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the vile passions of their respective monarchs, and pursuing at the same time the dictates of their own unhallowed desires, their own profligate, sensual and brutal propensities? I could easily multiply these questions; but I will forbear for the present, and content myself with expressing my deep regret that instead of confining yourself to the question of the constitutionality of employing Chaplains for the House, you have, in your speech, aimed a blow at that religion, which appears to me, the more seriously I view it in all its bearings, to be the safest, the surest foundation of all individual and social prosperity and happiness; not that I mean to say that Christianity has done away the necessity of the social compact, as understood by sound political philosophers and civilians; but that compact, nevertheless, I solemnly believe, deriveş its purest, most effectual and disinterested support from the true disciples of Christianity,
In my next I shall proceed to examine the prominent features of your speech, if not in the hope of converting you to my opinions, at least in that of preventing the minds of those young men who shall read these-letters in 'connection with the speech, from receiving the wrong impressions which it is calculated to make upon them. And could I indulge the hope that what I shall advance may rouse my friend Herttell to such a review of the subject as shall lead him, by the operation of his own pure and unbiassed mind, through the grace of God, to embrace the truth as it is in Jesus, my
joy would be little less than that of good old Simeon, when he saw the Redeemer, and felt within himself the lively hope, the strong assurance, of his own salvation. In the mean time I am, with unabated good will, your sincere friend and admirer.
SHERLOCK. Salem, Washington Co. February, 1833.
LETTER II. TO THOMAS HERTTELL, ESQ..
Sir,- In the same unaffected spirit of friendship and good will towards you, in which I commenced this discussion, I shall proceed to review your speech, as promised in my last. [B.] Once more, however, permit me to premise by assuring you, that, notwithstanding the wide difference in our opinion on the subject before us, the writer of these letters is not only your sincere friend at present, but one of your old and intimate friends and associates of that genuine republican school, which had for its fathers some of the bravest and the brightest heroes and sages of '78 and of '98; such as Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Clinton and De Witt Clinton; great and venerable names, whose wisdom and virtues, and whose brilliant achievements in the cause of liberty and the paths of science, will embalm their memories in the minds and hearts of their countrymen to the latest ages. That old and pure Republican School of this State, to which we belonged, is dissolved; its scattered fragments are now and then recognized by the traveller and sojourner, as the living witnesses of what once was, but is now no more. Some of its members have sunk into honorable graves; oth. ers, to their shame be it said, have sought an inglorious shelter in the camp of their bitterest persecutors; and, like Lazarus, rejoice in the crumbs that fall from the seats of power and patronage : while a solitary few, disdaining to yield the groạnd of principle, preserve in their public and private walks, the even tenor of an independent course. [C.) That I was associated with you, sir, in a political school, so pure in its principles, and so noble in its objects, is of itself a source of grateful recollection, which can never fade, much less be lost sight of while the current of life continues to flow: For in my heart the sentiment of a fine poet, and would that I could add, uniformly a pure and a chaste one, will ever find a congenial response :
" You may break, you may ruin the vase, if you will,
“But the scent of the roses will hang 'round it still.” And in proportion as this pleasant and precious recollection comes home to my feelings, in the same degree comes with it a deep and painful sensation of regret, that you should now be lending your fair fame and your forensic talents to the unhallowed cause of Infidelity ; to the propagation of principles, which, wherever they have flourished, have served only to corrupt the minds of their votaries, to blunt, if not destroy, the purest sensibilities of the heart, and spread disorder and confusion in all the walks of life. To this sweeping clause, there may have been, and still may be, a few illustrious individual exceptions; but as a general truth, it will stand the test of the severest scrutiny..
Your speech commences wiih a dissertation on the meaning of the term Infidelity : And here I must be permitted to say, that you have not been very happy in your illustration of the term, or the applications which you allege to have been made of it. You appear to triumph in the belief that not only the two or three great parties in the religious world, but the several sects under each grand ban. ner, and especially the varying Christian sects, have labored to fix upon each other the stigma of Infidelity. That disciples of Mahomet have styled the Christians Infidels, I am well aware. I am also well aware, that Christians have retorted the epi. thet upon Mahometans. I understand also, as I presume you do, the abstract meaning of the term; but on this occasion it is sufficient to know, that throughout Christendom, on the tongues of all Christians, INFIDELITY means neither more nor less than a disbelief or a want of belief in Christianity. It is never used by real Christians as a term of reproach, but merely to designate an opponent, an unbeliever: For a true Christian never feels bitterness of heart towards individuals, however bitterly hę may feel towards their vices. If, as he believes, want of faith in Christ leads to damnation hereafter, this alone is sufficient, not only to allay all bitterness in his heart towards unbelievers, but to supply its place by the sincerest pity and commisseration. A true Christian, too, will respect the moral virtues of Infidels, if he finds them to possess such virtues; and will always discriminate between honest opinions, and dishonest or vicious actions. Dr. Johnson, it is true, among other definitions of the term Infidel, has given that of “ Miscreant,” but this is only one of the many proofs existing of the Doctor's illiberal and bigotted spirit; that is, if he intended thus to designate all the unbelievers in Christianity. And although you have asserted, no doubt believing in its truth, that Christian sects, or the Christian sects, have stigmatised each other as Infidels, yet, I believe, my dear sir, you would find it difficult to establish that assertion by any proof satisfactory to a rational mind. That some Papal Bulls have denounced certain protestant opinions of Luther and others, as being heresies; and that some protestant ecclesiastical courts or synods, have done the same not only in relation to the Papal Creed, but to opinions entertained by other protestant bodies; history abundantly proves: but heresy is not Infidelity; nor has it ever, I believe, been so decided. The latter is a destitution or abandonment of faith, the former, when really entertained, is an error in faith ; and there is certainly a wide distinction between an erroneous or false faith, and no faith at all.