Billeder på siden

expositors of reputation,-I will turn trinitarian myself. He says he does not expect to convince me; but who knows what he may accomplish? "Corragio! as the Spaniard says."

Because I could not pierce through a tremendously caliginous paragraph of his, in his former remarks, he answers, that it is not my vocation.-That is one way, and an easy way, of explaining dark things;-a way in which all sorts of nonsense may be made as clear as daylight.

There is but one passage in the remainder of P. W's remarks, on which I think it necessary to offer any observations. He cannot agree with me, either in my interpretation of the consequences of the rejection of Christianity by the Jews, or in the sentiment, that persecution affords any justification whatever of their conduct. His own sentiments he expresses as follows.

"If W. P. chooses to say that the man, who, as a member of civil society, is in no way responsible to his fellow-men, for his 'faith' or his 'heresy,' his 'religion' or his ‘irreligion' acts ‘a manful part,' in repelling their usurpation over his conscience, I have no objection to offer to this language. But I beg leave to remind him that 'the great question of liberty of conscience,' is not the greatest of all questions. There is a tribunal, infinitely superior to that of human opinion or human power, before which 'all creeds are' not 'on the same ground, and all distinctions of 'faith' do not 'sink into nothing;' where every inan shall stand or fall, according to his 'faith' or his 'heresy,' his 'religion,' or his 'irreligion;' and where it will appear that, if to hold fast 'heresy' and 'irreligion' was 'manful,' it was also sinful. In a word he who has acted 'a manful part,' in resisting the tyranny of men, may have acted a wicked part in trampling on the authority of Heaven, while he grappled a fatal error to his soul. And so far as this may be affirmed of the Jews, I meant to maintain, and do still maintain that their 'constancy' is any thing but 'noble.""

I did not expect, that P. W's ideas of the divine government would coincide with mine. They ap

proach, I doubt not, nearer to that wretched system, which, whatever may be the opportunities of the unconverted, or the circumstances under which the Gospel is presented to them, consigns them all over to God's wrath, and the fire which is never quenched; there is no help or apology for them-to hell they must go. I am shocked at such a faith; and grieved that they who call themselves Christians should profess it. In both my former letters, I maintained the opinion, and I still maintain it, that so far as persecution was a cause of the obstinacy of Jews and heathens, it was a justification of it. That it has been a great cause, especially in times past, there is no doubt. Who would not push away a creed with indignation, which was offered to him on the point of a sword, or with any human penalty attached to it whatever? Such a rejection is the dictate of nature, and I believe that it will be pardoned; and I further believe, that all the loss arising to Christianity from the employment of these means, lies heavily on the heads of those who have employed them. O! how infinitely would I prefer, at the awful period of retribution, the lot of the most benighted inhabitant of the most benighted land, to that of the miserable usurper of God's prerogative, who would have forced him by unhallowed violence into a corrupted religion.

He at last takes leave of the subject, "with the remark, that if Heaven do not prosper the attempt to convert the Jews, it will be crushed without the opposition of W. P." And I add, that if it succeeds, it will succeed all the better without the aid of P. W.

I will also take leave of this subject, with the following remarks from that forcible writer, Robert Robinson.

"What remains? Only this at present. Let us avoid putting stumbling blocks in the way of the Jews. Let us propose christianity to them as Jesus proposed it to them. Instead of the modern magic of scholastical divinity, let us lay before them their own prophecies. Let us show them their accomplishment in Jesus. Let us applaud their hatred of idolatry. Let us show them the morality of Jesus in our lives and tempers. Let us never abridge their civil liberty, nor ever try to force their consciences. Let us remind them, that as Jews they are bound to make the law of Moses the rule of their actions. Let us try to inspire them with suspicion of rabinical and received traditions, and a generous love of investigating religious truth for themselves. Let us avoid all rash judging, and leave their future state to God."

Yours, &c.

W. P.

Letter from General Washington, in Reply to an
Address from the Hebrew Congregation in New-
port, R. I. presented to him in August, 1790.
To the Hebrew Congregation at Newport, Rhode Island.


While I receive with much satisfaction your address, replete with expressions of affection and esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in Newport, from all classes of citizens. The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past, is rendered the more sweet

from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.

If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favoured, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.

The citizens of the United States of America, have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy; a policy worthy of imitation.-All possess alike, liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of the people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherited natural rights. For happily the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character, not to avow, that I am pleased with your favourable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of other inhabitants-while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.

May the Father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way, everlastingly happy.


Ordination Exercises at New Bedford.

We have received a pamphlet, containing the Sermon, Charge, and Right Hand of Fellowship, delivered at the ordination of the Rev. Mr. Dewey, at New Bedford, of which there is a notice in our last January number.

THE SERMON, by the Rev. Mr. Tuckerman, from Hebrews, i. 1, 2. is on the distinctive character and claims of the religion of Christ. These the preacher views, in the first place, as exhibited in the manner in which our religion was taught by our Lord; secondly, in the circumstance that in all its doctrines, it addresses itself directly to the reason and judgment of all mankind; and thirdly, in the fact that it meets, accounts for, and proposes to accomplish, all the wants of our immortal nature. From the last division we quote the following excellent sentiments.

[ocr errors]

"I ask then, if your religion, by the sentiments it gives us of God; by the views which it opens to us of heaven; by the new relations into which it brings man at once to his Maker, to his Saviour, to his fellow creatures, and to the eternal world which it reveals, has not given a direction to the wants of our intellectual and moral nature, in which, increase them in number as you will, and enlarge each of them as you may, every soul may obtain assurance of ultimate, and perfect satisfaction? Yes, darkened as is the human mind by ignorance, and depraved as is the heart by sin, it is still the glory of our nature, to be capable of indefinite, and eternal improvement. And it is the glory of our religion, that it reveals to its believers a state of existence, in which all our capacities of eternal progress and happiness, may be satisfied. It most distinctly teaches us also, that the wants of our hearts, to which all the objects of this world are so disproportioned, were designed for the very end, of raising our affections to things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God; of engaging us in the cares, which concern our eternal

« ForrigeFortsæt »