« EdellinenJatka »
In my next I shall commence an inquiry into the constitutionality of the choice of Chaplains. In the mean time may the choicest blessings of him, in whom you do not believe, descend upon you; and among others, the choicest of all, the effusion of his grace and faith. If you consult your own real happiness, seek for that divine effusion-pray for it as Bacon and Milton did. Though your eleventh hour may be at hand; though it may indeed have come; yet there is still room for you among the laborers in the vineyard of the Redeemer. One reason, perhaps, my friend, why you have never turned your thoughts seriously to the truth, beauty and benignity of Christianity, the incalculable value, “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” is, that you have hitherto been blessed with prosperity and ease in a temporal sense. You have never felt the rude shocks of adversity; you have never perhaps been made to feel deeply and keenly the stings of ingratitude and treachery; have never, with the merchant, long in prosperity, heard suddenly of your ships being stranded or foundered at sea; of your bills being protested abroad, and your credit totally destroyed at home; nor have you ever, with the very poor, wretched and forlorn man, felt the blast of winter whistling through tattered garments, or the cold rain blanching a frame scantily covered on the one hand, and with no place of repose or shelter on the other : Divine Providence has never called you, as a patriot or reformer, like Hampden, and Sidney, Luther and Knox, Penn and Wesley,
or Washington and Kosciusko, to struggle at all hazards for a glorious cause, in opposition to numerous, powerful, bitter and relentless. foes, bent upon your destruction, right or wrong: You have, sir, never realized the sublime description, which a modern author has drawn so vividly, as well as briefly, of the trials and afflictions of those who devote themselves sternly and inflexibly to the good of man and the glory of God :-“The perfidy of friends," says he, “the vigilance of foes, the rashness of the bold, the cowardice of the wavering; strife in the closet, treachery in the Senate, death in the field; these constitute the fate we have pledged ourselves to bear. Little can any, who do not endure it, imagine of the life, to which those who share the fate of an agitated and distracted country are doomed; but if they know not our griefs, neither can they dream of our consolations. We move like the delineation of Faith, over a barren and desert soil; the rock and the thorn, and the stings of the adder are round our feet; but we clasp a crucifix to our hearts for our comfort, and we fix our eyes upon the heavens for our hope.”
These are the destinies and the dangers, the toils. and the trials, the crosses and the calamities, under which to bear up and sustain ourselves, we need the support of religion, the support derived from communion with God, through the the medium of prayer.[N.] You have never been subjected to them. Hence you have never felt the necessity for those consolations, and that fortitude, with
praye. Hence "lations, an
which the gospel, and the gospel alone, can inspire the sons and daughters of adversity. Your Creator has beneficently cast your lines in pleasant places ; and yet you feel not the necessity or importance of confessing your faith to him! Is this the fruit of prosperity? of that prosperity, too, which your Heavenly Father has so graciously and profusely conferred upon you! If so, then, give me “the pleasures of poverty,” the pious mind, and the grateful heart. There is indeed in many professing Christians, and even in some ministers of the gospel,' too much of
"The proud, the cold, untroubled heart of stone,
“That never mused on sorrow but its own.” But I am loth to believe, sir, that you have such a. heart. Several of your essays—(passing over your bad and unfortunate speech)-prove that elegant literature and sound science, have charms for you, and are indeed the inmates of your mind; and where these abide, there is hope, at least, that saving faith in Christ may yet take up its abode. Like some of those, with whom, though an old Clintonian, you now apparently act, if not really so, you have not, I feel confident, studied De Retz, to become accomplished in political intrigue and turpitude; Machiavel, to learn the wiles which he ascribes to weak and wicked princes; or Chesterfield, for the more polished refinements, the softer arts of seduction and dissimulation : In short, your heart, I believe, is the seat of honor and of virtue, in a moral sense. Give then, but fair play to your head, to that intellect which is far from being
small or a grovelling one, and I fear not but the issue will be such as wise and virtuous men may rejoice in, and God and good angels approve.
SHERLOCK. Salem, Washington Co. Mureh 16, 1833.
ETTÉR VI. TO THOMAS HERTTELL, ESQ.
SIR,—I have not undertaken, in these letters, to prove the truth of Christianity; for that has been done, long since, and thoroughly too, by such men as Lardner, West, Littleton, Sherlock, Butler, Watson and Chalmers, to say nothing of other great and venerable names; but I have merely aimed to show that your attack upon it, on the floor of the Assembly, is without foundation, and to throw out such remarks as I have thought would counteract, especially in the minds of ingenuous youth, the pernicious effects of your speech on the choice of Chaplains: Not, however, that I should shrink from a vindication of the truth of the Christian Revelation, against your assaults, or those of any other writer. Some Christians, I am aware, who too much resemble timid Peter, and doubting Thomas, if they bear no resemblance to treacherous Judas, and even some Clergymen, of a similar description, and possessed of no small share of talent, have been fearful to have it known to the world, that çertain eminent geniuses, like Franklin and Jeffer
son, were tinctured with sceptisim or infidelity : But as I have said in another place, if not on a different occasion, and now repeat it: “Far be such feelings and such fears from my breast. I fear no name, whether dead or alive, however illustrious, that stands between me and the cause of my Redeemer; between the wisdom and the truth of God, as revealed in Christ Jesus, and the weakness, vanity and falsehood, of man, as exhibited in his fallen state :” And if any professor, who is a Clergyman, has such fears, let him throw off his clerical character, and abandon a post for which he never was intended, and to which he never could have been called by the Holy Spirit. For my owne part, I have never yet seen a reason advanced against Christianity, for which I could not offer a better one in behalf of it. In fact, all the good feeling, all the sound reasoning, and all the mature judgment, of our species, is in favor of it. The scriptures do indeed speak so clearly and so loudly, the voice of Nature's God, that no man who seriously listens to that voice, can doubt their divine origin. All I ask of you, Mr. Herttell, is to investigate the truth of the Sacred Volume, as the word and will of God, with the same diligence that you have stu. died several other subjects, and we shall never hear such another speech from you, as that which has called me out on this occasion.
But to proceed with the special object of these letters, I shall now examine the constitutionality of appointing Chaplains to the House of Assembly ;