These sentiments may be considered by many good Christians as sinfully “latitudinarian;” but to all who think so we would suggest the following simple experiment. When they have perused with care and reflection those portions of the Epistles of St Paul, and those incidents in his missionary journeys, which reveal most clearly what we might term his “church views,” let them conceive of this same holy apostle suddenly awaking from his grave and visiting the different churches in our country, and then honestly say, from what they know of his character and teaching, whether they think it improbable or impossible that he would countenance all our churches in so far as they sincerely desired to do God’s will and advance His kingdom. Would he not as of old say, “Grace be with all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity!”
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.”
The mutual dependence of material things is perceived on a moment’s reflection. Not one atom in creation, for example, exists by itself or for itself alone, but, directly or indirectly, influences and is influenced by every other atom. The movements of the tiniest wave which rises slowly over the dry pebble on the beach, marking the progress of the advancing tide in the inland bay, is determined by the majestic movements of the great ocean, with all its tides which sweep and circulate from pole to pole. The rain-drop which falls into the heart of a wild-flower, and rests there with its pure and sparkling diamond-lustre, owes its birth to the giant mountains of the old earth, to the great sea, to the all-encompassing atmosphere, to the mighty sun; and is thus, by a chain of forces, united in its existence, its figure, its motion, and its rest, to the most distant planet, which, beyond the ken of the telescope, whirls along its path on the mysterious outskirts of space. Thus, too, the needle of the electric telegraph trembles beneath the influence of hidden powers which pervade the earth, which flash in the thunder-storm, awaken the hurricane, or burst in those bright and brilliant coruscations that shoot across the midnight of our northern sky. And so
whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.”
But the unity which exists among intelligent and responsible persons, their mutual dependence and relationship, is just as real as that which obtains among material things, and is far more wonderful, more solemn and important in its nature, causes, and consequences.