The relation which you sustain to the
Church is very solemn and interesting. It
ought to be well understood, and carefully
borne in mind. To be careless and indif-
ferent in regard to this matter is to show
that you are not truly in earnest on the sub-
ject of religion.
True piety and indifference to the Church
can never go together. We may as well
pretend that a child can love father and mo-
ther, and yet care nothing for the family, as
to suppose that a person can love Christ and
be indifferent to the Church, which is His
family — a family of which every member
of the Church is a part. We cannot honor
Him, as the Bridegroom, while we disrespect
His Church, which is His Bride.
Look around you and see whether earnest
piety and love to the Church do not always
go together. Are not all those whose piety
is most deep, intelligent, and steady, also dili-
gent as members of the Church? As cer-
tainly as apples grow and ripen on the trees,
so surely do good Christians grow and ripen
in the Church. The degree of our devotion
to the Church, when it is sincere, may
safely be taken as the measure of our piety.
The relation between the Church and its
members is, in an important sense, mutual.
The Church sustains Christians, but Chris-
tians must also sustain the Church. The
family supports the children, but the chil-
dren also sustain the family. To be sus-
tained by the Church is a great privilege;
to sustain the Church is a most solemn duty.
Both these sides of the relation are set
forth in the holy Scriptures. The Church
sustains us — as a mother her children — as
a vineyard, field, or garden, the things
which grow in them — as a vine its branches
— as a body its members — as a kingdom
its subjects. To be thus sustained, what a
Then, too, we sustain the Church. “Seek
that ye excel to the edifying of the Church.”
We sustain it by our labors, we honor it by
our piety. We extend it by our zeal. Its
interests are in many ways solemnly com-
mitted to us. We are called upon to build
it up — to pray for its peace — to prepare
its way — to edify its members — to advance
its interests and its honor. To sustain it
thus, what a solemn duty!
As you have vowed, by the grace of God,
to be a true Christian, resolve also by His
help to live and labor as a good member of
the Church. We will now point out to you
some matters which claim your serious at-
tention as a church member.