There are certain speculative questions in Theology, upon which some decide very authoritatively, but of which I am accustomed to think but little, and to say nothing. There are, however, certain elementary principles of our faith, which have all the force of axioms.
One of these principles is the absolute unity of the Great Supreme God. Another is, that He is our Father, and that He is perfect rectitude and perfect love. Another is, that I was made, and that all my fellow-beings wore made, for the knowledge, love, and enjoyment of God.
Another is, that the supreme good of every human being is virtue, or a conformity to the will, and an assimilation to the character, of God. Another is, that I need, and that all need, light and aids in the discharge of duties. And another is. that my greatest benefactor is the benefactor of my soul, of my immortal nature.
These at once are teachings of Christianity and principles by which it is to be interpreted. Under the influence of these principles, the Gospels, as often as I open them, becomes to me “glad tidings of great joy.”
I cannot think of Jesus but with the sentiment, 'Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.'
My best evidence of the truth of our religion is in the fact that while it reveals to me, in myself, the capacities of a nature which was formed for the infinite, the immense and the everlasting, it, and it alone, goes to the height and the depth of the soul — it, and it alone, supplies the objects in which these wants ever found, or can find, satisfaction.
My great inquiries are not, therefore, for the metaphysical nature of Christ or for any of the secret things of God.
I would be one in spirit with Jesus, as He was one with the Father. This, I am sure, is the purpose of Christianity here, and will be the perfection of Heaven hereafter.
With the will of God, as illustrated by the spirit of Jesus for my law, with redemption or deliverance from all sin, and progress in all virtue and holiness, as my end, I have no fear of any dangerous error in my faith.
Our danger lies, not in our liability to erroneous conceptions of Christian doctrine, but in our defective sensibility to Christian obligations, and in our poor and low standard of Christian duty.
Any lower aim than this is unworthy of us as his disciples; nor can I conceive that any faith, which does not minister to our advancement in the spirit and life of Jesus, can do anything to advance our qualification for the immortal blessedness of the Christian's Heaven.
Adapted from a sermon by Rev. Joseph Tuckerman, given Nov. 2, 1834