that the just and holy God were under no moral obligation to prevent an individual from injuring himself, on his own account, it would still remain, that justice should interfere to prevent him from injuring himself on account of others—on account of the innocent who, for no criminality of theirs, are made to suffer. We trust that we are not guilty of irreverent words, when we say, that the innocent have a right to protection—that Divine justice owes this to them. The same Power that called them into being, does, by the act, obligate itself to shield them from undeserved harm. It may be kindness to permit the innocent to suffer for a season, to suffer for disciplinary purposes; but they have a right to final escape or relief. ^ Justice therefore, justice to those who do no wrong, Divine justice must interfere to prevent man from permanently harming himself—from harming himself because in so doing he harms others.
In a limited sphere, everybody concedes this point. We do not think of the wrong the drunkard does himself so much as of the wrong he does his wife and children. When, a few years since, a distinguished professor in a Medical College, incurred the guilt and, suffered the penalty of murder, more sympathy was felt for his innocent family than for himself. They, at least, were entitled to a better fate ; and, on the supposition that no good could come out of their distress, justice must have shielded them from the blow. Justice, for the same reason, must finally put a stop to all sin, that the innocent may be spared.
4. Finally, the hope of the ultimate restoration of all souls, is in the eternal oneness and mutuality of human destiny. No soul can be forever shut out of the favor of God, without involving all souls, more or less directly, in the common doom. As well think to separate an arm from its body, and to provide for its comfort and health and vigor in its dissevered condition, as to imagine that human souls, all of them alike connected by the tie of fraternity and mutual sympathy, can be torn asunder, and the eternal wretchedness of one portion made to comport with the perfect and uninterrupted blessedness of the remainder. În the ultimate consummation of the purposes of God, there can be no divided destiny. The portion of one, in spirit and in character, must be the portion of all. That in the last issue a single soul shall be able to rejoice in the redeeming grace of God, all souls must be restored, and so made to partake in the common bliss. To suppose a different issue, is to suppose an entire change in the affections of the human soul. That a portion of humanity may rejoice while others forever weep, would require the extinction of
every affection,--the destruction of the common bond of sympathy, whereby the race of humanity is essentially one. Such cannot be the issue of the noblest scheme of God. In the end, there shall be no schism in the body of humanity. In the complete extinction of sin, in the perfect purity of every desire, hope, and aspiration, the happiness and exaltation of each soul shall be triumphant in the happiness and glory of all; and the great scheme of redeeming grace terminate in the holiness and bliss of every rational being
G. H. E.
1. The Life, Labors and Character of Rev. Otis A. Skinner, D.D., a Discourse delivered in the Warren Street Universalist Church, on Sunday, October 6th, 1861. By Rev. Thomas B. Thayer. Boston: Abel Tompkins. 1861.
We have read with deep interest this faithful and affectionate tribute to the memory of a good man; one whom we had known to esteem and respect; one whose sudden death has filled us with sadness. As pastor of the society to which Dr. Skinner had ministered for many years, and where his memory is still fondly cherished, it was highly appropriate in Mr. Thayer to discourse upon his life, labors and character. The two men have from the first been contemporaries in our denominational history; have known each other intimately ; have cherished mutual regard and affection. No one could speak of Dr. Skinner with a better appreciation of his worth, than the person who succeeded him as pastor of the Church and Congregation in Warren Street. Dr. Skinner has filled so large a place in the esteem and confidence of our brethren-his labors for the cause have been so conspicuous and so successful—that we are sure we shall gratify the wishes of our readers if we quote somewhat liberally from Mr. Thayer's discourse. We must confess, that our regard for his memory is largely personal. For years, we have enjoyed an intimacy with him beyond what is usual, or generally possible, towards one so many years our senior. But there was in him a frankness, a generosity, a fascination of manners that invited an intimacy which could throw off reserve. There was no exterior barrier of artificial dignity to keep one at a distance. He was so warm-hearted, so kind, so genial that we could approach him not only face to face but heart to heart. We were not prepared to hear of his decease. Indeed there were but three days of intermission between our first knowledge of his sickness and the news of his departure from earth. It is only with the lapse of weeks that we are able to realize that he is no more with us, and the passing away of each day but increases our sense of the loss we have experienced.
The Discourse gives a brief sketch of Dr. Skinner's early life, from which we extract what follows:
“Dr. Skinner was a native of Royalton, Vermont, and was born on the third of July, 1807. At the age of nineteen he commenced school teaching, which was soon followed by the additional labor of preaching, to which he was called by the wishes and solicitations of his friends. He continued in this double work for nearly two years, spending most of his time in Lempster, Marlow, Washington and neighboring towns. At the end of this period, in 1828, he made a pastoral engagement with the societies in Washington and Jaffrey, N. H., preaching half the time at each place. He remained with them for about the space of a year, when he accepted a call to the charge of the society in Woburn, Mass. After two years labor in this place, he was invited to Baltimore, Md., to which city he removed in 1831... For important reasons, he determined in 1836, to leave Baltimore, and return to New England ; and accordingly accepted an invitation to settle with the society in Haverhill. But in the meantime the movement for the establishment of the Fifth Universalist Society in Boston had commenced; and Mr. Skinner, having preached to the congregation gathered for this purpose, was urgently solicited to become their minister. His engagement at Haverliill prevented for some time, but after remaining there for a year, during which he preached occasionally to the congregation at Boylston Hall, he finally consented to accept their unanimous invitation, extended to him Nov. 20, 1836, to take the pastoral charge ; and Jan. 1st, 1837, he came to Boston, and
settled among you as your religious teacher and pastor, and was installed on the 26th of the same month. His industry and ability, his pleasing manners, and entire devotedness to his duties as a minister of the Gospel, soon wrought a marked change in your condition; and the increase in numbers was so rapid, that it was deemed expedient and necessary to erect a church. Minister and people working together with heart and hand, this important object was speedily attained ; and in a little more than two years from the commencement of his labors among you, this edifice was completed and dedicated, Jan. 30th, •1839.”
In 1846, Dr. Skinner became pastor of the Orchard Street Church in New York city ; returning however to his old parish in Boston at the end of nearly three years. He continued in this position eight years; and then, in 1857, removed to Elgin, Ill. He soon after accepted the presidency of Lombard University, at Galesburg, where the degree of D. D. was conferred upon him. The following year he removed to Joliet, and became pas. tor of the Universalist Society in this place. In connection with his pastoral duties, the labor of settling up the affairs of the estate of his deceased brother Samuel, devolved upon him. He died in Napierville, twenty miles from his home, on occasion of a pulpit exchange.
6. The sickness which terminated his life was sudden and severe, and he was only able to go from the pulpit to the bed, which he never left. He died on the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 18th, and the funeral service was on the following Friday afternoon from St. Paul's Church, in Chicago. His body lies side by side with that of his brother Samuel, for whom he ever cherished a special affection.”
Of Dr. Skinner's labors, Mr. Thayer says:
“He was industrious beyond what his most intimate friends knew; and it was not till, since his death, I sat down to the preparation of this discourse, that I reached any thing like a just estimate of the man in this respect. _And, in surveying the various fields of labor which he occupied, I confess to much astonishment at the great amount of work which he accomplished; while at the same time he freely gave himself to the calls of friendship and the demands of social intercourse. He was never a preacher or a pastor only ; but always something more than these, always engaged in some kind of work outside of his profession. All his leisure hours, or what would have been leisure hours to most men, were devoted to some kind of employment for the benefit of others. Denominational labor, Temperance, organizations for the help of the poor, the religious journal or magazine, a doctrinal, devotional, or Sunday School book, the school or the college, or