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philosophy; but the Divine Science of Christianity alone can enlighten, regale, and purify the soul : Nor can we be surprised at the exclusive beauty and perfection of the system, when we reflect for a moment on the exclusive greatness, grandeur and glory of its immaculate and immutable author. What deep interest, what immeasurable greatness, what unrivalled moral sublimity (as I lately had occasion to exclaim, and here repeat it) is there in the character of Christ !-HE who suffered for all that could suffer, and felt for all that could feel! And how do those profane authors, and even some eloquent preachers, lose sight of the unsullied purity, the matchless dignity, and the GLORIOUB DIVINITY of that immaculate being, when they attempt to compare him, in any shape, with such mere mortals as Socrates or Plato. Behold him, at the early age of twelve, confuting and confounding the wisest men of the age; and astonishing them, at the same time, by the superiority of his intellect: Hear him afterwards preaching on the mount, where he subdues the heads and hearts of thousands, many of whom probably had followed him in expectation of making merry at his folly or weakness! Follow ħim to the bedside as the ministering Angel of health to the sick! Behold him opening the eyes of the blind—unstopping the ears of the deaf-ma-. king the lame and the halt to leap for joy! Hear him rebuke Satan, and beho!d the arch fiend of hell cowering beneath the divinity and dignity of his countenance, and the vivid but mild lightning of his
eye! See him walk upon the water-still the raging waves of the ocean—and raise the dead from their graves! Then follow him to Calvaryand there behold him dying on the Cross, to save a lost, degenerate world! And above all, listen to his last petition, to him from whom he received his commission as the Messenger of Grace-that matchless effusion of brevity, eloquence, and magnanimity, which no mortal genius ever has, or ever can equal :-"FATHER FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO! Who can be surprised that the centurion, on this occasion, should cry out—"TRULY THIS MAN WAS THE SON OF GOD!" For if this be not the climax of greatness and grandeur of soul, I know not what is. We must look in vain for it, if it be not here. The light of this character reflects its rays athwart the mental and moral universe, defying all comparison, and throwing all other greatness and goodness into the shade. He that merely glances at this character, and does not admire it, is to be pitied for want of feeling and discernment; but he that studies it, and does not find his whole soul absorbed in it, may claim kindred with the stoics, the barbarians, or the cannibals, of any age or clime, but cannot pretend to think “as a sage," or to feel “as a man!"
With these parting admonitions, which I trust you will excuse, as flowing not from any distrust of your virtue and firmness, but from a sincere and anxious desire for your happiness, both here and hereafter; permit me respectfully to dedicate to you this humble effort of my pen, in behalf of the best interests of my country, and of mankind; and" especially of the strongest, the only sure and substantial bulwark of the rights, dignity, and safety of the Female Sex. I could wish the offering more worthy of the shrine at which it is presented; but what it wants of intrinsic worth, will be more than supplied by your kind acceptance and favor. That work cannot be considered mean, which female intellect, piety and loveliness approve ; nor can Criticism, with all her boasted tact and discrimination, banish from the reading world, a volume, which the mantle of woman's charity has generously shielded, or the unequivocal smile of her approbation has sanctioned. But lest my Dedication should tread too far upon the skirts of my Preface, I must now beg leave to subscribe myself, with the utmost sincerity, and the highest respect,
The circumstances which led to the writing of the following Letters, as well as the inconvenience under which they were written, call perhaps for a brief explanation: And so likewise does the reason for publishing them in the present shape.
When the last Legislature convened, I was absent from Albany. Nearly six weeks after its der livery had elapsed, before I saw the speech of Mr. Herttell, in the House of Assembly, against the choice of clerical chaplains. The moment I read the speech it struck me forcibly that it required an answer. It related to a very important subject, involving the dignity and respectability of the LegisJature, the character of the state at large, and the happiness of mankind : It aimed a vital blow at the Christian Religion, as well as an ancient and salutary form in legislative proceedings; and emanata ing from the bosom of the Legislature itself, I could not but view it as a performance dangerous in its tendency to the best interests of the people, not only of this State, but of the Union.
Under these impressions, I waited for and expected to see an answer, also from the hall of legislation, which should treat the subject at large, and“ amply refute the wrong notions of Mr. Herttell. In this rational expectation I was disappointed; for if any such answer was made on the floor of the Assembly, it was not published. My friend CHARLES Rogers, Esq., made a brief and bold appeal to the good feeling and judgment of the House, which
though it did honor to his head and heart, did not meet the question as it ought to have been met in its full extent. For several weeks, however, I did not think of entering the field of controversy myself; nor should I at last have done so, had any one else come forward as the champion of truth on the occasion; and had it not been that I heard the speech of Mr. Herttell read by a bar-room orator, who, together with a part of his audience, approved of it highly; and concluded by recommending it to general circulation and perusal. . The discussion of the subject, which ensued, satisfied me, that if no one better qualified would assume the task of answering it, a sense of duty demanded that I should attempt it: And being shortly after engaged at Salem, in a pursuit which required only a portion of my time, I commenced the Letters, and obtained permission from the worthy Editors of the Washington County Post, to use their columns in giving publicity to them. * It will be perceived from the dates of my letters, that they were written rather hastily; and moreover, it is proper to add, that I had not at command the various necessary authorities, which might have enabled me to treat the subject more effectually.
With all its discrepancies, however, both of style and matter, a number of gentlemen, of well known talents and piety, have urged its publication in the present form, as being calculated, in their judgment, to check the progress of that spirit of Infidelity, which has shown itself so boldly on the floor of the Legislature. I am not satisfied, that my labors will have the desired effect; and I have certainly yielded more to the judgment of others, than my own, in this publication. Be this as it may, it is hoped the work may not be altogether in vain.
But if I am not satisfied with my own labors in the present case, of one point I am quite certain, which is, that the “signs of the times" loudly de