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pp. 96, 97.
if the master felt this before his slave had wrested emancipation from him, to check his tyranny; and if the freed slave felt it after, to check his retribution."
And what an indignant appeal is this, addressed to those who despise, oppress, persecute, or in any way, by thought or deed, wrong their brethren.
Oppressor, what are you crushing ? Bigot, what are you cursing? Man-destroyer, legally or illegally, by your own hands or others, in the field or on the scaffold, by royal edict or assassin's dagger, what are you mangling? The image of your God, in your brother's person ; and every drop of that stream you are spilling on the dust like water, is of your own blood. God made you and him of it, — of the same, of one blood ; that you might dwell on the earth in unity and peace, in good will and charity, and mutual affection. Think, proud ones of the earth, as you trample in scorn upon the necks of multitudes, that it is your own nature and blood that you debase in their debasement. And if you felt, as it is shame and crime for man not to feel, you would writhe like the noblest spirit of chivalry under the blow of cowardice or the brand of the galley slave, at every insult which you now wantonly offer to humanity. Tyrants and oppressors ! what are you doing, with your exactions and extortions, your proscriptions, banishments, and executions ? You are laying waste human homes and hearts. You are violating that law of brotherhood which alone gives you a place in the rank of rational creatures ; and selling your best birthright for passion's or flattery's mess of poisoned pottage. In your momentary success, you are but subjecting yourselves to guilt, others to misery, and in both fearfully triumphing over your own nature, and making it a suffering, a loathsome, and a hellish thing. You are flying in the Almighty face of God, who to all nations of men bears the relation of their common Father.”
pp. 102, 103. In a calmer, but hardly less eloquent style, is the sermon on gathering up the fragments, from John vi. 12. In this, the duties of domestic economy, of the improvement of time, of the preservation of all the records, however minute, of heavenly and earthly wisdom, and of attention to all the means of virtue and happiness, are enforced with the preacher's usual felicity ; and the close is as follows:
“Let us learn, then, never, in affecting the great, to despise the minute ; nor to think of enlarging the whole while neglecting the parts ; nor of doing much in years while insensible to
the waste of hours; nor of having the happiness of any portion of time while we aim not at that of eternity. Sound philosophy is the combination of accumulation and accuracy in particulars, with comprehensive generalization. Moral excellence is analogous; and so is the spirit of religion. Christianity has its prayer for the child, and redemption for the world ; and the prayer would not be so good were not the redemption so stupendous. That not a single sensation of pleasure, nor the most trifling impulse of benevolence, should be despised or crushed, is the lesson which commends itself most to him who inost enters into the plan of infinite wisdom and the prospect of universal happiness. The Omnipotence of the universal Creator ordains that of the merest fragments of his works nothing should be lost. And nothing shall. The withered hope, the broken spirit, the imperfect character, the moral fragments of the present state, shall be gathered for nobler forms and combinations, as out of dissolving elements shall arise the new heavens and earth wherein righteousness and blessedness will ever dwell."
There is a fine sermon in this collection on mental hospitality,” from Hebrews xiii. 2: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers ; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. The applications which are made of this exhortation, to the various opportunities which solicit the mind's hospitality, and repay it in unexpected ways and under heavenly forms, are both true and striking, and show how generously all the occasions of our life may and ought to be estimated. Take the few following examples from the many which are stated.
" When illness has caused a cessation from active pursuits, or when the heavy pressure of calamity has benumbed and crushed the mind, and recourse has been had to some new intellectual occupation, dallying with a history, a science, a language, a theory; merely, perhaps, for the purpose of disengaging the thoughts a brief while from depressing topics ; how often has not only the first purpose been answered, but the individual been led on unawares, and found unexpected sources of activity, of enjoyment, of usefulness, blessings tenfold to himself, and to others through his instrumentality ! Partly, at least, we are indebted to the mental and bodily sufferings of Cowper for his poetry ; and to the deafness of Dr. Lardner, for the Credibility of the Gospel History. How often has the proper conduct of a child towards his parents, his filial respect and affection, his attention to their feel
ings, wants, wishes, and situation, his unwearied and love. ly ministering to them in their infirmities, perhaps even their fretfulness, not only had its natural, and common, and sufficient recompense, but attracted notice in its unobtrusiveness, and, by the character it created in the minds of others, paved the way, even after the lapse of years, for his success in life, and raised him to a station which he might never else have attained ! Sometimes an individual, accustomed to be thought for and acted for, is suddenly thrown into a lonely and difficult situation, requiring clearness of mind, promptness of decision, energy of conduct ; and all the needful attributes spring up, and the new duties are strenuously discharged; and not only is the actual object gained, but by the attention, the admiration, the interest excited, some of earth's best social blessings flow in, like an unlooked for spring-shower upon fields and gardens, making the heart's wilderness to blossom as the rose.
Oh! there are stray gifts of God's goodness scattered over all earth's paths of duty ; and what seem weeds, give forth balm and fragrance to those who tread them with wounded feet and fainting senses.
While immortal fruits grow on the tree of life, its shade is the sweetest shelter ; birds of Paradise sing among the branches, and its leaves are for the healing of the nations."
- pp. 169, 170. We need say no more.
Such as the above extracts are, is the whole volume. They who are pleased with these, will be pleased with that. "To ourselves, the views offered in these sermons appear so benevolent and noble, so elevated and elevating, and the language is such a worthy vehicle of the thought, that we feel strongly desirous that others should apply to the sources from which we have received so much pure delight. They will charm the tasteful, and satisfy the thoughtful reader. They will assist him who is prejudiced to get rid of his prejudices, and they will help him who is of a truly liberal mind to persist and glory in his liberality. They will strengthen the weak, and increase the strength of the strong.
Art. III. – 1. Report of the Arguments of the Attorney
of the Commonwealth at the Trial of ABNER KNEELAND, for Blasphemy, in the Municipal and Supreme Courts, in Boston, January and May, 1834. (Collected and published at the request of some Christians of various denominations.) Beals, Homer, and Co. 1834. 8vo.
2. A Speech delivered before the Municipal Court of the
City of Boston, in Defence of ABNER KNEELAND, on an Indictment for Blasphemy in January Term, 1834. By Andrew Dunlap. Boston. Printed for the Publishers. 1834. 8vo. pp. 132.
We do not feel called upon at this time to express an opinion upon the expediency of this trial, still less upon the constitutionality of that law upon which conviction would depend ; these are matters of private judgment and of legal inquiry. Yet we must say that for ourselves we would willingly bear any present ill that may result from a proceeding looked upon by some among us with disapprobation, for the sake of the attention which it has excited in regard to a subject on which we have long thought a dangerous apathy prevailed. We would recommend the arguments in behalf of the Commonwealth to the attentive perusal of all who, from an ignorance of the present state of infidelity among us, seem inclined to pay no regard whatever to the necessity of checking its progress. As showing the ultimate effects of that system which is now so boldly advocated among us, that pamphlet is entitled to particular consideration.
If there be a doubt in the minds of many concerning the ultimate effects of the recent judicial proceedings, and a great difference of opinion about the most prudent course which the friends of religion and morality should take in the present condition of things, all must agree that ignorance and indifference are here entirely out of place. Infidelity has now assumed a very lofty tone. It no longer conceals itself under the garb of hypocrisy, nor is satisfied by appearing indifferent to religious obligations and hopes, but it avows openly its presence and influence.
It is not
in philosophical treatises and historical compilations, that doubts concerning the divine origin and sanctions of the gospel are covertly introduced; infidelity now has its treatises, tracts, and newspapers. It does not, as formerly, content itself with working in secret, but has its advocates in most of the cities of the Union, and its active agents in the principal towns of many of the States. Buildings are erected for the convenience of its friends, festivals are kept in honor of its advocates, societies are formed for the purposes of united exertion, and the same vessels which have carried the missionaries of Christianity into heathen lands, have been freighted with books, “indecent and abominable in their character, and wilfully wicked in their designs." Meanwhile those who are under its influence have left all that appertains to Christianity far behind them. They have grappled with the great truths of natural religion, have denied the existence of an intelligent First Cause, and cut up the roots of those spiritual truths on which the soul may feed, by denying the very existence of a soul. Their abominable doctrines, equally destructive to man's present happiness as to his future hopes, are polluting the very fountains of our moral and social institutions, by being held up to the young, the ignorant, and the vicious, as the lessons of sound philosophy, and the only guides to pleasure, to knowledge, and to virtue.
We know it is an unpleasant and a thankless task to hold up to the Christian, the character and conduct of those who mock his holiest tenets, and strive to insult and destroy the religion which he reverences as divine. Still, however disagreeable, it must be done; for it is only by acquainting ourselves with the origin of the evil, that we can discover its nature, and resist its influence. We would, therefore, inquire into the sources and character of infidelity, as it now exists among us.
Perhaps we cannot trace the origin and progress of infidelity in any better way, than by marking its influence, and the means by which it attains its ascendency, over an individual mind. The various minor causes which are usually thought to originate and support infidel sentiments seem to us insufficient 10 produce their blasting effects upon a moderately cultivated mind. The unworthiness of Christian professors, false views of the nature and sanctions of