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WHY SECTARIAN NAMES SHOULD BE REJECTED.
1. Expressing impossibilities, and silently throwing stones at our neighbours. 2. Sectarian pride. 3. Partiality. 4. Exclusiveness: a—Lines. b-Bogies.
1. Straining to express impossibilities, and silently throwing stones at our neighbours.
I WOULD reject sectarian names, in the first place, on the ground that they afford a temptation which too often is yielded to: to make them express all the truth of God. The very best of us are constantly striving to repeat Esop's fable of the ambitious frog. We would if we could, add one cubit to our stature every time that Luna turns her full smiling face upon us: once a month. We think ourselves little
god-almighties; that our sect takes a more extended sweep of outlook on the infinite fields of truth than all the other sects put together; and that our name is synonymous with all that we can conceive to be the highest, noblest and divinest, in Man, God and Reptiles.
Many plausible things are said from time to time, about sects being necessary to complete the building of the great church of God, just as the arch and pillar are necessary in the erecting of a cathedral; and that we call this sect by one name, and that by another, as we call the just-mentioned indispensables of the temple by the names of Arch and Pillar.
This is partly true my brother; and Jack Robinson who cleans my boots, and rubs down my horse,— even he knows what special purposes both arch and pillar answer in the building of the temple, and that if either of them were suddenly to give way, the symmetry of the whole internal arrangements would be destroyed. rubs down my horse and cleans my boots, be a sensible man, he will know that the Arch and Pillar are called such, because they answer the purpose for which, his common sense leads him to see they were made to answer.
And if the same Jack Robinson who
But who among the sectarians dare on behalf of his sect, announce with authority, the purpose for which that sect exists; and affirm, that that purpose is either expressed or implied in its name; and also,
that there would be war in heaven, and that the stars would fall, and that the church of God would be in the least disturbed, if the besom of destruction were to sweep away in one night both his sect and the name thereof, from the face of the earth,-and from the remembrance of man?
And yet with more audacity still, some even see in their name and sect, telescopic visions of the finished temple that is to be. Now, whatever distinctive name any sect adopts, as expressive either of its position in the theological world of thought, or of its peculiar work in its day and generation, it no more suggests to me the future church of God, than the single arch or pillar, while the building is being erected, expresses the finished temple, whose spire being now completed, I see is fretted to the top with exquisite tracery of art which the inspiration of genius alone, guided the hand to so beautifully express; but while the stately grandeur of this magnificent pile does suggest a fairer temple not made with hands,-thy sectarian name, church and
associations suggest *
* * The Lord knows,
for I do not.
Many sectarians who glory so much in their name are,—with a slight difference,—very much like those anatomists who discover in an old, decayed, excavated tooth, the form and beauty of a whole animal. member my brother, that the animal of the anatomist belongs to the past, and not to the future. Thy name suggests the past, therefore cannot indicate what the future will be. With all thy artistic adjusting of thy telescope, thou canst not bring the glorious future and compress it into a name which thou hast inherited from the past. And if by chance, a thousand years hence, when the alluvium of ecclesiastical rubbish is being turned up by the antiquarian divine of those days, and he should come across the name of thy sect, which is very improbable, he will have to be a very clever theological anatomist indeed, if by any stretch of the imagination he shall be able to detect the finished temple of the church of God in the narrow associations of thy sectarian name !
One thing prevails among all sects, from the primitive Methodist to the Unitarian, and that is: they observe nothing in their name or sect, that is narrow or bigoted, but on the contrary, there exists
the largest catholicity and charity.
takes the unity of God as the basis of his belief, and on that is determined to sink or swim, whether it lead him to heaven or to hell, believing that wheresoever God is, there, there must be peace in trouble, and heaven in hell at last. And the Trinitarian believes that underneath his Trinity lies the same Unity, but that it wraps up in its comprehensive charity which "believeth all things," all the mysteries of the Trinity. Both Unitarian and Trinitarian preach that God's love is infinite, and both interpret, each in his own way, that "His tender mercies are over all His works, and that He will not always chide, nor keep His anger for ever."
But leaving Bases, Futures, and Mysteries, I find that the name of every religious sect of whom I know anything at all, is fraught with narrowness and bigotry, either expressed or implied. I see it engraven in stone, disfiguring the face of their churches; I see it painted on their signboards, and gilded on their lamp-posts; and I find it printed and circulated in their writings. If it be right to put a name on anything in order to let everybody see and know "who's