Four Lectures on the Union of Christians.

From the Works of Elder B. W. Stone, page 247-270

C H A P T E R   V I I I.


      THE following is the substance of a course of lectures on Christian Union, delivered in Jacksonville, Illinois, in January, 1841, by B. W. Stone.

      The union of Christians is the all-engrossing subject, which occupies the mind, and engages the tongues and pens of the Christian community at the present day. This is truly cheering to the pious of every name; because it plainly indicates that the professors of Christianity are awaking from the sleep of ages, and begin to see the incompatibility of disunion, and sectarianism, with the holy religion of the Bible; they see their deleterious effects on society in general, and are anxious and engaged for their removal, and to have a better state of things introduced into the world. It is too evident to be denied, that the Christianity as now generally exhibited, is almost a caricature of that taught by the Saviour. This was the ministry of reconciliation--to reconcile the jarring world to their God, and to one another, and to unite and bind them together with the bands of love, and peace. But is this the ministry--are these the divine effects of the Christianity now taught in the world? Alas! With a sigh we have to say, No.

      The attempts, hitherto made to effect this desirable object, have appeared to me to be ropes of sand. Heterogeneous materials can never unite; for "What [247] fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? And what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?--Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty"--II Cor. vi: 14-18. These are given as reasons, why the saints should not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. The force of these words has been partially lost by applying them solely to intermarriages between believers and unbelievers. Of the evil of this we have no doubt; but that the apostle had a higher object in view, the unity of Christians, we firmly believe.

      A yoke needs no definition; its mechanism and use are perfectly understood by us all. Its design is to unite the energies of cattle on whose necks it is put; were it not for this, their strength would be exhausted without producing the designed effect; for frequently they would pull in opposite directions, and effect no good. But the yoke unites them and their energies. In this sense the law of Moses was called a yoke, because by it Israel were united in the great work required of them. In the same sense the law of Christ is a yoke to unite his people in the great work of saving the world. We acknowledge there are many other yokes besides those of Moses and Christ--yokes made by the wisdom, rather by the folly of man, by which the various sects are united to their particular parties. Yet these yokes we do not acknowledge of Divine authority. The yoke of Moses, and the yoke [248] of Christ, could not be worn by the same person at the same time; nor can we see how a party yoke can be worn together with the yoke of Christ; it is certainly a hindrance, and can effect no good, but it is an evil continually. The Christian world begin to see and feel these yokes are clogs to their liberty in the Gospel, and many are throwing them off as useless lumber.

      The Father of mercies saw with pity our fallen, wretched world like lost sheep, wandering in "the dark and cloudy day," anxious to find rest from their devouring enemies, but continually falling into the mouth of their fell destroyer. In love he determined to raise a standard on earth, in order to collect and unite the poor, distracted and confused world, and give them rest and salvation from all their enemies. This benign intention he communicated to his prophet Isaiah, saying, "In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious"--Isai. xi: 10. This ensign was the Lord Jesus, the root of Jesse, the root and offspring of David--David's Lord, yet David's Son. This ensign, or standard was raised more than 1800 years ago on Mount Zion in the view of the world--its flag yet waves on the breeze of the Spirit, inviting all to flow to it for rest and salvation. In the Bible is Jesus evidently set forth in all his unsearchable riches. Under this banner the primitive Christians fought the good fight of faith, and conquered; under this they enlisted millions of their dying fellow-men in every land, and led them triumphantly into the kingdom of God.

      Happy would it have been for the world, had the Church thus continued united under the ensign of Heaven. But, alas! The craft of making standards [249] human standards, prevailed--scores are made by men, and multitudes prefer them, and enlist under them instead of the good old Standard of Heaven, the Bible alone. Their makers have promised their followers more permanent union and peace; but the contrary has been the fact. Division has succeeded every such standard, and is now the order of the day--and while such standards exist, Christian union can not be effected.

      We will suppose all these various sects are together on one wide plain, their various banners stationed around. The sound of the trumpet is heard, the alarm drums are beaten, To arms--to arms--the enemy is near, is vociferated by the officers at the top of their voices. The soldiers all immediately face to their different colors, and quickly repair to them--soon are they marshaled in order for battle--they look for the enemy, but seeing none, they inquire of their leaders where they are. See you not, say the leaders, that group of men standing under yonder stand of colors? They are our enemies; they are damnable heretics, hated by God and all the saints. They even dare to deny the five holy points of our religion, and if the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do? If they prevail, we are undone. They must be exterminated--it is not fit that they should live on the earth. Now, be valiant in fight, acquit yourselves like men, be strong--take good aim, present, fire. Excited by such harangues, the soldiers obey. Away flies a volley of balls of calumny, detraction, misrepresentation and verbal persecution. (Civil power has now forbidden lead, fire, steel and gibbets.) The party assailed is not idle--they return the fire, excited by the same spirit. Nor are any of the other parties idle, all fighting [250] one against the other. Oh, unhallowed warfare! God-dishonoring and world-destroying warfare! The boast and joy of hell, the grief of every humble saint!

      In the beginning of the present century the standard of Heaven was almost forsaken--all having enlisted under the party standards of the day. There was a great and general revival of religion--the attention of Christians of every name was taken--they flowed together in one spirit--worshiped together, and loved one another as brethren. But the jealous demon of partyism became alarmed, for fear their party would lose. This alarm was spread, and the most blessed work I ever beheld on earth was marred. Wearied and sick of partyism, party standards and party yokes, five of us, Presbyterian preachers, fled for refuge to the standard of Heaven alone, forsaking all others. We were derided as enthusiasts--as mad men, for such a procedure; and it was confidently predicted that we should speedily come to naught. Oh, what blasphemy upon the Bible and its Divine author, that He should give us a book for our guide to Heaven, so imperfect that it could not answer the purpose designed!

      We found experimentally that by this bold, party-daring step of enlisting under the standard of Heaven alone, the sectarian world were all against us, and threw their fiery darts against us in constant volleys. The craft was in danger. If we prevailed, they must fall--their pride of opinion--their love of honor--their streams of wealth and worldly ease must all fall. The wail of Babylon would be heard afar off. "Alas! Alas! That great city; for in one hour is thy judgment come." At this opposition of the sectarians we need not wonder; for our very design and aim is to destroy partyism, and to unite under the one standard [251] and name, all the family of Jesus on earth. It always was, and forever will be that the children of the bond woman persecuted, and will persecute the children of the free woman. They must be cast out.

      These remarks shall suffice for an introduction to the subject of Christian union. I shall base the whole on John xvii: 20, 21, 22, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." From this text I design to deliver four lectures.

      1st. For whom did Jesus pray that they might be one?

      2nd. What that union is, for which be prayed.

      3d. The means by which this union is to be effected.

      4th. The happy consequences of such union.


      1st. For whom did Jesus pray that they might be one?

      The answer is easy: "For them also who shall believe on me through their word." There are three things necessary to constitute and designate a true believer. 1st, The word or testimony of the apostles is the foundation or means of their faith--they believe "through their word." "These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have life through his name." So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 2nd, Another thing indispensable in faith is the object of faith--"them who shall believe on me" that "he is the Christ the Son of God." [252] 3d. The third thing is that "they may have life through his name," that "they may be one as he and the Father are one." With the things written, or with the Scriptures, is connected life--eternal life, by faith the connecting link. Without the Scriptures there is no true faith nor life--the Scriptures are the foundation and means of both--without faith the Scriptures are unprofitable and life not obtained. Many profess to believe in Jesus because their parents believe in him, and because it is unpopular not to profess to believe in him. For the same reason, had they been born and raised among Mohammedans they would have professed faith in Mohammed. Such faith is not productive of life or good fruits, and pronounced by James as dead, being alone. True faith in Jesus works by love, sanctifies the heart, receives the Holy Spirit, overcomes the world, leads to repentance, reformation and obedience, and produces eternal life; for "he that believeth on the Son of God hath eternal life." "Whoso believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God." For such believers as these Jesus prayed that they might be one. He did not pray that light and darkness might be one, or that disobedient believers and obedient believers might be one as he and the Father were one, for such a prayer could not be granted. Neither did he pray that the many sects of professed Christians should be one; for this is equally impossible, seeing among all the sects there are multitudes that have not the Spirit--"who mind earthly things." Such union is not desirable.

      It may be asked, How can faith in Jesus as the Son, and anointed of the Father, produce such divine effects? I answer: In believing this we ascend to the [253] Father in Heaven, and see his boundless love to the world bursting forth in the gift of his Son, to live, die and raise again, for our justification and salvation--we see the love of the Son in leaving the abodes of glory, and his matchless condescension in humbling himself for our good. Who in heart can believe these things and remain unaffected? Who, believing with all his heart that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, will not bow in humble submission to his will? Who will not be influenced by such faith to come to God in his own appointed way, and receive his Holy Spirit? Who, having received the Spirit through faith, do not love the brethren, and become one, even as the Father and Son are one?


      John xvii : 20, 21. "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be one, even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."

      On this text I delivered four lectures.

I.   Who are they for whom Christ prayed.
II.   What that union is for which he prayed.
III.   The means by which it is effected.
IV.   The happy consequences of such union.

      The 1st I have already considered, and it is believed that I have made it evident that true believers only are those for whom Jesus directly prayed. I have shown that three things constituted true believers. 1st, The means: They believe through the word of the Apostles. 2d. The object: They believe on me, and these are written that ye might believe that Jesus [254] is the Christ the Son of God. 3d, The effects: That they might be one, and that they might have life through his name. I now proceed to

      II. What that union is for which he prayed.

      1. He did not pray that all that professed to believe in him might be one; because all that profess to believe, have not true, unfeigned faith--the faith of God's elect. To pray that such might be one with obedient believers, is the same as to pray, that light and darkness might be one--that righteousness and unrighteousness might be one--that the children of the bond woman and the children of the free woman might be one. This would be impossible; such union would be like that of iron and clay--it is not desirable--it is inadmissible by the head of his Church; for all fruitless trees must be cut down--the chaff must be winnowed away. The fruitful trees, and the pure wheat only, are to be preserved. The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God--the bond children must be cast out--they shall not be co-heirs with the free. Such unhallowed union has too long disgraced the Church; weakened her energies--obscured her glory, and withered her influence. It is the strong-hold of sectarianism--a bulwark against Christian union--a heavy weight on Zion's wheels--a gnawing worm on their vitals--the bane of Christianity.

      2. Neither did our Lord pray that all the parties, as such, might be one. All the parties are one in a general sense. Their scriptural name is Babel, or confusion. Who in this day of light and inquiry is so blind that he can not read the inscription plain and legible in the forehead of the Church so called? Who so uncandid as not to acknowledge that the Christian world is all in confusion--in Babylon? Who so destitute of [255] piety as not to long for the restoration of Zion? Who so callous as not to weep over her desolation? Who so deaf as not to hear the inviting, warning voice of God, "Come out of her, my people, lest ye be partakers of her sins and her plagues"? Who so disobedient as to slight the Divine command? And who so pusillanimously dumb as not to raise his warning voice to his fellows?

      While the various sects retain their jarring creeds--their different yokes--their various standards--their party names, and especially their sectarian spirit, and unbelieving members, is it possible that any bond could make them one, according to the prayer of Jesus? Yet in Babylon--yet in the great city of confusion, we acknowledge (however painful and humiliating the acknowledgment) that God's people are, and long, long have been, and will continue to be, till they become convinced of the fact. Till we receive this conviction, we shall not regard the voice of God as directed to us, Come out of her, my people; we shall never make one exertion to obey that voice, by leaving the devoted place. Some may boast that they have clean escaped from the city of abominations. I fear I have not yet seen any of this happy number. Many of late have made exertions to leave the city; but they are so much infected with her spirit, and burdened with her wares, they make slow progress, advancing a few steps, and retrograding as many.

      3. The union for which the Saviour prayed is, that all believers might be one, even as the Father and Son are one; as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also maybe one in us. Some affirm that the Father and Son are one substance, one individual being. Even should this be true, yet we are sure that [256] our Lord did not pray that believers should be one in this sense; that they should be one individual being or substance. If we can ascertain what that union is between the Father and the Son, we can easily ascertain the union of believers, for which the Saviour prayed. This we will now attempt to do.

      1. The Father and Son are one in character. "He that hath seen me," says Jesus, "has seen the Father; for the Father dwelleth in me, and I in him." We ask, what of the Father do we see in the Son? Not the substance of the Father, we are sure; "For no man hath seen God at any time, or can see him." But we see the image of the invisible God--the express image [characteer, character] of his person [tees hupostasioos, of his substance]. It is then the character of God, the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus, or God manifested in the flesh, we see when we see Jesus. The character of the Father and Son being one, and believers beholding this character or glory of God shining in the face of Jesus, are changed into the same image from glory to glory. All that love, compassion, benevolence, mercy, grace, goodness, faithfulness, truth, etc., which we see continually flowing from the hands, the lips and acts of Jesus, are but God's character manifested in the face or flesh of Jesus. In and by Jesus is the Father plainly declared and made known. If ye had known me, ye would have known the Father also. How can we know the Father but by the Son? For no man knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. This character of the Father and the Son appears to flow from that intimate union, described by the Father being in the Son, and the Son in the Father; and this same character is formed in all believers, by their [257] being in the Father and Son, and the Father and Son in them. The believers become partakers of the Divine nature. Stupendous grace! A worm of the dust united with the Father of the Universe! And consequently with the Son and with all holy beings! They are holy as God is holy, righteous even as he is righteous, pure even as he is pure, good and merciful even as he is; meek, gentle, obedient, patient, forgiving as was the Son. What Christian on earth would not respond a hearty Amen to this prayer of Jesus?

      2. They are one in Spirit. The Father loveth the Son, and the Son loves the Father; the Father peculiarly loves the saints, and so does the Son; the Father loved the world, and gave his Son to be their Saviour--the Son also loved the world, and gave himself a ransom for all. So believers are of one spirit. They all love the Father and the Son, and manifest that love by an unreserved obedience to all his commandments; they love one another with a pure heart fervently; they also love all mankind, and like the Saviour, weep over their miseries, and pray for them, and sacrifice their worldly substance for their good, to save them from ruin.

      3d. The Father and Son are one in operation, in the works of creation, providence and redemption. God created all things by Jesus Christ, and without him was not any thing made that is made; whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven, whether they be visible or invisible, whether they be angels, principalities or powers. In the works of providence they are one. I, said Jesus, give unto my sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hands. My Father who gave them to [258] me is greater than all, neither shall any pluck them out of my Father's hands. I and my Father are one, one in our love and providential care of the sheep. So were they one in the great work of redemption. One heart, one mind, one purpose, one will to redeem man, was both in the Father and in the Son. "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." Hence the saints ascribe their salvation to him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever. So believers are one in the same benevolent operation of saving the world. They are "workers together with God"--they co-operate with God and one another in all divine means ordained of God to effect this great end. They regard not their own things (exclusively), but also the things of others. They divide their substance with the poor and needy--the widow and the fatherless; nor do they withdraw the hand of mercy from giving the means of sending the Gospel to the world in darkness.

      If all were thus one, the world would soon believe in Jesus and be saved. O Zion, arise and shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Then shall the Gentiles see thy light and flow unto thee--and they, seeing thy good works, will glorify our Father who is in Heaven.


      By a comparison of the present state of Christianity with what it once was, all are brought to the conviction that we are yet in the apostacy--under the reign of the man of sin--yet in Babylon--yet in the wilderness. All the sects see the propriety and necessity of reformation and Christian union, and profess a great desire for them, and make strong cries and supplications for their [259] speedy return to Zion. Yet strange! Whenever an attempt is made to effect them, all the parties rise up against it, and oppose the abettors of the good work. The reason is that the means proposed by those reformers impinge upon their party schemes, and strike a death-blow at their party-union. This is the history of every reformation from John the Baptist to the present time. At first, the people gladly heard John, the great reformer, and flocked to his baptism; but when he had fully developed the plan of reformation, they were offended and opposed with violence the scheme. So it was with the greatest reformer on earth, the Lord Jesus. At first, the multitude flocked to his ministry, and were urgent to crown him king; but when his plan of reformation was understood by them, they opposed and crucified him. So of the reformation of Wickliff, Huss, Luther, Wesley, and of the present century.

      Various plans have been introduced by honest, good men to effect this desirable and desired object, Christian union; but they have all failed. It is worth while to inquire into these plans, and into the reasons why they have failed.

      1. The first plan to unite the divided Christians was introduced in the beginning of the fourth century by the council of Nice. This plan was, to have a creed, or a system of doctrines made by the collected wisdom and authority of that council, to which all must subscribe, and from which none must depart, on pain of earthly and eternal anathemas. The plan, we acknowledge, is plausible; and this has kept the Catholics united until now. But is their union, Christian union? A Catholic was once asked, What did he believe? He replied, I believe what Mother Church [260] believes. And what does Mother Church believe? She believes what I believe. And what do you both believe? We both believe alike. Here is a specimen of Catholic union. Who is so blind as not to see, and so ignorant as not to know, that this Nicene creed confirmed and perpetuated the division of the Christians then existing, and made slaves and hypocrites of millions more who rather than undergo the anathemas threatened, subscribed what they did not believe, and slavishly rejected light lest they should be converted, and treated as heretics. This plan of the old mother has been followed by all the sects to this day with the same spirit and with similar success. Can this be Heaven's plan to unite in one, his scattered people? No; No; fact itself proves its fallacy.

      Some who are opposed to a large creed-book as a plan of union, yet plead for the necessity of a few essential doctrines to be embodied, as a bond of union. But who shall determine what these essential doctrines are? Suppose it possible that every member of the Church on earth were together, and all agreed upon three or four doctrines as only essential, and that these only shall be tests of Christian union, would they all honestly agree, that should increasing light convince them that the doctrines received were wrong, they would still retain and defend them? Would they, or could they bind their posterity to believe and receive them? But these things are impossible. No formulary of doctrines can unite the Christian world. If it can unite a party, that union is only partial, and of short duration; it is a union of disunion, for unless we give up the right of thinking, and implicitly believe as the Catholics do, such creeds are vain.

      2. Many in the present century have seen, and many [261] begin to see, that all such creeds are in the way of Christian union; and that to support them, is to support a limb of Antichrist. Thousands. from this conviction have abandoned them all, and cast them to the moles, and to the bats, and have taken the Bible alone, as the sole rule of faith, and practice. This is commendable, and a long stride from Babylon. But will this effect Christian union? alas! we have to acknowledge the reverse. Thousands in this day have made this public profession, and are as much disunited in Christian love, and co-operation, as other sects. The have no written creeds, but they make their unwritten opinions of the Bible truths, the tests of union. As long as opinions of truth are made tests of union, all our boasting, that the Bible alone is our religion, is vain.

      3. The Bible alone in heart believed, and in the spirit obeyed, is doubtless the means of Christian union. Who will deny? It must be first with the heart believed--believed with all the heart. To believe with the heart, is, to be affected and influenced by the truth believed; and to obey it in the spirit, is, to do it with the full, true and sincere determination, and resolution of the spirit, not only to cease to do evil, but to learn to do well--to depart in heart and life from every thing forbidden, and in heart and life to do every thing commanded. With such God meets, and blesses them. He meeteth them that work righteousness; their sins are blotted out; they receive the Holy Spirit, and experience seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord--they are born of God, and therefore love God, and one another, and this love casts out fear, and is the cement of Christian union.

      Now we will inquire particularly what we are to [262] believe and do in order to Christian union, not only union in spirit, but in the one body also: 1st, We must believe this humiliating truth, that we are in Babylon, in confusion--scattered in the dark and cloudy day. Babylon is but another name for pride and confusion. Read its origin in the early age of the world. A tribe of men, inflated with pride, determined to build a tower, that should reach to heaven, in order that their great name might flow down the stream of time, and live forever. But God confounded their language, they could not understand each other--they could not co-operate, and therefore they divided, and separated in different squads abroad. Who does not see the analogy? Is Rome Babylon? yes; she is doubtless the mother of harlots--all nations are drunk with the wine of her wrath--that wine which excites to wrath, persecution, and death, those who are made drunk by it. From this learn, who drinks of Babylon's wine. In Babylon are God's people groaning in bondage, and longing for deliverance. This humiliating truth we must believe or we shall never make one exertion to come out of her. Believe the truth, and obey it. Come out of her my people. Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and I will receive you. Arise and depart hence; for this is not your rest; because it is polluted; it shall destroy you with a sore destruction. Before Jerusalem's destruction, the Christians were warned, and escaped the ruin. So are you now warned--fly immediately, and listen not to the lullaby, all is well.

      Throw off your party yokes, which unite the parties, as such. Take not the yoke of Moses, but, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me," says Jesus. Under his yoke we shall be united, and our energies be one, to [263] effect the mighty work of saving the world. The yoke of Moses and Christ could not be worn together at the same time and by the same people of old; nor can a party yoke be worn with the yoke of Christ. Leave your party standards, and rally under the standard of Heaven. See you that white throne, with one sitting on it, surrounded with a rainbow, and an immense company of raptured worshipers? That is our king--that ensign, waving on the spirits' breeze, is Heaven's standard. To it repair, and learn, and do the lessons which will be taught you there by the infallible Teacher from heaven. He will teach you that you must love one another with a pure heart fervently--to deny yourself, and take up your cross daily, and follow him; he will teach you, not to look on your own affairs, but also to the interest of others--that you and all you have are his, and must be devoted to the great work of salvation; that you must not mind earthly things, nor set your affections on them--not to be conformed to the world--to lay up treasures in heaven, not on earth, to take the lowest seat, and to esteem others better than yourselves, as did Jesus, who esteemed us more than glory, ease and life. Here you have no abiding place, but are as strangers and pilgrims seeking a better country. You must leave your party distinctions, and party names, and be contented with that given by Divine authority--Christian. For doing all this, and all the holy precepts of Heaven, you will be hated and persecuted by the world, and especially by that part of it, who have a name to live, but deny the power--for the children of the bond woman always did, and always will persecute the children of the free woman. The world is ripe to persecute, if they had an object, such as will be presented [264] by the regeneration of the Church. My brethren, listen not to those teachers who say, the time for Christians to unite is not yet come; and that you should live longer in disobedience to God's holy commandment, by living in disunion, which is, says Paul, carnal; and to be carnally minded is death. No longer by your conduct, counteract the prayer of Jesus, that they all may be one. The Lord will raise up leaders full of the Holy Spirit, to direct the faithful. "My beloved, believe not every spirit but try the spirits whether they be of God, for many false prophets are gone out into the world. Mark them which cause divisions among you, contrary to the doctrine ye have heard, and avoid them." Do not think the Mormons only are intended; would to God they were the only ones--but they, who divide Christians, contrary to the doctrines of the old Gospel, are the people intended, irrespective of their high profession of Christianity. O Lord, restore thou Zion to her ancient glory, and make her a blessing to the world. Amen.

      In my next and last lecture, I shall show the glorious effect of Christian Union--that the world may believe in Jesus.


      I come to the close of this all-important subject, and will now endeavor to show some of the happy effects of Christian union; "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe thou hast sent me"--John xvii: 20, 21.

      The first effect of Christian union is, that the world will believe that the Father has sent his own Son to [265] be the Saviour of it. The world, the whole world are all under sin, and there is salvation in no other name but that of Jesus. He will save none but believers in him; for he that believeth not shall be damned. What means has God ordained to bring the world to believe in his Son, and be saved? I answer: the unity of believers. Tremendous thought! And shall believers nullify the divinely appointed means by living in disunion! Shall they thus be instrumental in plunging the world into eternal ruin! Shall they thus live in sin, and sing the syren song, All is well! Shall they deride and mock those servants of the Most High, who plead for Christian union, and urge it as the command of God, and the salvation of the world! Oh what Egyptian darkness has covered the Christian world!

      Why has not the world believed in Jesus? Or, why do they not believe in him? Because the means ordained for this purpose is withholden from them; I mean the union of Christians. Were they one, as the Father and Son are one, the world would believe, or the prayer of Jesus would be disregarded by the Father. Zion, the city of the living God, his dwelling-place, is the light of the world, and the ordained instrument of converting and saving it. In Zion are deposited the oracles of God--from her is to go forth the word of salvation to the nations of the world. She must so shine that others may see her good works, and glorify our heavenly Father. To her is the command given, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee; then shall the Gentiles see thy light and flow unto thee; Oh, that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments, then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the [266] waves of the sea. Thy seed also had been as the sand on the sea-shore, and thy offspring like the gravel thereof." Had Zion only obeyed his commands (among which is, let there be no divisions among you), the consequence would have been, an innumerable spiritual seed, and that seed pure, clean, smooth and beautiful as the gravel on the sea-shore.

      The Church of Christ is called a royal priesthood; or they are made kings and priests to God, our Father. This is the relation they sustain to the world. They are kings--not over one another; for they are all kings, and no relation could exist among them. This interpretation would lead to anarchy and insubordination; every one would do what seemed right in his own eyes. Kings must have subjects. And who are the subjects put under the Church of Christ? I answer: the whole world of mankind. To Daniel vii: 17, 27, I appeal. "These great beasts which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever." "And the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High." The four kings are put for the four great empires, the Assyrian, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, and Roman. These successively ruled the world. But these kings or empires must be possessed by and given to the people of the saints of the Most High. They shall be an empire, or the kings of the world.

      As a king gives laws to his subjects, so does the Church or the saints united give laws--the laws of Christ--to the world. As a king rules his subjects by [267] his laws, so should the Church rule the world by the law of Christ. As a king conquers rebels against his government, so the Church, whose members are all kings, is to conquer the rebel world, and bring them to the obedience of the faith--to conquer, not by carnal weapons, but by those spiritual weapons afforded by the spirit of love and truth, one of which is that union for which we plead. Shall I presume to say, the salvation of the world is committed to the Church, under the great Saviour of all? This is the work assigned her. And woe to her, if it be neglected; but glory, honor, immortality and eternal life shall be her reward, if she attend diligently to it--if she be diligent to give the laws of Christ to the world by the means within her power--if she labor to conquer the rebels by the word of truth, and reconcile them to God.

      They, the believers united, are also priests to God. If they are priests they must have somewhat to offer. They must offer their bodies as living sacrifices to God, as did the great High Priest of our profession. Whatever we offer to the Lord is no longer ours, but his. So when we offer ourselves to God, we are his, and not our own. To take, and use the offerings of the Lord to any other purpose than the Lord intends, is sacrilege; and woe to the person who presumes to do it. Therefore, to make use of ourselves and the goods we possess, to any other purpose than to glorify God, is a sin of no small magnitude. As our great High Priest, we must pray for all men--for kings and all in authority; we must make strong cries and supplications to him that is able to save; we must offer praise and thanksgiving, the calves of our lips. All our offerings must be seasoned with salt, and on a pure altar, [268] on which the sacred fire of the spirit of burning, must continually be found, in the flames of which our offerings ascend to God with acceptance.

      O, if all who profess religion were spiritually and visibly united in the one body, and were not only kings and priests to God in profession, but also in reality, how soon the poor rebel world would bow submission to their rightful Lord! Then would wars cease to the ends of the earth, and discord and strife be known no more. A brother and sister would not sigh in death, as now they do, at the leaving of their children to the cold charities of the world. They would die in the full confidence that their family would be regarded by the brethren, and all their wants supplied. Heaven would be realized on earth, and the world would be bound together, not by ties of national policy, but by the bonds of peace and love. Party names and party strifes and bickerings would be banished from the peaceful abodes of earth. But who can describe the glories and happiness of that day? Roll on, you tardy hours, and bring--bring quickly the joyful day!

      Brethren of every name, help on this work by every means divine. For the want of this evidence--the union of Christians--the world in thousands are daily dying in sin. Have you no sympathy--no bowels of mercy? Would you stop them from ruin? You have the means. Be one, and they will be saved.

      Let every Christian begin the work of union in himself. Wait upon God, and pray for the promise of the Spirit. Rest not till you are filled with the Spirit. Then, and not till then, will you love your God and Saviour then and not till then you will love the brethren, who bear the image of the heavenly--then you will have the spirit of Jesus to love the fallen [269] world, and like him to sacrifice all for their salvation. The cry will then be, Who will go for us, and, bear the glad tidings to dying sinners that they may be saved. Every one in this spirit would flow together, and strive together to save the world. The secret is this, the want of this spirit, the spirit of Jesus, is the grand cause of division among Christians; consequently, this spirit restored will be the grand cause of union. Let us, dear brethren, try this plan; it will injure no one. God is faithful who has promised--he has promised to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him. With this spirit, partyism will die--without it, anti-partyism in profession only, will become as rank partyism, as any other, and probably more intolerant. [270]