PB Writings of Elder John Leland

001 Preface


THE candid reader is earnestly requested, before entering upon the perusal of the following pages, to follow the compiler through a short preface. It was at the suggestion of one of Mr. Leland's family that I first thought of attempting this work; and after her removal by death, it was with the subsequent encouragement and approbation of others, that I continued to pursue it. When first proposed to me, I viewed it as an impossibility, both on account of my inadequacy, and of the little leisure afforded me by a vocation which involved arduous labors and anxious cares; but an ardent desire to see the work accomplished, and the uncertainty that it would be attempted by an abler hand, together with the consideration that time was continually thinning the number of those who could furnish accurate information, or correct unavoidable mistakes, at length determined me to make the trial. Had I then foreseen, that, by the death of some, and the removal of others, I should be deprived of the aid on which I mainly depended, and left to complete the task alone, I should have yielded entirely to the sense of incompetency which, even with the prospect of such assistance, scarcely permitted me to hope for success. It is not, therefore, as a mere matter of form, but with a painful consciousness of the imperfect manner in which the work has been executed, and of the disappointment which many will probably feel on seeing it, that I mention the circumstances under which it was commenced, and some of the embarrassments that have attended its progress and completion. Viewed as a literary performance, I am happy to feel assured, that, so far as my own share in it is concerned, it is beneath the notice of criticism; on that point, therefore, I am free from solicitude.

Circumstances have rendered the task a much more arduous one than I at first anticipated. These circumstances were so unexpected to me, that I should have supposed their occurrence, in this instance, singular, had I not met with the following passage, in a book of similar kind, published many years ago, which describes so nearly my own difficulties, that I cannot forbear transcribing it.

"Various causes have contributed to create the delay which has attended the publication of the book. It was with considerable difficulty that I collected the materials necessary for my purpose. I had imagined, from the general impression which prevailed, at least, among" (Mr. L.'s) "friends, of the propriety of such a publication, that information would have been spontaneously offered, from every quarter whence it might be furnished. But in this I was disappointed; and it was some considerable time from the annunciation of my design, before I was sufficiently supplied to commence, with any degree of prudence, the composition of the volume. In addition to this, the laborious duties of my charge, conspired often to suspend the prosecution of the work, for the appearance of which, I knew many to be anxious, but none more so than myself."

Several important works it has been impossible to obtain, and I have, therefore, though with deep regret, been compelled to omit them. Whether they are entirely out of print, or whether the notices calling for them, have not been seen by those who possess them, or from some cause they were not disposed to furnish them for publication, it is in vain to inquire. Such, however, is the fact. And here I would present my sincere and heartfelt thanks to those kind friends, in various parts of the Union, who have interested themselves in procuring such materials as I have needed, and would assure them, that their efforts, though many of them may have been unsuccessful, shall ever be remembered with gratitude. In one or two instances, writings have been forwarded, supposed by the friends who sent them to be those of Leland, which proved to have been from some other pen; but my thanks are equally due to those friends for their promptness in offering the aid I needed, though their kindness was, by that mistake, rendered unavailing.

The object proposed in this work, is a full and correct exhibition of the character and sentiments of John Leland. Every thing, therefore, that seemed calculated to throw additional light on these, or without which the exhibition of them would have been imperfect, has been inserted. Some pieces have been omitted wholly, and others in part, to prevent the unnecessary repetition of the same ideas; and this has been done, in most cases, except where those ideas are so connected with others, or so brought to bear upon different subjects, that they could not be disconnected without doing violence to the author's evident meaning.

In some of his poetical efforts, Mr. Leland evidently falls below himself. While some of his hymns are equal in poetical merit, as well as in spirituality and devotion, to most of those in general use, there are other pieces which are manifestly deficient in the former of these qualities. In such cases, they are inserted, not because of their poetical merit, but for other reasons which their deficiency, in this respect, could not set aside.

It is well known that his sentiments, on some subjects, differed from those entertained by many of his brethren at the present day. Individuals have, therefore, sometimes attempted to explain his ideas in such a way as to make them harmonize with their own views; in some instances, entirely destroying, by their exposition, the force of his own words. This I have had opportunity of knowing, was extremely annoying to him. He has frequently been heard to express the wish that his own language might be permitted to speak for itself, and to express, as he intended it to do, the honest convictions of his own mind. This being known to be his feeling on the subject, it is hoped that if ever any of his writings are republished, his wishes may be regarded as sacred. His opinions can be by no one better expressed than by himself, and his life is their best comment.

The order followed in the arrangement of most of the works is that of the time (as nearly as can be ascertained) when they were written or published. This will amble the reader to trace the workings of his mind, and to discover whatever changes took place in his views from time to time.

A number of pieces will, perhaps, appear to those acquainted with them, somewhat changed. It may be proper to mention, in regard to such, that there being several copies differing from erch other, I have taken the liberty, in some cases, to put the parts together, and in others to select the one that appeared to me the best.

I will only add that the delay in the appearance of the work, since its preparation for the press has been completed, (a period of more than a year,) has been occasioned entirely by the want of a sufficient number of subscriptions to defray the expenses of publication.


IT having been thought advisable, by those who executed the following work, to throw it into smaller type than was at first contemplated, the number of pages falls considerably short of the original estimate, though the same amount of matter is contained. It was deemed most expedient, under the circumstances, to include the whole in one volume; but it is presumed the consequent reduction in the price, together with the superior style of binding in which it now appears, will render it equally satisfactory and acceptable to subscribers.

With great reluctance the compiler was obliged to forego the personal examination of the proof-sheets, which could not be done without occasioning great delay in the issuing of the work. A number of errors of considerable importance remain uncorrected except in the errata, which the reader is desired to consult. Other inaccuracies in orthography, punctuation, etc., may be observed; but those which it was supposed the reader would easily understand and correct for himself, are not noticed in the errata.

002 Events in the Life of John Leland


And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee. - MOSES.
Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not - PAUL.

I WAS born in Grafton, about 40 miles west of Boston, in the year of our Lord 1754, on the 14th of May.

The earliest public events which I can remember, are the death of George the Second, and the coronation of George the Third, together with some melancholy accounts of the French and Indian war. But a number of juvenile incidents are fresh in memory, which took place when I was two, three, and four years old; some of which I will here relate.

When my father was a young man, he was convinced, (as he has told me,) by reading the Bible, that believers were the only proper subjects of baptism, and immersion the only gospel mode; but when he broke his mind to his mother, she gave him an alarming warning against heresy; and as there was no preachers thereabout but pedobaptists, he sunk from his conviction, and concluded that his mother and the ministers were right. Accordingly, after he was married, and had a son born unto him, he presented his child for baptism: but after the rite was performed, his mind was solemnly arrested with the text, "Who hath required this at your hands?" that it was with difficulty he held his son from falling out of his arms; nor did he get over the shock until he had six more children born. He then got his scruples so far removed, that he invited the minister of the town to come to his house on a certain Sunday, after public service was over, and baptize all of them. At this time I was something more than three years old. When I found out what the object of the meeting was, I was greatly terrified, and betook myself to flight. As I was running fast down a little hill, I fell upon my nose, which made the blood flow freely. My flight was in vain; I was pursued, overtaken, picked up and had the blood scrubbed off my face, and so was prepared for the baptismal water.

All the merit of this transaction, I must give to the maid who caught me, my father and the minister; for I was not a voluntary candidate, but a reluctant subject, forced against my will.

In early life I had a thirst for learning. At five years old, by the instruction of a school dame, I could read the Bible currently, and afterwards, in the branches of learning, taught in common schools, I made as good proficiency as common. But what proficiency soever I made in learning (owing to a stiffness of nature and rusticity of manners) I could never gain the good will of my masters, nor was I a favorite among the scholars.

The character which one of my masters gave me, seems to have been the opinion that all of them formed of me. Said he, "John has more knowledge than good manners."

The minister of the town was importunate with my father to give me a collegiate education for the ministry. The doctor of the place was equally solicitous to make me a physician. My father designed me to live with him, to support his declining years. My own intention was to be a lawyer, if possible; but in our designs and wishes, we have all been disappointed.

As my father had no library, and I was fond of reading, the Bible was my best companion.

Deism and Universalism I never heard of, and of course was what is called a believer in revelation.

I had no thought that I myself was right, but believed that some great thing must be done for me (I did not know what) or I could not be saved.

At times I had awful horrors of conscience, when death, judgment and the world to come arrested my attention; but these horrors did not reform me from vice nor turn me to the Lord.

I was almost in all evil, full of vanity, exceedingly attached to frolicking and foolish wickedness. When I reflect on the follies of my youth, the question of Paul involuntarily rises in my heart; "What fruits had you then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?" In this course I continued until I was eighteen years old.

In the summer of 1772, I met with one thing singular. When I was returning from my frolicks or evening diversions, the following words would sound from the skies, "You are not about the work which you have got to do. " The last time I heard those sounds, I stood amazed; and turning my eyes up to the heavens, it seemed that there was a work of more weight than a mountain, which I had yet to perform.

Soon after this, I cannot tell how or why, a conviction took place in my mind, that all below the sun could not satisfy or tranquilize the mind. The world and all that was in it appeared of small consequence. And without any unusual horror of mind or dread of damnation, the charms of those youthful diversions, which had been sweeter to me than the honey-comb, lost all their sweetness, nor could I conceive how there could be any pleasure in them.

About this time, there was an evening frolic in the neighborhood, and I concluded to go to see whether there was delight in it or not; and if not, to find out the cause of its death in my mind. Accordingly I went, but found nothing to please, but everything to disgust. After I had tried the experiment, I asked a young man if he would return home with me, which he agreed to do. On our return, I introduced the subject of religion for conversation on the road. The next day he reported, that he believed John would soon be a preacher, for he would talk on no subject but religion.

At this time, a young preacher (Elhanan Winchester) came into Grafton, and preached and prayed to the astonishment of the people; and a young woman, it was said, was converted. When I heard the report, it greatly effected me, for I had been at many dances with her. The result with me was, now the waters are troubled, and it is time for me to step in.

Reading the Bible and meditating on the shortness of time, and the importance of being prepared for death and judgment, occupied the chiefest of my time.

After a few weeks, in the month of September, Mr. Winchester came to Grafton again. I heard of it on Saturday evening, and concluded that I would read the Bible that evening, and attend meeting the following Sunday, and be converted like Priscilla, (for that was the name of the young woman.) When I went to meeting, I heard the man preach, and while he was preaching, something kept answering in my breast, yes, yes, yes, it is so. After he had done, I question whether all the men in the world could have convinced me that it was not the truth. After public service was over, the people retired to the water, where Priscilla was baptized. What I saw and heard at the water, greatly effected me. There I stood upon a rock, and made my vows to God to forsake all sinful courses and seek the Lord, if he would direct me how.

From this, I began to pray, but was hard put to it to find a place secret enough. I was afraid someone would hear me, and was confounded to hear my own voice. How often did the words of Jesus sound like thunder in my ears: "He that is ashamed to own me before men, I will be ashamed to own him before my Father and before his angels."

From this time down, fifteen months, a volume might be written on the views, exercises and conflicts of my mind.

As the work of God broke out in Grafton, Northbridge and Upton, I heard much preaching and conversation about the change which is essential to salvation; on which I formed the following conclusions:

1 st. That I must be deeply convicted of sin, greatly borne down under the weight of it, and heartily repent of it. This led me to pray much for conviction, read the threatenings of God to alarm myself, and study to make sin look horrid.

2dly. That if ever I was converted, I should know it as distinctly as if a surgeon should cut open my breast with his knife, take out my heart and wash it, put it back again and close up the flesh. This caused me to think light of any pleasing views, which sometimes would break into my mind, how God could pardon sinners for the sake of the Mediator. All was nothing to me, without I could be converted in the way which I laid out, and know for certain that I was born of God.

3dly. That whenever I should be enabled to believe in Jesus, I should see him as plainly as I could see an object of sense. While waiting and hoping for these things, (some of which I have never yet seen or felt,) my mind was led to the following views and exercises:

First. To see the extent and purity of the holy law: That it was the perfect rule of eternal right, which arose from the relations that exist between God and man, and between man and man; that it will remain unalterable while the perfections of God and the faculties of men exist, and that the least deviation from this rule is sin.

Secondly. By looking into the law, as a clear glass, to see my own weakness and wickedness. Here, I found myself as incompetent to repent and believe in Jesus, as I was to keep the whole law. Never was a poor creature more perplexed with a hard, unyielding heart, and a corrupt nature, than I was. I often compared my heart to a spring of water, rising up against God and godliness.

Thirdly. To view the justice of God in my condemnation. Never did the benevolence of God appear more pleasant to me than justice did. I was not willing to be damned; but thought, if damnation must be my lot, it would be some relief to my mind that God would be just.

Fourthly. To discover the sufficiency of a Mediator. For a number of months before I had a settled hope of my interest in Christ, the plan of atonement, by the blood of the Lamb, appeared to me as plain as ever it has since. Once, I remember to have broke out thus, when walking in the road: "O what a complete Saviour is Jesus, every way suited to my needs: I can be saved no other way - I do hot wish to be saved any other way - but fear I shall never be saved in that way."

There were a number of young people converted in the place, who assembled together for religious worship, with whom my heart was greatly united. While thinking of them, at a certain time, the words of John came into my mind: "We know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren;" which gave me a small hope, for a few minutes, that perhaps I was born of God.

One morning, about day-break, as I was musing on my bed, upon this text, "After ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise," it struck my mind that souls first believed before they were sealed; on which conclusion, the following words rushed into my mind, as if they had been spoken by some other, "Ye are already sealed unto the day of redemption." If so, said I to myself, then surely I am converted. But as I had never passed through stages of distress equal to some others, nor equal to what I supposed an essential prerequisite to conversion, I could not believe for myself. And yet the words continued to run in my mind, "Ye are already sealed unto the day of redemption."

One morning, my father was reading a chapter, when the following text arrested my attention with irresistible force: "If ye will not believe, ye shall not be established." At another time my thoughts ran thus: "If it is possible that I am a Christian, it is certain that I am the least of all. " On which the words of the Prophet came into my mind with great force: "Peace, peace to him that is near, and to him that is far off, saith the Lord, and I will heal him."

Though very far from being satisfied with myself, yet with a very feeble hope which I began to have, on the solicitation of others, I did sometimes attempt to pray in small circles. And here I will relate a strange event, which I know to be true, but can never account for it. In the month of February, 1774, in the time of great snow, a very respectable preacher, Rev. Samuel Dennis, came into Grafton and preached one afternoon at a Mr. Wheeler's. I attended; and notwithstanding his talents, he appeared muddy in his mind about salvation freely by grace. After he had done, the people all took their seats, and strange to tell, that I, naturally bashful, with hardly any hope that I was converted, should rise and state my objections against the discourse, and give another interpretation to the texts which the preacher had quoted to support his doctrine: after which I retired into another room; but very soon a messenger came and told me I must return and dispute the point with Mr. Dennis. I returned, but who can describe what I felt? I said thus to myself: "I am not converted myself, and it must be the Devil that has instigated me to harrass the people of God. " Mr. Dennis addressed me like a gentleman and Christian. Said he, "Mr. Leland, you have lodged your objections against my doctrine; I wish to discourse with you on the subject, for the cause is not mine but God's." Upon which the battle began between a venerable preacher, clothed in black, with a large white wig on his head, and a beardless boy, not twenty years old, coarsely clad, and wearing a leather apron. The people all stuck to see and hear. After about three-quarters of an hour, there was a cessation of arms. At any rate, as I was the querist, and he the defendant, such questions were flung in his way that he could not well solve; and concluded by saying, "The Lord have mercy on us, for we are poor ignorant creatures."

On this, there sprang up immediately in my heart a strong desire to pray. Indeed, I felt as if I must pray or burst; but the preacher, the whole congregation, and my father among the rest, were all present, and I had never attempted the like before. At this crisis, one of the young converts came to me, and said, "John, won't you pray?" I durst not refuse, lest I should quench the Spirit. I proposed it, and the congregation united by rising. I had not spoken many words, before the preacher, my father, and all others were out of the way. I felt strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Prayer being closed, I felt impelled to give the people a word of exhortation, which was the first address of the kind that ever I made. After this a psalm was sung; when the line came forward, "We tremble and rejoice," I felt confident in myself that I did tremble before the greatness, and rejoice in the goodness of God; and spake within myself thus: "I am converted, and will not believe Satan any more when he tells me otherwise." This frame of mind continued a few minutes, and then the vision closed, and I returned home full of heaviness, reproaching myself for my forwardness and presumption. The next day, I went around and told some who heard me the day before, that they need not mind any thing that I had said, for I was a poor unconverted sinner.

My desire was to be searched and not deceived. I spent nearly a whole day, as I was going a little journey, praying in David's words, "Search me, O God, and try me, and know if there be any evil in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. The night following, I dreamed that I must read Ps 32:8, which I did as soon as I awoke. The words are, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go. I will guide thee with mine eye."

My heart was greatly attached to the Holy Scripture. I have not yet forgot the burning desire - the soul-longings that I had to know what was the mind of God, contained in his word. I would read - then pray - then read and pray again, &c. that I might know the truth as it is in Jesus.

One evening, as I was walking the road alone, I was greatly cast down, and expressed myself thus: "I am not a Christian; I have never been convicted and converted like others, who are true saints. The Devil shall deceive me with false hopes no longer. I will never pretend to religion, until I know that I am born of God! " These words I spoke aloud; but immediately the words of Peter rushed into my mind, with great energy, "I know not the man. " These words dashed my conclusion and resolution to atoms in a moment. It was a shock to the centre of my heart. From that day to this minute, which is a term of forty six years, amidst all the doubts, darkness, troubles and temptations that I have had, I have never said that I knew not Christ, or that I was unconverted.

Soon after this, I received great comfort from Pr 30:5. Every word of God, both precept and promise, seemed pure. I felt my soul yield up to Christ and trust in him, and believed he would be my shield and defence.

A young man, about my age, in the neighborhood, professed to be converted. The work was short with him, and he came out strong and bold. He and myself set up evening meetings, to sing, pray, and speak according to our proportion of faith, as the Spirit gave us utterance. A number of men opened their houses, and many came in to hear the boys. It was common for each of us in turn to preach two or three of our sort of sermons at each meeting. When I was going to these meetings, I often had such fears that I was not converted, but only deceived - that I had learned these things of men and not of Christ; and viewing the greatness of the work of manifesting truth to the consciences of men in the sight of God; all together would nearly take away my strength, so that I could not walk. At such times, I would resolve to appoint no more meetings. But when I got to the meeting, the gloom and horror of my mind would subside, which emboldened me to appoint another; but when I had left the meeting and was returning home, the same load would fall upon me. In this course I continued from February to June.

The work of ingathering, which prevailed the year before, seemed to be over; and I know not that any new cases of conversion took place at these little meetings.

Within the time that I have been treating of, I visited one of the young converts, who told me his dream. Said he,

"I dreamed I was down by the burying-ground in Grafton, and saw a large company of people coming from the north-east, and you were in the midst of them, riding in a horse-cart. The procession came to the place where a gallows was erected. The hangman drove his cart under the gallows, and fastened the halter which was around your neck to the transverse of the gallows. You then arose, and, with hands and eyes towards heaven, said, 'Lord Jesus, for thy cause I am brought to this end.' The hangman then led off the horse and cart - you swung, and I awoke. Soon I slept and dreamed again, that I was in Worcester, where was a vast concourse of people, and Captain G. among the rest: said the Captain to me 'Do you know John Leland?' I answered, 'yes.' 'Well,' said he, 'John is to be hanged today, for preaching heresy.' The procession then moved into the burying-ground, in Worcester, with you in the cart, where the same tragedy was repeated that was done in Grafton."

This dream, told to me with great solemnity, when I was so weak and fearful, made me more ready to halt than I was before.

Two things greatly perplexed me at this time. One was, that I felt more moral evil in myself, than I could see or believe there was in the young converts. When I saw them with their lamb-like faces and dove-like eyes, and heard them pray and praise, they appeared to me seraphical; and I had formed the conclusion, that if I should ever be converted, I should be so too; but now, (notwithstanding the little hope which I entertained for myself, and durst not deny it,) I found more corruption in me than can be described. The other was, the want of will. At times, I would feel as if my whole soul was absorbed in the fountain of love, and devout prayer was the breath of my heart; at other times, I would feel such amazing languor and want of will, that if I might have had all the glories of heaven for asking, I could not have sincerely done it. This gave me a very poor opinion of myself. Indeed, from that time to the present, I have had a constant falling out with myself; which leads me to cry out, O, wretched man that I am!

To these two perplexities, I may add another, which was a constant worry in my mind about preaching. No sooner was my mind exercised about the salvation of my soul, than it was agitated about preaching. The number of sermons (such as they were) that I preached, when alone by myself, was very great. Both saints and sinners said, "John will be a preacher." My mother professed that she had the same impressions about me when I was a sucking child; but my fears were, that the Devil was at the bottom of it, seeking to deceive me, and cheat me out of my soul. 1 Text after text would crowd into my mind to urge me on; but I could not tell whether they were the voice of God or the voice of Eli - whether the Devil suggested them to me - whether they were accidental, or whether they came from the good spirit of God.

Strange to relate, one hour I would entertain a comfortable hope that my sins were pardoned; the next hour, nearly give up all hope; fearing that all my exercises were self-learned, and that I had not been taught of God; the third hour, be impelled that I must preach or perish. This conflict wore off my flesh, and made me irresolved about anything.

My faith was firm in this: that no man should undertake to preach until he was born of God: that no man born of God was, by that change, prepared to preach; that Christ called unto him whom he would, for the work of preaching, either fishermen, herdsmen, or men of science; and when he called and ordained them, if they neglected the work, and conferred with flesh and blood, they would be disobedient to the heavenly vision.

The first of June, 1774, Elder Noah Alden, of Bellingham, came to Northbridge, and baptized seven others and myself. Four of them were men, and the others women. I was extremely dark in my mind; but when I gave a relation of my exercises, I had this hope, that if I was deceived, the preacher would discern it and reject me: and that if he rejected me, it would strike such conviction into my heart that would lead me en to a sure conversion. The preacher, however, only asked me if I believed in the Calvinistical doctrine? I replied, I did not know what it was, but I believed in free grace.

As he received me, dark as my mind was, I would not give back. The preacher was a short man, and, therefore, requested me to go into the water with him, to assist him in raising and leading the women, which I consented to. After it was over, the people said, "John has begun and he will keep on. " The day afterwards, on reflection of what was past, I felt strengthened, and could say, "Thus it is written, and thus it behooved me."

On Sunday, the 20th of June, I went to meeting at Grafton, where there was no preacher. My mind was greatly embarrassed about preaching, and my prayer was, that I might know my duty. The words of the Prophet occurred to my mind, "There is none to guide her of all the sons she has brought forth." Having the Bible in my pocket, I drew it out, and, without design, opened to Mal 3:9. "- this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of Hosts, I will even send a curse upon you - . " Whatever the original design of the text was, at that time it arrested my conscience thus: Thou art the man. Attempts to evade the force of it were all in vain. I must either lay it to heart, open my mouth and give glory to the name of God, or his curse would fall upon me. Fearing the hot displeasure of the Lord, I rose in great distress, and, having read Mal 3:16-17, I told the people, if there was no objection, I would attempt to speak a little from the text. Being answered with silence, as custom led the way, I divided my text into several heads of doctrine. At the beginning, my mind was somewhat bewildered, and my words sounded very disagreeable to myself; so much so, that I partly resolved to quit; but continuing, my ideas brightened, and after a while I enjoyed such freedom of thought and utterance of words as I had never before. I spoke about half an hour and then closed. One of the old Christians made a prayer, and thanked God for what he had discovered in the young man. At noontime, I was all delight; my burden of soul, which had borne me down so long and so low, was all gone, and I concluded I should never have it any more. But when the people collected for afternoon worship, my spirits sunk within me. I retired into a lot, and fell down upon my face, by a fence, full of dismay; but suddenly the words which God spoke to Joshua, "Why liest thou upon thy face? - up, " gave me to understand that there was no peace for me in indolence. I therefore went to the meeting-house, and tried to preach again, but made miserable work of it. I continued, however, to try to preach, as doors opened; but I tried it more than ten times before I equalled the first, in my own feeling. A question rose in my mind, whether I should be received if I gave myself wholly to the work; which was answered by Solomon thus: "A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men. " From a sense of my insufficiency, I trembled at the attempt; but what was said to a king in another case, was now spoken to a feeble youth: "Be ye strong, therefore, and let not your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded."

I finally surrendered, and devoted my time and talents to the work of the ministry, without any condition, evasion or mental reservation. In myself, I have seen a rustic youth - unacquainted with men, manners and books; without the smallest prospects, or even the thought of gain or applause, turn out a volunteer for Christ, to contest with all the powers of darkness. It is possible, however, that I have been deceived in the affair, (for thousands are,) but if I have been deceived, it was an error in my judgment. A hypocrite, I was not; for, at that time, nothing could have tempted me to engage in the work, until I was moved by the Holy Ghost. The greatest obstruction that I had, when undertaking the work, was this: I did not believe that I had the longing desire and holy zeal for the salvation of sinners, that some preachers had; indeed, this was my heaviest trial for the first five years of my ministry. I had, however, a love for the gospel and the gospel worship, and was pleased when I saw people turning to the Lord. 2

From this beginning, I preached in the towns around where I was requested.

The first preaching tour that I made, was a small one, about forty miles in length; preaching to little congregations on the way. My mind was dark when first setting out, but grew darker and darker all the way, till, at length, I concluded that I had run before I was sent, and, therefore, returned home with precipitance, resolving to attempt the work no more.

Before I went on this journey, I had appointed a meeting to attend after my return; had it not been for this circumstance, I know not what would have brought me into action. But attending that appointment, I obtained great comfort, and resolution to persevere.

At one of these little meetings, a young woman received a gracious change, and gave good evidence of it. This encouraged me, that my labor was not in vain. About thirty years afterwards I saw her. She had joined with the Presbyterians, and blamed me for being a close communicant. I asked her, if her ministers and church would let me preach in their meeting-house; she said, she believed not. Why then, said I, should I be blamed for not communing with those who have no fellowship with me?

The autumn of this year, I joined Bellingham church, (for till then, I belonged to no church,) and after about six months, that church gave me a license to do that which I had been doing for a year before.

In October, 1775, I took a journey to Virginia, and was gone eight months. One person in New Jersey, one in Connecticut, and two in Virginia, professed to receive some impression, under my improvement, which turned them to the Lord.

September 30, 1776, I was married to Sally Devine, of Hopkinton; and immediately started with her to Virginia. As we made a stay of six weeks at Philadelphia, and a longer stay in Fairfax, Virginia, we did not reach Culpepper until March. At Mount Poney, in Culpepper, I joined the church, and undertook to preach among them half the Sundays. In August, I was ordained by the choice of the church, without the imposition of the hands of a Presbytery. As this was a departure from the usage of the churches in Virginia, I was not generally fellowshipped by them. I spent all my time travelling and preaching, and had large congregations. The first person that I baptized, was Betsey Tillery. I saw her in 1814. She had then supported a Christian character for thirty-eight years. In the close of the year 1777, I travelled as far south as Pee Dee river, in South Carolina, and returned to Culpepper early in 1778. Soon after this, I removed into Orange county, where I acquired me a residence, and where I continued all the time of my stay in Virginia. My stay in Culpepper was not a blessing to the people. I was too young and roving to be looked up to as a pastor. Difficulties arose, the church split, and I just obtained a dismission and recommendation. God had another man for Mount Poney church. William Mason became their pastor, and he has done wonders in the name of Jesus. Having moved to Orange, I commenced my labors with ardor. Twelve and fourteen times a week I frequently preached. But, notwithstanding the constancy of my preaching, and the multitudes that attended, there was but small appearance of the work of God's spirit. I said before, I knew my heart did not burn with the holy fire as it ought to.

In the spring of 1779, I appointed a string of meetings, about one hundred and twenty miles, as far down as York county. As I had sold my horse to pay for my house and lot, I concluded to go on foot: accordingly I started; but, as I had a pair of new shoes that pinched my feet, I found I must either desist - go barefoot, like the old Apostles, or purchase a horse. I chose the last, and promised the Lord if he would aid me to pay for the horse, I would spend it in his service. I gave my note for the beast, and pursued my journey. It so happened, in the event, that when I returned home, I had more than money enough to pay for my mare; and many thousands of miles she carried me about to preach. But though she was good, she was not invulnerable; for, on the 8th of June, as I was returning from Bedford county, I called at a friend's house, and found, by the badness of the saddle, her back was so swelled that I could not ride her. A man, twenty miles distant, had fallen from a fence and broken his neck, and this day I had appointed to preach his funeral sermon commemorative. My friend could not help me, and, therefore, I arose at daybreak and travelled twenty miles, preached to the people, and then returned on foot to my friend's, where my beast was. 3

In September, this year, I was likewise returning from Bedford, and had an evening meeting at a place called the North Garden. After preaching was over, a Mrs. Baily informed me that she had a desire to be baptized, but her husband had told her, if she was ever baptized he would whip her within an inch of her life, and kill the man that should baptize her. That he had once seen me, and liked me so well, that he said if Leland should come that way he might baptize her; and now she wished to embrace the opportunity. I asked her if she was willing to suffer, on supposition her husband should revolt to his first resolution. "Yes, " said she, "if I am whipped, my Saviour had long furrows ploughed upon his back." "Well," said I, "if you will venture your back, I will venture my head." Accordingly, the candles were lighted - we went to the water, and she was baptized. My engagements called me to start very early next morning. I heard afterwards that he whipped her, but the head of John the Baptist is not taken off yet.

I now come to a period, which was very interesting to me, and, possibly, on account of the incidents of this period, may be profitable to others.

In the month of October, my mind was graciously impressed with eternal realities. Souls appeared very precious to me, and my heart was drawn out in prayer for their salvation. Now, for the first time, I knew what it was to travail in birth for the conversion of sinners. The words of Rachel to Jacob were the words of my heart to God: "Give me children or else I die. " One night, as I lay on my bed weeping and praying, I thought if it was spring instead of autumn, I would spend all my time at the feet of Jesus in prayer, and at the feet of sinners, praying them to be reconciled to God; but winter was coming on, the summer was ended, and the opportunity past. On which reflection, the following words burst into my mind with surprising effect: "The shepherds rejoiced on a winter's day. " These words awakened all the latent energies of my soul. I resolved to double my vigor, and had faith to believe that I should see souls return to the Lord, and that I should rejoice at it that winter. For eight months after this, I had the spirit of prayer to a degree beyond what I ever had it in my life; and, if I mistake not, my preaching savored a little of the same spirit. My field of preaching was from Orange down to York, about one hundred and twenty miles. From November, 1779, to July, 1780, I baptized one hundred and thirty, the chiefest of whom professed to be the seals of my ministry. As this was the first time that ever such a work attended my ministry, it was refreshing indeed; nor can I think of it now, without soft emotions of heart. The chiefest of my success was in York, where Lord Cornwallis and the British army were made prisoners, in October, 1781. Matthew Wood, Robert Stacy and Thomas Cheesman, (all preachers afterwards,) were the children of this revival.

In the first of my preaching in York, I had a meeting in the edge of Warwick. Just as I had read my text, Colossians Harwood, with six others, entered the house. "Sir, " said the Colonel, "I am come to stop you from preaching here today." Without any time to think, I gave a heavy stamp on the floor, and told him in the name of God to forbear. He replied, "I did not come to fight, but to stop you from preaching." A Mr. Cole Diggs, son of a counsellor, was there, and said, "Colossians Harwood, you are a representative in the General Assembly, and the Assembly has just made a law to secure the religious rights of all, and now you come to prevent them. What does that look like?" Said the Colonel, "Mr. Diggs, I only came to prevent an unlawful conventicle, for this meeting draws away the people from the church!" Mrs. Russell, the mistress of the house, replied, "Hah! Colonel, I think it is a pity that people cannot do as they please, in their own house." "Madam," said the Colonel, "I did not come to dispute with ladies." And here the fracas ended. The Colonel and Co. went off, and the meeting was continued. When he returned home, his mother said unto him, "Well, Neddy, what did the man say unto you? " "What?" said the Colonel, "He stamped at me, and made no more of me than if I had been a dog. I shall trouble them no more." Some of his servants I baptized afterwards.

Captain Robert Howard, of York, had a beautiful and pious wife whom he adored. She wished to be baptized, but as he was a vestryman in the church, he opposed it. At a time, however, she came forward and was baptized. When he heard of it, he called for his carriage, and took his cow-skin, and said he would lash me out of the county. His sister replied, "Brother Bobby, Mr. Leland is a large man, and will be too much for you. " "I know it, " said the Captain, "but he will not fight." His wife made answer, "Perhaps he may - he goes well armed; and if he should wound you in the heart, you would fall before him." "Ah! " said the Captain, "I know nothing about this heart-work." "I wish you may, my dear," said his wife. He finally declined the contest, and afterwards became serious, penitent, believing, and was baptized. After his reform, as he was riding in company with me to meeting, one of his uncles met him in the road, and accosted him thus: "Nephew Bobby, I pity you in my "heart, to see you following that deluded people, and wasting your time so much, that you will raise no corn this year." "My uncle," said the Captain, "I wish you had pitied me as much two years ago, when you cheated me out of my mill."

About the same time, a gentlewoman, in James City, was convinced that it was her duty to be baptized, but neglected it until she could evade it no longer. She came to my quarters on Saturday, and made known her desire; accordingly the neighbors were collected, and she was baptized: when she returned and told her husband of it, he would not sleep with her that night, nor eat breakfast with her in the morning. She came to meeting on Sunday and informed me of what had taken place, and asked my advice in the affair. I knew the lady to be an excellent cook, and her husband was fond of good dinners. My answer was, "My sister, give yourself no uneasiness; his appetite will bring him to his reason by dinner time;" which accordingly came to pass.

At the close of the eight months, which I am now treating of, as I was taking leave of the young disciples in York, to return home to Orange, and was preaching to them, from "Little children, keep yourselves from idols," I was taken with a pain in my head, and an ague, followed by a bilious fever, and preached not again for eighteen weeks. Reports reached my home that I was dead, and a kind of funeral sermon was preached on the occasion. Notwithstanding this, I was carried home in a carriage, after six weeks sickness, but did not preach until twelve weeks more had elapsed. In this sickness, my mind was greatly depressed. The spirit of prayer left me. My hope for heaven was shaken to the centre. The truth of what I had been preaching was doubted. The fear that I had been governed by an ambitious spirit, like Jehu, was great. In short, I was a poor, forlorn, sick worm of the dust.

One thing, however, stuck by me, because I felt it, viz: "That a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, was absolutely necessary to constitute a man either safe or happy." When my sickness abated, my spirit was so peevish that I was out of all esteem of myself.

When my health was so far recovered that I could preach, I resumed the work again, but ah! my hair was shaven, my strength was gone. Through the mercy of God, however, I was holpen with a little help; and after I was tried I saw brighter days.

From this time to the year 1785, by the siege of Lord Cornwallis, the refunding of paper money, and removals to Kentucky, religion ran low in Virginia. A few events that took place in those four years, connected with the narative which I am here giving, I shall nevertheless notice.

One day, I went from home about eight miles. On my return, there arose a heavy thunder storm. Being in summer dress, I stopped under the large branches of a lofty oak, to shelter me from the rain. The rain, however, continuing, I started for home. I had gone but a little distance before the lightning struck. The next time I passed the road, I found the lightning had struck the oak, and split off one of the huge limbs, which had fallen on the very spot where I had stood about three minutes before.

In the bend of Pamunky river, a little below New Castle, there is an Indian town. By the circle of the river, and a cross creek, a gate, with two lengths of fence, enclose it around. There was at that time about seventy-five proprietors. The name of their king was John Tohon. His royal majesty gave me an invitation to visit the town, and preach among them. Accordingly I went, and preached at the royal pavilion. After preaching, I baptized two persons, and then heard the king preach; for, like Melchizedeck, he was priest as well as king. His majesty did not seem to be possessed with much regal power, and by the text which he preached from, one would think that he did not seek after hierarchal authority. His text was, "Be ye not called Rabbi, for one is your master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren." I ate a good dinner with the king, slept in his apartment the following night, and left the town in the morning. Soon after this he died.

Funeral sermons in Virginia are seldom preached at the time of the interment, but sometime afterwards. I was invited to preach a sermon, on the death of a small child, long after it was dead. This was in the county of Louisa, about eighteen miles from home. The text was Isa 57:2. At this meeting, three persons were first awakened, who became and lived shining Christians. This was the first fruits of my labor in Louisa, where, afterwards, the Lord gave me a rich harvest.

An inn-holder in Pagestown strongly importuned me to preach at his house. When I went there, he did not open his own doors for worship, but provided another place. There was some appearance that he wished the people to collect, more to purchase his drink and dinner, than to have their souls converted. After some time, he pressed me again to come and preach; when I went, he would not open his house, nor could he get any other; we, therefore, repaired to a tobacco house for worship. In this instance, I felt as if my master was mocked; and if I had felt gracious enough, I should have shaken off the dust of my feet against him; but as I was a poor imperfect creature myself, I peaceably pursued my course, after the meeting was over. Some weeks afterwards, as I was travelling the road a little distance from the place, I saw the landlord's chimney standing, but the house was consumed by fire. When I saw it, my heart burst out in sacred language, "Righteous art thou, Lord God Almighty, because thou hast judged thus."

In the year 1784, I travelled northward as far as Philadelphia, where I tarried six weeks. As I went in company with Mr. Winchester, the Baptists in Philadelphia were so fearful that I was a Universalist, that I was not invited by them to preach in their meeting-house. I therefore preached Sundays and almost every night in the Hall of the University, and in private houses. But when I saw the many thousands of people in the city, and those who attended at the Hall did not exceed 200, I was resolved to try the street. Accordingly, I appointed a meeting to preach one afternoon at five o'clock, at the sign of the Blue Bell. When I went, but few appeared. I stepped upon a stick of ship

timber and began by singing: on which the people came running from every lane, and continued to increase until preaching was over, when I judged there was about three hundred people. I then appointed to preach there again, when there were about twice as many. During my stay in the city, I baptized four persons in Schuylkill river, and returned home to Virginia by water. Six years afterwards I was in Philadelphia, and having preached one evening in the Baptist meeting-house, a man took me by the hand and invited me to take lodgings with him that night, which I accepted of. As we were walking to his house, he gave the following account of himself:

"Sir, formerly I attended meeting nowhere, but when you was here six years ago, as I was at work in my shop, I heard the voice of singing as if it came down from heaven. I left my shop and ran out to see what was coming, and beheld you, sir, upon a stick of ship-timber at prayer. After prayer, I attended to your preaching, which sunk so deeply into my heart, that I have never lost it; and am now a member in the Baptist church."

Late in the year 1784, I travelled to the south-east about one hundred and fifty miles, near the Dismal Swamp, and returned in six weeks.

In the spring of 1785, I went to the same district, and ranged and preached much more than I did in my first visit.

I now come to a period when religious appearance began to assume a more pleasing face than it had done for many years. In Powhattan county the work first broke out, and many became the subjects of victorious grace. Some old professors, on the other side of James River, about Chickahominy, went to see what was going on, who caught the spirit, and returning home, were instrumental of a similar work in their neighborhood, and round about in Goochland.

The last of this year I took a preaching tour into the lower part of North Carolina. Preached eighteen times in that state, in a circular course, then came into Virginia and steered home.

There was a place for preaching on the line between Louisa and Goochland, called Hodger's Seats, where I sometimes preached. In the spring of 1786, I appointed a long and circular string of meetings. And as I had a strong impression that God would work at that place, I reserved five days in my tour to spend among that people. After the Association at Boar Swamp was over, I travelled through Goochland, where many people seemed to be on the alert for heaven, and came to Mr. Hedger's, where a large number of people were waiting for me. I introduced worship by repeating a hymn,

"O that my load of sin were gone," &c.

All of a sudden, it seemed as if something fell from heaven upon the people. I could not speak for weeping, for some time. I am but a poor preacher, at best, and the sermon which I then preached was hardly middling, but the effect on the people was amazing. Some were crying out, some on their knees, and others prostrate on the floor. In the course of a few weeks about forty were baptized; and I believe that a majority of them dated their first awakenings at the meeting at Mr. Hedger's.

In August, the same year, I attended a meeting of the General Committee, at Buckingham; after which I travelled southward to Pittsylvania, to visit that great man of God, Rev. Samuel Harris; and on my return, preached on a Sunday in Prince Edward. In the midst of the meeting, a Mr. Owen Smith was brought out, and by his shouting, and praising, and exhorting, he set the whole assembly in motion. I have never seen him since, but have received a number of letters from him. His last letter was in 1816. He was then well, and reminded me of the meeting in Prince Edward, and wrote that nine of his family belong to the church.

I had met Mr. Harris on the banks of James river, and accompanied him at his meetings through Goochland, Fluvanna and Louisa to Orange. At a meeting in Goochland, after preaching was over, Mr. Harris went into the yard, and sat down in the shade, while the people were weeping in the meeting-house, and telling what God had done for them, in order to be baptized. A gentlewoman addressed Mr. Harris as follows: "Mr. Harris, what do you think all this weeping is for? Are not all those tears like the tears of a crocodile? I believe I could cry as well as any of them, if I chose to act the hypocrite." On this address, Mr. Harris drew a dollar out of his pocket and replied, "Good woman, I will give you this dollar for a tear, and repeat it ten times;" but the woman shed no tears.

Among the seven that were baptized at that time, was a Mrs. Johnson, daughter of Colossians James Dabney, of whom take the following account: Colossians Johnson's son Christopher paid attention to the young lady, and gained her good will, but could not obtain the consent of her father; on which Miss Betsey agreed to elope with young Johnson; and from her chamber window, on a ladder, she descended in the night, and was conducted by her lover to the house of his father. In the morning Colossians Dabney missed his daughter, and suspecting where she was gone, he armed himself with sword and pistol, and steered his course to Colossians Johnson's. When he got within call, he demanded if his daughter Betsey was there? Being answered in the affirmative, he gave orders for her to meet him on the risk of her life. Betsey's affections no ways accorded with the demand of her father, and seeing him thus armed, she was greatly distressed. Colossians Anderson being at the house, seeing what was passing, said, "Come Betsey, don't be discouraged, I'll effect a reconciliation." With that, he armed himself with sword and pistol, and marched into the field to meet Dabney, with his arm stretched out, holding his glittering sword, and Betsey walking under it. When he got near Dabney, he exclaimed, "Colossians Dabney, here is your daughter, Betsey, who wishes for a reconciliation; I have undertaken to protect her, and shall defend her with the last drop of my blood." Betsey fell upon her knees - Dabney softened - a reconciliation was effected - the young couple were married; and, at the meeting just spoken of, she was baptized: nor was it long before her husband followed her example.

This event has often led my mind to reflect on an incident, infinitely more important. The guilty runaway sinner is pursued by the holy, fiery law, and threatened with eternal death; but the Mediator appears to interpose, and when the sinner is humbled by grace, a reconciliation is obtained.

In June, 1787, I was ordained by laying on of hands. The ministers that officiated, were Nathaniel Saunders, John Waller and John Price. By this, not only a union took place between myself and others, but it was a small link in the chain of events, which produced a union among all the Baptists in Virginia, not long afterwards.

In 1787, old Colossians Harris made me a visit, whose coming called out a vast crowd of ministers and people. His eyes - his every motion was preaching; but after he had read his text, his mind was so dark that he could not preach; and of course the lot fell on me.

From my house, Colossians Harris went down to Spottsylvania, where the work of the Lord, like a mighty torrent, broke out under his ministry. A few weeks afterwards, I went down through Spottsylvania and Caroline, and was glad to see the grace of God, but was extremely mortified to find myself so far behind the work of God. In this visit, however, I caught the spirit of prayer, which lasted me home. 4 Indeed, before I got home, I gained an evidence that God would work in Orange. Having such confidence, I addressed myself to the work of the ministry with fresh courage. There was a dancing school set up in the vicinity, which was much in my way. On Sunday, after service, I told the people that I had opened a dancing school, which I would attend one quarter gratis: that I would fiddle the tune which the angels sung, if they would dance repentance on their knees. The project succeeded; the dancing school gave way, and my meetings were thronged. Solemnity, sobs, sighs and tears soon appeared. The last Sunday in October I began to baptize those that were brought out, and the work prevailed greatly. The tract of land which I occupied in this revival was more than twenty miles square, including the corners of Orange, Culpepper, Spottsylvania and Louisa.

When the work seemed to languish in one neighborhood, it would break out in another, and consequently, there was a continual fall of heavenly rain from October, 1787, until March, 1789, during which time I baptized about 400. Precisely 300 of them were baptized in 1788 - more than I have ever baptized in any other year. During the ingathering, the following events took place. In the south part of Orange, a man took his gun, with the professed intention of killing me. He had given his consent for his wife to be baptized, and the meeting was appointed for that purpose; but when we got to the water, and I had taken her by the hand to lead her into the water, there was an alarm that the man was coming with his gun. While a detachment of the congregation went to meet the man and pacify him, I thought, "now or never," and baptised her. No mischief ensued.

In another part of Orange, a woman, who was in the habit of intimacy with myself and wife, invited me to preach at her house on a certain evening. When we got at the gate, her son, who was a Captain, (having been reproved by his mother, and taken offence at it,) met us, and said I should not preach there. I asked him if he thought he was right. "No, " said he, "I know I am wrong, and I expect to be damned for it; but I have said it and shall abide by my word." The man of the house came also to the gate, and desired us to go into the house, and said the house was his own and not his son's. The woman was at a loss what was best. I hesitated, but finally went in. As the people began to collect, the Captain withdrew with threatenings. After I arose to open the meeting by singing, he came rushing into the house, like a bear bereaved of her whelps- sprang upon the bed - took his sword and drew it out of the scabbard - and stepping off the bed with his arm extended and sword glittering, exclaimed, "let me kill the damned rascal!" As he made a stroke towards me, the point of the sword hit the joists, and he behaved like an awkward soldier. The case was this: my wife, who was seated near the head of the bed, when she saw the Captain step from the bed with his sword drawn, and draw back his arm to give the thrust, like a female angel, sprang like the lightning of heaven, clasped her arms within his elbow, around his body, locked her hands together, and held him like a vice, till the men took away his sword. We then took a lantern and went into the road and carried on our meeting. As God would have it, a young man and a young woman dated their change of heart at this meeting.

As I was returning from Fredericksburg, in the lower part of Orange, a young man had married and brought his bride to his father's, where there was music and dancing. I stopped in the road, and the groom came out and wished me to drink sling with him. I asked him what noise it was that I heard in the house? He answered it was a fiddle. As he was going to the house, I requested him to bring the fiddle to me. But as this was not done, I lighted off my horse and

went into the house. By the time I got in, the fiddle was hidden, and all was still. I told them, if fiddling and dancing was serving God, to proceed on, and if I could gain conviction of it, I would join them. As they did not proceed, I told them I would attempt to serve God in my way. I then prayed among them and took my leave. The next week I was sent for to come and preach at the same house. The power of the Lord was present to heal. In the course of a few weeks, numbers were converted and turned to the Lord, whom I baptized in a stream of water near the house.

At another time, I had a meeting at John Lea's, in Louisa, when something seemed to descend on the people, like that which took place at Mr. Hedgers's, (mentioned before,) but the effects were not so great. The next day there were five to be baptized. The day was very cold.

While Mr. Bowles was preaching to the people, I composed the hymn:

Christians, if your hearts be warm,
Ice and snow can do no harm;
If by Jesus you are priz'd,
Rise, believe, and be baptiz'd.

Jesus drank the gall for you,
Bore the Cross for sinners due; ,
Children, prove your love to him,
Never fear the frozen stream.

Never shun the Saviour's Cross, ,
All on earth is worthless dross; ,
If the Saviour's love you feel, ,
Let the world behold your zeal.

At an Association in Caroline, two others with myself were chosen to preach on Sunday. When my turn came, I felt every way unprepared. I was hoarse with a cold, and exceedingly barren in spirit. I therefore declined, and one of the others preached. While he was preaching, I doubted whether I was right in declining, and resolved that as soon as he had finished, I would do what I could. Accordingly I did. My voice improved; my ideas brightened so much that I preached about forty minutes. The people were greatly affected. On account of a similitude used, together with the shortness of the discourse, it was called the GINGER-CAKE sermon. Mr. Waller, who was the stated minister at that place, told me afterwards, that in the relations which the people gave before baptism, not less than fifteen persons had reference to the GINGERBREAD sermon.

In the year 1789, nothing of importance turned up.

In 1790, I travelled into New England, to see my father and relations. I preached on the way, going and coming. The term of my absence from home was four months. The number baptized thirty-two.

The winter following, I made my arrangements to move into New England. Having baptized precisely seven hundred while I lived there, and leaving two churches, one in Orange, and the other in Louisa; the first containing three hundred and the other two hundred members. On the last of March, I started, with my family of a wife and eight children, and a small quantum of effects, and travelled by land to Fredericksburg, where I took ship for New England. We fell down the Rappahannock river, crossed the Chesapeake, and entered the sea between the Capes of Henry and Charles. The day after we entered the Atlantic, we were attacked by a thunder gust and heavy gale of wind, which lasted fifteen hours. The boat was crippled, the oars swept off, the quadrant injured, and some of my goods were swept from the quarter-deck. That passengers should be affrighted, is not to be wondered at; but here, the sailors all turned pale. In the midst of the gale, the wind shifted, and flung the vessel into the trough of the sea; on which the Captain stepped to the cabin door and said, "We shall not weather it many minutes." This he said, (as I judged,) not to terrify the sailors, but for my sake. The sense of it, to me, was this: "Leland, if you have got a God, now call upon him. " But there was no need of this admonition, for I had begun the work before; and can now say, that that night is the only one of my life that I spent wholly in prayer. That I prayed in faith, is more than I can say; but that I prayed in distress, is certain. About day-light, April 15th, the wind abated, but we knew not where we were for five days; for the quadrant was injured. The distress which I had at that time, so affected my nervous system, that I did not entirely recover from it for more than ten years. In time, however, we gained the port of New London, on a certain Saturday night. I did not intend to make any stay at that place, save only to get some refreshments, but the Captain had written from Fredericksburgh, to his friends in New London, that he had turned his vessel into a meeting-house, and was bringing a preacher and his family with him. On Sunday morning early it was known that the vessel lay by the wharf, and before I was up the brethren in New London came down to the vessel, to see what, for a cargo, the Captain had brought into port. The Captain told them that he intended to go to the insurance office, and demand the sum that was insured on the vessel; for if it had not been for my prayers he was sure the vessel would have been lost. The brethren invited me to go ashore, and preach to them in the state-house, which I acceded to. Finding myself courteously received, I tarried there about two months. Here I met with some success in winning souls; and here my wife was sick nigh unto death; but she had more faith in prayer than she had in physic. The godly old Elder, Z. Darrow, came to visit us, whose prayer for my wife seemed to be answered, and she recovered. The people were very kind and liberal to me; but the expenses of my family, and the sickness of my wife, cost me about twenty dollars more than I received. But this thought came to my mind: "Jesus gave his life and blood for sinners, and shall I begrudge a few dollars for their salvation!" After preaching around in the towns about New London, on the 1 st of July we left the place, and, in boats and scows, went up Connecticut river to Sunderland, and then by land to Conway, where my father and old acquaintance were living. In Conway, I purchased a house and small lot, for a temporary residence until I gained more acquaintance in the country. At this place, my family abode eight months. My travels in the meantime in the country were considerable - my success some.

The last day of February, 1792, I moved into Cheshire, which has been my home the chiefest of the time since. For two or three years there was a sprinkling of blessings on the people in Cheshire, Lanesborough and Adams, so that about seventy were baptized. And in Philip's town, Canaan and the Gore, I had good success. In the year 1795, the work of God appeared in Conway. A messenger came and desired me to visit them; I went and preached twelve times among them, and baptized twelve persons at that time, and more afterwards. Here my heart caught a little heavenly fire, and I returned home to Cheshire, longing and praying that God would pour out his spirit on the people in Cheshire. I set up evening meetings, and preach about as often as once a day, for seventy days running. I have never known a time like this, when I had so much of the spirit of praying and preaching, and met with so small success. No more than seven came forward as the reward of my painful labor. In the compass of these seventy days, I had a night meeting at Deacon Wood's, in Cheshire. Going to the meeting, my mind was so solemnly impressed, that I could hardly walk. When I arose to speak, I could scarcely stand. Of the many thousands of sermons that I have preached in my life, (for solemnity of mind, discovery of heavenly things, and flow of words,) I give that the preference, and yet but small effects followed. An individual young woman only was divinely wrought upon. Christ's time was not yet come to work miraculously in Cheshire.

I continued my travels in the New England states, and state of New York, until 1797. In August, that year, I made a tour to Virginia, and was gone six months. I preached all the way there, and travelled and preached among my old friends three months, and then returned home, having travelled more than two thousand miles, and preached more than one hundred and seventy times. My friends through the whole received me kindly; but I saw no great revivals of religion anywhere, save only at Scotch Plains, among Mr. Vanhorn's people. After my return, I was busily employed in domestic concerns for about eighteen months, preparing to go to Virginia again, in August, 1799. To this end, I had sent on appointments for meetings, about one hundred miles on my way, as far as Carmel meeting-house. Having finished my domestic affairs a fortnight before my appointments began, I told the people in Cheshire, that I would preach for them every day or night until I started. At this time, a heavenly visitant came to my house - my heart, with the salutation of "Peace be to you - peace on earth and good will to men." 5 When I sat in my house, it would seem as if the room was white-washed with love. When I went into the field, a circle of heavenly mildness would seem to surround me, and the following words would be injected into my heart again, again, and again: "The Lord will work." My meetings, during this feast of tabernacles, (as I called the fortnight,) were crowded. At the meeting-house, such silence reigned as I had never seen before. My struggle of mind was great, whether I should go to Virginia and leave these hopeful appearances, or stay at home and strive to fan the sparks. And as the time drew on, my struggles increased. I prepared for my journey, and preached my last sermon a few miles on the way. The people followed in droves, and, in time of meeting, wept bitterly. I finally went on my journey, and attended my appointments, which I before had made, the distance of one hundred miles, and then returned back. I was gone about twenty days, and preached about the same number of sermons, and baptized thirteen persons. On my return, I found the work had broken out like the mighty rushing waters. This induced me to preach every day or night until the March following, in which time more than two hundred were baptized.

Before the work made a visible appearance, and for three months afterwards, there was not a day but what I had the spirit of prayer, and a travail for souls; and often felt as if I should sink under the weight of my burden if souls were no delivered. Sometimes, individuals would lay in my heart; at other times, the longing desire would be more general. After three months I felt that spirit of prayer abate, but the spirit of preaching continued for three months afterwards, until the ingathering was over, and then the peculiar impression which I had, subsided. 6

In 1800, I made a tour of four months, travelling southward as far as Bedford, N. Y. Then eastward through Connecticut to New-London. Then pursued my course through Rhode Island, (visiting Providence and Newport,) into Bristol county. Then returning through Worcester and Hampshire counties, reached home the last of October. I was somewhat debilitated when I left home, and the summer was unusually hot, but I was preserved and enabled to preach about as many times as there were days. In this journey, I saw eight old preachers, whose ages in average, exceeded eighty years. The venerable Backus was one of them. There was a revival in his congregation, and on his request I baptized a few in the place. I have never seen him since, nor either of the eight; nor shall I ever see them in mortal bodies, for they are all dead. My journey was not altogether lost. By letters and verbal accounts, I was afterwards informed that in several places a divine blessing attended the preaching, which proved effectual unto salvation.

In November, 1801, I journeyed to the south, as far as Washington, in charge of a cheese, sent to President Jefferson. Notwithstanding my trust, I preached all the way there and on my return. I had large congregations; led in part by curiosity to hear the Mammoth Priest, as I was called.

After this, I lived several years in great barrenness of soul, and had but little, if any success.

In March, 1804, I removed into Dutchess County, N. Y., where I continued two years, which, (as it respects my ministry,) was a gap of lost time. Just before I left the place, a revival took place about ten miles off, where brother Luman Birch, an unordained preacher, improved, which called me there to baptize a few.

In 1806, I removed back to Cheshire. The day before the total eclipse, brother Birch was ordained. It was my lot to preach the sermon, which seemed to be blessed among the people. The substance of that sermon was offered to the public, in a pamphlet, afterwards entitled "The Flying Seraphim." The following winter, I sunk into great distress of mind. It has' always been a question with me of great importance, to know how to address a congregation of sinners, as such, in gospel style. And this winter it attacked my mind with great force. Neither Gill, Hopkins, Fuller nor Wesley, could remove my difficulties. My fears were, that I did not preach right, which was the cause why I was so barren in myself and useless to others. This burden lay heavy upon me a long time. At length, at an evening meeting at a school house in Cheshire, my heart waxed a little warm with holy zeal, and I gave my spirit vent to the youth and school children, regardless of all authors and systems, which had a good effect. Four of the school children and a young man besides, came forward for baptism in a few weeks, who dated the beginning of their religious impressions at that meeting. This little success, obtained at that trying time, gave me both relief and courage. 7

The year 1808 was a memorable year in Pownal. Religion had a great triumph in that place at that time. A man by the name of John Williams was their preacher; but he was not ordained; of course I preached and baptized, through the cold winter. The number baptized was more than sixty. Williams did not behave like a wolf, seeking to destroy, but like a goat, as if he was ignorant of what was going on. He finally turned out an abandoned character. In this revival some little boys set up a conference meeting; and as they were poor, they would meet in cowsheds and on the mountains. This was in the winter, and some of them had no shoes. When it was known, the neighbors gladly opened their houses for their accommodation.

In the year 1811, while I was in the General Court at Boston, a time of refreshing came in Cheshire. After my return I baptized forty. There was a division among the people. Other ministers baptized about ten. In the height of this revival, I was taken sick of the typhus fever. What I passed through in that sickness has been published in a pamphlet. 8

In December, 1813, I started again for Virginia; and preaching on the way to Washington, I crossed the Potomac into Virginia the last day of January, 1814. I was in the state eighty days, in which time I travelled seven hundred miles, and preached more than seventy times. I never had before - I never have since - nor do I ever expect to preach to as many people in so short a time. The kindness of the people to their old friend, whom they had not seen for sixteen years, was unbounded. I shall never forget it while my memory remains. I reached Richmond on Saturday, March 5th. The Sunday before that, Elder Courtney had baptized seventy-five persons in the basin on the canal. He descended into the water and took his stand, from which he did not remove until all were baptized. He had assistants who led the candidates to and from him; and he performed the whole in seventeen minutes, notwithstanding he was seventy years old. The chiefest of the candidates were people of color. As I returned home, I preached in Dr. Staughton's meeting-house in Philadelphia, on the evening preceding the meeting of the great Convention which formed the plan of the missionary society. I arrived at home in June, after an absence of six months; having travelled in that time eighteen hundred miles, and preached about one hundred and fifty times.

After my return home, I went into the Genessee country to see my children, and late in the fall I sold my residence in Cheshire, with a view to move westward; but before I had made any purchase, as I was travelling for that purpose, about eighty miles from home, the beast on which I rode, like Balaam's ass, not only crushed my feet, but threw me to the ground and fell upon me, which broke my leg. After nearly a fortnight, I was carried home in a sleigh. The old bone was a long while growing and strengthening, and I was reduced very low. As this disaster happened, I was entirely defeated in my object of moving to the westward. My family advised me to purchase the place where I now live, which, with great reluctance I consented to, and was drawn in a sleigh, on bare ground, to my new home. After my leg got well enough, and my strength sufficient, I began to preach again, leaning on my staff.

Late in the fall of 1817, there was a precious, though not a very extensive revival in Hancock, where I attended as preacher, and baptized thirty-one, who (excepting three others) were the first that I baptized after my leg was broken.

In March, 1819, a like work began in the north part of Adams, which progressed several months. The people in that place had no settled minister, but were visited by ministers who lived around them; of the seventy who united with the church, I baptized twenty-seven.

Since I began to preach in 1774, I have travelled distances, which, together, would form a girdle nearly sufficient to go round the terraqueous globe three times. The number of sermons which I have preached, is not far from eight thousand. The number of persons that I have baptised is one thousand two hundred and seventy-eight. The number of Baptist ministers whom I have personally known is nine hundred and sixty-two. Those of them whom I have heard preach, in number, make three hundred and three. Those who have died, (whose deaths I have heard of,) amount to three hundred. The number that have visited me at my house is two hundred and seven. The pamphlets which I have written, that have been published, are about thirty.

I am now in the decline of life, having lived nearly two-thirds of a century. When Jacob had lived twice as long, his days had been few and evil. I have spent my years like a tale that is told. Looking over the foregoing narrative, there is proof enough of imperfection; and yet what I have written is the best part of my life. A history seven times as large might be written of my error in judgment, incorrectness of behaviour, and baseness of heart. My only hope of acceptance with God, is in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. And when I come to Christ for pardon, I come as an old grey-headed sinner; in the language of the publican, "God be merciful to me a sinner."

How long I have to stay on earth I know not. What labors or sufferings I have yet to sustain below, I cannot tell. O, that the God of all grace would keep me in his holy care, and never suffer me to make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience, but make me faithful unto death, that I might finish my course with joy and receive a crown at last.

June 15, 1824. - It is now more than four years since I closed the fore-going narrative of events. My life and health have been preserved until the present time. In several places within the district of my ministration, there have been times of refreshing, so that I have baptized seventy-four persons in the four years.

The 14th of May past was my birthday: I preached on the occasion a septennarian sermon.

January 14,1825 - I have preached in four hundred and thirty-six meeting-houses, thirty-seven court-houses, several capitols, many academies and school-houses; barns, tobacco-houses and dwelling-houses: and many hundreds of times on stages in the open air. Not the place, but the presence of Christ, and a right temper of mind, makes preaching solemnly easy and profitable. My congregations have consisted of from five hearers to ten thousand.

December 12, 1826. - Faint yet pursuing. The summer past I have spent chiefly in travelling and preaching. I have attended three Associations - the jubilee and funeral of the Presidents - as also a general meeting which lasted four days - preached eighty-one times, and seen eighty-six Baptist preachers since the first of June.

Two remarkable events have taken place the present year. Two old patriots, both of them Ex-Presidents, died on the 4th of July; just fifty years after they signed the Declaration of Independence - John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The first aged ninety-one, the other eighty-three. Mr. Jefferson drew the Declaration of Independence; and by his writings and administration, he has justly acquired the title of the Apostle of Liberty.

In the state of Vermont, the Governor and Lieutenant - Governor are both Baptist preachers - Ezra Butler and Aaron Leland. This is a new thing in the world.

March 25, 1827. - Baptized ten candidates, which makes my baptismal number one thousand three hundred and sixty-two. It is not probable that I ever shall baptize many (if any) more.

From pretty correct information, I find I have now living eighty-two descendants, including children, grand-children, and great-grand-children. A few of my posterity have died at their respective homes; but I have never had a coffin or a death at my house.

If a conscious sinner may apply words to himself which were spoken of Abraham, they are as follows: "For I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him."

May 6. - Beyond my expectation, this day I baptized fifteen, making up the number 1,377

May 27. - Wondering still: preached this day to a large concourse, and baptized eleven, making 1,388
Baptized 4

July 4. - Preached to nearly 1,000 people, and baptized six, two of whom were my grandchildren, making 1,398

July 15. - Baptized another of my grand-children and four others, 5 Baptized 3

July 29 - Baptized 6

Aug. 12. - Baptized five in Cheshire and three in Lanesborough, 8 Making 1,420

I have a great-grand-child, (Helen Maria Brown,) who has now living ten direct, and great grand-fathers and grand-mothers.

Aug. 26. - Baptized 5 Baptized 1

Sept. 9. - Baptized 5

Oct. 7. - Baptized 10

One of these last was Eunice Baxter, whose grand and great grandmothers I baptized more than thirty years past.

Oct. 21. - Baptized 4

Nov. 4 - Baptized 2

Nov. 5. - Baptized 2

Nov. 11, - Baptized 2.

One of these was seventy-seven years old, which added to the age of the administrator, (seventy-three) would make one hundred and fifty years.

Nov. 30. - Baptized 1

Dec. 9. - Baptized 2

Dec. 17. - Baptized 1

Dec. 30. - Baptized 2

Feb. 1, 1838. - Baptized 1

The father and mother of this candidate have fourteen children now living; ELEVEN of whom I have baptized.

Baptized five more, making 1,465.

May 14, 1828. - I am this day seventy-four years old, able to travel and preach as doors open; and labor with my hands as duty calls.

The sins of childhood - the vices of youth - the improprieties, pride and arrogance of riper years; with the presumptuous and blasphemous suggestions of my mind, up till the present time, lie heavy on my mind, and sink my spirits very low. It is true, I have had a hope for more than fifty years, that my sins were attoned for by the blood of Christ, and forgiven for his name's sake; but still I find them attached to my character, and must forever, for truth cannot decease.

When the saints in heaven look on the blessed Jesus, and remember the doleful sorrow and pain which their sins cost him, what kind of feeling must they have? To call, their feeling sorrow, tears or mourning, would be unscriptural; but a remembrance of their sins, a view of their Redeemer, and a sense of his bloody agony, must give them a surprizing - - , fill them with an exquisite hatred to sin, and raise their songs of praise to him who has redeemed them.

December 7, 1828. - This day, for the first time, I baptized a man in a font, near the pulpit, in Albany. During my stay in Albany, which was four days, I was introduced to three governors. My rusticity of manners, and the humble rank I fill, make such interviews more painful than flattering.

May 14, 1829. - This day I am seventy-five years old. Nothing singular with respect to myself has occurred in the course of the last year.

My greatest afflictions in life have been of that character that I have had to bear them all alone; a communication of them to others, (if indeed I could have done it,) would only have added to their weight.

I noticed, in a former page, that in the year 1795, I had the most solemn meeting at Deacon Nathan Wood's, that I had ever experienced, which was attended with but small success. I have now to add, that in the lapse of something more than thirty years, I have baptized fifty-seven grand and great-grandchildren of the said Deacon Wood; all of whom, except one, are now living, as is believed.

May 14, 1830. - Another year of my unprofitable life is gone. Nothing worth recording has taken place with me in the year. Of the fourteen hundred and seventy-one that I have baptized, but very few of them had the seal of the covenant put upon them in infancy, and but one or two ever attended Sunday Schools.

May 14, 1831. - I am yet living and enjoying good health. The year past I have had a large epistolary correspondence with distant friends; and have been advertised in the newspapers, through the states, as an infidel and an outcast. May the Lord increase my faith and make me more holy, which will be the best refutation of the libel. From the uttermost parts of the earth have we heard songs; even glory to the righteous: but I said, my leanness, my leanness. It is now said that there is a great ingathering into the fold of Christ in all the country around; but according to appearances, I am left behind. Well, let me, like John the Baptist, be full of joy, that others increase while I decrease. I have had my day, and must now give way to the young. The unchangeable God has one class of servants after another to work in his vineyard.

July 11. - Why art thou cast down, O my soul! The morning cometh as well as the night. Since writing the above note, God has graciously poured out his spirit in Hancock.

Yesterday I baptized ten, which, together with three scattering ones, raises my baptismal list to fourteen hundred and eighty-four.

Baptism does not put away the filth of the flesh; it is the answer of a good conscience towards God, and only figures out the salvation of the soul; which is by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: who died for our sins and rose again for our justification.

July 17. - Baptized 4

" 24 - Baptized 2

" 31 - Baptized 4

One of these four was eighty-two years old. In the winter of 1800, I baptized one who was ninety years of age. The youngest that I ever baptized was nine years old, in 1788. I have ever found water a harmless element, and baptism a pleasing work.

Aug. 22. - Baptized 1
Sept. 4 - Baptized 1

" 18. - Baptized 2

Oct. 2. - Baptized 4

Oct. 16 - Baptized 3

" 23 - Baptized 7

" 30. - Baptized 3 "
Total Making 1,515

Nov. 10. - After living in New-Ashford more than sixteen years, this day I removed into Cheshire again. My age and decays admonish me that the time of my departure is not far distant. When I die, I neither deserve nor desire any funeral pomp. If my friends think best to rear a little monument over my body, "Here lies the body of JOHN LELAND, who labored - 9 to promote piety, and vindicate the civil and religious rights of all men, " is the sentence which I wish to be engraved upon it.

May 14, 1834. - I am this day fourscore years old; have just returned from Chatham, (30 miles off,) where I preached three times, at the opening of a new meeting-house, and this day at Cheshire, to 600 people by estimation. I have now several little preaching tours appointed; but my Maker only knows whether life and strength will be given me to fill them.

It is now sixty years since I began to preach. But ah! how little I have done! and how imperfect that little!

May 15. - Last night fell the largest snow that I ever knew so late in the season.

Many changes in the mechanical, political and religious world have taken place in the course of my life. Most of the changes among us in factories and machines are trans-Atlantic. The steam machines are original Americans. The plea for religious liberty has been long and powerful; but it has been left for the United States to acknowledge it a right inherent, and not a favor granted: to exclude religious opinions from the list of objects of legislation. Sunday schools and missionary societies are of long standing; but camp-meetings and protracted meetings (in their present mode of operation) are novel. What changes may hereafter take place, to me is uncertain. None, however, that will change the character of God, destroy the kingdom of Christ, or assure any of heaven without repentance towards God, and faith towards the Lord Jesus.

I have never labored hard to support the CREED of any religious society; but have felt greatly interested that all of them should have their RIGHTS secured to them beyond the reach of tyrants.

Brevity is the soul of wit, the nerve of argument and the bone of good sense, but loquacity palsies attention, massacres time, and darkens counsel.

August 17, 1834. - This day I baptized five, which are the first that I have baptized since I was eighty years old. My baptismal list is now fifteen hundred and twenty-four.

January 28, 1835 - I have been preaching sixty years to convince men that human powers were too degenerate to effect a change of heart by self-exertion; and all the revivals of religion that I have seen have substantially accorded with that sentiment. But now a host of preachers and people have risen up, who ground salvation on the foundation that I have sought to demolish. The world is gone after them, and their converts increase abundantly. How much error there has been in the doctrine and measures that I have advocated, I cannot say; no doubt some, for I claim not infallible inspiration. But I have not yet been convinced of any mistake so radical as to justify a renunciation of what I have believed, and adopt the new measures. I am waiting to see what the event will be; praying for light; open to conviction; willing to retract, and ready to confess when convicted.

July 4, 1835. - It is now fifty-nine years since the independence of the United States was declared. In this length of time the inhabitants have increased from three to fourteen millions. The changes that have taken place are innumerable. Sixty-five years ago I was old enough to observe the face of things, and see what was going on: had I been in a dead sleep the sixty-five years, and were now to awake, such a change has taken place in the face of the earth, in architecture, in all the arts, in costume and regimen, and in the forms of religion, that I should doubt whether I had awakened in the same world. The love of money, sexual correspondence, diseases and death, however, remain stationary.

1. To quote and transcribe all the texts, with the peculiar bearings each had on my mind, would swell the narrative too large.

2. From a manuscript, written mostly in 1800, the following extract is taken:

"Volumes might be written upon the wanderings, darkness and errors of my life, which would afford no pleasure to others in hearing thereof, and which would be of no advantage to myself to relate; and, therefore, I shall pass them by, and attend only to a few of God's gracious and notable dealings with me, a great sinner, in my ministerial labors. Under all the trials and temptations that I have passed through for twenty-six years, I have never felt guilty for undertaking to preach at the time when I began. I cannot reproach myself with undertaking the work from any other motive than a real belief that it was my indispensable duty. I might have been deceived; but a hypocrite I was not, so far as I have ever yet seen. Yet, from the 20th June, 1774, until November, 1779, I had one general trial in my mind. It was this: I did not possess that strong desire for the conversion of sinners, that many others evidently had. This made me fear that all was not right with me."

3. In June, this year, the first Camp Meeting was attended in Caroline county, that I ever heard of. By arrangement, eight or ten Baptist preachers held the meeting three days and nights; but, as nothing extraordinary followed, it was not repeated; and it was a number of years before those meetings arose in the West, and have spread all over the United States.

4. "On my return through Caroline county, after I had been preaching, I sat in the door-yard of a friend's house conversing as usual; but here a strange solemnity seized my mind, and a strong drawing of soul to God inspired my breast, such as I had not enjoyed for some years. I soon lost sight of my company, and was conversant at the throne of grace. This frame of mind continued, with some abatements, until I reached home, which was two days afterwards. About three miles before I reached home, I obtained great comfort in believing that God would work among the people in Orange.- MS.

5. In August, 1799, my soul was again visited with the same peace and holy longings after God and the salvation of men as at former times. My preaching then, through grace, was not coasting around the shallow shores of doubt and uncertainty, but launching out into the deep for a draught. Attention and solemnity followed." - MS.

6. At the close of the original MS., before referred to, he writes, "I have experienced seven instances in my life in praying for the sick and maimed, when there appeared to be such an immediate relief granted, that I should be unbelieving and ungrateful not to mention them among the signal favors of God to me. I have passed through many fatigues in travel, several perils occasioned by mobs and furious men, many wants and pinches in life, and many tokens of providential relief; but after all, remain an unholy, helpless creature, and if the Lord does not keep me, I shall fall, disgrace myself, bring the ministry under blame, and be ashamed to read what I have now written. Amen."

7. "At the close of the year 1806, I got amazingly distressed on account of my preaching, fearing that my barrenness in the ministry was owing to improper addresses. The Methodists were amazing successful and zealous, and the addresses of their ministers were general and undaunted. I visited them - I conversed with them; they were all for heaven, and assured they were in the way; but their zeal and confidence appeared to me like the mighty wind and fire in Elija's vision, and I could not discover that any with whom I conversed had any knowledge of themselves, of the law of God, or of the way of pardon.

The Gillite mode of addressing sinners, seemed a little different from the New Testament mode. The Hopkinsian method appeared as if it took all the wisdom of God to devise a way for an honorable pretence to damn men. Dr. Fuller only cast another bundle of straw on the fire. So that the great query which has agitated my mind for more than thirty years, 'How is a congregation of sinners to be addressed?' at the time I am speaking of, fell with such distress upon my mind, that I could hardly contain myself. But in the midst of my difficulties, I had a meeting at a school house; in the time of service my soul got into the trade winds, and without consulting Gill, Hopkins, Fuller, or Wesley, without comparing our translation with the Septuagint, Chaldee, or the King of Spain's Bible, I addressed the scholars and young people in a way I never can without God helps me. The spirit of the Lord fell upon them. Very soon after this, five of them came forward and confessed Christ." Continuation of MS. 1807.

8. Five Hours Conflict.

9. It is now (1831) 57 years.

003 Further Sketches


IT is much to be regretted that Mr. Leland has not left us a more full and minute history of his eventful life. Rich as it was in interesting and instructive incidents, he has compressed the whole in the space of a few pages, remarking, with his characteristic modesty and humility, that "this was all that was worth preserving;" while, had he registered them all with as much minuteness as is usually found in biographies, the narrative must have extended to volumes.

The difficulty of authenticating incidents, as well as the narrow limits to which the further notices must be confined, render it impossible to add more than a brief continuation of his history to the time of his death, together with slight sketches of some important circumstances, which he has deemed proper entirely to omit, or slightly to mention.

The intervening period, between the year 1835, (at which time his narrative closes) and the death of his wife, October 5th, 1837, was spent in Cheshire, Massachusetts, to which place he had removed in 1831. Here he occupied the leisure left him by his ministerial labors, in the care of the little spot of ground he had chosen, where he probably expected to end his days; while Mrs. Leland, who had been emphatically a "helpmate" for him through many years, attended, alone, to the management of his domestic affairs, and gave considerable attention to the cultivation of a small garden. Here they exercised that cordial hospitality for which they were always remarkable, in the entertainment of the many friends who visited them from time to time, setting examples of piety and of the Christian virtues which will not soon be forgotten by those whose good fortune it was to be their neighbors.

The afflictive stroke which at length deprived him of the companion who had trodden with him so great a share of the rough path of life, was rendered doubly painful by the nature of the disease, which left to her friends not even the sad consolation of alleviating the distress they could not remove. A difficulty in her throat, which had been a long time increasing, at length reached such a height, that some months before her death, she could swallow nothing but liquids. The ability to do even this, continued to decrease from day to day, her strength wasting for want of nourishment, till life could no longer retain its feeble hold, and she literally starved to death.

A more than passing notice is due to the character of this extraordinary woman. She was not less remarkable in her sphere, than her husband in his. Her eulogy has been written by the pen of inspiration. No one who knew her and was acquainted with her history, can fail to observe that in the whole of the admirable description of the virtuous woman, (Pr 31.,) there is scarcely a circumstance named, that did not meet in her, a literal fulfilment.

Liberality, and kindness to the needy, formed a prominent feature in her character; none that appealed to her for aid that it was in her power to bestow, were ever sent empty away. This liberalality, joined with that love of independence, which was always a predominant and cherished peculiarity of both Mr. and Mrs. Leland, forbade her ever forgetting an act of kindness shown to herself, or failing to cancel the obligation by bestowing a much greater in return. In strength of mind, firmness of purpose, courage and self possession in danger, fortitude in circumstances of trial and suffering, indeed, in all those qualities that combine to produce energy of character, she has probably had few superiors, in any age; yet, in the exercise of these manly virtues, as they are sometimes called, she never acquired that masculine bearing that is too apt to accompany the possession of these qualities in the female sex. Though far removed from the softness and weakness which unfits a woman for enduring hardship, privation, and suffering, she was equally so from the opposite extreme; sustaining as well the delicacy as the dignity of the female sex.

An example of that habitual presence of mind as well as courage, which never failed her in any emergency, is found in the instance in which, like a guardian angel, she saved her husband from the murderer's sword. A similar illustration of these, and other strongly marked traits, is presented in the fact, that when one of her children, a little girl of four years old, had her head crushed under the wheels of a loaded cart which passed directly over it, she sat through the long hours of night with the child in her arms, pressing with her fingers a divided artery, to prevent the effusion of blood which would have caused immediate death. The child, almost miraculously saved, "rose up to call her blessed," and still lives to receive the same tribute of gratitude from a numerous posterity.

Constant, active industry was a distinguishing characteristic of Mrs. Leland. From its beginning to its close, her life was one of unceasing toil. Even in age, when necessity no longer required such exertion, the habit of active employment had become so much a part of her being, and her natural independence of feeling was so strong, that she could not be prevailed upon to desist from her accustomed round of domestic labors, till her exhausted strength compelled her to relinquish them into other hands. Neither was her industry of that noisy, bustling kind, whose results are usually in inverse proportion to the amount of effort employed. To her might be applied, with peculiar propriety, the encomium bestowed upon another. "She was always busy, and always quiet."

The guiding hand of Providence was never perhaps more evident, than in directing Elder Leland's choice to so suitable a companion for the stormy times of the revolution. Her training had been emphatically in the school of adversity; and her history is a striking exemplification of the sentiment which one of her own sex has no less truly than beautifully expressed.

-Strength is born
In the deep silence of long suffering hearts;
Not amidst joy."

At the age of two years she lost a fond and somewhat affluent father, and was driven from a good home by a brutal step-father, when a little more than four years old. Her feet were partly frozen off by exposure; soon after the canker attacked her throat, eat out her palate, 10 and for a long time her life was despaired of. At length, he, who in the midst of wrath even remembereth mercy, bound up her broken constitution, and gave her grace to see how great things she must suffer for his name's sake. When she recovered her health, she found that others had taken possession of all the property, and nothing lay before her but a life of dependence and servitude. But the God in whom she trusted fortified her heart and strengthened her hands, and when he, to whom her faith was plighted, said, "I go to proclaim a Savour's love in a land overrun with Brittish soldiers and American tories, and trodden down by a dominant established clergy, she replied like Rebecca, "I will go. " Her faith was firm in him who had said, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."

The "poor man's blessings" were here. She had a numerous family, but scanty means, and through the revolution which had begun when she married, her trials were many and severe. Often was she left alone with her little ones, far from neighbors, her husband gone, with very little prospect of pecuniary reward, while runaway blacks who had neither courage to join the British army, nor patriotism to join the American, were horded together around her for plunder and sometimes murder. Many a long hour she plied her needle by moonlight, to prepare clothing for her little ones, fearful lest the ray of a lamp from her window might attract a bloody foe. Often, too, the famished soldier came to her for food and shelter through the stormy night. Her God had said, "feed the hungry," and she obeyed; but when she had given till naught was left, the sleepless hours were spent in watchfulness and prayer - for oh! if the assassin's knife should be concealed beneath the soldier's garb, she could not fly and leave her little ones behind. How often she prayed that God would preserve the children he had graciously given, and all were preserved to lament the best of mothers.

This sketch, given by one of her family, who had often heard from her own lips, the story of those "troublous times," may serve to give some idea of the strength of character and depth of piety which sustained her in the midst of trials such as few women are called to endure.

The following circumstance is introduced as illustrating her capability of endurance, not only of physical, but of mental suffering. Incredible as it may seem, and inexplicable as it certainly is, the fact itself is unquestionable, as it rests on the testimony of Elder Leland himself.

One afternoon, they were startled by a sound somewhat similar to that made by a large fly when suddenly confined, apparently proceeding from within the wall of the house. After an unsuccessful effort to discover the cause, he left home and was absent six weeks without thinking again of the circumstance. On the evening of his return, however, he was reminded of it by a groan so sudden and piercing as to make him start up in amazement; his surprise was not lessened, when, upon inquiry he learned that the same had been heard every night of his absence, recurring each night a few minutes later than the preceding, and continuing about ten minutes at a time. It continued to be heard in the same manner, eight months, becoming at every return louder and more terrible. As this was at the period (spoken of in the autobiography) of an extensive revival in York and the adjacent counties, he was, consequently, absent a considerable part of the time, and Mrs. Leland was left alone with two little children, the eldest less than three years old, who, when the sound began to be heard, would cling around her in terror, exclaiming "the groaner has come." As often as any examination was made of the spot whence the noise seemed to issue, with the view of discovering whether it proceeded from some animal confined within the wall, it removed to another place, and thus defied all attempts at investigation. Wearied at length by unsuccessful efforts to discover a natural cause, Elder Leland resolved to try the effect of prayer; accordingly, when in the darkness of midnight, the dreadful moanings again commenced, he betook himself to the all-conquering weapon. Said he, in relating it to a friend, "if ever I prayed in my life, it was then." He prayed, that if it was a messenger of good, he might be emboldened to speak to it, and learn its errand, but if it was a spirit of evil, that it might be commanded to depart, and suffered to trouble them no more. During the prayer, the sound grew louder and more terrific, till at the conclusion, in a piercing shriek it departed, and never returned again. Those who have heard Elder Leland relate the incident, describe the sound he made in imitation of it, as unearthly and frightful to the last degree. It may be left to the imagination of the reader to picture to itself the amount and intensity of mental suffering which this event alone must have produced.

It has been remarked of Mrs. Leland, that her faith was strong. Indeed, on some occasions, it seemed to rest on grounds that partook of the character of revelations. An instance of this kind occurred in the storm by which they were overtaken on their passage from Virginia to New England, in 1791. After twelve hours of incessant watching and agonizing prayer, expecting momentarily to go to the bottom, she appeared to sink into a slumber; but presently turning to her husband, she exclaimed, "We shall not be lost." She had received this assurance from a figure in white which seemed to stand before her, measuring off piece after piece of a long white cord, and which said to her, "The vessel cannot sink, I have under-girded it."

In her last illness, she exhibited the utmost patience and resignation under all her sufferings. She spoke with great warmth and animation of the Divine goodness to her, and especially found cause of thankfulness in the circumstance, that for many weeks before her death, she did not feel the sensation of hunger. She had very humiliating views of herself; and desires proportionably great to exalt and magnify the riches of that grace which had proved sufficient in every scene of trial hitherto, and which she trusted would not fail her in the last; and truly it did not; for when the hour of release arrived, so gently did the hand of death loosen the bonds of her captivity, that not a groan was heard by those who stood around her bed, and a long life of eminent usefulness was crownd by a death of "perfect peace."

On the 12th October, 1837, a few days after the death of his wife, Elder Leland removed to the house of his son-in-law, Mr. James Greene, in Lanesborough, where he resided most of the time until his death. Thence he made frequent preaching excursions to the neighboring towns, and sometimes took journeys of considerable length. In the summer of 1838, he visited Utica and its vicinity, (the residence of his eldest son,) and was absent several weeks. The following letter, to his daughter, was written during his absence.

August 8, 1838.

* * I am now at Deerfield, and have made it a call by home for about ten days past. The crops of the earth, and the heat of the air, are great in all places where I have been. I have calls enough to preach, and have hitherto had strength to answer those calls, though in a poor, imperfect manner. My health and appetite are as good as common. All is uncertain when, or whether ever I shall return to Berkshire again. My life is not in my own hands, but I commit it, and all that I have, to the care of that Gracious Being who has fed and preserved me through an unprofitable life. I hope you will indulge no unnecessary anxiety about me; for I deserve but small favors from men, and less from the Creator. Farewell, my Fanny. Shun all the errors you have seen in me: be faithful unto death, and you will receive a crown of life.


His health, after his return, was such as for some days seriously to alarm his friends. He, however, soon recovered.

In the fall of 1839, his daughter, with whom he resided, was attacked by an illness, which, after two years and a half of intense suffering, released her from the world and its cares; not, however, till she had seen her father, whose anxious solicitude in her behalf she fully reciprocated, removed to a better world. During the winter of 1840-41, he thought best, in consideration of her health, and some other circumstances, to remove, for a few weeks, to the house of Mr. Chapman, in Cheshire. He continued to "do the work of an evangelist;" and at the time of his last call at his daughter's, was on his way to North Adams, where he was soon to end his days.

On the evening of the 8th January, he preached, for the last time, to the people of that village. It is matter of regret, that this discourse, interesting not only in itself, but especially so from the circumstances of its delivery, cannot be presented entire to the public. But, as it is well known that he never wrote even the heads of his sermons, the memories of his hearers are the only source from which we can draw, for even these. A friend has kindly furnished a sketch from recollection, which is here sub-joined.

"The text was from 1Jo 2:20,27 - 'But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. But the annointing which ye have received of him, abideth in you; and you need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.'

"He first spoke of the nature and character of the Holy Spirit, the unction referred to, from whence it came, &c., and remarked that the same that is sometimes compared to fire and water, is here likened to oil. He spoke of the properties of oil; its being used to lubricate the wheels of machinery; and when ignited, to give light and heat; and when applied to an abraded surface, or painful limb, to mitigate pain and suffering, and to heal the injury or wound., in all which uses it resembled the unction spoken of in the text. True Christians are anointed ones; anointed with gifts and spiritual endowments by the Spirit of Grace which comes from the Holy One, enlightening and strengthening the eyes of the understanding, and enabling those who receive it, to 'know all things' concerning Christ and his religion. Those who know the truth, are by it prepared to discern what is contrary thereto. It will preserve those in whom it abides, and teaches them to abide in Christ. He spoke of the resurrection - of the new birth - said no one could experience it while believing in the doctrine of universal salvation. 11 He could extend hope and charity to those who believed that sentiment, after a change of heart, but not before.

"It is pleasant and mournful to my soul, at this moment, to recollect with what benignity of countenance he pronounced his last benediction."

After the services were closed, he went to the house of Mr. Darling. A number of friends calling, he conversed freely and cheerfully, and attended prayers before retiring to bed, which he did at a rather late hour. An unusual noise being soon after heard in his chamber, Mr. D. went immediately to the room, where he found him prostrate on the floor. Feeling unwell, and a disposition to vomit, he had attempted to rise, and, as he said, "his limbs would not obey him. " He was placed in bed, and means used to restore warmth to his stiffened limbs. They were partially successful, and he obtained a little rest. He had chills, however, through the night, followed by heat and thirst. He arose and dressed himself in the morning; but, being very feeble, a medical friend in the village was called in. He was pronounced very ill; and, when asked whether he thought he should recover, said "he had not the token." In his former illnesses, though he had been, to human appearance, on the very verge of the grave, he had received some token which impressed him with the conviction that he should recover. But as, in this instance, he gained no such evidence, he seemed to think it useless to make much effort for his recovery.

"In this," says the physician who attended him, "I was not much disappointed, having known before that he had little confidence in medicine, unless well mixed with prayer. He freely consented, however, to use whatever remedies I thought best to administer. Not wishing to burthen his mind with even the small quantity of medicine I thought proper to give him, I directed the watchers, during the night, to mingle it with his drinks. This plan succeeded only until the next morning, when he said, 'take it away, and give me some clean water.' On the morning of the 10th, he was apparently better - rather talkative - related a story, or drew a comparison at every change in the conversation. At evening he was worse. He complained that he could neither stop thinking, nor direct his thoughts. His cough was becoming harder, and his breathing more laborious. He spoke with difficulty - said his tongue would not obey him. He had now most of the distinguishing symptoms of peripneumonia notha.

"11th. In the morning, easier - at evening, worse than the preceding. He had so little command of his tongue, that it was difficult to understand him. I continued the use of some medicine, though I now despaired of his recovery. On the morning of the 12th, we thought him somewhat better. He conversed pleasantly, and his eyes sparkled with much of that brilliancy of intellect which they were accustomed to exhibit when in health. In the evening, he was again worse; and while I was sitting by his bed, supposing him asleep, he said, (addressing himself,) 'well, I have nothing more to do, but die.'

"13th. Failing. He suffered apparently little, execpt his laborious breathing. Indeed, during his sickness, there was but a solitary instance in which he mentioned having any pain - it was in his left side, and continued but a few minutes. His dissolution was now almost hourly expected.

"On the 14th, Mr. and Mrs. Chapman, with whom he had been boarding in Cheshire, visited him. He seemed much gratified, and, to our surprise, immediately began to make arrangements to return with them. In this, a little aberration of mind was apparent. With some assistance he clothed himself, called for his satchel, into which he put his Bible, then for his bills for board and medical attendance, all which being adjusted, he expressed a desire to set out for home. He was, however, prevailed on to lie down and rest a while after the fatigue he had undergone, and was assisted to the bed, from which I do not recollect that he ever again rose."

To those members of his family who could not be with him, it was a consoling reflection, even in the midst of their grief, that the hand of Providence had cast him into a family of kind friends, where nothing conducive to his comfort or recovery, would be left untried. One daughter alone was permitted the privilege of watching his pillow of sickness, and standing by his dying couch. Speaking of some of his exercises, and of the closing scene, she thus remarks:-

"In the beginning of his sickness he seemed conscious of his approaching dissolution - said he was ready when called, and calmly gave orders respecting his funeral. The day on which he died, he said to his physician- 'Yesterday, doctor, a dark cloud came over - I did not know but I should fail in my expectations above.' Choked with the bitter remembrance, he paused, but soon added - 'It's not so today.'

"His thoughts would frequently run back to her who had so often bent over his wasting form in previous sicknesses, and he would speak of the good things she used to do for him.

"Early in the evening, a young preacher (Rev. Mr. Alden) came in, and said to him - 'Well, Father Leland, we are going to hold a prayer-meeting this evening. Have you any advice to give?' 'If you feel it in your hearts, I am glad. Forms are nothing.' These were nearly his last words; but his arm was not paralyzed, neither was his heart chilled. With his own hand he gave his own tobacco to his friends present, and indicated by signs that they should smoke. About 11 o'clock, he beckoned me to him, and tried to say 'go to bed.' I found his limbs were stiffening, and his senses lulling, and anxious to be near him till all was over, I hesitated, but finally, at the solicitation of one of the watchers, left the room. The man soon followed, and said, 'you had better come back.' I, came. Not a finger had moved. His spirit had taken rest in the bosom of its God."

Thus died JOHN LELAND - a man eminent above many for piety and usefulness, whose name is connected with all that is pure in patriotism, lovely in the social and domestic virtues, philanthropic in feeling and uction, arduous, disinterested, and self-denying in the labors of the ministerial calling; one whose place in society, in the church, and in the ranks of the ministry, will not soon be filled - in the hearts of those who knew him - never.

He died, as he had lived, a witness for the truth, testifying, with his last breath, the value of that religion, and that only, which has its seat in the heart. His life had been unostentatious; his aspirations after worldly honors, ever low and feeble; his humility and sense of dependence on God, deep-felt and abiding- and thus he died.

"Being with him in his last illness," (Mr. Alden remarks in his funeral sermon,) "more or less every day, I think I may say, I never saw a Christian feel more deeply his own unworthiness. 'Bury me,' said he, 'in an humble manner. I want no encomiums; I deserve none. I feel myself a poor, miserable sinner, and Christ is my only hope.' Being asked, very near his end, what were his views of the future, he exclaimed, with both hands extended upward, and a smile I can never forget, 'My prospects of heaven are clear.' He seemed already to feel the everlasting rest laying its sweet influences over his soul, and bearing it up, taking away the sting of death."

His remains were conveyed to Cheshire for interment, where, on the 17th, a funeral discourse was pronounced over them by Rev. John Alden, from Re 14 and Re 13. 12 The weather was extremely unpropitious, yet the concourse, assembled from that and the adjacent towns, was large, and many a tearful eye testified that no common occasion had called them together. Though but one child, "according to the flesh," was permitted to follow his relics to the grave, yet many, from the youth to the gray-haired man, who mingled their tears over his coffin, felt that they were gazing for the last time upon the countenance of a beloved "father in the Lord."

He was laid beside his wife, and a simple obelisk of blue marble, commemorative of both, marks their common resting-place. On its west side is inscribed the epitaph prepared by himself some years before his death: "Here lies the body of the Rev. JOHN LELAND, of Cheshire, who labored 67 years to promote piety and vindicate the civil and religious rights of all men. He died January, 14, 1841, aged 85 years and 8 months." On the north side is the following: "Sarah, consort of Rev. John Leland. She died October 5, 1837, aged 84 years." On the south: "This monument was erected by the children of the deceased, to point out the resting-place of their revered parents."

Having followed him to the end of his course, it remains for us to glance, in a brief retrospect, at some circumstances which he has omitted. It is doubtless the case that many of these, could they be collected, and their authenticity proved, would add greatly to the interest of the narrative; but the fact, that it has been found impossible to obtain them, will sufficiently account for the omission of any that may be deemed important.

To understand and appreciate the character of Elder Leland, it is only necessary to read his writings, and to trace the operation of the principles and sentiments they contain, in the actions of his life. That his writings were a transcript of his mind and heart, none will deny, who knew him. The candor and openness with which he ever avowed his sentiments, even when they subjected him to reproach and censure, are well known. Conversing with a friend on one occasion, he remarked - "Though I have secrets which I would not reveal to you, or any one else, I have not a religious secret in the world." The same frankness marked the expression of his political opinions. That his independence of mind aided materially in supporting this character, will be evident when we consider how many individuals there are who dare not be honest - who have not the moral courage to sustain them in a course which they feel to be right, and in the expression of sentiments which they inwardly approve. A remark of Elder Leland, on this subject, is suggested by these reflections.

"Though in a religious point of view," said he, "self-dependence (by which he meant the opposite of the Christian's-trust in God) is most pernicious and fatal in its tendency, yet, in worldly matters, it is one of the best qualities a man can possess."

Through a long life, Elder Leland sustained, with uniform consistency, the two-fold character of the Patriot and the Christian. For his religious creed he acknowledged no directory but the Bible. He loved the pure, unadulterated word of truth; and, as a minister of that word, zealous and faithful, he preached it, as far as he was able, unmixed with the doctrines and commandments of men, "not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind." He was clear in exposition, happy in illustration, often powerful and eloquent in appeals to the conscience and heart. He insisted, in absolute and unqualified terms, on the great fundamental truths of the gospel, the necessity of regeneration, faith and repentance; but, on points not essential to salvation, though his opinions were no less firmly established, and he never shrunk from advocating them on proper occasions, yet he did not censure or denounce those who differed from him, nor exclude from fellowship, as Christians, any who gave evidence of a gracious change, whatever might be their peculiar doctrinal views. He never engaged in controversy; and when any of his published opinions were disputed, or commented upon, as was sometimes the case, with severity, he preferred to "let the matter rest a little, and then give another thrust," as he expressed it, to the waste of time, repetitions, and tediousness of reviews and replies.

His political creed was based upon those "self-evident truths" of equality, and of inherent and inalienable rights, recognised by the master spirits of the revolution as the principles for the support of which they pledged "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor." As a politician, he was above the influence of any but sincere and patriotic motives. He was a statesman, rather than a politician. He studied the fundamental principles of government, and drew his conclusions directly from them, without any intervening medium of self or party interest. He judged men by their measures, and measures by their adaptedness to secure that result which he deemed the legitimate object of government - the greatest good of the greatest number. In his attachment to the administrations of Jefferson, Madison, Jackson and Van Buren, he felt that he was contending for the same principles of democracy that nerved the arms and strengthened the hearts of the whigs of '76. His sentiments, on particular measures, it is unnecessary to comment upon, as they are clearly expressed in his writings. His feelings on the subject of slavery may be gathered from the fact that, during his fourteen years' residence in Virginia he never owned a slave, as well as from his remarks in in the Virginia Chronicle, and from the resolution offered by him, when a member of the Baptist General Committee, and passed by them, in 1789, in the following words:-

"RESOLVED - That slavery is a violent deprivation of the rights of nature, and inconstent with a republican government; and we, therefore, recommend it to our brethren, to make use of every legal measure to extirpate this horrid evil from the land, and pray Almighty God that our honorable legislature may have it in their power to proclaim the great Jubilee, consistent with the principles of good policy."

His late writings on this subject, though expressing disapprobation of the measures of abolitionists, we apprehend, will not be found, upon examination, materially different in sentiment. In all, while he recognizes the supremacy of law, he pleads for individual right.

The great object, (next in importance to his mission as a preacher of Christ,) for which he seems to have been raised up by a special Providence, was to promote the establishment of religious liberty in the United States. His efforts, perhaps, contributed as much as those of any other man, to the overthrow of ecclesiastical tyranny in Virginia, the state of his adoption, and exerted a beneficial influence, though less successful, towards the promotion of the same end in that of his nativity. In the former, in the years 1786-7-8, we find his name in the doings of the Baptist General Committee, with which he stood connected, as messenger to the General Assembly, appointed to draft and present memorials respecting the Incorporating act, the application of the glebe lands to public use, etc. Though the cause of religious freedom was the common cause of all dissenters, yet the Baptists, as a sect, took the lead in those active, energetic, and persevering measures, which at length pervailed in its establishment. Many individuals of other denominations took an active part, and aided materially in bringing about the glorious result; 13 nay, that even many of the more conscientious and patriotic among the members of the established church, made praiseworthy exertions in its favor, is a fact too honorable to themselves, and to the state that produced them, to be passed unnoticed. Enrolled among the ardent champions of religious liberty, are the names of Virginia's most illustrious sons - of Washington, Henry, Jefferson, Madison. To particularize, in regard to the efforts made, and the good accomplished by each, is unnecessary in this place; the following Address14 and Reply, which are inserted entire, will serve to exhibit the enlarged views and the unselfish spirit of the patriots of that day, as well as the harmony, one might almost say identity, of sentiment that prevailed among them.

Address of the Committee of the United Baptist Churches of Virginia, assembled in the city of Richmond, 8th August, 1789, to the President of the United States of America.

SIR: - Among the many shouts of congratulation that you receive from cities, societies, states, and the whole world, we wish to take an active part in the universal chorus, in expressing our great satisfaction in your appointment to the first office in the nation. When America, on a former occasion, was reduced to the necessity of appealing to arms, to defend her natural and civil rights, a Washington was found fully adequate to the exigencies of the dangerous attempt; who, by the philanthropy of his heart, and the prudence of his head, led forth her untutored troops into the field of battle, and by the skilfulness of his hands, baffled the projects of the insulting foe, and pointed out the road to independence, even at a time when the energy of the cabinet was not sufficient to bring into action the natural aid of the confederation, from its respective sources.

The grand object being obtained, the independence of the States acknowledged; free from ambition, devoid of sanguine thirst of blood, our hero returned, with those he commanded, and laid down the sword at the feet of those who gave it him. 'Such an example to the world is new.' Like other nations, we experience that it requires as great valor and wisdom to make an advantage of a conquest, as to gain one.

The want of efficacy in the confederation, the redundancy of laws, and their partial administration in the States, called aloud for a new arrangement of our systems. The wisdom of the States, for that purpose, was collected in a grand convention - over which, you, sir, had the honor to preside. A national government, in all its parts, was recommended, as the only preservation of the Union, which plan of government is now in actual operation.

When the Constitution first made its appearance in Virginia, we, as a society, had unusual strugglings of mind, fearing that the liberty of conscience, dearer to us than property or life, was not sufficiently secured. Perhaps our jealousies were heightened, by the usage we received in Virginia, under the regal government, when mobs, fines, bonds and prisons were our frequent repast.

Convinced, on the one hand, that without an effective National Government, the States would fall into disunion and all the consequent evils; and, on the other hand, fearing that we should be accessary to some religious oppression, should any one society in the Union preponderate over the rest; yet, amidst all these inquietudes of mind, our consolation arose from this consideration,- the plan must be good, for it has the signature of a tried, trusty friend, and if religious liberty is rather insecure in the Constitution, 'the Administration will certainly prevent all oppression, for a WASHINGTON will preside.' According to our wishes, the unanimous voice of the Union has called you, sir, from your beloved retreat, to launch forth again into the faithless seas of human affairs, to guide the helm of the States. May that Divine munificence, which covered your head in battle, make you a yet greater blessing to your admiring country in time of peace. Should the horrid evils that have been so pestiferous in Asia and Europe, faction, ambition, war, perfidy, fraud, and persecution for conscience sake, ever approach the borders of our happy nation, may the name and administration of our beloved President, like the radiant source of day, scatter all those dark clouds from the American hemisphere.

And while we speak freely the language of our hearts, we are satisfied that we express the sentiments of our brethren, whom we represent. The very name of Washington is music in our ears; and although the great evil in the States is the want of mutual confidence between rulers and people, yet we have all the utmost confidence in the President of the States; and it is our fervent prayer to Almighty God, that the federal government, and the governments of the respective States, without rivalship, may so co-operate together, as to make the numerous people over whom you preside, the happiest nation on earth, and you, sir, the happiest man, in seeing the people, whom, by the smiles of Providence, you saved from vassalage by your valor, and made wise by your maxims, sitting securely under their vines and fig-trees, enjoying the perfection of human felicity. May God long preserve your life and health for a blessing to the world in general, and the United States in particular; and, when, like the sun, you have finished your course of great and unparalleled services, and go the way of all the earth, may the Divine Being who will reward every man according to his works, grant unto you a glorious admission into his everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ. This, sir, is the prayer of your happy admirers.

By order of the Committee,

To the General Committee, representing the United Baptist Churches in Virginia.

GENTLEMEN, - I request that you, will accept my best acknowledgments for your congratulation on my appointment to the first office in the nation. The kind manner in which you mention my past conduct, equally claims the expression of my gratitude.

After we had, by the smiles of Divine Providence on our exertions, obtained the object for which we contended, I retired, at the conclusion of the war, with an idea, that my country could have no farther occasion for my services, and with the intention of never entering again into public life. But when the exigencies of my country seemed to require me once more to engage in public affairs, an honest conviction of duty superseded my former resolution, and became my apology for deviating from the happy plan which I had adopted.

If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the Constitution framed by the Convention where I had the honor to preside, might possibly endanger the religious rights of any ecclesiastical society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to it; and if I could now conceive that the general government might even be so administered, as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself, to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution. For you, doubtless, remember, I have often expressed my sentiments, that any man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshiping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.

While I recollect with satisfaction, that the religious society of which you are members, have been, throughout America, uniformly, and almost unanimously the firm friends to civil liberty, and the persevering promoters of our glorious revolution; I cannot hesitate to believe, that they will be the faithful supporters of a free, yet efficient general government. Under this pleasing expectation, I rejoice to assure them, that they may rely upon my best wishes and endeavors to advance their prosperity.

In the meantime, be assured, gentlemen, that I entertain a proper sense of your fervent supplications to God for my temporal and eternal happiness. I am, gentlemen, your most obedient servant,


Elder Leland's removal to New-England took place in 1791. 15 As soon as he landed again on its shores, he commenced anew the warfare against religious intolerance, and the defence of the cause that had so signally triumphed in Virginia. During his stay in New London, he published his "Rights of Conscience Inalienable," and afterwards, from time to time, other works of the same character; some of which will be found in these volumes, and others it has been impossible to obtain.

Our limits do not allow us to enter upon the history and progress of religious liberty in Massachusetts. This may be found elsewhere. It had struggled for existence, and found some advocates from the first settlement of the state, but was kept constantly shackled by certificate laws, and other expedients of ecclesiastical tyranny. At length, in the beginning of 1811, a decision by Judge Parsons, that no society, not incorporated by law, could claim even the pitiful privilege of drawing back money, awakened the fears of the dissenters, and a circular Address, accompanied by a petition to the legislature, praying for a revision of the laws respecting public worship, was circulated through the state. At the solicitation of the people of Cheshire, Mr. Leland accepted a seat in the legislature, for the special purpose of aiding the measures petitioned for. His speech, delivered during the debate on the subject, may be found in another part of this work.

A law was finally passed that gave some relief, but not complete satisfaction. The "stump" of the tree of ecclesiastical oppression, so carefully preserved "with a band of iron and brass," continued, therefore, to furnish a subject for his animadversion, in various essays, addresses, etc., and he improved such opportunities as were offered him, as a matter of duty, and in fulfilment of the public pledge he had given, that "as long as he could speak with his tongue, wield a pen, or heave a cry to heaven, whenever the rights of men, the liberty of conscience, or the good of his country were invaded by fraud or force, his feeble efforts should not lie dormant." His letters, etc., on the Sunday Mail question, have the same bearing, and breathe the same spirit. To neutralize the effect of these, and to destroy the confidence reposed in him, reports were industriously circulated in some newspapers, that "he had renounced the Christian faith, and the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and been excommunicated from the church." The reader is requested to turn to his reply to a letter from Rev. O. B. Brown, on this subject, where he will find a sufficient refutation of this calumny. To show its probable foundation, however, it will be necessary to return to the period of his removal to Cheshire, and give a connected narrative of a series of events, which misrepresentation and falsehood have so distorted to his prejudice, as to render a true statement of them an act of indispensable justice to his memory. As the professed object of this work is to exhibit fully his character and sentiments, facts which have so important a bearing upon that object, cannot, with propriety, be withheld.

Soon after Elder Leland came to reside in Berkshire, the town of Cheshire was organized. There was, at that time, within its bounds, a large and flourishing church, called New Providence Grant, whose pastor was Elder Werden. There was also, another, called the Six Principle Church, making the laying on of hands a prerequisite to communion. The church, with which Elder Leland united, and of which he continued a member until his death, had dissented from the Six Principle Church, and contained about seventy members. This was usually called the Second Baptist Church.

Considerable additions were soon made, and in 1793, it was determined to build a meeting-house. Elder Leland drafted a Constitution which was unanimously adopted, and the house was built during the succeeding year. The Constitution reserved the control of the pulpit to the Baptist church, giving any proprietor, not a member, the liberty of inviting any man, "in character," to occupy it his proportional part of the time, and if, at any time, the church should fall away, or be unable to support a meeting, or a minister, it secured the property to the original proprietors, and their heirs at law.

The inhabitants of Cheshire, were, at that time, principally thriving farmers, who had removed there when the country was yet a wilderness, and by untiring industry had cleared their lands, built comfortable houses, school-houses, etc., and were training up large families of very intelligent children. The wealthier portion of the church seemed ever ready to help the poor, and encourage the weak. Their records furnish numerous instances of their watchfulness and promptness in providing for the wants of their needy members.

This church, with all others in Berkshire, belonged to the Shaftsbury Association; a very respectable body, but containing a number of talented men, who were every way aristocratic, in their views of the powers of Associations over churches, and of churches over their respective members. As Elder Leland, and his brethren in Virginia, had just thrown off the yoke of the established clergy, and built up their institutions upon the most liberal plan, it will not be thought strange if his feelings and views were not relished by the more narrow-minded, and his increasing popularity looked upon with other than friendly feelings.

Revivals of religion in Cheshire, and the adjacent towns, for some time kept up large congregations in their new meeting-houses, and scarcely a covenant-day passed, without the addition of one or more to their number. Under date of December, 1795, the following entry is found upon the records: "Elder Leland appears to stand in the power and demonstration of the spirit of God, in the administration of the word and ordinances of the gospel." But when religion began to decline, and a worldly spirit crept in, he was exceedingly pained to see leading members of the church, (of which he then had the care,) indulging in harsh language towards each other; yet ever ready to give a word of exhortation, to draw the reins of discipline closely with their neighbors, and virtually to say, by coming to the communion, "we are one. " This became very trying to his feelings, and as he had never enjoyed the Lord's supper, as he had preaching and baptizing, he felt no little embarrassment in constantly administering it under such circumstances. But as these members were respectable, stood high in church and society, were warm friends to him, and not complained of by others, he thought it more prudent to smother his feelings, and seeing his own imperfections to be great, to exercise forbearance towards the faults of others.

At length, however, he manifested his feelings to the church, who, being unable to remove them, consented, according to his request, to "have patience to wait on him a little longer." It is not certain at what time he left the pastoral charge, but it is probable he had not filled that office for some time previous to 1799, when he was requested to resume it, but declined. He spent considerable portions of every year in travelling and preaching from place to place, but when at home, (as may be seen by reference to the auto-biography,) he was never idle.

In August, 1799, the powerful work of grace, called, by way of eminence, the great Reformation," commenced in Cheshire, and its vicinity. His labors and successes during that interesting season, are recorded by his own hand. One of the members of the church, who had, during the ingathering, not only absented himself from public worship, and church-meetings, but "spoken lightly of the work of God among the people," professed to be aggrieved that Elder Leland should not break bread to the church, "let the embarrassments be what they might in his own mind," and also found fault with the church "for not forbidding him to pray and preach, inasmuch as he had neglected a known precept." The church sustained Elder Leland in his course, and contended that they had no right to forbid him to pray and preach, "inasmuch as he had been guilty of no immoral conduct." After a series of unsuccessful efforts to convince the refractory member of his errors, and to bring him back to duty, the church withdrew from him the hand of fellowship.

Thus it appears, that the church both knew and respected his feelings, and did not feel disposed to urge him forward in the performance of that which he could not look upon as duty, nor to impute to him the omission, as a crime; and it is believed, that, when he removed to Dutchess county, he left no enemies in Cheshire.

Not long after his removal, Elder Lemuel Covell, a young, talented, and highly esteemed minister, passing through Cheshire, preached so much to the edification of the church, that they immediately appointed a committee to visit him, with a view to obtain his services as pastor. They found him rather disposed to come; but as he had been unfortunate in his outward concerns, had become involved, and the church at Pittstown had paid the demands against him, (amounting to nearly seven hundred dollars,) on the condition, "that he should never leave them to become the pastor of any other people, unless that people would refund the money to them; an obstacle was presented apparently difficult to be overcome. The trial which followed, would, but for its consequences, have found no place in these pages.

The committee, who waited on Mr. Covell, were disposed to engage him, but on submitting it to the church, a number of the members in good standing, and somewhat wealthy, objected, and by their arguments, nearly dissuaded others. The committee took the alarm - insisted strongly upon the powers of the church - and, though their reasoning did not convince, their perseverance conquered - and perhaps it will not be uncharitable to say, that Elder Covell's debts were paid, and his family removed to Cheshire, rather in a spirit of defiance. The terms of settlement were the same as at Pittstown, with the additional proviso, that if the church failed in affording him a decent maintenance, the seven hundred dollars were not to be refunded, though he should leave the place.

About this time, a mortgage being closed on the farm where Elder Leland resided, his friends in Cheshire gave him a pressing invitation to come and reside with them; to preach whenever he felt disposed, and duty seemed to call him. Having children residing there, and being still a member of the church, he complied with the solicitation. He and Mr. Covell had always been warm friends, and their intimacy continued uninterrupted till the lamented death of the latter, while on a mission to Canada, October 19, 1806, less than six months from the time of his removal to Cheshire.

Mr. Covell viewed the proceedings of the church in the same light with the majority of the people of Cheshire. In a conversation with Elder Leland, he said, "had I foreseen the troubles that would ensue in consequence of my coming here, I would sooner have begged my bread from door to door."

The shock produced by Mr. Covell's death, was succeeded by a calmless, which lasted a considerable time, and gave the friends of peace, reason to hope that the breach in the church would soon be healed. Both church and society seemed seriously to regret the hurrying spirit that had set them at variance. Not so with a few leaders of the opposite party. "Recantation or excommunication," were their terms, and strange as it may seem, acquainted as they were with Elder Leland, they applied to him for help to carry out their plans. Owing no ill will to either party, his answer was such as might have been anticipated. He thought a little forbearance, on their part, might have saved all the trouble, and hinted, that by some recantation from them, the church might still be kept together.

Disappointed in their favorite plans, smarting under the loss of property, their fond hopes in the grave, they were not a little chagrined at receiving a slight rebuke where they had expected much assistance. They did not however proceed immediately to extremities, but, after conversing with members of the Shaftsbury Association, unfriendly in their views to Elder Leland, (of whom mention has already been made,) they determined to apply to him as friends, and pretending ignorance on the subject, to draw from him an expression of his views respecting church discipline, communion, etc. 16 He freely made a statement, and at their request committed it to writing. This paper has long been before the religious world, but as there may be many, who have never seen it, and who have but vague and indefinite, if not incorrect ideas of what Elder Leland's views were, a copy of it is here subjoined, taken from the original on file:

1. I have no doubt about the necessity of internal religion, nor of the great advantage of social worship, to preach, pray, and praise.

2. Some doubts have ever been in my mind, whether the advantage of what is called church order, more than compensates for the disadvantages. It is uppermost in my mind, however, that good church order is scriptural.

3. I lodge no complaint against communing with bread and wine, but for myself, for more than thirty years experiment, I have had no evidence that the bread and wine ever assisted my faith to discern the Lord's body. I have never felt guilty for not communing, but often for doing it. I have known no instance that God evidently blessed the ordinance for the conversion of sinners, which often attends preaching, praying, singing and baptizing.

4. Putting all together, the best conclusion that I can form, is, that church labor and breaking bread is what the Lord does not place on me, any more than he did baptizing on Paul.

5. If the church can bear with me, while I possess these feelings, and let me do what I have faith and confidence in, (which will be but a little while, for there is nothing left but a stump,) I shall be glad. Whenever I think I can do good, or get good, I will attend church-meeting and when ever the doubts of my mind are removed, I will commune.

6. If the church cannot bear thus with me, I wish them to give me a letter of dismission - such a letter as they can.

7. If such a letter cannot be given, consistently with the order and dignity of the church, I suppose excommunication must follow of course.


Cheshire, August 22, 1811.

This is a compendium of what I stated last church-meeting, and is here written on your request. Let no man follow me where I do not follow Christ. - J.L.

It will probably appear evident to all, that more of the cunning of the serpent than of the harmlessness of the dove was displayed in this manoeuvre of false friends. Most of the church agreed to forbear according to his request. A motion (made at the same meeting) to call a council, was negatived. A similar attempt at a subsequent meeting also failed.

They therefore called an ex parte council; but being defeated in this attempt, by the refusal of the church to attend, etc., they applied to the Association for aid. A committee of fifteen were appointed, who came and made an effort to convince the people of their error, in holding in fellowship a man who entertained sentiments so heretical. The committee met with no better success than the council.

Previous to the sitting of the committee, Elder Hull, of Berlin, had endeavored to mediate a peace between the parties, and a vote had been passed mutually "to bury all passed difficulties, never again to call them up. " As subsequent events showed this to be a false peace, and it became evident to all, that real and permanent harmony could not now be restored, the ten dissenting members at length consented to accept letters of dismission, of which the following is a copy:

"Whereas, there has been a difficulty subsisting among the members of this church, and a general agreement cannot as yet be obtained, we have thought it advisable to part.

Accordingly, the ten dissenting members are dismissed from us, and we will not nonfellowship any church that may receive them into their communion." 17

The result of another council, convened about a year after, to which the church deputed a committee, and submitted a written statement of facts, may be sufficiently gathered from the following allegory, written by Elder Leland:


In the year 1811, a small, diminutive vessel, with American colors, was seen sailing on the coast near the place, supposed to have on board contraband goods. A number of gun-boats called "Aggrieved Brethren," formed a line and bore down upon the little vessel to sink her; but as the wind shifted they could not succeed. Their failure only fired them with resolution.

Some of the inhabitants provided a number of armed schooners called a Party Council, commanded by Captain H - , and made a second attack upon the little vessel, in March, 1812, but could not bring her to action. They next obtained two brigs, M - and T - , to join the squadron, and in May, following, attacked the little vessel with all their force; but when they had spent all their powder in raking her, they retreated without sinking the worthless vessel. They then applied to my Lord Shaftsbury for a squadron of armed brigs called a Committee, with Admiral W - the commander; but before this squadron arrived, there came a Hull of a vessel from Berlin, with a white flag, and the captain, in behalf of his government, tendered his services to mediate a peace between the enraged inhabitants and the little vessel: but did not effect his wish. The July following, the line of armed brigs arrived; but with all their manoeuvring they could not bring the little vessel to action, nor get near enough to cut down the rigging. The inhabitants again applied to Lord Shaftsbury for a squadron of frigates to blow the little vessel from the ocean. His Lordship granted them five more frigates, to be commanded by the bold Admiral W - , which formidable force hove in sight August 25th, 1813. The little vessel came up to the fleet, and showed her papers, colors, and cargo, at sight of which the squadron divided. Two of the frigates veered off, and said the little vessel was not a picaroon, but was pursuing lawful commerce, and there were not contraband goods on board sufficient to condemn her according to the law of nations. The other frigates said they had no orders from Lord Shaftsbury as yet to sink her to the bottom; but unless the inhabitants would join and destroy the little vessel, they would inform his Lordship of it next June, who would send a force that would distroy every individual that gave aid to the little vessel, or allowed her to sail on the face of the deep.

Early in 1814, a vote was passed that the dismissed members should have the use of the meeting-house so much of the time as they were entitled to it, by the share they held in the property, and they were requested to appoint their days of worship. 18

At the meeting of the Shaftsbury Association in June, 1817, at the request of the messengers of the church, they were, dropped from their connection with the Association. In the afternoon of the same day on which this was done,

"A certain schedule of articles of belief, dated at Cheshire, August 22, 1811, signed John Leland, being presented by the messengers of the Leyden Association, who desired to know if we held in our fellowship a public character or church that embraced such sentiments:

Voted, unanimously, that this Association hold fellowship with no man or church, embracing, or countenancing such sentiments as contained in the paper then presented." 19

Possessed of that charity which "hopeth and endureth all things," and neither wishes nor works ill to its neighbor, Elder Leland was employed, during this long period of persecution, in the pursuit of his domestic concerns, and the duties of his calling. His friends, surprised at the extraordinory and unconstitutional proceedings of the "aggrieved party," 20 sought, by every means, for many years, to set the party and the public right. On the other hand, the wicked, seeing themselves backed by so many zealous professors, and ever ready to take advantage of such dissensions, spared no pains to invent and circulate the most unblushing falsehoods respecting his opinions and practices. No good ever resulted from the whole course of proceeding; nothing was gained by any one; but a bad impression was left upon the minds of the people generally, who seemed to doubt the purity of purpose that actuated to such a course of conduct as had been pursued, nor could ever be brought to see how any blame could justly fall upon Elder Leland.

Years passed on, the particular circumstances of which it is unnecessary to detail. At length, in 1824, a new church was formed, consisting, in part, of the surviving members of the aggrieved party, and partly of such as withdrew at that time from the Second Church, or had never united with any. Each church occupied the meeting-house half the time.

A revival in 1827, produced some accessions to both, and also to a Methodist society which had been constituted in 1823.

As many of the dissenting members had, in years previous to church difficulties, been warmly attached to Elder Leland, none but his God and nearest friends knew how trying to his heart was the loss of their society and friendship. At the darkest hour of the contest, no uncharitable expression escaped his lips, nor could he ever be induced to occupy the desk, when he thought it belonged, of right to them.

In 1831, another revival occurred. Numbers were baptized, and united with the churches to which their friends respectively belonged. Others were deterred from uniting with either, by the consideration that the existence of two churches of the same faith and order, in one place, necessarily involved the certainty that a wrong existed somewhere; and, as they could not determine satisfactorily to themselves where it existed, they judged it better to remain neutral. Indeed, for the most part, the younger portion of the community knew not why they should stand aloof from their neighbors in religious concerns, when they were all of one faith, and friendly in every other respect. The lapse of years had thinned the number of those whose grievances had first occasioned the division, and those living, seemed to feel deeply their estrangement from their brethren, and manifested, by suitable acknowledgments to Elder Leland and others, or by their friendly conduct, that they retained no longer any hostile feeling. Time had smothered the disputes that had once risen like mountains between them and their brethren, and the Holy Spirit's influence, which, as has justly been remarked, "can accomplish more in one hour, in bringing Christians together, than years spent in disputes and discipline," was doing its perfect work, and fostering a growing spirit of charity in all hearts.

In the winter and spring of 1833-4, Elder Leland and his wife had some rather unusual exercises of mind respecting the churches, which left upon them the impression that a union might be effected. Prompt in executing what his feelings of duty led him to undertake, he immediately visited several members of his own church, told his feelings and wishes, and proposed, if possible, to bring about a reconciliation, by meeting their brethren of the other church, on the broad basis of universal forgiveness, and mutual oblivion of the past. Some did not readily concur: but he presented to their minds the powerful motives on which their common Master had urged the duty of forgiveness, and reminded them that every Christian must have a forgiving spirit. At length their scruples gave way to the reflection, that if he, who had suffered most, could heartily forgive, they ought to throw no obstacle in the way of the accomplishment of his wishes.

A meeting was accordingly appointed, and the churches came together. Many spectators were also present; some, no doubt, drawn by curiosity, and expecting to hear the grounds of the long trouble laid open and discussed; and others, truly rejoicing at the prospect of a speedy end of those troubles. The plan proposed by Elder Leland was characteristically liberal. The following is a copy of it, as written by him on the first page of the "new church-book."

Cheshire, March 6, 1834.

This day the Second and Third Baptist Churches in Cheshire united together, to be called hereafter the Second Church, upon the following plan of agreement, viz.:-

All former differences shall be buried in the sea of universal forgiveness; and all the members of both churches, whether present or absent, shall be considered in the union, under the following provisions:-

Any member here present, who, from local situation, or any other cause, may decline the union, shall be subject to no censure therefor. Those members who are not present, shall have the same indulgence, when they make their requests known. In both cases, the non-unionists shall be under no obligation to tell their reasons why.

A clerk shall be chosen, in whose office the books and papers of both the former churches shall be deposited, merely for information, but shall not be appealed to for rules of proceeding.

A new book shall be procured, in which the proceedings of the church hereafter shall be registered.

As soon as the plan was laid before the meeting, a spirit of union seemed to run from heart to heart; and, to the great joy of all present, not an opposing voice was raised. The union was effected without a discussion of difficulties, without a surrender of private judgment - upon the only ground on which it is believed it could ever have taken place. It was a source of great consolation to Elder Leland, to have his early friends take him so cordially by the hand; and

from this time until his death, it is believed no member of either church bore him any ill will; such, at least, was the appearance. The approving smile of Heaven seemed to ratify the act; for though but few additions to their number have since taken place, a spirit of harmony has prevailed in all their deliberations, and brotherly love has continued uninterrupted among the members of the united church.

In this brief sketch of events, we have endeavored to perform with candor the task which duty imposed. Its object has been, not to call up painful remembrances from the oblivion where they were buried, but to do justice to the memory of the man to whose prejudice those events have been perverted, and to exhibit his character, course, and principles in their true light. No apology is, therefore, deemed necessary for an act so clearly and imperatively demanded by truth and justice. That which goes down to later generations as matter of history, should be sober fact, divested of all the false coloring which prejudice, ignorance, or party spirit may have thrown around it. Such, it is hoped, this narrative may be found. Great care has been taken to ascertain truth, and few assertions have been made that are not sustained by documentary evidence of undoubted authenticity. A few observations of a miscellaneous character, will close these sketches.

The following extract, from Semple's Virginia Baptists, published in 1810, will serve to show the estimation in which Mr. Leland was held in that state.

"Mr. Leland, as a preacher, was probably the most popular of any that ever resided in this state. He is, unquestionably, a man of fertile genius. His opportunities for school learning were not great; but the enegetic vigor of his mind quickly surmounted this deficiency. His memory was so retentive, that by a single reading he stored up more of the contents of a book, than many would by a dozen careful perusals. It is probable that his knowledge, derived from books, at this day, taken in the aggregate, is surpassed by few. His preaching, though immethodical and eccentric, is generally wise, warm and evangelical. There are not many preachers, who have so great command of the attention and of the feelings of their auditory. In effecting this, his manner has been thought, by some, to approach too near to the theatrical. Cowper, the poet, says:-

'He that negotiates between God and man,
As God's ambassador, the grand concerns
Of judgment and of mercy, must beware
Of lightness in his speech.'

"Here Mr. Leland and the poet are at variance; he does, sometimes, and, indeed, not unfrequently,

'Court the skittish fancy with facetious tales.'

"If Cowper says, 'So did not Paul,' Leland can say, So did George Whitfield, Rowland Hill, etc., and they have been the most successful of modern preachers. Mr. Leland's free and jocund manners have excited the suspicions of some, that he wanted serious piety. His intimate friends are confident that these are groundless suspicions. They believe that, among his other singularities, he is singularly pious."

It is true, there was nothing of superstitious austerity in the tone of his piety; it corresponded with his own description of the feelings of the heaven-born soul - "lively as angels, yet solemn as the grave." Deep solemnity characterized his public ministrations. 'In prayer, he seemed to have an overwhelming sense of the perfections of the Being he addressed; and his manner, his words, and the tones of his voice, were expressive of the most reverential awe, the deepest self-abasement, and the humblest adoration. He was in the habit of confessing the immense distance of men, as creatures, below the infinite Jehovah, and the immeasurable increase of that distance by reason of sin. "Supremely great, infinitely glorious, highly exalted, everywhere present, all-wise and eternal God, " was often, either wholly, or in part, the introduction of his prayer. His audience felt themselves carried directly into the presence of Him who is "fearful in praises," and it was impossible to listen with an irreverent or trifling spirit. In the administration of the sacrament, few, if any, were ever more deeply solemn and impressive. In his preaching, he sometimes, by a single sentence, presented before the mind a view of eternal things, which left an indelible impression on the memory. Such was the manner in which he was accustomed to speak of death. It is, " he would say, "a solemn thing to die; to go - we know not where; to be - we know not what." His manner, however, was far from being affected or theatrical; and he did not deem it inconsistent, either with real solemnity, or with the spirit of true piety, to mingle, not only in his writings and conversation, but in his preaching, occasional strokes of humor or of satire. But the "facetious tales" had always a higher object in view than to excite a smile, or "court the skittish fancy." They were brought in illustration of some important truth, which he wished to exhibit in the clearest light, and to impress forcibly upon the mind; effects which their aptness was well calculated to produce. The shafts of satire, too, pointed though they might be, were not dipped in the gall of malice or ill will, nor aimed at anything which he esteemed valuable or sacred. Instances illustrative of this part of his character may be found among his writings, and will be recollected by all who ever heard him preach or converse. The following is one example, and will serve to show his manner of treating those circumstances, which, to many persons of different temperament, or of less elevated views and aims, would seem to afford sufficient ground for resentment, and which not unfrequently result in irreconcilable animosity.


As the annual races of Cheshire drew nigh, about the first of April, 1823, the hippodrome was prepared for the contest. As the speed, wind, and bottom of the horses were to be tested, the hippodrome included hills, levels, lanes and hedges, reaching from Savoy to Hancock. The prize to be run for, was


The horses brought on the ground were, first, the Duke of Marlborough; a fine, high-bred horse, in fine style; supposed by some, who judge of horses, to be the best racer ever seen on Cheshire race ground. The second, was Little Jolly, sired by the imported Jolly Rogers, the famous courser. Little Jolly had never run but a few races; but his make, nimbleness and wind, raised the confidence of many. The third horse, was Old Dray, the sight of whom made some laugh, and others sneer. Old Dray had often been on the ground; but was never formed for speed, and rarely won the prize; had now grown old, and unfit to contend with young steeds in high perfection; in short, he had nothing to commend him, except his being of the fear-not blood. On this condition alone could he be admitted, that he should carry an extra burden of a plough and pitchfork on his back, during the race.

The distance stake was stuck forty feet short of the goal, and all things were made ready for the start. At the beat of the drum, the halters were slipped, and, by some unknown cause, Old Dray got four feet in front; but this advance was very short, for the Marlborough came up, and went by him, with great facility; and, had it not been for two causes, there was every reason to believe that the Marlborough would have distanced all the rest. The first cause was, he made a violent kick and bite at Old Dray, and some affirm that he spake, (like the beast that Balaam rode,) and said, "If Old Dray can be kicked out of the path, it will be the most glorious race that ever was run, " which rather crippled him in the stifle joint. His friends, however, say that there was neither kick nor bite; that although he is all activity to run the race, yet he has no venom in him. The second cause was, that when he came to Savoy Heights, far ahead, there was a certain berry on the hills, called Woodberry, which had so strong a scent, that it rather paralyzed his limbs.

Little Jolly started with great alertness, and the bets in his favor were greater than for any of the horses on the ground; but, making a bite at Old Dray, he incautiously stepped over the line, and crossed the path, in doing which he received a wound; but his friends produced a medicine, made of fabrication, and administered by offset, which proved a catholicon. They said that Old Dray had done as bad as Jolly, and one must be offset against the other. This medicine they had tried on a former occasion, and knew its efficacy. This treaty, made with their consciences, healed the wound of Jolly, and they declared him to be the soundest and swiftest horse in the race. And truly, in that part of the race ground called lanes and hedges, he performed wonders. Being acquainted with such kind of ground, he jumped with all the agility of a rabbit. In going over the flat ground of Hancock, Old Dray made considerable advances on Marlborough, but could not come up with him. In coming out at the goal, the Marlbo rough was seventeen feet in advance of Old Dray, and Old Dray seven-teen feet before the Jolly. The judges seemed somewhat divided; but the decision was, that the Marlborough should have the majority, the Little Jolly have the meeting-house, and that Old Dray should carry the plough and pitchfork upon his back as long as he lived, and never be allowed to enter the race ground again.

It will be admitted, perhaps, by all whose freedom from educational bias, and habits of close and independent thought, prepared them fully to appreciate the preaching of Elder Leland, that he was more than usually successful in reconciling those apparently conflicting portions of the system of gospel truth, which have been the theme of so much controversy in all ages of the Church. This was mainly owing to the care he took, never to mix law and grace together;" or, in other words, never to confound the "system of God's moral government," with the "scheme of grace through a Mediator." He viewed the line of distinction, as commencing at the' covenant of peace," formed in the counsels of eternity, and continuing for ever. He did not, therefore, apply to the unregenerate, the promises and precepts addressed to the penitent and believer, nor hold forth the terrors of the law to "them who are in Christ Jesus." Yet that he did not pretend to understand the whole mystery of the gospel, may be distinctly seen in the following detached paragraphs, from which, with other of his writings, may be gathered the fundamental points of his belief.

"The gospel is so internally profound, and the minds of men so limited, the obstructions to science so many and great, that it is but a little of the gospel that men understand; and yet, no scheme, fraught with fewer incomprehensibles, could have brought relief to fallen man. The unsearchable riches of Christ, which pass knowledge, will be continually unfolding themselves to the saints in light."

"To reconcile the eternal designs of God with the freedom of the human will, is a question that puzzles all men. That both are true, admits of no reasonable doubt; but there is a great doubt whether the mind of man is large enough to reconcile the question: if it is, why is not the matter settled long ago? It appears to be one of the deep things of God, which we are to believe without comprehension. Should the Lord use ever so many words to elucidate the subject, still, the mind of man is so limited, that the matter would remain in the profound. That God is good, and that men are rebellious; that salvation is of the Lord, and damnation of ourselves, are truths revealed as plain as a sunbeam."

"The preceptive part of the gospel addresses men as able to do, and commands them to do; but the gracious part considers men as weak and polluted, and reveals what God does for them. The former shows holy authority, the latter gracious benevolence."

"Repentance for bad works, and the practice of good works, I strive to preach; but, as repentance will not expiate crimes, and the deeds of the law will not justify, redemption by Christ is essential. The salvation of God includes three things: first, something done for us, without us; second, something done for us, within us; third, something done by us."

"The moral insolvency of man, has not destroyed the equity of God's law, nor cancelled the demand."

"The sinner, until he is changed by grace, never feels guilty because he has not the holy unction, but for the sins he has committed. The prayer of his heart is not for internal holiness, but for deliverance from punishment."

"Adam, in innocency, with his life of natural purity, was happy on earth, but not fit for heaven. Had he never sinned, he must, nevertheless, have been born of the Spirit, (received the holy unction,) to have prepared him for heaven."

"Grace and effort. Some preachers fix their eyes so steadfastly upon the unchangeable nature of God, his immutable decrees, his personal and unconditional election of some unto eternal life, that they leave themselves but little liberty to preach, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'- 'Repent, and believe the gospel' - 'Repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out' - 'Labor not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto eternal life' - 'While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be children of the light,' etc. Others place their minds on the rebellion of man, the necessity of repentance, and the willingness of Christ to save sinners, so strongly, that they overlook such passages as these: 'As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed' - 'The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded' - 'No man can come unto me, except the Father draw him' - 'Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes' - 'Then shall ye seek me and shall not find me' - 'Not according to our own righteousness, but according to his own mercy he saved us,' etc."

Though his sermons, conversation and writings, were characterized by perspicuity and simplicity, it must be supposed that he was sometimes misunderstood; for he was claimed, by some sectarians, as the advocate of doctrines which he considered fundamentally opposed to the truth. He incurred, also, the censure of many, by carrying farther than they thought necessary the Protestant sentiment, of the sufficiency of the Scriptures as a guide to Christian faith and practice, and by questioning the propriety of measures for which Scripture authority could not be adduced. Some of this class of individuals, however, while they could not but acknowledge the sincerity of his desires to be "made right," and of his fervent prayers to be enabled to discern the truth, sought for other motives than love of truth, to which they might attribute his dissent from their own views. This was entirely uncalled for; for if ever there was a man, who, in his search after truth, was honest, unbiassed by sectarian partialities, unshackled by previously formed opinions, uninfluenced by any selfish considerations, none who knew him well, will hesitate to aver, that John Leland was that man. There is evidently a wide difference between searching the Scriptures to find a system of truth, and searching them for evidence to support one already adopted. That the latter was not the course pursued by him, the candor evinced in all his researches fully proves. His object being not so much to convince others, as to discover truth for himself, he avoided those sophistical methods of reasoning which too many employ to bring the unwary and unreflecting to their own views, nor did he resort to denunciation and fiery zeal, or to quibbling and evasion, to cover the weak part of an argument. He did not undervalue the importance of the objections that might be urged against his opinions; but giving them their full weight, he advanced his own arguments to meet them; following, in this respect, the example of Madison, whom he often quoted as a model of candor and fairness in debate.

With regard to his writings, it may be well to remark, that he never rewrote his pieces; whatever they are, they were in the original draught. This consideration, while it accounts for many inaccuracies in language, both rhetorical and grammatical, shows, at the same time, the systematic order in which his thoughts naturally arranged themselves, following one upon another with such method, that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find an instance where any important proposition was assumed without proof, or a succeeding one in a series taken as proof of a preceding.

His views, in relation to the office and work of the ministry, are contained in various parts of his writings. It was never either his principle or practice to set a price upon his labors, nor to demand or receive a fixed salary. But though he never solicited, or made money a condition of preaching, he never refused what any chose to give him; and he received it, not as alms, but as a gospel debt. It was his counsel to one who was about to engage in the work of the ministry, never to make any dependence upon what he expected to receive for preaching; "if you get anything," said he, "you can work it in afterwards." Such was his own practice. His own hands, and those of his family, who were all trained to habits of active industry, supplied their wants, and he had the pleasure of knowing that whatever he did receive, was given, "not grudgingly, but with free will, and of a ready mind."

His practice with regard to baptism was in accordance with the views expressed in the letter found on page - of volume - . He considered baptism a duty plainly enjoined on all the followers of Christ, by an express command; but connection with a church to be a matter of choice and expediency. Accordingly he always baptized such as gave evidence of piety, if they desired it, and left them to connect themselves with whatever church they pleased, or with none, if such was their preference. He thought the First Epistle of Peter, to the "strangers scattered" through various places, was, probably, addressed to such as, from local situation, or other causes, were not numbered with any of the churches.

His preaching, in latter years of his life, was almost entirely of the expository kind. He would frequently, after naming his text, go back a number of verses, or to the beginning of the chapter, and comment upon each clause in succession, and sometimes the close of the sermon would come without his having reached his text at all. But "it is no matter," he would say, "so long as I keep within the lids of the Bible. Indeed, it makes but little difference what text I take, I must come to the third of John before I close. If I take an Old Testament text, I must preach a New Testament sermon.

It was equally true of him as of Mr. Haynes, that

"though he seldom held a congregation long without exciting a smile, yet the predominant influence of his preaching was to produce solemnity of feeling, and deep conviction of truth. His eccentricities would have been faults in any other man, but in him they were so inherent and essential to his character, and his wit was so spontaneous, and came, as it were, without his bidding, that they neither interrupted the current of his own piety, nor often weakened the religious influence of his discourses upon others." 22

Many anecdotes and amusing incidents have been related of him, some, probably, without foundation in truth. Want of space forbids the introduction of more than two or three in this place. The following, cut from a newspaper, is judged to be authentic, from the fact that it is characteristic of him. Riding one day in company with Elder Hull, they were overtaken by a slight shower. Elder Leland was for seeking a shelter, but the other remarked, "Brother, I am ashamed of you - a Baptist minister, and afraid of a little water!" "Ah! Brother Hull," replied he, "I never like these sprinklings."

Calling one day on a Baptist minister, to whom he was not personally known, said the latter, after the first salutations, "by what name shall I call you? " He replied, "Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?" "Well," said the other, "is this all the answer I am to have?" "It is the answer of an angel, what better can you wish for? " "If you are an angel, doubtless you are a fallen one."

On another and similar occasion, being asked the same question, he replied, "call me Leland." "Ah! " replied the minister, "there are many who come along, wishing to be called by that name. I have been tricked in that way several times." But after looking steadily at him a few moments, his doubts seemed to yield to the conviction that he was indeed no other than he pretended, and he exclaimed, "Is it possible that the Almighty has placed such a soul as Leland's in such an insignificant body!"

Should this expression convey the idea that he was small of stature, the impression will be incorrect. His height was not far from six feet, though as he advanced in years, his form became more stooping, and his stature, consequently, somewhat less. In flesh, he was rather thin and spare. Of his personal appearance, generally, the accompanying portrait will furnish a more correct and definite idea than any language can convey.

Perhaps these sketches cannot be more appropriately closed, than by the following brief extracts from the concluding part of the funeral sermon: "Great and good man, he is gone! The tender and effectionate father, the kind husband - the wise counsellor - emphatically the peace-maker - the social, warmhearted friend - the sage - patriot - the lover of sound doctrine - the eloquent and unusually successful minister of Christ, is no more! Is no more? He still lives, we doubt not, where his intellect has found congenial spirits, and a wider range in the upper empire of Jehovah. He lives below in the affections of thousands, and 'his works do follow him.' " "To live live like him, is to mourn over the sins of earth, and hold up God's everlasting truth to a dying world. To die like him, is to stand on the confines of earth, looking off into eternity, and depart with the 'prospect of heaven clear.' To rest, at last, like him, is, we doubt not, to rest forever in the Paradise of God."

10. In consequence of this misfortune, her speech was so much impaired, that through life it was difficult for persons not well acquainted with her, to understand her.

11. He has been heard to express the same opinion on other occasions, drawing his conclusions from the fact, that persons, in being made partakers of the grace of life, are brought to view themselves utterly lost without that grace - a conviction which they cannot feel, while they imagine themselves in no danger of receiving the "wages of sin, which is death."

12. This discourse is already before the public, which circumstance, together with our limited space, will sufficiently account for the omission of any further extracts.

13. See quotation from the speech of a Presbyterian, Vol. - , page - .

14. Drafted by Elder Leland.

15. It may be proper to mention, in this place, that while a member of the General Committee, he was appointed one of a committee to collect materials for a history of the Baptists in Virginia; and had made considerable progress towards it, when his removal caused him to relinquish the trust into other hands.

16. For the sake of brevity, details are omitted, and only a sketch of the important fasts given.

17. This was done at the July meeting, 1812.

18. Soon after this, Elder Leland removed to New Ashford. See autobiography for circumstances. He continued to preach from time to time in Cheshire.

19. See minutes for that year.

20. Though only a small minority, they had at one time assumed to be the church, and as such, had sent a letter and messengers to the Association, in addition to that sent regularly by the church.

21. To those acquainted with the circumstances, any attempt at an explanation of this allegory would be superfluous; to others, perhaps, impossible, as well as unprofitable. It will be sufficient to remind the reader that a revival occurred in 1823 - that the same year a Reformed Methodist Society was formed in Cheshire, and early in 1824, the Third Baptist Church was constituted. Among the ministers represented by three horses, no one, it is presumed, can fail to recognize the features of "Old Dray."

22. Reminiscences of Rev. Samuel Haynes.

004 The History of Jack Nips


I CANNOT say that my father was a Hittite, and my mother an Amorite, but my father was a Presbyterian, and my mother a high-flying, separate new-light. I was as far from being a new-light myself, as men's hearts are from their mouths, or as old darkness is from new light; but when my school-fellows got mad at me, they would call me a new-light, and if I asked them what a new-light was, they would be as confused in their answers as if they did not know B from a bull's foot. Sometimes, when I was reading, they would laugh at me for my new-light tone; once, in particular, as I was reciting a lesson, to a Latin master, he told me "not to preach like a new-light, but to speak like a scholar." This put me upon a search into the nature of tones, and I was soon convinced that a holy tone did not make a holy man, for some who had the tone, would be as hypocritical as Lucifer himself; but the same persons who laughed at me for my tone, had a disagreeable tone of lying, swearing, and sneering at all good sense and religion, yet there was no harm in that tone, because it was polite.

Like other boys, I wished to be in fashion, and as the Presbyterians were the most fashionable, I applied myself to the study of their books, but was not a little puzzled to reconcile their writings with my boyish thoughts. I could not, for my gizzard, understand their orthography, until I was more than sixteen. They would spell thus: c-i-r, cir, c-u-m, cum, c-i, ci, s-e-d, baptism. This, I say, puzzled me greatly: and if I asked any body how they reconciled it, they would tell me that "great, learned, and good men said it was right, and it would be presumption in me to call it in question." I further observed that sometimes those authors would put the cart before the horse; as for instance, where it said, "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," they would have it, "he that is baptized and believeth, shall be saved." Surely, said I, this is a Presbyterian tone; for I did not then know that there was a Papist, a Russian, or an Episcopalian in the world.

Another thing also confounded my youthful thoughts. Men and women would bring their children to the minister to be baptized, if but one of them was a believer, and it was supposed that the faith of one parent was sufficient to initiate the child; but my thoughts would be running thus:

"is the soul of that child made by God, and infused into the body while in the womb, or it is begotten by the parents? If it is made and infused by God, then the children of wicked parents bring as good souls into the world as the children of good parents do. But if souls are begotten in ordinary generation, then regenerate men will beget regenerate souls, and wicked men will beget wicked souls; and if Adam was regenerate before he begat any of his children, by succession down to this day, we are all regenerate."

But as this was to me uncertain, I was casting my eyes and thoughts on my neighbors. Uncle Benson had married aunt Nancy, by whom he had a son whose name was Peter. Uncle was a believer, but aunt was not. Here I had a great query in my mind, to find from which parent the soul proceeded. Aristotle informed me, that the child, in animalcula, came originally from the mother. Surely, then, said I to myself, cousin Peter has no right to baptism, for his mother is an infidel. But the European philosophers said that the animalcula that formed the foetus, came from the father. If so, said I, again, then Peter is a Christian. But here I was perplexed again: if Peter came into the world a Christian, how can he be made a Christian by water? Can a priest and water make him what he was before he was born? Uncle Sam said, Peter came into the world a Christian, and therefore had a right to baptism; but uncle Ned insisted upon it, that it was his baptism that made him a Christian, and confirmed his sentiment by observing, that the name given him in baptism, was his Christian name; that is, a name given him when he was made a Christian; but others declared that the child came half from each parent; then, said I, Peter ought to have but half his face sprinkled, for half of it came from his heathen mother.

While I was thus as full of thought as Don Quixote was of projects, I went to meeting: and how was I surprised to see a man and his wife stand in the broad aisle, owning the baptismal covenant, as they called it. I had read of baptism being a command - a fulfilling of righteousness - the answer of a good conscience; but never heard it called a covenant before. What wind next? said I within myself. But here I soon found that neither the man nor his wife were believers; that they had never given themselves to God, and yet were offering their child to him. This made me think of uncle Tim, who would never give any of his own interest to any body, but when he was at another man's house, he would be as liberal as a prince, in giving to every one that came in. If these people, said I, loved their child as well as they do themselves, they'd never trust it where they durst not trust themselves. But after the priest had read what he had written for them, and they had consented by a bow and courtesy, he declared that they had a right to all the privileges of the church except the Lord's supper.

The thought that arose in my mind was this: they may have a right to the privileges of that church, but have they a right to all, or any, of the privileges of Christ's church? If, from the innocency of the children - the confession of the parents, or the faith of one or both of them, they have a right to baptism, why not to the eucharist? Here I remembered to have read an account of Cyprian, the African bishop, who, in the middle of the third century, first introduced infant baptism, and, to be consistent with himself, introduced infant communion at the same time. I could not but observe what force and violence were used on the occasion. The little candidate, who never proposed himself, nor, indeed, had sense enough to know anything that was going on, was taken by force, and, notwithstanding all his struggles and screams, had the name of the Trinity called over him, and was, somehow or other, shut up in the pales of the church. Is this Christian liberty? thought I, more than a hundred times.

About this time, my father, schoolmaster, and minister, took much pains to teach me the catechism, where it is observed that baptism is not to be administered to any who are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to his revealed will. What, in the world of wonders, thought I, do these people mean? The man and his wife, now in the broad aisle, do not profess to be believers, and yet they claim baptism for their child, contrary to that oracular catechism, composed by so many D. D.'s, and M. A.'s. Here my zeal broke over all bounds, and turning to old neighbor Turnpie, said I, "do these people hold to the West-minister catechism?" "Yes," said he, "but, they are constantly gaining more light, and, therefore, altering their modes; but still they are the same people." This made me think of the Irishman's knife which he kept for antiquity's sake, which had been his grandfather's, his father's, and his own; and, although it had worn out two or three blades, and three or four handles, yet it was the very knife that his grandfather first bought.

After pausing awhile, I remembered that the article concluded thus: "but the infants of those who are enemies of the visible church, are to be baptized." You lie, reverend sirs, said I. What! first tell us that baptism is not to be administered to any out of the church, and then tell us it is, and think boys and men too will believe your contradictions? Here I should have proceeded, but a man in the seats not only began to knock his black staff, but really came and took me by the hand. "What now? " said I. He replied, "I am a tything-man to keep order." Here a thousand thoughts rushed into my mind, some of which were as follows: did Jesus, or his apostles, ever appoint tything-men to keep boys or men in order? Did they ever give orders to civil rulers to make laws to force people to go to meeting once a month, or pay a fine? Did they ever institute black staves and stocks to prevent disorder in religious worship? Have those people New Testament authority to establish creeds for others, and go contrary to them, themselves, and punish others if they cannot receive their glaring inconsistencies and absurdities? Some say that the laws of men are the sinews of the gospel: but are they not rather the sinner's gospel? Is not every kind of cruelty and oppression executed under the pretext of civil law? Have not the majority in every part of the world christened all their madness and self-will by the names of civil law and good order? These things are so, said I, in my heart, but durst not speak, for the tything-man held me by the hand.

After meeting was over, and I had escaped from the black staff, I returned home, resolving to read for myself.

Carefully reading the New Testament, I found that the word baptize, with its various declensions, occurred about one hundred times; but in none of these places did it countenance baby baptism, and as I had made some proficiency in Greek, I searched the Greek Testament and lexicon, where I found that baptism came from the word baptizo, and that the word sprinkle, came from the Greek runtizo, so that sprinkling could not be baptizing.

The Greek baptizo, in a few places, is translated wash; but as bodies, cups, and platters cannot be washed well, by sprinkling a few drops of water upon them, I concluded that all who undertook to baptize, by sprinkling, were religious sluts.

About this time, my father was often telling me that he designed me for the gown; that I was of a weakly constitution, not able to get a living out of the ground, and if I could furnish my mind with letter and theological knowledge, I might be inducted into a parish where I might receive a good benefice. But here my foolish heart kept running thus: my father intends me for a minister, but does God? Those who are sent by men to preach, must look to men for their pay; but those that are sent by God, must depend on him.

If I have but a weakly constitution, why should a runt, of a family, be imposed on a parish to eat more than he can work? If a benefice tempts me to preach, I shall preach for filthy lucre, and not out of love to God and souls. If I learn to preach by rule, I shall fall upon the plan of others, of long prayers and short sermons, to save the trouble of writing much. And when I have my sermons all penned down, I shall have to pray, not for God's assistance, but for good eyesight.

Upon the whole, I concluded that the religion I had been acquainted with, was little more than a state trick of court intrigue, and was therefore resolved to study politics. By this time, I had gained my twenty second year; and being fired with ambition to know what other men did, I first purchased a book containing the several constitutions of government adopted in the different states. Now, thought I, I shall be a wise man. I had such profound reverence for the men who framed these constitutions, that I concluded that it would be presumption, and almost blasphemy, to call in question a single word: but, attending to their strictures, I found there were not two of them agreed. What, said I, do great men differ? boys, women, and little souls do; but can learned, wise patriots disagree so much in judgment? If so, they cannot all be right, but they may all be wrong, and therefore, Jack Nips for himself. What encouraged me to search and judge for myself, was this: when I was a small boy, I fancied that I stood in the middle of the world, and that the earth extended no further than my eye-sight explored: but people told me that I was wrong in my judgment; but after a few years study, I found I was half right. That the earth exceeded my eye-sight, I soon found by experience; herein I was wrong. But that I am always on the centre spot of the surface of the globe, is an undeniable truth. And as mature experience convinced me that my boyish thoughts were some of them right, I concluded it might be so with my study in politics.

The above is the only portion of this piece that could be obtained; as every effort to find an unmutulated copy of it has proved unsuccessful.

005 The Bible Baptist


Discordant sentiments agree
To make the sons of Adam free.


TRUTH needs no apology, and error deserves none. Prefatory lies have often atoned for ignorance and ill-will in the Eastern and European worlds; but let the sons of America be free. It is more essential to learn how to believe, than to learn what to believe.

The doctrine and spirit of the following remarks, are left for the reader to judge of for himself. Truth is in the least danger of being lost, when free examination is allowed.


Christian writers generally agree to reproach the Jews, for treating the Rabbies with as much respect as they did the Prophets; giving as great credit to their traditions as they did to the sacred volume. But many Christian writers are guilty of the same absurdity. It is not more insignificant for Jews to quote the Talmud or the Targum, to prove a Mosaic rite, than it is for Christians to depend on Tertullian, Cyprian, Origen, and the other fathers of the church, for a gospel ordinance. In the following remarks, no attempts will be made to mend our translation of the Bible, and equal credit will not be given to any other writings.

The word baptism, is not to be found in the Old Testament; and if it were a thousand times, would be no precept for a New Testament sacrament. Nor is there but one place in the New Testament, 24 where the word refers to a transaction recorded in the Old Testament: 1Co 10:2, "and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, " referring to Ex 14:19. "When Israel passed through the sea, the waters were a wall to them on the right hand and on the left," see Ex 14:22. The cloud returned and stood behind them, covering them over in an arched form, 1Co 10:1. Now as the waters were a wall to them on the right and left, and the cloud over them, they were covered or buried in the cloud or in the sea; which is what Paul, in the above quoted text, calls baptism.

Some have feigned that the cloud at this time sprinkled down a shower of rain upon the Israelites, and a very vain fancy it is, for it is certain they all passed over dry-shod, which they could not have done had there been a shower of rain; Ex 14:21,29. Others have quoted this passage to prove household baptism; but it would be more natural to apply it to national baptism; for all the nation of Israel, and a mixed multitude besides, were there baptized to Moses: but if this is a proof for household or national baptism, in gospel times, it must be an equal proof for the baptism of quadrupeds. It is certain that their flocks and herds, even very much cattle went with them, not a hoof was left behind, and were all baptized: Ex 10:26-Ex 12:38. If this wondrous miracle is a precedent for New Testament baptism, it requires us all to have our cattle baptized as well as our children.

The New Testament is introduced with the history of a famous Baptist preacher and his order of baptizing. John, the forerunner of Jesus, is called a Baptist fifteen times in the four Evangelists. Is it ignorance or ill will, that so often reproaches the Baptists with novelty? Is it not certain that the first preacher spoken of in the New Testament was a Baptist? Why should they be called a new sect, when they can name their founders antecedent to the founders of any other society? Did not Jesus submit to John's baptism, to fulfil all righteousness? Was not Jesus, therefore, a Baptist? These things are so. Baptism is no strange word in the New Testament. The noun, with its relative verb and participle, occurs one hundred times; which may be found in the following places: Mt 3:6-7,11,13-14,16. - Mt 20:22-23. - Mt 21:25.- Mt 28:19. Mr 1:4-5,8-10. - Mr 10:38-39. - Mr 11:30. - Mr 16:16. Lu 3:3,7,12,16,21. - Lu 7:29-30. - Lu 12:50. - Lu 20:4. Joh 1:25-26,28,31,33.- Joh 3:22-23,26; 4:1-2. Ac 1:5,22. - Ac 2:38,41. - Ac 8:12-13,16,39,38. Ac 9:18; 10:37,40,47-48. - Ac 11:16. - Ac 13:24 - Ac 16:15,33. - Ac 18:8,25. - Ac 19:3-5. - Ac 22:16. Ro 6:3-4. 1Co 1:13-17. - 1Co 10:2. 1Co 12:13. - 1Co 15:29. Ga 3:27. Eph 4:5. Col 2:12. Heb 6:2. 1Pe 3:21.

As John the Baptist was the first who baptized with water by divine authority, it appears necessary to make a few strictures on his baptism. The place of his preaching was the wilderness of Judea, Mt 3:1. His doctrine was repentance for sin, faith in the Messiah among them, and good works. See Mt 3:2,11-12. Joh 1:26,51. Lu 3:7,15.

The places where he baptized, were the rivers Jordan and Enon, where there was much water: Mt 3:6,16 - Joh 3:23. What he required of his subjects was confession of sins, and good fruits, Mt 3:7,10. Mr 1:5., and he would not admit the multitude of the Pharisees and Saducees to his baptism, without confession and reformation, although they were the children of Abraham: Mt 3:7,10. Lu 3:7-8. What words soever John used when he baptized, whether the same that the apostles were taught to use at the ascension of our Lord, or a set of, words telling his subjects to believe in him who should come after him, or any other words, is to me unknown; but he certainly received his commission from heaven, and Jesus, the head of the church, submitted to his baptism.

Whoever carefully considers the texts quoted under the above head, together with corresponding texts respecting the ministry of John, will find that John baptized none but those who are old enough and good enough to make confession of sin, which babies cannot do; that parental virtue was not a sufficient recommendation, without "fruits meet for repentance," and that he baptized in the river Jordan and the waters of Enon. Not a word about infant sprinkling in the whole history of John, nor anything that looks like it.

In Joh 3:22, and Joh 4:1, it looks as if Jesus himself baptized; which he did in the same manner that Solomon built the temple; that is, it was done by his orders, as Joh 4:2, explains it. "Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples." As Jesus never baptized any with water, consequently the children brought to him were not brought for baptism. The passages referred to are Mt 19:13,16. Mr 10:13,17. Lu 18:15,18. These children were brought to Jesus, that he should put his hands upon them and pray; and the disciples forbade them. Had it been a usual thing for them to be brought to Jesus, for baptism or any thing else, it is not likely that the disciples would have forbidden them. Parents are generally too negligent about bringing their offspring to Jesus; but these, like the mother of James and John, seemed anxious for the good of their infants, and brought them to Jesus that he might bless them, which in great mercy he did, and said "Of such is the kingdom of heaven." From this, it is certain that some, if not all children are meet for the kingdom of God; and indeed, whoever is thus blessed by Jesus, whether young or old, is graciously prepared for that holy place. There is no account that he ever did this but once, and not the least hint that he ever enjoined it upon his disciples; and with what propriety could he enjoin a work noon them, which none but God could do; that is, bless children.

From the passage under consideration, I have heard the following argument drawn, viz., "that if Jesus received children, ministers should; and that if he declared them meet for heaven, they have a right to all the ordinances of the church below." If this argument has any weight in it, it equally pleads for the Lord's supper; and truly, if a child has a right to baptism, he has the same claim to the communion. As the face of the child can bear a few drops of water, while in the arms of the preacher or father, so the mouth of the child can receive a crumb of bread and a drop of wine while in the arms of the nurse or mother. But what man in his senses will quote these passages to prove infant sprinkling, when there is not a syllable in them about water sprinkling or dipping? If there is, let it be named, and I will take conviction.

Infant sprinkling can be no proof of obedience in a child, who is ignorant of the meaning, and passive in the action. If any virtue, therefore, attend it, it must be either in the parents, gossips, or priest. A virtue in the parents it is not, unless they can prove from scripture that God has commanded it. This proof I have not yet seen, and am inclined to believe I never shall, while the Bible remains as it is.

A virtue in the gossips it cannot be, without religious lying is a virtue. They promise, before God and the congregation, to renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil, for the child, and keep God's holy law as long as life lasts; which an angel could not do, and which they take no pains to do. This, they promise, not only for the children of their neighbors, but for many that they never see afterwards; and priest, clerk, parents and gossips, all thank God that he has blessed the water to the mystical washing away of sin.

How inconsistently men talk! First, they say that children come into the world innocent, free from sin, fit for heaven; and next inform us that water, in baptism, washes away sin. If they are clear of guilt and corruption, how can water wash them away? If they are unclean, what can cleanse them but the blood of the Lamb? In one breath, we are informed that none have a right to baptism until they repent, believe, and are in the visible church; in the next, we are told that baptism is an initiating ordinance. While men speak so inconsistently, who can believe them? Can we think that they believe their own testimonies?

A virtue in the priest it is not, because he has no New Testament commission for it; and what is not virtuous must be vicious, and everything vicious should be abandoned.

After the resurrection of our Lord, just as he was going to heaven, to leave his apostles, he renewed their commission, made some enlargements and additions thereto, and more fully described their work; which Mt 28:19, expresses thus: "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Mr 16:15; 16, has it - "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned." Matthew seems to speak most on the work of the preacher, and Mark on the character of the disciple. This enlargement of the commission authorized them to go and preach among the Gentiles, as well as the scattered Jews. Wherever they went, they were to preach, and those who were taught and believed, were to be baptized; and those who were taught, believed, and were baptized, had the promise of salvation.

Those who practise infant sprinkling, often have recourse to this commission of the apostles, as a foundation for their practice. It is altogether likely that the apostles understood their own commission, and acted accordingly. The surest way, therefore, to get a true' understanding of the nature of the commission, is carefully to consider their conduct. Let Peter take the lead. In Ac 11:14,30, Peter lifted up his voice, and preached a very pointed sermon; and when the people heard his doctrine,

"they were pricked in their hearts, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; for the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Then they who gladly received his word, were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfast in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." - Ac 11:30,30.

From this passage, we find that Peter preached according to his orders; the people heard, which was their duty; the Holy Ghost applied the truth to their hearts. Filled with godly sorrow for sin, they cried out, "what shall we do?" which is the language of grace in its first operation; Peter had an answer ready, and said, "repent," (this little word is always a prerequisite to baptism,) "and be baptized, every one of you. " He does not say, be baptized if you feel the weight of it upon you, but enjoins it upon every one of them, that they might receive remission of sins; and, to encourage them in their godly sorrow for their sins, in general, and crucifying the Lord, in particular, he adds:

"For the promise (of the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost) is to you, (fathers,) and unto your children, and to all that are afar off, (both scattered Jews and Gentiles,) even as many as the Lord our God shall call."

The promise here does not intend baptism, which is never viewed in the light of a promise, but always as a command. Here, observe, none were baptized, but such as asked what they should do? who did repent, gladly receive the word, continue steadfast in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in breaking of bread, and in prayers; all of which things infants can not do.

The objection raised here, that three thousand could not be baptized by immersion in one day, equally militates against sprinkling, which takes as long a time. The twelve apostles, and seventy disciples, could soon do it. Three thousand, divided among eighty-two, would be about thirty-six or thirty-seven for each, who could easily be baptized in less time than an hour. It is no novelty in Virginia, for a Baptist minister to baptize more than thirty-seven in a small part of a day.

The next account of Peter's baptizing, is in Ac 10, Cornelius was warned of God by a holy angel, and Peter was called by a vision to go to Cornelius. When he came to his house, and preached to him and his neighbors, the Holy Ghost fell on all those who heard. "Then answered Peter, can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." No account that he went to baptizing before they were converted, but as soon as they received the Holy Ghost, he commanded them, in the name of the Lord, to be baptized. And these were persons who heard Peter, spake with tongues, and magnified God.

What Peter thought baptism figured out, appears from his 1Pe 3:21. "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Here observe, that baptism does not remove the filth of the flesh, but figures out the way in which we are saved: viz., by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we are plunged beneath the wave, we figure out the death and burial of Jesus; and when we rise from beneath the wave, we figure out the resurrection of the Saviour; in doing which, we have a good conscience.

From the history of Peter, then, we have every reason to believe that he understood his commission in such a manner as did not entitle him to baptize any but penitent believers.

The next baptizer to be taken notice of, is Philip. Whether this was Philip of Bethsaida, one of the twelve, or Philip the deacon, who was an evangelist, or another man of the same name, is not certain; but Philip went down to Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. Ac 8:5. "And when they believed Philip, preaching concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." See Ac 8:12. They were not baptized until they believed, and yet were baptized before they received the Holy Ghost in its great effusion; which proves that faith should be antecedent to baptism, and that the receiving of the Holy Ghost in this sort, is something distinct from that grace which makes men saints.

In this same chapter, from Ac 8:26, to the end, we have another account of baptism by Philip. A certain eunuch of Ethiopia had been up to Jerusalem, to worship the God of Israel; and, as he was returning home-ward in his chariot, was reading Isa 53; from which it appears that he was a Jewish proselyte, and, no doubt to me, a real saint, who had not yet been taught a risen Saviour. Philip was commanded by the Spirit to go and join himself to the chariot, which he did, and began at the same scripture which the eunuch was reading, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they came to a certain water, the eunuch said, "See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized?"

How the eunuch came to the knowledge of his duty, in this ordinance, is not certain. Whether he had learned at Jerusalem, or some other place, that such was the practice of the Christians; or had some impressions of the Spirit upon him, teaching him his duty; or whether Philip taught it to him, I cannot say; but he certainly requested baptism of Philip. "And Philip said unto him, if thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water," &c. What can be plainer? Philip preached Jesus; the eunuch believed in him; they came to a certain water; they went down both into it, both the administrator and the subject; baptism was administered; and then they came up out of the water.

The next baptizer in course, is Ananias. When Saul was struck to the earth by the power of God, and led blind to Damascus, the Lord sent Ananias unto him, who went and laid his hands on him, and he received his sight. Then said Ananias unto him, why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. And he arose, and was baptized. Ac 9:1,19 - Ac 22:16.

Paul, the chief apostle of the Gentiles, comes next before us. The first place where he baptized any, that we have an account of, was in Macedonia. (Ac 16:14.) He was called by a vision to go to Macedonia; and when he came to that part of it called Philippi,

"Upon the Sabbath day went out of the city by a river's side, where prayer was wont to be made; and he sat down, and spake unto the women who resorted thither; and a certain woman, named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God, heard him, whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things that were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought Paul, and his companions, saying: If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house."

This woman came from Thyatira to Philippi, trading in purple: she was a female merchant, and, perhaps, a manufacturer, who first made her purple, and then sold it. She employed either her own children or journeymen to assist her in her trade. She was a worshipper of God, heard the gospel, had her heart opened, attended to the things spoken by Paul, and was judged to be faithful to the Lord, and, therefore, a proper subject for baptism.

The character of her household is not given in this place; but, in the last verse of the chapter, they are called brethren, and were comforted by Paul; which could with no propriety be said of children or unbelievers.

In the 33d verse of the same chapter (Ac 16:33), an account is given of the baptism of a certain man, and his household. The jailer being alarmed by the earthquake, and the open doors of the prison, drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had made their escape; rather, therefore, than be tried, condemned, and executed for his neglect, he would have been his own judge, jury, and executioner.

"Which Paul perceiving, cried out: do thyself no harm, for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And he took them, the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes, and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he sat meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God, with all his house."

Here note, the word all is mentioned three times. The jailer and all his household heard the word of the Lord; he and all his house believed and rejoiced in God; he and all his house were baptized. Let his house-hold be young or old, they all heard, believed, rejoiced in God, and were baptized. Now it is well known that infants can neither hear, (so as to understand,) believe, nor rejoice in God, and, therefore, are not fit subjects for baptism,. Next, observe, the jailer brought them out of prison into his house; and as he brought them again into the house to eat, after he was baptized, it is altogether likely that they were baptized out of any house.

The next instance of Paul's baptizing, is, Ac 18:8: "And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed, and were baptized." Crispus, Gaius, and the household of Stephanas, were baptized by Paul: 1Co 1:14,16. The rest of them, to complete the many, very likely, were baptized by Silas and Timotheus, who were Paul's companions at Corinth, 1Co 1:5. Paul was a wise master-builder, among the Corinthians, who laid the foundation, and left Silas and Timotheus to build thereon: 1Co 3:10. It is not certain that the household of Crispus were baptized, but it is certain that they all believed, and very likely that they, with the other Corinthians, that heard and believed, were baptized. The character of Stephanas and his household is given, 1Co 16:15, where they are said to be the first fruits of Achaia, and they addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints, which is a work too masculine for infants.

The family and neighbors of Cornelius, were baptized, even those who heard and received the Holy Ghost, and magnified God. The household of Lydia, were baptized, who are called brethren, and were comforted by Paul. The household of the jailer, were baptized; such as heard, believed, and rejoiced in God. The household of Stephanas were baptized, who were the first fruits of Achaia, and ministered to the saints. And, if the household of Crispus were baptized, they believed in God, as well as Crispus himself.

Now, if there is any account of any one household beside, that were baptized upon the faith of their father, or promises of their gossips, I should be glad to see it. I confess I have not yet found it in the New Testament.

Some have quoted 1Co 7:14, to prove the right of household baptism - "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean, but now are they holy." If this sanctity, or holiness, is truly gracious, we are all in a safe state. Noah, the father of the new world, was a strong believer, if his wife was not; before he married her, she was sanctified on the wedding day; their children, consequently, were holy, Ham among the rest; and so, by succession, down to this day, all are sanctified; which is a doctrine that good Pedobaptists do not believe, any more than we do. The word, therefore, must have a qualified signification, and if we attend to the context, we shall easily find their quality. Read the first part of the chapter. So many of the Corinthian church were connected with unbelievers, (who were idolaters,) in marriage, that they wrote a letter to Paul, to know whether they had not better part believers and unbelievers, that were joined together in wedlock; which Paul did not consent to. The text under consideration, is a part of his answer to their letter, and which, according to our common dialect reads thus: "For the unbelieving husband is legally bound to his wife, and the unbelieving wife is legally bound to her husband; else were your children bastards, but now are they a lawful offspring." This text has no more relation to baptism, than the first verse of Genesis.

But one place more remains to be considered concerning Paul's baptizing: Acts, 19:1,8. These twelve men believed, and were baptized unto John's baptism, I suppose by apostles, who had not been taught a risen Saviour, nor received the Holy Ghost in its great effusion. Whether Paul baptized them again, or only explained John's baptism to them, is not so certain. When John taught his disciples, he charged them to believe in one who stood among them, and when they heard it, they were baptized in the name of Jesus. But if it is true, that John's baptism is done away, and that the baptism instituted by Jesus, and practiced by the apostles, is radically different from that of John, and so these twelve men were baptized again by Paul, it is no proof at all for the baptism of infants or unbelievers. If these men were baptized by Paul, they believed first, as the text is plain; and although they had been baptized by John, or more likely by apostles, (one of John's order,) they were not baptized until they brought forth the fruits of repentance.

The opinion of Paul concerning baptism, may be seen in Ro 6:3-4- 1Co 12:13; Col 2:12, where baptism is called a burial; that it represents the death of Christ, and a putting on of Christ. Now, I appeal to common reason, whether believers, baptism, by immersion, upon confession of sin, and an annunciation of a life of obedience to Christ, or infant sprinkling, comes nearest to the sense of these expressions.

I have proved, and can prove, that persons were forbidden baptism on the claim of parental holiness, because they did not bring the fruits of repentance with them; that others were not suffered, until they gave satisfaction of faith in Christ; that when they were baptized, they went down into the water; that they were baptized before they came out of the water; that baptism is a burial of the body; and that, after baptism, they came up out of the water. And, now, if any man can prove from scripture, that infants were ever baptized upon the faith of their parents or promises of their gossips, in private houses, or meeting-houses, by sprinkling water in the face, I will own that they have an equal authority with us for what they do: otherwise, we shall triumph and say, that we act according to the scripture, and they according to human tradition.

Some have run into a gross error respecting the baptism of the Holy Ghost; thinking that nothing more is meant thereby than regeneration. The phrase occurs six times in the New Testament, and is implied in other places, but always intends something extraordinary. Zachariah and Elizabeth were filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, but not in such a manner as to be called a baptism, and to speak with tongues. The disciples never received this blessing, while Jesus was with them on earth; he always spoke of it as something to come; and after his resurrection, he told his disciples plainly, that they should be baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire in a few days; which was fulfilled, first at the day of Penticost, and afterwards at particular times, in a wonderful manner. Some were not baptized until they had thus received the Holy Ghost, and others were before; but though many were baptized before they were thus overwhelmed with the spirit, yet none were until they had repentance and faith, or at least made profession of them.

It is said by some, that baptism, by immersion, before a large congregation, especially of the female sex, is very indecent. This objection may have weight with those who are too delicate to obey God rather than man; but will have no effect with those who simply regard the Bible. Circumcision was performed, not only on children, but on old Abraham, and upon more than six hundred thousand men at Gilgal; and the reader may judge for himself, which of the two is more indecent. If circumcision, therefore, was an institution of heaven, no man can object to baptism upon the principle of modesty.

Others observe, that, although the scripture says that Jesus was baptized by John in Jordan, and that Philip, and the eunuch, went down into the water, and came up out of the water; that nothing more is meant than that they went down to the water. Although this objection is void of good sense, yet I wish to make a few remarks upon it. If the observation be true, it is not complied with by any but the Baptists; other societies never go nigh the water to baptize. I have never known of an instance of a man, whose faith, in this sense, carried him to the water-side, but it also led him into the watery tomb.

The law of nature, is one criterion to explain scripture by. When it is said that Jesus went up into the mountain, nature says, that he went into, or among the trees, or whatever grew upon the mountain; for into the earth he could not go, without miraculous power, which we have no reason to think he exercised at that time: that he went further than the foot of the mountain, is certain, for he went up. Where it is said that Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, by the law of nature, the argument turns. A man can no more walk upon the water without sinking, than he can walk into the earth. This objection is no good criticism, it is mean pedantry: a desperate subterfuge, to shelter in, for want of plain truth. Can any man believe it, who is not blinded by tradition, prejudice, or systematical mists? If he can, he will then believe, that when the hogs ran down into the sea, and were choked, they only ran to the sea-side, and were choked in the sand.

A like observation is made on Mr 16:16. "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved." The argument is formed thus: that the auxiliary, is, and the participle, baptized, determine the sentence in the past tense. Why not then written, "He that believeth, and has been baptized, shall be saved?"

It is not certain that the Jews ever baptized their children; and if they did, it was one of their vain traditions, for they had no divine command to do so; and I wish to know who had been in the Gentile world to baptize before the apostles went thither? Matthew records the same commission: "Go teach all nations, baptizing them," &c.; and I am inclined to believe that it would puzzle the greatest scholar in Virginia, to prove that the verb, teach, and participle, baptizing, place the sentence in the past time.

I confess I am presumptuous enough to say that, let other Christians have ever so many promises made to them, yet the promise in Mr 16:16, is made to none but Baptists; and the same is true of Ac 2:38.

But the most serious and weighty objection against believers' baptism, that I have seen or heard of, is this: "That many great reformers, and very successful preachers, in past ages, have believed in, and practised infant sprinkling; and if this was an error, would not God have convinced them of it, when he was with them, in so great a degree?" As this objection appears judicious, I shall endeavor to give it a candid answer.

If our inquiries extend as far back as the first ages of Christianity, immediately after the close of inspiration, we shall find ourselves upon disputed ground. Some say that infants were never sprinkled, upon the faith of their parents, until the third century; others say they were, in the first; and, if we consider the carelessness of transcribers, and the partiality of translators, it will not be wondered at. My argument is, that if they were sprinkled the first day after John finished his Revelations, they had no order from Jesus, or his apostles, to do so; and, therefore, it was no way valid or exemplary. The mystery of iniquity began to work, and the man of sin to show his power, before the apostles were dead; and, by little and little, prevailed over all Christendom, and sunk the church into the greatest labyrinth of darkness, as all Protestants confess, which lasted a number of centuries. But in these last ages of the world, God has raised up men of renown, to reform his people, who have been successful in their work; and these have, for the most part, believed in, and practised infant sprinkling.

If we consider the principles of the great reformers, from Luther to the present day, we shall find no entire uniformity in sentiments; which proves them fallible, uninspired men. A number of the real, or supposed errors of one reformation, have been always opposed in the next. That Luther, Calvin, Zuinglius, Knox, and the English reformers, did much for God, we do not deny; but what enlightened American would make any of them his complete pattern? If God never blessed a man, while holding some error, he could never have blessed but one of them, for no two of them agreed in all things. If the men of one reformation improve upon the doctrine and forms of a prior reformation, we cannot think it a piece of arrogance to say that, in point of baptism, all the Pedobaptist reformers were in an error.

The feast of tabernacles was instituted in the days of Moses. Le 23:38-43. De 16:13. At this feast, the children of Israel were to dwell in booths; but from the days of Joshua, the son of Nun, to the days of Nehemiah, this rite was never observed, (Ne 8:13-18,) which was more than a thousand years; in which time, all the good kings of Israel, and many prophets of high rank, lived. It is, then, not sophistry, but honest reasoning, to say, that if there had not been a Baptist in the world, since John the Divine, it would be no sufficient objection against believers' baptism by immersion now.

I have human testimony to prove that a number of the reformers were Baptists, and, particularly, John Wickliff, the great reformer in England, called, by way of eminence, the Morning Star; but if there never had been one, from the days of Constantine to the present day, the Scripture is full of proof, that all were of that order, in the days of Christ and the apostles; at least, no account is given of any other way of baptizing, save only by immersion, upon profession of repentance and faith.

The argument, to prove infant sprinkling from circumcision, I have said nothing about. Consequences upon consequences, drawn from false premises, are used so much in the argument, that it appears foolish to an accurate mind, and inconclusive to the vulgar. If its advocates can produce a single text, where the last is a substitute for the first, it will be worth regarding; otherwise, infant sprinkling may as well be proved from the Hebrew servant's ear, that was bored through with an awl.

23. Published in Virginia before the year 1790; the precise year is not known.

24. No notice is taken of Heb 6:2, because, it is doubtful whether the word refers to the Levitical customs of washings, or to the practice of Christians. The same Greek word is found elsewhere, but differently translated in our version.

006 The Virginia Chronicle



I have neither his Lordship, his Grace, nor his Highness, to dedicate this little Chronicle unto, for patronage; but, like its author, it must stand upon its own merits, and like him, it has many imperfections.

The piece will in no wise answer its title, save only in giving an account of the different religious sects in the state: and, even in this particular, the account is general, without descending to minute circumstances. To make the pamphlet small, where I have quoted the words of others, or taken passages out of histories, I have given the authors no credit. If I have bourne too hard upon the Episcopalians, it is because they only have been established by law, and I am no great admirer of legal religion. And even in this point, I hope the note, under the twelfth head, will sufficiently palliate. In the description of the Baptist principles, I have sometimes used the plural pronoun, we, us, etc., but if I have inadvertently misrepresented the general opinion, and only written my own, I I should be glad to be corrected. A particular narration how the Baptist religion broke out and spread, and by what means, and marvellous ways God wrought, is likely to be offered to the world, in a History now preparing by the General Committee. Although I have presumed to appear in public, yet I will by no means recall a former observation:

Some books are written in ambition,
Others to change a low condition;
Some are th' effect of pride and spite,
And some, perhaps, are written right;
But should the gospel clearly shine,
How many books, now call'd divine,
Would be committed to the flames,
And authors lose their mighty names.


Truth is as essential to history as the soul is to the body. - FREDERICK.
In omnibus rebus magis offendit nimium quam parum.


THIS state, from the Virgin Queen, (Elizabeth,) is called VIRGINIA. Bounded on the north, by Maryland, Pennsylvania, etc.; on the west, by the Ohio and the Mississippi; on the south, by Carolina, and on the east, by the Atlantic. From east to west, the state is about seven hundred and fifty-eight miles; but from north to south, it is very unequal, being much wider at the west than at the east. According to the best calculation of the boundary lines, it includes one hundred and twenty-one thousand, five hundred and twenty five square miles, or, seventy-seven million, seven hundred and seventy-six thousand acres. The state is divided by several ridges of mountains: the Blue Ridge, the North Mountain, and the Alleghany, are the most notable. Though some mountains are of a greater altitude from their bases in the two first ridges mentioned, yet the Alleghany is the ridge-pole of the state. All the waters, east of that mountain, fall into the Atlantic; and all west of it, fall into the Mississippi, and empty themselves into the Gulf of Mexico. The state, at present, is divided into ninety counties, each of which, is entitled to send two delegates to the General Assembly. There are also, in the state, about one hundred parishes.

In England, there are nine thousand three hundred and forty-eight parishes; in Scotland, nine hundred and thirty-eight; in Ireland, fifteen hundred and eighty-six; in all, eleven thousand eight hundred and seventy-two. In some counties, there are not more than one parish; in others, there are as many as four; in rare instances, parishes include parts of two counties. Those counties that have been established since the revolution, have no parishes in them. Under the regal government, parish-officers provided for the poor, as well as the preachers; but now, the poor are otherwise provided for, and preachers are not supported by legal force; and was it not for the preservation of parish property, viz., glebes, churches, etc., there would be no need of parish bounds in the state.


IN the year, 1584, Queen Elizabeth, by her letters patent, licensed Sir Walter Raleigh, to search for remote heathen lands, not inhabited by Christian people, and sent out two ships, which visited Wococon Island, in North-Carolina; and the next year he sent one hundred and seven men, who settled Roanoke Island.

And, in the year, 1586, he sent fifty men more, and in 1587, one hundred and fifty more, with a governor and twelve assistants, who landed at Hatteras. Sir Walter being attainted at home, could take no more care of his new colonists; and what became of them, whether they were devoured by hunger, or wild beasts - destroyed by savages, or incorporated among them, no mortal man can tell.

But, in 1607, King James executed a new grant of Virginia, to Sir Thomas Gates, and others, which was superseded, 1609, to the Earl of Salisbury, and others.

The first settlement they made, was at Jamestown, few in number, and surrounded almost by savage nations; but, by the blessing of God, the little one is become a strong nation. Mr. Jefferson says, that in 1782, there were in this state, five hundred and sixty-seven thousand six hundred and fourteen inhabitants, of every age, sex, and condition. Of which, two hundred and ninety-six thousand eight hundred and fifty-two, were free, and two hundred and seventy thousand seven hundred and sixty-two, were slaves; which makes the proportion of slaves to the free, nearly as ten to eleven. Mr. Randolph, in 1788, stated the round numbers, thus: three hundred and fifty-two thousand whites, and two hundred and thirty-six thousand blacks; in all, five hundred and eighty-eight thousand. According to Mr. Randolph's statement, from 1782, to 1788, the whites had increased above fifty-five thousand, but the blacks had decreased about thirty-four thousand. These gentlemen had both official accounts, being both governors of Virginia, but the returns from the counties are imperfect, and from some counties, no returns at all are made to the Executive. According to Mr. Randolph's account, the proportion of blacks to the whites, is nearly as two is to three. To do honor to both these great characters, and to make allowance for population, and emigration in the west part of the state, since 1788, I conclude that the number of six hundred thousand inhabitants, is not far from truth. And to form a compromise between their proportions, ten to eleven, and two to three, we may suppose that the number of blacks, compared to that of whites, is like six to seven. By this rule, there are in Virginia, three hundred and twenty-three thousand and seventy-seven whites, and two hundred and seventy-six thousand nine hundred and twenty-three blacks. It has been observed, that the number of acres in Virginia, is seventy-seven million seven hundred and seventy-six thousand, which, equally divided among the inhabitants, would be more than one hundred and eleven acres for each soul; which is above thirty times as much as the nation of Israel had, when they took possession of the promised land, according to Richard Tyron, Esq.


THE first settlers in this state, were emigrants from England, of the English church, just at a point of time when the Episcopalians were flushed with complete victory over all other religious persuasions; and having power in their hands, they soon discovered a degree of intolerance towards others. The oppressed Quakers, flying from persecution in England, cast their eyes on these colonies, as asylums of civil and religious liberty, but found them free for none but the reigning sects. Several acts of the Virginia Assembly, of 1659, 1662, 1693, made it penal in parents, to refuse to baptize their children; prohibited the unlawful assembling of Quakers, and made it penal for any master of a vessel to bring a Quaker into the colony; ordered those already here, and those who should come thereafter, to be imprisoned till they should abjure the country; provided a milder punishment for their first and second return, but death for the third; forbid all persons from suffering Quaker meetings in, or near their houses, entertaining them individually, or disposing of books that supported their tenets. It is a satirical saying, that every sect will oppress, when they have the power in possession, and the saying is too serious as well as satirical.

When we read of the sufferings of the Quakers, or any other society, we can hardly believe that those oppressed innocents, would ever retaliate, if it was in their power; much less, that they would ever oppress those who had not oppressed them; but stubborn fact declares the contrary. I have pretty good authority, that the Penn Quakers, in Pennsylvania, imprisoned and fined the Keithian Quakers, in 1692, on account of some religious disputes. What contributes greatly towards this kind of oppression, is the erroneous scheme of receiving all the natural offspring into the pales of the church: by this method, in general, a great majority of the church will be ignorant of the new birth, and consequently of the nature of the gospel; and therefore, of course, appeal to the civil law, for protection, which naturally brings on oppression upon all nonconformists.

Notwithstanding the laws of Virginia were so severe against the Quakers, yet there is no account that any of them were put to death; and a remnant of them have continued in Virginia, down to this day, holding the same principles, and pursuing the same manners, of their brethren in the northern states, and those in Europe.


THE horrid work of bartering spirituous liquor for human souls, plundering the African coast, and kidnapping the people, brought the poor slaves into this state; and, notwithstanding their usage is much better here than in the West Indies, yet human nature, unbiased by education, shudders at the sight. They populate as fast as the whites do, and are rather more healthy,

The first republican assembly ever holden in Virginia, passed an act, utterly prohibiting the importation of any of them into the state. In some things, they are viewed as human creatures, and in others, only as property; their true state then, is that of human property. The laws of Virginia, protect their lives and limbs, but do not protect their skin and flesh. The marriage of slaves, is a subject, not known in our code of laws. What promises soever they make, their masters may and do part them at pleasure. If their marriages are as sacred as the marriages of freemen, the slaves are guilty of adultery, when they part voluntarily, and the masters are guilty of a sin as great, when they part them involuntarily; and yet, while they are property, it is not in the power of the masters to prevent their being forced apart, in numberless instances.

The marriage of a Hebrew servant, with a Canaanitish slave, could be dispensed with, at the servant's option, without sin. From this, we should imagine, that there was little or no validity in the marriage of two slaves; but, if it is maintained that their marriages are equally binding with the marriages of the free-born, the inevitable parting of married slaves, holds forth the idea of slavery in a still more aggravated point of view.

Liberty of conscience, in matters of religion, is the right of slaves, beyond contradiction; and yet, many masters and overseers will whip and torture the poor creatures for going to meeting, even at night, when the labor of the day is over. No longer ago than November, 1788, Mr. - made a motion in the assembly, for leave to bring in a bill, not only to prevent the assembling of slaves together, but to fine the masters for allowing it; but, to his great mortification, it was rejected with contempt.

No change is yet discernible among the negroes in Virginia, in point of color; but the children of the third and fourth generations retain as much of the jet, as their ancestors did, who were imported from Africa. The difference of climate, therefore, cannot be the cause of the difference of colors; and, as they live upon the same kind of food that the whites do, their diet cannot be the cause of a diversity of color, hair or shape.

Letters were not much used, if any at all, before the days of Moses; consequently, 2,500 years elapsed without registers, which answers for our ignorance of the cause of the many colors, different shapes, and diversity of hues among the sons of grandfather Adam, and father Noah; and also apologizes for our uncertainty, how the many islands and continents were peopled, at first, with those animals that the ark unladed upon the mountains of Ararat.

From the blacks, in Virginia, there have been few Albinos born. These Albinos proceed from black parents, but are in color like the tawny plastering of a wall, without any seams in their flesh, or much Cornelian. Their hair, in length and curl, is like that of blacks, but of a white color; their shape like blacks. Their eyes are sharp and tremulous, and cannot endure the light of the sun as well as others, but see better in the night. Some of their children are black, and others are Albino. I have seen a few of them, and heard of others.

Romulus, the first king of Rome, placed the patricians in the senate, and divided the plebians into tribes, but as for the slaves, they were not considered at all, which is true of the slaves in Virginia, as far as it respects incorporation, but not in every respect. Among us, they are tried before magistrates and courts, and their evidences are as valid, one against another, as the testimonies of the free-born are; but the concurring testimony of a thousand blacks against a white man, is but a cypher in law. If a slave is ever so much abused by his master, or overseer, with unmerciful tasks, barbarous chastisement, etc., if his life and limbs are secure, nothing is done to the abuser. The slave has none to apply to for redress.

In our federal government, the slaves are treated with some more respect than they are in the state government. Although they have no vote in the choice of representatives to Congress, yet, according to the census established in the federal constitution, five of them number equal to three whites, which amounts to this, that a slave is possessed of three-fifths of a man, and two-fifths of a brute.

The state of slaves is truly pitiable, and that of the master, in some things, more so. Slaves, drudge and toil for others, and but seldom please them. Men seldom please themselves, and others are almost sure to displease. When the mind is out of humor, it always seeks an object to accuse with the cause of its trouble: so Adam blamed Eve, and Eve the devil. Overseers commonly scold at slaves, let them do ill or well, from the generally received opinion, that negroes will not bear good usage; the slave grows heartless, and sinks in despair, and, knowing that he labors for another, has nothing to stimulate him. The master finds that, without force, nothing will be done; and, therefore, without rage and lightning in his eyes, and a lash in his hand, can make him happy, he is sure to be miserable. If a hard hand and a meek heart, are preferable to a soft hand and a turbulent, fretted, disappointed heart, the master would be better without them than with them.

The whole scene of slavery is pregnant with enormous evils. On the master's side, pride, haughtiness, domination, cruelty, deceit and indolence; and on the side of the slave, ignorance, servility, fraud, perfidy and despair. If these, and many other evils, attend it, why not liberate them at once? Would to Heaven

this were done! The sweets of rural and social life will never be well enjoyed, until it is the case. But the voice of reason, (or perhaps the voice of covetousness,) says, it is not the work of a day; time is necessary to accomplish the important work: a political evil requires political measures to reform. Insurmountable difficulties arise to prevent their freedom. Can government free them? The laws have declared them property; as such, men have bought and enjoyed them. Is it not unconstitutional for government to take away the property of individuals? Can government ransom them? Their number is 276,923; if they should be valued at £30 in average, the sum would be £8,307,690, infinitely beyond what the commonwealth could pay to the holders of slaves, for their ransom, unless they should be made to ransom themselves in discount; which would cast an intolerable burthen upon those who, through conscience or poverty, have none of them in possession.

Some men have almost all their estates in slaves, while the estates of others are in lands; should the legislature, therefore, force one part of the community to give up their property, and leave the other part in full possession of all, would they not be justly accused of injustice?

Others, there are, who owe great sums of money; they were credited upon the value of their slaves; should their slaves be now emancipated by law, the creditors would lose their just dues.

The custom of the country is such, that, without slaves, a man's children stand but a poor chance to marry in reputation. As futile as this may appear to a foreigner, I am well convinced, that now it is one of the great difficulties that prevent liberation of slaves among the common sort. To this I would add, that bad custom has so far prevailed, that it is looked upon rather mean for a free man to be employed in drudgery. Were they freed from their masters, without being eligible to any post of honor and profit, it would only be another name for slavery; and, if they were eligible, it is not easy to say what governors, legislatures, and judges we should have. If they were walking at liberty, in every respect, I know not what past injuries might prompt them to do. And how much mixing of colors in marriage, and how many forcible debauches there might be, no mortal man can foretell. 26. But one thing is pretty certain, that fancy can hardly point out, how they could serve the whites worse than the whites now serve them. Something must be done! May Heaven point out that something, and may the people be obedient. If they are not brought out of bondage, in mercy, with the consent of their masters, I think that they will be, by judgment, against their consent.

It is the peculiarity of God, to bring light out of darkness, good out of evil, order out of confusion, and make the wrath of man praise him. The poor slaves, under all their hardships, discover as great inclination for religion as the freeborn do. When they engage in the service of God, they spare no pains. It is nothing strange for them to walk twenty miles on Sunday morning to meeting, and back again at night. They are remarkable for learning a tune soon, and have very melodious voices.

They cannot read, and therefore, are more exposed to delusion than the whites are; but many of them give clear, rational accounts of a work of grace in their hearts, and evidence the same by their lives. When religion is lively, they are remarkably fond of meeting together, to sing, pray, and exhort, and sometimes preach, and seem to be unwearied in the exercises. They seem, in general, to put more confidence in their own color, than they do in the whites. When they attempt to preach, they seldom fail of being very zealous; their language is broken, but they understand each other, and the whites may gain their ideas. A few of them have undertaken to administer baptism, but it generally ends in confusion. They commonly are more noisy, in time of preaching, than the whites, and are more subject to bodily exercise, and if they meet with any encouragement in these things, they often grow extravagant.


UNDER the regal government, the Episcopal form of worship was established by law in Virginia. The ministers of that order, solemnly affirmed, that they gave their unfeigned assent and consent to the thirty-nine articles, and book of common prayer, and declared that they were inwardly moved, by the Holy-Ghost, to enter upon the work of the ministry; this they avowed at their ordination, and being consecrated by a spiritual lord in England, they were proper subjects to fill the vacant, or new created parishes in Virginia. If it could be supposed, that they were avaricious salary-hunters, they surely had a tempting bait before them; like the people of old, who said, "put me, I pray thee, into the priest's office, that I may have bread to eat. " But, as it is not my wish to inculcate slander, or raise a mean jealousy in the minds of any, I shall attend to matter of fact. When an incumbent was inducted into a parish, he was entitled to a wealthy glebe, having all necessary houses built upon it, at the expense of the parish, which he held during good behaviour. His fixed salary was sixteen thousand pounds of tobacco, which was stated at 16s and 8d per hundred, which made the sum of £133 6s 8d, Virginia currency. He was also entitled to 20s, for every marriage that he solemnized in the mode of a license, and 5s for every one by publication. He had a further perquisite of 40s for every funeral sermon that he preached. His parishioners, were under no legal bonds to have a funeral sermon preached for their deceased friends, but custom led all persons of reputation, to request it. Whether it was owing to their superabundant virtue, or the indolence of the people, or any other cause, it seldom so happened that they were dismissed from their parishes, after they were once inducted into them.

The king of Britain was the head of that church; every child that was baptized was a member of it, and no discipline was executed among them but the civil law. The Quakers were few and peaceable, and, as there were none to oppose Episcopacy, it may be said, that they enjoyed the full possession of the state, until about 1740, without having any to call in question their doctrine and forms of worship.


THAT part of Virginia, between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghany, is peopled in part by emigrants from Pennsylvania, of Irish extraction, and Presbyterian profession, who, before the middle of this century, set up their form of worship; but, being in the then frontiers of the state, were not troubled by government; but the rise and treatment of the Presbyterians, below the Blue-Ridge, was as follows: A number of persons in the county of Hanover, grew very uneasy in the state they were in; could not find that satisfaction, under the preaching of Episcopal ministers, which they desired, and had no opportunity of hearing any others; but, in the year 1743, a young gentleman from Scotland, got a book of Mr. Whitfield's sermons, and one Mr. Samuel Morris read it, and received great benefit therefrom. He next invited his neighbours to come and hear the book read, and as the truth had great effect upon them, Mr. Morris was invited to meet the people at various places, and read to them, which was much owned and blessed of God; but, for absenting from the church, they were cited to appear before the court, to assign their reasons, and declare what denomination they were of. As they were not acquainted with any dissenters but the Quakers; and as they had heard and read of Luther, the Reformer, they declared themselves, Lutherans. About this time, Mr. William Robinson, from a northern Presbytery, travelled through the back parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. On his return, he founded a Presbyterian congregation in the county of Lunenburg, Virginia, and preached, with great success, in Amelia. The people in Hanover, hearing of him, sent a messenger, desiring him to come into their Macedonia, and help them. Accordingly, on July 6th, 1743, he came and preached among them four days, with remarkable success, and directed them to pray and sing, at their meetings, as well as read. After him, came Mr. Roan, from the Presbytery of Newcastle, who was instrumental in spreading the work further around; but, for speaking a little freely of the degeneracy of the Episcopal clergy in Virginia, he was accused of speaking blasphemy. A vile wretch, (like Jezebel's witnesses,) deposed that he blasphemed God and the clergy, whereupon an indictment was drawn up; but he was returning to the northward, when the trial came on, no witnesses appeared against him, so that the indictment fell through. The people in Hanover, then sent to the Synod of New York, in 1745; the Synod drew an address to Sir William Gooch, governor of Virginia, and sent it by the Rev. Messrs. Tennant and Finley. The governor received them very politely, and gave them license to preach. After they left Virginia, Mr. Morris was several times presented to the court, and fined, for neglecting the church. Soon after, came Messrs. William Tennant, and Samuel Blair, and after them, Mr. Whitfield, and preached among them four or five days. In the spring of the year, 1747, came Mr. Samuel Davies, in a time of great need. A proclamation was set up at their meeting-house, obliging all the magistrates to suppress all itinerant preachers; but, Mr. Davies went to the governor and obtained a license to preach at four meeting-houses. He moved into Virginia, in 1748, and preached there eleven years; he had seven meeting-houses, three of them were in Hanover, and four in the counties of Henrico, Caroline, Goochland, and Louisa.

In 1759, he removed from Virginia to New Jersey, to be President over Nassau Hall College, at Princeton; but the great and good man, did not live long there, for he departed this life, February, 176 1.

About the time of the revival, in Hanover, there was a great awakening in Augusta, under the ministry of Messrs. Dean and Byram, and something of a like work in Frederick. The Presbyterians are pretty numerous in Virginia; they have several academies in the state, and one college in Prince Edward, presided over by Mr. Smith, under whose ministry there has been a sweet revival of religion of late. Their doctrine and discipline, are too well known to be repeated. They were all obliged to pay the Episcopal clergymen, as much as if they had been Episcopalians, until the late Revolution; and, if their preachers solemnized the rites of matrimony, in the mode of license, the parish preachers claimed and recovered the fees, as though they had solemnized the rites themselves. The Presbyterians indulge, perhaps, in too much mirth at their houses, yet, it may be said in truth, that they have the best art of training up children, in good manners, of any society in the state.


THE Methodists took their rise in England, fifty or sixty years ago; but what concerns us at present, is to consider their rise and spread in America, and particularly in Virginia, which was as follows:

About 1764, Philip Embury, a local preacher, from Ireland, came to New York, and formed a society, of his own countrymen, and others. About the same time, Robert Strawbridge, another local preacher, from Ireland, settled in Frederick county, in Maryland, and formed a few societies. In 1769, Richard Boardman, and Joseph Pilmoor, came to New York, who were the first regular Methodist preachers on the continent. In 1771, Francis Asbury, and Richard Wright, came over, and many classes were formed, and many ministers were raised up among them. From their first rise in America, until 1784, they called themselves the members of the church of England, and went to the Episcopal ministers for baptism and the eucharist.

They never spread much in Virginia, till about 1775. Since that time, they have spread so much, that they have a sprinkling all over the state, and, in some counties, are numerous. In 1784, Rev. Thomas Coke came over from England, having authority from Mr. John Wesley, (the first founder of the society,) to organize the Methodists into a distinct church. Pursuant thereto, Mr. Francis Asbury was ordained superintendant, and a number of elders and deacons were consecrated for inferior services. Their number, on the continent, is above forty-three thousand, and they have been the most fortunate, in increasing their number of preachers, of any society in Virginia. They deny the doctrine of predestination, according to the Calvanistic explanation; hold that Christ died for all Adam's progeny; believe that, after men are converted and sanctified, they may fall away, and be finally damned; their doctrine, in fine, is Arminian, their magazine bears the name.

Their ministers are very constant preachers, and they exceed all societies in the state, in spreading their books and written tenets among the people. They generally baptize by sprinkling, but their rules allow of pouring or immersion. 27.


THERE are a few Tunkers and Mennonists in Virginia, and, as it is the design of this chronicle to treat of all the religious sects in the state, I shall give an account of their first rise and peculiarities. First of the Tunkers.

The Germans sound the letter t like d, for which reason they are called Dunkers, which name signifies Sops or Dippers. They first arose in Schwardznau, in the year 1708. Seven religious neighbors, chiefly Presbyterians, consorted together, to read the Bible, and edify each other in the way that they had been brought up, having never heard that there was a Baptist in the world. However, being convinced of believers' baptism, and congregational government, they desired Alexander Mack to baptize them, which he objected to, considering himself unbaptized; upon which they cast lots for an administrator.28. Upon whom the lot fell, has been cautiously concealed; but baptized they were, in the river Eder, by Schwardzenau, and then formed themselves into a church, choosing Alexander Mack for their minister. As God prospered their labors, and made them increase, both in members and preachers, so Satan raised persecution against them. Some fled to Holland, and some to Creyfelt; and the mother church voluntarily removed to Frizland, and thence to America. In 1719, and in 1729, those of Holland and Creyfelt followed them. In Pennsylvania, Maryland, etc., there is a considerable number of them; and a few from those states have found their way into Virginia. They hold that Christ not only died for all Adam's race, but that he will finally restore all to glory. They practise trine-immersion in baptism; leading the candidate into the water, he kneels down, and the minister dips him, face downward, first in the name of the Father, then in the name of the Son, and then in the name of the Holy Ghost; which being done, while he continues on his knees, the minister imposes hands upon his head, prays, and then leads them out. They also practise washing of feet, anointing the sick with oil, and the holy kiss. They will neither swear, fight, nor keep slaves. They make little or no use of the civil law, and take no use for money. As Christians, they live mortified, self-denying lives; and, as citizens, they are patterns of peace; well deserving their common title - harmless Tunkers.


THE Mennonists derive their name from Menno Simon. He was born in the year 1505 - got into orders in 1528 - continued a famous preacher and disputer till 1531. He then began to question the validity of many things in the church of Rome, and among the rest, infant baptism; but neither the doctors of his order, nor those of the Protestant faith, gave him the satisfaction he wished for. He finally embraced believers' baptism, and continued preaching and planting churches in the low countries for thirty years, and died in peace, January 31, 1561. Menno was dipped himself, and dipped others, and so did his successors, except when they were in prison, or were hindered from going to the water, and then pouring was practised. What they used in Europe, only of necessity, is become the only mode practised by them in America. They hold a profession of faith a prerequisite to baptism, which, in Virginia, is made by learning to answer a number of questions. The candidate being received, kneels down before the minister, and water is poured on his head; after which, follow imposition of hands and prayer. They believe the doctrine of universal provision, but not the doctrine of universal restitution; they are equally conscientious of swearing and bearing arms, with the Quakers and Tunkers. The only Virginia Baptist church that I know of in the state, that refuse to bear arms, or take an oath before a magistrate, is one in Shenandoah; the chiefest of whom, are the natural descendants of the Mennonists. In worship and discipline, they are like other Baptists in the state; but some peculiarities of the Mennonists, keep them from uniting.

The Tunkers and Mennonists seem to be more consistent with themselves than the Quakers, in disusing the law as well as arms. Perhaps the reason is, because the two first have been small, persecuted societies, and have learned to bear affliction patiently, and have but little to do with mankind; but should they undertake to settle a colony themselves, as the Quakers did Pennsylvania, it is probable that they would see the necessity of civil law. Civil government is certainly a curse to mankind; but it is a necessary curse, in this fallen state, to prevent greater evils. It is yet a question, whether the good Quakers have a sufficient reason for using the law, and not appealing to arms. If an internal foe arises, and kills a man, they execute the law, and hang the murderer; but if external foes invade, and kill and burn all before them, no means must be used to bring them to punishment. Is it bad reasoning to say, that when innocency is injured, it appeals first to law for redress; but if it finds no redress at law, it finally appeals to arms? The law of a state, is the compact of citizens in the state, and the law of nations in confederation, is the compact of bodies of men; and why the violators of one should be punished, and the breakers of the other pass with impunity, is not so easily answered. If all nations were true to their engagements, there would be no war in the world; so, if all the citizens in a state, lived agreeable to the laws of it, there would be no punishment. If there was no sin in the world, there would be no laws needed. The more virtuous people are, the more liberal their laws should be; but the more vicious the people are, the more severe the laws must be, to restrain their unruly passions. Where rulers are more virtuous than the people, the more independent and important the rulers are, the better for the people; but where the people are more virtuous than the magistrates, magistrates should be dependant on, and responsible to the people. As it is generally seen that the people are more virtuous than those in power; consequently, a republican, responsible government is best. Great salaries given to officers, are as dangerous to the good of the community, as no salaries are. Great salaries stimulate avaricious men, to make use of undue means to acquire those offices, while men of real merit feel a disgust to prey so much upon the industrious. Incompetent salaries, disable men of small forturnes from filling those offices their real merit entitles them to, and consequently fix government in the hands of the rich, who generally feel more for themselves, than they do for the poor. To fix salaries high enough, and not too high, is the work of the wise; and to give power enough to men to do good, and yet have it so counterpoised, that they can do no harm, is a line so difficult to be drawn, that it has never yet been done.


THE Baptists took their rise in Virginia, before the Methodists; but, as I purpose to treat more largely on the doctrine and forms of the Baptists, than I have done on other societies, I have reserved them for the last.

There were a few Baptists in Virginia, before the year, 1760, but they did not spread, so as to be taken notice of by the people, much less by the rulers, till after that date. About the year, 1764, they prevailed so much, that, in the year following, they formed an Association, called, "the Ketocton Regular Baptist Association." 29. From 1764, to 1774, the Baptists spread over the greatest part of the state that was peopled. Several ministers, of that order came from Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, and settled in the northern parts of the state, and others were raised up in the southern parts, who travelled about, and preached like the old Baptist, John, "repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand," and great numbers of the people went out unto them, and were baptized, confessing their sins. Many of the young converts caught the spirit of their teachers, and zealously engaged in the work. In a course of time, the fires from the northern preachers, and those in the south, met, like the two seas, in St. Paul's shipwreck, in Orange county, 1767. Two or three ministers, from each side, assembled in conference, but did not so happily unite, as candor desired. A division took place. The northern members called themselves, "Regular Baptists," and the southern members called themselves, "Separate Baptists;" and, if some alienation of affection did not attend this division, in some instances, it was because they were free from those temptations that have always mingled with religious divisions, and if there was not a little zeal discovered to proselyte, as well as convert the people, I have been wrongly informed.

The Regulars, adhered to a confession of faith, first published in London, 1689, and afterwards adopted by the Baptist Association of Philadelphia, in 1742; but the Separates had none but the Bible. Just upon the spot of ground where the division took place, the members knew something of the cause; but those who lived at a distance, were ignorant of the reason, and whenever they met, they loved each other as brethren, and much deplored that there should be any distinction, or shyness among them. The Separates, who also formed an association, increased much the fastest, both in ministers and members, and occupied, by far, the greatest territory. The Regulars were orthodox Calvanists, and the work under them was solemn and rational; but the Separates were the most zealous, and the work among them was very noisy. The people would cry out, "fall down," and, for a time, lose the use of their limbs; which exercise made the bystanders marvel; some thought they were deceitful, others, that they were bewitched, and many being convinced of all, would report that God was with them of a truth.


SOON after the Baptist ministers began to preach in Virginia, the novelty of their doctrine, the rarity of mechanics and planters preaching such strange things,30. and the wonderful effect that their preaching had on the people, called out multitudes to hear them - some out of curiosity, some in sincerity, and some in ill will.

Their doctrine, influence and popularity, made them many enemies; especially among those who value themselves most for religion in the Episcopal mode. The usual alarm of the Church and State being in danger, was echoed through the colony; nor were the Episcopal clergymen so modest, but what they joined the alarm; like the silversmiths of old, crying "our craft is in danger of being set at naught." Magistrates began to issue their warrants, and sheriffs had their orders to take up the disturbers of the peace. The county of Spottsylvania took the lead, and others soon followed their example. Preaching, teaching, or exhorting, was what disturbed the peace. A like work disturbed the peace of Satan, when he cried out, "let us alone." Sometimes, when the preachers were brought before the courts, they escaped the prison by giving bonds and security, that they would not preach in the county in the term of one year; but most of them preferred the dungeon to such bonds. Not only ministers were imprisoned, but others, for only praying in their families, with a neighbor or two.

The act of toleration, passed in the first of William and Mary's reign, afforded the suffering brethren some relief. By applying to the general court, and subscribing to all the thirty-nine articles, saving the thirty-fourth, thirty-fifth, and thirty-sixth, together with one clause in the twentieth, and part of the twenty-seventh, they obtained license to preach at certain stipulated places; 31. but, if they preached at any other places, they were exposed to be prosecuted.

Some of the prisoners would give bonds not to preach, and as soon as they were freed, would immediately preach as before. This was done, when they had reason to believe that the court would never bring suit upon the bonds. I have never heard of but one such suit in the state, and that one was dismissed. The ministers would go singing from the court-house to the prison, where they had, sometimes, the liberty of the bounds, and at other times they had not. They used to preach to the people through the grates: to prevent which, some ill-disposed men would be at the expense of erecting a high wall around the prison; others, would employ half drunken strolls to beat a drum around the prison to prevent the people from hearing. Sometimes, matches and pepper-pods were burnt at the prison-door, and many such afflictions the dear disciples went through. About thirty of the preachers were honored with a dungeon, and a few others beside. Some of them were imprisoned as often as four times, besides all the mobs and perils they went through. The dragon roared with hideous peals, but was not red - the Beast appeared formidable, but was not scarlet colored. Virginia soil has never been stained with vital blood for conscience sake. Heaven has restrained the wrath of man, and brought auspicious days at last. We now sit under our vines and fig-trees, and there is none to make us afraid.


BUT why this schism? says an inquisitor. If the people were disposed to be more devotional than they had been before, why not be devout in the church in which they had been raised, without rending themselves off, and procuring so much evil unto themselves? This question may be answered in part, by asking a similar one. Why did the Episcopal church rend off from the church of Rome, in the Reformation? Why not continue in that church, and worship in her mode? What necessity for that schism, which occasioned so much war and persecution? If we are to credit Frederick, in his "Memoirs of the House of Brandenburg," the cause of the Reformation was, in England, the love of a woman - in Germany, the love of gain - in France, the love of novelty, or a song. But can the church of England offer no other reason for her heretical schism, but the love of a woman? Undoubtedly she can: she has done it, and we approve of her reason; but after all, she is not so pure in her worship, but what we have many reasons for dissenting from her. Some of which are as follows:

1. No national church, can, in its organization, be the Gospel Church. A national church takes in the whole nation, and no more; whereas, the Gospel Church, takes in no nation, but those who fear God, and work righteousness in every nation. The notion of a Christian commonwealth, should be exploded forever, without there was a commonwealth of real Christians. Not only so, but if all the souls in a government, were saints of God, should they be formed into a society by law, that society could not be a Gospel Church, but a creature of state.

2. The church of England, in Virginia, has no discipline but the civil law. The crimes of their delinquent members are tried in a court-house, before the judges of the police, their censures are laid on at the whipping-post, and their excommunications are administered at the gallows. In England, if a man cast contempt upon the spiritual court, the bishop delegates a grave priest, who, with his chancellor, excommunicate him. The man thus excommunicated, is by law, disabled from being a plaintiff or witness in any suit. But for heresy, incest or adultery, the bishop himself pronounces the exclusion. The outcast, is not only denied the company of Christians, in spiritual duties, but also, in temporal concerns. He not only is disabled from being plaintiff or witness in any suit, (and so deprived of the protection of the law,) but if he continues forty-days an excommunicant, a writ comes against him, and he is cast into prison, without bail, and there continues until he has paid the last mite. Mrs.

Trask was judged a heretick, because she believed in the Jewish Sabbath, and for that, she was imprisoned sixteen years, until she died; but a Gospel Church has nothing to do with corporeal punishments. If a member commits sin, the church is to exclude him, which is as far as church power extends. If the crime is cognizable by law, the culprit must bear what the law inflicts. In the church of England, ecclesiastical and civil matters are so blended together, that I know not who can be blamed for dissenting from her.

3. The manner of initiating members into the church of England, is arbitrary and tyrannical. The subject, (for a candidate I cannot call him,) is taken by force, brought to the priest, baptized, and declared a member of the church. The little Christian shows all the aversion he is capable of, by cries and struggles, but all to no purpose; ingrafted he is; and, when the child grows up, if he differs in judgment from his father and king, he is called a dissenter, because he is honest, and will not say that he believes what he does not believe; and, as such, in England, can fill no post of honor or profit. Here, let it be observed, that religion is a matter entirely between God and individuals. No man has a right to force another to join a church; nor do the legitimate powers of civil government extend so far as to disable, incapacitate, proscribe, or in any way distress, in person, property, liberty or life, any man who cannot believe and practice in the common road. A church of Christ, according to the Gospel, is a congregation of faithful persons, called out of the world by divine grace, who mutually agree to live together, and execute gospel discipline among them; which government, is not national, parochial, or presbyterial, but congregational.

4. The church of England has a human head. Henry VIII. cast off the Pope's yoke, and was declared head of the church, 1533; which title, all the kings of England have borne since; but the Gospel Church, acknowledges no head but King Jesus: He is lawgiver, king, and judge - is a jealous God, and will not give his glory unto another.

5. The preachers of that order, in Virginia, for the most part, not only plead for theatrical amusements, and what they call civil mirth, but their preaching is dry and barren, containing little else but morality. The great doctrines of universal depravity, redemption by the blood of Christ, rengeneration, faith, repentance and self-denial, are but seldom preached by them, and, when they meddle with them, it is in such a superficial manner, as if they were nothing but things of course.

6. Their manner of visiting the sick, absolving sins, administering the Lord's supper to newly married couples, burying the dead, sprinkling children with their gossips, promises, cross, etc., are no ways satisfactory, and, as they were handed to us through the force of law, we reject them in toto. These are some of the reasons we have for dissenting from the Episcopalians in Virginia, and though they may not be sufficient to justify our conduct, in the opinion of others, yet they have weight with us. 32.


THERE are three grand, leading principles, which divide the Christian world: I say leading principles - for each of them is subdivided into a number of peculiarities; these three, I shall call fate, free-will, and restitution.

1st. Fate. Those who believe this doctrine, say, that God eternally ordained whatsoever comes to pass: that if the minutest action should be done that God did not appoint, it would not only prove a world of chance, but create an uneasiness in the Divine mind; that providence and grace are stewards, to see that all God's decrees are fulfilled. Sometimes a distinction is made between God's absolute and permissive decrees; that God absolutely decreed the good, and permissively decreed the evil. Other times it is stated thus: that upon the principle of God's knowing all things, every thing comes to pass of necessity. With this sentiment, most commonly, is connected the doctrine of particular redemption: that Jesus Christ undertook for a certain number of Adam's progeny, and for them alone he died; that those for whom he died, shall be called, by irresistible grace, to the knowledge of the Truth and be saved; that if one of these, whom he chose and redeemed, should miss of Heaven, his will would be frustrated, and his blood lost. And as this, at first view, seems to excuse the non-elect for not believing in the Mediator, it is sometimes said that Jesus died virtually for all, but intentionally for a few. Others, who disdain such pitiful shifts, say, that the want of the faith of God's elect, is no sin; that justice cannot require a man to have a more divine life than Adam possesed in Eden; that if we, as rational creatures, do not believe as much as Adam could have believed in innocency, when revealed to us, that we are guilty of the sin of unbelief; but that the law cannot require us to believe in a Mediator, and therefore, the want of that faith is not a sin. Those who adhere to this principle, are called, Fatalists, Predestinarians, Calvanists, Supralapsarians, etc.

2d. Free-Will. Those who adopt this principle, affirm that God eternally decreed to establish the freedom of the human will. That if men are necessary agents, the very idea of virtue and vice is destroyed; that the more angels and men are exalted in their creation, in the state of free agency, the greater was the probability of their falling; that sin could never have entered into the world, upon any other footing; that if man does what he cannot avoid, it is no rebellion in the creature; that God never offers violence to the human will, in the process of grace; that Christ has fulfilled the law, which all were under- bore the curse for all - spilt his blood for all - makes known his grace to all - gives to each a talent - bids all improve - and finally, that if men are damned, it will not be for the want of a Saviour; but for refusing to obey him, damned for unbelief, and that those who are damned will have their torment augmented for refusing an offered Saviour. Some, who adhere to this doctrine, believe that when men are once born again, that they can never perish, and others believe, that there is no state so secure, in this world, but what men may fall from it into eternal damnation. The advocates for the above sentiment, are called Arminians, Free-willers, Universal Provisionists, etc.

3d. Restitution. Those who espouse this sentiment, declare that God eternally designed to save all men; that he made them to enjoy him for ever, and that he will not be frustrated - that Christ died for all, and will not lose his blood - that if more souls are lost than saved, Satan will have the greatest triumph, and sin have a more boundless reign than grace - that if even one soul should be miserable, world without end, the sting of death and the victory of the grave would never be destroyed - that Jesus will reign till all his foes, even the last enemy, shall be rooted up - that he will reconcile all things unto himself, and make all things new - that every creature in heaven, in earth, and under the earth, shall join in the celestial doxology. But those who hold this doctrine are equally perplexed and divided, with those who believe the two before-mentioned principles.

Some of them extend the doctrine to fallen angels, others confine it to the human race - some believe there will be no punishment after death, others conclude that torment will be infflicted in Hades, upon rebellious souls, even until the resurrection of the body; and others think that they will not all be restored, till the expiration of several periodical eternities. Those who avow this doctrine, are called Universalists, Hell-Redemptioners, &c.

Whether it is a blessing or a curse to mankind, it is a certain truth, that the theoretic principles of men, have but little effect upon their lives. I know men of all the before-written doctrines that equally seem to strive to glorify God, in the way which they conceive will do it the most effectually. It is no novelty in the world, for men of different sentiments, to stigmatize the doctrines of each other, with being pregnant with dangerous consequences; but it is not the doctrine or system that a man believes, that makes him either a good or bad man, but the SPIRIT he is governed by. It is a saying among lovers, that "love will triumph over reason," and it is as true, that the disposition of the heart will prevail over the system of the head.

The third principle, mentioned above, has few, if any, vouchers among the Baptists in Virginia; but the two first spoken of, divide counties, churches and families, which, about the year 1775, raised a great dispute in Virginia, and finally split the Separate Baptists, which division continued several years; but, after both parties had contested till their courage grew cool, they ceased their hostilities, grounded their arms, and formed a compromise upon the middle ground, of "think and let think;" and ceded to each other its territory and liberty.

I am acquainted with men of all these principles, who are equally assured they are right. No doubt they are right in their own conceits, and they may be all right in their aims; but I am assured they are not all right in their systems; and far enough from being right, when they bitterly condemn each other.


IT is a question, not easily answered, whether marriage was appointed by the Divine Parent, merely for the propagation of the human species, or for the education of children. Whether one or the other, or both were reasons of the institution, it certainly was appointed by God, honored by Jesus, and declared to be honorable unto all by St. Paul. What lies before me at present, is to consider the mode of marriage, in Virginia, before the late revolution, and the alterations that have since taken place.

Under the regal government, the rites of matrimony were solemnized two ways. The first, and most reputable way, was this: From the clerk's office, in the county where the bride lived, a license was issued to the bridegroom, which cost twenty shillings, which was a perquisite of the governor; and fifty pounds of tobacco for the fee of the clerk, which raised the price to a guinea. This license was delivered to the clergyman on the wedding day, for his security; and for solemnizing the rites, he was entitled to twenty shillings. This way of getting wives, was too expensive for the poor, and, therefore, another mode was prescribed by law, as an alternative. The clergyman published the banns of marriage on three holy days, for which he was entitled to eighteen pence, and for joining such couples together he was entitled to five shillings. The Presbyterian ministers sometimes solemnized the rites; but if it was by a license, the parish preacher claimed and recovered his fee, as though he had solemnized the rites himself. After the declaration of independence, in 1780, an act passed the general assembly to authorise as many as four ministers in each county, of each denomination, to solemnize the rites; but the act was so partial that some would not qualify, others took what indulgence the act gave, and still petitioned for equal liberty. The Episcopal clergymen were allowed to join people together in any part of the state, while others were circumscribed by county bounds. In 1784, this partiality was removed, and all ministers were set on a level. By presenting credentials of their ordination, and a recommendation of their good character in the society where they are members, and also giving bond and security to the court of the county where they reside, they receive testimonials, signed by the senior magistrate, to join together any persons who legally apply in any part of the state. Publication is now abolished. From the county in which the bride resides, a license is issued out of the clerk's office, which costs the groom fifteen pence; this license is given to the preacher, for his security; and for joining them to-?ether, he is entitled to five shillings. The preacher is under bonds to ertify the clerk, from whom the license came, of the solemnization; and the clerk, for registering the certificate, is entitled to fifteen pence more: so that it costs but seven shillings and six pence to get a wife in these days.


A REVIEW of head eleven, informs us what persecution the Baptist preachers were subject to, which continued in some counties until the revolution. Upon the declaration of independence, and the establishment of a republican form of government, it is not to be wondered at that the Baptists so heartily and uniformly engaged in the cause of the country against the king. The change suited their political principles, promised religious liberty, and a freedom from ministerial tax; nor have they been disappointed in their expectations. In 1776, the salaries of the Episcopal clergymen were suspended, which was so confirmed in 1779, that no legal force has ever been used since to support any preachers in the state. But as they gained this piece of freedom, so the cares of war, the spirit of trade, and moving to the western waters, seemed to bring on a general declension. The ways of Zion mourned. They obtained their hearts' desire, (freedom,) but had leanness in their souls. Some of the old watch-men stumbled and fell, iniquity did abound, and the love of many waxed cold. But the declension was not so total, but what God showed himself gracious in some places; his blessings, like small showers in the drought of summer, were scattered abroad. Delegates from the churches assembled in association once or twice in each year; but so much of the time was taken up in considering what means had best be used to obtain and preserve equal liberty with other societies, that many of the churches were discouraged in sending delegates. Many of the ministers removed from their churches, to Kentucky, and left their scattered flocks, like a cottage in the vineyard, like a lodge in a garden of cucumbers. In this point of view was the Baptist Society in Virginia, at the close of the war, and the return of auspicious peace.

October, 1783, was the last General Association the Separate Baptists ever had. They divided into four or five districts; but to maintain a friendly correspondence, and be helpers to each other, in a political way, they established a General Committee, to be composed of delegates sent from each distinct Association, to meet annually. Not more than four delegates from one Association are entitled to seats. This committee give their opinion on all queries sent to them from any of the Associations, originate all petitions to be laid before the legislature of the state, and consider the good of the whole society. It may be here noted, that the General Committee, as well as the Associations, exercise no lordship over the churches - all they attempt is advice, which is generally received by the churches in a cordial manner. Should they attempt any thing more, without legal authority, they would appear ridiculous; and with legal authority, they would grow tyrannical. Of this Committee, the regular Baptist Association became a member.

In 1784, the Episcopal society was legally incorporated, and such exertions were made for a general assessment, to oblige all the citizens in the state to pay some preacher, that a bill for that purpose passed two readings; but the final determination of the bill was postponed until November, 1785; when the time came, the Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists,33. Deists, and covetous, made such an effort against the bill, that it fell through. In 1786, the act, incorporating the Episcopal society was repealed; but in 1788, their trustees were legalized to manage the property, which is the state of things at this time.

Several attempts were made, at different times, to unite the Regular and Separate Associations together, but all proved in vain, until August, 1787, when they united upon the principle of receiving the confession of faith, before mentioned, as containing the great essential doctrines of the gospel, yet, not in so strict a sense, that all are obliged to believe everything therein contained. 34. At the same time, it was agreed, that the appellations, Regular and Separate, should be buried in oblivion, and that in future they should be called "the United Baptist Churches of Christ in Virginia."


THE first part of the last head gives an account of the declension of religion among the Baptists, which continued until 1785. In the summer of that year, the glorious work of God broke out, on the banks of James River, and from thence has spread almost over the state. In treating of this great revival, I shall not write as a divine, a philosopher, or an opposer, but solely as an historian.

In the greatest part of the meetings, when religion is low among the people, there is no unusual appearance among them; a grave countenance, a solemn sigh, or a silent tear, is as much as is seen or heard, and sometimes a great degree of inattention and carelessness: but in times of reviving it is quite otherwise, in most places. It is nothing strange, to see a great part of the congregation fall prostrate upon the floor or ground; many of whom, entirely loose the use of their limbs for a season. Sometimes numbers of them are crying out at once, some of them, in great distress, using such language as this:

"God, be merciful to me a sinner - Lord, save me or I must perish - what shall I do to be saved?" etc. Others breaking out in such rapturous expressions as these: "Bless the Lord, O my soul! O, sweet Jesus, how I love thee! - Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord! - O, sinners! come, taste and see how good the Lord is! " etc.

I have seen such exercise, and heard such melody for several hours together. At Associations, and great meetings, I have seen numbers of ministers and exhorters, improving their gifts at the same time. Such a heavenly confusion among the preachers, and such a celestial discord among the people, destroy all articulation, so that the understanding is not edified; but the awful echo, sounding in the ears, and the objects in great distress, and great raptures, before the eyes, raise great emotion in the heart. Some of the ministers rather oppose this work, others call it a little in question, and some fan it with all their might. Whether it be celestial or terrestial, or a complication of both, it is observed by the candid that more souls get first awakened at such meetings, than at any meetings whatever, who afterwards give clear, rational accounts of a divine change of heart. This exercise is not confined to the newly convicted, and newly converted, but persons who have been professors a number of years, at such lively meetings, not only jump up, strike their hands together, and shout aloud, but will embrace one another, and fall to the floor. I have never known the rules of decency broken so far as for persons of different sexes, thus to embrace and fall at meetings. It is not to be understood that this exercise is seen in all parts of the state, at times when God is working on the minds of the people. No, under the preaching of the same man, in different neighborhoods and counties, the same work, in substance, has different exterior effects.

At such times of revival, it is wonderful to hear the sweet singing among the people, when they make melody in their hearts and voices to the Lord. In the last great ingathering, in some places, singing was more blessed among the people than the preaching was. What Mr. Jonathan Edwards thought might be expedient in some future day, has been true in Virginia. Bands go singing to meeting, and singing home. At meeting, as soon as preaching is over, it is common to sing a number of spiritual songs; sometimes several songs are sounding at the same time, in different parts of the congregation. I have travelled through neighborhoods and counties at times of refreshing, and the spiritual songs in the fields, in the shops and houses, have made the heavens ring with melody over my head; but, as soon as the work is over, there is no more of it heard. Dr. Watts is the general standard for the Baptists in Virginia; but they are not confined to him; any spiritual composition answers their purpose. A number of hymns originate in Virginia, although there is no established poet in the state. Some Virginia songs have more divinity in them, than poetry or grammar; and some that I have heard have but little of either.

Candidates generally make confession of their faith before the whole assembly present; but, sometimes there are so many to offer, that the church divides into several bodies, each of which acts for the whole, and receives by the right hand of fellowship. At times appointed for baptism, the people generally go singing to the water-side, in grand procession: I have heard many souls declare they first were convicted, or first found pardon going to, at, or coming from the water. If those who practice infant baptism can say as much, it is no wonder they are so fond of it. Forty, fifty, and sixty have often been baptized in a day, at one place, in Virginia, and sometimes as many as seventy-five. There are some ministers now living in Virginia, who have baptized more than two thousand persons. It is said that St. Austin baptized ten thousand in the dead of winter, in the river Swale, in England, in the year 595. I have seen ice cut more than a foot thick, and people baptized in the water, and yet I have never heard of any person taking cold, or any kind of sickness, in so doing. And strange it is that Mr. Wesley should recommend cold bathing for such a vast number of disorders, and yet be so backward to administer it for the best purpose, viz., to fulfil righteousness.


THERE are in Virginia, at this time, about one hundred and fifty ordained preachers of the Baptist denomination, and a number besides who exercise a public gift; but in the late great additions that have been made to the churches, there are but few who have engaged in the work of the ministry. Whether it is because the old preachers stand in the way, or whether it is because the people do not pray the Lord of the harvest to thrust out laborers, or whether it is not rather a judgment of God upon the people, for neglecting those who are already in the work, not communicating to them in all good things, 35. I cannot say; but so it is, that but few appear to be advancing, to supply the places of the old ones, upon their decease.

There are also about two hundred and two churches. The exact number of members I cannot ascertain. Between Potomac and James rivers, are nine thousand; and as there is about the same number of preachers and churches, between James river and North Carolina, together with some good account, I judge there are as many as nine thousand south of James river. Upon the western waters, in Kentucky, there are thirty-one churches, divided into three Assaciations. In one of them, there were one thousand members, May, 1789. In another, there is about the same number; but, lest I should swell my numbers too high, I will add the little Association, at the falls of Ohio, containing five churches, to make the round number of two thousand in Kentucky; and, as there are a few Baptists between the Alleghany and Kentucky, I conclude the sum of twenty thousand is a moderate estimate. These churches are classed into eleven Associations, nine of which correspond in the General Committee. For the ease of the eye, they are stated in the following table:-

1 General Committee
11 Associations
202 Churches
150 Ministers, 36.
20,000 Members

The number of communicants compose but a small part of those who commonly attend Baptist worship. It will not appear extravagant, to those who are generally acquainted in the state, to say that, taking one part of the state with another, there are more people who attend the Baptist worship, than any kind of worship in the state.


UPON the first rise of the Baptists in Virginia, they were very strict in their dress. Men cut off their hair, like Cromwell's round-headed chaplains, and women cast away all their superfluities; so that they were distinguished from others, merely by their decoration. Where all were of one mind, no evil ensued; but where some did not choose to dock and strip, and churches made it a matter of discipline, it made great confusion for no standard could be found in the Bible, to measure their garments by. No doubt, dressing, as well as eating and drinking, can be carried to excess; but it appears to be a matter between God and individuals; for, whenever churches take it up, the last evil is worse than the first. This principle prevailed until the war broke out, at which time the Baptist mode took the lead. Those who went into the army, cut off their hair, and those who stayed at home, were obliged to dress in home-spun. Since the return of peace, and the opening of the ports, the uniformity between the Baptists and others, in point of clothing, still exists; notwithstanding the great work of conversion there has been in the state, but very little is said about rending garments; those who behave well, wear what they please, and meet with no reproof.


THE principle, that civil rulers have nothing to do with religion in their official capacities, is as much interwoven in the Baptist plan, as Phydias's name was in the shield. The legitimate powers of government extend only to punish men for working ill to their neighbors, and no way affect the rights of conscience. The nation of Israel received their civil and religious laws from Jehovah, which were binding on them, and no other; and with the extirpation of that nation, were abolished. For a Christian commonwealth to be established upon the same claim, is very presumptuous, without they have the same charter from Heaven. Because the nation of Israel had a divine grant of the land of Canaan, and orders to enslave the heathen, some suppose Christians have an equal right to take away the land of the Indians, and make slaves of the negroes. Wretched religion, that pleads for cruelty and injustice. In this point of view, the Pope offered England to the king of Spain, provided he would conquer it; after England became Protestant, and in the same view of things, on May 4, 1493, the year after America was discovered, he proposed to give away the heathen lands to his Christian subjects. If Christian nations, were nations of Christians, these things would not be so. The very tendency of religious establishments by human law, is to make some hypocrites, and the rest fools; they are calculated to destroy those very virtues that religion is designed to build up; to encourage fraud and violence over the earth. It is error alone, that stands in need of government to support it; truth can and will do better without: so ignorance calls in anger in a debate, good sense scorns it. Religion, in its purest ages, made its way in the world, not only without the aid of the law, but against all the laws of haughty monarchs, and all the maxims of the schools. The pretended friendship of legal protection, and learned assistance, proves often in the end like the friendship of Joab to Amasa.

Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for, is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration, is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest, to grant indulgence; whereas, all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians. Test oaths, and established creeds, should be avoided as the worst of evils. A general assessment., (forcing all to pay some preacher,) amounts to an establishment; if government says I must pay somebody, it must next describe that somebody, his doctrine and place of abode. That moment a minister is so fixed as to receive a stipend by legal force, that moment he ceases to be a gospel ambassador, and becomes a minister of state. This emolument is a temptation too great for avaricious men to withstand. This doctrine turns the gospel into merchandise, and sinks religion upon a level with other things.

As it is not the province of civil government to establish forms of religion, and force a maintenance for the preachers, so it does not belong to that power to establish fixed holy days for divine worship. That the Jewish seventh-day Sabbath was of divine appointment, is unquestionable; but that the Christian first-day Sabbath is of equal injunction, is more doubtful. If Jesus appointed the day to be observed, he did it as the head of the church, and not as the king of nations; or if the apostles enjoined it, they did it in the capacity of Christian teachers, and not as human legislators. As the appointment of such days is no part of human legislation, so the breach of the Sabbath (so called) is no part of civil jurisdiction. I am not an enemy to holy days, (the duties of religion cannot well be performed without fixed times,) but these times should be fixed by the mutual agreement of religious societies, according to the word of God, and not by civil authority. I see no clause in the federal constitution, or the constitution of Virginia, to empower either the federal or Virginia legislature to make any Sabbathical laws.

Under this head, I shall also take notice of one thing, which appears to me unconstitutional, inconsistent with religious liberty, and unnecessary in itself; I mean the paying of the chaplains of the civil and military departments out of the public treasury. The king of Great Britain has annually forty-eight chaplains in ordinary, besides a number extraordinary; his army also abounds with chaplains. This, I confess, is consistent with the British form of government, where religion is a principle, and the church a creature of the state; but why should these plans of proud, covetous priests, ever be adopted in America? If legislatures choose to have a chaplain, for Heaven's sake, let them pay him by contributions, and not out of the public chest. In some of the states, a part of each day, during the session of assembly, is taken up in attending prayers; and they may well afford it, for they are paid for the time; but whether they would pray as long, if they were not under pay, is a question; and whether the chaplain would pray as long for them, if the puplic chest was like Osiron's purse, is another.

For chaplains to go into the army, is about as good economy as it was for Israel to carry the ark of God to battle: instead of reclaiming the people, they generally are corrupted themselves, as the ark fell into the hands of the Philistines. 37. The words of David are applicable here: "Carry back the ark into the city." But what I aim chiefly at, is paying of them by law. The very language of the proceeding is this: "If you will pay me well for preaching and praying, I will do them, otherwise I will not. " Such golden sermons and silver prayers are of no great value.


WASHING of feet is practised by some of the Baptists, disused by others, and rejected by the third class, which breaks no friendship among them, each one acting according to his persuasion. Baptism and the Lord's supper, are neither of them used for the good of the body; but the first is significant, and the last commemorative. The question is, whether washing of feet is to be performed for the good of the body, or as a sacred rite? If for the good of the body, it should be done when, and only when, the feet are sore and filthy; but if as a sacred rite, people should do as they now do, viz., wash their feet clean before they meet together for the purpose of washing feet. A person being taken upon surprise at a washing feet meeting, made this confession: "If I had known that you would have washed feet tonight, I would have washed mine clean before I came from home."

Some of the preachers practice what is satirically called dry christening, and others do not. The thing referred to is this: when a woman is safely delivered in child-bearing, and raised to health enough to go to meeting, she brings her child to the minister, who either takes it in his arms, or puts his hands upon it, and thanks God for his mercy, and invokes a blessing on the child; at which time the child is named.

The Baptists believe that those who preach the gospel should live of it: that a preacher is as much entitled to a reward for his labor, as the reaper in the field is to his hire. It is a gross innovation from truth, to view the wages of a minister in the light of alms. That religion that opens the heart, unties the purse-strings. When souls are caught in the net of the gospel (like the fish that Peter caught) they have a piece of money in their mouths. If people will not give the preacher his due, they and their money must perish together.

Finally, the Baptists hold it their duty to obey magistrates, to be subject to the law of the land, to pay their taxes, and pray for all in authority. They are not scrupulous of taking an oath of God upon them to testify the truth before a magistrate or court; but reject profane swearing. Their religion also allows them to bear arms in defence of their life, liberty and property, and also to be friendly to those who differ with them in judgment, believing a cynick to be as bad as a sycophant.


FROM this account of the Virginia Baptists, they appear to be a very different sect from the German Anabaptists. The grand error of those rioters, was founding both dominion and property in grace; which is the error of the church of Rome, and the church of England unto this day; and, indeed, the error of all established churches that incapacitate a man from holding his office and property, without he will submit to a religious test. The confusion in Germany was not of the religious kind, but the struggles of the people to get clear of the oppression of the princes. Their leader taught them, that if they would acknowledge their mission, they should be free from taxes, rents, and subjection; the prospect of which, drew multitudes of them, until, like the followers of Theudas and Judas, they were all dispersed. If the German fanatics were really Baptists, yet it is as cruel to impute their errors, by wholesale, to the Virginia Baptists, as it would be to impute all the cruelty of the church of Rome to those societies in Virginia that practise infant baptism. I have two histories of the German insurgents before me, one of which appears to be a scorpidium, written with the head of an asp, dipped in gall, the other is more mild. If these histories may be depended upon, neither Nicholas Stork nor Thomas Muncer, were Anabaptists; Melchoir Hoffman and John Bechold, were. They were called Anabaptists, because they repeated baptism; but they did not dip but sprinkle, so that the whole uproar belongs to other societies, and not to the Baptists. A late author, Rev. Mr. Pattilloe, in giving an account of the rise of other societies, says, "the Baptists made their appearance in Germany, soon after the Reformation began." Has the good Mr. Pattilloe got this by wrote, hearing of it so often? or has the judicious pen of Mr. Smith helped him out in a dead lift? or can the gentleman demonstrate his assertion and implication by real facts? Should I affirm that the Presbyterians made their appearance in London, in the reign of Jas 1., on the fifth of November, 1605, in the gun-powder plot, it might perhaps raise the bristles of his meek heart; and this I might affirm with as much propriety, as he could affirm what he has. The names Papist and Presbyterian, are as much alike as Baptist and Anabaptist, and their modes of baptism far more uniform. I admire Mr. Pattilloe's writing in general; I was a subscriber for his book, and think my dollar well exchanged; but, let the Rev. gentleman remember, that the Baptists can produce sacred proof for their appearance in Judea, about fifteen hundred years before those tumults in Germany, and if he can produce more antiquated proof of the Presbyterians, then let him triumph; otherwise, be peaceable, as becomes him.


A retrospective view of this Chronicle, informs us that the number of religious sects in Virginia, is seven, viz., Episcopalians, Quakers, Presbyterians, Methodists, Tunkers, Mennonists, and Baptists. There are a few Jews, but they have no synagogue, nor is there any chapel for Papists. If men had virtue enough, it would be pleasing to see all of one mind; but in these lethargic days, if there is not a little difference among men, they sink into stupidity. It is happy for Virginia, in a political point of view, that there are several societies, nearly of a size; should one attempt to oppress another, all the rest would unite to prevent it. And the same may be said of the United States; more than twenty religious societies are in them, which render it almost impossible for one order to oppress all the others. This is a greater security for religious liberty than all that can be written on paper. If two or three of the most popular societies in the Union should unite together, the other societies would have cause to fear, from the consideration, that the many generally oppress the few; but if things in future, emerge as they have heretofore, we have more reason to believe, that the present societies will split and subdivide, than we have to believe, that parties, now at variance, will ever unite. O, Virginia! O, America! - a people favored of the Lord! - may the goodness of God excite our obedience. There are yet remaining some vestiges of religious oppression, but they are chiefly theoretical. It may be said, that in substance, the different societies enjoy equal liberty of thinking, speaking, and worshipping, and equal protection by law. Perhaps there is not a constitutional evil in the states, that has a more plausible pretext, than the proscription of gospel ministers; I say in the states, for most of them have proscribed them from seats of legislation, &c. The federal government is free in this point: to have one branch of the legislature composed of clergymen, as is the case in some European powers, is not seemly - to have them entitled to seats of legislation, on account of their ecclesiastical dignity, like the bishops in England, is absurd. But to declare them ineligible, when their neighbors prefer them to any others, is depriving them of the liberty of free citizens, and those who prefer them, the freedom of choice.

If the office of a preacher were lucrative, there would be some propriety in his ineligibility; but as the office is not lucrative, the proscription is cruel. To make the best of it, it is but doing evil, that good may come: denying them the liberty of citizens, lest they should degrade their sacred office. Things should be so fixed in government, that there should be neither degrading checks, nor alluring baits to the ministry; but as the proscription, mentioned above, is a check, so there are some baits, in the states, to the sacred work. In some of the states, the property of preachers is free from tax. In Virginia, their persons are exempt from bearing arms. Though this is an indulgence that I feel, yet it is not consistent with my theory of politics. It may be further observed, that an exemption from bearing arms, is., but a legal indulgence, but the ineligibility is constitutional proscription, and no legal reward is sufficient for a constitutional prohibition. The first may be altered by the caprice of the legislature, the last cannot be exchanged, without an appeal to the whole mass of constituent power.


The Subject of religious liberty, has been so canvassed for fourteen years, and has so far prevailed, that in Virginia, a politician can no more be popular, without the possession of it, than a preacher who denies the doctrine of the new birth; yet many, who make this profession, behave in their families, as if they did not believe what they profess. For a man to contend for religious liberty on the court-house green, and deny his wife, children and servants, the liberty of conscience at home, is a paradox not easily reconciled. If a head of a family could answer for all his house in the day of judgment, there would be a degree of justice in his controlling them in the mode of worship, and joining society; but answer for them he cannot; each one must give an account of himself to God, and none but cruel tyrants will prevent their wives, children or servants, either directly or indirectly, from worshipping God according to the dictates of their consciences, and joining the society they choose; for as religion does not destroy either civil or domestic government, so neither of them extend their rightful influence into the empire of conscience.

The rights of conscience are so sacred, that no mortal can justly circumscribe them, and yet the conscience is so defiled by sin, as well as the other powers of the soul, that it may lead men into error. The word conscience, signifies common science; a court of judicature, erected by God in every human breast: and, as courts of justice often give wrong judgment, for want of good information, so it happens with conscience. The author of our religion said, "the time will come, when he that killeth you, will think that he doeth God service." And Paul verily thought that he ought to do many things against the Lord Jesus. So that conscience is not the rule of life, but the word of God. Though conscience should be free from human control, yet it should be in strict subordination to the law of God.


THAT devil, who transforms himself into an angel of light, is often preaching from these words; "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints." Whenever men are self conceited enough to believe themselves infallible in judgment, and take their own opinions for tests of orthodoxy, they conclude they are doing God service, in vindicating his truth; while they are only contending for their particular tenets. By this gross mistake, the Christian world is filled with polemical divinity. I very much question, whether there was ever more sophistry used among the old philosophers, than there has been among divines. I never saw a defence of a religious system, but what a great part of it was designed to explain away the apparent meaning of plain texts of scripture. System writers generally adopt a few principles, which, they say, are certain truths, and all reasoning against those principles they strive to make sophistry, and all texts that seem to withstand their scheme, they endeavor to explain away; sometimes by mending the translation of the Bible. I have never yet known an instance of a man's altering the translation of a text that expressed his own sentiment, as it is translated.

When men are run hard to support their plan, they will appeal from scripture to the reason of things; and when reason fails them, they will fly back again to scripture; and when both disappear, they will have recourse to the unsearchable ways of God. There is no doubt in my mind, that the God of order acts consistently with himself; but it is a grand doubt, whether divine materials ever did, or ever will, submit to human standards. And, I think it much safer for a man to own his ignorance, and stand open to conviction, than to be too positive in asserting things that he himself may doubt of in his cool retired hours.

25. Published in Virginia, 1790.

26. If we were slaves in Africa, how should we reprobate such reasoning as would rob us of our liberty. It is a question, whether men had not better lose all their property, than deprive an individual of his birth-right blessing freedom. If a political system is such, that common justice cannot be administered without innovation, the sooner such a system is destroyed, the better for the people.

27. Baptism, by some, is made everything; by some, anything; and, by others, nothing. The Episcopalians make it everything; they say that the water is blest to the mystical washing away of sin; that, by it, children are regenerated, and engrafted into the body of Christ, which is everything we need. The Methodists make it anything; either sprinkling, pouring or immersion. No matter how it is done, if it is done. Can it be supposed, that Jesus, who was faithful in all his house, in the character of a son, should be less definite in his orders than Moses was, who was only a servant? See (says the Hebrew prophet) that thou makest the tabernacle, in all things, according to the pattern shown to thee in the Mount; and is the pattern of Jesus of no more use than to be made anything of? That which is to be done but once in a man's life, should be well done. Are the words of St. Paul inapplicable here? "One baptism."

The Quakers make it nothing; but when they regard the word of God more, and the word of Barclay less, they will then find baptism, not only to be a command, but the first command, after repentance and faith.

If baptism is everything, Simon, the witch, is gone to heaven, and the thief dropt from the cross to hell. If it is anything, we may say of it, as Mr. Wesley does of praying time, "any time is no time." And if it is nothing, why is the noun, with its verb and participle, recorded almost one hundred times in the New Testament? If men can be perfect, or obedient in all things, without it, what means this bleating of the Scriptures which I hear?

28.This mode was used in the ordination of Matthias to the apostleship; and, like every other account in the New Testament, is a precedent without a second. As no two instances of ordination are uniform, can it be a piece of licentiousness to treat the subject, as to its mode, with a degree of indifference? In Virginia, Episcopal, Presbyterial, and Congregational ordinations are all contended for. Imposition and non-imposition of hands are equally pleaded for; but, after all, a commission from Heaven, to preach and baptize, is the great quintessence.

29. Ketocton, is the name of a water-course, in Loudoun county, that empties into the Potomac. Most of the Baptist churches, now in Virginia, take their names of distinction from the waters where they are.

30. To this day, there are not more than three or four Baptist ministers in Virginia, who have received the diploma of M. A., which is additional proof that the work has been of God, and not of man.

31. There are other parts of the thirty-nine articles, equally exceptionable with those parts excepted. If a creed of faith, established by law, was ever so short, and ever so true; if I believed the whole of it with all my heart- should I subscribe to it before a magistrate, in order to get indulgence, preferment, or even protection - I should be guilty of a species of idolatry, by acknowledging a power, that the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, has never appointed. In this point of view, who can look over the Constitutions of government adopted in most of the United States, without real sorrow? They require a religious test, to qualify an officer of state. All the good such tests do, is to keep from office the best of men; villains make no scruple of any test. The Virginia Constitution is free from this stain. If a man merits the confidence of his neighbours, in Virginia - let him worship one God, twenty God's, or no God - be he Jew, Turk, Pagan, or Infidel, he is eligible to any office in the state.

32. What is here said of the church of England, respects them before the late Revolution. Since the independence of the state, a great number of those who still prefer Episcopacy, have the most noble ideas of religious liberty, and are as far from wishing to oppress those who differ with them in judgment, as any men in the state. Experience proves, that while each man believes what he chooses, and practises as he pleases, although they differ widely in sentiment, yet they love each other better, than they do when they are all obliged to believe and worship in one way. The only way to live in peace and enjoy ourselves as freemen, is to think and speak freely, worship as we please, and be protected by law in our persons, property and liberty.

33. Before this, the Methodists petitioned for a continuation of the established religion of the state; but being organized a distinct church, they vigorously opposed the assessment; and at the same time petitioned the legislature for a general liberation of the slaves Although the petition was rejected, as being impracticable, yet it shows their resolution to bring to pass a noble work.

34. A union seemed so necessary and desirable, that those who were somewhat scrupulous of a confession of faith, other than the Bible, were willing to sacrifice their peculiarities, and those who were strenuous for the confession of faith, agreed to a partial reception of it. "United we stand, divided we fall," overcome, at that time, all objections; but had they united without any confession of faith, as they did in Georgia, perhaps it would have been better. In kingdoms and states, where a system of religion is established by law, with the indulgence of toleration to non-conformists of restricted sentiments, it becomes necessary for such non-conformists to publish a confession of their faith, to convince the rulers that they do not exceed the bounds of toleration; but in a government like that of Virginia, where all men believe and worship as they please - where the only punishment inflicted on the enthusiastical, is pity - what need of a confession of faith? Why this Virgin Mary between the souls of men and the scriptures? Had a system of religion been essential to salvation, or even to the happiness of the saints, would not Jesus, who was faithful in all his house, have left us one? if he has, it is accessible to all. If he has not, why should a man be called a heretick because he cannot believe what he cannot believe, though he believes the Bible with all his heart? Confessions of faith often check any further pursuit after truth, confine the mind into a particular way of reasoning, and give rise to frequent separations. To plead for their utility, because they have been common, is as good sense, as to plead for a state establishment of religion, for the same reason; and both are as bad reasoning, as to plead for sin, because it is everywhere. It is sometimes said that hereticks are always averse to confessions of faith. I wish I could say as much of tyrants. But after all, if a confession of faith, upon the whole, may be advantageous, the greatest care should be taken not to sacradize, or make a petty Bible of it.

35. Gospel preachers are generally like the ass seen by Agelastus, loaded with figs, and feeding upon thistles.

36. In England, are two arch-bishops, and twenty-six bishops. In Ireland, are four arch-bishops, and nineteen bishops. In Scotland, one general assembly, thirteen provincial synods, and sixty-eight presbyteries.

37. A sheriff being sent to bring a Tartar to court, was a long time detained; when solicited to make his return, he replied, "the Tartar will not come." Come without him then, said the judge. "Yes sir, " said the sheriff; "but the Tartar will not let me."

007 The First Rise of Sin



With novel error men engage;
At novel
truth they always rage. - MERLUCIOUS.


LONGITUDE and perpetual motion have employed the prying thoughts of the ingenious for a long time; great premiums are offered to the man who shall first find them out. The apparent advantages of such discoveries would be great; but whether the world will ever enjoy those advantages or not, is a matter of present uncertainty.

The first rise of sin has also been a subject of much speculation. Orthodox divines, poets, and mystics have employed their pens to investigate the point; but not being satisfied with the elucidation of any piece that I have seen, I have presumed to offer the following tract to the public, which will speak for itself.

Those who have read Dr. Gill on Genesis, will see that I have borrowed some remarks of him; but, in some instances, I have dared to differ from that great man.

If the conjectures are considered extravagant, or futile, the reader may remember that he is at his full liberty to invent anything better. The whole of it is offered to the world in modesty and diffidence, by the author. J. L.


THE history of the world, before the flood, includes only one hundred and seventy verses: from the first of Ge 7:11. It is very short, and, therefore, very sublime and significant. The term of time, that this short history treats of, is no less than sixteen hundred and fifty-five years, one month, and seventeen days.

From this history, we learn that there was one murderer, one man-slayer, one martyr, one prophet, and one preacher, before the deluge; and that the imaginations of men's hearts were, in general, evil, and only evil, continually.

No more than twenty-seven personal names are given us in this account, viz.: Adam, the first man, and Eve, his wife - Cain, and eleven of his posterity- Abel - Seth, and eleven of his descendants; and yet, we are told by some, that there were eleven, and some say, eighty thousand millions of people destroyed in the flood. No doubt but what there was a large number, but this account seems extravagant, beyond all reason; for this would be more than six souls to every acre of land on the face of the globe; which, perhaps, is eighty times as many as have ever been on the earth, living at one time, since the flood. 39.

The name, God, is used seventy-three times before the deluge, and the name, LORD, or Jehovah, thirty-five. No direct promise is given of the Messiah, in the whole history, but the conquering seed of the woman is made known in the denunciation of Jehovah God to the serpent.

But, what lies before me at this time, is to confine my observations to the first three chapters of Genesis, containing eighty verses.


IN the first chapter, the phrase, and God said, is found ten times. A short account of creation is given, which is more fully explained, in a supplementary way, in the second; for which reason, both chapters are explained together; introduced by the words,


In the beginning. Not of eternity, which had no beginning, but of time. If the history of Moses respects the whole creation, this clause destroys the notion of the pre-existence of angels, or the human soul of Christ; but if his history only treats of the solar system, and there are other worlds, and systems of worlds in existence, let their histories be produced, and they shall be regarded. Creation had, some time, a beginning; and no sufficient reason has yet been offered, that it ever had a beginning anterior to the Mosaic account. He who wrought in the beginning, was God. The Elohim, here used, is a noun of plural number, and seems to express a trinity of persons in the divine Essence: by this triune Creator were all things created, visible and invisible. The word Elohim, is said, by some, to signify all Power, to show that creation and formation were the effects of omnipotence; that the world, both as to matter and form, was the creature of God, and did not emerge by the fortuitous motion and conjunction of pre-existing matter. Others say, the word represents a being, in whom all fulness centres. This is true of the Creator; but as the same name is given to angels, and the rulers of this world, who are not centres of all perfections, the first signification seems best. The things that God made in the beginning, were, the heavens and the earth. All created heavens are here intended, at least in substance, though not as yet spread out like a garment, or tent. It is most likely that the Heaven for angels was first finished, and then peopled by angels; for it is certain that the heavens, earth, and seas, and all things in them, were made in the six days; and as angels were present on the third day, when the foundations of the earth were fixed, and sang for joy; where is a more likely time to assign for their creation than the first day? The word heaven, here used, signifies above, as the word earth does below, so that whatever is above or below, in substance, was made on the first day. But when the earth was first made, it was without form and void. Not without some form, which always attends gross matter, but void of the form which it now has - which it had when Moses wrote - which it had before the flood - and particularly which it had on the third day, when it was new-moulded and decorated by God. Had man been then formed, he could not have discerned what form it was in, for, darkness was upon the face of the deep. The particles of the earth being as much heavier than water as twenty exceeds twelve, of course, sunk the lowest, while the particles of water rose uppermost, resembling a deep sea; and as no light had then been made, (at least to appear,) darkness covered the whole mass; but it did not long remain in that predicament, for, the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. By the spirit of God, some understand the wind, which is volatile, like spirit, which they suppose moved on the face of the waters; if so, then the air was made on the first day. If this does not intend the wind, no account is given of its creation in the Genessian history; and as fire cannot exist in a visible manner without air, it looks as if the air must have been made before the light appeared. But it is more generally believed, that the infinite spirit of God is meant. The clauses before this, treat of the creation of all above and below, and the dark situation all was in; and this clause speaks of the working of God's power, to produce things and creatures out of what was already created: and, indeed, it appears most likely, that what the Hebrews call To-hu and Bo-hu, and the Greeks call chaos, was made in the beginning of the first day, and that out of this crude mass all things were formed. And when the spirit of God thus moved, God said, let there be light, which was the first time that God spake. It appears most probable, that God, the Son, was the speaker; from which it is said, in the beginning was the Word - all things were made by him - in him was light: and the first word was obeyed, for there was light; likely in the form of a pillar of fire, which answered the use of a sun, until the fourth day, when the sun was formed.

And God saw the light that he had made, and it was good in itself, and would be useful to men. The almighty Architect examined his work, to see if it was well done, and pronounced it good.

And God divided the light from the darkness, by causing the light to move round the rough mass of matter, or, more likely, the rough mass, to turn round the light. In either case, the shadow of the dark ball made darkness, and the light shining upon it made it lucid, and the division depended upon the diurnal motion, which has lasted to this day.

And God called the light day, and the darkness, he called night; which times are to continue, alternately, as long as the earth remaineth.

And the evening and the morning were the first day. Darkness preceded the light, likely, about twelve hours, which was succeeded by twelve hours light, which evening and morning made the first day. Various philosophers say, that darkness was before light, and many nations, such as the Romans, Athenians, Druids, etc., began their days in the evening, as also, did the Jews their holy days.


And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters. This firmament is called heaven; the visible heavens are intended, which were spread out like a curtain, on the second day. The use of this expanse was to divide the waters from the waters; from which, some have supposed that there are fountains of water above, anti that these fountains of the great deep were broken up, in the time of the flood, when the waters descended in awful cataracts; or, it may signify nothing more than that the firmament was to divide the waters which were in the seas, lakes, rivers, etc., from the waters which were in the clouds. Obsequious to the Almighty fiat, it was so; and the evening and the morning were the second day. That the second day's work was well done, there is no doubt; but there is no account that God inspected it and pronounced it good.


And God said, let the waters under the heavens be gathered together in one place. Before this, they covered over the whole face of the earth, but now God broke up, for the sea, the spacious channel, and ordered the waters to retire to their destined habitation, and said, "hitherto shalt thou come, and no further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed." This was done that the Lord might appear. At this time the pillars of the earth were fixed, which made "the morning stars sing together, and all the sons of God shout for joy."

And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering together of the waters, called he seas. The earth includes the two continents, and all the islands, but it is highly probable that the face of it differed widely, at that time, from its present position. There were seas before Moses wrote, and perhaps there were before the flood, and most likely before the fall, for God called the waters, seas. The seas at present have a communication with each other, but as they wash different shores, and for that cause, bear different names, the plural is kept up among us.

The earth and seas, together, form the terraqueous globe, supposed to be a spherioid, though generally treated of as a sphere. The ancients conceived the earth and seas to be as flat as a trencher, and those who believed in antipodes were called heretics.

The earth seems to be governed by the law of gravitation, subordinate to God; and though small, in comparison to some of the globes, is yet great and wonderful in itself, to show forth the mighty works of God. The diameter of the earth is computed at seven thousand six hundred and thirty-six miles; the circumference twenty-four thousand miles; 40.the surficial contents to be above twenty-eight millions of miles; which, if reduced to acres, would be above eighteen thousand millions: but, if a third part of the face of the globe is allowed to be sea, the acres of land would be more than twelve thousand millions: which would make about twenty-one such empires as that of the United States, 41. one hundred and seventy-five such states as Virginia, or four thousand five hundred and fifty such as Connecticut. And, if ten acres of land is sufficient for an individual, the earth will support more than a thousand millions of souls.

It is difficult to tell what is in the globular centre of the terraqueous ball, whether earth, water, rocks or mineral; and as difficult to put the point of a needle on any part of its ambit, which is not the superficial centre; nature having fixed it under such laws, that every part of it is central.

The annual motion of the earth determines the length of a year, which is about three hundred and sixty-five days, and six hours: and the diurnal motion fixes the length of a day, which is twenty-four hours. The surface of the earth is unweariedly moving, in her diurnal course, about the equator, the distance of one thousand miles an hour, and carries all her inhabitants with her: and as the distance between the earth and sun is ninety millions of miles, the earth is moving, with her inhabitants, in the direction of her annual circuit, about sixty-four thousand miles an hour. Does this surprise you, and make you cry out, impossible? If so, only consider, that if the earth stands still, according to the vulgar notion, and the sun moves round it, the sun must fly at the speed of above five hundred and sixty-five millions of miles each day; or, three hundred and ninety-two thousand eight hundred and fifty-seven miles each minute, in his diurnal course; which is about fifty-six thousand times as swift as a ball flies from the mouth of a cannon.

The earth is girt round with a girdle of circumambient air, which closely adheres to her in all her motions. Should a cannon be placed on the earth perpendicularly, and discharge a ball into the air, if the ball should be gone two minutes before it returned, the cannon would have removed, in that space of time, thirty-three miles, consequently the ball would return that distance from the cannon's mouth; but, as the air adheres to the earth, the ball would return to the very point from whence it went.

The solid contents of the terraqueous globe, is above three hundred thousand millions of miles, which, if reduced to inches, would be more than eight hundred thousand trillions. An inch of common sand weighs about an ounce, Troy, but an inch of water weighs only twelve penny-weights. Rocks and minerals weigh much more than sand. If sand may be considered as a medium, the globe weighs as many ounces (Troy) as there are inches in its contents. Fifty-one ounces, Troy, are equal to fifty-six, avoirdupois; and fourteen pounds avordupois, are equal to seventeen Troy. The earth, by this rule, weighs more than ninety-seven quatillions of ounces, Avoirdupois, or, above three hundred trillions of tons.

And God said, let the earth bring forth grass, herbs, and fruitful trees, yielding fruit after their kind, whose seed are in themselves, upon the earth. The spirit of God, that brooded upon the terraqueous globe on the first day, had, on the third day, not only separated the waters from the earth, but also impregnated the earth to produce vegetables for beasts and fruit-trees for man: and this provision was made before the creatures were formed to eat them. So, likewise, it is in the new creation, all spiritual blessings are provided in the New Covenant for men before they are new made to receive them. The grass, herbs, and trees, had seed within themselves to produce their kind, which has continued in order down to this day. After God had made the earth, he made it vegetate and bring forth fruit; even so when men are created in Christ Jesus and put on the new man, they work for God and bring forth the fruits of the Spirit.

On this third day, the Lord made to grow out of the ground every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the Tree of Life, also, in the midst of the garden, and the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, though not spoken of until afterwards: from which we learn that creation furnished objects to please the senses, as well as to support the rational creature with food. Likewise, in religion, not only safety, but pleasure is found; the ways thereof are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

And God saw all that he had done, on the third day, and it was good; no evil had yet appeared: angels retained their integrity, and filial subjection to their Maker.


And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven. This firmament includes all that space between the earth and third heavens; but that part of it called the starry heavens, seems to be particularly intended. No new light was made on this day; but that pillar of fight, made on the first day, was, on this day, formed into the various luminaries, afterwards spoken of, to divide the day from the night, to be for signs and seasons, for days and years. Day and night are governed by the sun; while the sun shines on the face of the earth, it is day, and when it goes down, it is night. The length of the day is equal to the presence of the sun, and the length of the night equal to his absence. The moon, in her fulness, arises upon the setting of the sun, and enlightens the earth during his absence; and, therefore, is said, to rule the Night. When the moon fails us in her nocturnal visits, the twinkling stars pay their officious aid, and, by reason of their number, cast much light upon the inhabitants of the earth.

These lights were to be for signs; not for deluded necromancers to prognosticate by; no, those dull masses, ignorant of their own existence, can never foretel things future, respecting men; but for signs of good and bad weather, for the times of plowing, sowing and reaping. And seasons of summer and winter, spring and fall. For days, by the diurnal motion, in twenty-four hours; and years, by the annual circuit, in three hundred and sixty-five days and a few hours.

The greater light to rule the day; i.e., the sun, called by the ancients, Ur, which word signifies both light and heat; and, it is evident, that the sun is the fountain of heat as well as light. This stupendous orb may well be called great, being about nine hundred thousand times the bigness of the earth; placed at the distance of ninety millions of miles from the ball that we inhabit; yet capable of darting a ray of light to us in the space of seven and a half minutes.

This amazing luminary is the centre of the solar system, and once in twenty-eight years, all the worlds that play around it, come again to the same point and condition. This sovereign of nature, rules the day with such resplendent lustre, that no other orb is seen to shine in his presence: but instead of being an object of religious adoration, is but a speck of Jehovah's works, placed in the heavens, to show forth the wisdom, power, and goodness of the Almighty.

The smaller light (the moon) to rule the night. The moon is called a light, but she borrows all her bright ornaments of the sun. That the moon is an opaque body of some kind of matter, is evident, otherwise she would not eclipse the sun when she intervenes.

One entire day of the moon is almost equal to thirty of our natural days; consequently, the moon's night is nearly equal to fifteen of our days and nights.

If the moon is inhabited, it is matter of conjecture, whether her inhabitants sleep so long at a time, and work as long without sleeping: and how much the men of the moon must eat for supper, upon this supposition, is matter of speculation.

The moon in bulk, is as follows: diameter, two thousand one hundred and seventy-five miles; circumference, six thousand eight hundred and sixty-four miles; ambit, above three and a half million, which, if reduced to acres, would be more than two thousand millions. But, if one third part of the moon's surface, is allowed to be seas, it leaves upwards of one and a half thousand millions of acres in land: and, if ten acres of land are sufficient to support an individual, the moon will support above one hundred and fifty-eight millions of souls.

The size, complexion, dress, manners, language, laws, and religion of those people, we are ignorant of, (although the moon is called our neighbor.) Swedenburgh's account gains but little credit among us; the air-balloons have not yet answered the purpose of forming an acquaintance; what future experiments may do, is uncertain,

He made the stars also. Some, who believe in the existence of worlds and systems of worlds, prior to the solar system, suppose that this clause respects the creation of those stars, which are worlds or centres of worlds, and, that though by their inconceivable distance, 42. they appear to us but small points, like the diamond on a lady's ring, yet they are of themselves, globes of amazing magnitude. They conclude, that the same hand that made the sun and moon, on the fourth day, had made these stars long before. But it seems rather to respect those stars, that were made at the same time that the sun and moon were.

Others restrain it to the planetary stars, viz., Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, and Herschel. Some of these stars have their moons, rings, and satellites playing around them, of which I cannot at this time be particular.

It is best, however, by these stars, to understand not only those already mentioned, but likewise Arcturus and his sons, Pleiades, and the chambers of the south, as well as all the constellations and stars in the heavens.

And God saw his work and it was good; free from evil, which had no being as yet, and the evening and the morning were the fourth day.


On the fifth day, God gave orders to the waters to bring forth living creatures. On the first day, gross nature was made; on the third day, vegetable life sprung out of chaos, and discovered itself in the grass, herbs and trees; and on the fifth day, animal life was produced. Fish of every kind were created, from the largest kraken to the smallest minnows; and fowls to fly in the open air, from the eagle to the fly. These, it seems, were produced out of the water, and yet, if we cast our eyes on Ge 2:19, it is pretty plain that they were made out of the earth. To reconcile both places together, and both to the nature of things, it is supposable that they were both made out of the earth at the water's side; or, more likely, out of the mud, under the water. It is also probable, that the fish were made in the fore part of the day, and fowls in the after part. There is a considerable likeness between these two species of creatures: both steer their courses by their tails; fins and scales to one, are as wings and feathers to the other, and both are oviparous. After God had made them, he blessed them with the power of procreation, and bid them be fruitful, and fill their destined elements.

This day's work, also, was well done: God saw that it was good; and the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

And God said, let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind: i.e., let the living creatures be made out of the earth, and live upon it; for, notwithstanding, the earth was impregnated by the spirit of God, and warmed by the sun, yet these causes could not create beasts without omnipotent power; and so it follows, God made beasts, cattle, and creeping things after their kind: by which is meant, wild beasts, tame cattle, serpents and reptiles; and God saw it was good.

Thus the earth was made for man to dwell upon, the heavens to cover over him as a canopy, the sun to enlighten him by day, the moon and stars by night, herbs and fruit-trees for his food, and every living thing for his service, before he was formed. Moreover, a garden of pleasure was planted in the east part of the land of Eden, with all kinds of useful and pleasant trees; and, to consummate his earthly enjoyments, a river of water went out of Eden, and ran through the garden, to water it, which spread out in four branches, as it left the garden, and formed the four rivers, Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel, and Euphrates. The first of these rivers is nowhere spoken of in scripture besides. The second is spoken of, 1Ki 1:33; 2Ch 32:30, or, more likely, another river of the same name. The third ran through Persia, near Shushan, the palace, and the fourth ran through Babylon.

Almost all parts of the world have contended for this garden, and seem to be at as great loss about it as chronologers are about the time in which Job lived. Whether it was in Ceylon, Armenia, the land of Judah, Mesopotamia, or in any other place contended for, it certainly was a delightful spot, and seemed to invite an occupant; but as beautiful as things appeared, it had not rained upon the earth. But there went up a mist from the earth, being exhaled by the sun, from the seas, rivers, etc., in very small particles, and forming a cloud, sprinkled down water upon the whole face of the ground.

And God said, let us make man after our image and likeness, and let them have dominion over fish, fowl, cattle and creeping things. These words were not spoken to beasts, that could not understand; nor to angels, who were neither of the privy council, nor co-workers with God in creation; but the phrase bespeaks a co-operation of Father, Son and Holy Ghost in creating man: and man immediately was made in the image of God: not in the image of his deity: that God who cannot lie, could not make a being like himself, in that respect. Christ only bears the express image of his Father's person, as a natural son bears the image of his natural father; but the first man that was made, bore the image of God as the wax bears the image of the signet. He was also in the image of God, in this point of view: the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost are one; so soul, spirit and body, make one man; there is a trinity in man, as well as in God; moreover, he was made in the same human shape and dispositon that Christ was to appear in, a true figure of him who was to come; in these senses, he was made in the image of God, and was lovely in the eyes of his Maker.

Male and female created he them. Both sexes were in one body. The man is not without the woman, nor the woman without the man in the Lord.

It is the opinion of some of the mystic writers, that Adam had power to propagate his own species before Eve was separated from him, having both the masculine and feminine natures in him; but it can hardly be credited, that sin has radically altered the shape of man; and how Adam could multiply with such a shape, without he had the power of creating, is unaccountable; and that he had power to create, no man pretends. It is best therefore to suppose that God made both natures in one body, with an intention of separating them before they procreated. Matter was first made, on the first day, afterwards it was remoulded; then Adam was made out of it; and lastly the woman out of man; so that women are the most refined from dross matter - removed the furthest from clay of any of the lower creatures.

After God had made man, he put him into the garden to dress and keep it, and immediately constituted him a subject of moral government, by enjoining a law (not a covenant) on him, with a penalty annexed thereto. This indulgent father and divine legislated, or gave him free liberty to eat of all the trees in the garden, and regale himself with all the pleasures of paradise; but as there was one noxious tree, 43. he would have him avoid it; and said,

"My son, you may eat of all the trees in the garden, save one, the fruit of which will poison you to death; and lest my caution should be ineffectual, I command you not to touch it; and to make my law forcible, I add the penalty of death to the breaker of it, which shall be inflicted the very day that the law is broken."

This law therefore may be considered as a cautionary command, and it appears most likely to me that there was a poisonous quality, a physical evil in the tree, that would have mortalized Adam, if God had not prohibited it. This prohibition was also a test of Adam's obedience, to train him up in moral subjection.

After God made Adam and placed him in the garden, he did not choose idleness for him, but brought unto him all the beasts and fouls to name; and Adam gave names to them all, by which they were afterwards called.

Some think that this is a great proof of Adam's primeval wisdom, in giving names to the creatures, the signification of which exactly agreed with the nature of the creatures to whom they were applied: but it is not likely that the names that Adam called them by, had been received into his dialect before, (for this affair happened within a few hours after his formation,) and if not, I cannot see how the signification of a name could exist before the name itself.

But among all the creatures that were brought before him to name, there was not found a helpmeet for him, not one that he could converse with; none to help him keep and dress the garden; nor any to help him procreate. This wonderous creature, man, of whom so much is said, was made out of the dust of the earth, in or near Eden; and after God had formed him in human shape, he breathed into him the breath of life, and he became a living soul. Vegetative and animal lives were made out of the earth, as distillers extract the spirit from grain, etc.; and therefore when they die, their spirits return to the earth from whence they came; but the soul of man was breathed out of the mouth of God, and therefore when men die, their souls go to God from whence they came. At the time when God quickened Adam's dust with animal life, he infused the immortal soul into him. Though Eve was in Adam, as has been said, yet it is not likely that the soul of Eve was in Adam's soul, much less in his rib.

And the Lord God said, it is not good that man should be alone, I will make an helpmeet for him. It may here be observed that the name Lord or Jod-he, vahhe, used in this clause, and indeed eleven times in the eleventh chapter, is expressive of the eternity of God. Gross nature, animals, and the mortal lives of men had a beginning, and will have an end; but there is one being who never had a beginning, and will never have an end; and this being is Jehovah, here translated Lord.

This eternal God saw that it was not good for man so to dwell alone. This clause has led some to believe that the defection had begun; but it designs nothing more than that God saw that man could not propagate by himself alone, nor be as happy as he might be with an associate. Moral evil is indefatigable here, because after this God pronounced all things very good.

The way in which the Lord God made Adam a helpmeet, was as follows: He caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, which was the first time that he ever slept: it was near the close of the sixth day, and perhaps, Adam was weary with his day's work in naming all the creatures, (as the second Adam often was in travelling,) and his senses were all locked up for rest. This was a deep sleep; common sleep would not have kept the senses dormant enough to bear the operation that Adam went through; but this was so deep that Adam felt no pain while his side was opened, a rib taken from thence, and the flesh closed up again. This rib the Lord formed into a woman and brought her to Adam.

Anatomists say, that men have twelve ribs on each side; if so, we should judge that Adam had thirteen, at least on one side, and that the superfluous, unmated rib, was taken out for the purpose of a woman. The part of Adam that was taken to form a women, was neither from his head nor feet; to teach us that women should not attempt to rule their husbands, nor be trodden under foot by them: but the rib was from his side, under his arm, near his heart; to show that the woman is to be by her husband, under the arm of his protection, near the heart of his love.

It looks as if God carried off the rib to a little distance from Adam, while he formed it into a woman; perhaps to the same place where Adam was formed; and when God had formed this lovely creature, he brought her to Adam; who upon first sight knew her, at least from whence she came, and said, "this is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." Her bones and flesh were taken from him, and this he knew. Perhaps while he was asleep, he was taught it in a dream; or God might reveal it to him by impulse; or we may suppose, that though Adam was in a deep sleep when the ribs were taken from him, yet he awaked before it was formed into a woman, and stood not far off to see God form it into a human shape; but let him come by his knowledge one way or another, he knew from whence she came, and called her name woman, because she came from man.

Even so, when souls are new made by divine grace, they are brought to the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ; being drawn by the father, not against, but with their wills; and when they come, Jesus knows them and calls them by a new name. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.

If these words were spoken by Adam, at the time when he received Eve, they were either prophetic of, or preceptives for his posterity; for they were not applicable to Adam's case, who had no father but God, and no mother but the earth, neither of which was he to leave for his wife.

If they are considered as the words of Moses, they were not spoken at the time when Eve was brought to Adam, but between two and three thousand years afterwards, when the Hebrew historian wrote; and this he gives as a reason why men should cleave to their wives and take care of them.

But rather the words were spoken by God himself, who, at the time of instituting marriage, gave directions about it. In Mt 19:4-5, where Jesus quotes this passage, he informs us that he who made the male and female at the beginning, said for this cause, etc.

And God blessed them with the tokens of his favor and love, and with the power of procreation, and said unto them, be faithful and multiply and replenish the earth with your offspring, and subdue it, by tilling the ground, sowing and reaping, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the foul of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the face of the earth. As man was to be in subjection to God, so all the creatures below were to be in subjection to man, who was appointed vicegerent of the world. To the beasts, God gave every green herb, but to man he gave seed and fruit-trees. There is no account that God gave the beasts, birds and fish to man, for the purpose of eating, or that ever the antedeluvians did eat any of them before the flood; but it is certain that this divine charter gave man the dominion of them all, and very likely he and his children ate thereof, before the days of Noah.

In the day when they were made, they were both naked and were not ashamed. It is supposable that the air was temperate, and therefore they needed no clothing; and it is very doubtful whether the elements would ever have raged, and fomented storms, if sin had never entered the world. However, if it was the design of God to have them wear clothes in future, it is probable that he intended that they should manufacture for themselves.

As sin and guilt were strangers, so shame was unknown. Since the fall, God calls upon men to be ashamed of their ways; and grace teaches men to be ashamed of those things that do not profit; but that which is a virtue in a guilty man, would be mean and insignificant in an innocent being.

And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Upon the close of each day before (the second excepted) the Lord pronounced all good; but upon the close of all his creation work, de declares all to be very good. Nothing sinful or disorderly had yet appeared; angels, man and beasts, all stood in their p6oper order and obedience.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, all the hosts of them.


And on the seventh day God ended his work, or had ended his work, for all things were made in six days; and he rested the seventh day from all his work which he had made, not that he was fatigued with labor, as men are, but he ceased from his work, as it is expressed Heb 4:10.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it. Although there is no account that ever man regarded the seventh day of the week more than any other, until the giving of manna in the wilderness, yet this is given as a reason, in the fourth commandment, why the nation of Israel should rest on the seventh day of the week.

If the decalogue (the ten commandments) is all of a moral nature, the injunction is binding on all nations; and if all nations were under the bond of regarding the seventh day in a holy manner, it is strange that St. Paul never had occasion to reprove the Gentiles, for the breach of it, as the Jewish prophet had to reprove their own nation; and besides, if the observance of the seventh day was a moral obligation upon all nations, God either designed that the poles of the earth should never be peopled, or the moral law required a natural impossibility; for, at the poles, there is but one day and night in a year. Yea, further; how is it possible for persons, under opposite horizons, being antipodes to each other, to keep the same day?

The most, therefore, that can be said, (at least proved,) is that God rested on the seventh day; and that after above two thousand four hundred years, he ordained that the nation of Israel should keep the same day of the week, throughout their generations. If, in the New Testament, Christians are commanded to keep the first day, by Christ or his apostles, that divine appointment is sufficient; human legislatures have nothing to do in ordaining fixed holy days, establishing creeds of faith, requiring religious tests, certificates, or anything of the kind.

Having made some remarks on the six days' work, and the seventh day's rest, the history of which includes the first and second chapters, I shall proceed to some observations on the third, which treats of the entrance of sin into the human world; but, as Satan seems to be a leading character in this chapter, it appears necessary to say something about angels, and by what means they were turned from celestial spirits to infernal devils.

But before I enter upon the dark arena, I shall premise a few things. First, on the nature of God, and secondly, on the nature of his decrees.

And who is sufficient for these things? Can man, by searching, find out God, or the Almighty, unto perfection? Clouds and darkness are round about him, yet righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. Verily, he is a God that hideth himself, and giveth not a full account of any of his matters. Remember, O my soul, how vengeance fell on the Bethshemites, for prying too curiously into the ark. "Man was not made to question, but adore." Yet, with all submission to divine power and wisdom, let me attempt to speak of my God, and the glory of his works.

First. The Almighty exists of necessity, and yet willingly: he is of that nature that he cannot but exist, and yet that necessity does not destroy his infinite freedom; for he is under no necessity, but that of innate law.

Should I affirm that all God's works are works of necessity, it would convey this idea: that God cannot do anything, more or less than what he now does; which, perhaps, would be an idea unbecoming Omnipotence; and yet it may be safely affirmed, that many of his works are necessarily done. If God is under no necessity to speak, yet, when he speaks of choice, he is under necessity to speak truth, for he cannot lie. He is under a necessity of showing forth the glory of his perfections in his works, (when he works of choice,) for he cannot work beneath himself. And if creation was a deed of choice, and not of necessity, yet judicial works are works of necessity; God's nature being such, that he is under the necessity of innate law, to judge and punish for the glory of his perfections. If it should be thought presumptuous to say, that God cannot punish sooner, otherwise, or more severely than he does; if we consider that love and goodness counterpoise power and justice, and that, sometimes, mercy rejoices against judgment, it will not appear more presumptuous, perhaps, than true.

The great question is, whether God could have prevented sin or not? If the works of creation were works of necessity, i.e., if the nature of God was such, that he could not but have made the world when he did, and as he did, I conclude that it was not possible for God to have prevented sin; but if creation was a work of will, and not of necessity, then God could have prevented sin, by having not made the world, and creatures in it, to sin. But more of this hereafter.

Second. Did God decree that angels and men should sin, or not? A decree is the law of a court to accomplish same purpose. No such law was given to angels, to Adam, or to his children. The decree, through the Bible, is that creatures should not sin.

But I do not wish to criticise on phrases. The general idea of a decree, among Calvinistic writers, is the eternal design of God; the question is, therefore, whether it was the eternal design of God that sin should have birth, or not? If it was the design, decree, or secret will of God, that creatures should sin, how can it be sin? for sin is a transgression of his will. If God decreed sin, he decreed that which is opposed to his nature, contrary to his law, and what he could not effect himself, nor make his creatures effect. Some make a great difference between his secret and revealed will. Is not this charging God with duplicity? That there is a difference between the law that God works by, and the law given to his creatures, is granted. The rule of God's working, is either the law of his nature, or sovereign will; for there was no anterior existent to impose a law on him; but the law of his creatures, is his moral and absolute precepts; and simple obedience, without gainsaying, is indispensable from all rational intelligences. But the question is, whether it was the secret will of God, that sin should (in a direct or indirect manner) enter in among his creatures, and at the same time forbid it? If so, it is no wonder that all the philosophic divines are puzzled to reconcile the goodness of God with the misery of his creatures. But why do men talk so? Have they learned their theory from Scripture, or divine teaching? If from either, then it is revealed to them, and, therefore, is no longer his secret will. It has been observed, that the rule of God's working, was either innate law or sovereign will. That sin is agreeable to the law of his nature, I presume, no man vindicates; and if it was his sovereign will that sin should emerge, it was then unavoidable; either God or creatures must effect it: God could not, and, therefore, it follows, that creatures unavoidably must. If sin then is sin - the parent of sorrow - the cause of death and eternal misery, who can justify the goodness of God upon, this principle? If sin is according to the secret, sovereign will of God, it is to answer some noble purpose; for all God's appointed works will praise him; but what angel or man can point out any general good effected by sin? If sin is the cause of general good, all creatures should love it; and if creatures should love it, why are they called upon to repent of, and hate it?

The first character that God ever discovered himself in, to Adam, (and likely to angels,) was that of a moral governor, and he treated him as a subject of moral government: first as a legislator, in giving a law; and afterwards as a judge, in punishing crimes. And as it was not possible for God to sin, or make creatures sin, so, likewise, (considering him in the character of a moral governor,) it was not possible for him to prevent it.

Should a legislator do anything more than make laws, forbidding crimes; should he make places of confinement, and shut up all his subjects, to prevent their crimes, what a kingdom of miserable subjects he would have; but if he makes them happy, with the freedom of thinking, speaking, walking and working, and only gives them a law of good behaviour, it is not possible for him to prevent their transgression: the only means that he could make use of to prevent it, would make them entirely miserable. So it was with God; he loved his creatures, and sought to make them happy; and, as rational creatures cannot be happy without the freedom of their will, this freedom was established in them by God; and, in this point of view, it was not possible for God to have prevented their sin; as the only means that would have secured them from sin, would have made them completely miserable.

Here, then, we see God, all goodness, seeking the happiness of his creatures, and the very essentials of rational happiness, by their inadvertence, proved their overthrow.

If the question then is asked, whether sin was unavoidable, or avoidable? the answer is, unavoidable with God, but avoidable with creatures. For creatures, in their moral agency, had sufficient power to stand and obey, as well as freedom to rebel. If, then, creation is acknowledged to be a good work, and that God had a right to command the creatures that he made, the character of God is clear in the apostacy of creatures; for his foreknowledge of their fall, had no influence on their wills, nor in any way occasioned their sin, any more than the foreknowledge of David made Judas sell his master.

The new divinity, (so called,) which declares God to be the efficient author of sin, and that sin, eventually, is the cause of great good, represents Jehovah as a cruel being, and cuts the nerves of repentance; for what idea must we form of a being, whose nature was such, that he could not discover the full glory of it, without the transgression of his creatures, which eventually brings on the damnation of many of them? And, if the truth of God is to abound more by the lies of his creatures, and the wrath of man is to work the righteousness of God, how can men be convinced and judged as transgressors? Every honest heart, unbiased by system, upon hearing "that God designed men to sin, and that sin will effect great good," will confess, that the natural conclusion is, let men sin.

That the Divine Legislator has given many laws to fallen creatures, which were not from the beginning, in which he, (in some sort,) accommodates himself to their condition, requires no proof but just to cast our thoughts on all laws of civil government, laws of war, and laws of putting away wives. These laws were not, and could not be from the beginning. In the execution of these laws, he makes use of one wicked man, or nation to punish another; and as the instruments act voluntarily from a wicked heart, (although their wrath, in action, praises God,) he punishes those instruments for what they do. Now, if from this consideration, it can be proved that God is more glorified, and men, (upon a large scale,) more happy than they would have been, if sin had never entered the world, then we may say, that sin is the cause of great good: otherwise, the circumstance of Joseph's being sold by his brethren, and Jesus being hated and crucified by the Jews will not prove it.

But to descend to the enquiry respecting angels. It has been observed, that no good reason has yet been given to prove that angels were made before the first day; but if they were made ten thousand years before, the difficulties are still the same in accounting for their first sin.

Beasts are all brutal, angels are all spirit; but men are part brute, and part angel. It is a point of dispute in these days, whether materiality belongs to all creatures or not; if so, then angels were made spiritual matter, but whether they were made spiritual matter, or spirit, distinct from matter, it is presumable that they were made beings that could neither pro-create nor die: and yet it is certain that they were subject to moral mutability.

There is no way, in idea, possible to account for the entrace of sin among rational creatures, but by considering their wills entirely at liberty; as the contrary would destroy the very notion of vice and virtue, good and evil, right and wrong. It must, therefore, be supposed that angels, as subjects of moral government, were considered under a law, with the freedom of their wills, to obey or rebel. But how it was possible for sinless creatures, without a tempter, to choose to rebel, is a matter of great weight yet, as difficult as it appears to us, it has certainly been the case with angels. The best way that I can conceive of it, is as follows, and which is partly conjectural.

One reason why Jehovah was six days in forming the worlds and their inhabitants, was, that angels might see what he could do; who stood by, as spectators, and sang together, and shouted for joy; and it looks most likely that not one of them had sinned before the third day, for they ALL sang for joy; which would not have been the case, if any of them had commenced rebellion.

And further, it is probable that none of them had rebelled on the sixth day; for God, at the close of that day pronounced all very good. It is a further conjecture, that sin had not raised any commotion in the universe until after the seventh day; for, on that day, God rested; seeing nothing out of order in all his works. But, soon after this, (perhaps on the eighth day,) the rebellion broke out.

The last of creation-work, was man; at the sight of whom, angels were filled with wonder, to see a body so noble, erect, and possessed with such endowments of mind; but while angels were wondering, said God to angels, "my Son shall assume the nature, and appear in the form, of that man, whom ye now behold; and I command all of you to worship him as an incarnate God. " This was the first time that Christ was brought into the world, by name; and when Jehovah brought his first begotten into the world, he said, "let all the angels of God worship him. " This appears to be the test of their obedience; and the trial was, whether they would worship a being in a nature inferior to their own, merely because God commanded them to. At this juncture, angels had full power to obey, and yet their wills were free to rebel; for God treated them as subjects of moral government, and exercised no coercion over them.

Angelic wisdom now began to reason. "What," said angels, "shall we worship a nature inferior to our own; why not worship a beast as well? It will be idolatry to worship a creature, and man is but a creature; our wisdom tells us, therefore, that it is best not to obey." Here rebellion arose. The wisdom of angels could not comprehend how divinity and humanity could be personally united; and, therefore, to prevent idolatry, they transgressed a divine command. Let our views be ever so good - let our reasoning be ever so fair - yet, if we refuse to obey a plain command, because we do not understand every thing contained in it, we are guilty of that crime which turned celestial angels into infernal devils.

To say that the first sin came from a sinful cause, is absurd; and to suppose that it came from a holy cause, is contrary to the order of nature. It is best, therefore, to conceive of it as arising from the limited wisdom and inadvertent conduct of sinless creatures. Sin, then, is the creature of beings, who are, themselves, the creatures of God. It is highly probable, from the order of God's works, that some angels were more noble and capacious than others, and that one of the high rank, perhaps the highest that God made, took the lead in the rebellion, and used his angelic oratory to persuade the rest to follow him, who, to this day, has a kind of subordinate government over others. When they are called devils, he is called their prince; and when he is called the devil, they are called his angels. But let it be observed, that angels acted personally for themselves; one was not a representative for another; and, as they do not procreate, corruption of nature is not communicated by generation.

If it should be objected,

"that if the first cause of sin was the limited wisdom of creatures, it impeaches the goodness, or wisdom and power of God: for, if God was infinite in goodness, and sought the happiness of his creatures, he would certainly have made their wisdom so extensive that they could not have erred in judgment, provided his wisdom and power could have effected it."

The answer is, infinity belongs alone to God. Had angels been endowed with ten thousand times as much wisdom as they were, their wisdom would still have been limited to a point, infinitely inferior to the immense circle of Jehovah, and their trial would still have been the same. And will any man cooly say, that the great first cause - the cause of all causes and things, (sin excepted,) - is wanting in goodness, power, and wisdom, because he did not - could not, make things equal to himself.

The truth is, angels were endowed with wisdom, sufficient to make them as happy as the angels now in heaven are; and with power to do as much as God required them to do. And that creatures, as holy and wise as the angels, could be inadvertent, needs no proof, but to think of their fall.

It was an essential of angelical existence, that they should have the power of going through matter, and entering any material creature: and therefore, though they lost their moral excellences by the fall, yet they were not deprived of that power and wisdom, essential to their existence; had they been deprived of these - their hell - their very existence would have been extinguished. That Satan still retained these things after his fall, appears evident, by what follows.


Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. The prince of devils, having been so successful among the angels, made his attempt upon man. The serpent here intends either that reptile, called a snake, or the devil in a real body of a snake, or else the devil in the form of a snake. Various Jewish authors say that animals had the power of conversing, before the fall, but this wants proof; without which, this seducer must have been more than a snake, for he spake: and further, the Scripture seems to hold forth that the seduction of our first parents was by the devil.

If this serpent was the devil in a snake, the question is whether the snake acted voluntarily and understandingly, or involuntarily in ignorance? If he understood what he was about, and formed a confederacy with the devil to go into the malevolent enterprise, he then deserved the judgment and punishment he met with; but if we acknowledge this, it proves too much, for by this rule the snake was a sinner before Adam or Eve was. If the snake acted involuntarily, i.e., if the devil assumed and used his body, merely as a machine, and the snake was ignorant of the intrigue, of course he must be innocent of the crime: why then should he be punished? To escape this difficulty, some have thought that the devil, only in the form of a serpent, was the seducer: the name that some serpents are called by, signifies seraph, and perhaps the devil might appear, at this time, in the form of a fiery flying serpent or seraph, which form good angels had appeared in before to Eve, and thereby transforming himself into an angel of light, might deceive Eve the more readily: and yet some of the denunciations to the tempter, seem to suit the snake better than the devil, and look as if God meant to punish the devil as the agent, and the snake as the instrument.

Supposing the snake guilty of no crime, yet he who made the earth, and all that is in it, for the use of man, might subject the snake to what he did, for the service of man, by putting enmity between them, that whenever men see a snake they may be put in mind of the fall, and be humble for it.

That God has ordered the death of beasts for the service of man, is evident from the sacrifices. If animal death was occasioned by the sin of man, surely the snake may suffer a little for his good; and if it is true that beasts would have been slain for the support of man, had man never sinned; that God made them purposely to lay down their lives for men; who can impeach the goodness of God for putting the serpent to a little disgrace for the profit of man, although he had been guilty of no crime? It is best therefore to suppose this serpent was the devil, in a real snake.

This serpent was subtle. Serpents are famed for their wisdom and subtlety, and, although the fox may be more crafty than serpents in general, yet this serpent, being actuated by the devil, was more subtle than any beast of the field that God had made.

And he said unto the woman, who perhaps was a little distance from her husband, or if they were both together, he first attempted Eve, being the weaker part. The devil spake in the serpent, as the angel of the Lord did in Balaam's ass: the words he said, were, "yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden." He begins with a yea to affirm it, yet speaks afterwards by an interrogation, in which his subtlety appears. Some suppose that the evil first arose when Eve wandered away from her husband in the garden, without his knowledge of it; but it is not certain that she was alone when the serpent accosted her, nor is it likely that the mutual love between them would admit of their being far apart, without the labor in the garden called for it: and if duty called for it, there could be no crime in it. Others think that the disease began when Eve gave the serpent audience, but it does not appear that she suspected him to have been a deceiver. If, as has been conjectured, the devil appeared in the same form that good angels assumed before, where was the imprudence of the woman in receiving him? And, even supposing Eve to have known him to be a deceiver, yet she answered him well, in these words, we may not eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, freely.

God is so far from restraining us, that he has given us free liberty to eat of all the trees but one, which is in the midst of the garden, which tree bears a poisonous fruit, of which God has bid us beware; and lest his caution should be disregarded, he has made it the test of our obedience, and threatened us with something awful, which he calls death, if we eat thereof. Some imagine that Eve was guilty of adding to, and taking from the words of God, in her reply to the serpent. The words that she added, were, neither shall ye touch it: and instead of saying, ye shall surely die, she said, lest ye die. But it may be observed, that Eve had orders second handed; when they were delivered by God to Adam, it is most probable that Eve was not formed, but Adam gave her information thereof, and if he had not been particular in detail, it was his error and not the error of Eve. But the words themselves convey no idea, (that I can see,) distinct from the words spoken to Adam by God himself: and, if men or women are guilty of a crime for not quoting words exactly, Peter, and Paul, and the Son of God, too, were guilty. Then said the serpent to the woman, ye shall not surely die. These words were in direct contradiction to the words of God; in them he gives God the lie. From this, he is said to be a liar from the beginning. These words, no doubt, shocked Eve to the heart, and I think the shock was fatal. The deception here began. Eve called in question the immutability of God, and supposed that this shining form had brought her some intelligence that God had revoked his threatening. But if the contagion had not yet taken place, it did before the serpent had done speaking; for when he had done, Eve was disarmed of all her confidence, and answered the serpent no more. The serpent proceeded.

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God's, knowing good and evil. Here the devil speaks highly in commendation of the knowledge of God, but not so of his goodness. He had before insinuated that God withheld from them what might make them happier; and now he represents God as doing it designedly: that as he knew the quality of that tree to make them wise, he prohibited it to keep them in ignorance. It looks as if the devil, before this, had told Adam and Eve (the latter at least) that they were naked, and that it was very indecent; but, when they examined themselves, they saw no cause of shame in their nakedness, which the devil imputed to their ignorance, and told them that if they would eat of that tree, their eyes would be opened to see their shame as plainly as the Gods (the angels) did, and would know that what he had told them was true; or that they would be as Elohim, the divine Creator, and know abundance.

As Eve before suspected the immutability of God, she now had her ears opened to hearken to anything, and credited what the serpent said so far as to examine for herself. The deception had prevailed so far, that her mind was blinded.

For when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, her taste and sight took the lead of her mind, and preponderated against the divine prohibition: which proves that her senses were vitiated before she ate of the tree. And what mainly influenced her to eat, was that the fruit of the tree was desirable to make one wise. And surely, said Eve, God, who is so good, never wishes us to live in ignorance: what we know of God already makes us admire him; how great then will be our wonder and adoration, when our eyes are opened, and we are as God's, knowing good and evil. "Gold may be bought too dear." It is wisdom in creatures to live ignorant of those things that cannot be known but by rebellion; but false reasoning had so much weight on Eve, that she withstood the tempter no longer, but took the fruit of the tree and did eat; in which action she broke the divine command, and became culpable. And as soon as she had eaten, she used her voice to persuade her husband to do likewise; who, it seems, was near at hand, if not on the spot. St. Paul informs us, that the man was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. In which words the supplement first seems to be left out; for, without that supplement, the man was not in transgression at all. His meaning, therefore, is that the woman was first deceived and first in the transgression; for if Adam was not deceived by the words of the serpent to Eve, (who might stand by as a spectator and hear all that passed,) yet he was deceived by Eve. Some think that it was conjugal love that made Adam eat; who, rather than lose his wife, would disobey his God; if so, the excess of his conjugal love was his first depravity; so that the beauty and charms of Eve deceived him. But it is most likely that Eve, by extolling the sweetness of the fruit, and its excellent effects, deceived him.

As Eve was persuasive with her voice, so she was officious with her hands; for she gave' to her husband and he did eat. If Eve was not a part of Adam, as federal head, then her transgression was only personal, for herself, and God could have killed her, and' made Adam another helpmeet; and, if this was the case, then our fall depended upon Adam's transgression alone, and what Eve did in no way effects us; but I think that the whole man (Adam and Eve) was federal; and that when the defection began in Eve, the female part, the total apostacy was not to be prevented. And after they had transgressed,

The eyes of them both were opened; to see what good they had lost, and partly what evil they had incurred; to see themselves stripped of their original righteousness. Innocence was now gone, and guilt began to swell their breasts.

And they knew that they were naked; by such a knowledge as to be ashamed of it. At first, they were not clothed with hair, feathers nor scales; their clothing was their moral virtue, and when that was gone, they saw themselves more naked than the animals, more vile than the beasts that perish.

And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. Not with needles, which were not then in existence, but either fastened them together with thorns, or, what is more likely, wreathed them together, and bound them around their waists, and let the longest leaves hang down before them, like aprons, to hide their nakedness. The fig-leaves they chose because of their large size. Equally foolish are men, who strive to make a clothing for their naked souls, with their own works. What follows, is the appearance of the Lord God in the garden - his arraigning Adam, Eve, and the serpent before his bar - their trial and respective dooms. Rut before I enter upon these heads, I shall inquire into the nature of the penalty, annexed to the law that was given to Adam. The law was: "Thou shalt not eat of the tree." The penalty threatened, in case of transgression, was: "Thou shalt surely die. " The time in, which the penalty was to be inflicted, was: "The day that he should eat thereof."

It is most commonly believed that the death of the body - the death of the soul - and the eternal death of both body and soul in hell are included in the threatening, and that all these would have been inflicted on Adam, on the day of his fall, if a mediator had not appeared; but these things require investigation.

By the death of the body, is understood the exit of the soul, the extinction of the animal life, and a putrefaction and rottenness of the earthy parts. This death, I believe, was contained in the threatening, under this restriction, that all of it was not to be inflicted on the same day. The words of the threatening are rendered, by some, dying thou shalt die; and seem to convey this idea: that in the day that Adam should eat of the tree, he should be mortalized - made subject to vanity, pain and sickness, which should never quit him till he should be reduced to death; and in this light God seems to explain it, when he says,

In sorrow shalt thou eat all the days of thy life, until thou return to dust. This was fulfilled on Adam, and is fulfilled on his progeny. Whether the seeds of death were occasioned by the poisonous fruit, (which is probable enough,) or planted by God in a judicial manner, they have certainly raised a war in the elements that compose man, that will not cease their rage till he expires- there is no discharge in this war.

The objection to this doctrine, is this: If the Death of the body was any part or all of the penalty annexed to the law, and Jesus, the security of his people, suffered death for them, with what propriety can justice punish them with death, when their security has paid it? To this it may be replied, that Jesus died, not to free men from it, but to follow death to his last retreat, in order to destroy death and raise men therefrom. Further, though Jesus laid down his life, yet he did not turn to dust, which seems to be the penalty annexed: this the real debtor pays, and not the surety; and besides, it is not certain that Jesus ever undertook to bear or palliate the penalty of that law; but it is most likely that the whole of the annexed penalty was inflicted on Adam and his posterity, and was no way mitigated by the Mediator. But more of this hereafter.

If by the death of the soul is meant alienation of affection and enmity against God, it is not rational to conclude that this death was any part of the penalty; for this reason: alienation and a carnal mind had taken possession of Adam and Eve before they broke the test of their obedience; and if `spiritual apostacy preceded the transgression, it could not be the penalty inflicted for the crime. Nor would it sound very well to read the words of the Lord thus: "In the day that thou eatest the fruit of the tree, I will make thee an alienate, carnal, hardhearted enemy to thy Creator." Those who believe that spiritual apostacy was any part of the penalty, and that Jesus, the surety of his people, endured the penalty for them, would do well to ask themselves this question: Was Jesus ever made an alienate, carnal, hardhearted enemy to God? If not, how could he have borne the penalty, if spiritual death was included in the penalty?

But if by the death of the soul is understood simply its separation from God, the conclusion is not so absurd, that it was part of the penalty. The souls of Adam and Eve first wandered away from God, after Satan and sin, before they ate the interdicted fruit; and, therefore, God, in a judicial way, withdrew himself, and gave them up to the fury of Satan and sin as a just punishment. This Jesus endured for his people; he was forsaken of God, and given up to Satan, sin and sinners.

That something more than natural death came by the fall, is certain; and it is as certain that much sin was committed by Adam and Eve, exclusive of eating of the tree; it seems most elegible, therefore, to suppose that morality was the penalty, and that other evils arise, either as the attendants of sin, or the natural consequences thereof, many of which are communicated by ordinary generation.

It is pretty plain that many deaths spoken of in the Scripture, such as famine, pestilence, captivity; and the deaths that St. Paul and others were often in, as well as the death of Abel, Absalom, Haman, etc., were not contained in the threatening of God to Adam; because Adam and ten thousand times ten thousand besides never felt them: and yet it is certain that all the complicated miseries of this life, death and damnation, come in at the door of sin, either as the attendants or natural consequences of sin, or what are inflicted on men in a judicial manner, for the breach of the laws of nature and revelation.

How is it possible that corporeal and eternal death were both contained in the threatening? The first says, the body shall die and turn to dust, the last says, that the body shall endure eternal pain. It cannot be well supposed, that God told Adam, that if he should eat of the forbidden tree, his body should die, and that he would send his son into the world to die and destroy death, and raise up his body again to endure eternal pain: If so, then the whole plan of salvation was made known to Adam, in the precept given, and the penalty annexed; which would be strange divinity to imagine. The above observation therefore seems best; to consider damnation as the effect of sin, in a final issue, and as not being contained in the threatening.

Having made these observations, I pass on to the chain of history, which speaks of the Judge of all the Earth coming into the garden, and arraigning the criminals at his bar: which is introduced, thus:

And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. From which we learn that sin did not destroy the sense of hearing. By the voice of God some understand thunder, and suppose that sin having entered the world, set the elements at war in peals of thunder: but rather God spake with his usual tone, which Adam and Eve knew; and as he spake, he appeared to be walking among the trees of the garden, and drawing towards them. This was in the cool of the day. Satan's temptations and man's rebellion were both performed before on the same day; and in the cool of the evening, when the sun was nigh down, and the cool breezes began to blow, God came walking towards them.

And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. As they had lost the image of God they could not be happy in his presence, and (if Adam spake the truth,) they were afraid of him, as well they might be, since they had broken the law which an omnipotent God had given them. Guilty fear appears to be the first evil that raged after the fall; and this still remains in all Adam's posterity, until they are reconciled by the blood of the Lamb, and are made partakers of that love which casts out fear. This fear made them flee from the presence of the Lord, which all men are prone to while unregenerate: they go astray as soon as they are born, giving God the back and not the face. Blindness of mind is seen in this procedure, that they should imagine that God was local, like themselves, and that they could hide from him: But of this error they were soon convinced, for the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, where art thou? I placed you in the garden, and appointed you your labor, but where are you now? God knew where Adam was, but chose to make Adam confess what he had done.

And Adam said, I heard thy voice in the garden and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.

The sins that appear in Adam's answer, were dissimulation and self-excuse. His dissimulation is seen in endeavoring to conceal from God the real cause of his fear, which was his eating the forbidden fruit; whereas Adam represents it to be his nakedness; in which he would excuse himself, and charge God with the cause of it, in not making him with a covering.

And God said, who told thee that thou wast naked? Not I. When thou wast first made naked, I never accused thee with it; your nakedness did not prevent your access to me, nor cause me to reproach you; nor were you ashamed of it before: who then has told you of it in a sneering manner? If any one, he must be an enemy to me and my government, and a seducer to you; and therefore I ask you the question, Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat?

And the man said, the woman whom thou gayest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat. Here Adam makes use of nineteen words instead of saying yes. Fifteen of them are used as an apology, and four as a confession. Long apologies and short confessions have prevailed among men ever since. What Adam said, was true; and yet it is spoken with such an air as to cast blame on the woman, and finally upon God himself. He sought to screen himself by the seduction of the woman, and finally intimates that if God had not imposed that woman upon him, he should not have eaten.

The Judge then proceeded to examine the woman, and hear of her, whether she owned the charge of her husband, and what defence she had to make; and said unto her, what is this that thou hast done? If you acknowledge the accusation of your husband, what is this great wickedness that thou art guilty of? The woman did not deny the charge of Adam, but, like him, excused herself, by accusing her tempter, and said, the serpent beguiled me and I did eat. As fond as she was, before this, of the serpent, (as is supposed by many) being naked like herself; yet being beguiled by him, and exposed to punishment, she would fain excuse herself and expose the tempter.

The serpent, who had received his doom before, was not interrogated at this time by the Judge; but was proceeded against with some denunciations in addition to his former punishment. In transgression, the Devil was first- next, the woman - and last, the man. The inquest began first with the man- and then the woman; no inquiry being made of the serpent. But judgment was denounced on them according to the order of their crimes, - first, on the serpent; next, on the woman; and last, on the man.

The judge addressed the serpent as follows:-

Because thou hast done this, i.e. beguiled the woman, thou art cursed above all cattle. Those that were tame, and to live among men, and above every beast of the field, such as were or should be wild; living in the forests and mountains, not to assist or be assisted by man.

Upon thy belly shalt thou go, without wings or legs, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. As this respects the instrument (the snake) it strongly indicates, that before this, the serpent was the favorite of Eve, among all the cattle and beasts; but now it should be abhorred above them all: and also, that before this action, the serpent used to fly, go on legs, or creep erect; but now he should be degraded to creep his whole length on the ground, and lick the dust as long as he lived. And as it respects the agent (the Devil) it sets forth the abhorrence that he should meet with; being ever spoken of with contempt; that he should never soar to heaven or walk with majesty on earth, but be despised by all, and feed on the sordid lusts of men: and as he will live for ever, he never will rise from this abject state.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman. Before this there was great friendship and intimacy between the serpent and woman; but now the friendship was broken, never to be restored again. Serpents are ever fearful of men, and men are at constant variance with serpents: women, in particular, cannot endure the sight of them. And with regard to the Devil, though men are fond of his ways, yet they are always averse to his name and character, and are prone to call every disagreeable thing that frets and plagues them, by his name: and the Devil is the common enemy of men, and cannot love them, even when they weary themselves to death in his vassalage.

And between thy seed and her seed. The whole serpentine race, and all the posterity of Eve are at enmity, as has been observed; but by the seed of the Devil, we are not to understand his angels, who joined him in the rebellion, but wicked men, who are called the children of the wicked one; and are said to be of their father, the Devil: particularly Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother; and all of his character. By the seed of the woman, is meant, not only the generation of the godly in every age of the world, between whom and the ungodly, there is always an irreconciliation, but principally the Messiah, who was a descendant of Eve, and the child of the Virgin Mary; who took not on him the nature of angels, but the nature of man; that through death he might destroy the Devil. At this seed the heathen rage, the kings of the earth set themselves at war, and all the ungodly are at variance.

It shall bruise thy head. When men encounter a snake, they are never contented till they have crushed his head; even after ever so many blows upon his back: so it was with Jesus; after all the blows of doctrine and miracles that he gave Satan, while he was living on earth, yet he never ceased till he bruised his head on the cross; where he destroyed all the projects, disconcerted all the schemes, and broke the power of the Devil, and took the wise in his own craftiness; and will never cease till he has levelled his kingdom to the ground, and brought down his horn to the dust.

And thou shalt bruise his heel. As this refers to the snake, by reason of his creeping on his belly, he can only strike the heel, at most; the lower part of man; and as it concerns the Devil, he could only bruise the heel of Christ; i.e. his human nature, which is inferior to his God-head. This heel Satan bruised with his temptations, and raised his instruments to bruise him to death on the cross.

The Judge next proceeded against the woman, and said unto her:-

I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and conception; or in thy conception; for it is not to be understood that Eve was to conceive more children for her transgression; but that her sorrows, in conception, should be greatly multiplied. It is not likely that women would have had many if any sorrows in bearing children, if sin had not entered the world; but now they bring forth their children with multiplied sorrows. But, notwithstanding their sorrows are so great in bearing and bringing forth children, yet, (said God)

Thy desire shall be to thy husband. That women in general have a desire to enjoy husbands and conceive by them, is evident, from the discontent of those who have no husbands; and those who have husbands and no children. But as the same word is used in the affair of Cain and Abel, Ge 4:7, it seems rather to respect her subjection to her husband. Rulers address their subjects by command; but subjects address their rulers by desire, in a supplicative manner; and as Eve was first in the transgression, and a tempter to Adam, she, and all her sex are reduced to the subjection of desiring their husbands instead of commanding them. Indeed, by the order of Nature, the man being first made, the woman was to be in some subordination; but by reason of the order of sin, the woman being first in the transgression, this subjection is greatly increased; for so it follows,-

He shall rule over thee - In a lordly, cruel manner; which is the case of women in general, and a great curse it is; and when they meet with it they should remember that it is for their sin.

Next the man is called to the bar, and proceeded against as follows:-

Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife. This shows that Eve used her voice to persuade Adam to eat. To hear the voice of a wife, as a counsellor, is becoming a husband; but to be enticed by a wife to transgress a divine command, is the first imprudence that Adam was charged with. It is no crime for a man to be tempted, if he withstands the temptation; but the guilt of the tempter will not expiate the crime, of the man who is overcome by the temptation. And this was Adam's case. See what follows:

And thou hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt not eat of it: meaning the tree of knowledge of good and evil, of which so much is said. It is not likely that this tree bore the same name before Adam ate thereof, but took its name from the crime of Adam: Adam and Eve knew good before the fall, but by eating of that tree they were brought to the knowledge of evil.' It is true, that the tree is called by that name before the fall, but it is most likely it was so called by anticipation - Moses giving it the same name that it was called by after the fall. This tree stood in the midst of the garden, near the tree of life; but the fruits of the two trees differed widely: the first bore fruit to mortalize, the last to immortalize.

It is evident that Adam and Five apostatized before they ate of the tree, but the prohibition of that tree being the test of their obedience, for the breach of that, God gives out the doom: Cursed is the ground for thy sake.

Some suppose that, if sin had never entered the world, the earth would have produced her increase spontaneously; but, in Ge 2:5, it looks as if man at first was made to till the ground; and yet it is clear that sin has brought a great curse upon the earth. I conclude that a little labor for recreation would have been sufficient, had not sin marred the face of the earth: but now, says God, In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.

Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years; and so many years he ate the fruits of the earth in sorrow, sweat, labor and pain; which grievous debt is entailed on his offsprings. The profit of the earth is for all - the king himself is served by the field - all live upon the fruits of the earth, and all eat thereof in sorrow. Let men live where they choose, follow what calling they please, yet sorrow attends them all the days of their lives.

Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee. The earth brings forth herbage for beasts spontaneously, but men have to till the ground, labor in the field, toil and sweat to kill the thorns and thistles, and noxious weeds in general, to raise vegetables and bread for themselves; and this fatigue lasts until they return to dust.

For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Adam's body was made out of the earth, his animal spirit distilled from it; and when God recalled the soul that he breathed into him, the animal spirit was extinguished, and his body turned to dust. The same fate follows all his off-springs.

In this manner God explains the threatening that he gave to Adam before, and he is not a man that he should lie, but was as good as his word; and it appears to me, that whatever was contained in these words, "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die, " was fully inflicted on Adam, and was not mitigated by the Mediator; for God appeared as a judge to execute his law, and never so much as mentioned a Mediator to Adam and Eve in the whole process. I am also as well convinced that many evils befel Adam, and do befall us, that were never contained in the threatening, as I have observed before.

The seed of the woman was spoken of to Satan, not as a saviour, but as a destroyer; to convince him, and all his species, that though they refused to worship an incarnate God, and had prevailed over Adam and Eve, yet he should proceed from the woman, and wear a human form, and prove an over match for them all.

Adam and Eve, who stood by when God spake these words to the serpent, might yet hope at least of temporal life, and perhaps of eternal life, through the seed; but this no way diverted the threatening.

And Adam called his wife's name Eve; which name signifies to live or she liveth. As she was not annihilated, as he might expect, with himself, he gave her this name to perpetuate the action. Adam, before this, had given names to all the beasts, and the name of woman to his wife; but now, hearing that she was to bear a seed, and seeing her still alive, gave her a new name - Eve.

Because she as the mother of all living: i.e., of human kind. These words were added by Moses, which he offered as a reason why Adam gave his wife that name, or spoken by Adam, knowing that she was the only woman in the world, and that from her the whole human race would proceed. All nations upon the face of the earth, though bearing different colors and shapes, and in a multitude of conditions, must own Eve for their mother.

And the Lord God made coats of skins and clothed Adam and his wife. These skins were taken from beasts; but on what account the beasts were slain, is uncertain. It is the opinion of some, that before Adam fell the beasts came to him by instinct, and willingly offered their lives to serve him; and that, if sin had never entered the world, man would have lived upon animal food; and this opinion is supported, by observing that the earth would soon have been overstocked with beasts and fowls if none of them had died; and further, they remark that some beasts and fowls were made to slay others, and live upon them; that the very shape of some of them indicates that they were made to devour; that claws, long teeth and hooked bills, would have been useless and troublesome to creatures designed to live alone upon vegetables; and, finally, they cannot believe that the sin of man should bring death upon beasts.

If these things can be maintained, it is not difficult to say where God found these skins to clothe Adam and his wife with. Adam and Eve having killed these beasts to eat their flesh, flayed off their skins, in some such way as savages do, without knives, and laid them by as useless; but now God taught them that their skins were as good for clothing as their flesh was for food. But these things are questionable.

It is not certain that animal flesh was ever eaten by man till after the flood. The fruits of the garden, the herbs, and every tree yielding seed, are all that were given to Adam and Eve to eat, in their first charter; and after the fall, they were to eat their bread by the sweat of their brows. And how beasts could lay down their lives without pain, is inconceivable; and to suppose that they would have come instinctively and laid down their lives, without pain, for man, is strange.

But one thing further is certain, that the sin of man occasions the death of brutes; if not causally, in the first instance, yet it does eventually - the cruelty and wantonness of man reduce the beasts to death. And it seems to strike as directly against the goodness of God, to suppose that the species of brutes should toil, groan and die, to satisfy the pride, lust and cruelty of man, as it does to suppose that animals at first were made to be mortal, and die to satisfy the hunger of man.

But if beasts were not eaten before the fall, nor even before the flood, it is supposable that these beasts were slain for sacrifices, which ceremony was certainly in force in the days of Cain and Abel, and likely was ordained soon after the fall, but not before the beasts had begun to multiply; for if the first beasts had been slain, their species would have been extinguished. From this early institution of sacrificing lambs, Christ is called a Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. How long it was after the fall before God clothed Adam and his wife with skins, is unknown; but the first clothing that he made for them was out of skins, from which, it is most likely, the hair was not taken off: so the Tartars, Laplanders, and various nations clothe themselves unto this day.

As the fig leaves that Adam and Eve sewed together to make themselves aprons of, were emblems of the vain ways, foolish hopes, and self-righteousness of the ungodly; so these coats of skins were figurative of the righteousness of Christ, that robe of righteousness and garment of salvation, with which the Almighty adorns the souls of penitents.

And the Lord God said, behold the man is become like one of us, to know good and evil. This phrase respects both Adam and Eve, though but one of them is mentioned. If these words were seriously spoken, the sense is, that now Adam and his wife had become like one of the divine persons in knowledge. Before the fall, God knew good and evil, and good from evil; evil, not by possession, but by understanding its nature and consequences; but Adam and Eve did not; they knew good, by possession, but had no just idea of evil; but now being fallen into evil, and convinced of its nature and effects, in that respect they became as God. How applicable are the words of Solomon in this affair! He that increases knowledge, increases sorrow."

Or else the meaning is, that now, since the Lord had graciously made known to them the Messiah, the seed of the woman, and brought them to a sense of their sin, and also clothed them with skins, (representing the righteousness of Christ,) that they were like the angels, being in favor with God, and ready and willing to obey him; or rather that they were like God himself, being created in Christ Jesus; having put on the new man, created in righteousness and holiness, after the image of him who created him.

But it seems best to understand the words, as spoken ironically; reproving while they seem to applaud. It was the vain hope and wish of Adam and Eve, that, by eating the forbidden fruit, they should be as Gods; and here God retorts upon them: "Now the man is become like one of us, is he? look and see his wretchedness! see what his pride has reduced him to! His knowledge is increased, it is true, but wherein is he the better? Innocence was far better: nor has his misfortune humbled his heart entirely; aspiring thoughts yet dwell within him."

And now, lest he put forth his hand, and take of the tree of life and eat and live forever. God first treated Adam as a free agent; he left him to his own choice, to eat or not to eat of the tree of knowledge, using no other means to keep him from eating, but a moral prohibition, as a test of his obedience; but not so with the tree of life. That tree was guarded with cherubims and a fiery sword. God, in the character of a legislator, never forces or prevents the human will; but in the character of a judge, dealing with culprits, he subjects them to afflictions contrary to their wills.

As it is probable that the fruit of the tree of knowledge was poisonous, and that it naturally reduced Adam to pain, sickness and death; so also it is likely that the fruit of the tree of life was of the nature to immortalize. And now, Adam having eaten of the first, by which he incurred death, (both physically and judicially,) was prevented from staying in the garden, lest he should take of the tree of life, and thereby immortalize himself and so live forever. Some have thought, that if sin had never entered into the world, yet men would have been subject to decay; to remedy which the tree of life was planted, and bore fruit of that quality to remove or rather prevent all weakness of the limbs, wrinkles in the face, and every thing of the kind.

Another reason assigned as the cause, why this tree was called the tree of life, is, that it was ever verdant, constantly circulating sap and bearing fruit all the year; and this seems probable enough from Re 22., 2, where reference is had to this tree. And the Devil might have suggested to Adam, that there could be no malignity in the prohibited tree, which grew so near the tree of life, and if there was, they might easily take of the fruit of the tree of life, which would be a sufficient antidote; but to prevent all such vain hopes in Adam and Eve, and to convince them that they were not at liberty to follow the machinations of Satan, The Lord God drove them out of the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence Adam was taken.

Before this, I conclude Adam had not begun to till the ground, but had lived upon the spontaneous fruits of the garden, what time he had lived, which was not long, as it seems. The garden was planted in the east part of Eden, and it looks as if Adam was driven entirely out of the land of Eden; for the cherubic guard was placed at the east of the garden, to keep Adam and Eve from returning to the garden and eating of the tree of life. The Lord drove them out of the garden (which they left with reluctance, as is probable) to till the ground from whence Adam was taken, and raise their bread in sweat, labor and pain. The ground that he was to till, was that out of which he was taken: from which it appears, that Adam was made out of the ground east of Eden, and taken from thence by the Lord, and placed in the garden of Eden; but as he was rebellious in the garden, he was driven back to the place where he was made, to spend his days in sweat, sorrow and pain, until he returned to dust.

From Adam's being taken from the spot where he was made and placed in Eden's garden, (if he had been obedient,) it is probable that he would have been raised, in gradual stages, to the same enjoyment that the glorified saints will eternally enjoy; but the life he possessed in the garden, did not capacitate him to rise any higher than he then was; nor had he any reason to believe that his best obedience would merit a higher station: yet, I conclude, it is not extravagant to suppose, that God would have exalted him to the same pinnacle of glory, that all the ransomed of the Lord will hereafter inherit; for, as sin will never prevent the purposes of God's grace, so likewise, it is never the cause of human exaltation, before God. Sin is the cause of pain and sickness, want and woe, horror and shame, hardness and impenitence, anger and rage, strife and contention, war and bloodshed, death and damnation. If sin had never entered the world, there would have been no cause of Christ's death; but sin was not the cause of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, nor does it cause the communication of eternal life into the human heart.

No man will ever return to the state that Adam was in while in the garden: those who are regenerated will rise much higher, and those who die in rebellion will sink much lower.

Or, perhaps, the meaning of the clause, To till the ground out of which he was taken, does not respect the particular spot where Adam was made and taken from; but the ground in general, out of which element Adam was formed.

And the Lord God placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. Frequent accounts, in Scripture, are given, both of living and lifeless cherubims. About the ark and mercy-seat, and on the walls of the holy place, in the temple, were lifeless images, called cherubims. The living cherubims are called seraphims, living creatures, four beasts, and cherubims. These creatures, in Scripture, generally intend gospel ministers; but not always. Where it is said that Jehovah rode upon a cherub and did fly, it is better to understand it of an angel, than of a human minister. Perhaps the name may be given, with propriety, to any messenger of the Lord, from the greatest angel to the smallest insect. In the text now under consideration, they seem to intend angels, and not ministers of the gospel. Angels were then in existence, but gospel ministers were not. These angelical ministers were made a flame of fire: streams of fire proceeded from them, resembling swords, like the beams of the sun, in every direction, to strike the rebel through who should dare to approach the tree of life.

Some think this wonderful appearance was designed by God, to convince Adam, and keep in his mind, that no life was ever after the fall to be had by the deeds of the law. That the flaming sword of justice stands pointed against every soul that seeks salvation by works of righteousness that he can do.

Others are of opinion, that as the tree of life was an emblem of Jesus Christ, (who is often compared to the tree of life,) so these cherubims were heiroglyphical of gospel ministers, who handle the word of God, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword; which turns every way to detect the hypocrite, alarm the profane, and point out to penitents the way of salvation, by faith in the Redeemer. But it appears to me, that these cherubims were not merely visionary appearances, but real subsistences, and therefore the first sense given seems most probable.

How long these angels continued there, as guards to the tree, is uncertain. If the tree of life died as soon as common trees do, (in about one hundred years,) or if they guarded the tree until the flood, when men were removed from that part of the world, they were happy in their post, doing the will of God. The flood has so altered the face of the earth (together with earthquakes and other causes) that no man can tell where the garden or any part of Eden lay; and what became of the trees in the garden, particularly the tree of death and tree of life; whether they were used for firewood or timber - whether they died with age or are now living - or whether the first was transplanted in hell, and the last in paradise, to me, is unknown.


THE nature of God is just, and therefore his ways are all equal; and as love and goodness proceed from him, consequently malevolence and sin cannot; otherwise, his ways would be unequal.

Some suppose that it was necessary that sin should emerge among the creatures of God, that the divine glory might be more effulgently displayed than otherwise it could have been. But is the supposition well founded? what idea should we form of a man who should charge his son not to run into the fire, and with one hand brace him from it, and at the same time, with the other hand, secreted by a screen, pull the forbidden child into the flame, that he might show his compassion to his little favorite in pulling him out of the burning coals? Would such compassion be amiable? But suppose the same man should serve ten sons in the same manner, and pull but five of them out, and leave the rest therein forever, that those five who were graciously delivered, and the five who were unfortunately forsaken might see his justice, could God or man love such, a character?

If goodness, love and justice, cannot be displayed, known and enjoyed, without a previous knowledge and possession of evil, then Adam, in innocency, could not; angels in heaven, and the God of angels, cannot either know, enjoy, or display goodness, love and justice.

That sin adds anything to the glory of the Divine Essence, is inadmissible. If any beings, therefore, are profited by it, sinners themselves are; and if infinite wisdom could contrive no way to add to creatures, but a way that damns a great part of them, what shall we say of such wisdom? Could not justice shine to men as transpicuous without their guilt as it now can? Is it not as great justice to clear the innocent as it is to condemn the guilty? These things are so.

What has goodness to say, if the justice of God could not so fully be made known without the damnation of millions of millions? Is it possible for the best of creatures, yea, for God himself, to love such sovereign justice?

How can the mouths of the damned be stopped by that justice which could not be displayed without their exquisite torment? And how can the saints triumph in that character which wantonly glories in the misery of their fellow creatures?

Had sin never entered the world, the justice of God could have appeared as glorious as it now does, or ever will; and if creatures are to be raised to a higher state of glory than they could have been without sin, all the praise of this superabundant glory belongs to sin, and all creatures should love the death of the wicked, which the Creator takes no pleasure in.

The Lord God is omnipotent: nothing (consistent with his nature) is too hard for him to effect; but he acts upon a scale so exalted, from a principle so good, that he cannot do those mean, dirty things that men can. If it should be thought a pesumptuous impeachment of divine power to say that God could not have prevented sin in the first instance," it certainly operates as much against his goodness, to say that he could have prevented it. The omniscient Jehovah made creatures without their own consent, and foresaw all the evils that ever they would fall into. Now, if he could have prevented their sin by one of his fingers, and would not put that finger forth, who can justify his goodness?

Eternal power is limited by nothing but the nature of the divine Esse, which is so good and benevolent, that Omnipotence could not make creatures miserable by destroying the liberty of their wills, which was the only way supposable to prevent their crimes.

"But was it possible for the Almighty ever to discover the attribute of mercy to his creatures, without their apostacy? Does not mercy always presuppose need or misery? If so, then sin, on the creature's part, has proved the way for the discovery of that perfection which otherwise would ever have been dormant."

This remark has real weight, and merits a fair investigation. It is a principal hinge for turning the disputes of the present day; and, therefore, is not to be slightly canvassed.

The word attribute, is as great a stranger in the Bible, as the word moral; and what two words are more frequently used by divines, or more variously understood.

If by an attribute is understood an essential property of Deity; that, without which the Almighty would be imperfect; and further, if it is supposed that all the attributes of Jehovah can have an ample circulation in the divine Essee, without the existence of creatures, so that the infinite God is independantly glorious: I conclude that mercy is not an attribute. For if mercy always presupposes need or misery, how could it circulate in a being where no need or misery was to be found?

Learned men say that the attributes of God are ever spoken of in the single number, thus: love, power, holiness, &c., and will not admit of their plurals, loves, powers, holinesses, &c. If this observation has any weight in it, then mercy cannot be an attribute, for mercy is plural (mercies) in a variety of places in the Bible.

In the above view of things, if mercy is an attribute, God was dependant on creatures to do that which was contrary to his nature and law - that, which he could not do himself or tempt them to - to bring themselves into a situation in which alone he could make a full discovery of himself unto them. How dependant was God, in this point of view!

God is a spirit of light, life and love, and some think that his attributes are naught but the manifestations of himself to his creatures, in his word and works. The invisibility of the eternal power and godhead was made known in creation, and is clearly seen by the things that are made. Wisdom, power and goodness, were exhibited in creation, but grace and mercy were not. Here then the question arises: viz., was not sin necessary? etc. Can any man suppose that fury, wrath or vengeance, are essential properties of the God of love and goodness? Are they not the displays of justice on criminals? Just so mercy is the stream of love. God is love, and eternally loved his people; nor could all their sins either heighten or destroy it. And love, the fountain, could and would have raised them to the same enjoyment, that mercy, the stream, now will, if they never had sinned.

If, therefore, creation was a work of necessity, for a display of the perfections of God, yet sin was not; for no perfection of God is now made known to creatures, but what could have been, made known as fully without sin: justice could have shone as effulgent, and love appeared as strong as they now do. The universe is as much worse for sin, as all the groans of the creation and all the damnation of men and devils amount to, and in no instance, upon a general scale, the better for it.

Those who go to heaven are raised entirely upon the scale of love and goodness, but saved from hell upon the scale of justice.

Another question arises, which is this: "Do not the saints in heaven admire redeeming love more than angels do, or more than they possibly could have done, if they had not sinned and been redeemed?"

Redeeming love, by that name, would never have been known on earth or in heaven, if creatures had not sinned; but from this it does not appear that creatures on earth or in heaven are happier than they could otherwise have been. That saints in heaven will be more exalted than angels, is what I believe; but this exaltation arises from the likeness of nature, and not from the redemption from sin; for Jesus Christ has done the human nature more honor than he has the angelic, in that he put on the first and not the last.

To solve the question, let me ask any godly man, who understands the nature of grace in his heart, whether (in times when his soul is most full of the love of God) he admires redemption from hell or the enjoyment of God's love the most? If I judge right when souls enjoy most of God, they are the most swallowed up in admiring the perfections of God, without poring so much upon what he has done for them.

That the act of redemption calls loudly upon all on earth and all in heaven to adore the Redeemer is unquestionable; at the same time, if we trace things to their origin, the principle that this act proceeds from, is to be principally adored; and this principle could have been as well known and as fully enjoyed without sin, as it now can.

ALL the works of God are the effects of divine power and goodness, love, and justice in concert; and he always acts from motive in himself; and is noways biased by the conduct of his creatures: yet the actions of men vary the operation of his hand in numberless instances. A benevolent father loves his child, and always acts from a principle of love towards him; but as the behaviour of the child is sometimes filial and sometimes froward; the same stimulus of love that moves the father at some times to give a plaudit and bestow an encomium, at other times induces him to give a reproof and inflict a punishment. The application is easy.

To say that Jesus Christ did not die for sinners, but for the glory of God, is just as good divinity, as it is to say, that rain, and fruitful seasons, bread, and all the blessings of nature, are not given to men for their good, but for the glory of God. That Jesus shed his blood for the remission of sins, was wounded for transgressions, and bruised for iniquity, died for sins, and laid down his life for his sheep, is abundantly proven in scripture.

The nature of God, and the nature of sin are such, that sin must be punished somewhere, in some being; for it cannot be punished in itself: the criminal or the surety must smart for it. If the surety pays the whole debt, bears the full punishment, then the criminal is freed, upon the scale of law and justice; and the creditor cannot demand the sum, nor the law its penalty from both the debtor or criminal, and the surety. Now if the satisfaction of Christ consists in suffering for sin, (which is the light in which the New Testament holds it forth,) he either made universal satisfaction to God, for the sins of all Adam's race, or he did not. If the atonement is universal, how can any be damned, upon the scale of justice? If the answer is, "because men will not repent, believe, and return and submit to the deliverer." The next question is, are the acts of impenitence, unbelief, inattention and obstinacy, sins or no sins? If no sins, then men can be saved in them. If they are sins, then they were atoned for, or they were not; if they were atoned for, how can men be damned for them? If they were not atoned for, then the atonement was not universal. If, therefore, the atonement is proved to be universal, it follows, of course, that salvation is universal; but if the last is confuted, the first inevitably falls.

It is a question, whether Jesus the son of Mary went to heaven upon the scale of nature, obedience, God-head or grace. His nature was free from sin, but not spiritual enough for heaven, till after his resurrection. His obedience was as perfect as the law required; he magnified the law and made it honorable. The searching eye of omniscience could see no imperfection in him; but his obedience entitled him to no higher station than Adam was in before the fall. To suppose that he overcame and rose to heaven merely by his own God-head, would destroy the idea of his perfect human virtue, and represent the man of sorrow as having no trials at all: for what proof of a giant's skill would it be to conquer a pigmy, or what danger would a hero be in, beset only by a child. It seems best therefore to suppose that Jesus went to heaven by grace. That the babe that was conceived in the virgin's womb, was in the same predicament and texture of innocent Adam, we have great reason to believe; but without the grace of God, it is more likely that he would have fallen than that Adam should, as temptations had increased a thousand fold. That John the Baptist was regenerate in his mother's womb, is pretty clear; and likely it is the case with many others. So likewise the child Jesus, came into the world an innocent Adam and a regenerate soul, and in that character was proof against all the temptations that befell him, and perfectly obedient to the law; and after dying and suffering for sins, not his own, he was raised with a spiritual body capable of entering heaven, which was not the case of Adam's body before the fall. If these things are facts, then Jesus called God his father, as Christians do, being his son by regeneration, (I mean in some places,) and I shall leave the reader to judge, whether the words, "ye who have followed me in the regeneration of this life," are not applicable to the above sentiment.

It is the opinion of some, that depravity consists alone in the will, being the reverse to all that is good. That when the blindness of the mind, and the darkness of the understanding are spoken of, we are to form the idea, that the will is so perverse, that men will not attend to the means of information, and therefore the mind is left in ignorance. This observation is supported by great men and great argument; nor am I disposed, at this time, to call it in question; but one thing I shall contend for, viz. that moral agency and the violation of the will, have nothing to do in the work of regeneration. The reception of divine grace, or the new-birth, is not according to the will of man: it is not of him that willeth but of God.

To tell a congregation of people, that they may all come to Christ as a mediator, and receive eternal life, if they will, is incoherent divinity; Adam in innocncey had not that power. Paul, whose will was present, could not do as he would; and all the saints in every part of the world, when their wills are most swallowed up in the divine will, find the need of spiritual strength to perform things that they would.

That men are moral agents, since the fall, is evident; otherwise they could not sin at all; but let those, who believe that salvation turns upon man's acceptance, remember that the tree of life in the garden, was not to be eaten of at the will of man after the fall: and those who suppose that the promised seed, (or rather the seed of the woman, spoken of as a conqueror to the serpent,) restored fallen man to free agency, consider that the guardian prohibition of this tree, was after the seed of the woman was spoken of.

When will man duly consider, that the most perfect obedience of a moral subject entitles him to no higher station, than the state where he is fixed?

If Christ had died for all, and there is a fulness of grace for all; how comes it to pass that some are saved and not all? "because some will not come."

Are there not many who had this will not for a number of years, and afterwards repented and went? "beyond all doubt."

Was not their obstinacy of will atoned for as well as the rest of their sins? "To be sure."

Are the sins of obstinacy in other sinners atoned for or not? If they are, how can they be damned for sins already atoned for, upon the scale of justice? If they are not atoned for, how can such find pardon? "But the sins of men are atoned for conditionally."

What are those conditions?

"The conditions are, that every one that will repent of his sins and believe in Jesus Christ shall be saved; but every one that will not repent and believe, shall die under the curse of the law, and have an aggarvated damnation for refusing to submit to an offered Saviour."

Can men comply with those conditions? If one man can, so can all, except one is made better than another. If God has made one man better than another, how can he require as much of one as of another, in justice? If all men are in one predicament, then one can do what another can; and if all men have power to repent and believe, how comes it to pass that some do and others do not? "Because one uses the means and others do not. " But why does one use the means and not another? "Because one will and another will not. " But how comes one to have a will and not another? Does this better will proceed from nature or from grace? If from either, God is the author of it. 44.

If Jesus Christ was delivered up to death by an original statute, sin was certainly included in the moral system; for on no other account did Jesus die, but for the sins of his people. That he was delivered by the determinate counsel of God, is evident; but that this delivery includes death, is very questionable.

There is no way supposable, that God could have raised human creatures to heaven, but by delivering his Son to become incarnate; for the union of the two natures in the Mediator, is the ground-work of the exaltation of human creatures to the divine glory.

The best mode of thinking is this: That God originally determined to deliver his son to be incarnate; and secondarily, from a knowledge of creatures' sin, delivered him to death; the last being a consequence of the first, depending on the moral agency of creatures, and not arising from an original statute.

There is no kind of violence or cruelty under the sun, but what may bereconciled to tyrannical sovereignty; but has the God of love and goodness a sovereign right to do wrong? "It must be right because God has done it, " is not a sound as harmonical as to say, "It is wrong, and therefore God is not the author of it."

The whole universe is composed of a multitude of units; if the human world is therefore the better for sin, the advantage must be found among some or all these units; but where is there a judicious individual in the universe, that can say, he is better for sin?

That wicked men are physically impelled to sin, excited thereto by moral suasion; or called upon to rebel by the dispensations of God's mercies and judgments, is inadmissible. But that their corrupt natures are in that predicament that they are under a natural necessity to sin until they are changed by grace, is incontestible. Consequently if there is a single action of spiritual good to be performed by them, prior to their receiving the grace of God, it will forever remain undone. The truth is, that in the simple work of regeneration, men neither assist nor resist.

In the foregoing exposition and appendix, there are a number of hints given, that the predicament of innocent Adam, was different from that of a regenerate saint on earth, and of a glorified saint in heaven; and as this distinction is called in question by many, I shall say something more on the subject.

It is true, God may justly require more of his creatures now, than he required of Adam in the garden. The obedience and faith of a creature, should always be tantamount to the commands and revelation of the creator. If the creator, therefore, commands his creatures any thing more than he commanded Adam, they are under bonds to obey; and that creatures, since the fall, are commanded to make themselves new hearts and cleanse themselves from all unrighteousness, be unfeignedly sorry for their sins and love God with a pure heart fervently, admits of no doubt. And further, if God has revealed more to his fallen creatures than he revealed to Adam in the garden, they should believe more than he did, with an unshaken faith. When Jesus was on earth, he gave as full proof of his divinity and Messiahship, as the Almighty did of his God-head in creation; and therefore people who saw, and those who have heard of him, are as strongly bound to believe in him as the Almighty Saviour as they are to believe in the God-head of the creator.

But still the question is, whether grace does not raise men to a higher state than they fell from - do more for them than the law requires?

It cannot be supposed, that the law requires man to rise to a more exalted state than Adam was in, when in Eden: now if it can be demonstrated that grace raises men higher than Eden's garden, then the hypothesis is maintained.

Adam was on earth: saints will be raised to heaven. Adam was to propagate: saints will be like angels in respect of propagation. Adam was to dress the garden and eat thereof: saints will be fed by God without their hand labor.

The presumption is strong that Adam was made to till the ground: saints will live where there will be no ground to till. The point then is proved.

As for the predicament of Adam's soul, before the fall, it is as difficult to describe, as it is to describe where the garden of Eden was, for much the same reason. Sin drove him from that garden, and extinguished that life in his soul, that neither he, nor any of his progeny will ever regain. When wandering souls are brought home to God, it is not to Eden's garden, or to that life that Adam possessed in innocency; but to a place more exalted, to a life more sublime.

That Adam, while innocent, took complacency in the divine character, cordially submitted to the moral government of Jehovah, and cheerfully obeyed his God, is granted: anything short of this, would have been hypocrisy at best. This exercise is still enjoined on all men; for God has not lost his right to command, because men are depraved and fallen. But after all, the life of Adam's soul was mutable; it was not eternal life, it was extinguished by sin, and ended in death; neither Adam nor any of his children will ever enjoy the same life again: but those who are changed by grace, are made partakers of an immutable, eternal life that can never be extinguished.

Another idea also contended for, is this, viz., that the grace of God, in regeneration, is bestowed in a sovereign manner: that God in giving that grace, works not according to the laws of nature, and treats with men, not as moral agents, but as recipient beings. The system of the Armenians merits regard, so far as it respects moral government; in this point, they have the advantage of those who suppose that sin, and all its consequences, emerge in consequence of some grand decree in Deity; but when they intrude the moral system into the channel of grace, and suppose that salvation depends upon the will and acceptance of the creature, prior to his being born again, they make wretched week.

In vindication of the first mentioned part of their system, it may be said, that if angels and men cannot act, but as they are acted upon; if spirits have no kind of self motion, but are always used as pullies, weights and wheels in a machine; and that they act voluntarily also, it not only represents Jehovah as the original agent of their wicked actions, but the author of their corrupt wills; by making use of motives behind the screen, to influence them to act. Should a monarch put a knife into a child's hand, and directing the child's hand with his own arm, thrust the blade into another and kill him, who would punish the child and exculpate the monarch? and if the monarch made use of motives visible or clandestine, to influence the child to act willingly, would the violation of the child clear the character of the monarch?

But in opposition to the last mentioned part of their system, viz., that salvation depends upon moral agency; let it be noticed, that if the grace of the gospel only re-Adams men, there is a thousand times as great reason to believe that all men will be damned, as there was to believe that Adam would fall. The sure standing or final falling of a soul, rests either upon the unchangeableness of God, or the unchangeableness of the creature; if on the unchangeableness of God, their standing is sure; for God changes not; but if their standing rests on the unchangeableness of the creature, their falling is not only possible, but probable; not only probable, but certain. In this point of sight, every argument that is brought to prove the possibility of falling away finally, operates with a thousand times as much weight, to prove that falling away is certain.

The truth is, that holy, mutable creatures had power to do evil, and evil creatures have natural power to do good; to do as much as the law requires, (so far as it respects their future conduct,) for sin has not destroyed their natural powers; but they have no more power than will, to perform spiritual services in a gracious manner. This spring of soul, Adam had not; this spring, sin never broke; this spring is effected in the work of grace; sin is not the cause of it, nor shall sin prevent its being formed in the heart, nor shall sin ever entirely break it.

To close the appendix, I shall observe, that sin arose at first, either from the agency of God, or the agency of creatures. If it arose from the agency of God, there is either no evil in it, or an eternal root of evil was in God, for nothing can arise in the agency of God, but what had root in himself; and if God is such a being, and by his power, mixed with love and hate, good and evil, he made creatures, and demands their admiration; then it must be given him: but one thing is certain, if this be the case, viz., the more holy creatures are, the less they love such a character, and when they are made like him, they will not be

free from roots of bitterness. Let the wire-drawer, or the hair-splitter, who believes that sin was designed by God, and that it answers valuable purposes, show the difference between cause and occasion, if he can; and how he can maintain his point, without holding to two eternal opposite causes, I know not.

38. This piece was never before published, but was written in, or prior to, the year 1790. The appendix was probably written at a subsequent period, but when, we have no means of ascertaining.

39. If, from the formation of Adam and Eve, to the flood, people doubled once in forty-five years, there had been on earth more than one hundred and thirty-seven thousand millions. And, if they have doubled as fast from Noah, to the present time, there have been in the world nearly forty thousand quatrillions; which would be more than one hundred thousand souls, for each square inch in the terraqueous globe.

40. The general computation is twenty-one thousand six hundred, but some make it as great as twenty-six thousand; to form a medium therefore, and to give a round number without fractions, I compute it at twenty-four thousand miles. All my calculations, respecting the earth, are made upon that scale, except the foot-note in the introduction.

41. The American empire contains six hundred and forty millions of acres, of which, fifty-one millions are water.

42. The nearest fixed star is at such a distance from us, that a cannon-ball must fly at the rate of one hundred fathoms a second, and take nearly seven hundred thousand years to reach it: the distance being computed at almost two and a half millions of miles. A line of wheat-grains, from the sun to said star, allowing four grains to the inch, would form a mountain of wheat, more than sufficient to sow forty such globes as this, allowing a bushel to an acre.

43. Some suppose that the best way to clear the character of God from being the cause of every kind of evil, is, to imagine that Adam stood a representative of all the lower creation, human, animal, vegetative and the gross parts of it, and that when he sinned and forsook his moral order, it threw the whole creation into disorder. That as soon as sin raised a war of elements within him, the contagion ran through all the elements without him, and brought a curse upon the fire, air, water and earth. That briers and thistles and all poisonous weeds sprang up, as a consequent thereof; and that the infection rose up in the sap of the tree of good and evil, (which had not this quality before the fall, as they judge,) and that the animals received a cruel, venomous disposition from the source of Adam's sin, as well as the human world, a wicked stubborn nature.

44. This mode of reasoning is just in the plan of salvation, but inadmissible in the moral system.

008 Letter of Valediction On Leaving Virginia



IN leaving the state, where I have contracted a large acquaintance - where I have spent fourteen years of the prime of my life; in which time I have baptized seven hundred persons (the chiefest of whom, God has graciously given me as the seals of my ministry,) it may reasonably be supposed that I feel an unusual perturbation of mind; especially when I consider the kind acceptance I have had among the people, as well as the confidence which the Baptist society have reposed in me. When all these endearing bonds present themselves before me, they strangely agitate my throbbing breast. A total divesture of these sensations would render me and odious stoic, among men formed for friendship: but an excess of these tender emotions, would appear too effeminate for a man of business, and inadmissable for the hazardous voyage before me.

I cannot say that I had any particular call to come to Virginia, like Paul to go to Macedonia; but came voluntarily, of my own accord; and hope kind Providence has overruled it for the best. Now I meditate a return to my native land, upon a principle as voluntary as I came. May Heaven send me good speed, and prosper me in every lawful undertaking. The thoughts of death, in general, are not as painful as the thoughts of living for nothing.

My friends in general, and those in particular who acknowledge my weak efforts as a means of their salvation, will receive this final valediction as a proof of my love; and as I cannot visit them all to take a formal parting, I hope this letter will be as pleasing and more profitable. When I came first into Virginia, I shared the common lot of strangers; many were afraid of me, that I was not sincere: and some better characters than myself, seemed to defame; but I always was prevented from retorting, by the words of David, "Who can stretch forth his hands against the Lord's anointed and be innocent:" and amidst all my troubles, these words were my support, "The Lord said, verily it shall be well with thy remnant of days; verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in time of affliction, and in time of evil." No man can conceive the difficulty that a stranger in a strange land has to endure, but those who have tried it. Thus I was; in the day the draught consumed me, and the frost by night; my head has often been filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. The love of my God, and the worth of immortal souls, has stimulated my heart and borne me up under all the pressure of mobs, tumults, reproaches, and contentions; and having obtained help of God, I remain until this very day.

The union that has taken place among the Baptists has been very pleasing to me, and a continuation of the same, is an object that engrosses my desire. For this desirable end, I have been willing to sacrifice a number of little peculiarities, and think myself a gainer in the bargain.

Ye are not strangers, my dear brethren and children, to the difference of opinions now subsisting among the Baptists in Virginia; some pleading for predestination, and others for universal provision. It is true that the schemes of both parties cannot be right; and yet both parties may be right in their aims, each wishing to justify wisdom, and make God righteous when he judgeth. He cannot be wrong, whose life and heart are right. He cannot walk amiss who walks in love. I have generally observed, that when religion is lively among the people no alienation of affection arises from a difference of judgment; and whoever considers that the Devil is orthodox in judgment, and that the Bible is not written in form of a system, will surely be moderate in dealing out hard speeches towards his heterodox brother. I conclude that the eternal purposes of God, and the freedom of the human will, are both truths; and it is a matter of fact, that the preaching that has been most blessed of God, and most profitable to men, is the doctrine of sovereign grace in the salvation of souls, mixed with a little of what is called Arminianism. These two propositions can be tolerably well reconciled together, but the modern misfortune is, that men often spend too much time in explaining away one or the other, or in fixing the lock-Iink to join the others together; and by such means, have but little time in a sermon to insist on those two great things which God blesses. I do not plead for implicit faith; let each man believe, speak, and act for himself; but when it is confessed that nine tenths of the scripture is best explained without descending to those cutting points, a man must appear contracted who spends all his time in disputing about them; and more malevolent when he finds it tends, not to promote love and union, but rather a rancorous spirit. Let us then follow after the things that make for peace, and the things whereby one may edify another, and strive who shall be the most humble, and love over the greatest affronts.

My children, I am afraid that after my departure, you will forget the weak advice that I have given you; and what is infinitely more the instruction of that gracious redeemer who bought you with his blood. Where fore watch, and remember that for the space of fourteen years I ceased not to warn you night and day, and taught you publicly, and from house to house. And now behold I go, with submission to Providence, to New England, not knowing what things will befall me there. Perhaps the faithless seas may be my tomb, or I may live to experience more severe trials than ever I have sustained.

I know myself to be a feeble, sinful worm. A retrospective view of my past conduct is not altogether pleasing, and perhaps it is owing to your partiality that I have not been publicly exposed; for my own part, I have nothing to fly to for defence, but the blood and righteousness of the dear Redeemer; but if my conduct has been such as to escape the censure of those men, who know what it is to struggle with a body of death, any calumny that may be cast on me after my departure, will be unnoticed.

I have preached about three thousand sermons since I came to Virginia; all of which have been too flat, and many of them so cold, that the sentences would almost freeze between my lips; and yet, many times, when I have attempted to instruct and comfort others, I have found the same blessings for myself. And now, brethren, I commend you to God and the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified; hoping and praying that, if we meet no more on earth, we may meet in heaven, among all the redeemed of the Lord. Though the company is large, yet there is room, - "many mansions" - places for you, my brethren, a place, I trust, for worthless me.

Before I close, I wish to add a word in behalf of the poor, unhappy negroes, and speak a little for those who are not suffered to speak for themselves. I have generally been quiet on this head, for the following reasons:-

1st. I have been a stranger among you, and, therefore, judged it indecent to meddle with the customs of the country.

2d. I have had no slaves of my own, and so concluded that if I said anything on that head, it would be construed to my disadvantage, without doing any good.

3d. It has ever appeared to me difficult to form any plan, even in idea, for their manumission; and, to expose the evil, without pointing out the way of escape, would be doing as the witch did to Saul.

4th. To say anything about it would raise the passions of a certain class of citizens; and from that they would abuse them worse than before, and so eventually make those in misery more miserable. But, as I am now about leaving the state, I can speak with more freedom.

I am heartily glad, that I can say that the spirit of masters has greatly abated since I have been in Virginia; it is now confessed, by many, that negroes can feel injuries, hunger, pain and weariness, and I hope this spark of good fire will be raised to a flame, in duo time.

I confess, that I am not as much shocked to see them naked, gaunt and trembling, as I was when I first came into the state; the distance that they are kept in, the abject subordination, and things relative thereto, do not affect me as they once did: so fatal are bad customs; but I can never be reconciled to the keeping of them; nor can I endure to see one man strip and whip another, as free by nature as himself, without the interference of a magistrate, or any being or thing to check his turbulent will. And, as I am well convinced that many of my dear brethren have the same feelings with myself, I can unbosom myself with confidence. It is not my intention to drop the ministerial vest, and assume the politician's garb today; but, after adding that slavery, in its best appearance, is a violent deprivation of the rights of nature, inconsistent with republican government, destructive of every humane and benevolent passion of the soul, and subversive to that liberty absolutely necessary to ennoble the human mind, let me ask whether Heaven has nothing in store for poor negroes better than these galling chains? If so, ye ministers of Jesus, and saints of the Most High, ye wrestling Jacobs, who have power with God, and can prevail over the angel, let your prayers, your ardent prayers, ascend to the throne of God incessantly, that he may pour the blessing of freedom upon the poor blacks. If public prayers of this kind, would raise the anger of tyrants, or embolden the slaves in insolence, let the sable watches of the night, in lonely solitude, be witnesses to your sincere longings after the liberty of your fellow creatures.

How would every benevolent heart rejoice to see the halcyon day appear- the great jubilee usher in, when the poor slaves, with a Moses at their head, should hoist up the standard, and march out of bondage! Or, what would be still more elating, to see the power of the gospel so effectual that the lion and the lamb should lie together - all former insults and revenges forgotten - the names of master and slave be buried - every yoke broken, and the oppressed go free - free but not empty away.

And you, my black brethren, hear a word from your parting friend. It is not only a general complaint, but a general truth, that but very few of you will do your duty without a degree of severity. That your masters have the right to chastise you, while your are their servants, is undoubted. You cannot conceive what pain, what distress of soul, your masters endure for your sake. How glad many of them would be, if you would bear good usage. Their rest forsakes them at night, and their comfort by day, on account of your indolence and roguery. There is no way you can honor your profession, do a good part for yourselves, or move God to send you deliverance so effectually, as to obey those who have the rule over you in the fear of God. Though our skins are somewhat different in color, yet I hope to meet many of you in heaven; where your melodious voices, that have often enchanted my ears and warmed my heart, will be incessantly employed in the praise of our common Lord. In hope of this immortal joy, you may well be patient in your hardships, and wait till your change comes.

And now may the peace of God, that passeth all understanding, dwell richly in all your hearts. Amen.

009 The Rights of Conscience Inalienable

I know not to give flattering titles to men. - ELIHU.

THERE are four principles contended for, as the foundation of civil government, viz., birth, property, grace, and compact. The first of these is practised upon in all hereditary monarchies, where it is believed that the son of a monarch is entitled to dominion upon the decease of his father, whether he be a wise man or a fool. The second principle is built upon in all aristocratical governments, where the rich landholders have the sole rule of all their tenants, and make laws at pleasure which are binding upon all. The third principle is adopted by those kingdoms and states that require a religious test to qualify an officer of state, proscribing all non-conformists from civil and religious liberty. This was the error of Constantine's government, who first established the Christian religion by law, and then proscribed the Pagans, and banished the Arian heretics. This error also filled the heads of the Anabaptists, in Germany, who were re-sprinklers. They supposed that none had a right to rule but gracious men. The same error prevails in the See of Rome, where his holiness exalts himself above all who are called gods, (i.e., kings and rulers,) and where no Protestant heretic is allowed the liberty of a citizen. This principle is also pleaded for in the Ottoman empire, where it is death to call in question the divinity of Mahomet, or the authenticity of the Alcoran.

The same evil has entwined itself into the British form of government, where, in the state establishment of the church of England, no man is eligible to any office, civil or military, without he subscribes to the thirty-nine articles and book of common prayer; and even then, upon receiving a commission for the army, the law obliges him to receive the sacrament of the Lord's supper, and no non-conformist is allowed the liberty of his conscience without he subscribes to all the thirty-nine articles but about four. And when that is done, his purse-strings are drawn by others to pay preachers in whom he puts no confidence, and whom he never hears.

This was the case in several of the southern states, until the revolution, in which the church of England was established.

The fourth principle, (compact,) is adopted in the American states, as the basis of civil government. This foundation appears to be a just one, by the following investigation.

Suppose a man to remove to a desolate island, and take a peaceable possession of it, without injuring any, so that he should be the honest inheritor of the isle. So long as he is alone, he is the absolute monarch of the place, and his own will is his law, which law is as often altered or repealed as his will changes. In process of time, from this man's loins ten sons are grown to manhood, and possess property. So long as they are all good men, each one can be as absolute, free, and sovereign as his father: but one of the ten turns vagrant, by robbing the rest. This villain is equal to, if not an over-match for any one of the nine: not one of them durst engage him in single combat. Reason and safety both dictate to the nine the necessity of a confederation, to unite their strength together to repel or destroy the plundering knave. Upon entering into confederation, some compact or agreement would be stipulated by which each would be bound to do his equal part in fatigue and expense. It would be necessary for these nine to meet at stated times to consult means of safety and happiness. A shady tree, or small cabin, would answer their purpose, and, in case of disagreement, four must give up to five.

In this state of things, their government would be perfectly democratic, every citizen being a legislator.

In a course of years, from these nine there arises nine thousand: their government can be no longer democratic - prudence would forbid it. Each tribe, or district, must then choose their representative, who, for the term that he is chosen, has the whole political power of his constituents. These representatives, meeting in assembly, would have power to make laws binding on their constituents, and while their time was spent in making laws for the community, each one of the community must advance a little of his money as a compensation therefor. Should these representatives differ in judgment, the minor must be subject to the major, as in the case above.

From this simple parable, the following things are demonstrated: First, that the law was not made for a righteous man, but for the disobedient. Second, that righteous men have to part with a little of their liberty and property to preserve the rest. Third, that all power is vested in, and consequently derived from the people. Fourth, that the law should rule over rulers, and not rulers over the law. Fifth, that government is founded on compact. Sixth, that every law made by legislators, inconsistent with the compact, modernly called a constitution, is usurping in the legislators, and not binding on the people. Seventh, that whenever government is found inadequate to preserve the liberty and property of the people, they have an indubitable right to alter it so as to answer those purposes. Eighth, that legislators, in their legislative capacity, cannot alter the constitution, for they are hired servants of the people to act within the limits of the constitution.

From these general observations, I shall pass on to examine a question which has been the strife and contention of ages. The question is, "Are the rights of conscience alienable, or inalienable?"

The word conscience, signifies common science, a court of judicature which the Almighty has erected in every human breast: a censor morum over all his conduct. Conscience will ever judge right, when it is rightly informed, and speak the truth when it understands it. But to advert to the question, "Does a man, upon entering into social compact, surrender his conscience to that society, to be controlled by the laws thereof; or can he, in justice, assist in making laws to bind his children's consciences before they are born?" I judge not, for the following reasons:

First. Every man must give an account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in a way that he can best reconcile to his conscience. If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise, let men be free.

Second. It would be sinful for a man to surrender that to man, which is to be kept sacred for God. A man's mind should be always open to conviction, and an honest man will receive that doctrine which appears the best demonstrated: and what is more common than for the best of men to change their minds? Such are the prejudices of the mind, and such the force of tradition, that a man who never alters his mind, is either very weak or very stubborn. How painful then must it be to an honest heart, to be bound to observe the principles of his former belief, after he is convinced of their imbecility? And this ever has, and ever will be the case, while the rights of conscience are considered alienable.

Third. But supposing it was right for a man to bind his own conscience, yet surely it is very iniquitous to bind the consciences of his children - to make fetters for them before they are born, is very cruel. And yet such has been the conduct of men in almost all ages, that their children have been bound to believe and worship as their fathers did, or suffer shame, loss, and sometimes life, and at best to be called dissenters, because they dissent from that which they never joined voluntarily. Such conduct in parents, is worse than that of the father of Hannibal who imposed an oath upon his son, while a child, never to be at peace with the Romans.

Fourth. Finally, religion is a matter between God and individuals: the religious opinions of men not being the objects of civil government, nor in any way under its control.

It has often been observed by the friends of religion established by human laws, that no state can long continue without it; that religion will perish, and nothing but infidelity and atheism prevail.

Are these things facts? Did not the Christian religion prevail during the first three centuries, in a more glorious manner than ever it has since, not only without the aid of law, but in opposition to all the laws of haughty monarchs? And did not religion receive a deadly wound by being fostered in the arms of civil power and regulated by law? These things are so.

From that day to this, we have but a few instances of religious liberty to judge by; for, in almost all states, civil rulers, by the instigation of covetous priests, have undertaken to steady the ark of religion by human laws; but yet we have a few of them without leaving our own land.

The state of Rhode Island has stood above one hundred and sixty years without any religious establishment. The state of New York never had any. New Jersey claims the same. Pennsylvania has also stood from its first settlement until now upon a liberal foundation; and if agriculture, the mechanical arts and commerce, have not flourished in these states, equal to any of the others, I judge wrong.

It may further be observed, that all the states now in union, saving two or three in New England, have no legal force used about religion, in directing its course, or supporting its preachers. And, moreover, the federal government is forbidden by the constitution, to make any laws, establishing any kind of religion. If religion cannot stand, therefore, without the aid of law, it is likely to fall soon, in our nation, except in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

To say that "religion cannot stand without a state establishment," is not only contrary to fact, (as has been proved already,) but is a contradiction in phrase. Religion must have stood a time before any law could have been made about it; and if it did stand almost three hundred years without law, it can still stand without it.

The evils of such an establishment, are many.

First. Uninspired, fallible men make their own opinions tests of orthodoxy, and use their own systems, as Pocrustes used his iron bedstead, to stretch and measure the consciences of all others by. Where no toleration is granted to non-conformists, either ignorance and superstition prevail, or persecution rages; and if toleration is granted to restricted non-conformists, the minds of men are biased to embrace that religion which is favored and pampered by law, and thereby hypocrisy is nourished; while those who cannot stretch their consciences to believe anything and everything in the established creed, are treated with contempt and opprobrious names; and by such means, some are pampered to death by largesses, and others confined from doing what good they otherwise could, by penury. The first lie under a temptation to flatter the ruling party, to continue that form of government which brings them in the sure bread of idleness; the last to despise that government, and those rulers, that oppress them. The first have their eyes shut to all further light, that would alter the religious machine; the last are always seeking new light, and often fall into enthusiasm. Such are the natural evils of the establishment of religion by human laws.

Second. Such establishments not only wean and alienate the affections of one from another, on account of the different usage they receive in their religious sentiments, but are also very impolitic, especially in new countries; for what encouragement can strangers have to migrate with their arts and wealth into a state, where they cannot enjoy their religious sentiments without exposing themselves to the law? when, at the same time, their religious opinions do not lead them to be mutinous. And further, how often have kingdoms and states been greatly weakened by religious tests! In the time of the persecution in France, not less than twenty thousand people fled for the enjoyment of religious liberty.

Third. These establishments metamorphose the church into a creature, and religion into a principle of state, which has a natural tendency to make men conclude that Bible religion is nothing but a trick of state; hence it is that the greatest part of the well-informed in literature are overrun with deism and infidelity; nor is it likely that it will ever be much better, while preaching is made a trade of emolument. And if there is no difference between Bible religion and state religion, I shall soon fall into infidelity.

Fourth. There are no two kingdoms and states that establish the same creed and formalities of faith, which alone proves their debility. In one kingdom a man is condemned for not believing a doctrine that he would be condemned for believing in another kingdom. Both of these establishments cannot be right, but both of them can be, and surely are, wrong.

First. The nature of such establishments, further, is to keep from civil office the best of men. Good men cannot believe what they cannot believe, and they will not subscribe to what they disbelieve, and take an oath to maintain what they conclude is error; and, as the best of men differ in judgment, there may be some of them in any state: their talents and virtue entitle them to fill the most important posts, yet, because they differ from the established creed of the state, they cannot - will not fill those posts; whereas villains make no SCRUPLE to take any oath.

If these, and many more evils, attend such establishments, what were, and still are, the causes that ever there should be a state establishment of religion in any empire, kingdom, or state?

The causes are many - some of which follow:

First. The love of importance is a general evil. It is natural to men to dictate for others: they choose to command the bushel and use the whip-row: to have the halter around the necks of others, to hang them at pleasure.

Second. An over-fondness for a particular system or sect. This gave rise to the first human establishment of religion, by Constantine the Great. Being converted to the Christian system, he established it in the Roman empire, compelled the Pagans to submit, and banished the Christian heretics; built fine chapels at public expense, and forced large stipends for the preachers. All this was done out of love to the Christian religion; but his love operated inadvertently, for he did the Christian church more harm than all the persecuting emperors ever did. It is said, that in his day a voice was heard from heaven, saying: "Now is poison spued into the churches." If this voice was not heard, it, nevertheless, was a truth; for, from that day to this, the Christian religion has been made a stirrup to mount the steed of popularity, wealth and ambition.

Third. To produce uniformity in religion. Rulers often fear that if they leave every man to think, speak, and worship as he pleases, that the whole cause will be wrecked in diversity; to prevent which, they establish some standard of orthodoxy, to effect uniformity. But, is uniformity attainable? Millions of men, women and children, have been tortured to death, to produce uniformity, and yet the world has not advanced one inch towards it. And as long as men live in different parts of the world, have different habits, education and interests, they will be different in judgment, humanly speaking.

Is uniformity of sentiments, in matter of religion, essential to the happiness of civil government? Not at all. Government has no more to do with the religious opinions of men, than it has with the principles of mathematics. Let every man speak freely without fear, maintain the principles that he believes, worship according to his own faith, either one God, three Gods, no God, or twenty Gods; and let government protect him in so doing, i.e., see that he meets with no personal abuse, or loss of property, for his religious opinions. Instead of discouraging him with proscriptions, fines, confiscations or death, let him be encouraged, as a free man, to bring forth his arguments and maintain his points with all boldness; then, if his doctrine is false, it will be confuted, and if it is true, (though ever so novel,) let others credit it.

When every man has this liberty, what can he wish for more? A liberal man asks for nothing more of government.

The duty of magistrates is, not to judge of the divinity or tendency of doctrines; but when those principles break out into overt acts of violence, then to use the civil sword and punish the vagrant for what he has done, and not for the religious phrenzy that he acted from.

It is not supposable that any established creed contains the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; but supposing it did, which established church in the world has got it? All bigots contend for it, each society cries out, "the temple of the Lord are we. " Let one society be supposed to be in possession of the whole, let that society be established by law; the creed of faith that they adopt, be consecrated so sacred to government, that the man that disbelieves it must die; let this creed finally prevail over the whole world. I ask, what honor truth gets by all this? None at all. It is famed of a Prussian, called John the Cicero, that by one oration he reconciled two contending princes, actually in war; but, says the historian, "it was his six thousand horse that had the most persuasive oratory." So when one creed or church prevails over another, being armed with a coat of mail, law and sword, truth gets no honor by the victory. Whereas if all stand upon one footing, being equally protected by law, as citizens, (not as saints,) and one prevails over another by cool investigation and fair argument, then truth gains honor; and men more firmly believe it, than if it was made an essential article of salvation by law.

Truth disdains the aid of law for its defence - it will stand upon its own merit. The heathen worshipped a goddess, called truth, stark naked, and all human decorations of truth, serve only to destroy her virgin beauty. It is error, and error alone, that needs human support; and whenever men fly to the law or sword to protect their system of religion, and force it upon others, it is evident that they have something in their system that will not bear the light, and stand upon the basis of truth.

Fourth. The common objection, "that the ignorant part of the community are not capacitated to judge for themselves," supports the Popish hierachy, and all Protestant, as well as Turkish and Pagan establishments in idea.

But is this idea just? Has God chosen many of the wise and learned? Has he not hid the mystery of gospel truth from them, and revealed it unto babes? Does the world by wisdom know God? Did many of the rulers believe in Christ when he was upon earth? Were not the learned clergy (the scribes) his most inveterate enemies? Do not great men differ as much as little men in judgment? Have not almost all lawless errors crept into the world through the means of wise men (so called)? Is not a simple man, who makes nature and reason his study, a competent judge of things? Is the Bible written (like Caligula's laws) so intricate and high, that none but the letter learned (according to common phrase) can read it? Is not the vision written so plain that he that runs may read it? Do not those who understand the original languages, that the Bible was written in, differ as much in judgment as others? Are the identical copies of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, together with the epistles in every university, and in the hands of every master of arts? If not, have not the learned to trust to a human transcription, as much as the unlearned have to a translation? If these questions, and others of the like nature, can be confuted; then I will confess that it is wisdom for a conclave of bishops, or a convocation of clergy to frame a system out of the Bible, and persuade the legislature to legalize it. No; it would be attended with so much expense, pride, domination, cruelty and bloodshed, that let me rather fall into infidelity; for no religion at all, is better than that which is worse than none.

Fifth. The groundwork of these establishments of religion is, clerical influence. Rulers, being persuaded by the clergy that an establishment of religion by human laws, would promote the knowledge of the gospel, quell religious disputes, prevent heresy, produce uniformity, and finally be advantageous to the state; establish such creeds as are framed by the clergy; and this they often do more readily, when they are flattered by the clergy; that if they thus defend the truth, they will become nursing fathers to the church, and merit something considerable for themselves.

What stimulates the clergy to recommend this mode of reasoning is:

First. Ignorance, not being able to confute error by fair argument.

Second. Indolence, not being willing to spend any time to confute the heretical.

Third. But chiefly covetousness, to get money, for it may be observed that in all these establishments, settled salaries for the clergy, recoverable by law, are sure to be interwoven; and was not this the case, I am well convinced that there would not be many, if any religious establishments in the Christian world.

Having made the foregoing remarks, I shall next make some observations on the religion of Connecticut.

If the citizens of this state, have anything in existence that looks like a religious establishment, they ought to be very cautious; for being but a small part of the world, they can never expect to extend their religion over the whole of it, without it is so well founded that it cannot be confuted.

If one-third part of the face of the globe is allowed to be seas, the earthly parts would compose four thousand five hundred and fifty such states as Connecticut. The American empire would afford above two-hundred of them. And as there is no religion in this empire, of the same stamp as the Connecticut standing order, upon the Say-Brook platform, they may expect one hundred and ninety-nine against one at home, and four thousand five hundred and forty-nine against one abroad.

Connecticut and New-Haven were separate governments till the reign of Charles II. when they were incorporated together by a charter; which charter is still considered, by some, as the basis of government.

At present, there are in the state about one hundred and sixty-eight Presbyterial, Congregational and Consociated preachers; thirty-five Baptist, twenty Episcopalians, ten separate Congregationals, and a few other denominations. The first are the standing order of Connecticut; to whom all others have to pay obeisance. Societies of the standing order are formed by law; none have a right to vote therein but men of age, who possess property to the amount of £40, or are in full communion in the church. Their choice of ministers is by major vote; and what the society agree to give him annually, is levied upon all within the limits of the society-bounds; except they bring a certificate to the clerk of the society, that they attend worship elsewhere, and contribute to the satisfaction of the society where they attend. The money being levied on the people, is distrainable by law; and perpetually binding on the society till the minister is dismissed by a council, or by death, from his charge.

It is not my intention to give a detail of all the tumults, oppression, fines and imprisonments, that have heretofore been occasioned by this law religion. These things are partly dead and buried, and if they did not rise of themselves, let them sleep peaceably in the dust forever. Let it suffice on this head, to say, that it is not possible, in the nature of things, to establish religion by human laws, without perverting the design of civil law and oppressing the people.

The certificate that a dissenter produces to the society clerk, must be signed by some officer of the dissenting church, and such church must be Christian; for heathens, deists, and Jews, are not indulged in the certificate law; all of them, as well as Turks, must therefore be taxed for the standing order, although they never go among them, or know where the meeting-house is.

This certificate law is founded on this principle, "that it is the duty of all persons to support the gospel and the worship of God. " Is this principle founded in justice? Is it the duty of a deist to support that which he believes to be a cheat and imposition? Is it the duty of a Jew to support the religion of Jesus Christ, when he really believes that he was an impostor? Must the Papists be forced to pay men for preaching down the supremacy of the pope, who they are sure is the head of the church? Must a Turk maintain a religion, opposed to the Alkoran, which he holds as the sacred oracle of heaven? These things want better confirmation. If we suppose that it is the duty of all these to support the Protestant Christian religion, as being the best religion in the world; yet how comes it to pass, that human legislatures have a right to force them so to do? I now call for an instance, where Jesus Christ, the author of his religion, or the apostles, who were divinely inspired, ever gave orders to, or intimated, that the civil powers on earth, ought to force people to observe the rules and doctrine of the gospel.

Mahomet called in the use of the law and sword, to convert people to his religion; but Jesus did not - does not.

It is the duty of men to love God with all their hearts, and their neighbors as themselves; but have legislatures authority to punish men if they do not; so there are many things that Jesus and the apostles taught, that men ought to obey, which yet the civil law has no concern in.

That it is the duty of men, who are taught in the word, to communicate to him that teaches, is beyond controversy; but that it is the province of the civil law to force them to do so, is denied.

The charter of Charles II., is supposed to he the basis of government in Connecticut; and I request any gentleman to point out a single clause in that charter, which authorizes the legislature to make any religious laws, establish any religion, or force people to build meeting-houses or pay preachers. If there is no such constitutional clause, it follows, that the laws are usurpatory in the legislatures, and not binding on the people. I shall here add, that if the legislature of Connecticut, have a right to establish the religion which they prefer to all religions, and force men to support it, then every legislature or legislator has the same authority; and if this be true, the separation of the Christians from the Pagans, the departure of the Protestant from the Papists, and the dissent of the Presbyterians from the church of England, were all schisms of a criminal nature; and all the persecution that they have met with, is just the effect of their stubbornness.

The certificate law supposes, first, that the legislature have power to establish a religion; this is false. Second, that they have authority to grant indulgence to non-conformists; this is also false, for a religious liberty is a right and not a favor. Third, that the legitimate power of government extends to force people to part with their money for religious purposes; this cannot be proved from the New Testament.

The certificate law has lately passed a new modification. Justices of the peace must now examine them; this gives ministers of state a power over religious concerns that the New Testament does not. To examine the law, part by part, would be needless, for the whole of it is wrong.

From what is said, this question arises, "are not contracts with ministers, i.e., between ministers and people, as obligatory as any contracts whatever?" The simple answer is, yes. Ministers should share the same protection of the law that other men do, and no more. To proscribe them from seats of legislation, etc., is cruel. To indulge them with an exemption from taxes and bearing arms is a tempting emolument. The law should be silent about them; protect them as citizens, not as sacred officers, for the civil law knows no sacred religious officers.

In Rhode Island, if a congregation of people agree to give a preacher a certain sum of money for preaching, the bond is not recoverable by law. 46.

This law was formed upon a good principle, but, unhappily for the makers of that law, they were incoherent in the superstructure.

The principle of the law, is, that the gospel is not to be supported by law; that civil rulers have nothing to do with religion, in their civil capacities; what business had they then to make that law? The evil seemed to arise from blending religious right and religious opinions together. Religious right should be protected to all men, religious opinion to none; i.e. government should confirm the first unto all; the last unto none: each individual having a right to differ from all others in opinion if he is so persuaded. If a number of people in Rhode Island, or elswhere, are of opinion that ministers of the gospel ought to be supported by law, and choose to be bound by a bond to pay him, government has no just authority to declare that bond illegal; for, in so doing, they interfere with private contracts, and deny the people the liberty of conscience. If these people bind nobody but themselves, who is injured by their religious opinions? But if they bind an individual besides themselves, the bond is fraudulent, and ought to be declared illegal. And here lies the mischief of Connecticut religion. My lord, major vote, binds all the minor part, unless they submit to idolatry; i.e., pay an acknowledgement to a power that Jesus Christ never ordained in his church; I mean produce a certificate. Yea further, Jews, Turks, heathens and deists, if such there are in Connecticut, are bound, and have no redress; and further, this bond is not annually given, but for life, except the minister is dismissed by a number of others, who are in the same predicament with himself.

Although it is no abridgement of religious liberty for congregations to pay their preachers by legal force, in the manner prescribed above, yet it is anti Christian; such a church cannot be a church of Christ, because they are not governed by Christ's laws, but by the laws of state; and such ministers do not appear like ambassadors of Christ, but like ministers of state.

The next question is this, Suppose a congregation of people have agreed to give a minister a certain sum of money annually, for life or during good behaviour, and in a course of time, some or all of them change their opinions, and verily believe that the preacher is in a capital error and really from conscience, dissent from him, are they still bound to comply with their engagements to the preacher?" This question is supposable, and I believe there have been a few instances of the kind.

If men have bound themselves, honor and honesty call upon them to comply; but God and conscience call upon them to come out from among them, and let such blind guides alone. 47. Honor and honesty are amiable virtues; but God and conscience call to perfidiousness. This shows the impropriety of such contracts, which always may, and sometimes do lead into such labyrinths. It is time enough to pay a man after his labor is over. People are not required to communicate to the teacher before they are taught. A man, called of God to preach, feels a necessity to preach, and a woe if he does not. And if he is sent by Christ, he looks to him and his laws for support; and if men comply with their duty, he finds relief; if not, he must go to his field, as the priests of old did. A man cannot give a more glaring proof of his covetousness and irreligion, than to say, "If you will give me so much, then I will preach, but if not, be assured I will not preach to you."

So that in answering the question, instead of determining which of the evils to choose, either to disobey God and conscience, or break honor and honesty, I would recommend an escape of both evils, by entering into no such contracts; for the natural evils of imprudence that men are fallen into, neither God nor man can prevent.

A minister must have a hard heart to wish men to be forced to pay him, when through conscience, enthusiasm, or private pique, they dissent from his ministry. The spirit of the Gospel disdains such measures.

The question before us, is not applicable to many cases in Connecticut: the dissenting churches make no contracts for a longer term than a year, and most of them make none at all. Societies of the standing order, rarely bind themselves, in contract with preachers, without binding others beside themselves; and when that is the case the bond is fraudulent; and if those who are bound involuntarily can get clear, it is no breach of honor or honesty.

A few additional remarks shall close my piece.

First. The Church of Rome was at first constituted according to the gospel; and at that time her faith was spoken of through the whole world. Being espoused to Christ, as a chaste virgin, she kept her bed pure for her husband almost three hundred years; but afterwards she played the whore with the kings and princes of this world, who, with their gold and wealth, came in unto her, and she became a strumpet. And, as she was the first Christian church that ever forsook the laws of Christ for her conduct, and received the laws of his rivals, i.e., was established by human law, and governed by the legalized edicts of councils, and received large sums of money to support her preachers and her worship, by the force of civil power, she is called the mother of harlots; and all Protestant churches, who are regulated by law, and force people to support their preachers, build meeting-houses, and otherwise maintain their worship, are daughters of this holy mother.

Second. I am not a citizen of Connecticut - the religious laws of the state do not oppress me, and I expect never will personally; but a love to religious liberty in general, induces me thus to speak. Were I a resident in the state, I could not give or receive a certificate to be exempted from ministerial taxes; for, in so doing, I should confess that the legislature had authority to pamper one religious order in the state, and make all others pay obeisance to that sheaf. It is high time to know whether all are to be free alike, and whether ministers of state are to be lords over God's heritage.

And here I shall ask the citizens of Connecticut, whether, in the months of April and September, when, when they choose their deputies for the assembly, they mean to surrender to them the rights of conscience, and authorize them to make laws binding on their consciences? If not, then all such acts are contrary to the intention of constituent power, as well as unconstitutional and anti-Christian.

Third. It is likely that one part of the people in Connecticut believe, in conscience, that gospel preachers should be supported by the force of law; and the other part believe that it is not in the province of civil law to interfere, or any ways meddle with religious matters. How are both parties to be protected by law in their conscientious belief?

Very easily. Let all those whose consciences dictate that they ought to be taxed by law to maintain their preacher, bring in their names to the society clerk, by a certain day, and then assess them all, according to their estates, to raise the sum stipulated in the contract, and all others go free. Both parties, by this method, would enjoy the full liberty of conscience, without oppressing one another - the laws use no force in matters of conscience - the evil of Rhode Island law be escaped - and no person could find fault with it, in a political point of view, but those who fear the consciences of too many would lie dormant, and, therefore, wish to force them to pay. Here let it be noted, that there are many in the world who believe, in conscience, that a minister is not entitled to any acknowledegement for his services, without he is so poor that he cannot live without it; and thereby convert a gospel debt to alms. Though this opinion is not founded either on reason or scripture, yet it is a better opinion than that which would force them to pay a preacher by human law.

Fourth. How mortifying must it be to foreigners, and how far from conciliatory is it to citizens of the American states, that when they come into Connecticut to reside, they must either conform to the religion of Connecticut, or produce a certificate? Does this look like religious liberty, or human friendship? Suppose that man, whose name need not be mentioned, but which fills every American heart with pleasure and awe, should remove to Connecticut for his health, or any other cause, what a scandal would it be to the state, to tax him to support a Presbyterian minister, unless he produced a certificate, informing them that he was an Episcopalian.

Fifth. The federal constitution certainly had the advantage of any of the state constitutions, in being made by the wisest men in the whole nation, and after an experiment of a number of years trial upon republican principles; and that constitution forbids Congress ever to establish any kind of religion, or require any religious test to qualify any officer in any department of federal government. Let a man be Pagan, Turk, Jew or Christian, he is eligible to any post in that government. So that if the principles of religious liberty, contended for in the foregoing pages, are supposed to be fraught with Deism, fourteen states in the Union are now fraught with the same. But the separate states have not surrendered that supposed right of establishing religion to Congress. Each state retains all its power, saving what is given to the general government, by the federal constitution. The assembly of Connecticut, therefore, still undertake to guide the helm of religion; and if Congress were disposed, yet they could not prevent it, by any power vested in them by the states. Therefore, if any of the people of Connecticut feel oppressed by the certificate law, or any other of the like nature, their proper mode of procedure will be to remonstrate against the oppression, and petition the assembly for a redress of the grievance.

Sixth. Divines generally inform us that there is a time to come, (called the Latter Day Glory,) when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth, as the waters do the sea, and that this day will appear upon the destruction of antichrist. If so, I am well convinced that Jesus will first remove all the hinderances of religious establishments, and cause all men to be free in matters of religion. When this is effected, he will say to the kings and great men of the earth: "Now, see what I can do: ye have been afraid to leave the church and gospel in my hands alone, without steadying the ark by human law, but now I have taken the power and kingdom for myself, and will work for my own glory." Here let me add that, in the southern states, where there has been the greatest freedom from religious oppression, where liberty of conscience is entirely enjoyed, there has been the greatest revival of religion; which is another proof that true religion can, and will prevail best, where it is left entirely to Christ.

45. First published in New London, Connecticut, on his return from Virginia.

46. Some men, who are best informed in the laws of Rhode Island, say, if ever there was such an act in that state, there is nothing like it in existence at this day; and perhaps it is only cast upon them as a stigma, because they have ever been friends to religious liberty, However, as the principle is supposable, I have treated it as a real fact: and this I have done the more willingly, because nine-tenths of the people believe it is a fact.

47. The phrase of blind guides, is not intended to cast contempt upon any order of religious preachers, for, let a preacher be orthodox or heterodox, virtuous or vicious, he is always a blind guide to those who differ from him in opinion.

010 The Modern Priest


IGNATIUS, born somewhere, no matter where,
Trained up in school, and taught to say his prayer,
Tired with his task at the academy,
Jump'd over all to university:
The books he read, and read, then laid them down,
But little wiser when his task was done;
But college pedantry bore such a sway,
That soon he gained a soaring diploma,
Dubb'd like a knight on a commencement day,
Gladly he quit his task, and went his way.
He thought of doctor, lawyer, prince and priest,
And made remarks in earnest or in jest,
"Should I turn doctor, I must stem the cold,
And break my rest, to gain the shining gold;
Must make my patients think their lives and blood
Are in my hands, or I can do no good.
When men believe in witches, witches are;
But when they don't believe there are none there;
When men believe in doctors, doctors heal,
At sight of whom their patients easy feel.
If I'm a lawyer, I must lie and cheat,
For honest lawyers have no bread to eat;
'Tis rogues and villains feed the lawyers high,
And sue the men that gold and silver buy.
Should I be statesman, I must use disguise,
And, if a prince, hear nothing else but lies;
State tricks, intrigues, and arts would me confound,
And truth and honesty nowhere be found.
This way of getting money is a risk,
I judge it better to become a priest.
Preaching is now a science and a trade,
And by it many grand estates are made;
The money which I spent at grammar school
I'll treble now by teaching sacred rule.
My prayers I'll stretch out long, my sermons short,
The last write down, the first get all by rote;
While others labor six days, I but one,
For that day's work I'll gain a pretty sum.
For fifty-two days labor in a year,
The sum of eighty pounds my heart shall cheer."
So asses heads for three score pieces sold,
When famines were severe, in days of old.
Ignatius thus resolved to rise by rule,
And to a grave divine he went to school,
The science of divinity engag'd,
And read the sacred volume page by page.
The Bible was so dark, the style so poor,
He gain'd but little from the sacred store;
Pool, Whitby, Burchett, Henry, Yorick, Gill,
He read, to find what was Jehovah's will,
Gravity, rhetoric, and pulpit airs
He studied well, and how to form his prayers.
At length his master gave him commendation,
That he was qualified to preach salvation.
And with his commendation gave him more
Than twenty notes that he had us'd before;
These for his models, and his learned guides,
Helped him to form his work with equal sides.
In composition he did pretty well,
And what he could not read, he'd softly spell.
A day appointed for him to perform,
Notice was giv'n and many took th' alarm.
At the appointed hour the people came,
To hear the will of God revealed to men.
At length Ignatius came all dress'd in black,
With sacerdotal bands and three shap'd hat.
Under his arm the holy book appeared,
And in it were the notes he had prepared:
He bow'd, and bow'd, and to the pulpit steered,
Went up the stairs, and in the desk appeared,
First he address'd the throne of God supreme;-
His master's prayer, new-moddled, did for him;
Fifty-nine minutes long, prays and repeats,-
He clos'd, and all the people took their seats.
The sacred volume next he gravely spread,
Before his eyes upon his elbow bed,
And so it happened, that Ignatius hit
The very place where all his notes were writ.
His text he told, and then began to read
What he had written, with a school-boys heed,
If he presumed to look upon the folks,
His thumb stood sentinel upon his notes.
Short were the visits that his eyes could pay;
He watch'd his notes lest he should miss his way.
At the conclusion, with an angry tone,
He said his gospel came from God alone.
From this, the preacher travell'd all around,
To see where glebes and salaries were found;
Many loud calls he had where land was poor,
People were indigent, and had no store.
The calls he heard, but gravely answer'd, 'no;
To other places God calls me to go!'
At length a vacant place Ignatius found,
Where land was good, and wealth did much abound:
A call they gave him which he did embrace,
'Vox populi, vox Dei,' was the case.
A handsome settlement they gave, a farm,
With eighty pounds, and wood to keep him warm.
All things were ready for his consecration,
A sacred council came for ordination.
The candidate was first examined well,
To see if he in knowledge did excel;
The first of John he hem'd and hammered thro,'
Some things forgot, but most he never knew,
But as he'd spent his time and money both,
To fit himself to wear the sacred cloth,
All things considered, 'twas believed that he
Was a proficient in divinity.
Lineal succession rites were then perform'd,
Their hands impos'd, Ignatius gravely warn'd
The sacred care of all the flock to take,
In love, and not for filthy lucre's sake.

011 Circular Letter of the Shaftsbury Association


It is a leading characteristic of the Baptists, that without pope or king for head - without spiritual or civil courts established by law- without a conclave of bishops, or convocation of clergy - without legalized creeds or formularies of worship - without a ministry supported by law, or any human coercion in discipline, they are so far united in sentiment, respecting the New Testament, that a free correspondence and communion circulate among them. "They have no king, (on earth,) yet go they forth all of them by bands." The Bible is the only confession of faith they dare adopt- the final umpire they appeal unto for a decision of controversies.

But while we would felicitate ourselves with this infallible guide, we find ourselves boldly attacked by deists and infidels, who seek to sap the foundation of our religion, by asserting that Moses and the prophets were enthusiastical cheats, and that Jesus and his apostles were but pitiful impostors; that all their writings are like modern priestcraft - like the sublime nonsense of Jesuits.

Notwithstanding the variety of opinions, and discordance of sounds among those infidels, yet they are alike confident, and equally-assiduous in declaring what is not true, and never tell us what truth is. With all their boasted illumination in the ground and laws of nature, they never tell us what natural religion is, nor how the God of nature is to be worshiped.

It can hardly be credited, that the Parent of the universe should leave his offspring in this dreary world to make their way to eternity without some guide - some sure word of prophecy, to direct their course. That the Bible is such a guide - a revelation of God's will, written by men divinely inspired - is attempted to be supported by the following remarks:

First. The antiquity of some of the sacred writings, is an argument in favor of the divine authority. The writings of Moses are several hundred years earlier than any profane writings now extant, which proves that he did not collect them from any records, but wrote by Divine impulse; nor could he, or any other man, have told how the worlds were made and peopled, (prior to the formation of Adam,) but by a revelation from God.

Second. The honesty of the penman has some weight in the argument. Moses, for instance, gives an account of his own sin, as well as the sins of his brother and sister, and is very full in pointing out the faults of his nation, and reproving them therefor, which things are not to be found in profane authors: and when he had the offer of being made great, and his family important, he declined the offer, and prayed for the pardon and preservation of that people that he had so plainly reproved for their sins. To these things we may add, that he says not a word about his learning, wisdom and honor in Egypt; all of which look as if he did not write to honor himself, but to reveal the will of God, and to do good to mankind. The same may be said of other sacred writers; they not only made verbal confessions of their sins, but left the same on record that others might fear.

Third. Notwithstanding the Bible was about sixteen hundred years in writing, by men in different ages and in very different circumstances, yet they all speak the same things. Some allowance must be made for the different dialects and customs of the people among whom the writers lived, and also for their own peculiar way of expressing themselves; but in substance they are uniform, infinitely more so than the human accounts of great events by many authors. Many of the apparent mistakes that are in the sacred volume, no doubt, are made by our own ignorance, but if there are a few of them that have been occasioned by a multitude of transcriptions, and other causes, yet they only respect numbers and places, and in no wise affect our faith and practice.

Fourth. The prophetic essays in the Scripture, together with their exact accomplishment, are wonderful. Josiah and Cyrus were prophesied of by name a long time before they were born, and the deeds they should perform, which exactly came to pass. The destruction of various kingdoms, and by whom, was foretold, and afterwards effected. The coming of John the Baptist - the conception of Jesus Christ - the place of his birth - the work of his ministry - the manner of his death - the effusion of the Holy Ghost - the gathering of the Gentiles - the destruction of Jerusalem, and a number of things besides, were not more expressly predicted, than fully accomplished. This leads us to believe that all prophecies that are behind the screen, will, in their times, be completely fulfilled.

Fifth. The sublimity of style in which the Scripture is written, bespeaks its author to be God. Some of the most lofty strokes were delivered by rustic men. Amos, for example, was not a prophet by birth, nor trained in the schools of the prophets, but was an herdman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit, yet some of his tropes are as lofty as the heavens; and the same is true of some others who wrote. How flat and insipid are the writings of Homer, Virgil, Xenophon, Cicero, and other Pagans, when once compared with the Bible. It is not a blind devotion that Jews have paid to the Old Testament, and Christians to both old and new, but a consciousness of their supreme merit. Longinus and Cyrus both acknowledged the sublimity of the style. To this may be added the chastity of diction through the sacred volume. When it was necessary to treat of things rather indecent, it is wonderful to see what euphonisms are used by the sacred writers, and throughout the volume gravity and chastity of dialect is found, and nothing to provoke obscenity, levity, or confusion.

Sixth. The wonderful effects that the reading and explaining of the Scriptures have had on the hearts and consciences of men, form an incontestable proof of the authenticity of the Bible. The Sybils, by the Romans, and the Koran, by the Turks, have been considered as coming from God: but their admirers have only received them as directions of life, (as we do codes of laws,) and have never pretended that those books affect the heart. Here, then, appears the preeminence of the Bible above all other books, for thousands of thousands can witness that the truth of the Bible has so affected their hearts as to make them love the divine character, and cordially submit to the government of heaven. And this same word of truth has borne up the minds of those who believed it under all their misfortunes, and made them triumph in the hour of death, so that if the faith of the gospel were a delusion, it would be the best delusion in the world.

Seventh. The patient sufferings of those who have received the Scripture as a revelation from God, is another argument in its favor. These sufferings they have endured, not with the sullen air of a disappointed usurper, or the obstinate spirit of a conquered hero, but with the meekness of a Christian, prizing life, if they could enjoy it innocently, but choosing suffering and death rather than sin. It is true that men will suffer much for their own wills, but such sufferers will recriminate when it is in their power; a quite different spirit has been seen among those who have suffered for the truth's sake, and it is not rational to suppose that they would have suffered so much for the defence of imposture.

Eighth. The great care that God has manifested in keeping these writings in existence amidst so many attempts to destroy them, is remarkable, and through the various translations that they have passed, to keep the sense so pure, still confirms the idea that God will preserve his own. And if we add to this, the rage that devils and wicked men have ever had to the Bible, the presumption is very strong that it is the Book of God.

Ninth. It cannot be that the Bible was written by bad men, for it condemns every branch of vice, and it cannot be supposed that designing men would form a system to condemn themselves in every respect. If it was written by good men, it is true, for liars are not good men; and if they spake the truth, then the Bible is of God, for the writers thereof declare that they wrote by the spirit of God.

Tenth. In addition to the grandeur and uniformity of that plan of truth which the Bible contains, we may further allege in support of its divinity, that in all parts it reflects the most transcendent honor on the character of God - it contains a perfect system of morality, answerable in all respects to the purity of God, and of course tends to the highest happiness of men.

Eleventh. The judgments that have been inflicted on those who have destroyed these writings are not to be forgotten, especially on Antiochus and Dioclesian, the first of whom vented his rage against the old Testament, and the last against the new. Both seemed to share nearly one fate, and the first owned it was for destroying the writings of the Jews. Because they took away from God's book, God took away their parts from the book of life, and from the holy city; that is, he did not suffer them to live to enjoy the blessings described in his book, and when they died, he did not admit them into heaven without a change of character.

Twelfth. If the miracles recorded in the Bible are not original arguments to prove the divinity of it, yet they must raise the wonder and confidence of all those, who, for other reasons, are persuaded of its veracity, to see what wonders God has wrought to preserve his people, establish his word, and furnish his ambassadors with bright credentials that they came and wrought in his name.

These are some of the reasons we assign, wherefore we receive the Scripture as the word of God.

Our faith is firm in the divinity of the Old Testament, as it is in the New, but as many things in the Old Testament are only historical, others form a code of political laws and moral precepts, while many things therein were typical and temporary, suited to the condition of a national church, we believe that Christians should have recourse to the New Testament for precepts and precedents to direct them in social worship.

By what we have written, our desire is, dear brethren, that your faith may be confirmed in the holy Scripture, in this day of infidelity, and that in all your conduct you may give heed thereto as unto a light shining in a dark place, and thereby prove to all that behold you, that you are Bible Christians.



Wife Of Mr. Stephen Northrop, Who Departed This Life April 26, 1794.

THE following sermon was first delivered extempore, without much premeditation, or any expectation of publication; but, as the friends of the deceased have requested a copy of it, I have summed up the leading ideas, and present it to the mourners, in an abbreviated form. I am conscious of its deficiences, both as to depth of divinity, and beauty of diction; and the most that I can expect from the performance, is, that it may console the sons and daughters of sorrow, for the loss of a dear friend.

J. L.
Cheshire, July 10 1794.


THE solemn procession of the day brings to mind the following passage; Genesis 53, 2: And Sarah died in Kirjath -Arba, the same is Hebron, in the land of Canaan; and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. We are taught to be followers of them, who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises. Ambition prompts aspiring souls to walk in the steps of those who gained the summit of honor, in hopes of obtaining a similar palm. If the examples of heroes, monarchs, and men of wealth, have so much magnetic force on the sons of earth, how much more should the virtuous actions of those "Elders, who have obtained a good report," influence the sons of heaven to follow their steps? "They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible." Our text presents us a couple of characters worthy of our attention. Abraham is declared to be the father of the faithful and the friend of God; and Sarah is held forth, by the sacred penman, as a pattern for wives, in her modest apparel, and subjection to her husband. When God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees, to forsake his native country of idolatry, and travel into a strange land, where the pure worship of Jehovah should be established, Sarah was not such an unbelieving idolater as to depart from her husband; but, true to her conjugal engagement, and firm in her faith in the providence and promises of the Almighty, she cheerfully forsook her country, her kindred and their gods, and travelled in a strange land, a pilgrim and sojourner, with her beloved husband.

When God made promise to Abraham, that he should beget a son, and become the father of many nations, he changed his name from Abram (a high father) to Abraham, (a high father of a multitude;) and when it was revealed to him that Sarah, his proper wife, should bear the son from whom the nations should arise, her name was changed from Sarai (my lady) to Sarah (the lady of a multitude.) But after these promises were made, their faith and patience were long put to exercise, before they received the promise; and after Isaac was born, the joy and delight of his father, Abraham was called by God, to perform a deed, the most strange and cutting that ever man was induced to, in the performance of which he gave the most unequivocal proof of his obedience to his God. Nothing short of his strong faith in God, in raising his son from the dead, sustained the old patriarch in offering his darling son, in whose line the promises of God were fixed.

While Abraham and Sarah were travelling from place to place, they were constantly protected by an omnipresent God, who suffered no man to do them wrong, "yea he reproved kings for their sake." How safe and happy are all those who constantly trust in Abraham's God, and cheerfully obey his commands!

The things which appear most imitable in Sarah, are

First. Her leaving all that was near and dear to her, to follow and obey the God of her husband. In this she acted the part of Ruth, the Moabitess, and stands forth as a bright example for her sex to go and do likewise.

Second. Her modest subjection to her husband. Men should love their wives, as Christ loved the Church, and confer honor on them as weaker vessels; neither abuse their persons, nor expose their weaknesses. But two reasons are given why the woman should be in subjection to the man. The first is taken from the order of nature; the man was first made: the second, from the order of sin; the woman was first in the transgression.

After Sarah had lived until she was one hundred and twenty-seven years old, our text follows,

And Sarah died. Death is the common lot of all. It is an article in the creed of the universal progeny of Adam. That the death of the body came in at the door of Adam's sin, is generally believed; but whether it is a penalty, sovereignly imposed for transgression, or was naturally occasioned by the poisonous fruit of mortalization, that grew on the forbidden tree, is not a point of present examination. But one thing is certain, viz: Christ never came to take off the curse, i. e. to save men from dying. Adam and all his offspring experience it; there is no discharge in this war - innumerable have gone before, and every man follows after; the rich, the wise and venerable, indiscriminately fall a prey to the monster. The innocency of Abel, the righteousness of Noah, the faithfulness of Abraham, the virtue of Joseph, the meekness of Moses, the strength of Sampson, the valor of David, the wisdom of Solomon, the piety of the prophets, the fervor of the apostles and the godliness of later saints, deliver none from death. Neither righteousness nor wickedness repel its force. In the single article of death, man has no pre-eminence above the beast.

Some die in infancy, some in youth; some are snatched away from their busy scenes and useful enterprizes; while others live long and wear out by the decays of old age. Death has a name, but no form; it is an article abstract by itself; it hardly belongs to this world or the next; but is a kind of imaginary line between the two.

The pains that do reduce to death are great;
But death is nothing but a change of state.

Death brings all upon a level, and shows no partiality among the sons of men. And that death yet fills its throne, and reigns with unrepelled force, over the sons of dust, requires no proof today, but the sight of our eyes. My hearers, lift up your heads, and if sorrow and tears do not forbid, look to yon coffin! see the affecting trophy of death's dominion! Voracious death has slain its prey and confines its boasts within those sable boards. Think, O my soul! Think, O beholders! what we must all be reduced to. O gracious God! if we must needs die and turn to dust, to fulfil the first great threatening of heaven, is there no kind support, is there nothing to take the sting of death away? Yes, thanks to God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, the sting is destroyed, the boast and the victory taken away.

Some die in one part of the world and some in another; as for Sarah, she died "In Kirjath-Arba, the same is Hebron." Kirjath-Arba was an ancient city, built seven years before Zoan, in Egypt. The name signifies the city of four. It took its name from Arba, which is four, or from four Anakims that possessed it, viz: Anak, Sheshai, Abiman and Talmai, or from some other cause, not very material for us to know; but in the days of Moses it was called Hebron, which word signifies friendship. Perhaps this name was given to the city by Abraham, on account of the friendship he received from the inhabitants; for at this place Abraham had been long before, see Ge 13:18. Little did Abraham and Sarah think, when they were at that place before, that it was to be the grave of Sarah, and the place of mourning to Abraham; and as little do we think, at least, as little do we know, when and where will he the time and place of our dissolution. O may we be prepared to give an account of our stewardship, whenever we shall be assaulted by the pale-faced visitant.

If I may be allowed the liberty of deducing matter from the import of the word, I will say, Sarah died in friendship. To die in friendship with God, and good will with men, is an inestimable blessing. How different the case of thousands in the world, who die in duels, or in the field of battle, whose main business through life has been to study human butchery, who die in non-subjection to God, and full of wrath towards their fellow-worms. Almighty God, we ask not for thrones and sceptres, supported by oppression and blood; we ask not for power nor disposition to recriminate injuries, and take guilty revenge on those who have abused us; we rather ask for some humble lot among the sons of peace - to live like Christians, at the feet of their Saviour, being perfectly reconciled to God and his government; and, should we be insulted or abused, we wish to submit ourselves to God in well-doing - take joy-fully the spoiling of our goods, and breathe out such unfeigned prayers for our enemies as Stephen did: "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge;" or, if it would not be too presumptuous to imitate the Saviour of sinners when dying on the cross, say, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

If any of my hearers wish to know how this friendship with God is obtained, the answer is, through the blood of the Lamb. This man is our peace - this peace he obtained by the blood of the cross; there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must or can be saved. Through Jesus, God is reconciling the world unto himself; therefore, behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world; for by him, all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be by the law of Moses.

This Hebron was in the land of Canaan. Canaan was given to Abraham by promise, and to his seed by possession. It was a land where God's worship was performed in a purer manner than it was in any other place; and let Canaan, at this time, represent the worship of God. How many people, of whom there have been the most comfortable hopes, that they were born of God, and reconciled to his government, have forsaken the worship of God, and conformed themselves to the world to such a degree, that they have not only been stumbling-blocks in the world, but pierced themselves through with many sorrows. On a dying bed, which is painful enough at best, they have the additional remorse of a sad apostacy, of negligence of duty and misspent time. The Christian who would die with comfort, should live in the fear of God, and learn to die while he is living. It is a fearful thing for a man to live longer than his religion exists; but when humble piety prevails more and more, heavenly-mindedness grows brighter and brighter. Though the outward man decays, the inward man is renewed day by day. Such a person bids fair to win the prize, and gain a crown of righteousness. May we all be so wrought upon by divine grace, so believe in the promises, and so conduct ourselves in life, that, like Sarah, we may die in friendship with God and man, persevering in the worship and service of Jehovah, that the same gracious Redeemer, who said to an expiring thief, "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise," might whisper like words into our ears, when our souls expatiate for eternity.

Though Sarah was dead, she had friends still living, who paid respect to her body after her soul had left it. She had been a partner with Abraham in sorrows and joys, nor was the friendship extinguished with her mortal life; for our text informs us that

Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. He came, as some think, from the mount of God, where he had been to worship. If this was the case, then Sarah died in his absence, and upon his return he found his wife sleeping in the icy arms of death; but rather, he came from his own tent into Sarah's, to see the lifeless object of his love, and give full vent to his grief in mourning and weeping. Great souls are not insensible of losses, nor are gracious souls free from human sorrow. Old Testament saints mourned greatly for the death of their friends; and some spoken of in the New Testament, did likewise. "Devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. " Nor can mourning for the dead be reprobated, since the man of God's right hand, the God-man and Mediator, who was a perfect pattern for his followers, wept near the grave of Lazarus; and yet we are admonished by Paul to have proper bounds to our grief, especially when our godly friends make their exit, and not to mourn in sorrow, like those who have no hope in the resurrection, but to assuage our grief by believing that as certainly as Jesus died and rose again, so certainly will all those who sleep in Jesus be brought forth, and brought to see each other again. Our sorrows should never extend so high as to break out in murmuring against the dispensation, or to prevent us from the service of God, or even the duties of life. Of this we have an instance in Abraham, in the verse following the text. After the patriarch had mourned and wept a while for his dead, he cast the effeminate mourner off, and put the man of courage and conduct on, and said to the sons of Heth: "give me a possession of a burying-place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight." Fancy conjectures that, when Abraham lay mourning and weeping for his loss, after a severe contest, reason prevailed over passion, and triumphed in the following language: "Sarah, my wife, my beloved wife, the wife of my youth, is dead. She has lived with me until she was one hundred and twenty-seven years old. She has travelled, suffered, and rejoiced with me. She has been true to her conjugal engagement, and lived in the fear of God. Why should I mourn at my loss, since Heaven has thought best to call her away from me? Nay, it is not my loss; she was God's, and not mine. I gave my son, Isaac, up to God, obsequious to his order, and now I cheerfully resign my interest in my wife. But is Sarah dead? No; she yet liveth; she is living and adoring in heaven. Her body is dead, it is true, but her soul is in Paradise, basking in the sunny beams of noontide glory. Cease, then, all my

passions: let my Sarah enjoy the beautific vision of her God, till he shall see cause to call me to his bright abode, to dwell with her and all the saints forever. In the meantime, I will serve my God on earth, and attend to the duties of my family; and the first thing that presents itself to view, is to purchase a burying-place, and bury my dead out of my sight."

The husband of the deceased, today, has to act the part of Abraham. This memorable day, you have to bury your dead out of your sight. Your amiable consort, the wife of your youth, is dead: she has breathed her last, and is now sleeping in death. The sorrow that sits on your brow, and the tears in your eyes, bespeak the anguish of your soul. The oratory of solemn silence breaks forth from your heart in the language of the eastern sufferer. "Have pity upon me! have pity upon me! O, ye my friends, for the hand of God has touched me. " And, like the mourning prophet, cries: "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow, like unto my sorrow, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me. " Or, like the man after God's own heart, in his complaint: "Both lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness." Sir, your loss is great; deprived of the dear object of your love - of your domestic helpmeet, who guided the house, and governed her offspring, with subjection to her husband, in maternal fondness. But all the pleasing qualities of the mind did not secure her body from the pains and jaws of death. What still adds grief to the solemnity of the day, is her unexpected departure. Her debility was presageous to herself, of her approaching end, but no ways alarming to her friends, till within a moment of her dissolution, when she was incapable of speaking or answering to what was said. It is rational to suppose, on this occasion, that your language is this: "O, that I had been previously warned of her death, that I might have known how her hope of heaven was supported, that I might have received some counsel from her lips, and that the children might have obtained the dying charge and valediction of their mother.

Sir, your Lydia is dismissed from the troubles and cares of this life; and we have reason to believe that she has made a happy exchange of earth for heaven; if so, how much happier she is now, than ever she was before. She is now shining like the sun in the kingdom of heaven. She is now adoring before the throne of God, or flying through the vasts of heaven with messages from one choir to another; and, perhaps, is sometimes sent down to visit your abode, attend you in your solitary walks, and act the part of an official angel, though unperceived by you. Could you hear her heavenly voice today, she would tell you that she had lost all the doubts and fears that she had, when, on earth, and had gained the celestial world, that she had heard little, and knew less of when she was on earth. Her longer stay on earth might have been pleasing and profitable to you; but surely her dismission from a world of sin and trouble, and her arrival at heaven, is her great gain. Then let it be the height of your ambition to live and die the Christian, that when you leave this world you may go where we hope your dear partner now is, and join with her in praise forever.

The children next claim my address; and surely the large tears flowing from their little eyes, their swelling breasts and pensive groans affect my heart. You have lost an indulgent mother, that bore you with pain, and raised you with care; no toil was too great for her to perform, to make your lives easy. It was not her ambition to prepare you for rioting, and teach you how to act your part on the dancing-floor; no, the religion she professed forbade it; but her anxiety was to train you up in the ways of virtue. How little do children imagine, when their parents restrain their youthful folly, or recommend the ways of religion to them, that they act out of good will to their characters and love to their souls; rather, they conclude it is the effect of a rancorous spirit, calculated on purposeto make them miserable. No one, without the experience, can conceive what excruciating pain fills the gracious souls of parents, to see nothing but pride and vanity in their children: it often leads them to cry to God, like Abraham, "O that Ishmael might live before thee." It is rational to suppose that your mother has lodged many prayers in heaven, for those very children that are now mourning over her corpse. I wish, and pray God, that your present affliction may be a lasting benefit to your souls. Funeral tears too often float away and leave no impression on the heart; but remember you all must die, and appear before God in judgment, where nothing will avail you short of the blood of the Lamb; no covering screen you from the storm of wrath, but the garments of salvation and the robes of Christ's righteousness; in fine, nothing will prepare you for heaven inferior to a gracious change of heart. Though you are now in youthful bloom, yet death is near, and may be nearer than we are aware of.

Survey the garden, where the fragrant rose,
In all the youthful pride of beauty glows;
Go pluck the tempting flower, and pensive say,
So cruel death may cut me off today.

'Tis often seen and known to be a truth,
That death first preys upon the fairest youth;
The flowers that blossom first, first fade away,
The fruit that first gets ripe, will first decay.

May that God, who is a father to the fatherless, be a father and Saviour to the motherless, and preserve you from sin and damnation, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I shall now speak a word to the circle of mourners; to the aged mother, brothers, sisters, and all relatively concerned in the solemnities of the day. The present scene seems more affecting, when we consider how lately the family has been called together on a similar occasion. It is but a few days since a sister of the deceased followed her husband to the grave. Deep calleth unto deep; one stripe upon the back of another, this family receives, from the hand of the Almighty God. Surely the living are called upon to be ready to meet the Son of Man, in the dispensation of death. Ye are all uncertain which of the family will be next summoned; let each adopt the inquiry of the apostles, "is it I, " and to practise myself what I preach to you, I shall say, "my merciful God, is it I?"

Brethren, members of this church, one of our sisters has left us; her seat will be empty in this meeting-house forever. While we have been busy here and there, she is gone - gone from a church in a militant, imperfect state, to the Church triumphant. She knows more now of the world of spirits, than ever she learned, or even heaved from this pulpit; she no longer is confined to the partial knowledge, but knows as she is known; she looks no more through a glass darkly, but sees face to face. I have been happy, in seeing a considerable number join this church since I have lived among you; a few have moved away to other parts, and some few have been excluded from the communion; but this is the first mortal bereavement that the church has sustained since I have been resident in town. O may her vacancy be filled up with some of equal piety. Our expectation is from the youth. From close observation, I have noticed, that the greatest part of those who are born again, receive the gracious change between the years of sixteen and twenty-five; yet to this general rule there are many exceptions; so that those who are younger may hope, and those who are older need not despair. There have been several revivals of religion in this town, among the youth; but at present a great degree of carelessness and vanity is seen. How soon will this church dwindle away to nothing, by the removals and deaths of the present members, if recruits are not made up from the rising generation! O, thou lofty One, who inhabitest eternity, send thy good spirit down upon our youth, and turn their hearts to the love of the truth.

My hearers, one and all, I feel impressed with a sense of the uncertainty of all sublunary objects, the many ways in which death attacks the children of men, and the importance of our appearing before God, in eternity. Physicians have computed, that there are more than five-hundred ways, in which death assaults the offspring of Adam. Good God! are we yet living, when death, like a man of war, has so many instruments of mortality to reduce us to dust. It is owing to thy protective arm, Almighty Lord, that we are preserved from the terror by night, and the arrow that flieth by day; from the pestilence that walketh in darkness, and the destruction that stalketh at noon-day. When we consider the frailty of human nature, the wonder rises still higher; man has a vast number of vital fibres, infinitely smaller than a hair, and dies if one of them is broken."

Strange that a harp of thousand strings, should keep in tune so long." Whoever studies human machinery, and calls in question the constant superintendency of God, must always live in the utmost fear of death.

It is as good a conjecture as can be made, that the earth is peopled, at present, with one thousand millions of souls. According to the bills of births that are taken, it appears that half that are born, die under seven years of age; but, as this may be questioned, we will suppose that half die under fifteen; the conclusion is, that in thirty years as many as a thousand millions leave this world. Now, if we suppose that a soul leaves the world every second, which is sixty for every minute, three thousand six hundred for every hour, at the expiration of thirty years, there will be left a surplus of about fifty millions, which I conclude is as great a surplus of living souls as thirty years produce. If we then contemplate the many ways that death invades our habitations, the frailty of human nature, and the amazing constancy of souls leaving this world, we shall naturally adopt the words of Paul, and say: "Having, therefore, obtained help of God, we continue unto this time." But let the careless sinner think that, when death dislodges his soul from his body, the yawning hell will be its residence. Notwithstanding the attempts of some to prove that the soul dies with the body, and of others to maintain that all souls will go to heaven on making their exit, yet Revelation assures us of the death of a rich man, and the existence of his something, I say soul, after his body was buried; and that this something was in hell, where a great fixed gulf forever separated him from Abraham and Lazarus. When the wicked, impenitent sinner dies, he goes to the generation of his fathers, and shall never see the light. He that made him will not have mercy on him, and he that formed him will show him no favor,

If there is not something pertaining to man that does exist in a separate state, after the dissolution of the body, what did our Saviour mean in his dying prayer - "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit"? And how are we to understand Stephen, on a like occasion - "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit"? Moses died, and the Lord hid him. Moses had not been raised from the dead when our Lord was on earth, and yet he appeared on the holy mount when our Lord was transfigured; but how could this be, if there was nothing belonging to Moses that survived the death of his body? If souls know nothing when out of the body, why could not Paul tell whether he was in the body or out of it, when he was caught up into Paradise and the third heavens? and why should he give us to believe that he could be present with the Lord when absent from the body? If the souls of the martyrs do not live, sing, and pray, too, after their bodies are dead, and before their resurrection, how could John see, under the altar, the souls of them who were beheaded, hear what they said, and the answers made them? And how could the soul of a prophet bring him intelligence from heaven, if souls die with the body? Who can believe Paul, when he declared he was a Pharisee, if he did not believe their doctrine? which, in opposition to that of the Sadducees, was in spirits, angels, and the resurrection from the dead. The arguments that are brought to prove the mortality of the soul, will not admit of the existence of angels, and some of them strike directly against the existence of God.

But let souls continue ever so long in a separate state, yet the time will come - it hastens, when all will be raised from their graves, and souls and bodies will re-unite. The time is near, when we shall see a God in grandeur, and view a world in flames: when the Son of Man shall come in the clouds of heaven, and every eye shall see him. "A fire shall burn before him, and be very tempestuous round about him. " Before his great white throne, all nations will appear to their final audit. Who can stand when God doth this?

It is not easy, if possible, to tell how many people have been on the earth since its first formation. If we suppose that from Adam to the flood, they doubled once in forty-five years, by births, there was born above one hundred and thirty-seven thousand millions. In the flood, all the threads of the web were cut off' but eight. And if from the flood to this day, those eight souls have doubled in like manner, once in forty-five years, there have been born, since the flood, more than three hundred and ninety-seven thousand quatrillions, which, added to the antediluvians, make nearly four hundred thousand quatrillions. The surface of the whole globe would be as unequal to such a number, as a peppercorn is to an empire; for if the whole solid contents of the terraqueous globe was reduced to square inches, there would be more than thirty-four thousand millions of souls to each inch. But if this earth could not contain them all, when the present is burnt up, God can make a new earth big enough; but it is not certain that resurrection bodies will require grass earth to stand upon. However these things may be, all rational creatures of Adam's line, will appear before God, and hear their final doom for eternity. May we all be prepared for the midnight cry - for the grand assize - for the solemn, righteous judgment of God; that we may hear the blessed plaudit - "Well done. Enter into the joy of your God. " Amen.

013 The Yankee Spy




By the life of Pharaoh, you are a SPY! - JOSEPH.


Question. Why are men obliged, every year, to pay their taxes?

Answer. To support government.

Q. What is government?

A. The government here intended, is the mutual compact of a certain body of people, for the general safety of their lives, liberty, and property.

Q. Are all systems of civil government founded in compact?

A. No: successful robbers and tyrants have founded their systems in conquest - enthusiasts and priest-ridden people have founded theirs in grace - while men without merit have founded their system in birth; but the true principle, that all Gentile nations should found their government upon, is, compact.

Q. Was civil government appointed by the Almighty from the beginning?

A. It was not; nor was it necessary until sin had intoxicated man with the principle of self-love. The law was not made for a righteous man, but for the disobedient.

Q. What form of government prevailed first among mankind?

A. Patriarchal. The father of a family used to exercise some sovereignty over his successors, until they moved from the city of their father, and became patriarchs themselves.

Q. How long did the world stand without any government in it but patriarchal?

A. There was no other kind before the flood, (which was more than one thousand six hundred and forty-five years,) nor afterwards till Nimrod, two generations after the flood.

Q. What was Nimrod?

A. He was the first that began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord, who hunted beasts to support his army with, and hunted men to reduce them to his will.

Q. What form of government did he adopt?

A. A kingly form; for the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh. He was the first of those pretty creatures called kings, who reduced others to subjection by hunting them like beasts.

Q. Did the Almighty ever give a code of political laws to any nation? or, are nations left to act at discretion in establishing forms of government and codes of laws?

A. The Almighty did certainly give the nation of Israel a complete code of laws on Sinai, and in the wilderness, for their rule of conduct in religious, civil and military life.

Q. Were those laws obligatory on other nations?

A. Laws, that are in themselves just, are binding on all men, but the particular form of many of those laws was peculiar to that nation. The transgression of many of those precepts was criminal in that nation, which the Gentiles were never accused of by their great apostle, Paul.

Q. What did other nations do, in point of government, while Israel was in the wilderness and under the regulation of judges?

A. When Nimrod usurped the monarch's crown, the spirit of domination ran through the world like a raging plague. Ashur went out to the land of Shinar, where Nimrod's seat was, and built Nineveh, and founded the Assyrian monarchy, and the contagion of having kings, and being kings, prevailed so greatly, that every little village had a king. Abraham, with three hundred and eighteen servants, conquered four of them and their hosts - Joshua destroyed thirty-one - and Adonibezek cut off the thumbs and great toes of seventy; also eight kings and eleven dukes reigned over Edom, before any in Israel.

Q. In what condition was the nation of Israel, after they left Egypt, before Saul reigned over them, in regard to their police?

A. They were in a state of theocracy, the best of all states when people have virtue enough to bear it.

Q. Were there no men among them who exercised dominion over the rest?

A. Moses and Aaron exercised divine orders among them; the princes of the tribes and the officers bore authority, and the judges, of whom there were thirteen, had some pre-eminence, but neither of them had the power of making laws; when God appointed them, they were to execute his laws, and no other.

Q. Was the code of laws, ordained for the government of Israel, sufficient to govern other nations by, in their very different circumstances?

A. It was not. Canaan was an inland country - the people were forbidden to trade with other nations, so that no laws were made for navigation, commerce, or union; all of which are necessary in Gentile nations. And, beside, their civil and religious laws were all blended together. The Sabbath of the seventh day - seventh year, and fiftieth year - the three grand feasts, and a multitude of sacrifices, ceremonies, and oblations were enjoined on that people, which things Gentile nations have nothing to do with.

Q. Has the political part of that constitution ever been abused by Gentile legislatures?

A. Abundantly so, among Gentile nations that have become Christian; for by bringing Christian states upon the same footing with the common-wealth of Israel, they have supposed that Christian nations have a just right to dispossess the heathen of their lands and make slaves of their persons, as Israel served the Canaanites and Jebusites: for no better claim than this had the European nation to make a seizure of America. Nor is this all: civil rulers, in Christian countries, have taken the liberty of adopting such precepts of the Mosaic constitution as suited them, and punished those who would not submit, when, at the same time, they have left unnoticed a great number of the precepts of Moses which were equally obligatory.

Q. Has the ecclesiastical part of the Mosaic constitution ever been abused as well as the political part?

A. Yes, and that to a great degree. The church of Israel took in the whole nation, and none but that nation: whereas, Christ's church takes no whole nation, but those who fear God and work righteousness in every nation. But almost all Christian nations and states, since the reign of Constantine, have sought to establish national churches: in order to effect which, they have brought in all the natural seed of the professors into the pales of the church, making no difference between the precious and the vile; and from this foundation they have appealed to the laws of state, instead of the laws of Christ, to direct their mode of discipline. What a scandal it is to the Christian name to see church discipline executed in a court-house, before the judges of the police - to see censures given at the whipping-post, and excommunications at the gallows; 48. and for smaller breaches, to be admonished by a sheriff's seizing and selling cows, etc., or wiping off the admonition by a pecuniary mulct! Yet such has been, and still is the case, even in New England, that has made her boast of religion and liberty. 49. Circumcision, as to its first institution, was not of Moses, but of the fathers that lived before Moses, yet it was enjoined by Moses to be performed on all the males of Israel. From this a great number of ecclesiastics have changed blood for water, and sprinkle their children instead of bleeding them, in order to make the gospel church as extensive as the church of Israel was. Yet many of them will not admit a person to go back as far as John for the origin of baptism, because, say they, John's administration was under the law; yet they will run back two thousand four hundred years before John for a precedent of baptism. 50.

Q. Was not circumcision, to the church of Israel, the same that water-baptism is to the church of Christ?

A. If so, the following absurdities arise.

First. None but the males were circumcised: whereas, both males and females are sprinkled with water. To say that the females were virtually circumcised in the males, is just as good sense as to say the females are virtually sprinkled in the males.

Second. None were ever circumcised under eight days old, which was the general time appointed; but children are sprinkled sometimes before they are eight hours old. Midwives have been empowered to do it, in case death was nearer than a priest.

Third. Circumcision was never a priestly rite: fathers, masters, mothers, and friends did the work; but sprinkling is supposed to be a ministerial rite.

Fourth. Whatever circumcision figured out, it was something that was wrought in the spirit and done without hands; and as there is nothing done by men, that is called baptism by water, either sprinkling, pouring, or dipping, that can possibly change the spirit, so neither of them are effected without the hands of men. The conclusion, therefore, is, that the first did not figure out the last.

Fifth. None but those who were circumcised were to inherit Canaan; of course, then, none but those who are baptized with water can inherit heaven, which is a consequence inadmissible.

Q. What do you think of the British constitution of government?

A. There is no constitution in Britain. It is said, in England, that there are three things unknown, viz. the prerogatives of the crown - the privileges of parliament - and the liberty of the people. These things are facts, for although they consider the seventy-two articles of the Magna Charta as the basis of their government, yet from that basis they have never formed a constitution to describe the limits of each department of government. So that precedents and parliamentary acts are all the constitution they have.

Q. How does government operate in England?

A. A hereditary king of the Protestant faith, must always fill the throne, whether he be a wise man or a dunce. A house of lords, of the hereditary mould, must always check the house of commons.

Q. What is the house of commons?

A. It is a representative body of a small part of the nation, chosen once in seven years. It is called the house of commons, because the house of lords is a house of uncommons, supposed to be a species of beings like the Genii of the Mahometans, between angels and men, born only to rule, without having a fellow-feeling with those whom they rule over.

Q. What condition has that form of government reduced the people to?

A. It has sunk them in a debt of more than two hundred and eighty millions, so that the interest of their debt, together with the support of the civil and military lists, imposes an annual tax on the people equal to thirty shillings sterling per soul, and at the expiration of the year the nation is a million of pounds more in debt than at the beginning.

Q. How stand religious concerns in England?

A. The thirty-nine articles and book of common prayer are established by law. No man can fill any office in the civil or military departments without taking an oath to support them, and upon receiving a commission he must seal his oath with the eucharist: this is true of all, saving the members of parliament, who are obliged only to take the oath of abjuration, Curse the Pope and Papistry.

Q. But are there none in England that dissent from the established religion?

A. Many of them, of various denominations.

Q. How do they fare?

A. They are deprived of such advantages as the conformists enjoy. In addition to all their proscriptions, the tenth part of all their income is taken from them to support priests that they never hear, and in whom they place no confidence.

Q. Is it supposed that the articles and forms of the church of England are so perfect that they cannot be mended?

A. They are always perfect when dissenters are handled. Edward Wrightman was burnt to death at Litchfield, by a warrant from prince James, for saying that the worship of God was not fully described in the thirty-nine articles and book of common prayers, and nearly eight thousand lost their property, liberties, and lives in the reign of the merciful king Charles, because they could not, would not say, that they believed what they could not believe, and so conform to the established worship.

They are also always perfect when a candidate enters into holy orders, for all of them do solemnly declare that they give their unfeigned assent and consent to all and every thing contained in that book, and yet, from the first formation of that book, it has passed above six hundred alterations, and to this day, many parts of it are complained of by many of the Episcopal clergymen.

Q. What have you to say about the Federal Constitution of America?

A. It is a novelty in the world: partly confederate, and partly consolidate- partly directly elective, and partly elective one or two removes from the people; but one of the great excellencies of the Constitution is, that no religious test is ever to be required to qualify any officer in any part of the government. To say that the Constitution is perfect, would be too high an encomium upon the fallibility of the framers of it; yet this may be said, that it is the best national machine that is now in existence.

Q. What think you of the Constitution of Massachusetts?

A. It is as good a performance as could be expected in a state where religious bigotry and enthusiasm have been so predominant.

Q. What is your opinion of having a bill of rights to a constitution of government?

A. Whenever it is understood that all power is in the monarch - that subjects possess nothing of their own, but receive all from the potentate, then the liberty of the people is commensurate with the bill of rights that is squeezed out of the monarch.

After the conquest of William, the government of England was completely monarchical, until the reign of king John, when the Magna Charta was given to the people: this has often been mentioned in America as a sufficient reason for a bill of rights, to preface each constitution: but in republican, representative governments, like those of America, where it is understood that all power is originally in the people, and that all is still retained in their hands, except so much as for a limited time is given to the rulers, where is the propriety of having a bill of rights? In this view, no such bill is found in the Federal Constitution.

But it is not my intention, at this time, to dispute the point of propriety or impropriety of a bill of rights, but shall only add that the liberty of the people depends more upon the organization of government, the responsibility of rulers, and the faithful discharge of the officers, than it does upon any bill of rights that can be named.

The illustrious patriots of Massachusetts, in framing their Constitution of government, in 1780, prepared a bill of rights, which is adopted in the state, on which I shall make some remarks. The bill contains thirty articles, upon a few of which I shall animadvert.

In the second article it is said, "it is the right and duty of all men publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being." This article would read much better in a catechism than in a state constitution, and sound more concordant in a pulpit than in a state-house.

Suppose there are, in Massachusetts, a number of Pagans and Deists: the Pagans, upon hearing that it is their duty to worship one Supreme Being only, must consequently renounce all other deities whom they have been taught to adore; here their consciences must be dispensed with, or the constitution broken. The Deist, who believes all religion to be a cheat, must either act the hypocrite, or disregard the supreme law of the State. This duty is called a right: if every man has this right, then he has a right to judge for himself, and will hardly thank any body for turning his right into what they may call a duty. That it is the duty of men, and women too, to worship God publicly, I heartily believe, but that it is the duty or wisdom of a convention or legislature to enjoin it on others, is called in question, and will be, until an instance can be given in the New Testament, that Jesus, or his apostles, gave orders therefor to the rulers of this world.

It is the duty of men to repent and believe - to worship God in their closets and families as well as in public - and the reason why public worship is enjoined by authority, and private worship is omitted, is only to pave the way for some religious establishment by human law, and force taxes from the people to support avaricious priests.

What leads legislators into this error, is confounding sins and crimes together - making no difference between moral evil and state rebellion: not considering that a man may be infected with moral evil, and yet be guilty of no crime, punishable by law. If a man worships one God, three Gods, twenty Gods, or no God - if he pays adoration one day in a week, seven days, or no day - wherein does he injure the life, liberty or property of another? Let any or all these actions be supposed to be religious evils of an enormous size, yet they are not crimes to be punished by the laws of state, which extend no further, in justice, than to punish the man who works to his neighbor.

When civil rulers undertake to make laws against moral evil, and punish men for heterodoxy in religion, they often run to grand extremes. The eating of a potatoe for food, and using emetics for physic, were once considered in France as religious evils. Galileo was once excommunicated and banished by the Pope's bull, as a man of dangerous heresy, because he believed in the Copernican system. The ancients were treated as heretics, who believed they had antipodes. The court of Zurich made a law to drown Felix Mentz with water, because he was baptized in water. In short, volumes might be written, and have been written, to show what havoc among men the principle of mixing sins and crimes together has effected, while men in power have taken their own opinions as infallible tests of right and wrong.

The third article of the bill of rights is similar to the second in its structure. It is said,

"The people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorise and require, and the legislature shall from time to time authorise and require the several towns, parishes, etc., to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily."

If the legislature of this commonwealth have that power to institute and establish that religion, which they believe is the best in the world, by the same rule, all the legislatures of all the commonwealths, states, kingdoms and empires that are in the world, and that have been in the world, may claim the same.

If dumb idols are called devils, and idolatry is the religion of the devil, this claim of power brings all the Gentile nations under the government of the devil. Idolatry was established by this pretended power in the Gentile nations, when the Christian religion was first sent among them; now if that establishment was right, then the apostles were wrong in separating so many thousands from the established religion. They were guilty of effecting a schism, and government was innocent in inflicting such punishment upon them and their adherents. In process of time, the religion of Christ prevailed so far that it was established in the empire of Rome; at which epoch it received a deadly wound, which gradually reduced it to superstition, fraud and ignorance; so that, in the sixteenth century, a number of kingdoms and principalities protested against the church of Rome; but this was a grand piece of obstinacy, if rulers have the power that the article under consideration says belongs to the legislature of Massachusetts. These Protestants, especially in England, retained so many of the Papal relics, that great numbers became nonconformists; here they repeated their crime, rejecting the English establishment, as well as that of Rome. Some of those nonconformists came into New-England, and soon began to exercise that power which the bill of rights says they have a right to.

Now, how shall all these evils be remedied? answer - all who have dissented from the established religion of New-England must return to that fold, an d confess their errors; then all must return to the church of England, and submit to that establishment; then, joining with the Episcopalians, all must apply to the Pope for pardon, and submit to his uncontrolable authority; then, with the Papists, all must return to the Pagans, and submit to the Polytheism. If the power spoken of is right, then this mode of procedure is right; and, therefore, if it is not the natural consequence of religious establishments by human law, to bring all men under the government and religion of the devil, it is because there is neither devil nor devilish religion in the world.

It is observed, that the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with this power." But where do they get this right? The universe is composed of a multitude of units; so this commonwealth is formed by a number of individuals. The confederacy is the sovereign, and rulers are agents; and how can the creature have more power than the Creator? Propter quod unum quodque est tale, illud tpsum est magis tale. Whatever is found in the commonwealth, in aggregate, is found in small, essential particles among all the individuals; if, therefore, this power is in the commonwealth, each individual has a little of it in his own breast; and has a right to exercise it towards his neighbor, and force him to worship God, when, where, and in such a manner as he himself shall choose; and if this be the case, what means the first article in the bill of rights; where it is said, "all men are born free and equal." To be consistent, either that clause should be erased, or the power contended for given up.

This power is to be used to oblige the people "to make suitable pro-vision at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God. " I have long been of the belief that Jesus Christ instituted his worship; and if my faith is well founded, then it is not left for rulers to do in these days; but, surely nothing more can be meant by it, than that the legislature shall incorporate religious societies, and oblige them to build houses for public worship. Parishes, precincts, and religious societies politically embodied, are phrases not known in the New Testament; convey ideas contrary to the spirit of the gospel, and pave the way for force and cruelty, inadmissible in Christ's kingdom, which is not of this world. If any number of real saints are incorporated by human law, they cannot be a church of Christ, by virtue of that formation, but a creature of state.

This power is further to be exercised, to require the people to be at expense "for the support and maitenance of public Protestant preachers."

Preaching by the day, by the month, by the year, annual taxes for preaching; what strange sounds these are! not strange in these days; but such strangers in the New Testament, that they are not to be found there. How insignificant would the federal government be, if it was dependant on the laws of the states to support its officers! That government that has not force enough in it to support its officers, will soon fall; just so with the government of Jesus. The author of our religion has appointed a maintenance for his teachers; but has never told the rulers of this world to interfere in the matter.

How much did John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, James or John, ask per year? Answer: I know not. If a man preaches Jesus, he cannot ask enough for it; the gold of Ophir cannot equal it; if he preaches himself, it is good for nothing.

Strange it is, that men should pretend to be sent by God to preach to sinners, and yet will not do the work of the Lord, unless they can get men to be legal bondsmen for Jehovah.

To read in the New Testament, that the Lord has ordained that those that preach the gospel shall live by its institutions and precepts, sounds very harmonical; but to read in a state constitution, that the legislature shall require men to maintain teachers of piety, religion and morality, sounds very discordant.

We may next observe, that the legislature of Massachusetts have not power to provide for any public teachers, except they are Protestant. Pagans, Turks and Jews, must not only preach for nothing; but Papists, those marvellous Christians, cannot obtain a maintenance for their preachers by the laws of their commonwealth. Such preachers must either be supported voluntarily, support themselves, or starve. Is this good policy? Should one sect be pampered above others? Should not government protect all kinds of people, of every species of religion, without showing the least partiality? Has not the world had enough proofs of the impolicy and cruelty of favoring a Jew more than a Pagan, Turk, or Christian; or a Christian more than either of them? Why should a man be proscribed, or any wise disgraced, for being a Jew, a Turk, a Pagan, or a Christian of any denomination, when his talents and veracity as a civilian, entitles him to the confidence of the public.

The next thing to be noticed is, that the legislature of Massachusetts is invested with power and "authority to enjoin upon all the subjects an attendance upon the instructions of the public teachers, at stated times and seasons." By which stated times, no doubt, is meant the days called Sabbaths, Sundays, (Sondays,) First-days or Lord's-days. I shall not dispute the point about the holy-day, whether it was enjoined on men from the beginning, or never before the manna was given in the wilderness; whether the fourth commandment in the decalogue, was of a moral or ceremonial nature; whether it was binding on all nations, or only on Israel; whether the same day of the week is to be kept to the end of the world; whether the seventh part of time answers the end of the law, or whether the seventh day is changed for the first; but shall use the liberty of saying, that the appointment of such stated holy-days, is no part of human legislation. I cannot see upon what principle of national right, the people of Massachusetts could invest their legislature with that power; and as I cannot deduce it from the source of natural right, so neither can I find a hint in the New Testament, that Jesus or his apostles, ever re-proved any for the neglect of that day; or that they ever called upon civil rulers to make any penal laws about it. And it is curious to see what havoc rulers make of good sense, whenever they undertake to legalize said day. No longer ago than 1791, the legislature of this commonwealth made a sabbatical law; wherein, for the groundwork, they say, that the seventh part of time is to be kept holy; but how do they calculate time? A man on a journey may travel until Saturday night, midnight, and begin again on Sunday at sundown; if eighteen hours is the seventh part of a week, then their calculation is good; but being conscious that it is not, they make it up (i. e. pay what they have borrowed) out of recreation; for such exercise must cease on Saturday at the going down of the sun, and continue to cease till Sunday midnight. It may further be observed, that the law of God, and the laws of men, differ widely in phrase; the law that enjoined the observance of the seventh day on the nation of Israel, which came from Jehovah, did not except the works of necessity and mercy; neither man, maid, nor beast were to work - but a little way were they to travel - a bundle of sticks was not to be gathered and laid on the fire - nor had they any orders to assemble on that day, in a stated manner, to read the law of Moses. It was to be a day of rest, which gave it the name Sabbath; but the laws of men have so many exceptions, that nothing, and anything, are done on said day.

But however these things are, the legislature of this state is to oblige the people to assemble on, these stated times, to hear the instructions of these teachers of piety, religion and morality, if there be any on whose instructions they can conscientiously and conveniently attend. Here is a gap wide enough for any man to creep out if neglecting to go to meeting is not justified by pleading inconveniency, his conscience will soon do it; but whether he goes to church or not, his pennies must go to the treasurer's purse.

It is true that one sect of Protestant Christians has as fair an opportunity to be incorporated as another, but there are many who justly despise the idea of religious incorporation by human law, and therefore those who do not, have an undue advantage over others. Supposing, in France, the National Convention should decree that all sects of Christians, that believed that kings, in certain cases, might wear their heads and crowns upon them, should have equal privileges in France, I ask, whether the Jacobin party would share equal favors with the royalists? So, in this case, all sects of Protestant Christians that choose to be incorporated, may elect their own teachers and contract with them for their maintenance, and assess it upon all within their respective precincts; but those who cannot, in conscience, accord with this legal religion, must pay their tax with the rest, and be at the trouble of drawing it out of the treasury again, which sometimes occasions vexatious lawsuits.

Now, if it should be argued that a great many in this commonwealth believe, in their consciences, that it is the best way to serve God, to have societies incorporated by law, and levy a tax upon all to support their worship and maintain their teachers, how easily the above evils might be prevented, and all enjoy liberty of conscience. If those only, who are conscientious in legal religion, are incorporated, and tax none but themselves, there will be no cruel distraining from those whose consciences dictate another mode of worship. A man can cheerfully work when he verily believes he is doing God service; a man, therefore, who believes in religious incorporation, can joyfully give in his name to be taxed; and he who believes that the law has nothing to do about religious worship, can as joyfully stay at home. The last of these have as good grounds to judge that the first plead conscience for cruelty, as the first have to judge that the last plead conscience for covetousness.

But there is no need for a constitutional clause about things of this nature; for if a number of men contract with a preacher, for a year, or for life, the bond which they give him, is as recoverable by law as any bond whatever; but the poison of such contracts is, including those who do not act voluntarily, and perpetuating them upon their successors or natural offspring.

The last clause of the third article reads thus:

"And every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another, shall ever be established by law."

On this section I have several remarks to make:

First. The first part of it is very liberal, to a certain degree; but if it read all men instead of every denomination of Christians, it would be unexceptionable.

When the Pagans were favored by law, more than Christians, what devastation it made in the empire of Rome, in the first introduction of the Christian religion, until the reign of Constantine. In the first three centuries, almost two millions of lives were lost for conscience sake. These were men, women and children, who were as good subjects of state as any in the empire. After the change in the empire, when the Christian religion became established by law, the Pagans suffered in the same manner that the Christians had done in the ten preceding persecutions. Who can read the history of these sufferings without seeing the bad policy of establishing either of the religions in the empire?

Second. Although the clause now under consideration is some what liberal, indeed entirely so among Christians, yet it nowise accords with a former clause in the same article, where the legislature is forbidden to incorporate any Christians but Protestants, at least, are not vested with power to do it. Protestants only can be formed into religious societies and distrain for a maintenance for their teachers.

One of two things must be granted; either that Papists are no Christians, or that there is a partiality established. Among little souled bigots, who believe nobody right but themselves, who confine the Christian religion to their own sect, and conclude that they have the exclusive right to monopolize salvation, it would not be strange to hear that Papists, and all others who differed with them in sentiment, were no Christians; but this cannot be the case here. The framers of the constitution were men of information and acquaintance with the world; the result is, then, that there is a contradiction in the two clauses of the same article.

Such is the state of things in Massachusetts, that the legislature, according to the power vested in them by the first part of the third article, have made such laws as have effected a subordination of one sect to another, contrary to the last clause in the same article.

On March 23, and June 28, 1786, two acts passed; the first respecting towns, the other precincts, which effect the subordination just mentioned. These two laws were somewhat uniform in structure, and therefore a quotation from one of them may suffice in this place. Each inhabitant has the power of voting in town or precinct affairs, who pays two-thirds more in one tax than a poll tax; and then follows,

"That the freeholders and other inhabitants, in each respective town, qualified as aforesaid, at the annual meeting for the choice of town officers, or at any other town-meeting regularly warned, may grant add vote such sums of money as they shall judge necessary for the settlement, maintenance and support of the ministry, to be assessed upon the polls and property within the same, as by law provided."

Now if any Christians but Protestants are thus incorporated, the constitution is violated; and if none but Protestants, what may the Catholics say? But this is not all; by this act, property entitles a man to church privileges. A degree of simony is contained in the act. The wisest man that was ever born of a woman could not estimate wisdom, by all the gold and pearls on earth; but here a little property procures it; at least, an annual tax entitles a man to the rights of it. Whether these voters are spiritual, moral, or profane, they have an equal suffrage in the choice of spiritual teachers, who have, or should have, the cure of souls at heart.

It is well known, that there are a number of Baptists in this state; in some towns they and their adherents form a majority; but in the greatest part of the towns, those called the standing order are superior to all the rest. As the Baptists are Protestants, where they form a majority, they might be incorporated as well as others, and tax all in the town or precinct to part with their money for religious uses. But it is well known that they are principled against it. They do not believe that the legislature have any proper authority, upon the scale of good policy, to make any laws to incorporate religious societies and require a maintenance for the ministry. Now the question is, Do their sentiments prevent their demeaning themselves as peaceable subjects of state? Let those who differ with them in judgment answer. Yet from their known and conscientious principles, how are they reduced to subordination in various places?

In a town or precinct where the Baptists are a minority, the major part choose and settle a minister; the expense is levied upon all according to poll and property; the Baptists, in this case, must either part with their money to support a religion that they do not fully believe in, or be suborbinate enough to get a certificate to draw it out of the treasurer's hands. Some have condescended to the last mode, as being the best alternative they had; while others have had such a disgust to submit to a power, belonging neither to the kingdom of the Messiah, nor the civil government on earth, that they would not bow let the consequences be what they would. The distraining law-suits and oppressions that have risen from this source, even since the ratification of the present constitution, need not be mentioned at this time.

One observation more shall close my strictures on this article. It is well noticed that none shall be protected by law, but those who properly demean themselves as peaceable subjects of the commonwealth. This, however should be extended to all men, as well as to Christian denominations.

For any man, or set of men, to expect protection from the law, when they do not subject themselves to, government, is a vain expectation. Let a man's motive be what it may., let him have what object soever in view; if his practice is opposed to good law, he is to be punished. Magistrates are not to consult his motive or object, but his actions.

Without adverting to Bohemia, Munster, or any part of Europe or Asia for instances, we shall pay attention to a few recent transactions of our own. A Shaking-Quaker, in a violent manner, cast his wife into a mill-pond in cold weather; his plea was, that God ordered him so to do. Now the question is, Ought he not to be punished as much as if he had done the deed in anger? Was not the abuse to the woman as great? Could the magistrate perfectly know

whether it was God Satan, or ill-will, that prompted him to do the deed? The answers to these questions are easy.

In the year of 1784, Matthew Womble, of Virginia, killed his wife and four sons, in obedience to a Shining One, who, he said, was the Son of God, to merit heaven by the action; but if the court had been fearful of offending that Shining One, and pitied Womble's soul, they would never have inflicted that punishment upon him which they did the October following. Neither his motive, which was obedience, nor his object, which was the salvation of his soul had any weight on the jury.

Should magistrates or jurors be biased by such protestations, the most atrocious villains would always pass with impunity.

I shall here add, that in Scotland, two women were brought before the sessions for fornication; one of them was a church member and the other was not. She who was a daughter of Zion was pitied, and the man who had defiled her was judged a vile seducer, and severely fined; but she who was not a member of the church, was judged a lewd slattern, and was driven out of the parish, that she might not deceive honest men, any more.

Should a man refuse to pay his tribute for the support of government, or any wise disturb the peace and good order of the civil police, he should be punished according to his crime, let his religion be what it will; but' when a man is a peaceable subject of state, be should be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.

It is often the case, that laws are made which prevent the liberty of conscience; and because men cannot stretch their consciences like a nose of wax, these non-conformists are punished as vagrants that disturb the peace. The complaint is: "These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble the city." Let any man read the laws that were made about Daniel and the three children, and see who were the aggressors, the law makers or the law breakers. The rights of conscience should always be considered inalienable - religious opinions as not the objects of civil government, nor any way under its jurisdiction. Laws should only respect civil society; then if men are disturbers they ought to be punished.

Among the many beautiful traits of the constitution of Massachusetts, the provision made for its revision shines with great effulgence.

Permanency and improvement should be mixed together in government. But few nations have ever had patriotism sufficient to remove the radical deficiencies of government, without falling into convulsion and anarchy. There are certain ebbs and tides in men, and bodies of men, which often break over all proper bounds, without a proper check. To leave government, therefore, so mutable that a bare majority can alter it, when under some prevailing passion, exposes that permanency that the good of the whole, and the confidence of allies, call for. In this last view of things, some real, confessed evils had better be borne with, than to make government too fluctuating. In the federal government, it requires two-thirds of the states, or two-thirds of the members of Congress, to change the constitution. In Massachusetts the same; but not till after the experiment of fifteen years. However this may appear to others, to me it appears one of the fairest lines in the constitution; a signal of a patriotic people, conscious of their liability of mistake, wishing to improve in policy, attached to energy and freedom. And there is no doubt but, in the year 1795, the citizens of this state may meet by their delegates, and coolly impove upon the constitution, and remove its defects, that time and experience have discovered, without the least danger of tumult or noise. Should that be the case, it is hoped that some things respecting religion will be altered, which is the chief end of the publishing of this small tract.

If the constitution should be revised, and anything about religion should be said in it, the following paragraph is proposed:-

"To prevent the evils that have heretofore been occasioned in the world by religious establishments, and to keep up the proper distinction between religion and politics, no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification of any officer, in any department of this government; neither shall the legislature, under this constitution, ever establish any religion by law, give any one sect a preference to another, or force any man in the commonweatlth to part with his property for the support of religious worship, or the maintenance of ministers of the gospel."

48. The Baptists and Newlights have been imprisoned, fined, and whipped, and witches and Quakers have been hung in Massachusetts.

49.Seizing and selling, for ministerial tax, is still practised in many towns to this day.

50. A Reverend Gentleman in the county of Worcester, who, like many of his brethren, views John's baptism under the law, contends for infant baptism from Ge 9:27. That the laws of Moses was in force while John lived, and even to the death of Jesus, I do not deny; but that John baptized in Jordan and Enon, such, and such only, as brought forth fruits of repentance, by an order of the law, will be denied until it can be proved If no institution, appointed before the death of Christ, is imitable for Christians, the holy-supper should be neglected.

014 Corresponding Letter of the Shaftsbury Association 1796



As the indulgent Guardian of men has preserved our lives, and brought us together at this our annual meeting, we have now an opportunity of addressing you in our collective capacity. It is a saying of the wise man, that "two are better than one, and a threefold cord is not easily broken." From which we learn that the great design of Heaven, manifested by nature's great law, as well as revelation, is that men should be helpers of each other. The feeble state of infants, the unwary paths of youth, the decrepitude of old age, the want in each sex of the other to make life agreeable, and, indeed, the inability of individuals to execute business of agriculture and arts of mechanism, all evince the utility of society in civil life. Nor are arguments less conclusive or pungent in matters of religion. But how are the laws of Heaven (in some sort) frustrated by sin! rather, we express it, the plum is gathered from the thorn, the rose from the brier, and the honey from amidst the stings. How has sin, how does self-love and self importance, torment and chafe our minds among those very persons, our partners, our nearest connections, whom Heaven has appointed for our comforters, and without whom we are more forlorn than the beasts of the wilderness. But is there no antidote, is there no way to escape all the snarls of social life? O, gracious Heaven! show us the way - the hidden way, to obtain all the blessings of society without the disadvantages thereof. But here, again, we check the language of our hearts; for the voice of revelation promises, neither to individuals nor societies, in this world, good without evil, peace without contention, a crown without a cross, nor profit without incumbrance. Seeing, then, that this world is a mixture of good and evil, and men are in a middle state, between the consummate holiness of heaven, and the entire deformity of hell, let us wait patiently till our change comes; nor be so overcharged with the evils of life, as to neglect the use of those talents and means that God has assigned us in our pilgrimage here on earth. In this point of light, we joyfully embrace this opportunity of corresponding with you, by letter and delegates, wishing that we might suggest a little to you, (at least two mites,) for your furtherance in the gospel, and that, in return, we might receive much from you, for our reproof, instruction and comfort.

We conceive that the church of Christ, which is the kingdom of heaven, is not governed by the laws of men, but by the laws of Christ; not by the acts of parliament, but by the acts and epistles of the apostles; not defended by carnal weapons, and instruments of death, but by spiritual weapons, and instruments of righteousness. "Not by might and power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord."

This kingdom forms no alliance with the kingdoms and states of this world, but is distinct from them, yet containing subjects in all of them, to be redeemed from among them. The negotiations, failures, violations, ratifications, or punctual compliances of treaties between earthly kingdoms and states, no wise affect the church in its spiritual standing, which is secured in the great treaty between Jehovah and the Mediator. "The council of peace was between them both;" in which covenant the persons and blessings of Christ's kingdom are both made sure. The offspring and vessels all hang upon this nail.

Dear brethren, if such is the security and happiness of the saints, oh, let us never forget the price of our redemption. The blessed Jesus came into this world, not to teach men husbandry, or the mechanical arts - not to instruct them in politics, or any of the branches of science or natural philosophy; he never taught man the use of the magnet, or the mariner's art. No; these things are good and profitable among men, but infinitely beneath the cause that Jesus came to espouse. He came to do the will of him who sent him, and to finish his work - to magnify his law, to clear his amiable character, to make a display of his excellent perfections, to build up truth, to expose sin, conquer Satan, and save sinners by his blood. Oh, how immense the love! how free the grace! how inexpressible the kindness! how painful the conflict! how interesting to us, and how triumphant to himself, the victory! The bleeding victim, slain under the Mosaic institution, the blood and smoke of the Jewish altars, but feebly pointed out the great offering of Christ, to make atonement for the sins of men.

Let Arians, Socinians, or any others, undervalue the bloody sacrifices and vicarious sufferings of the God-man, Christ Jesus, yet on this foundation we trust our souls, and humbly hope to spend a long eternity in finding out this knowledge of witty inventions, and adoring the wisdom, love and grace, which we never expect, nor ever wish to comprehend.

Since our last association, our dear brother, Rev. Joshua Morse, of Sandisfield, has departed this life. He began the work of the ministry in his youth, has followed it with unwearied zeal, solemn devotion and practical piety, to a good old age, and died in the triumphs of faith. We have gospel grounds to believe that, while we are associating here on earth, and see his seat empty among us, he is associating with the saints in heaven, and filling his seat among the servants of the Lord, and has heard and received the blessed plaudit: "Well done, good and faithful servant; because thou hast been faithful over a little, I will make thee ruler over much. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Oh! may all of us, who are called upon to minister in holy things, be faithful unto death, that we may receive a crown of life. And may the Lord raise up and send forth able, wise, spiritual, and faithful laborers into his vineyard.

As to the state of our churches, there is nothing very flattering, nor is there anything peculiarly discouraging. A worldy, careless spirit too much abounds in general; but there are some revivings. Upon the whole, we can say "the Lord reigns," and his word of revelation recommends itself to us with satisfactory evidence. The preceding minutes will give any curious inquirer the number of our churches, and what alterations have taken place since our last anniversary.

In this present session, moderation and good order have presided, and some quickenings of the Holy Spirit. And may the word and spirit of the living God be our guide and comforter forever. Amen. 51

51. It is possible some alterations were made in this, and perhaps, also, the other associational letters, by the bodies for which they were prepared; but what these changes were, we have now no means of ascertaining.

015 A Blow At The Root


I will also show mine opinion. - Elihu.

Shoot at her, spare no arrows, for she hath sinned against the Lord. - JEREMIAH.

MAN comes into the world needy, dependent, frail, and polluted. He is born without clothes and shoes, and with his mouth opened by a craving appetite. These needs have given rise to the various arts so studiously and gradually learned among men.

The need of a shirt has set the farmer to work to raise his flax, and the woman to spin and weave it: which again has set others to work to make tools for the farmer, spinner, and weaver to perform with, etc. The need of a jacket has taught men to raise sheep and manufacture their wool, which also employs a number of artisans beside, before the coat of a sheep is turned into a coat for a man. The need of shoes has discovered a use for the skins of beasts, and taught the tanner, the currier, and shoe-maker, with all others connected therewith, their respective arts. The open mouth and craving appetite, has given rise to the many agricultural arts, to raise food: and taught the butcher and cook, with a thousand others in train, to perform their parts in life. The surplus of necessaries, conveniencies, and luxuries, that are in one part of the world, and the want of many other articles, if they did not give rise to ship-building and navigation, employ abundance of men in carrying their exports and bringing home their imports. The need of shelter from the storm has formed the carpenter, mason, glazier, and a long list besides; and if the three sons of Cain, whose names were Fire, Light, and Flame, first found out fire by rubbing two sticks together, as some say, yet the tending, securing, and using of it, to warm and cook with, have employed a number of artists. The subject cannot be developed by me, I believe not by any man. To contemplate the rise of human nature, from its first state of barbarous ignorance in the beginning, to the present state of improvement in agriculture and the arts; to enquire how the first artisans got tools to execute their arts; together with the coincidence of all the parts, forming one great whole, is a subject so extensive and intricate, that no being but Him who teaches men knowledge, and who is infinite in knowledge himself, can comprehend it. These are parts of thy works, O Lord.

The doctrine so earnestly contended for, that all men came into the world free and independent, may, in a very small sense be true: indeed, it appears to be wholly true, in the sense intended by those who adopt the maxim, but in the view of things which I am now pursuing, freedom and independence are but little more than names. Man comes into the world more dependent than the quadruped - more helpless than the bird - more forlorn than the insect. As soon as he is born, he is involuntarily dragged from place to place by the sovereign arm of his nurse, and has one bitter thing after another crammed down his throat, entirely against his will: if he is in a serious mood, the fond mother will tickle him to make him laugh, and if he chooses to cry, she will stop his mouth with the pap. Pray where is the freedom of this child?

But further, when the child grows larger, if he chooses to pull the tea-cup off the table, his hand is confined, and if he chooses to put his fingers in the milk, it is moved out of his reach; if it is his will to run out in the mud or snow, he is called into the house, and if he chooses to stand in front of the fire, he is ordered to give place to his seniors; if it is his pleasure to set up at night he is ordered to bed, and if he desires to take a morning nap he is called up to work. When sent to school, he is often forced to be poring over his dull lesson or knotty sum, when he had much rather be at play. Now the question is, who speaks truth, the statesman or the child? The statesman says, that "man comes into the world free:" the child says, he "can never do as he pleases without being scolded at or controlled."

If we consider that freedom does not authorise one man to destroy the freedom of another, but that freedom is to be governed by the laws of good order, and that all beside is licentiousness, and tends to bondage in the final event, the seeming contradiction is reconciled.

The bondage just mentioned above, does not cease with our infantile or juvenile years, but remains with men through every stage of life. In riper years - in a connubial state - in parental concerns - in human society, both civil and religious - in short, in all their connections in life, they are bound to bear innumerable disappointments and crosses which are unavoidable.

The dependence of man further appears, in his inability to accomplish the works of husbandry or mechanism by himself, and in his entire incapacity, as a unit, to defend himself from a stronger man than himself, or a number of them in conjunction, who make an attack upon his life, liberty, or property. Hence results the propriety of human confederation, to effect the works of life, and defend the innocent from the depredations of villains.

Man is also frail - formed out of the dust - animated clay - possessing a heavenly spark that never can decay. That man is complex, to me is clear, but his immaterial, immortal part, is not an article of present animadversion: his material, mortal part is frail. Diseases, called the "first born of death," are in his tabernacle. The multitude of diseases, both internal and external, which men are subject to, have taught them the medical quality of roots, plants, minerals, barks, fruit, gums, etc. Hence chemists, apothecaries, physicians and surgeons have arisen. Accident and experiment have taught men, that in the growths of nature, there is both a medicinal and nutritive quality. What proficiency was made in the science of physic before the days of AEsculapius and Hippocrates, I cannot tell, but the first of these was worshipped in the form of a serpent, for his great skill in physic, the other reduced physic to a system, and it is now considered as one of the liberal arts.

Man is likewise polluted. That all rational creatures came from the hands of God pure, at first, is both reasonable and scriptural, but how these pure creatures could pollute themselves, is an intricate question: perhaps no man, in this period of existence, can fully illustrate, or even conceive of it, but one thing is certain, viz., God is always the same, infinite in love and in power. Now if sin and misery have arisen among the creatures of God, and have existed six thousand years, what argument can be drawn from the nature of God, to prove that sin and misery will not always exist.

This pollution may be considered both in a moral and social, or political point of light. Moral evil is the transgression of the moral law of God. This law is not confined to the prohibition that God laid on Adam, nor yet to the decalogue, or ten commandments, but it is that eternal rule of right, which took its rise in the scale of being, and runs through the Bible like a golden chord, enjoining on all rational creatures that which is right of itself, both towards God and man, in all places and conditions of life: any deviation from this rule is moral evil, commonly called sin. This pollution is that which all men, by nature, are in, and although this apostacy is not the cause of the eternal union that subsists between Christ and men, nor the cause of their being raised from earth to heaven, yet it was the cause of Jesus' agonizing in death, and of ministers being sent to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins to the children of men.

Social or political evil, consists in actions only - the philanthropy or turpitude of the heart, the motives, views, or designs of men, are entirely out of the question before this tribunal. The divine government of Jehovah takes cognizance of every exercise of the heart, as well as all external actions, but social government arrests visible actions only. Hence it appears that all political evils are moral evils, but all moral evils are not political evils. No evil, simply moral, is punishable by a political tribunal, yet every political evil comes within the jurisprudence of the Almighty, because it is morally wrong.

Social pollution influences men to work ill to their neighbors, to prevent which civil government was appointed. "The law was not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient." "The powers that be, are ordained of God. " Rulers are God's ministers. That civil government in the hands of men, is an evil of itself, admits of no doubt. The vast expense to the community- the pride and cruelty of those in power - the intrigue and chicanery made use of by aspiring, avaricious men to gain seats of importance, and the arts and dissimulation used to keep their real designs out of view, prove the hypothesis that government is an evil, but with all these horrid features, it is a choice among evils - in fact, a necessary evil, to prevent greater evils. In this case, one of those instances appear, where, of two evils, the least is a chosen good.

How extensive this government is, is a point in which legislators, philosophers, and men in general, are greatly divided. Some suppose, that when government is formed and organised, those in office have power to make all civil, municipal, sumptuary and religious laws, and that any disregard of those laws, is a moral evil they seem to pin their life, liberty, property, body and soul on the sleeve of their rulers, and abundance of those in power, love to have it so. If rulers were infallible in wisdom and goodness, there would be no danger in this scheme, but as all Adam's children are a bad breed, the scheme is very exceptionable.

Perhaps the legitimate designs of government cannot be better defined, than by saying, "it is to preserve the lives, liberties and property of the many units that form the whole body politic." For these valuable purposes, individuals have, in certain cases, to expose their lives in war to defend the state - to give up a little of their liberty, and be controlled by the general will, and part with a little of their property to compensate those who should be employed to secure the rest.

Government is, when rightly understood, the most economical means that men make use of, to secure themselves and be happy.

When a constitution of government is formed, it should be simple and explicit, the powers that are to be vested in, and the work to be performed by each department, should be defined with the utmost perspicuity, and this constitution should be attended to as scrupulously by men in office, as the Bible should be by all religionists. For either of the departments of government to deviate from the constitution, with a view to do good, is criminal, for if the honorable servants of the people forsake their political Bible, for a supposed good, they will soon forsake it for a real evil. Let the people first be convinced of the deficiency of the constitution, and remove the defects thereof, and then, those in office can change the administration upon constitutional ground.

If men were now as virtuous as their great progenitor was at first, it is probable they would need some distributive laws; but the idea of a code of penal laws among such innocent beings, would be inadmissible.

But the idea of such innocent beings is not now to be realized in fact among men. "All have sinned." It would, however, be a great blessing to mankind, if they were so virtuous as to have a few laws sufficient to restrain and direct them; for where there is a vast number of laws in a political body, there will be but few of the people who have leisure to read, and capacity to understand them; in such a labyrinth, the legislature will almost inevitably injure one act by another; besides, where only a few are learned in the law, it gives those few an undue advantage over others; further, such a maze of laws, like a cobweb, will entangle the innocent flies, but support the venomous spiders. And yet, where many vices reign, if there are not many laws, there will be many cases left to the will of the judge, and this gives the judge such an amazing importance both to legislate and judge of the law, and fact, that all who are interested, will seek to bribe the judge. And, if his temptations of bribes and importance, do not overcome him, and induce him to pervert law and judgment, it will be because he is one of a thousand.

The conclusion is, that while men are so vicious, they must adopt the medium, between having too many, and too few laws; and above all, let them seek to become more virtuous, which is the direct way to escape the evils just pointed out; for when men observe the golden rule, of "doing unto all men as they would be done by, " no just laws will do them any hurt.

But the means of procuring wealth, ease and comfort; the right of private judgment and free debate, and the liberty of conscience, are inalienable. These are not surrendered up to the general will, by individuals, when they enter into society; but each retains them in his own sovereign breast. The last of these, which is liberty of conscience, I shall now attend unto.

Whenever any right which men possess in a state of nature, is surrendered up to government, it is to be paid at least, with an equivalent: indeed, with something superior; but government cannot reward individuals with anything equally valuable with the liberty of their conscience.

He who is obliged by law, to sin against his own conscience, cannot have his loss made good.

To be definite in expression, by the liberty of conscience, I mean, the inalienable right that each individual has, of worshipping his God according to the dictates of his conscience, without being prohibited, directed, or controlled therein by human law, either in time, place, or manner.

If the worship of God is to be controlled by law, who shall make that law? Shall the Pope? Have not the long succession of Popes, given incontestible evidence that they have been fallible? And shall fallible men make laws to direct us how to worship an infalliable God? In all Protestant countries the idea

is justly exploded; but kings, parliaments, and legislative bodies, have undertaken the solemn work, with but little solemnity. How have they succeeded? One year make a law, and the next alter, repeal, or add unto it. Does God annually, or periodically change? if not, these law makers change; and are changeable men competent to direct men how to worship an unchangeable God?

Before the late European revolution at Calais, in France, a man must have suffered for daring to call in question the infallibility of the Pope; at Dover, in England, a few miles distant, a man must take the oath of abjuration, curse Pope and prelacy, or be proscribed from all honorary and lucrative offices. In Connecticut, a man must quit all labor and recreation on Saturday, at the going down of the sun, and may resume it on Sunday at the same time. In Massachusetts, recreation must cease from Saturday sun-down, until Sunday midnight; but a man on a journey may travel until Saturday midnight, and resume it again on Sunday at the going down of the sun. In Virginia, under the regal government, all the Presbyterians were obliged to pay the Episcopal clergymen, as much as if they had heard them preach. In Massachusetts, all dissenters, so called, have had to pay the Presbyterian preachers, &c. &c. These things have been established by law. Query, do truth, righteousness, and the laws of God, change with the climes? or is it because men attempt a work which they are incompetent for, and therefore they are confused, like the builders of Babel; and while they seek to build the church by human law, they are only building up mystical Babylon, who is the mother of harlots.

How just is this remark, that "Religious opinions are not the objects of civil government, nor in any way under its control." If that part of the world which is become Christian, (so called,) had attended to this remark, what infinite evils would have been avoided? Had Spain hearkened thereto, two hundred thousand South Americans would not have been slaughtered as they were. For want of this, in France, in the reign of Charles IX. A.D. 1751, a persecution began, which in thirty years destroyed thirty-nine Princes, one hundred and forty-eight Counts, two hundred and thirty-four Barons, one hundred and forty-seven thousand five hundred and eighteen gentlemen, and seven hundred and sixty thousand of the common people; and in Ireland, in the days of Charles I. of England, above two hundred thousand Protestants were cruelly murdered in a few days.

I suppose that all Protestants, will unite in condemning this cruelty in Papists, because Papists are such blood-thirsty bigots; but pray have not Protestants done the same, whenever they have established their religion by law, and supported their preachers by a tax?

In the reign of the two Charleses, in England, two thousand preachers, and six thousand privates lost their livings, and the chief of them their lives, for nonconformity. But leaving these distant nations, let us turn our eyes on our own country.

The first settlers of Massachusetts had left the rod of oppression in England, and fled to America for freedom; but not fully understanding that religious opinions were not under the control of civil government, in 1635, they passed a sentence of banishment against Roger Williams, because he opposed the interference of law in matters of religion; and three months afterwards, they made an attempt to seize him, and send him back to England; but he fled to Providence, and obtained a grant of land from the Narraganset Indians. 52

Governor Haines pronounced the sentence of banishment against Williams, but Haines soon got distressed in Massachusetts, and went to Connecticut; and when Mr. Williams saw him at his house, in Hartford, Haines said to him: I must confess to you that the Most Wise God hath provided and cut out this part of the world, for a refuge and receptacle for all sorts of consciences." But had the fathers of Massachusetts believed the confession of Haines, they would not have proceeded, in 1652, and years afterwards, to imprison, whip, and pass sentence of banishment against the Baptists; and nail up their meeting-house because they built it without a license from the ruling powers. Nor would they have hung the Quakers, as they did in 1659, '60 and '61.

Had governor Haines extended his thoughts still further, and said "the Most Wise God has cut out the whole world for all sorts of consciences," it would have been a noble idea. Had this persecution ceased with the lives of our forefathers, (who are called our "virtuous ancestors" in every proclamation for a fast and thanksgiving,) I would not rake up the ashes of the dead; but much of it is still continued in this state until the present time.

About sixty years past, a very general revival of religion took place in New England; soon afterwards, a very considerable separation from the established religion followed, which occasioned abundance of distraints and imprisonments. For about forty of the last years, the Baptists have chiefly borne the lash; for no other society has arisen to any considerable importance. The point in debate is this: the law of the state says that, where the majority of a town, parish or precinct, choose a preacher, and contract with him for his hire, it shall be levied upon all within the limits of said town, parish or precinct, according to poll and property; and that it shall be collected in legal form, and distrained for, if not paid without. It also makes the same provision for building and repairing meeting-houses. It has hitherto been the case, that in most of the towns the Baptists have been the minority; consequently, they have been distrained upon, and imprisoned, because they would not pay their money voluntarily to preachers in whom they did not place confidence, nor approve of their sentiments; and to build meeting-houses where they did not choose to worship. He must be a poor logician, who does not trace this oppression back to its origin, to that rotten nest-egg, which is always hatching vipers: I mean the principle of intruding the laws of men into the kingdom of Christ, which kingdom is not of this world.

But all the art and force that is used, neither effect uniformity nor stop the increase of the Baptists. In the beginning of the last century, there were but four Baptist churches in Massachusetts; but now there are one hundred and thirty-six churches, in which are eight thousand four hundred and sixty-three members, besides all their adherents; and in which churches there are one hundred and five ministers. 53

The religious laws of Massachusetts are frequently varying, but the stump is always preserved with a band of iron. Legal force is always used in directing the worship of God, as if human law was the mainspring of the gospel.

In March, 1800, a law was made for the above purpose, by which former laws are repealed. This law is of so recent date, that it is difficult to tell how it will operate; but I shall take the liberty of making a few remarks on said law.

This law is a legitimate child of the constitution. The third article of the bill of rights authorizes the legislature to make such laws; and since the adoption of the constitution, in the year 1780, it is said, by candid men, that a sixth part of the time, during the sessions of the legislature, has been taken up in incorporating religious societies, and making other religious laws; and if the sixth part of the time of the judiciary is taken up in adjudging religious cases, then a very considerable part of the expenses of government is to support that root, that principle, which is the pillar of popery, and without which there could be no legal persecution, for conscience sake, in the world.

The law in view, enjoins on all towns, parishes, precincts, religious societies, and bodies politic, to have a teacher of morality, piety and religion, upon the forfeiture of a fine. If they are without such a teacher more than three out of six months, for the first offence, the fine is not to be less than thirty, nor more than sixty dollars; but for every offence committed afterwards, the fine is not to be less than sixty, nor more than one hundred dollars.

By these teachers of morality, piety and religion, I understand preachers of the gospel; because there is no order of moral and pious religionists, who undertake to teach men, in this state, except those who are called preachers of the gospel.

Let us first ask who sends forth men to preach, God or man? If ministers are furnished and sent by men, let them always remember their creators, and address their hearers in the name of those who gave them their commission. In this view of things, a consistent address would be as follows:

"My dear hearers, I come to address you in the name of the authority of Massachusetts: the presbytery has approbated me, and the laws of the state have declared me learned and orthodox: - I am not one of them who vainly imagine they are moved by the Holy Ghost to preach, but I have entered in at the door of lineal ordination, succeeded from the apostles, through all the whoredom and murders of Rome: I am not of that class who harangue the people extempore, without sense or grammar; but I have my sermon all written down, and shall read it distinctly. It is true, I requested in my prayer that God would grant me his spirit, but what I meant, was that God would give me good eyesight and graceful pronunciation, so that, like Paul, I might please all men, everywhere. And now, my hearers, as the law obliges you to have a teacher, I exhort you to be subject to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake; and as it is our custom to wait for a call from the people, I shall observe the orders of Christ: 'If they receive you not into one city, go unto another.' But in this particular, I shall not regard so much the size of the caul, as the fat upon it. I first say, 'peace be unto you,' and I pray you all to be of one mind in my settlement and support. Schisms and contentions are dishonorary to God, and injurious to the salaries of preachers. I moreover inform you, that I intend to teach morality, piety and religion, and pray for all in authority, admire the goodness of our laws, and honor and respect all our rulers, so long as they continue to make laws to support preachers."

But if God sends men to preach, if Jesus thrusts forth laborers into the harvest, if the ministers speak as they are moved by the Holy Ghost, if none but the Almighty can fill the soul of man with love to God, to truth and to the souls of men, etc., etc., why should the law be left so lame?

If God sends men to preach to the people, then there are three parties concerned in the work of the ministry. I will therefore propose an amendment to the law now under consideration.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, That the almighty God shall qualify and send forth a competency of teachers of morality, piety and religion, to supply all the towns, parishes, precincts, religious societies and bodies politic, within the commonwealth of Massachusetts, and on failure thereof he shall forfeit his moral government over the state.

And be it further enacted, That all those who are so qualified or sent of God, shall apply themselves to the work of the ministry; to teach publicly and from house to house; not as being Lords over God's heritage, but ensamples to the flock: that they shall preach in towns, highways, streets and hedges; and seek not their own profit, but the good of others, that they may be saved: that they shall constantly speak the word of God unto the people, whether they will hear or forbear; doing this not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; and on failure thereof for the first three months, they shall, each of them, be exposed to a fine, not exceeding sixty nor less than thirty dollars, but for every offence of three months neglect thereafter, they shall, in like manner, be exposed to a fine of not less than sixty nor more than a hundred dollars.

And be it further enacted, That every town, parish, precinct, religious society, and other bodies politic, shall have a teacher," etc.

Perhaps some may argue that the first section of, the proposed amendment, is arrogant, presumptuous and blasphemous; and that the second section is cruel, binding preachers too tight by law.

This argument I shall not undertake to confute, because it is true, and the same may be said of the law that the amendments are proposed for; and, indeed of all religious laws of the kind that have ever been made since the Christian era began.

Reflect a moment how cruel it is, to fine a town or parish for not having a teacher, when none but God can make them teachers; and that those who are sent of God to preach, feel a necessity to preach, not only without the support of law, but in opposition thereto, obeying God rather than man.

It is so strange a thing, that in Massachusetts, where the people are so conversant with the New Testament, they should make and submit to such laws, that if I did not know it to be a fact, I would not believe a report of it.

There are three reasons offered, why religion should be established by the laws of men, viz:

First, To prevent error.
Second, To eject and preserve uniformity of sentiment
Third, To support the Gospel.

I believe that all the arguments used in favor of such establishments, may be included in these three general heads. Some observations on each of them shall here be made.

First, To prevent error.

Have legal establishments done this? When did error prevail less, and when did truth prevail more than in the three first centuries of the Christian era? In no date since has truth prevailed and error fled as fast as in the above mentioned time; yet all this was before the Christian religion was established by law. Has not error fled as fast before truth in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island, in which states there never have been such establishments, as in the other states? Further, is not ruth as well understood, and error as fully detected now, in the twelve other states, as in the four New-England states, where religion is supposed o be a principle of state policy, and ministers of the gospel creatures of the state? It is certain that the establishment of paganism, as truth, did not prevent the error of Christianity; nor did the establishment of Rome prevent the error of the reformation, in the sixteenth century, nor the late revolutions in papal countries, in the close of the eighteenth century. The establishment of the English church did not hinder the error of nonconformity, nor has the establishment of Massachusetts stopped the rise of a number of errors and sects in the state. 54 It is a fact, in the United States, that, in those twelve states where there are no religious establishments, there are not more sects or sentiments, than there are in the four states where such horned beasts dwell.

I now ask what proof can be given, that religious establishments prevent error?

Second, To effect uniformity. This is a counterpart of the first, and therefore the arguments there used, if reversed, will be applicable here; but I shall add something more. How easy it is for men to be deceived about the uniformity of sentiment in an empire. Dioclesian, who began and carried on the tenth persecution against the Christians, in the Roman empire, prevailed so far, that he struck a golden medal, with this inscription, "The Christian name is extirpated from the earth, and the worship of the Gods restored." Here he exulted in uniformity of religious opinions, but how great was his deception! for, within a few years, it appeared evident, that a majority of the empire, with Constantine at their head, were Christians. It is said, that in the days of Charles the first, of England, the kingdom seemed to be full of flattering addresses to his Majesty; but that there was pretty general discontent appears from the tumults which soon arose, which cost Charles his crown and the head that wore it.

Under the regal government of Virginia, the Episcopal religion was there established and conducted with all the force of law; but as soon as the revolution gave men a chance to speak freely, it appeared that two-thirds of the people were dissenters. In the great kingdom of France, the hierarchy of Rome triumphed in all its pontifical effulgence; but no sooner had they an opportunity to speak what they thought, than they convinced the astonished world that they were not uniform in the belief of the infallibility of the Pope. And I here ask, has the legal force that has been used in the four New England states, advanced men one inch towards uniformity?

In order for a uniformity in religion to be established by force, there must be a creed established by law, to measure, shape, and weigh the consciences of the people by. Now who shall frame this important creed? I presume there are a thousand different creeds in the Christian world; they cannot all be right, they may all be wrong. If we consider that all men are fallible, liable to err, it will not be illiberal to say, that some imperfection is to be found in all of them. I question whether there now is, or ever was, a body of men, or an individual, who should coolly compose a creed of faith, or in short, a constitution of government, or code of laws, but who, upon examining the same once a year, would annually see cause to alter some parts thereof. Such is the school that men are in, such the theatre on which they act, so many the objects that pass before them, that he who says he never alters his mind, evidently declares that he is either very weak or very stubborn. Shall human creeds then, mixed at least with imperfection, be made a standard to measure the conscience by, which is God's vice-gerent in the human breast?

That the late law of Massachusetts is a religious creed, admits of no doubt, because it describes the character of religious teachers, and fines religious bodies from thirty to one hundred dollars, every six months, if they do not have such teachers. The question, therefore, is, whether the legislature of the commonwealth is infallible? This court has been perpetually making and altering religious laws, from the first settlement of Boston down to the present day. If all those laws, previous to that of March, 1801, were infallible, then the last law was fallible, for it differs from all before; if the last was infallible, the former were imperfect, and while things are thus, it is doubtful whether there is much divinity in any of them. If, therefore, infallibility' is not claimed by the legislature of Massachusetts, it has no more right to make religious laws than other similar bodies: consequently all legislatures have a right to make such laws, or none of them have. If all of them have such right, then the Pagan legislatures had it when they established the worship of the gods, and made provision for the priests, and the apostles and first Christians were guilty of a criminal schism. The same is true of all the Mahometan, Papal and Protestant hierarchies, that have been, or now are, and consequently all the legal persecution for conscience sake, that has been in the world, is justifiable, and all the sufferings that have been from that source have arisen from the stubbornness and self-will of the sufferers.

But if no legislature has a right to make such creeds, and yet some creed must be established, to effect a state uniformity in religion, then it follows that legislatures have a right to do what they have no right to do - to effect that which they never can effect But,

Third. To support the Gospel. That is, to raise money by law, equalized upon all the people, for the purposes of building meeting-houses, paying preachers, etc. Building temples for religious worship seems to be a prudential thing, and rewarding preachers for their labors of love, is both reasonable and scriptural; but the question is, whether this money is to be collected by legal force or moral obligation. If by legal force, then the principle is supported, that the cause of God is to be directed and supported by the laws of man, and, of course, all the persecutions mentioned before, are justifiable. The people of Massachusetts boast of their religious knowledge; to them I appeal. Pray tell me where Jesus, or the apostles, ever called upon the rulers of state to make any laws to oblige people to part with their money to hire preachers or build meeting-houses. I am serious; I am in earnest: if our present edition is not complete, search the original, and put your finger on the passage. I have not yet seen it, and until I do, I shall call all such laws anti-scriptural and anti-Christian.

How often have I wished, that when rulers undertake to make laws about religion, they would complete the code - not only make provision for building meeting-houses, paying preachers, and forcing people to hear them, but also to enjoin on the hearers, repentance, faith, self-denial, love to God and love to man - that every one who did not repent of his sin, should pay five pounds - that all those who did not believe, should pay ten pounds - that every soul who did not deny himself, and take up his cross daily, should pay fifteen pounds - that whoever did not love God with all his heart, should be imprisoned a year - and that if a man did not love his neighbor as himself, he should be confined for life.

That all these duties are taught in the New Testament is certain; if, therefore, the laws of man are to enjoin moral duties, these important ones should not be neglected: but, on only hearing of them, our minds are struck with the absurdity of reducing them to civil legislation and jurisprudence, and had not the poison of anti-Christ infected the minds of men, they would be equally struck with the idea of making human laws about any religious article.

It follows, then, that the money necessary in the Christian cause, is to be raised by moral obedience.

The gods of Egypt could not speak for themselves, and therefore Pharaoh spoke for them, and made a law to assign the priests a portion, by which means they saved their lands in the seven years of famine. Baal was asleep and could not provide for his prophets, and therefore Jezebel fed them at her table; but Jehovah, being a living God, made a law for the maintenance of the priests in the Mosaic economy, but he never empowered magistrates to execute that law. It was a divine and not a human law, and when the people neglected it, they had to answer to God and not to man. And when two of those priests grew lordly and said, "thou shalt give us now, and if not we will take it by force," their sin was great, and they were both slain in one day. Even so has the Lord ordained in the New Testament, that those who preach the gospel should live of it. God has ordained it, but has not ordained that rulers should enforce it. Whenever, therefore, money is given for religious purposes, it is given in obedience to the law of God, and not in obedience to the laws of men: I mean when it is rightly given.

The word religion, properly signifies to bind again: sin has rent us off from God, and rent our hearts from virtue, but religion binds up the breach, turns our hearts to God, and our minds to virtue. Religion may be considered as comprised in three parts: first, internal; second, practical; third, social. Internal religion, is a right exercise of soul towards God and man. By practical religion, I mean those righteous external actions, which men, as individuals, perform towards God and their fellow-creatures. Social religion includes the various duties of religious society.

All the gold and property of the world cannot purchase religion, and yet the practical and social parts of religion have never been executed without money, or its worth, from the days of Abel to the present time. They cost Abel his lambs, and the patriarchs their beasts: the nation of Israel had a religion, very expensive, and the Christian church have administered much for the cause of their God. The nation of Israel received their orders from God, and the Christian church from the mouth of Him, who has been faithful in all his house, as a son. And the same spirit that influences men to love God, and their neighbors, also influences them to give willingly to those who preach the word, and for other necessary uses. Legal force is here inadmissible.

I have said before, that the times, places, and manner of worshipping God, were inalienable rights, not subject to legal control. What holy-days so-ever God has appointed in his word, each individual must judge for himself, and be fully persuaded in his own mind, and act accordingly, as each must give an account of himself to God. But no legislature, uninspired by the Holy Ghost, has any right to appoint fixed sabbaths, or decades for religious purposes, and bind the people to observe said days.

A legislature that believes in the Christian system, and from that system believes that one day in seven is to be kept holy, have just as good a right, and no better, to make a law to force all the people whom they legislate for, to observe those days, as another legislature has, who believe in the god of reason, and from thence deduce, that one day in ten should be a decade, and force all the people within their power, to worship the god of reason on those decades.

Nor is it within the legitimate power of civil government, to direct the place where men shall publicly worship their God. To fine a man because he does not attend worship at a definite place, definite times, is illegitimate, and to force men to build temples for public worship, against their consent, is a piece of religious oppression, and yet this act is carried on, with all deceivable arts and force, in this commonwealth. In the year 1800, about six hundred dollars were taken from the Baptists, in Partridgefield, for the building of a meetinghouse in said town, for another denomination. The case is now in law, hung up, and what the event will be, we know not. But abundance of property, heretofore, has been taken in the same way, for similar purposes, within this commonwealth, and no redress has ever been granted.

The manner of worshipping God comes next in course. If it is a truth, as has been suggested, that the design of government is only to protect the life, liberty and property of the community; and if religion is, at all times and places, a matter between God and individuals, and also, that religious opinions are not objects of civil government, nor under its control, it then follows that government has no right to describe the god which the people are to worship. The reason why legislators and legislatures have forced the people to worship Lama, Osiris, Jupiter Ammon, Bel, Baal, etc., is because they professedly believed those gods to be the most deserving; and the same is true of Christian legislatures, in obliging people to worship that god whom they prefer. Now, where an empire is composed of Heathens, Turks, Jews, and Christians, how cruel it must be to all those whose consciences cannot be formed, like a nose of wax, into that form of adoration which the legislature esteems best. Whose life is in danger - whose liberty is curtailed - whose property is destroyed - by considering each individual inalienably free to worship the god whom he esteems the most deserving, in the way which he judges to be the most acceptable to him?

Perhaps an objector may say, "these observations are not applicable to Massachusetts, where the people generally believe in the Holy One of Israel, and in the divinity of the Christian scheme. That the people of this state generally believe in the Holy One of Israel, may pass for truth, but that they generally believe in the divinity of the Christian scheme is not so true. As a religionist, I wish both articles were believed through this state, and throughout the world; yet, as a statesman, let me ask, why do they not learn to imitate their God, and regarding the scheme of his government, in which they professedly believe, reason thus with themselves: "God bears with wicked men, and so must we: God does not force all to believe alike, nor should we attempt it: Jesus never forced any man to pay him for preaching, and we must imitate him. The New Testament never calls in the aid of the magistrate to carry folks to prison, or take away their cows, or other property, to pay men for preaching, or build temples, and therefore, we will not. The apostles never taught the churches, which they planted, to be incorporated bodies politic, to make use of the civil law to regulate their concerns, nor will we. The New Testament nowhere says, that towns, parishes, precincts, etc., shall have a teacher of morality, piety and religion, three months in six, or pay a fine of sixty dollars, and, therefore, we will have no such laws. The New Testament churches were formed by the laws of Jesus, and the acts of the apostles only, and so it shall be among us. " These observations show, that men wish to avail themselves of the advantages of religion, without regarding the laws thereof

I now return to the chain of the argument, to show that the manner of worshipping God is not under legal control.

Those who call themselves Christians have but a contemptible opinion of Christ, if they call in question the sufficiency of the New Testament to govern the churches in all places, at all times, and in all cases. If he was infallible, infinitely wise, and universally good, his laws must be tantamount to the exigencies of his disciples in every circumstance; but if this is called in question, let his followers live up to all the rules which he has given, and see if there is any want. It is observable that those who live the most according to the New Testament, make the least complaint of its deficiency. After all, if it still is maintained that there is a deficiency in the New Testament, who is to supply that deficiency? Not ecclesiastical officers; for they are not to be lords over God's heritage. Not civil rulers; for, in their official capacity, they have nothing to do with religion. Let those who attempt it remember one text: "If any man shall add unto the words of this book, God shall add unto him the plagues therein written."

If the constitution of government for Massachusetts is all divine, I confess that civil officers have this right; for it is so expressed in the third article of the bill of rights. But where do they get this right? Our rulers have no power but what they receive from the people, and the whole body of the people, in aggregate, have no power but what is found in small constituent parts among the individuals. Now, if each individual has a little of this right to force his neighbor to worship God, when, where, and as he pleases, then, by adding all these little parts together, in the representative body, the legislature has that right; otherwise, it has not.

Supposing there should be fifty religious sects under one government, and each sect should build temples as they please, to worship the God whom they adore, in the manner which they believe most pleasing to him, I ask, who is injured by this free variety? If all these sects are uniform in the support of the government for its proper uses, what danger is the state in? None are injured, the state is in no danger, but all would be friendly to that government which secured them in their liberty.

This seems to be the happiest state that a nation can be in, so far as it respects government; yet it is possible that difficulties might arise, from two sources, viz., mobs, and legal process. One of these sects might arise in a mob, and rob, confine, or kill others. Here then is work for the magistrates; the lives, liberties, and property of the people are destroyed, which the government was formed and supported to protect. Whether this lawless sect should plead that they were influenced by their God, or by the devil, or neither of them, it would not alter their case in the least; for the court would not judge of their motives, but of their actions. Governments, where religion is established by law, do not escape such evils.

The other difficulty might arise in this, wise: - One of these sects being ambitious, and fearing the importance of the rest, might make use of art to flatter the officers of state, to bestow partial favors on them, and, finally, establish the religion which they esteem, as the religion of the state.

When this is done, peace, confidence in each other, and respect for government, take their flight. If the depressed party retain any patriotism, contention, imprisonment, confiscation, war and bloodshed will follow; if they have no spirit of patriotism, they sink into ignorance, vassalage and misery. Here let it be noticed, that these last evils did not arise in the supposed government, in its pristine state of religious liberty, but after it had apostatized into a state of established religion.

If the manner of worshipping God is not under legal control, then for religious societies to be forced by law to have a teacher among them, at least half the time, is an abridgment of religious liberty.

The golden rule is: "Do unto all men as you would they should do unto you." If Christians were in Turkey or Algiers, would they not wish to enjoy the liberty of their consciences without control? Would they not say, in their hearts at least, "We wish to be freed from paying the Turkish priests, and supporting the Turkish religion, which is only an imposture, and that we might be respected according to our conduct, while we enjoy our religious opinions, as an inalienable right?" If so, then let them grant these favors, or rather, let them not deprive others of these rights, or give up the name of Christians.

I shall now proceed to offer a number of reasons why religious laws and test oaths should never be woven into constitutions, or mixed with the laws of state.

First. It makes a constitution, or statute law book, look more like a catechism than a rule of political life. Some have placed Apocrypha in the Bible, where it should not be; but, in this case, religion becomes prostitute among the laws of state.

Second. It makes the opinions of fallible men, the test of orthodoxy for all the people. View such laws in the most favorable light, they are but the opinions of their makers; and shall the judgment of one man in a thousand, be the rule for the faith and worship of the whole thousand?

Third. A religious establishment, reduces religion to a level with the principles of state policy, and turns officers of the church into ministers of state.

Fourth. It holds forth a tempting bait to men to embrace that religion which is pampered by the law, without searching after truth conscientiously.

Fifth. It checks all rational conviction of the errors in the national creed; for if those errors are arrested and condemned by a man, he must be proscribed and legally persecuted.

Sixth. It raises the uniformists to arrogance and superiority, and sinks the non-conformists into disgrace and depression; and, thereby, destroys that confidence and friendly equality, which is essential to the happiness of any state.

Seventh. It creates and upholds a power, which Jesus Christ has never ordained, either for the civil or ecclesiastical department.

Eighth. It tends to keep people in ignorance. By implicitly believing what the ruler and the priest says, they give up their own judgments, and suppose it is a crime to think and speak for themselves.

Ninth. It is the parent of all the legal persecution, for conscience sake, that has been on earth, and has drenched the world in blood.

Tenth. It is every way calculated to destroy those peaceable, harmless, amiable qualities among men, which religion, in its simplicity, inculcates.

Eleventh. It tends to make Deists, and support infidelity, more than any one cause. Nothing tends so much to convince candid spectators, that there is nothing in a religion, as to see the disciples of that religion inattentive to its rules. I will here confine myself to the Christian religion. It is confessed by all, in our land, that the precepts of the New Testament exceed everything that ever appeared among men, of the kind. The common failings of the professed followers of Christ, greatly weaken the faith of serious inquirers; but, when those who profess to be his greatest friends, break over all the bounds of justice, humanity and pity; and, because they have the power in their hands, will proscribe, imprison, banish, rob, hang, and burn all those who differ with them in judgment; and all this, under pretence of serving the meek, harmless, just, holy and compassionate Prince of Peace; what strong arguments these are to convince men, who are not void of all humanity, that the religion of Jesus is only a mask to cover the most atrocious crimes that ever were committed.

It is no wonder to me to see so many literary characters - so many men of great information and candor, in the world, so strongly beset with infidelity. The chief, if not all that they have seen, which is called religion, is nothing but haughtiness and cruelty; and to see men, under religious pretences, do those things that common sense blushes at, must cast a deadly aspect on that which they say authorises them to do those things.

In Massachusetts, the religious laws oblige people to hire preachers, and build meeting-houses; yet there have been some laws, which exempted some of the people, under certain restrictions. But is there a single article in the state, in which so much deceit, fraud, and cruelty have been used, as in the article of religion? How often have ministerial taxes been mixed with town taxes, that the man taxed might pay the ministerial tax without knowing it? How often have men, who have made use of the law to draw their money back, been flung out of it, under one pretence or another? and if they have gained their cause, being in the town, they have had their proportionate part of the costs to pay. How many times towns have hired ministers to preach, not being ordained over them; and if the dissenters have been exempted from paying the stipulated salary, yet the charge of the committee, and the boarding of the priests, have been put into the town rate. Where meeting-houses are built for one society to worship in alone, because the house is in a town, and sometimes used for town meetings, what specious arguments are made use of to make all pay for building them. Can an honest man look on all this, and much more, and not feel his heart rise with indignation against that religion which gives birth to all this? The late destruction of the king's evil, and especially of the plague of priestcraft, has made a great noise in the world. Established clergymen take the alarm, and, like the merchants and captains, cry, alas! alas! our craft is in danger. The ministers of the established religion, in Massachusetts, are greatly alarmed at the growth of infidelity in France, and use all their art to prevent French influence in America. Reverend gentleman, if you wish to stop the spread of Deism, seek to remove the cause. Come forth upon the plan of the gospel, and trust God and his word for your support. Renounce the scheme that Mr. Cotton first introduced in Massachusetts, to support preachers by law; and let it never be said, that a cow, or a dollar, or a cent, is taken from any widow, or man, by the constable, to complete your salaries, or pay for your temples. Convince the world that the religion of Jesus will stand upon its own basis, without law or sword; so will you contribute more for the destruction of Deism, than all the arguments of Leland, Lock, Addison, Steel, Tennys, Wesley or Gill; or of those later writers, Watson, Winchester, Ogden, and the Mendon Association, etc.; but

To these a twelfth clause may be added. Religious tests, required by law, to qualify men for state offices, is a main pillar of state-established religion, and a curse to a nation. Bishop White observes, that the articles and forms of the Church of England, had passed through a great number of alterations, from the days of Queen Elizabeth. One month they solemnly declare that they believe all and every thing therein contained, and swear to support them; the next month they alter these forms, and then declare and swear as before, and so on. This is trifling with oaths at a shocking rate. Test oaths are calculated to make hypocrites, effect perjuries, and keep from office the best of men. Sychophants and hopocrites will take any oath to obtain offices; but honest men will not; their firmness and talents entitle them to the confidence of the people; but because they cannot believe what they cannot believe, and will not swear that they believe what they do not believe, they are kept from office, and the people are deprived of their services.

The constitutional test of Massachusetts is, protestant Christianity. Every denomination of christians peaceably demeaning themselves, shall be protected by law; and provision is to be made for protestant teachers. Jews, Turks, Pagans and Deists, are not to be protected by law, and no kind of Christian teachers can have legal provision made for them, except they are protestants. From this we learn that the government of Massachusetts, is a protestant Christian government. The same cannot be said of our national government; nor of several of the state governments; and it is a pity that it should be said of any of them, for no body politic can form a Christian government and administer the same, without breaking the rules of pure Christianity.

How much better the constitution of this commonwealth would read, if it was thus formed, All men peaceably demeaning themselves, shall be protected by law, in worshiping the Deity according to the dictates of their consciences; but the sentiments and creeds of none of them shall be protected by law, but be left to argument and free debate for their support; nor shall there be any provision made by law for any teachers of religion, nor any religious test required, to qualify an officer for any department of government."

Some circumstances that I am personally acquainted with, may add confirmation to the doctrine contended for in these pages. The Episcopal party, in Virginia, was paramount, in law, to all others in the state, anterior to the revolution. The Presbyterians, as well as the Baptists, had to pay obeisance to that party. In the year 1776, the work began, to set all societies on a level; but it was twenty-two years before it was finished. During these twenty-two years there were many debates in the Legislature. In the year 1786, Mr. Zachariah Johnson, of Augusta, made the following speech in the assembly, when the house was in committee of the whole, on the state of the Commonwealth: "Mr. Chairman, I am a Presbyterian, a rigid Presbyterian, as we are called; my parents before me were of the same profession; I was educated in that line. Since I became a man, I have examined for myself, and I have seen no cause to dissent. But, sir, the very day that the Presbyterians shall be established by law, and become a body politic, the same day Zachariah Johnson will be a dissenter. Dissent from that religion I cannot, in honesty, but from that establishment I will." While I lived in Virginia, and heard such speeches, I used to wish that they might be heard by the Presbyterians in Massachusetts. In 1780, Col. J. Innis spoke as follows: "Gentlemen, I wish that religion may be as free as the air in which we breathe, as uncontrolled as the waters of the boundless sea; that it might extend to the Heavens, to which it tends, and with one universal embrace, within its fostering arms, enclose all the progeny of Adam." How noble! How evangelical such speeches sound, when once compared with the little pigmy shall bes and shall not bes of Massachusetts.

I close my address, by adding, that in the beginning of the eighteenth century, there were no more than fifteen Baptist churches within the limits of the United States; but now at the beginning of the nineteenth century, there are twelve hundred, which include about eighty thousand members, among whom are between eleven and twelve hundred preachers.

I have not documents sufficient to state the number of communicants belonging to any other order among us precisely; but very much question whether the Presbyterians and Congregationalists together, throughout the nation, can produce an equal number of churches, members or ministers, notwithstanding what Dr. Styles has published in his election sermon, and Dr. Morse hints at in his geography. I mean not to boast of numbers, but love to see truth published.

Finally, gentlemen, we have great cause of thanksgiving on this public fast; what wonders has nature's God been doing in America, in the course of twenty-five years. A vast empire, of sixteen United States, has risen out of a number of feeble, depressed colonies. These states, from being in a feeble band of confederacy, have formed one national government, which, like a Colossus, is above the whole; at the same time guaranteeing to each its proper sovereignty. But ah! the lust of power and importance! Designs to screen men and measures from public animidversion; forsaking the good old simple maxims of republicanism, and adopting the maxims of monarchical courts, have crept into our councils. During this period, the genius of America has been slumbering and sleeping, while from the presses and pulpits, we have been alarmed with the undescribable hobgoblins of illuminatism. But heaven above looked down, and awakened the American genius, which has arisen, like a lion, from the swelling of Jordon, and roared like thunder in the states, "we will be free; we will rule ourselves; our officers shall be honorable servants, but not mean masters."

This exertion of the American genius, has brought forth the Man of the People, the defender of the rights of man and the rights of conscience, to fill the chair of state; who, in his inaugural speech, cries out, "America, be free, be happy, guard your own rights, and leave them not to the disposition of officers."

Pardon me, my hearers, if I am over-warm. I lived in Virginia four-teen years. The beneficent influence of my hero was too generally felt to leave me a stoic. What may we not expect, under the auspices of heaven, while JEFFERSON presides, with Madison in state by his side. Now the greatest orbit in America is occupied by the brightest orb: but, sirs, expect to see religious bigots, like cashiered officers, and displaced states-men, growl and gnaw their galling bands, and, like a yelping mastiff, bark at the moon, whose rising they cannot prevent.

Let us then adore that God who has been so favorable to our land, and nation - praise him for all that is past - trust him for all that is to come, and not ascribe that to man which is due to God alone.

52. He also held it unjust to take away the land from the Indians without purchase.

53. This account is taken from Backus's history, which was published in 1796. Since which time there have been very considerable additions, both of members and churches.

54. In these remarks, every sentiment is called an error, that does not accord with the established creed.

016 An Oration Delivered at Cheshire




The creation of the world, the deluge of the earth, the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, the founding of Rome, the birth of Christ, the flight of Mahomet, and other important events, have given rise to certain eras, from which dates have been fixed, ceremonies instituted, and days appointed to perpetuate the remembrance of those interesting events.

The revolution of America has been an event which, (simply as a human revolution,) has promised more for the cause of humanity, and the rights of man, than any revolution that can be named.

The revolution of France yet hangs in awful suspense; whether that enterprising people are to gain anything at last, after all their unparalleled exploits, except the change of riders, either in the civil or ecclesiastical department, is very uncertain, according to present appearances. Should it finally terminate on the side of liberty, and right, still the change in America, may be considered as the first vital spring of that reform. Their alliance and communication with Americans, enkindled the spark of liberty among them, which had long been covered with the ashes of despotism, and superstition.

The American revolution, therefore, may be justly esteemed the returning dawn of long lost liberty, and the world's best hope. Here the people decide their controversies by their voices, and not by the cannon's awful roar - by small pieces of paper, and not by the instruments of death. Here our chief magistrate resides in his house, and rides abroad without a guard of armed soldiers; being shielded by the affections of the people. Well may the day be celebrated on which the iron bands were broken, and liberty to America was proclaimed. Well may the man be viewed in an endearing point of light, who drew the declaration, and fills the highest post of honor and trust.

Today this august assembly have convened to reflect on the past and the present condition of this growing empire; and in order to assist that reflection, I shall submit the following sketches.

First. When the much admired policy of Britain had sunk the nation into a debt of two hundred and eighty millions sterling, she claimed the right of governing the trade of America for her own profit, and of taxing the American colonies at pleasure, without the consent of colonial representatives. To force the Americans to this subjection, their ships and troops were sent to our coasts, to burn our towns, and shed our blood. America had nothing to plead but her right, and the help of her God. Twenty-six years, this very day, have elapsed, since that instrument was formed, (the Declaration of Independence,) which separated the United States from Great Britain, her policy, her debts, and her fate. This just, modest, bold, decent declaration, was made at a time when the British lion was roaring on our sea-coasts, and the war-hoop and hatchet were infesting our frontiers. Feeble and presumptious as the United States appeared to foreign nations, yet, after a seven years' struggle, they gained the point for which they fought; and Britain lost the American empire, and augmented her debt to three hundred and twenty millions. Since that period, by their splendid victories, their debt has been increased to seven hundred millions. Were the United States at this time British colonies, add the five millions in America, to the twelve millions of Great Britain and Ireland, and the debt equally distributed among all ages and sexes, would be about one hundred and eighty dollars per soul, or nine dollars for every finger, and every toe. This debt, in silver, would amount to more than ninety-six thousand and seventy-eight wagons would carry, allowing a ton to each wagon, 55 which would fill the road in a string about nine hundred miles, allowing three rods to each wagon.

Second. But to return; during the seven years' struggle, there were some such manifest interpositions of divine Providence, that to pass them by in silence, would be a crime. In the middle states, the scene at Trenton is one. The American army was reduced to a handful; the British had but little to obstruct them; and to all appearance, the cause of America was lost. But, behold, the scale turned in a short time. The Hessians became prisoners - the British generals were foiled - Princeton felt the prowess of American troops - the spirit of America revived, and hope gleamed through the land. Let our chief commander have his due - let the troops have their reward; but give unto the God of armies the ultimate praise.

Third. In the northern states, the check at Bennington, and the conquest at Saratoga, were most notable. Burgoyne, with the flower of the British army, had pushed his conquests from Quebec to Skeensborough, and all things bid fair for him to establish a line of posts from Canada to the city of New York, and thereby cut off all communication between the southern and eastern states. A detachment from the main army was sent to Bennington, near which place they were met by Americans and defeated. The scene was tragical. While the roads were crowded on one side by the inhabitants, fleeing for their lives, they were occupied on the other side by the militia, flying to meet the foe. The defeat, near Bennington, was soon followed by the surrender of the whole army, at Saratoga. Those who never look beyond second causes, may ascribe the glory to Warner, Barnum, Stark, Arnold, Lincoln, or Gates, but those who believe in the superintendence of Providence, will render the glory to America's God.

Fourth. The southern states exhibit a like picture. Charlestown was taken and in possession of the Britons - Gates was defeated at Camden - the enterprising Tarlton flew over the Carolinas like an Eagle - the tories were numerous and vindictive. But soon a change took place. King's Mountain seems to have been a pivot, on which the scale turned, after which, the defeat of Tarlton, at the Cowpens, took place. How nearly the prisoners taken by Morgan were retaken, and how singularly they were twice secured from Cornwallis, by the swell of the rivers, is remarkable. After this, Cornwallis dearly bought a piece of ground at Guilford, with British blood, which yet he could not hold, but abandoned his post, and, with a circuitous route, came into Virginia, and left the Carolinas as a field for Greene to display his military skill in, who, in a short space, cleared those states of every Briton, and silenced every tory. After Cornwallis had traversed a considerable part of Virginia, he took his stand at Yorktown. Several things appeared providential at this place. First, Degrass came into the Chesapeake with a French fleet, so that his lordship could not retreat with his vessels. Second, when he attempted to cross York River, to escape by land, if possible, a remarkable storm of wind prevented him. Third, during the siege, in that sickly season of the year, had the rains been as usual, it is highly probable, that great death would have been in the camp, but not one drop of rain fell during the whole siege.

"Ye clouds of heaven distil no rain,
The great Jehovah said,
'Till haughty Britons all are slain,
Or bow the stubborn head."

Soon after his capture, proposals were made, and preliminaries of peace were drawn, which were finally ratified. America was now acknowledged as an independent republic, composed of democracies in confederation, to hold rank among the nations of the world.

Fifth. Since that memorable era, in 1783, America has experienced two semi-revolutions. In the time of the contest, the support of the army and securing the independence of the states, absorbed almost all things, but when the contest closed, it was found that the articles of confederation, were entirely too lax to secure those blessings that were bought with blood. Hence arose the necessity of altering the political system. This reform of police, established a national government in all its parts, restricted however to certain specified articles. In these articles, where the national government was to operate, it was complete: legislative, executive, and judiciary powers were contained in its provisions.

And on all other objects, each state retained its sovereignty. This change was effected without war or bloodshed and without any alarming confusion, and renders memorable the year 1788.

Sixth. Nothing is more common than to see parties in governments. The ins, generally, are grasping after more power, while the outs are complaining of oppression. Deprive an in of his office, and he cries out, "the church and state are ruined." Put an out into office, and government grows better and better every day. These remarks are too often verified, but very far from being universally true. In America, where land is abundant, and labor very lucrative, the temptation to be in office greatly decreases. There are few, if any gifts or offices in these states, (considering the necessary drawbacks,) which exceed the profits of labor. It is, therefore, reasonable to suppose, that there is a greater proportion in America, who form their judgment of government from reason, and not from interest, than is the case in Europe. Yet, in these states, men of equal talents and opportunities, have, and still do differ in opinion, and this difference is so radical, that the two parties have lately appealed to the sovereign people to decide the controversy, which has effected a kind of revolution.

Seventh. When men in private life or public office err, in rare instances, charity will cast a veil over those errors; but when the fixed course of conduct is wrong, neither charity nor candor should be silent; even granting that while they pursue the course of error, they sometimes hit upon that which is right. That our national administration, for several years anterior to March, 1801, was wrong in its career, admits of no doubt in my mind. Notwithstanding the immense sums collected by external and internal taxes, yet the debt increased. An army and navy were raised, when there was no more prospect of war, than there is at the present moment. And that rigor and distinction, which has cursed the old world, cast a malignant aspect upon the new. Had the ruling party been forty years, instead of four, in making their advances on the rights, liberties and purses of the people, they might have gained their point; but happily for us, they sung lullaby too loud, and startled the drowsy child before it was fast asleep.

If we compare our present administration, with what preceded for several years, we shall see economy instead of extravagance - saving in the room of wasting - diminishing taxes and not increasing them - lessening salaries and not swelling them - recalling foreign agents, and not sending them where they can be of no service - disannulling useless courts and not creating them for their own profit, when they have nothing to do - a regard for the rights of the people, and not a design to trick them out of their native blessing- freeing' labor, as much as possible, from burthens - securing the liberty of speech and the liberty of the press, instead of the reverse, etc. When these things are considered, we may, with propriety say, "that the late change has been as radical in its tendency, as that which took place in 1776. " And that these things have taken place, is undeniable: confessed by all, except those who are determined to confess nothing good, but what accords with their high notions of aristocracy.

Eighth. There is a foible among men, expressed by the words, "I told you so." When any occurrence turns up, if a man can say, "I told you so, " he supposes he establishes his character as a man of sagacity and forecast. The high toned party have been telling us for several years, that themselves were the only friends of our government - that the Republicans complained, on purpose, to get the ins out and get in themselves - that, should it be the case, there would be no more economy in government - no lessening of taxes - no sinking of the debt: they are therefore determined not to believe that there is any change for the better, for if they believe it, they cannot preach, "I told you so."

It looks as if every friend of his country would rejoice to see that debt, which was created to gain our independence, honestly and wholly paid. While Britain boasts that her credit is good, let the boast of America be, that she has no creditors.

Ninth. If editors of newspapers were genuine friends to their country, they would be fair and impartial, but such papers are rare, hence the readers of them are duped to party zeal. There are but a few men in the states, who have access to the official documents, or the laws that are enacted, except what teem through party gazettes, where they are so mutilated and commented upon, that the readers are biased and held in ignorance. Jackalls hunt the prey for the Lions, by whom they are rewarded with the offal, so some printers are hunting for their employers, by whom they are supported.

Tenth. The federal party are constantly exclaiming that the republicans are all deists, or if not, yet they all unite to undermine religion, law, steady habits and good order. Let these charges be fairly examined. The federal party includes the old tories - those who admire a state-established religion, and a few others. The republican class contains those who fought, not only to be independent of Britain, but also from that policy which governs her - those who contend for the civil and religious rights of all men, and some beside. As Deism is an opinion about religion, and not so much connected with government, the Deists might be left out of the question. However, as they are not omitted, they shall here be considered. The federalists and Deists agree in one point, viz: they both believe that if Christianity is not protected by law, it will fall to the ground. But then they disagree in their wishes: the federalists wish that what they call Christianity, may stand, but the Deists wish it might fall. The republicans and Deists agree in the counterpart, viz., that it would be delivering the world from one of its greatest curses, to have all legal establishments of religion abolished: but their conclusions are diametrically opposed to each other. Republicans believe that pure Christianity would gain much by such a dissolution, but the Deists suppose it would utterly fall. As for a religion of cruelty, laws to enforce it, and the steady habits of persecution, the republicans do wish to undermine them, and if Deists unite with them in this wish, they are so far right. It is true, there are some who call themselves republicans, who suppose that religion is an object of civil government, and under its control, but such men hold with the hare and run with the hound, and how they can reconcile the business of fighting with the dog, and whipping the cat, at the same time, I know not.

It is almost enough to tickle sobriety itself, to hear the clamor of some of the federalists about good order and religion, when, at the same time, their disorder is such, as to be no great commendation to any religion: so peacocks raise their shining feathers, but walk on shameful feet. It almost makes us believe, that they are conscious of their sins and dangers, and, therefore, wish others to have religion to prevent their own damnation: so a man once gave his parson a guinea a year, that he himself might freely swear.

Eleventh. The late marvellous work of God in Kentucky, has been echoed through federal and republican papers: it is well attested, and cause of rejoicing. There are, in that State, four Baptist Associations; to one of them, (the Elkhorn,) three thousand and eleven joined in one year, and I have pretty good authority to say, that as many as ten thousand joined in all the Associations, besides the vast numbers that joined the Methodists and Presbyterians. But what shall we say to these things? Kentucky was settled at first upon the plan of religious liberty, like Pennsylvania and Rhode-Island, and has continued so until the present time. Kentucky has been a democratic state, and boldly cried out against the measures of the late administration. Kentucky had no laws to support teachers of piety, morality, and religion, and yet the Lord of Heaven has blessed them marvellously. That God blesses sinners, is acknowledged with humble praise, but when he blesses them with his grace, he makes them virtuous, and that this change has been evident in Kentucky, is owned by all. How then comes it to pass, that Kentucky is still a democratic, disorganizing, unconstitutional state? Mr. Brackenridge is a senator from Kentucky, and the whole representation of that state is democratical. We are, therefore, reduced to the necessity of believing that democrats can be religious, or that the accounts of the great reform in Kentucky are all false. Can there be an instance given where there has been a like display of God's power in any state in the Union, which has left the people as generally federalists?

Twelfth. Under the late administration, if a man called in question the constitutionality, or expediency of any law or measure, he was charged with irreligion and sedition, but now, forsooth, it is become virtuous to condemn all that is done by government. Some say, that if the President had acted according to his inaugural speech, they should have had nothing to object; but I know not of an instance wherein he has transgressed the sentiments of that speech. Had he retained all the officers which he found in office, he would have disappointed that majority which promoted him, and likewise committed himself to the opposition party, to reproach him for being too cowardly to change men or measures, or stick to his friends. The truth is, the federal ins made their calculations to be eternal ins, and those three letters, o, u, t, have been made a handle of to raise a mighty fog. Notwithstanding several millions of dollars have been saved and appropriated to the payment of the debt, yet they condemn, because they were determined to condemn, the present administration.

Thirteenth. The late session of Congress has dismissed about five hundred officers, by the modification of the judiciary and the dismissal of the internal taxes. While other Congresses, and the former administration, talked about economy and sinking the debt, the present reduce those words to practice. Can the citizens of the United States be so blind to their interest, as to reprobate the only line of conduct, which can make and keep them a free people? They cannot - they will not. The President wishes to have the discretionary power of the executive department limited by legislative acts. The Secretary of the Treasury recommends the same. This is language almost new to the world, and will surely meet with the approbation of the people, just as fast as the false gloss of federal news-papers is removed. When we contemplate, that nearly all the unimproved land, belonging to the United States, lies in the republican hemisphere, populating exceeding fast, we have rational ground to believe that the republican interest will continue to triumph. But who can look into futurity? The depravity of human nature - the restless propensity of men after novelty - the fate of other nations - and the maxims of Revelation, all conspire to check our soaring prospects, and warn us to be still, and know that the Lord reigns king of nations. I shall, therefore, close this part of the address, in the words of the wise man: "Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man: for God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or bad.

Fourteenth. When equitable laws are administered by a magistrate, in whom the people place confidence, their yoke is easy and their burden is light. The satisfaction which they feel, will stimulate them more to part with their property for public uses, than rigor and force will from a tyrannical administration, unless the tyranny is so complete as to prevent all means of opposition. A striking instance we have of this in the history of David, and his grandson, Rehoboam. The liberality, in the days of David, is astonishing. The provision funded for the building of a superb temple for Jehovah, was immense. David, as king, contributed (exclusive of timber, stones, iron, brass, costly and glittering stones, etc.) one hundred thousand talents of gold, and one million of talents of silver. If a talent is sixty-two pounds, Troy, the offering exceeded two thousand millions of dollars. The princes likewise cast into the fund five thousand talents of gold and ten thousand talents of silver, which surpassed seventy-four millions of dollars. Besides this, David, of his own private property, advanced three thousand talents of gold, and seven thousand talents of silver, more than forty-five millions of dollars: which sums form a total of more than two thousand two hundred and sixty millions of dollars. But when Rehoboam (at the instance of the young men, who were swarming in his court like locusts, gaping for the loaves and fishes) undertook to stop the remonstrances of the people, and subject them to his sovereign will, by sedition whips, and excise scorpions, the people revolted: and when the provisional army was raised to force obedience, for want of guns, the people made use of stones, and stoned the excise oficer, who was over the tribute, to death. It may be added, that the building of the tabernacle, as well as the temple, and the repairing of the temple, were done by free-will offerings, and not by force.

Fifteenth. Gentlemen, you have taken notice that some men are always contending for the energy of government, while others are pleading for the rights of the people. On this I shall remark, that man has no right which stands in opposition to his social duties; no right to exercise his liberty to destroy the right and property of his neighbor; no right that frees him from his proportionable part of the burdens of government, and the restraints of just laws. Those who are always contending for the energy of government, generally have some office under that government, either in their own hands or the hands of their friends, which makes the government a profit to them, rather than a burden; and they wish that profit to be secured by energetic laws. While many, on the other hand, who plead for the liberty of men, too often use their own liberty for an occasion to the flesh.

Generally, in a revolution, for a time, the laws are too lax, which often drives the people to the opposite extreme; not stopping at the proper centre. Soon as ever government is energtic enough to protect the lives, liberty and property of the community, the people should use the utmost vigilance to prevent the intrusion of officers. I would as soon give my vote to a wolf to be a shepherd, as to a man, who is always contending for the energy of government, to be a ruler. I conceive our national government to be strong enough, and yet provision is made therein, to counterpoise all the powers that may be abused.

Let the people keep awake, and danger flies. It is not long since the people of these states were becalmed in their spirits: they left government in the hands of their servants, and reclined on the bed of domestic ease; but, thanks to kind Providence, the servants fell out about the loaves and fishes, and contended so loud that they awaked the people from their slumbers. Let the dangers which we have just escaped make us more watchful, with lead, line and lookout. And when our hoary heads shall lie slumbering in death, may our sons and successors take warning, and never forget the inactive folly of their ancestors.

Disdain mean suspicion, but cherish manly jealousy; be always jealous of your liberty, your rights. Nip the first bud of intrusion on your constitution. Be not devoted to men; let measures be your object, and estimate men according to the measures they pursue. Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny - the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. It converts religion into a principle of state policy, and the gospel into merchandise. Heaven forbids the bans of marriage between church and state; their embraces, therefore, must be unlawful. Guard against those men who make a great noise about religion, in choosing representatives. It is electioneering intrigue. If they knew the nature and worth of religion, they would not debauch it to such shameful purposes. If pure religion is the criterion to denominate candidates, those who make a noise about it must be rejected; for their wrangle about it, proves that they are void of it. Let honesty, talents and quick despatch, characterise the men of your choice. Such men will have a sympathy with their constituents, and will be willing to come to the light, that their deeds may be examined. Remember that the genuine meaning of republicanism is self-government; if you would, then, be true disciples in your profession, govern yourselves. The man who has no rule over his unruly passion, is no republican. He who will swear profanely, drink to excess, cheat his neighbor, speak falsely and scandalize his fellow creatures, is no republican, let his profession be what it will. Such republicans, like ferry-men, look one way and row the other. If you are republicans, indeed, you seek the public good. Be looking out, then, for objects of charity. Let the widow and the fatherless meet your kind assistance, and the blessing of him that is ready to perish fall upon you. Let the naked and hungry share your favors; the sick and afflicted, your hospitality; and let the case of poor prisoners and slaves excite your pity and stimulate your prayers.

Sixteenth. I already anticipate an objection to the method which I have pursued in this oration. The objection is, that "the subject has been too frequently changed." I own the subject has frequently changed; but king Solomon changed his subject seven times as often, in the book of Proverbs; and yet that book is justly esteemed so highly, that the golden verses of Pythagoras, and the morals of Seneca, claim no comparison with it. I have also a later example. The honorable senate of Massachusetts, in the late session, when answering the governor's speech, suddenly elope from their subject, and take that opportunity to declare that the freedom of the people is best secured by the independence of the judiciary." If kings and senators give the example, the present speaker hopes for indulgence. But why should the senate take that opportunity to declare their opinion? I know not; ask them, they are of age, and can answer for themselves. It was, however, no great compliment paid to Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut; in which states all the judges are annually chosen. But I conclude that the butt-end of it was aimed at Congress, for repealing the judiciary law of midnight darkness. As kings and senators hop, I will skip, and, in my turn, say that the late repeal of the judiciary law was constitutional, and expedient; and has given a tone to our government, worth more than all the gold of Ophir. The language is, that all officers, directly or indirectly, are amenable to the people. If the repeal of that law destroyed the constitution, as some said, why did not every man return home? What had they to do there, if the constitution was lost? They knew better- they acted otherwise. Not a single Fed of two thousand has quit his post; all stick like horse leeches at the veins, and will stick as long as there is a drop of money - blood in the body, unless they are removed; and when that is the case, they roar and yell like greedy wolves. Pause! pause! for heaven's sake, pause! and behold the inconsistency of Federal folly.

Seventeenth. As kind Providence has been so propitious, in appearing in behalf of America, so often, and so wonderfully, we have ground to hope that it will still interpose, again and again. A great number of thousands of people, within the United States, are still held in lasting slavery. The poor creatures have made several attempts to gain their lost liberty, but have failed, like the Poles. This evil chiefly abounds in the middle and southern states. Poor creatures! is there no liberty for them? must they forever drag the galling chain of vassalage under their despotic masters? How would every benevolent heart rejoice to see them all emancipated from slavery, and enjoy that little pittance of freedom, by nature due to them. May Heaven move on the minds of their masters, and open a way in Providence to bring them out of bondage, with the consent of their masters, and consistent with good policy. As personal slavery exists chiefly in the southern states, so religious slavery abounds exclusively in three or four of the New England states. Here the rights of conscience are made articles of merchandise, and men, who differ in opinion from the majority of a town, have to buy them. Here the majority vote away the money of the minority, for religious uses, at pleasure; and the legal relief, provided for the minority, is so intricate in its nature, and so precarious in its final issue, that, generally, heavy costs fall on those who strive to regain what usurpation has taken from them. Tyranny is always the same. Pharoah said to Moses, "Go ye and serve the Lord, but let your flocks and herds be staid." Massachusetts says, "Go ye and serve the Lord, but pay for building the parish meetinghouse, and the salary of the teacher of piety, morality and religion." And men must pay their money according to a legal assessment, and draw it back again by a legal process, in order to be freed from the society which is dissented from; because they govern their religious concerns in a legal form. The most explicit language of the Pharoah of Massachusetts is, "Go ye and serve the Lord, but serve him as the majority do. " Be incorporated by law, and become bodies politic; make use of the tool which we are so fond of; kill yourselves and we will not kill you. Oh! that the day - the halcyon day, may come, when the chains of personal slavery, and the manacles of religious despotism may be broken asunder, and freedom and religion pervade the whole earth.

GENTLEMEN: As it is my custom, on our anniversaries, to retire from company as soon as the public exhibition is over, I shall now express a number of wishes, in the form of toasts, which voluntarily flow from my heart - then conclude and retire.

1st. The world at large. May truth and friendship overspread the earth; and may all nations be freed from war, oppression, personal slavery, and religious tyranny.

2d. The people of the United States. May they be virtuous, industrious and wise; free from the intrigues of lawyers, the deception of doctors, the holy fraud of priests, and the imposition of lying printers.

3d. The United States. May the sixteen links be all of republican gold, and form an indissoluble chain. Let them adopt the policy of no nation, but improve upon them all.

4th. The President. May the first consul of France learn wisdom of the President of the United States, for a finishing stroke to his victories. As for old and foolish kings, they will not be reproved.

5th. The Legislature. Short sessions, few laws, and good customs.

6th. The Judiciary. Let judges know that they are as amenable to God, to law, and to the people, as other men.

7th. The Treasury. May the treasury be supplied with a frugal sufficiency for the exigences of government; but let the great treasure be in the hands of the people; each man being the treasurer of his own earnings.

8th. The Revenue. Let the resources of the nation run freely, when necessity calls; but let private right and public economy secure the dam and the gate.

9th. The Navy and Militia. May the time quickly come, when there shall not be a ship of war on the seas - till then, let every vessel be allowed to arm in its own defence, and let the same be extended to voluntary companies, that may see cause to build navies for trade. But why should government be at the expense to guard the speculation of individuals? However, if the condition of the world justifies an American navy of war, may it bring the piratical states, on the coast of Africa, to national justice. May the malitia always be in readiness, but never be needed.

10th. The Debt. May the debt of the United States be discharged with speed and punctuality; and let not the people be deceived, by having the funds, established for that purpose, put to other uses.

11th. Commerce. May our exports be so great, and our imports so small, that the balance of trade may be in our favor.

12th. Agriculture. Let Americans improve the extensive, fertile land which the Almighty has given them, and not amuse themselves with the whimsies of circumscribed Islands.

13th. Literature. May our schools, academies and universities, diffuse abundance of light and knowledge abroad, and produce a long list of sages and patriots, whose souls shall so widely expand, that they shall know something more than just how to decline a noun and conjugate a verb.

14th. The American Indians. May the scalping-knife and hatchet be intered in the earth, and their fertile soil be cultivated by themselves. May they excel their white brethren in honesty, liberality and religion.

15th. The Territory of Ohio. May the new state be properly organized by the year 1804, and cast four republican votes into the box at the next presidential election.

16th. The Gospel. The only hope of man: may it prevail everywhere in its virgin purity - free from the legal apparatus and traditional complexion which have long covered its native beauty. May the combination of rulers and priests, church and state, be dissolved, and never re-unite.

17th. The Day. May it be kept as the birthday of independence, with that gratitude and joy that become free-men and Christians.

Gentlemen: I conclude - I retire. I hope nothing will be done this day, that will disgrace the republican or the Christian.

55. This calculation is made upon the scale of £3 sterling being 1 lb. Troy; and 17 lb. Troy are equal to 14 lb. Avoirdupois.

017 Corresponding Letter of the Shaftsbury 1803


DEAR BRETHREN: Amidst the carnage of war, the revolutions of empire, the spasms of contending parties, the jarring interests and turbulent passions of infuriated men, which have deluged the world in confusion, it has been the privilege and delight of the saints, that they have a God to apply to in every time of need - a God, who has been a present help, a refuge from the storm, a strong tower, a munition of rocks, and a hiding-place.

This all-puissant Jehovah, self-glorious in his nature, and independent in all his works, has not confined his glory to the heavens, nor his goodness to the angels of light; but the inhabitants of this world have largely received of the fulness of his grace. Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly. He who has the high heavens for his throne, and the earth for his footstool - before whom all the nations of the earth are as drops of the bucket, or small dust of the balance, in infinite condescension and boundless love, receives and protects every broken heart and contrite spirit; and, for their encouragement, has given them many precious promises, by which they are made partakers of the divine nature. If these foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? The saints have an omnipotent God on their side, who has promised, with an oath, to be a God unto them, and bless them. With an Almighty Friend, they may triumph over all their mighty foes, and say, "We will not fear what man can do unto us."

Brethren, while the world is emblazoning the virtues of valor, policy and industry, in agriculture, mechanism, and science, we, who are not of the world, wish to treat those virtues as the pigmy valor of game-cocks, the policy of bees, and the industry of ants; and display the noble valor of a Christian, to resist Satan, conquer sin, and destroy error; to be wise in the policy of Christ's kingdom, and industrious in the vineyard of the Lord: that what part soever we are called upon to act in the civil department, we would always esteem the high calling of God, in Christ Jesus, infinitely paramount.

We are not disposed to eulogize the period in which we live, as the only day of light, reason and liberty; nor to despise the pittance of time allotted us, as worse than former days; for the same contest between truth and error, right and wrong, which has been in the world from the beginning, still exists. But it is truly pleasing to the children of light, to consider that all the error and wrong of creatures, can never destroy the truth and rigteousness of the Creator.

The day in which we live, is neither dark nor light; not the darkness of sin, superstition and idolatry, nor the clear light of heaven; but at "evening time it will be light;" at the evening of life, as it respects individuals, and the evening of the world, as it applies to all the saints, - then it will be light without darkness.

In some of our churches there have been painful trials, since the last meeting of our association; others have escaped such trials; while some have received showers of heavenly grace.

It is with pleasure we receive your messengers, minutes and letters, from time to time, being confident such a procedure tends to edify the whole body; and, on our part, we shall pursue the same measures, for similar purposes.

Since our last meeting, one of our ministerial brethren (Elder Nathan Haskins, of Savoy,) has departed this life. Help, Lord! for the godly man ceaseth. We hope, however, that our loss is his gain.

Brethren, farewell. May a gracious God preserve us from every evil, and bring us, at last, into the full enjoyment of himself, through a blessed Mediator. Amen.

018 The Government of Christ, A Christocracy



Is the government of Christ according to the genius of the Monarchical, or like Democratical government; or is it distinct from both, being unlike all the governments on earth?

In answering this comprehensive question, I shall, first, consider the genius of Monarchical government; secondly, elucidate the nature of Democratical government; in the third place, I shall endeavor to state the difference between the universal government of the Almighty, the Theocracy of Israel, and the government of Christ, intended in the main question; fourth, I shall attempt to show, that although there are some parts of this government which resemble monarchy, and other parts, democracy, yet it is, upon the whole, different from all other governments, forming, of itself, a Christocracy.

First, I am to consider the genius of Monarchy. The origin, use, extent and abuse of government, are not articles of present investigation, but the genius only, which may be thus described. The monarch on his throne is the fountain of power and honor. His will is law for all his subjects; their privileges are his favors; he is responsible to none of them for his conduct; he appoints and commissions all officers for every department, who are accountable to him alone; he confers honors and pardons on whom he pleases, and takes away the lives of his subjects at pleasure. Some monarchies are absolute, and some are qualified, while others have the monarchical power distributed among a number of nobles, forming what is called aristocracy; but whenever it is understood that men are born to rule, that government is founded in birth, that, by some inconceivable, in-expressible mystery, some are born with a right to rule over others, with out the choice or consent of those ruled, whether this right is held by one king, or a number of nobles, it is monarchical government.

Secondly, I am to elucidate the nature of Democratic government. It is simply this: that men have the right, and exercise the power, of governing themselves; that all men are born equal, and that government is founded in compact, by mutual agreement for general good. It is most likely that there never was an unlimited democratical government on earth; for among American savages, the women and children have no choice in framing their laws, nor have the hunters as much influence as the chief. Nor does democracy suppose that all the body politic must be present on every legal occasion; but it supposes that all men, ripe in years, have a voice in the choice of their agents, and that they are themselves eligible to office. That all officers are amenable to those who appoint them, and must, at a certain period, return to private life. That those in power, have not and cannot have, any power but what they receive, in small constituent parts, from all the community. It disclaims allegiance to any foreign tyrant, and to every domestic usurper.

Thirdly, I am to state the difference which exists between the universal government of the Almighty, the Theocracy of Israel, and the government of Christ, intended in the main question.

1st. The great Jehovah is the moral governor of all rational beings. His law is binding on all of them. He requires reasonable service of them all, and they are all accountable to him for their conduct. All the angels in heaven and hell, all men, in the body and out of the body, are under obligation to love and obey God, and acknowledge the Messiah, and their opposition and rebellion have no excuse. Yea, further, in some sort, his government extends over all creation. The material world, which arose at his command, exists by his power, and will be destroyed at his word. In the intermediate time, the seas roll, the winds blow, the clouds fly, the thunder roars, the rain and snow descend, and the earth brings forth her increase in obedience to his will. The beasts of the field, the birds of the air" the fish of the sea, and all the creeping things, were made, are preserved and fed, and will decease by the hands of the Almighty.

2d. The nation of Israel, at Mount Horeb, were formed into an ecclesiasticopolitical government, and as they received all their laws of religion and government from God alone, their government is called a Theocracy. All the nation, whether good or bad, belonged to that church, for the bounds of the church and the state were commensurate, Those who sinned away their lives in the wilderness, all the sinners of God's people until the time of Christ, together with those in his day, called serpents and generation of vipers, belonged to that Theocracy, as well as the righteous. In the days of Samuel, the government was altered in some respects; kings were appointed instead of judges; but still the Theocracy continued, for those kings were to execute the laws which God had given to the people, and make none themselves. When David was on the throne, the state of the people was considerably changed from what it was when their code of laws was given them; yet the alterations which David made, were done by the Spirit of God which was upon him.

3d. The glorious Mediator is spoken of under the most dignified titles, according to the highest sense of the words. He is called Leader, Commander, Captain, Counsellor, Ruler, Governor, Prince and King; and it is said of the increase of his government and duration of his kingdom, there shall be no end. This government, or kingdom, is not of this world; the subjects are not of this world, but are called out of it. Those that fear God and work righteousness, are the only persons that belong to it. No man can understand the nature of, or enter into this kingdom, unless he is born again. And such may say, "We are thine; thou never bearest rule over them, (the men of the world,) they were not called by thy name."

I proceed, in the fourth place, to show that, although some parts of this government resemble monarchy, and other parts of it a democracy, yet, upon the whole, it is different from all other governments, forming of itself, a Christocracy.

There is some likeness between the government of Christ, and a monarchy.

1st. Christ is absolute legislator. His will is law. He consults not with angels or men, in framing his orders. He is king, without a privy council, and judge, without any associates.

2d. He appoints and commissions all the spiritual officers in his government. The ministers of the gospel receive their orders from Christ alone.

There is also some likeness between the government of Christ and a democracy.

1st. Liberty and equality, the boast of democracy, is realized in the church. The saints are set at liberty from the prison of sin, and freed from the curse of the law. They are all one in Christ; the poor are exalted, and the rich brought low.

2d. The saints on earth are Christ's subjects, forming his kingdom below. When Christ went to heaven, and left his house below, he gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work; and as far as church government on earth is the government of Christ, it is of democratical genius. Church government is congregational, not parochial, diocesan; nor national. Each congregated church disclaims the power of Popes, kings, bishops, parliaments, kirks, or presbyteries, and claims the right and power to govern itself according to the laws of Christ. And it must be confessed, that the spirit and rule by which the subjects of Christ's kingdom are to live one among another, greatly resemble the genius of a republic, and as greatly confronts the inequality and haughtiness of monarchies. So far as Christ's government may be compared to governments on earth, we may say, that as many democracies as there are churches, form one absolute empire. But such a government was never on earth.

The difference that exists between Christ's government, and all others, I shall now attend unto.

1st. Christ's laws are spiritual, reaching to the hearts, thoughts, and motives of men, and requiring truth in the inward parts; whereas, the laws of state take cognizance of actions only, and of those actions only, whereby one man injures another, in life, liberty, or property. So that a man may be a good citizen of state, and at the same time be an enemy to God, and not worthy to be numbered among the subjects of Christ. His laws, moreover, reach to every case, taking into view all actions, temptations, circumstances, and motives, which the laws of men cannot do.

2d. The government of which I am treating, admits of an atonement for transgressions, by the vicarious sufferings of the innocent for the guilty; which is not, and ought not to be allowed in any government of this world. In civil cases, if one man owes another, the surety may pay the debt, and set the debtor free; but not so in criminal cases, for if a man is guilty of an overt act and exposed to the penalty of corporeal punishment, no government on earth admits of a substitute; the criminal, and the criminal only, must suffer. Here, then, appears that mystery which philosophy and state policy never found out, - the mysterious way how sin could be atoned for, and sinners saved. Yes, men have sinned, and incurred the divine displeasure, but the blessed Jesus died for sinners, - died, the just for the unjust, that God might be just, and justify the ungodly who believe. This atonement, unlike any thing seen in all governments on earth, is the sinner's only hope of acceptance before God.

3d. In all other governments, whenever grace is administered to a criminal, it is done at the expense of the law; the law dies, that grace may reign. I mean this: when a criminal is condemned to death by a legal process, if he is pardoned, both law and adjudication are overruled. But, in the kingdom of Christ, sinners are pardoned and the law honored - pardoned, not in the light of benefit of clergy, but through satisfaction made to the law by the suffering of another - pardoned, not by an absolute proclamation of grace, but by the price of blood.

4th. Another singularity of Christ's kingdom, is this; characters, as well as facts, are noticed. If my words are not well chosen, I will explain thus: In the governments on earth, if two men, say A. and B., are proved guilty of one and the same crime, and adjudged to the same punishment, if A. appears hard hearted and furious, and B. discovers all the symptoms of sorrow and reformation, still they must equally suffer, for the law has nothing to do with characters, but facts. But, in the divine government, in the name and by the atonement of Christ, all those who repent, receive remission of sins, while those who harden their hearts, fall into mischief.

5th. All monarchies, empires, kingdoms, and states, on earth, have their limits and boundaries. Seas, lakes, rivers, mountains, or lines of latitude, form the boundaries, and mark the division among them, so that no place or people is under the control of two of those governments at the same time. But Christ's government has no territorial bounds - it is not located, but general - it runs into all the kingdoms and states on earth, and claims all those who fear God and work righteousness for its subjects, and at the same time does not deprive any kingdom or state of a single subject or citizen. For the hundred and forty-four thousand, the vast multitude of Christ's subjects, which no man can number, are scattered over every kingdom, nation, tongue and people, and while they are the devoted subjects of king Jesus, they are, at the same time, the most loyal subjects and best citizens in the kingdoms and states where they reside.

6th. The kingdom of Christ is a kingdom of truth, righteousness, and peace, without error, injustice, or discord. When Pilate asked Jesus if he were a king, he said, I am; for this end was I born, that I might bear witness unto the truth." And St. Paul informs us, that the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace. Truth, righteousness, and peace, have but little to do in the kingdoms of this world, but without treating them with any severity, it will not be denied, that abundance of corruption, partiality, oppression and fraud, creep into, and proceed from the best governments on earth, but none of these attend the kingdom of Christ. Justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne, mercy and truth go before his face. He sits upon a great white throne, free from every stain of error. The conclusion of the whole matter, therefore, is, that the government of Christ is radically different from all the governments on earth, forming, of itself, a divine Christocracy. By a Christocracy, I mean nothing more than a government of which Christ is law-giver, king, and judge, and yet so arranged, that each congregational church is a complete republic of itself, not to be controlled by civil government or hierarchy. Let this government be called by what name soever, it is not of the world, and therefore, the rulers of this world have nothing to do with it, in their official capacity. It is distinct from the government of state, and consequently, should never be mixed with it. It is complete of itself, and disdains the assistance of human laws.

Civil government is designed to protect the lives, liberty, and property, of the community, but the divine government is adapted to pardon the guilty, reform the heart, instruct the mind, and improve the morals of the wicked. The promotions and punishments of civil governments, are all this side of the grave, but those of the divine government, are in the succeeding world. Blood, warlike valor, and state policy, raise men to high rank in the governments on earth, but self-abasement, love to enemies, simplicity and humility, are the characteristics of those whom the King delights to honor. The great names of Alexander, Caesar, Washington, or Jefferson, will be no more regarded in the judgment day, than the names of their meanest servants, unless they possess that moral excellency which their servants do not.

Whenever churches, (the little republics which form the empire of Christ,) are formed according to the gospel, acknowledging Christ for their head, and his laws for their rules, all that such democratical societies expect, wish for, or are entitled to, from civil government, is the protection of their rights to worship God as they judge best, without the molestation of others. But whenever churches are formed by civil law, whether they are national, diocesan, or parochial, and become bodies politic, and appeal to any authority, either civil or ecclesiastical, higher than the authority of a church, for a final decision of controversies, such churches wish for, receive, and exercise a power over the rights of others, which is inconsistent with the genius of Christianity. Such societies may call themselves churches of Christ, but in reality, they are creatures of state. Let there be more or less of the subjects of Christ in such societies, (who are held there through ignorance or by force,) yet, as bodies collective, they are not those democracies which form the divine Christocracy; for the reason why the nation of Israel was called a Theocracy, was, because they received all their laws from (Theas) God alone, so churches must be governed by the laws of (Christos) Christ alone, to form the Christocracy here spoken of. I am not, however, tenacious for a name; let the church be called a kingdom, empire, republic, or commonwealth, and let the saints be called subjects, servants, or fellow-citizens, yet keep up the idea that the government is complete of itself, and no gap is left for magistrates to interfere, and also that it is different, in many particulars, from all the governments on earth, as has been shown. Experience, the best teacher, has informed us, that the fondness of magistrates to foster Christianity, has done it more harm than all the persecutions ever did. Persecution, like a lion, tears the saints to death, but leaves Christianity pure: state establishment of religion, like a bear, hugs the saints, but corrupts Christianity, and reduces it to a level with state policy. Magistrates frequently love the advantages of Christianity more than the precepts of it, and flatter themselves that they are doing much for God, and themselves, when they make laws to protect what they esteem the truth of Christianity, and to reward the preachers of that truth, but every law which they make of that complexion, proves their aversion to the scheme of pure Christianity: for, by such a procedure, they arraign either the wisdom, or good will of Christ, the Lord, for not giving enough, and the best of laws for the government of the church, at all times, and in all places. And further, they arrogate to themselves a lording over consciences, which is God's prerogative, and a favor which is not attached to their civil office. They, moreover, lead the preachers to trust in them, and not in the Lord: at least, they become the legal bondsmen of Christ.

The exercises of Christ's government are moral excellencies which force can never effect. The freedom of the will, and volition of choice, are so essential to moral virtue, that it cannot exist without. We must, therefore, give up the idea of legal force in matters of religion, or own that there is no moral worth in them: hence the conclusion is, that religion, in all its parts, is distinct from civil government, or, otherwise, Deism will triumph. For, if there is no moral virtue in religion, the cost and contention about it, sink it far below Deism.

While I am reflecting on these things, it strikes my mind that the religion of Massachusetts is somewhat dissimilar to the religion of the gospel, in the following particulars.

First. Whoever consults the third article of the Bill of Rights, in the Constitution of Massachusetts, together with sundry existing laws, will find that Protestant Christianity is the established religion of the state. Pagans, Turks, Jews, and Papists, are minor departments; whereas, the primitive Christians had no such establishment - no such preference - and they were so tenacious of the laws of Christ, that, before they would submit to traditions of elders, (among the Jews,) or the established religion among the Gentiles, they exposed both property and life. There was no Pope to protest against in those times, nor ever would have been, had Christianity never been established by law. It is true, that the Christians, at first, were but a feeble band, but Christ, as a prophet - as a God - certainly knew that the Christians by name, would, thereafter, become so numerous as to form a majority in the empire which then claimed universal sway; why, then, did he not give some hint, that, when that should be the case, the Christians should regulate their religion by law? This he has not done, - this the apostles are silent about. They understood better the will of their Master, who had said, my kingdom is not of this world."

Second. This state is formed into a great number of ecclesiastico-politico, major-vote parishes. Some of these parishes are personal, but most of them are territorial. They are religious societies, made bodies politic, and governed by major vote. Let any man read the New Testament, and find any account of such societies among primitive Christians, if he can, or any orders for Christians to be formed in that manner, whenever they should be numerous enough.

Third. These Pharisees are now exposed to a fine of from thirty to a hundred dollars for every six months that they are destitute of a teacher of piety, morality, and religion, which is a little different from New Testament times. Now, the laws of state impose fines upon the people if they are destitute of preachers; then, the laws of Christ imposed prayers: "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into the harvest."

Fourth. When a territorial parish have chosen a minister by major vote, and contracted with him for his salary, the sum is levied upon all within the limits of the parish, according to poll and property, and collected by a legal officer. If all within the parish are acquiescent, I have only to say, it is putting the law to a use for which it was never designed by Him who rules above, and sinking religion to a level with worldly articles. But, when any are dissentients, such force and cruelty follows, as to disgrace the religion of the meek and lowly Jesus. Disgrace it, did I say? It is as foreign from gospel religion, as darkness from light. Some relief, however, is provided for a certain description of deficients, by giving in certificates, or suing their money out of the treasury, but the mode is so intricate, and the event so uncertain, that, in many cases, where the deficients have exerted themselves, they have gained only heavy costs upon the back of the original sum. In many cases, also, the deficients are not allowed to sit upon the jury, because they are parties concerned, but their oppressors, not being interested, judge the case alone. The expense of building meeting-houses, has the same course as ministerial salaries. Now, where shall we find the chapter or verse in the New Testament, that coincides with such proceedings?

Fifth. The framers of our state Constitution, and the makers of our canonical laws, seem to have been conscious that the hierarchy which they were forming, was distinct from the gospel, for they uniformly give it other names. The privileged order of preachers, which these laws are designed to foster, are never called ministers of the gospel, but invariably, "teachers of piety, morality, and religion." Peter gave the following definition of piety: "But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents." Piety, then, consists in relieving distressed widows, and not in taking away their pros perty to pamper the teachers. James explains religion thus "Pure religion, and undefiled before God and the Father, is this, to visit the fatherless and widow in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." But how can the saints keep themselves unspotted from the world, when they get the world to define their religion, and, by worldly power, force the people to attend their worship, build their temples, and pay their teachers?"

The word morality, is not in the Bible: it is a word, however, of common use, but of somewhat indefinite signification. The Armenians use the word to express those actions of men which tend to the good of families, societies, etc., when there is no gracious disposition in the men who perform those actions. The Hopkinsianists, and Calvanists, make use of the word to describe the quality of actions, or the motives which stimulate. Others, again, say, there is a legal honesty, and there is also a moral honesty; supposing that a legal honesty consists in conducting so to ourselves and others, that the laws cannot impeach us, but that moral honesty is from a sense of God's laws, and a love to his ways; doing that which is right of itself, whether the laws of men enjoin it or not. But so far as my acquaintance extends, all parties agree that the words of our Lord give the best description of morality that ever was given: "Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye the same to them." Taking this to be a just description of morality, I wish to ask whether the hierarchy of Massachusetts teaches men this lesson? Let the ruling party in the state answer. Gentlemen, were you the minor part, should the Quakers, Methodists, or Baptists, form a majority in the various towns and parishes in this state, and tax all those of the standing order to pay their preachers, build their meeting-houses, endow their colleges, etc., or, in order to get relief therefrom, that you must give in a certificate, or sue your money back out of the treasury, and that none of your order could be admitted jurors, but the case must be decided solely by them, would you not in such cases say, (if you are allowed to speak,) you know, in your consciences, that you are not doing as you would be done by?"

The question then arises, whether the establishment of religion is friendly to piety, morality, and religion, or whether it is not rather, in its nature and tendency, sapping the foundation of all of them? "I speak as unto wise men, judge ye what I say."

To myself, there remains no doubt, that the religious establishments of Massachusetts, and all state establishments of Christianity in the world, are all of them, ANTI-CHRISTOCRACIES.

019 An Elective Judiciary


There is none that holdeth with me, in these things, but MICHAEL, your Prince - DANIEL.

IN family registers, and biographical writings, the birthday, the wedding-day, and the dying-day of individuals, are noticed with peculiar emphasis: so, with regard to nations, the rise, alliances, and downfall of empires and states, are articles of great notoriety with historians. In this point of light, this fourth of July is the birthday of the United States. Twenty-nine years have elapsed since the British colonies, in North America, cast off the tyrant's yoke, and assumed a rank among the nations of the earth.

The American revolution has opened a scene - is the beginning of a drama, which will not close until time shall be no more. While we celebrate the day, the birthday of long-lost freedom returning to visit the earth, and take up her abode among men, we will not be unmindful of the agents which the Almighty has used in his hand to effect that work, for which nations will arise and call them blessed.

When the distresses of our country called forth a deputation from each colony, who convened in Philadelphia, in the year 1776, their cry to heaven, in behalf of their constituents, was, "Lord, what wilt thou have us to do? " It was a bold attempt, in Richard H. Lee, to make the motion of Independence; which was no sooner done, than the intrepid Samuel Adams seconded it. The motion was carried - the declaration was made, which forever separated the United States from Great Britain, from her policy, her corruption, and her debts. But Lee is gone to his long home - Adams sleeps in dust - Randolph is no more- Hancock is gone the way of all the earth - Henry's all-persuasive voice no more is heard - Franklin commands the shafts of heaven no more. These worthies, with most of the fathers of the revolution, having served their generation, according to the will of God, have fallen asleep and seen corruption.

But after the declaration was made, arduous was the struggle to support it. Warren, Montgomery, Worcester, Mercer, Nash, and others, lost their lives in the field of battle; with thousands of our sons, equal, perhaps, in virtue, though not in rank. Those who survived the contest, and saw the return of peace, found that mortality was not conquered. Yes, a Washington and a Greene, the boast of Virginia and Rhode Island, and the triumph of America, are no more.

They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions; but they are fallen by death. The quinsy was an overmatch for Washington - a stroke of the sun too powerful for Greene. "How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished." But, notwithstanding the great destruction of those who made destruction of tyranny, some of the fathers and patriots remain. Jefferson yet lives - may he long live - may he outlive all his enemies - may he live till the debt of the nation is entirely defrayed. Clinton, the friend of man, the persevering republican, the long guide of New York, is yet on the stage of action.

It is pleasing to contemplate, that though most of the fathers of the revolution have closed their eyes in death, yet their sons have risen up to maintain the same cause; so the young Elisha caught the mantle and a double portion of the spirit of Elijah, when, with a whirlwind, he rode to heaven in a fiery car. Among these, a Bidwell is the boast of this district; like Barnabas of old, a son of consolation, meek in temper, and amiable in manners. His talents and integrity, which have appeared so conspicuous, as a writer, an advocate at the bar, a treasurer, & senator, etc., in the small circle of one state, will shine with a longer tail, and more effulgence, in the large orbit of the Union. May he ever lighten, but never scorch. 56

While I am eulogizing character, not for their names', but their works' sake, I feel under some obligation to reply to several charges lodged against the president. His flight to Carter's mountain, his attempt to cheat Mr. Jones, his intrigue with Mrs. Walker, and his sending from France after black Sall, are the four topics of censure. These crimes, it is said, were all committed between the years 1776 and 1790. I do not absolutely know but all the charges are true; but one thing I know to be true. I lived in Virginia, from December, 1776, until April, 1791, not far distant from Monticello; yet I never heard a syllable of either of those crimes, till I read them in these eastern newspapers; said to be extracts from Calender & Co. I shall, therefore, be an infidel in these reports, until I have better evidence.

That his public administration has been just and enconomical, I think no candid man will deny. Some, however, attribute the means to the former administration; and say that Jefferson & Co. rise upon the revenue which was left by the former administration in bank. The truth, I conceive to be this. The avenues of revenue were opened before the funding system, and other collateral measures, split the nation into two parties; after the split, the Federal party, being paramount, added to the revenue by internal taxation. The internal taxes, at the close of Mr. Adams' administration, formed one eleventh part of the revenue; but, with all the imposts and internal taxes, the debt of the nation was so far from being diminished, that it increased about one million of dollars per year. That the federal Congresses understood how to levy taxes and swell the revenue, no man denies; but that they put the money to the right use, is denied; so that, if we give them the credit of procuring the means, we must certainly give to the present administration the praise of applying those means to their proper ends. One-eleventh part of the taxes are taken off the people, and with the ten-elevenths, more than twelve millions of dollars of the national debt was reduced during the first four years of Mr. Jefferson's administration.

The auxiliaries in the executive department merit some attention, at this time. Mr. Madison is secretary of state. From a child, he has been a pattern of sobriety, study, and inflexible justice. From an intimate acquaintance with him, I feel satisfied that all the state of Massachusetts, for a bribe, would not buy a single vote of him. A saying of his is fresh in my memory. "It is ridiculous for a man to make use of underhanded means to carry a point, although he should know that the point is a good one: it would be doing evil that good might come." This saying of his, better describes the man than my pen can do. He has been in public life from the beginning of the revolution until now; and is at this time assisting to administer that government, which he (the first man in the United States) made a motion to call a convention to form. Should Jefferson die, or resign, on whom would the office of president fall with as much propriety and safety, as on Mr. Madison?

In the treasury department, Mr. Gallatin is principal. A foreigner by birth, but by naturalization an American. Having filled many important officers in Pennsylvania, he was sent a delegate to Congress; and was an able opposer of all those measures which were so abhorrent to the people as to cause a change of administration. In the Congressional debates, when the souls of men were tried, he discovered such financial talents, that his enemies prophesied, that if Jefferson became president, Gallatin would have charge of the treasury; which is the only part of the federal prophecy that has ever come to pass. With propriety he may be called the American Neckar. Never did Sir Isaac Newton search into the laws of gravitation, or explore the starry heavens, and give to each star its magnitude, distance and orbit, with more depth of thought, accuracy, and despatch, than Albert Gallatin surveys all the sources of revenue, and points out the proper mode of collecting and applying the same, in a manner highly economical, making just allowances for contingent events, and closing his statements to the tenth part of a cent. We know he is wise- we believe he is honest. May his fiscal arrangements be such, as will sink the debt of the nation in a short period.

But, while I am passing encomiums, it strikes my mind that the same reason which forbids us to write the history of a man, while he is living, warns us against being too lavish of eulogium on men, until they leave the theatre where so many play the worst part of their lives in their latest days. Arnold was the song of '77, and many of the quondams of our country were famous for a while; yet Arnold betrayed his trust, and the quondams have fallen into disgrace, or sunk into the state of doubtful disputation. The saying of a citizen of Tarsus, it doth not yet appear what we shall be, " is applicable to statesmen, in the point of light before us. We have a recent instance before us, which proves that a man may be one day contending for liberty and equality - the next be a qualified consul - then consul for life - after that emperor - and with that have the crown of another kingdom placed on his head.

Let gratitude swell our bosoms, to render the tribute of praise to all who deserve well of their country; but let inflexible patriotism inspire us to withhold our suffrages from all the unworthy. By unworthy characters, I mean those who wish to plunge the nation into debt; make offices permanent, and destroy responsibility; make government a mystery, and induce the people to call neither men nor measures in question; use others as a ladder to climb the tree of eminence with, and when once risen, kick down the ladder; join churches, and make a great noise about religious qualifications in rulers, and, at the same time, be as void of them as an ice-cake is of fire; plead much for the constituted authorities and the laws, while they themselves are in office, but speak evil of dignities when themselves are neglected. In such men place no confidence; for they that are such, serve not their country, but their own bellies, and, with good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple.

Men who are best qualified for office, are generally the least ambitious after it; so it was with Moses, David, Seranus, Cincinnatus, Washington, and others. Being furnished with rectitude and variety within, they court not the trappings and tinsel without: yet, when duty calls, they will hazard their all to serve their country. Pleased, however, when the object is gained - when the period arrives that they can, with true honor, quit the noisy world to enjoy themselves. But I close my encomiastic, and characteristical preface, and proceed to objects more sentimental.

The sages of America declared, in the Declaration of Independence, that government was instituted for the good of the people, and not for the aggrandizement of a few; and therefore, whenever the form of government did not preserve the lives, liberties, and property of the people, they had an indubitable right to amend it, so as to answer those valuable purposes. This sage opinion, in the year 1776, was eagerly adopted by the people of the United States. In 1787, the patriotic fathers, in general convention, held the same sentiment as dear as the ligaments of their hearts. Possessed of this right, in behalf of their constituents, they changed the then existing government; and in the machine of government which they formed, great care and wisdom were used to secure the same right to their children. The provision made in the constitution, for peaceable amendments, whenever defects are discovered, is one of the brightest ornaments of that model of policy.

Men in political, as well as in agricultural, mechanical, and scientifical life, are prone to conceive themselves nearly infallible, and often seek to erect barriers to prevent their children from forsaking the opinions and pursuits of their fathers; but, with wonder and gratitude, we behold the American fathers assiduously engaged to leave to their children the golden legacy of choosing their own form of government, and making their own laws, without any danger of noise or convulsion. Hitherto, it had been supposed, that no government could be altered or amended, without war and carnage abroad, and national injustice and bankruptcy at home; but the people of the United States have acquired the art of changing their mode of government, as often as experience dictates the utility thereof, with as little danger as they repeal a law. Nor do, nor can any men wish to deprive the people of this privilege, except those who are something, or conceive themselves something, in the existing order of things, and fear they shall be nothing, should a change take place.

As a number of amendments have been made to the national constitution, since its first adoption, and others are now before Congress, with great diffidence, I shall here propose one, which is an Elective Judiciary. Pagans have a notion, that certain gods or goddesses preside over certain limited countries. Whether their notion is substantial or fanciful, it appears very evident to me, that the election of all officers, to fill all parts of the government, is the natural genius that presides over the United States, and if my conviction is just, there will be spasms, and commotions in the states, until such amendment takes place. I have labored under this conviction for a number of years; but as I have never borne any office in state, to try my theory by experiment; and, as my calling in life is in another department, I have quieted myself in silence; waiting, in the mean time, for some to plead the cause of an Elective Judiciary, or overcome the reasonings of my mind, by demonstrating the impropriety of such an establishment; but neither, as yet, has taken place.

All the arguments which I have yet heard, to prove that judges must hold their office for life, or during good behaviour, in order to make them independent, honest, and impartial, have been as inconclusive, as the arguments are which are adduced to prove that a national debt is a national blessing. If the arguments, however, are more conclusive than I have conceived them to be, and support the doctrine that judges once appointed, should have a life-lease of their office, except for high crimes and missdemeanors, they also prove something more; they equally prove, that the executive and legislative officers should hold their office by a coeval tenure, to make them independent, honest, and impartial.

The objections that are made against an elective judiciary, may be summed up under two general heads.

First, "the body of the people have not wisdom and sedateness enough to select from among themselves, those who are the best qualified to be judges."

Secondly, "if judges hold their office by the tenure of periodical elections, they will have such strong temptations to please the strongest party, in order to secure their next election, that they will not judge uprightly."

The first of these objections, applies with all its force against the two other departments of government; for if men have not wisdom enough to choose the judges, they have not enough to choose presidents, governors, or legislatures; which notion saps the foundation of all representative governments, and supports the monarchical. If men are incompetent to elect their judges, they are equally incompetent to appoint others to do it for them.

Government, originating among men, is the cool result of reason against vicious passion. Men find within themselves, and discover in others, a number of vicious propensities, which reason condemns; to prevent these propensities from breaking out into overt acts, reason fixes a standard containing a number of rules, which all have to submit unto; and pray, have not the people, whose sovereign voice declares all these rules, wisdom enough to designate the agents to enforce them? If the people, however, make an unwise choice, the catholicon of suffrage will correct the error; but, when they are appointed for life, (in substance,) there is no remedy in the hands of the people.

Judges are above all the laws that the legislature can enact; being under oath to adhere to the constitution, any law to the contrary notwithstanding. In one point of light, this power is proper; for legislatures may forget their political bibles, in a gust of passion, and make laws unconstitutional and pernicious; the judiciary, in such cases, have the power to prevent the mischief: but, though the people have this judiciary check against the usurpation of the legislature, what check have they against the usurpation of the judiciary? When judges set up their opinion on the constitution, in opposition to the legislature, and in opposition to the great mass of the people, who can check them? The people cannot, for they have no direct voice in setting them up, or taking them down. The legislature cannot, except by impeachment, which, in such cases, would be no more than a whistle. The executive cannot, for they hold their office by a tenure, which the executive cannot destroy.

These remarks are applicable to our national government, and to some of the state governments; but not to all of them, for in some of the states, the judges are chosen annually by the legislature, &c. In New York they cannot serve after they are sixty years old.

The second objection is, that if judges are chosen by the people, at periodical elections, they will have such strong temptations to please the strongest party, in order to secure their next election, that they will not judge uprightly; and therefore, they must be appointed three or four removes from the people, and hold their office by a tenure, that neither the two other arms of government, nor the people, can disannul; with an invariable salary attached to the office, in order for them to judge uprightly.

This doctrine appears to be founded on the opinion, that perfection is attached to the judicial office; but the opinion is fallacious, for once there was an unjust judge in a city, that feared not God, nor regarded men; and I will appeal to candor itself, if there are not judges to be found, who are deaf, sovereign, insulting, and superannuated. Is the board of appointments - is the legislature - or are the body of the people, satisfied with the talents and conduct of all, who are now in office? If all were satisfied with them at their first appointment, must the present inhabitants bear with them as long as they breathe through their nostrils? My age authorises me to say, that the leading doctrine of the American revolution has been, "that responsibility was the best expedient to keep men honest." And why this maxim should be inverted in the judiciary establishment alone, I never could see.

The more permanent and lucrative an office is, the more self-important and avaricious characters seek after it. And yet, it is said, that, "if offices are not permanent and lucrative, men of talents will not accept of them." But if experience is to be our guide, we shall find such offices too much filled with aspiring, unfeeling men; while those places of trust, which are more precarious, more responsible and less lucrative, are filled with better characters.

Trial by juries, is held as a sacred right in these states; on their verdicts hang suspended life and death, poverty and wealth, in many cases. If judges cannot judge uprightly without a permanent appointment, how can jurors? - Why not have standing juries for life, with honorary salaries secured to them?

If judges should be elected by the people, common sense would dictate that all over whom they should have jurisdiction, should have a voice in the choice. This being the case, there would be but a very few cases, in which the parties, between whom they were to judge, would be so large as to affect their next election materially. Should a judge, in such cases, discover partiality, it would disgust even his friends. Nothing would make him so popular, in his district, as a constant, uniform adherence to justice; whereas, in the present mode of appointing judges, they are under no obligation, (except their oath,) to be just to any man, or even to treat him with civility.

Judges should be independent, and feel important enough to keep order in court, direct the jury in matters of law, keep the witnesses to the proper point, prevent the lawyers from eloping from the direct subject, etc., which could be done as well by men who were chosen by the people for a limited term, as by those who are appointed by the executive or legislature for life; and, if the necessary work could be done as well, the evil of having superannuated, tyrannical, heady, unsociable judges would be prevented. In this case, judges would not only feel the importance of judicial officers, but also the salutary obligation to be men. A judicial monarch is a character as abhorrent as an executive or legislative monarch, in my view.

Considering the habits and prejudices of my country, I have but small hopes that an elective judiciary will take effect very soon, unless the state of Pennsylvania, (which state has taken the lead in many of the American improvements,) should introduce it. Well, if the judiciary establishment must continue as it is - must be monarchical, while the executive and legislative departments are representative - let us make the best of it, and have nothing to do with courts of judicature, that we can possibly avoid, but settle all our controversies by mutual arbitration, then the host of lawyers, who infest our land like the swarms of locusts in Egypt, and eat up every green thing, will have nothing to do, but apply themselves to that happy vocation, which they now recommend to others, "plough, hoe, go to meeting and learn good things."

Laws - government - courts of judicature must exist, otherwise the injured could not arrest the guilty and bring them to the standard of justice; but when controversies arise between man and man, he who is unwilling to have the dispute amicably settled by mutual arbitration, manifests a desire to injure his neighbour. In this particular, I am happy that I agree with the founder of Rhode Island, Roger Williams, who, through his life, and with his last breath, recommended arbitrations as the best mode of adjusting variances.

The right of suffrage is more fully and equitably enjoyed in the United States, I believe, than in any part of the world, and still it is a question, whether that right may not be extended farther with safety. Place all men on a level, and the poor, who pay little or nothing for the support of government, can vote away the money of the rich; proscribe the poor from voting, and the rich can vote away the labor of the poor. The rich have often oppressed the poor, by laws which they have made, but I have met with no account in history, neither have I known any instance, where the poor have legally oppressed the rich. Government is designed to protect the life, liberty and property of individuals; the poor have life and liberty to be protected, but no property; here, then, is two arguments against one, in favor of the poor. Should every man, who is of age, be allowed the right of suffrage, without any of those prerequisites which are required, in almost all the states, the citizens would be more free, equally safe, and much more economical in the redemption of time.

I have noticed, several times, the proceedings of congress, which I conceive to be erroneous. The proceedings which I have in view, are, the confounding of justice and mercy together, in a manner to destroy both of them, by forcing the people, under the authority of law, to be merciful to those who had suffered by fire. Human laws reach no farther than to force a man to be just to his neighbor. The divine law enjoins on men, bowels and mercies. Mercy is a moral duty, but not a legal one. No man can perform moral virtue when forced against his will. The volition of the will is essential to moral exercises. If men are forced to relieve the distressed, it cannot be mercy. To force a man to part with his hard-earned property, to relieve the needs of another, cannot be just. When men suffer by fire, or otherwise, and are reduced to distress, let the members of congress, as individuals, have compassionate hearts and liberal hands, and let the same glow of good will spread far and near, then it will be mercy. I see no clause in the constitution which authorises congress to dispose of the money in the treasury for the relief of any sufferers by fire; therefore, such laws must be unjust, for whenever money is taken out of the national chest, without a constitutional key, the nation sustains a fraud.

From a small error in government, great mischief may, and often does arise. "Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth. " At first it is so small that great men hate to meddle with it, while little men do not perceive it, but, like a nest egg, it does not continue alone, it becomes a habit - a precedent - a plea for other errors of the same kind, but more fatal. Six hundred dollars a year is a trifle, far less than the three pence on a pound of tea: distributed among the inhabitants of the United States, it would not be the tenth part of a mill per soul. It cannot, therefore, of itself, ever be oppressive to the people. But the very principle upon which this money is given, has drenched the world with blood, and made fiery havoc of the most virtuous citizens.

The two chaplains to congress, have about that sum annually. This money they receive for religious services, by the force of the laws of the national legislature. That a legal compensation for religious services, is a species of religious establishment, will not be denied, it is presumed, and to what extent this little horn may grow, is a matter of uncertainty.

The rulers of the earth are under obligation to serve the Lord with fear, as much as other men, and if they are disposed to have chaplains, it is not to be reprehended; but to support them by law, and make the nation pay for their devotion, is the thing to be reprobated.

This error, however, is perfectly congenial with the constitutions and laws of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and with the old habits and laws of Connecticut, in which states religion is considered an object, and religious societies creatures of state policy.

The evil of blending religion and property - religion and education- religion and commissions - religion and politics together, has been abundantly exposed, but not yet forsaken. In addition to all the arguments which have been used to dissolve the firm, I shall here subjoin two, which I have seldom or never seen brought into the debate.

First. Every article, which is so mysterious and subtle in its nature, that natural men, as such, cannot understand it, must be excluded from legislation, otherwise men would be called upon to legislate about that which they cannot understand. Now, the Christian religion, "is not of this world - is hidden from the wise and prudent - the things thereof are not received and cannot be known by natural men. " These sayings are prominent in the scheme itself. If, then, the Christian religion be true, these sayings are true; and if these sayings are true, then natural men cannot understand what religion is; and, if they cannot understand it, they are utterly incompetent to legislate about it.

But, if the Christian religion be false, it cannot be right to make laws to support it, for, in so doing, government would undertake to support a lie. Whether, therefore, the Christian religion be true or false, it is not an article of legislation. In this case, Bible Christians, and Deists, have an equal plea against self-named Christians, who (because they are void of the spirit, and ignorant of the precepts of the gospel) tyranize over the consciences of others, under the specious garb of religion and good order.

To avoid the force of this argument, some undertake to support the idea, that none but saints should bear rule, and such characters do understand, and, therefore, are competent to legislate in matters of religion.

If this argument has any weight at all, it proves that government is founded in grace, and I appeal to the truth of history, if any governments have ever been so unjust and cruel, as those which have claimed a gracious foundation. With this pretence, the mad-men of Munster esteemed, it lawful to kill and plunder all the wicked princes. In the same view of the subject, the Spaniards justified themselves in the massacre of two hundred thousand South American idolaters. In the same point of light, the Pope offered to give America away the year after it was discovered, to his Christian subjects. On the same foundation crusades have been formed (i.e., armies raised under the cross of Christ,) to kill and take possession of all the property of ungodly infidels. And I appeal to experience, if any of the governments of the United States are so cruel, in matters of conscience, as these eastern states, where there is the greatest noise made about religious qualifications for rulers.

These consequences always have, and, I believe, always will follow the erroneous idea, that "government is founded in grace." But

Secondly. If the affairs of the souls of men and eternity are articles of legislation, of course they are cognizable before the courts of judicature.

A few years past, a criminal was tried for his life, at Newport. The counsel for the prisoner at the bar, addressed the jury thus: "Gentlemen, you have the life of the prisoner in your hands, and with that, in some sense, the disposal of his soul; for, should you condemn him to death, and his soul be unprepared, he would go to eternal woe. " "Hold! hold!" cried the judge, "the jury have nothing to do with his soul and eternity." "I know it, " replied the crafty attorney, "but the thought was so impressive that I could not forbear." The spectators beheld the art of the barrister to affect the jury, which, in the event, produced a verdict of not guilty. In this case, the great judge and great lawyer both agreed that courts of justice had no cognizance of the affairs of souls and eternity, and I conclude that all who hear me today, approve of their judgment. Well, if courts of justice have nothing to do with those affairs, of course legislatures have not; otherwise there would be no correspondence between the judiciary and legislative departments. I know men often make use of that little, indescribable something, which is made anything, everything, and nothing of, (I mean conscience,) to assist them to do that which reason condemns, and nature shudders at.

In the year 1780, when the constitution of Massachusetts was formed, the third article of the bill of rights occasioned a long and close debate. A gentleman, at the head of his party, said: "We believe in our consciences that the best way to serve God, is to have religion protected and ministers of the gospel supported by law, and we hope that no gentlemen here will wish to wound our tender consciences." The plain English of which is: "Our consciences dictate that all the commonwealth of Massachusetts must submit to our judgments, and if they do not, they will wound our tender conscience." Had a Jew and a Turk been in the same convention, and founded a plea on tender conscience - the first, to abstain from hogs' flesh, and the last, to abstain from wine, would the gentleman have been so careful of hurting the soft feelings of the son of Isaac, and the son of Ishmael, that he would have abstained from pork and wine all his days? And yet the Israelites were forbidden to eat swine's flesh, and the Nazarites and Rechabites were forbidden to drink wine, in the sacred volume, the Bible; but where shall we turn to the page, in that blessed book, which gives orders to the rulers of this world, to make any laws to protect the Christian religion, or support the preachers of it? Why is my liberty judged? and why am I condemned by another man's conscience? Condemned for that for which I give thanks. But I forbear - I must suppress the feelings of my heart - to dwell longer on this subject, would not correspond with the arrangements of the day.

Gentlemen: this town, Cheshire, has been famous for republican principles. In those times, when no timber was put into the building but Federal oak, and when no sentimental currency passed but that which came from Federal mints; when it was sedition to question the infallibility of those in authority, and disorganization to dispute the divinity of every part of the administration; even then, the inhabitants of Cheshire were firm, and almost unanimous in their suffrages, for a change of measures. With placid patriotism, they saw their lands valued, and their glass numbered, which let in the light of heaven to their houses, together with their paper stamped; all to support an army, which was raised for a war, that existed nowhere, but in the heads of those who adopted the measures; yet no mean murmuring was heard among it all; but when your voices were constitutionally called for, you were decided for a change. Your exertions, with the exertions of others in the United States, have been crowned with success. A change has taken place - a change for the better - a change which, without the internal taxes, has sunk millions of our debt, and added to the United States an extensive empire, without a drop of blood, which can be paid for without recourse to taxes, by continuing the sinking fund but three years longer than the time first allotted for the redemption of the debt.

In view of all these things, the words of an illustrious gentleman, who resided on the fertile banks of the Nile, to his brethren, are applicable: - "See that ye fall not out by the way. " "Let us divide and conquer them," was the doctrine of Great Britain, in the revolutionary war. "Let them be divided, and we shall yet conquer them," is the doctrine of the Federalists. "United we stand, divided we fall," was the song of the Whigs, through the war. "United we stand, divided we fall," is still the watch-word for Republicans. In high Federal times, we were assured that the men who were then in office were the exclusive friends of the people and of the constitution, and that all the measures of government were pure - that no other men in the nation were equally able to wield the sceptre, and that a different line of administration would ruin the people. A change of men and measures, however, has taken place, notwithstanding the hideous outcry. Upon this change, the hopes of the Federalists were, that the people would not be eased of their burthens, and that the debt would not be diminished, that the hearts of the people might be weaned from the Republican agents, and be turned to themselves. But herein their hopes have been blasted. At present, their only hope seems to be, that the Republicans will fall out by the way, and that they themselves shall rise upon the ruins of the divided house. Hence, the propriety of the text, "see that ye fall not out by the way."

Sacrifice a thousand little electioneering quibbles, rather than lose sight of the great importance of union. Gentlemen, I plead for the rights of men today, against the insatiable thirst of ambitious mortals, to subjugate their fellow creatures to the lowest grade of vassalage. I plead the cause of my own life; for, should the Federal party once more gain the ascendency, it is beyond calculation to tell at what point they would stop. From principle, and from the chagrin which they have had, it is reasonable to suppose that the measures of '98 would be no more than the first stair in the case. I honestly declare, that if that inauspicious day should come, I should esteem my life very insecure - I should hardly value my head at a cent; and, empty as it is, I am fond of it. Should it be cut off, I question whether there is a head in the United States, that would suit my shoulders as well.

My words may be rude, but they are full of meaning - they flow from the centre of my heart. For more than twenty years, the rights of men, civil and religious, have been fostered in my bosom; and (next to the salvation of the soul) have called forth the exertion of my small talents in their defence, against the attacks of tyrants, bearing what name soever. It is not the prospect, nor the desire of any office, that makes me take a decided part in the laws, and modes of administration, but principle alone.

Let the people be sovereign - let their earnings be secured to them by law, deducting therefrom what is necessary for the protection of the rest - let their alienable rights be defended by government, and their inalienable rights be sacred as the holy ark - too awful for government to meddle with. Then, so far as happiness is to be expected from government, the sacred benediction is applicable: "Happy is the people that is in such a case."

Government is frequently blamed for those evils which arise from other sources. Where people are indolent, profligate and quarrelsome, given to tattling, drunkenness, dissipation and debauchery, no government on earth, nor, indeed, in heaven itself, can make them happy. The habits of industry, frugality, friendship, sobriety and morality, must, therefore, be cherished among a people, or all the proficiency which they can make in constitutions and laws will not help them.

Here let me recommend to your view, as a model of life, the simple, balmy precepts of the gospel. I grant the gospel has, for its main object, the state of the soul in a succeeding world; yet the precepts of it are wonderfully calculated for the good of men in this present life. A few of them I will here extract.

"Lie not one to another - let every man speak the truth to his neighbor - see that ye love one another - live peaceably with all men - do good unto all men - owe no man anything but to love one another - let not the sun go down on your wrath - use not your liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another - be courteous and tender-hearted, forgiving one another - render unto all their due - remember them who are in bonds, as bound with them - study to be quiet, and do your own business, and to work with your own hands - be patient towards all men - see that none render evil for evil - speak evil of no man - be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good - whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye also unto them - be not forgetful to entertain strangers- husbands, love your wives - wives, obey your husbands - parents, provoke not your children to wrath, lest they be discouraged - children, obey your parents - masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal- servants, obey your masters - let every soul be subject to the higher powers - thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people. Finally, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

These extracts contain a few of the maxims and precepts of the New Testament, written with amazing simplicity and perspicuity, enjoining a temper of mind and correspondent behaviour towards men, superlatively excellent, which every man must own, whether he believes in the atonement of a mediator, and a consequent pardon of sin, together with the resurrection from the dead, or not. No treatises on heathen morality, nor any code of ethics, drawn by human pencil, unassisted by inspiration, that I have seen, bears any comparison therewith. How different the picture of virtue, given in the gospel, from that which is given by pagan authors, which consists only in heroism, love of country, revenge and suicism. Let, then, these sacred essays be cherished among you; they will greatly assist republicans - they will reform Federalists, and make something of nothingarians - they are calculated to amend the hearts of the vicious, and reform the lives of the profligate.

Let me also recommend to you, a line of proper decorum on days of election and at all your town meetings. If any thing on earth would disgust me at popular government, the disorders and confusion that too often attend such meetings, would do it. How painful it is to the presiding officer of the day, to grow hoarse calling to order. How mortifying to a man of wisdom and prudence, to be interrupted by the loud, unmeaning words of another. It is true that men sometimes carry their points against wisdom and experience, by loud, insignificant declamation. In such cases, the wise had rather lose their object than to contend for it in a manner so impolite and clownish; so, stronger beasts yield their path to the skunk, rather than to contend with a combatant so disagreeable. The laws of this state give almost universal right of suffrage to men of age; seeing then that ye have all an equal voice, strive to be equal, strive to excel in civil virtue. The good rule, laid down in ancient book, is, "ye may all speak one by one, that all may hear, all learn and all be edified." A man has no excuse, in the rules of good manners, to interrupt another, when speaking, in common cases; yet such interruptions are not only common, but the intruder often wins fame, as a man of public spirit, contending for his right.

There is a respect due to age; the ancient should be treated as fathers. What can be more unseemly than for young men, with fierce spirits and voices, to drown the voice of that wisdom which is gained alone by age and experience. To this, however, there is a counter evil. Old men often grow sovereign and sour, self conceited and dogmatical. Their natural powers have failed, they will own, but their moral powers are in bloom; their judgment, in particular, is in its meridian; and young men are but upstarts, hardly fit to be set with the dogs of their flocks. Such men do not rejoice that others increase, while they themselves decrease,; nor exult that Sparta has fifty men more virtuous than they; but strive to crush youthful ingenuity, lest it should supplant superannuated importance.

Let this fiend of society have no habitation among you, but cherish every appearance of talents in young men: Information is the very lungs of republicanism; for want of it, free governments languish, and give way to despotism. It would be a laudable strife among the towns in Berkshire, to produce the best statesman. By a statesman, I do not mean the man who will be most noisy at town meetings, nor he who publishes most egotism in newspapers.; not the man who is always pleading for the prerogatives,of government, and forgetting the rights of the people, nor the crouching sycophant, who will fish all day for a royal nibble, or a lucrative office. But the man who understands the laws of nations, and the constitution and laws of his country - who can draw the proper line between the alienable and inalienable rights of men - who has distinct ideas of those objects which are legal and those which are moral - who can trace effects t p to their causes, and follow causes down to their effects - who conceives government to be a national compact, a simple agreement among the citizens, and not a mysterious monster - who can pursue the sly arts and arguments of monarchists and aristocrats, those curses to the world, through their various windings, and drive them from their intrenchments - who will not be decoyed by the flowery sophistry of a courtier, but abide firm by simple, fundamental principles - who will not buy an office by flattery and deceit, and then sell the people to pay for it - who loves responsibility, and is aiming to give rulers power enough to do good, and yet have it so counter-poised that they can do no hurt. Such men would be precious as gold, yea, more precious than a golden wedge of Ophir. Young gentlemen, here is a copy for you, and

"Tho' of exact perfection we despair,
Yet ev'ry step to virtue's worth our care."

Let the vices and follies of the age shift for themselves, while you apply your hearts to the acquisition of wisdom. While you think with the wise, you will often find it expedient to speak with the vulgar.

Veritas in puteo; as truth lies in a well, you will have to dig deep and draw long to get it. "How dark! how intricate the road that leads to intellectual light." As you gain wisdom you will grow in modesty, for modesty is the child of wisdom, and impudence the offspring of ignorance. Let your conclusions be the result of much study - form your judgments upon a preponderancy of evidence - let your arguments be dispassionate, and the reasons you offer exceed your assertions - never betray the smallest trust reposed in you- discharge every office you are entrusted with, with fidelity and despatch- husband well your time, while your powers of body and mind are active- remember it is beneath the dignity of human nature to be employed about trifles - never foul your hands or spot your garments with the dirty contentions, scandals and prejudices of the age - finally, be men - add human dignity to the genius of the mind, candor to information, and bestow pity on ignorance. Never, with keen reply, consume the affections of those who stand astonished at the copious lustre of your arguments. Were a young Randolph, that prodigy of genius, present, I would deal out the same lecture, nor think the admonition either unfriendly or ill-timed.

The fundamental principle of republicanism is this; "that all powers of government are vested in, and consequently derived from, the many individuals that form the body politic; and therefore all those who are raised to power, are responsible to their constituents for their conudct. " With this sage maxim before your eyes, you will rarely err in your pursuits; and if this principle does not justify an Elective Judiciary, it is because there is no logical force in argument.

If my address, young gentlemen, appears too dictatorial, the habits which I have contracted, by my calling, the furrows in my cheeks, and the desire I have for you to excel, are my only apologies.

56. This patriotic wish was not realized. The "scorching" effects of Bidwell's subsequent defection were severely felt by the republicans of Berkshire.

020 Sermon Preached at Ankram


Isa 6:6-7. - "Then flew one of the Seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged."

WITH more than eastern pomp of diction - in language sublime, beyond the power of art - the sacred poet here represents the Almighty, in awful emblems of divine majesty. Uzziah, the king of Judah, with a complex character, had reigned upon the throne of the house of David for more than fifty years: but kings, as well as slaves must die. In the year that Uzziah died, the prophet Isaiah had a vision of the King, the Lord of Hosts, sitting upon a throne, more resplendent than the ivory throne of Solomon - higher than the heavens - with a train which filled the superb temple of glory, while the dazzling seraphims, with veiled faces, clapped their golden wings, and proclaimed, "the whole earth is full of his glory."

Whoever reads the visions of Isaiah, Ezekiel and John, will not hesitate to pronounce them the same in substance. Isaiah calls these winged songsters seraphim:. Ezekiel calls them living creatures and cherubims. John calls them four beasts, but their appearance and employment is the same in all their accounts, except the more particular description given by some, which is omitted by the others.

Various are the opinions of men respecting these seraphims, and perhaps no man can certainly tell what or who they represent. The greatest number of expositors, however, that I have read after, conclude that the angels of God are intended. They seem to imagine that their appearance and employment are too celestial to be accommodated to any beings on earth. But one insurmountable difficulty attends their comment. In Re 5:9, they sing to the Lamb, "Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood." If Angels in light were confirmed by God in a Mediator, which is highly probable, yet, as they never left their first estate, it cannot be admitted that they were ever redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Of course then angels cannot be intended.

With all the embarrassments that attend the interpretation, yet, with Dr. Gill, it appears most likely to me, that the ministers of the gospel are to be understood by these singular creatures. In this light, therefore, I shall consider them. And, as there is the most minute description given of them in the first chapter of Ezekiel, I shall make many of my bearings upon that chapter.

They are there said to be Living creatures. Ministers are creatures, made by God, and poor feeble creatures they are - earthen vessels, subject to human passions and frailties. But yet they are living creatures, being raised from the death of sin to the life of holiness. Though they die daily, and are crucified with Christ, yet they live, and the life which they live is by the faith of the Son of God, who lives in them. Their number is Four. Reference may here be had to the four principal standards of the Hebrew camp in the wilderness, on which it is said, the four emblems of a lion, ox, man, and eagle, were inscribed: or to the four evangelists who wrote the gospel, and all their successors in the four quarters of the world.

And every one had four faces.

First, the likeness and face of a man. Ministers are men, not angels - their work is among men, unto whom they are sent, and they should ever remember that they are but men. To prevent Ezekiel from being self-exalted through the abundance of sublime revelations, he is called the son of man about ninety times.

Second. The face of a Lion. The righteous are bold as a lion, and surely ministers, who are clothed with the garments of salvation, and the robes of righteousness, may, ought to be, and are, bold as lions. Peter and John, though unlearned and ignorant, by their boldness, made the rulers and elders of Israel marvel. They spake the word of God with boldness. The religion of Jesus makes men bold, but not impudent - modest, but not shame-faced and hypocritical.

Third. The face of an Ox. The Israelites were not to muzzle the ox that trod out the corn, which Paul says, was written for the ministers. Much increase is by the strength of the ox. Ministers are patient and laborious, like oxen, bending their neck in obedience - bearing the yoke of the gospel on their shoulders - drawing the plough of God's word, to break up the fallow-ground of the heart.

Fourth. They four had the face of an Eagle. As lions are the strongest among beasts, and turn not aside for any - disdaining all subtle arts, and trusting alone to their strength - so eagles are kings of the air, taking the loftiest flight of all birds, having the keenest eyes of any, which can gaze on the sun without winking, and fixing their eyes on the sun, will steer their course upwards, until they lose sight of the earth. So the ambassadors of Christ take their lofty flights to the throne of God - have their conversation in heaven - gaze on the Son of Righteousness by faith - and are so allured by heavenly objects, that they lose sight of earth and earthly things; and, like the eagle, where the slain are, there is she: where Christ, the slain lamb - the sacrifice for sin, is revealed in the gospel - there the preachers dwell.

It is moreover said, that these living creatures were full of eyes within- before and behind. Ministers have eyes within, to see their own corruption and weakness; eyes before to look unto God for instruction and strength; eyes behind, to see the world lying in wickedness, and also have an eye over the saints, who are following them, as they are following Christ.

These Seraphims had every one of them six wings. Ezekiel speaks of but four of them, but Isaiah and John describe six. With twain he covered his face. Repentance and humility cover the face of the minister of Jesus, and, indeed, the face of every human saint. As creatures, we are needy - as sinners, we are guilty; as creatures, we should be humble - as sinners, repentant; that, as creatures we may be supplied, and as sinners be pardoned. The call to the ministry does not exalt the preacher to be Lord over God's heritage, nor deliver him from the internal mass of corruption, or the outward adversities of life: hence humility and repentance ever cover his face.

With twain he covered his feet. That is, he runs as if he flew: at least, like the ostrich, his wings assist his feet. Fervency and resolution are subservient to his feet. When the preacher turns his course to heaven, with what fervency does he pursue the road of prayer, and with what resolution does he resist the fiery darts of the wicked - the accusations of Satan - his inbred unbelief at the delays of divine beneficence. When he steers his course among men, with what fervency does he run to and fro; being fervent in spirit, he speaks and teaches diligently the things of the Lord, with a resolution so great that neither entreaties nor threats can prevent him from finishing his course with joy.

And with twain he did fly. Faith and love are the two wings with which he flies. Faith in God - in the mediation of Christ - in the divinity of the Scriptures - in the accountability of all rational beings - in the resurrection from the dead, and a future state of rewards and punishment; together with love to God - to the gospel, and to the souls of men, constrain him to preach and bear him up as on wings. By these six wings the heralds of Christ fly through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth.

When they went, their wings were lifted up, but when they stood, they let down their wings. When ministers are engaged in preaching, and repentance and humility, fervency and resolution, faith and love are all in lively exercise, how charming is their voice, how beautiful their feet; but when they cease, and attend to the lawful callings of this life, to provide necessary things for their own houses, and those heavenly accomplishments do not appear, how different they seem to be: a bystander, with difficulty believes them to be the same men.

And their feet were straight feet. It is required of stewards that a man be found faithful. A bishop must be blameless - must have a good report of them who are without - must be an example to the flock - a pattern of them that believe - must make straight paths for his feet, and walk uprightly without crooking in conversation or practice.

In some preachers, there is so great discordance between their preaching and conduct, that when they are in the pulpit we wish they would never come out, and when they are out, we wish them never to ascend it again: but the true ministers of Jesus have straight feet. The sense of the phrase, however, seems to be, that they were cloven-footed like an ox or calf. Beasts of prey have crooked feet, at least crooked claws in them, with which they devour the lives of others; but the ministers of Christ carry neither mental or material weapons to deceive the souls, or destroy the lives of men with. Like the clean beasts of Moses, they chew the cud of God's precepts and promises, and are cloven-footed, without claws to devour.

And they sparkled like the color of burnished brass. Ministers like John the Baptist, are burning and shining lights, and, like the prophet, are like iron pillars and a brazen wall. It is further added, their appearance was like unto burning coals of fire, to consume the chaff and stubble of error and hypocrisy, sin and self-righteousness: and also to warm the affections and soften the hearts of the saints, as well as to frighten and drive off the wolves and dogs, and all the enemies of the flock. And like the appearance of lamps, it went up and down among the living creatures. From this it seems that each cherub had a lamp in his hand, and as they sometimes were rising on their wings, and at other times standing on their feet, the lamp of each went up and down among them. The word of the Lord is a light to our feet, and a lamp to our path, and preachers hold forth this word of life, the entrance of which giveth light: preach the word, the sure word of prophecy, which is a light shining in a dark place, and thereby enlighten the children of God to walk on in this world of darkness.

And the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. The light of scripture is bright. All the mighty volumes of philosophers are trifling to the Bible. They give no account how sin can be pardoned, or the dead raised, but the sacred volume informs us how the first can be, and assures us that the last shall take place: and from this fountain of bright light, lightnings proceed. When ministers have their wings up - full of burning love - holding up the lamp of the gospel, and succeeded by the Holy Ghost, the effect on the hearers is frequently like a flash of lightning. Lightning will burst the strongest wall- break down the loftiest tree - follow the vein of a tree from top to bottom- melt the buckle in the shoe, and spare the man who wears it - kill the child unborn without injuring the mother, etc. All which seems to be expressive of the power of the gospel in the hand of the spirit, when ministers are proclaiming the truth. This word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. It tears off the veil of the heart - rends the stupor from the conscience- removes the film from the eye of the soul - lays death naked, and destruction without a covering - destroys self-righteous props, and hypocritical hopes, and teaches the sinner that he must perish forever unless he repents of his sin, believes in the Saviour, and submits to his laws.

When preachers are thus assisted, and thus succeeded, it may with truth be said, the sound of the cherubim's wings is heard, even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God, when he speaketh.

When Isaiah had this vision of the King, the Lord of Hosts, on his dazzling throne of glory, and saw the splendor of his attendants, and heard their celestial doxology, he cried out, wo is me. Unlike those shining songsters - unfit to dwell among them! this body of sin renders me obnoxious, and sinks me beneath a heavy wo; nor can I extricate myself, for I am undone. Undone in character, for I have risen in rebellion against the Lord of Hosts, and am guilty of high treason. Undone in health and strength, for the first born of death is in my tabernacle. I am reduced to perfect weakness, and my obstinate disease will reduce me to the caverns of death. Undone in interest, being a fugitive and bankrupt, owing ten thousand talents, and having nothing to pay; nor can I solicit remission from my creditor, in a manner that becomes his majesty and my own wretchedness, for I am a man of unclean lips. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. My heart abounds with corruption, which vitiates all I say and do. Had I the hallowed lips of these seraphims, how would I address the throne of glory, and plead for my life! but now, like a crane or a swallow, so do I chatter; I mourn sore, like the dove; nor can I expect relief from any around me, for I dwell among a people of unclean lips, who are in a state of apostacy, like myself, none of whom can, by any means, redeem a brother, nor give to God a ransom that he should still live, and not perish. But, ruined and unclean as I am, and vile as all my fellow creatures are, I did not perceive it till of late. While I only heard of God with the hearing of the ear, and was ignorant of the nature of the divine law, I conceived myself to be better than my neighbors - worthy of heaven, and peculiarly interested in the favor of God. But now mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts, which discovers to me how wretchedly I am fallen from that image in which I was created. Now I see the holiness, justice and goodness of the divine law, whereby sin revives, and I see how unclean I am. In presence of the Lord of Hosts, and the holy throng of seraphims, I abhor myself, repenting in dust and ashes. (The text follows.)

Then flew one of the seraphims. By special commission from the Lord of Hosts, he came, not reluctantly, but of a ready mind - he flew on wings to my relief. I did not go to him, nor meet him half way, but be came unto me, not empty handed, but having a living coal in his hand. An emblem of the promise of eternal life through the Mediator; which promise God made, ere time began, to Christ the Lord, and revealed it unto men in ancient times - which runs through the Old Testament like a golden cord, and which was sent unto them that believed, by the apostles. But this coal, which ever lives, ever glows, and never burns out, cannot be taken by merely human hands, but with the tongs- the dispensation of the gospel. Though men, as such, cannot lay hold of, carry, and apply this coal to its designed use; yet, by the dispensation of the gospel, committed to their trust, the ministers of Christ can and do. This promise comes to penitent sinners, through Christ; who, through the eternal spirit, offered himself to God, who was himself priest, offering and altar. Hence this coal is said to be taken from of the altar.

And he laid it upon my mouth. Which encouraged him to pray - enabled him to offer the calves of his lips in praise, and prepared him to speak to the people, unto whom he was now sent. And said, lo, this has touched thy lips. For the purposes just mentioned. And thine iniquity is taken away, through the atonement of Christ, who was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. And thy sin purged, by the grace of God, which is shed abroad in the hearts of men, by the Holy Ghost, through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

It is probable that the narrative, which I have been animadverting upon, is a history of the first conversion of Isaiah to God; if so, then, like Paul, he was called to the prophetic work at the time when he was called out of darkness into the light of truth. He began his prophecies in the days of Uzziah; and, if not until the last year of his reign, this vision was his inauguration. But, if he had begun before the year in which Uzziah died, then this vision was made to him, to prepare him for greater usefulness.

At the close of this vision, Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I send? and who will go for us? To which the prophet answered, here am I, send me. And he said, go. And as the seraphim has done to you, so do you to all humble penitents. Whenever you find any person lamenting thus, "wo is me, for I am undone," fly with all speed to administer relief, and say unto the penitent, "thine iniquity is forgiven, and thy sin purged."

In this view of the subject, the character of an humble penitent, and the work of a gospel-preacher, solicit the attention of this august assembly.

Though repentance can never atone for the crime, yet it is an essential characteristic of the sinner who shall find pardon and salvation. There is one excellency of mind which is preferable to repentance, and that is innocence. It is better to be innocent, free from any crime, than it is to repent of a crime committed. But when men have become criminal, repentance may be considered a qualification of the first grade. That all have sinned, is certain, and, therefore, to expect salvation by innocency, is out of the question.

Such is the relation between the Creator and rational creatures, that, whatever the Creator reveals and commands, the creatures are under obligation to believe and obey; and no place or condition that the creatures can be in, does in any wise free them from this obligation. The apostacy of men, therefore, forms no good excuse for them to disbelieve or rebel, either in this life or in that to come. That all men, everywhere, are commanded to repent, is certain; and he who does not obey this command, condemns the law and lawgiver, and pleads for the usurpation of sin. Such, however, is the apostacy of men - so great is their obstinacy, pride, rebellion and love of sin, that neither the precepts of the law, the threatenings of God, the lashes of conscience, the pangs of death, nor the torments of hell, will bring them to that repentance, to which is annexed forgiveness of sins. Until the Lord works first in the human heart, by his gracious influence, nothing is to be expected, to purpose. In the change of mind, commonly called conversion, or the new birth, there are three distinct things to be conceived of.

First. The communication of divine life. Not the same life that Adam possesed in innocency, for that was lost, whereas this which is given is called eternal life. In some respects, it is like the Adamic life, in that it makes us love holiness, and take complacency in the character and government of God. In other respects, it is inferior, not delivering us from all moral evil; but, in other respects, vastly superior, being eternal in its nature, and tending to a station far more exalted. Whether this grace is called living water - incorruptible seed - new creation - an unction from the Holy One, or by what name soever, it comes down from God, through the Mediator, and rectifies all the powers of the soul. This lays a foundation for spiritual instruction; for, as well may a lifeless corpse understand natural things, as a natural man understand spiritual things. In this detached part of the work, the preachers and preaching are out of the question, Christ having reserved the power to do this in his own hands. It should be carefully noticed, that a change of heart, is one thing, and the information of the mind, another. When the soul is renewed, then follows

Secondly. An active and voluntary turning to God. In this stage of the work, nature and grace, sin and holiness, truth and error, darkness and light, ignorance and information, hope and fear, desire and languor, Christ and Satan, all assail the soul. Some are held years in this restless state, and others but a short time. But, notwithstanding all embarrassments, the soul is willing, and comes to Christ voluntarily, and chooses the good part. After men repent and believe, and before they are sealed with the holy spirit of promise, their views are accurately described, by the prophet, in my context. "Wo is me, for I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips." Or thus: "Lord, I am a sinner, and deserve to perish. Thy character is good, thy law is just, but I am carnal, sold under sin. If thou sendest me to hell, I cannot impeach thy righteousness; but, oh! spare me, if pardon may be had. My sins are many and great, and my best works need to be washed, as well as my soul. I have no hope, but in thy mercy, through the mediation of Christ. At the feet of Jesus, I cast me down, and, if I must perish, I will perish there."

The Bible is full of encouragements, invitations and promises, to such gracious penitents; all these promises of God are in Christ Jesus. From this altar, the preachers may take their living coals, and ministerially apply them to all such humble mourners. For, if preachers and preaching are excluded from the first part of the work, yet in the stage, of which I am now speaking, they are workers together with God.

But, Thirdly. Free pardon, which is graciously bestowed by God, and gratefully received by the returning, humble penitent. It is not to be wondered at, that those who believe that pardon of sin is the change of heart, that men are not renewed until they obtain sealing deliverance, should have so high opinion of the self-exertion of natural faculties, to forward them on to a change of heart; for they well know that before they obtained pardon, they had sorrow for sin, longings after God, love to the saints, and a regard for the worship of God, and perhaps found the pardon of sin, while they were p praying and striving for it. Taking it for truth, that they were not graciously changed, before they obtained pardon and deliverance, they suppose that others, in their natural state of mind, can do what they did. Hence the opinion, that self-exertion of the natural powers greatly helps the sinner, and lays God under obligation to bestow pardon. I cannot by any means concede to this opinion, for a multitude of reasons; but am full in belief that the exercises of humble penitents, before they receive a sealing pardon, are as acceptable to God as the exercises of those who have had the forgiveness of sins sealed to them, and equally bring them within the compass of the promise, "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." For I cannot conceive of any difference of internal character between them. No difference in the subjects; the difference is objective; one having the comfort of believing his sins pardoned, and the other without that comfortable hope. Men are either for Christ or against him, enemies or friends, dead or alive; no medium can be conceived of. To say that a sinner has spiritual light, but not life; that he is quickened, but not renewed; that he mourns for sin, but does not love holiness; that he feels the burden of sin, but has no gracious sensation; that he loves the saints, but is not born of God, &c., to me is perfectly absurd.

From the moment a sinner receives the grace of life (infants and those who are incapable of reflection excepted) he begins to cry like the leper, "unclean, unclean." Or like the prophet before us, "wo is me, for I am undone." And not only continues this cry, until he obtains pardon, through Christ, but on thereafter as long as he draws mortal breath. For when a penitent receives pardon of sin, it only gives him new and pleasing views of his state, not of his internal character. Of course repentance is not an exercise, confined to the period between being changed and pardoned, but continues to operate in the soul of a saint through his whole pilgrimage on earth. The complaint of Isaiah, "wo is me " etc., was not the complaint of a backslider, fallen from grace; for these things said Esaias when he saw his glory and spake of him. Now, as the saints are constantly sighing and crying, repenting and lamenting, (at least these complaints mingle with all their heavenly joys,) ministers, like the seraphim, are sent by God, with a "comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God - feed my lambs and sheep - let your profiting appear to all; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, " etc.

Nor is the preacher to confine his addresses to penitents alone, but is commanded to preach the gospel to every creature. There is no article in Christendom, in which ministers are more divided, than in that of addressing a congregation of sinners, as such. Most of the addresses of the prophets, were unto the children of Israel, a people in circumstances dissimilar from all other nations, or unto other nations in their political capacities; for which reasons, a gentile gospel preacher cannot find a sure sample in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ, who spake with authority, spake as man never spake, confined his ministry to the twelve tribes, which still continues the difficulty of finding a sure precedent in the four evangelists. But when we come to the tenth chapter of the Acts, we find something direct. Peter was called by a heavenly vision to go and preach to a gentile congregation, the principal of which was warned by a holy angel to send for Peter; and who, with the congregation, presented themselves before God, to hear all things which God commanded Peter to preach. Here the drama opens. Here the first gospel sermon was preached to the Gentiles. From this instance we may expect the best pattern. And what is it?

After Peter had introduced the subject, of declaring his conviction that God did not respect the Jews more than the Gentiles, but equally accepted those of all nations, who feared him and wrought righteousness; and spoken a little of the word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ, who was Lord of Jews and Gentiles; that this word was published from Galilee, through all Judea; testifying that God had annointed Jesus Christ with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed with the devil; he then proceeds to the main business of his mission.

"And we are witnesses of all things which he did, both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree. Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly, not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it was he who was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."

This short sermon was delivered extempore. Without abstruse questions or metaphysical niceties, the preacher gave a detail of important facts and doctrines, in the most simple manner, in which we discover the following truths:

1. That God does not respect the person, rank or national character of one man more than another.

2. That he accepts of such, and only such, as fear God and work righteousness.

3. That the word of the gospel, which was first sent to the Jews, by John, and afterwards prevailed abundantly, proclaimed peace to men, through Jesus Christ.

4. That Jesus Christ is Lord of all worlds, nations and beings.

5. That the work of Christ on earth was doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil.

6. That the miracles, precepts and examples of Christ were incompetent to save men. That without the shedding of his blood there could be no remission. That the Jews contrived his death - slew him and hanged him on a tree; they meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. That he died both as a martyr and Mediator.

7. That he was raised from the dead on the third day, being the first born from the dead, thereby, opening the way for the resurrection of all men.

8. That ministers are commanded to preach and testify, that this same Jesus, who died and rose again, is ordained of God to judge the world, both those who are living and those that are dead.

9. That the prophecies of the Old Testament united in the truth of Christ's character; that whosoever believeth in him, shall receive remission of sins.

10. That ministers are only witnesses, to declare the truth, Christ having reserved the power of changing hearts in his own hands.

These seem to have been the main topics of Peter's sermon, the language of which, to all gospel ministers, among the Gentiles, is, "go ye, and do likewise."

As Peter spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell upon all those that heard the word. While the truth fell from Peter's lips, the Holy Ghost fell from heaven, which, when Peter beheld, he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is not an essential prerequisite to water baptism, but repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus, are essential characteristics; but the baptism of the Holy Ghost does not exempt the possessor from the duty of water-baptism: hence the injunction of Peter.

On the whole, may all of us, who are ministers of Christ, take Peter for our model in preaching, and may we meet with at least a portion of the same success.

Another article, which the foregoing discourse, and the solemnities of this day seem to call for, is a description of a MINISTERIAL CALL: that is, how men are called to the ministry.

First. The call to the ministry does not depend upon the brilliancy of natural talents. The mysteries of the gospel are hidden from the wise and prudent. The world, by wisdom, know not God, etc. Natural talents furnish men for usefulness in the things of this world, but do not qualify them for gospel ambassadors.

Second. Nor does it depend upon the acquisition of schools. By some, the striplings of genius, or striplings without genius, are sent to school with the avowed purpose of preparing them for the ministry; as if the preaching of the gospel was but the declension of nouns, or the conjugation of verbs, with the knowledge of a little Greek and Latin. Supposing, however, they excel, and equal Newton, Milton, or Jefferson, they are but prepared for the study of astronomers, the closet of the poets, or the chair of state. Amos was a rustic herdsman - John the Baptist was brought up in the wilderness - and the apostles, for the most part, were ignorant Galileans, who followed the trade of fishing; yet these were called by God, while the learned among them were neglected.

Third. It is not included in a gracious call out of darkness into the marvelous light of the gospel; this call is experienced by all the saints, but all the saints are not preachers.

Fourth. It is not subservient to the will or choice of men. Where preaching is a lucrative business, the avaricious may choose it - where it is honorable, the proud may desire it - where it is attended with ease, the indolent may covet it; but all these are ignorant of it.

Fifth. It is not miraculous. It is true that miracles have sometimes attended the commission, as' in the case of Moses, Jeremiah and Paul. But the commissions to the twelve, and to the seventy, were without miracles, which proves that miracles are not essential to the call. If the call was miraculous, we should have as good reason to believe that God would call infants, idiots or dumb men, as any others; but this we know is not the case.

Sixth. The call is by special mission. Men, who have the common use of their senses - who are delivered from darkness, and translated into the kingdom of the Son of God, receive a special gift to qualify them for the work of the ministry. When Christ ascended on high, he received gifts for men, and these gifts he bestowed on them; and he gives to some apostles, to others prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, for the work of the ministry, etc. This spiritual gift includes two things. First, the furniture of the mind: and secondly, a constraint to improve. By the furniture of the mind is not meant extraordinary endowments of talents or science, but a gift bestowed with the commission. It is a treasure given to earthen vessels - a dispensation of the gospel committed in trust. When Jesus was on earth, he called to him whom he would, and sent them to preach; so, in every age, the call depends on the will of God. Whether the persons called excel in science or not, when they are sent, they have a roll given them to eat. The great plan of salvation is opened to them, and words and arguments given them to communicate it to others; and yet what they thus receive is but a small part of the treasure, for they have the key of the kingdom of heaven given to them, to unlock the treasure-house (the Bible) and constantly draw things new and old out of that sacred treasure, as occasion calls, in their ministration. When they have eaten the roll and received the key, they feel such constraint to run and point out to men their ruin, and the way of recovery, that, like the prophet, they say, "here am I, send me. " They have such love to God - to the Mediator, to the gospel, and to the souls of men, that like Paul, they declare, "the love of Christ constraineth us." And like him, they will neither be disobedient to the heavenly vision, nor confer with flesh and blood.

The customary address to the candidate elect, I shall pass by, reserving that part of the solemnities for my worthy brother, who is assigned to administer the charge, and whose age and experience qualify him in an eminent degree for the task. But when I look around me, and see nearly one thousand souls assembled in this grove, to hear and see what is said and done to-day, it affects my heart. Pardon the falling tear, I learned to weep over a multitude, of Jesus. Seeing the multitude, I feel compassion swelling my aching breast. Were my talents equal to my wishes, I would bring forth the riches of the gospel, and hold them up in all their winning forms. But (applying the words of the prophet to myself) by whom shall Jacob arise, for he is small?

Without attempting to solve the questions, how it was possible for sin to take its rise among sinless creatures; whether sin was necessary or otherwise; whether God decreed it or not; what part of Adam's transgression and corruption of nature is attached to us; whether the atonement of Christ is infinite or limited; whether apostacy has affected the will only, or equally all the faculties of the soul; whether the debility of a sinner is moral, natural, or both; whether the want of the holy unction is a crime or not; I say, passing these questions, and a thousand more, which puzzle the minds of men, I would aver, that my hearers, in their natural estate, are such guilty rebels and bitter enemies to God, and a life of holiness, that notwithstanding all the warnings of God; the reproofs of ministers; the laws of state; the sword of the magistrate; the ethics of philosophy; the pangs of sickness; the fears of death; the threatenings of future torments, and the glories prepared for the righteous, they will choose the road that leads to death. "The wicked will do wickedly." The same disposition, which neglects the love and service of God for one minute, would for one eternity. I, therefore, utterly despair of ever seeing a single sinner in this attentive assembly ever turning to God, until the Lord touches his heart with the finger of his gracious power.

If men are ever honest, they will be honest when they pray; and it is a matter of notoriety, that, whenever good men pray for themselves, or for others, their language is: "Lord, have mercy on me, or I shall perish - Lord, have mercy on sinners, or they will perish." Such prayers express the truth, and, while I speak the truth, I would use the prayer to-day: "Lord, have mercy on these poor, needy, guilty sinners; turn them, O Lord, and they will be turned; open their eyes to see, their ears to hear, and their hearts to understand. Grant them repentance and remission of sins, in the name of Jesus Christ." How would my poor soul rejoice to see the goings of my God and King; to hear the sound of his going in the top of these oaks, or rather from the mouths of these people.

It is possible, yea, (from the attention of all, and the tears of some,) it is probable, there may be sonic broken-hearted, heavy-laden penitents in this assembly; some, who see the extent and propriety of God's law, and the evil

nature of sin; who feel the plague of corrupt nature, and the painful load of guilt; who see the imperfection of all their works, and the vitiation of all their powers; who discover the excellency of true religion, and long to possess it; who entertain no scruples about the power of Christ to save, but question his willingness to receive themselves, who are so vile; who do not hesitate to bear all reproaches that attend religion, but fear they shall perish at last, for want of it. If such there be among you to-day, in addition to the complaint of the prophet, "wo is me, for I am undone," you make the inquiry, "what shall I do to be saved?" and suboin the prayer of the publican: "God, be merciful to me a sinner." To such I would address myself, and fly, like the seraphim, with a promise of eternal life, to administer relief. Your case is very uncomfortable, but not desperate. Had God been disposed to slay you, he would not have shown you such things as these; and, as he has begun to teach you, you will see greater things than these. Verily, you are Galileans, for your speech agreeth thereto: and he that has begun the work will finish it. He that has raised you out of the grave of carnal security, will loose you and let you go. He that has opened your eyes to see your dungeon and chains, will also bring you out of the prison-house, and set you free. To-day he is willing to receive you; he calls you to come; he commands you to believe. Nor is there any danger of your being damned, if you see yourselves bad enough to be saved wholly by grace. Then, like the blind and the lame, come to Jesus, and he will heal you. If your father and mother forsake you for your religion, the Lord will take you in. His promise stands thus: "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." Then stretch out the withered hand, and touch the hem of his garment; cast away your clothes, and come unto him begging, and you will receive the sight of pardoned sin.

021 Lines Introduced at the Conclusion of a Discourse


AH! my dear brother Covell, art thou gone?
Hast thou forsaken earth for worlds unknown?
And hast thou found those mansions, far above,
Where every bosom glows with sacred love?
And hast thou found the disembodied flitting,
To sound thy harp in their triumphant song?
And dost thou, now, with angels vie in praise,
And sweep the golden harp, in high seraphic lays?
Is Jesus in thy view? dost thou behold
His sacred head, adorned with radiant gold?
Doth he appear as lovely in their eyes,
As revelation saith, as faith descries?

Yes, thou art gone - thy better part is fled-
Thy body only is among the dead.
Before thy mortal limbs were stiff and cold,
Thy soul was gone ten thousand leagues twice told.

The news from Canada has reached our ears,
Which grieves our hearts, and fills our eyes with tears.
The news declares that Covell's spirit's fled,
Just twenty-seven days he's been among the dead.

Should some departed souls to earth return,
On messages of love of vast concern,
To warn the wicked, comfort the distress'd,
Strengthen the feeble, and relieve the oppress'd;
Should Covell's soul appear with us today,
And fill this desk instead of worthless me
, How would the people feel to hear him tell
The joys of heaven and awful pains of hell!
Fancy conjectures, should he come to preach,
He'd deal a double portion out to each.

As spirits cannot speak without the help of clay,
I'll lend him my mortal tongue to-day;
Then hark! and hear what Covell has to say:

"My wife! the partner of my former bed,
Our conjugal enjoyments now are dead;
We bound ourselves for life, but life is gone;
Those who had wives are now as tho' they'd none.

Fleshly connections never can abide
Within these mansions where I now reside;
Yet friendship dear, and fellowship divine,
Are heavenly things which never can decline.

"O Clarissa! weep not for me - 'tis vain;
My face you never will behold again.
A widow's hardships you must bear awhile,
Expos'd to injury, distress, and toil,
Always remember what the Lord hath said;
'I'll be the widow's God, the orphan's aid;
Trust in his word; he never spake in vain;
He'll guide and guard you thro' this world of pain;
Then, in full glory you shall live and reign.

"My first-born, Deidamia, hear your father's voice;
In youthful days, oh, make the Lord your choice.
All things beneath the burning sun are vain;
But Christ is life, and heaven is boundless gain,
Repent of sin, believe in gospel grace,
Then when you die, you'll see your father's face.

"Sally, my lovely Sally, you must die;
Let youthful charms give way to piety.
Tho' I am dead, like Abel now I speak;
O fall, like Mary, at your Savior's feet,
For sinners Jesus bore exquisite pain;-
Let not his blood be spilt for you in vain.

"Cordelia, know thy father loves thee still,
Though, cheerfully resigned to the Almighty's will,
My station now forbids all earthly care,
To feed your body, or your dress repair;
Yet one grave warning I am sent to live,-
Look at your Savior, and your soul shall live.

"Julia, my youngest daughter, charming child,
Be not, by wicked customs e'er beguil'd.
The virtuous pattern; let the virtuous throng
Govern your passions, and command your tongue.
Regard your mother; still her counsels hear;
Keep from her eyes the parent's painful tear.

"Alanson, my son, my lovely, only son,
Farewell my babe, thy father's glass is run;
Whose hand may guide you, what your lot may be,
Is only known to the great Deity.
Know then, thy father's God, my son, in youth;
Receive the Savior; trust the word of truth;
Out of the mouth of babes, God can ordain
Surprising strength to stop the mouths of men. 57

"Brethren and neighbors, when I left the town,
I little thought I never should return;
But God, who governs all things, did ordain
That you and I should never meet again,
Till time shall be no more, and Christ shall come to reign.

Thus far my Covell speaks, with Leland's tongue;
Now Leland speaks with sentiments his own.

Brethren, the preacher of your choice is dead;
His soul from earth and earthly things has fled,
And the cold ground has now become his bed.

Alas! what shall poor weeping Zion do?
Zion, whose foes are many, friends are few?
The sadness of your hearts your eyes betray,
You weep as Jesus did o'er Lazarus' clay,
And say 'our friend and pastor's called away.'

But let not funeral tears alone be shed;
Mourn for your sins as for a brother dead:
Mourn for your sins which have provoked your God
To send this token of his vengeful rod.

Cheer up! ye saints, the blissful Jesus knows
What's best for you, and that his hand bestows;
Though prophets die, and fathers dwell in dust,
He will preserve the souls who in him trust

57. The child here alluded to, an infant at the time of his father's decease, became afterwards a preacher, at the age of 1, and died, seemingly in the midst of usefulness, at the early age of 33.

022 Experience


COME old, come young, and hear me relate
My life and adventures, and my present state;
I pray you all give ear, to what you now shall hear,
For my story will pleasure and sorrow create.

My childhood and youth in vanity I spent,
Regardless of truth, and to folly intent,
For more than eighteen years, I shed no mourning tears,
But pleaded for my sins, and refused to relent.

Inflexibly hard, and impenetrably blind,
The pleasures of sense bewildered my mind;
To me it did appear, God's law was too severe,-
To the cross of the gospel I was not inclined.

But oh! that love - the love of God to man,-
That everlasting love, that drew the saving plan,
That love pursued my soul, when I was sick and foul,
Too great to resist, and too strong to withstand.

Sin then appeared vile, the law appeared right,
And justice and grace and holiness shone bright;
The word of God was true, and lovely to my view,
But a pardon for sin was out of my sight.

I languished and mourned, how long I cannot tell,
I saw God was just, if he sent me to hell,
My heart was dreadful hard, and the door of grace seemed barred,
And my soul with the devil forever must dwell.

The way of salvation thro' Christ I did spy,
How God could be just and his law magnify,
And yet bestow his grace on sinful Adam's race,
But those blessings, I feared, were not for such as I.

But when all my hopes had nearly fled away,
And hell from beneath was gaping for its prey,
My Saviour did appear to dissipate my fear,
And washed all my sins in a moment away.

What freedom I felt, what joy I did receive!-
'Twas easy to repent - 'twas easy to believe;
I freely gave him all, and at his feet did fall,
And the glory - all glory to him I did give.

His voice then I heard, in sweet majestic sound,
"I've loved you - I've sought you, and closed up your wound,
I've a work for you to do - be faithful, just and true,
And proclaim to the world what a Saviour you've found."

Not money nor fame, did e'er send me forth,
But love to his name, and love to his truth.
I girt my armor on, and ventured forth alone,
Trusting only in God to preserve me a youth.

O'er mountains and waters, as duty led me on,
Through snow storms and tempests, and hot burning sun,
I ran with all my might, and labored day and night,
To proclaim a dear Saviour to sinners undone.

But little have I done, but what was done wrong,
Revivals have been short, and apostacies been long,
After six and thirty years, I am greatly in arrears,
And have nothing to plead but pardoning love alone.

And now I'm growing old, my powers all decay,
I wander and grovel, and stumble in the way,
My sun is going down, my work is almost done,
I yield up my life, and return to my clay.

58. Written about the year 1807.

023 A Biographical Sketch of the Life and Character - Peter Werden


Who died at Cheshire, on Lord's day, the 21 st of Feb. 1808. The funeral was attended the Wednesday following by a large assembly of people. An appropriate discourse was delivered on the occasion, from Ac 13:36-37, by the Rev. John Leland; at the close of which, the following lines were exhibited:-

Howl, fir tree, for the cedar is fallen!

Help, Lord, for the godly man ceaseth; for the righteous is taken away from among men.

My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof. Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.

ELDER WERDEN was born June 6th, 1728, and ordained to the work of the ministry, at Warwick, Rhode Island, May, 1751, in the 24th year of his age.

When he first began to preach, he was too much of a New-light, and too strongly attached to the doctrine of salvation by sovereign grace, to be generally received among the old Baptist churches in Rhode Island, which had been formed partly upon the Armenian plan, until the following event opened the door for him. A criminal, by the name of Carter, was executed at Tower Hill. This occasion collected abundance of people from all parts of the state. While the criminal stood under the gallows, young Werden felt such a concern for his soul, that he urged his way through the crowd; and being assisted by the sheriff, he gained access to Carter, and addressed him as follows: - "Sir, is your soul prepared for that awful eternity, into which you will launch in a few minutes?" The criminal replied, "I don't know that it is, but I wish you would pray for me. " In this prayer, Mr. Werden was so wonderfully assisted in spreading the poor man's case before the throne of God, that the whole assembly were awfully solemnized, and most of them wet their cheeks with their tears. This opened a great door for his ministrations, both on the Main and on the Island.

He preached at Warwick, Coventry, and many other places with good success, about nineteen years, and then moved, in 1770, into this place, where he has lived and administered almost thirty-eight years.

In his first religious exercises, he was led to dig deep into his own heart, where he found such opposition and rebellion, that when he obtained pardon, he attributed it to sovereign grace alone; which sentiment, so interwoven in his own soul, he ever proclaimed aloud to a dying world. Nothing appeared to be more disgustful to his mind, than to hear works and grace mixed together, as the foundation of a sinner's hope. To hold forth the Lamb of God as a piece of a Saviour; or to consider the self-exertions of a natural man, to be the way unto Christ, the true and only way, were extremely displeasing to that soul of his, which delighted so much in proclaiming eternal love, redeeming blood, and matchless grace.

Sound judgment, correct principles, humble demeanor, with solemn sociability, marked all his public improvements, and mingled with all his conversation in smaller circles, or with individuals.

In him, young preachers found a father and a friend; distressed churches, a healer of breaches; and tempted souls a sympathizing guide. From his first coming into this place, until he was seventy years old, he was a father to the Baptist churches in Berkshire and its environs, and in some sense an apostle to them all.

His many painful labors for the salvation of sinners, the peace of the churches, and purity of the ministers, will never be fully appreciated, until the time when he shall stand before his Judge, and hear the words of his mouth, "Well done good and faithful servant."

The character which I have drawn of the life and labors of the man, who now lies sleeping in death before our eyes, many of you know to be true. From the sternness of his eyes and the blush of his face, a stranger would have been led to conclude that he was sovereign and self-willed in his natural habit of mind; but on acquaintance, the physiognomist would have been agreeably disappointed. He has so much self-government, that he has been heard to say, that, except when he had the small-pox, he never found it hard to keep from speaking at any time, if his reason told him it was best to forbear; and no man possessed finer feelings, or treated the characters of others with more delicacy than he did. He had an exalted idea of the inalienable rights of conscience; justly appreciated the civil rights of man, and was assiduous to keep his brethren from the chains of ecclesiastical power.

His preaching was both sentimental and devotional; and his life so far corresponded with the precepts which he taught, that none of his hearers could justly reply, "Physician, heal thyself."

A number of revivals have taken place in the town and congregation where he has resided and preached, and a number of ministers have been raised up in the church of which he was pastor.

For about ten years his physical and mental powers have been on the decline, and how many times have we heard him rejoice, that others increased though he decreased; but his superannuation was not so great as to prevent the whole of his usefulness, and his hoary head was a crown of glory unto him.

A number of times he has been heard to pray, that he might not outlive his usefulness, which has been remarkably answered in his case, for the Sunday before he died, he preached to the people - he preached his last.

The disease which closed his mortal life, denied his friends the solemn pleasure of catching the balm of life from his lips, in his last moments. He had finished his work before, and nothing remained for him to do but to die. Socrates, the patient philosopher, said to have never been angry in his life, when dying, was vexed. The cause was this: his pupils asked him what he would have them do with his body after he was dead. To whom he sternly replied, "have I been so long with you, and taught you no better? After I am dead, what you see will not be Socrates. Socrates will then be among the gods." The improvement which I now make on the words of this philosopher is this: what we see here lying before our eyes, is net Werden, this is but the shell: his soul is now among the angels and saints in light, before the throne of glory. I will not say that his soul is under the altar with others, crying, "how long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth," because he did not offer his life on the altar of martyrdom; but I have an unshaken belief that his soul has left all its tribulation, being washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb, and is now basking in the sun-beams of immortal noon.

Let the inhabitants of Cheshire reflect a moment on the dealings of God towards them. Within about three years, three ministers, belonging to Cheshire, have departed this life. The pious Mason took the lead - the pleasing Covell followed after - and now the arduous Werden, who has been in the ministry a longer term than any Baptist preacher left behind, in New England, has finished his course, in the eightieth year of his age, while Leland remains alone to raise this monument over their tombs.

024 Seven Hymns


The ten following hymns were published as early as 1809:—

The day is past and gone,
The evening shades appear;
O may we all remember well
The night of death draws near.

We lay our garments by,
Upon our beds to rest;
So death will soon disrobe us all
Of what we’ve here possessed.

Lord, keep us all this night,
Secure from all our fears;
May angels guard us while we sleep,
Till morning light appears.

And if we early rise,
And view th’ unwearied sun,
May we set out to win the prize
And after glory run.

And when our days are past,
And we from time remove,
O may we in thy bosom rest,
The bosom of thy love.

Wand’ring pilgrims, mourning Christians,
Weak and tempted lambs of Christ,
Who endure great tribulation,
And with sin are much distressed;
Christ hath sent me to invite you,
To a rich and costly feast;
Let not shame nor pride prevent you, —
Come, — the rich provision taste.

If you have a heart lamenting,
And bemoan your wretched case,
Come to Jesus Christ repenting;
He will give you gospel grace;
If you want a heart to fear him,
Love and serve him all your days;
Come to Jesus Christ and ask him;

He will guide you in his ways.

If your heart is unbelieving,
Doubting Jesus’ pard’ning love,
Lie hard by Bethesda waiting
Till the troubled waters move.
If no man appear to help you,
All their efforts prove but talk,
Jesus, Jesus, he can heal you,
Rise, take up your bed and wall.

If, like Peter, you are sinking
In the sea of unbelief,
Wait with patience, constant praying,
Christ will send you sweet relief;
He will give you grace and glory,
All your wants shall be supplied;
Canaan, Canaan, lies before you,
Rise and cross the swelling tide.

Death shall not destroy your comfort,
Christ will guard you thro’ the gloom;
Down he’ll send a heavenly envoy,
To convey your spirit home;
There, you’ll spend your days in pleasure,
Free from every want and care;
Come, oh come, my blessed Saviour,
Fain my spirit would be there.

Now the Saviour stands a pleading,
At the sinner’s bolted heart;
Now in heaven he’s interceding,
Undertaking sinner’s part;
Now he pleads his sweat and bloodshed,
Shows his wounded hands and feet;
Father, save them, though they’re blood-red,
Raise them to a heavenly seat.

Sinners, hear your God and Saviour,
Hear his gracious voice to-day;
Turn from all your vain behaviour,
O repent, return, and pray;
Open now your hearts before him,
Bid the Saviour welcome in,
O receive and glad adore him,
Take a full discharge from sin.

Now he’s waiting to be gracious,
Now he stands and looks at thee;
See, what kindness, love and pity,
Shine around to you and me;
Sinners, can you hate that Saviour?
Can you thrust him from your arms?
Once he died for your behaviour,
Now he calls you by his charms.
O be wise, before you languish
On a bed of dying strife;
Endless joy or endless anguish,
Turn upon th’ events of life;
Come, for all things now are ready,
Yet there’s room for many more;
O ye blind, ye lame and needy,
Come to grace’s boundless store.

Blessed be God for all,
For all things here below,
For pain, and grief, and joy and thrall,
To my advantage grow.

Blessed be God for shame,
For slander and disgrace;
Welcome reproach for Jesus’ name,
And his redeeming grace.

Blessed be God for loss,
For loss of earthly things;
For every scourge and every cross,
Me nearer Jesus brings.

Blessed be God for want
Of raiment, health and food;
I live by faith, I scorn to faint,
For all things work for good.

Blessed be God for pain,
Which tears my flesh like thorns,
It crucifies the carnal man,
To God my soul returns.

Blessed be God for doubts,
Which he has overcome;
My soul in full assurance shouts,
Of being soon at home.

Blessed be God for fears
Of sin, and death, and hell;
When Christ, who is my life, appears,
I shall in glory dwell.

Blessed be God for friends;
Blessed be God for foes;
Blessed be God whose gracious ends,
No finite creature knows.

Blessed be God for life,
Blessed be God for death,
Blessed be God for all he sends;
I welcome all this faith.

and taste, along with me,
Consolation running free,
From my Father’s glorious throne,
Sweeter than the honey comb.

Wherefore should I seek alone?
Two are better still than one;
More that come, of free good will,
Make the banquet sweeter still.

Saints in glory sing aloud,

To behold an heir of God,

Coming in at grace’s door,
Making up the number more.

Goodness running like a stream
From the New Jerusalem,
By its constant breaking forth,
Sweetens earth and heaven both.

Sinful nature, vile and base,
Cannot stop the run of grace,
While there is a God to give,
Or a sinner to receive.

When I go to heaven’s store,

Asking for a little more,
Jesus gives a double share,
Calling me a gleaner there.

Then, rejoicing, home I go,
From this feast of heaven below,
Gleaning manna on the road
Dropping from the mouth of God.

Heaven there, and heaven here,
Comforts every where appear,
This I boldly can declare,
Since my soul receives a share.

How arduous is the preacher’s fight!
What pangs his vitals feel!
To preach the gospel day and night,
To hearts as hard as steel.

While some blaspheme and show their spite,
And mock at all they hear,
Others, in chase of vain delight,
Like adders, stop the ear.

To heaven he turns his weeping eyes,
To antidote despair,
With broken heart, and longing eyes,
He tries the effect of prayer.

If God, propitious, hear his cry,
And some small fruit he see,
How soon the hopeful prospects die,
How short the jubilee.

When sinners hear the Saviour’s voice,
And feel the power divine,
The preacher’s heart and soul rejoice,
To see the gospel shine.

What courage, faith, and holy zeal,
Transport his ravished breast,
What inward joy his spirits feel,
To see his labors blessed.

But ah! how short the shining day;
How soon the night appears!|
All those of Asia turn away,
How gloomy then his fears!

Good God! he cries, with anxious breast,
Are all my labors vain?
Must all the lambs and sheep of Christ,
Turn goats and wolves again?


BRETHREN, I have come once more,
Let us join and God adore;
Joseph lives, and Jesus reigns,
Praise him in the highest strains.

Many days and years have passed,
Since we met, before the last,
Yet our lives do still remain,
Here, on earth, we meet again.

Many of our friends are gone,
To their long, eternal home,
They have left us here below,
Soon we after them shall go.

Brethren, tell me how you do,
Does your love continue true?
Are you waiting for your King,
When he comes, his saints to bring?

If you wish to know of me,
What I am, and how I be,
Here I am, behold, who will,
Sure, I am a sinner still.

Weak and helpless, lame and blind,
All unholy, still I find,
Worse than ever, all may see,
Yet the Lord remembers me.


THINK, O my soul, the dreadful day,
When heaven and earth shall flee away,
When Christ in solemn pomp shall come,
Upon his white majestic throne.

Then Gabriel, at the King’s command,
Shall take the trumpet in his hand,
And sound alarm, so shrill and clear,
That heaven, and earth, and hell shall hear.

The grand assize will then take place,
On every soul of Adam’s race;
Both saint and sinner must appear,
And all their final sentence hear.

The saints, in glittering robes, shall stand,
In that great day, at God’s right hand;
The Lamb’s rich blood shall be their plea,
And they his smiling face shall see.

“Come, all the bless’d of God,” he’ll say,
“My blood hath wash’d your sins away;
“Come, take your golden harps and sing,
“And make the heavenly arches ring.”

But what will guilty sinners do,
When all their sins appear in view?
How will they tremble, cry, and groan,
To see their Judge upon his throne!

“Depart from me, ye sinful race,
“Ye broke my laws, abused my grace;
“Go down to darkness and despair,
“And dwell eternal ages there.”

The occasion on which a part of the following Hymn was composed, is related in his biography. The last three verses appear to have been afterwards added.

HRISTIANS, if your hearts be warm,
Ice and snow can do no harm;
If by Jesus you are prized,
Rise, believe, and be baptized.

Jesus drank the gall for you,
Bore the curse for sinners due;
Children, prove your love to him,

Never fear the frozen stream.

Never shun the Saviour’s cross,
All on earth is worthless dross;
If the Saviour’s love you feel,
Let the world behold your zeal.

Fire is good to warm the soul,

Water purifies the foul; —
Fire and water both agree —

Winter soldiers never flee.

Every season of the year,
Let your worship be sincere;
When the storm forbids you roam,
Serve your gracious God at home.

Read his gracious word by day,

Ever watching, always pray;
Think upon his law by night; —
This will give you great delight.

I SET myself against the Lord,
Despised his spirit and his word,
And wished to take his place;
It vexed me so, that I must die,
And perish too, eternally,

Or else be saved by grace.
Of every preacher I’d complain;
One spoke thro’ pride, and one for gain,
Another’s learning small;

One spoke too fast, and one too slow;
One prayed too loud, and one too low;
Another had no call.

Some walk too straight to make a show,
While others far too crooked go;
And both of these I scorn;
Some odd, fantastic motions make;
Some stoop too low, some stand too straight
No one is faultless born.

With no professor I could join;
Some dressed too mean, and some too fine,
And some would talk too long;
Some had a tone, some had no gift;

One talked too slow, and one too swift;

And all of them were wrong

I thought they’d better keep at home,
Than to exhort where’er they come,
And tell us of their joys;
They’d better keep their gardens free
From weeds, than to examine me,
And vex me with their noise.

Kindred and neighbors, too, were bad,
And no true friend was to be had;
My rulers, too, were vile;
At length, I was reduced to see
The fault did mostly lie in me,
And had done all the while.

The horrid load of guilt and shame,
The inward consciousness of blame
Did wound my frighted soul;
I’ve sinned so much against the Lord,
Despised his goodness and his word,
How can I be made whole?

“Why, there is balm in Gilead,
“And a physician may be had,
“And balsam too most free;
“Only believe on God’s dear son,
“Thro’ him the victory is won —
“Christ Jesus died for thee.”

O, Christ’s free love, a boundless sea!
What! to expire for such as me?
“Yes, ‘tis a truth divine.”
My heart did melt, my soul o’er-run
With love, to see what God had done
For souls so vile as mine.

Now, I can hear a child proclaim
The joyful news, and bless the name
Of Jesus Christ, my king;
I scorn no sect — the saints are one;
With my complaints I now have done,
And God’s free grace I sing.

025 Budget of Scraps


The following essays were published in 1810, in a pamphlet entitled "A BUDGET OF SCRAPS." Several of the original essays are omitted for want of room.


THIS trite sentence is entitled to a good degree of credit, but is subject to many exceptions.

Infantus could count one hundred, but knew nothing more of arithmetic. His preceptor told him that ten times ten were one hundred: this the child could not understand, but placing ten grains of corn by themselves, in ten different places on the table, and counting them altogether, he found the total amount to be one hundred. The preceptor then told the lad, that ten times one hundred would make one thousand, on which the pupil reasoned as follows: "In the first instance, I know my master knew more than I did, and in the last, I have good reason to believe, that he knows more than I do."

Servitus entered an apprentice to architecture. The master-builder prepared and framed each stick for the house, in a separate place, in the forest, and after collecting them together, reared up the house in regular squares and altitudes: at sight of which, the astonished Servitus exclaimed, "I know the master-builder knows more than I know."

Neptunus resolved to try his fortune at sea, though ignorant of navigation; freighted a large ship for Canton, and committed himself to sea, at the direction of a pilot. In the lapse of a few months, the ship doubled the cape of Good Hope, and came to her moorings before Canton. After Neptunus had adjusted his business in the East Indies, he returned a different route, but, at length, landed at the same port, whence he took his departure: on landing, he said, "My sense tells me that the pilot has more sense than I have."

When Simplemus first read the prophetic calculations of Astronomous, respecting the eclipses of the sun and moon, he treated them as essays of chimerical folly, but when he saw them all accomplished, he radically changed his )pinion, and now he believes all such prophecies, by a faith, grounded on reason: notwithstanding, he is still as ignorant of the science of eclipses, as he is of the first vital pulse of his heart. Simplemus has now adopted the maxim, that "it is reasonable to believe a fact, when supported by rational evidence, although the fact still continues to be inconceivable or incomprehensible.

As I am much pleased with the maxim of Simplemus, I wish to accommodate it to a theological use.

The incarnation of Christ - the personal union of the divine and human natures, commonly called the hypostatical union, is one of those facts which admits of rational evidence, yet is incomprehensible by men - by angels- by every being except Ubiquity, the great Eternal.

That Jesus Christ was properly and truly God, his names - his claims - his works, and the testimonials of inspired witnesses, all confirm.

His names are, King - King of kings - Lord - God - Everlasting Father, the First and the Last - the Beginning and the End - Alpha and Omega- the true God and Eternal Life - the Light of the world - the Life - the Creator and Upholder of all things, etc. Some of these names are given to angels and magistrates, it is true, but others of them are given alone to Jehovah.

It is moreover to be observed, that the Hebrew Adonia, or Jodhe vau he, which occurs more than six thousand times in the Old Testament, (translated Lord,) and which is a peculiar name of the Almighty, and never given to angels or kings, is frequently given to Christ, both by the apostles, who quote and apply such passages to him, and by the prophets when manifestly speaking of the Messiah.

His claims to Godhead are also manifest. Hear his words: "I and my Father are one; that all men should honor the Son as they do the Father, even so the Son quickeneth whomsoever he will; I am the resurrection and the life; he that seeth me seeth the Father also; I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you, " etc.

His works were many and marvellous. The prophets wrought miracles in the name of the God of Israel. The apostles wrought in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. If Jesus, in some instances, wrought by prayer to his Father, to establish his character as a prophet of the Lord, and set an example for the apostles, yet, for the most part, he spoke authoritatively, not in the name of another, but in his own name. In his casting out devils - controlling the winds and the waves, and raising the dead, very little doubt can remain, he wrought as an independent, self-sufficient God.

By Christ all things were created: he is the only Redeemer of men: by him all the dead will be raised. What works can evince godhead, if creation, redemption, and the resurrection do not? The two first of these works, however, have been done by Christ; the last, also, partially, and will be completed by the same hand, according to the Scriptures. Now, if Christ does all these works by a delegated power, which, as an exalted creature, he receives from God, what difference can we possibly conceive exists between the Creator and the creature? Has the Creator made a creature equal to himself? Or, are the works of creation, redemption, and the resurrection, no proof of Omnipotence?

The testimonials which Christ has received from inspired witnesses are explicit, viz: "The word was God - all things were made by him - He thought it no robbery to be equal with God - the express image of his person and the brightness of his glory. Thou, Lord, in the beginning, hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thine hands; they shall perish, and wax old and be changed, but thou remainest the same, and thy years fail not; this is the true God, and Eternal Life - the only wise God, our Saviour," &c.

That Jesus Christ was real man, as well as truly God, is also evident. His flesh, bone and blood - his hungerings, thirstings and weariness-

His weeping, praying and sighing -
His groaning, bleeding and dying -

all unite to prove him human. But notwithstanding the whole force of evidence that is given to prove the fact of this hypostatical union of two natures in Christ, yet the fact itself, of God manifest in the flesh, is declared by Paul to be a great mystery, not to be controverted.

If I understand the import of enthusiasm, it consists in believing without evidence, but it is no part of enthusiasm to believe an article incomprehensible in its nature, when we have all the evidence of the truth of the article, that its nature admits of.

It is, therefore, my devotion, my joy and my glory, to adore an incarnate Jehovah. Should I refuse this adoration, I should act an unreasonable as well as a wicked part.


(1Ki 17) ELIJAH, the Tishbite, was very jealous for his God, but a man of passions like other saints. He was led, by the spirit, to pray for a sore judgment to fall on the people of Israel, that those who had despised the goodness of God, might be reclaimed by his severity. He prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it rained not on the earth for the space of three years and six months. The drought was followed by a want of bread and water, and the prophet, who prayed for judgment, had, in common with his own countrymen, to combat the evils, which arose from the answer of his own prayer.

"And the word of the Lord came unto Elijah, saying, get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is beyond Jordan, and it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there."

In obedience to these orders, the prophet went and dwelt by the brook, which was one of the tributary streams of Jordan. And the ravens, that Live upon prey, contrary to the laws of their nature, brought the lonely saint bread and flesh in the morning, and the same at evening, which, with the water of the brook, formed the sustenance of Elijah.

But in process of time, the brook dried up, and the ravens neglected their charge, which reduced the prophet to perfect want, without the least human appearance of relief: but "the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zerephath, which belongs to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee." I do not send thee to king Ahab, nor any of the princes of Israel, for they are idolaters, and seek thy life: nor do I send thee unto the rich, who have wealth, but no hearts to communicate: I send thee not to any man or woman of Israel, for they are so self-conceited of their own advantages, and their pre-eminent virtue, above other nations, that they neglect all humane and benevolent actions: but to a widow woman of Zidon I send thee.

In compliance with those instructions, Elijah arose and came to Zerephath and when he came to the gate of the city, behold! the widow woman was there, gathering sticks for oven-wood, and he called to her, and said, fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. The woman (who had not been civilized to barbarity, nor gospelized to covetousness,) very courteously went to bring him the water for which he prayed: but as she was going, he called to her again, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.

The Lord had given commandment to the woman to sustain Elijah, but had not given him any legal orders on the woman; hence he prayed, both for water and bread. Water had not yet grown scarce in Zidon; with this request the woman could easily comply, but when a morsel of bread was called for, it touched the tender feelings of her heart. "And she said, as the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruise, and behold I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it and die."

The Zidonian woman swore by Elijah's God, that her case was extremely pitiable and indigent, and we have every reason to believe her narrative was true. She had no prospect of any future supply, but expected that after herself and son had eaten one little cake more, they must both of them die.

And Elijah said unto her, "fear not; go and do as thou hast said; but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring unto me; and after make for thee and thy son. " How radically different is the doctrine of the text, from the conduct of most of the ancients and moderns! "Let me first get wealth, and then I will be liberal - first lay up enough for myself and my children, and then I will communicate to the servants of the Lord," is the pactical language of men and women in general; but the injunction of the text is, "Give the prophet of the Lord a little cake first, and then prepare for thy family." This precept perfectly coincides with the instructions which Solomon has given us: "honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase."

Some suppose the prophets of the Lord will perish, unless legal provision is made for them: this provision, however, was not made for Elijah.

Others imagine that when men are called to the holy and public service of the Lord, that the Almighty will support them by miracles. This is sometimes the case: by ravens, this same Elijah had lately been fed; but in the instance before us, the miracle was not wrought so much for the prophet, who received, as it was for the woman, who gave.

A certain class of men have strong faith, that God will provide for the laborers in the vineyard, and their good faith is all they have, for they never communicate; but in the case before us, the woman did not speak the language that many do in these days: "Never fear, Elijah, your God will feed and preserve you; for my own part, I should never be afraid to trust him: I have but a little, and that I need for myself and my son: no doubt but others will give you, and you will do well enough." No, her language, her conduct was different. She reasoned thus:

"I have a little meal and oil, and but a little; the Lord who gave me this little store, has a right to it. He now commands me to give a little out of my little, and I must obey: otherwise I should be worse than the ravens, who checked their own appetites, to bring bread and flesh to the prophet. Obedience is my work; events belong to God, who can make all grace abound. The Lord has not only commanded me to give a little cake first unto the prophet, but has also promised that my store shall not be exhausted. I will, therefore, trust his promise and obey his command. If my son should ever reproach me, for giving that to the prophet which was his patrimonial or matrimonial right, I will read him a lecture, of what befel old Eli for honoring his sons more than his God, and what judgments likewise fell on his sons."

The widow, therefore, obeyed - made the cake first for the prophet and parried it to him - invited him into her house, and entertained him all the time of the drought, and the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruise of oil fail, according to the word of God, which he spake by Elijah.

In process of time, the son of the woman sickened and died. All the human prospect of succor in old age, was now taken away. How pitiable her state! yet she did not murmur, but acquiesced like a saint. She said to the prophet, "O, thou man of God! art thou come hither to call my sin to remembrance and to slay my son?"

It is supposable, but not certain, that this was an illegitimate son, and that now the Lord punished her for her former sin by the death of her son, as in the case of David and Bathsheba. In either case, the woman viewed this stroke as a just punishment for her sins. Elijah was also extremely afflicted, that the woman

who had been so hospitable to him, should be thus deprived of her only son. He, therefore, mourned and prayed to his God, until the soul of the child returned to its clay. The woman was now greatly comforted and confirmed in the word of the Lord, which was spoken by Elijah.

Here we see that the woman was supplied through a long famine, and had her son raised from the dead, because she gave the servant of the Lord a little cake first. Let others learn to do likewise. And let all the servants of the Lord learn from Elijah, to be not greedy of filthy lucre, but content themselves with a little cake.


How various are the opinions of men respecting the mode of supporting gospel ministers.

A thinks that preachers of the gospel should be qualified, inducted and supported, in a mode to be proscribed by the statute laws.

B is of opinion that a preacher is not entitled to any compensation for his services, unless he is poor and shiftless, and cannot live without the alms of the people.

C says, that it takes him as long' to go to meeting, and hear the preacher, as it does for the preacher to go and preach, and their obligations are therefore reciprocal.

D believes a rich preacher is as much entitled to a reward for his labor as if he was poor.

E believes that a preacher should give the whole of his time to reading, meditating, preaching, praying and visiting, and therefore he ought to be liberally supported; not in the light of alms, but in that of a gospel debt.

F joins with E, with this proviso; that the liberal support be averaged on all the members of the church, according to property and privilege.

G also agrees with E, provided the liberal support be raised by a free, public contribution, without any knowledge or examination what each individual does.

H chooses to tax himself, and constable his own money to his preacher, without consulting any other.

I loves the preachers, and pays them with blessings, but the sound of money, drives all good feelings from his heart.

When J hears a man preach that he does not believe is sent of God, he feels under no obligation to give him anything; and when he hears a preacher, that gives him evidence, that he is in the service of the Lord, and devoted to the work, he forms the conclusion, that the Lord pays the p reacher well for his work as he goes along.

K likes preachers very well, but preaching rather better; he feels, therefore, best pleased, when the preacher falls coming, and a gap opens for himself; for he had rather work his passage, and take his turn at the helm, than pay a pilot.

L argues like a man, that the preacher ought to receive something handsome for his services, and laments that himself is in debt, and cannot communicate any thing, without defrauding his creditors: at the same time, he takes special care to keep always in debt for cheap farms, wild land, or some other articles of an increasing nature.

M is a man of a thousand. He argues that the mode of supporting ministers is left blank in the New Testament; because no one mode would be economical in all places; but that the deed itself is enjoined on all who are taught by an ordinance of heaven. If, therefore, a contribution is recommended, M will be foremost to the box. When a subscription is judged most advisable, his name will be first on the list. If averaging is considered most equitable, he will add a little to his bill, lest others should fail. And if no mode at all is agreed upon, still M, as an individual, will contribute by himself; for he reasons, that if others are remiss, it is neither precedent nor excuse for him. He does not give to be seen of men, but because his heart is in it; and these gospel debts (as he calls them) he pays with as much devotion, as he spreads his hands in prayer to God. The creed of his faith, which seems to be written on his heart, is "That, although all the money in the world cannot purchase pardon of sin, or the smiles of a reconciled God; yet religion always has cost money or worth, from Abel's lamb to the present day. And that the man who will not part with a little money, for the sake of him who parted with his blood for sinners, is a wicked disciple."

N approves of the faith and profession of M, in every particular, but reduces nothing of it to practice.

O, like his make, believes nothing, does nothing, and is as near nothing as anything can be.


The Bible contains 66 books - 1,189 chapters - 31,114 verses. The name Lord is found 6,062 times in the Old Testament. The name God, 2,725 times. The name Jesus occurs 925 times, in the New Testament, and the name Christ, 555 times. The word Selah, is found 74 times in the Bible. The word Eternity, in only one place.

There are in the Old Testament, 607,207 words: in the New Testament, 179,476; which numbers, added together, make 786,683. In this enumeration, the titles of books and contents of chapters are excluded. The head-pieces, however, prefixed to 115 of the Psalms, and the 22 words in the 119th Psalm, are included. The number was found out, by counting one by one, pointing every 100, and then adding up: which countings employed me 130 hours, and yet, after all the pains and care taken, some mistakes may have been made; but it is believed but small.

The Bible seems to be self-divided into six parts, viz:

The middle chapter in the Bible, is Ps 117. The middle of the verses, is between Ps 102 and Ps 103. The middle word is in Ps 60:4: "To them that fear thee."

The double asseveration, verily, verily, is found twenty-five times in John's gospel, and no where else. The words, Lord, God, are not found in Esther, nor Solomon's song; so, likewise, the names, Jesus, Christ, are not in the 3d epistle of John. The word baptism, with its relatives, is found one hundred times in the New Testament.

The Bible was more than sixteen hundred years in writing. It contains a history of the world's whole age; partly in narrative, and partly in prophecy; yea, more, it assures us of some things which took place before the mountains were made, or the hills brought forth: it also reveals unto us many things that will take place after the world, and all its works are burnt up; and yet the whole of it can be read over in sixty hours. It is written in a style that no man on earth can imitate; which will forever keep it from being incorporated with human composition.

The Bible is in its parts, historical, poetical, allegorical, prophetic, preceptive, and promissory. It claims the merit of being a revelation from God unto man. Of revelation, there are two kinds; oral, and written.

Oral revelation was first. In this, God revealed his will unto men; but as letters were not in use, men had no way of preserving those revelations, but by their memories; these records were so treacherous, that the revelations were greatly mutilated and perverted. It is from this source, however, that those nations, who are destitute of written revelation, got their belief of the future existence of departed souls; for I can see nothing in all the pages of nature, that proves that men have immortal souls, but what equally proves the same of beasts.

Whether the use of letters was taught at once, or whether the science was gradual, the result is equally amazing; that with twenty-two letters, all the thoughts of the human heart can be expressed. After letters came in use, the Almighty directed the hands of men to write down those revelations of his will, which he made known unto them; and such writings are called written revelations. These writings, collected together in one book, form the Bible, or Holy Scriptures.


About sixty years past, a very considerable revival of religion took place, on the east end of Long-Island, and some of the Indians of that place were made partakers of the grace of life. Several years afterwards, one of the natives gave the following account of himself, in his own way of speaking:

"When me first converted, me was a poor, vile, black Indian; but me love all the Christians, and all the ministers like my own soul. Afterwards me grow, grow, grow, but me no love Christians. Then me grow, grow, grow very big; then me no love ministers. But one day, as I was in the swamp after broomsticks, I heard a voice saying, Indian, how comes it to pass, that you no love Christians and ministers? Me answer, because I know more than all of them. The voice say unto me again, Indian, you have lost your humble. On this I began to look, and behold my humble was gone. I then go back, back, back, but I no find my humble. Me then go back, back, back a great way, and then me find my humble; and when me find my humble, I was poor, vile, black Indian again. Then me love all the Christians and all the ministers, just as I love my own soul."

This simple narrative of the native, reminds me of the sayings of some of those illustrious worthies, whose names and characters shine with dazzling refulgence in the sacred volume.

Job was a perfect and upright man, who excelled all men on earth in his day; yet he experienced a great fight of affliction. In defending himself against the illiberal charges of his three friends, he lost sight of his wretchedness before God. But, when the Almighty summoned his attention to behold the marvellous works of the Creator, and drew his mind near the immaculate throne of divine glory, he cried out: "behold! I am vile - I abhor myself, repenting in dust and ashes."

When Isaiah, the sublime prophet, saw the Lord on a throne of glory, and the heavenly host adoring before him, from a deep sense of his own pollution, the pensive confession flowed from his lips: "wo is me, for I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips."

The knowledge which St. Paul had in the mysteries of God, was exquisite- his labors in the ministry were abundant - his sufferings, for Christ's sake, above measure - his tour to the third heavens, very friendly for the health of his soul - and yet, long after this, we hear him lamenting in piteous groans, "O, wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I yet find a law in my members, bringing me into captivity, to the law of sin."

How very different these confessions are, from the protestation of some in these days, who affirm that they live in such obedience to the laws of God, and walk so fully in the divine light, that they have attained to the state of sinless perfection.


THE high claims of Jemima Wilkinson (that Christ has descended the second time, and dwells in her,) are generally known. Her place of residence is in the town of Jerusalem, Ontario county, and state of New York.

A few years past, a religious Indian paid her a visit, with intention to find out wherein her great strength lay. After discoursing with her some time, in English, he changed his dialect, and spake in his own mother tongue; to which Jernima replied, in her plain manner of speaking, "thee must not speak to me in Indian language, for I do not understand it. " "Ah! " said the Indian, "then I know you are not my Saviour; for my blessed Jesus understands poor Indians." How significant the words, and how marvellous the idea of the Indian!

More than a thousand different dialects now exist, among the various nations of the earth, which bear so little affinity to each other, that the people who speak one of them understand little or nothing of another. Supposing a thousand congregations, belonging to a thousand distinct nations, should assemble in some spacious plain, and the whole number of individuals, in each congregation, should lift up their voices in prayer and praise to God; is it probable that Jesus would understand them all? Like the Indian, I believe he would. Should any individual, in the vast assembly, hear all the voices, what a din of confusion would assail his ears; but all would be order and significance with the dear Redeemer. If this conclusion is just, it is presumptive evidence that Jesus Christ is omniscient God. If it should be objected, however, that it is possible for Omnipotence to make a creature of such extensive faculties, that he can understand all that is said by all, it will not hastily be denied.

But, supposing the public worship of this great assembly should close, would Jesus then know the temper of each heart? Can an inarticulate prayer of the heart rise to God, through the mediation of Christ, and at the same time the Mediator know nothing of it? It cannot be admitted. He must then know the hearts of men.

When he was on earth, he perceived the thoughts of the people, and knew what was in man. If we consider Solomon's address to Israel's God, "Thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of men, " it will be substantiated that Jesus, who knew the thoughts and hearts of men, is Israel's Lord and Saviour; for it is not possible for Omnipotence to make a creature of co-omniscience with himself.


IN the year 1788, a term of great religious awakening in Virginia, a negro man, by the name of Peter, belonging to a Mr. Steward, of Culpepper county, came forward to declare the dealings of God with his soul, in order for baptism. As he had been imported from Africa, his language was very broken; but he gave a satisfactory account of himself, and appeared to be in the then present enjoyment of precious faith. Soon as he had finished his detail, he boldly broke out in whistling. The minister, who presided, asked him what he meant by whistling? To which Peter made answer, "let those sing the praises of Jesus who can; I cannot sing, but I can whistle for my blessed Jesus."

Notwithstanding whistling is supposed to be the exercise of a thoughtless clown, yet, in the case of Peter, it naturally leads the mind to contemplate the various ways in which religious adoration is performed.

Prayer is made by crying, weeping, lifting up the eyes; groaning, sighing, panting, breathing, etc. Self-abasement is also expressed by veiling the face, rending the garments, kneeling and falling on the ground.

This again leads us to treat on falling religion, so common in these days. As I have lived among such exercises a considerable part of my life, I have formed a diffident opinion for myself.

Some take it for undeniable evidence, that a man is converted if he has fallen, by the slaying power of God, under the preaching of the word, singing or praying. Others seem as well convinced, that all such exercises are parts of hypocrisy.

When Paul and his company drew nigh to the gates of Damascus, a great light shone around them. If we examine the three accounts given of this vision, in the book of Acts, we shall find that they all saw the light, heard the voice, and fell to the earth; and yet there is no account that any of them received the grace of life but Paul alone. It is not absolutely certain, however, but what all of them received a heavenly blessing, though not recorded. But one thing is certain, viz., when the guard went to take Jesus, with Judas at their head, and heard the Saviour preach a sermon three words long - I AM HE - they went backward, and fell to the ground. That those who fell down at this time, received a gracious change, we have every reason to believe in the negative; for, as soon as they recovered strength to rise, with malevolent hands, and cruel bands, they bound the harmless Jesus, and led him away to the place of unhallowed judgment.

Making no strictures on those falling downs which are hypocritical, and others, which are evidently mechanical, performed on purpose to alarm and proselyte, it is rational to believe that men may be, and sometimes are, so much impressed with the majesty and truth of God, as to fall to the earth, and yet continue in their enmity to him. That this will be the case of all the wicked, at the last judgment, admits of very little doubt; and that it should be so, with some of them, in this life, will appear credible, when we consider the two systems in which God deals with the children of men.

These two systems, some call law and grace; others term them the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. I am in the habit of treating them as the system of moral government, which God exercises over all rational beings, and the scheme of grace, through a Mediator. That God first treated man as a moral subject - allowing him the freedom of his will to act - at the same time accountable for the right use or abuse of his will - bound, by a law of perfect order, to do all that was commanded, and believe all that was revealed, to me appears evident; otherwise, it was not possible for sin ever to have entered the human world. And that he still treats with men in the same system, is also as evident; for, without it, sin could not be repeated, nor guilt exist.

Perfect obedience to this law, secured from blame, but did not entitle the obedient subject to any advanced station; nor was there any means provided in this system to expiate guilt, or regain lost favor.

The works of creation are so evincive of the natural perfections of Deity, that heathen have no excuse for worshipping any other being. But the word and worship of God, which reveal his moral character, and the influence of his spirit, are clothed with solemn majesty.

It is not, therefore, to be wondered at, that guilty men, (still holden in the moral system,) not only by beholding the works of God, but by hearing his word dispensed in the power of the spirit - that word, which reveals the wrath of God against the wicked, and the sinner's doom; it is not, I say, a wonder, that they should tremble, smite their knees, and fall to the ground. Let it rather be wondered at, that any sinner can hear and remain unshaken. Were not men hardened in unbelief, through the deceitfulness of sin, they could not endure what is commanded them; no, this terrible sight would overcome their physical powers.

Balaam and Saul were black characters, yet both of them fell before the Lord or his angel; particularly Balaam, was taught much - saw much - fell into a trance, having his eyes open - and was greatly restrained by God; when, at the same time, he was so abandoned, that he wished to curse a whole nation, to get the money in Balak's coffers.

In the system of which I am now treating, the Almighty works abundance in men, by men, and for men; all which works are distinct in their natures from the work of grace in the heart; there is no gradation from one to the other, nor any lock-link that unites them together.

The scheme of grace, through a Mediator, was not formed on sin, nor on a foreknowledge that sin would arise, but on eternal love, by infinite wisdom, to be accomplished by Omnipotent power, in a way of divine favor. Sin was not the cause of this scheme, nor can sin prevent it. It was formed to secure those who are included in it, and raise them to a higher station than they were placed in at first. All spiritual and eternal blessings are included in it, which are communicated to men by the Holy Ghost. Children may receive this grace before they are born of their mothers, like John the Baptist, or in their infantile days, when their capacities are so small that they cannot discover it; yet it lives and reigns in them.

When this grace (which is called incorruptible seed - an unction from the Holy One - Water of Life, &c.) is given to those who are grown to years of reflection, it discovers unto them the holy, just and gracious character of God - the propriety and extent of the holy law - the evil nature of sin - the insufficiency of all legal and ritual works to justify - the justice of God in the damnation of sinners - and the sufficiency of the blood and righteousness of Christ to atone for sin and secure the soul.

And as these things are discovered to the subject, so also his heart and disposition are new formed to love God - delight in his laws - hate sin- renounce his own righteousness - love that justice which condemns sinners, and heartily embrace the salvation of God, through the blood and righteousness of Christ.

Where these discoveries and dispositions are found in the heart they denominate a man a true Christian. But void of that spirit, which produces these views and inclinations, all the fears, horrors, visions, raptures and falling-downs that a man can experience; yea, all that God does in him, by him, or for him, are no evidences that he is a subject of that precious faith which saves the soul.


Philo. My dear brother Jubal, I have come to pay you a Christian visit this afternoon, and if you are not pre-engaged, I hope to spend the time in profitable conversation.

Jubal. I am glad to see you, my brother Philo. Please to take a seat, be at perfect ease, and all your wants be on me. Now, my brother, as time is precious, and should be put to the best possible use, I wish to know, in the first place, whether you come to talk to me, with me, or to hear me talk?

P. Why is my brother Jubal so particular in the first essay of the conference?

J. Because, if you come to talk to me, I will place myself in the attitude of hearing, and patiently receive all your discourses. But if you come to talk with me, I shall expect half the time, without interruptions. On the other hand, if you wish to hear me discourse, I will entertain you as well as I can.

P. I perceive you are for rule in all things; but can it be disorder to break in upon a speaker, if he speaks wrong, too long, inexplicit, or with barbarous words?

J. Should I break in upon a speaker before he closes his sentence, I should talk into his mouth and not into his ears, (to use a vulgarism,) and should also trespass against the good rule, "Ye may all speak one by one. " - If anything be revealed unto another, let the first hold his peace, before the other speaks. If a speaker has anything to say worth hearing, give attention until he has done: if he has nothing worth hearing, let him hold his tongue voluntarily. If a speaker speaks wrong, it may be a comparatively harmless error; if, however, it is a malignant error, I am not obliged to receive it. When a man speaks too long, it is painful to a nimbler mind; but not so painful, to a man of delicacy, as it would be to check him. If, moreover, his discourse is destitute of explicit ideas, or clothed with barbarous words, it is quite enough to have one fool in the play; it would be barbarous to expose him; and if I interrupt him, while he is speaking, my words will certainly be inexplicit to him. What can be more supercilious! what can show more vanity, than for me to help the speaker to better language, or stop him, to show how well I can explain his ideas?

P. I can assure you, my good friend, that I came here to converse to you, with you, and to hear you discourse: nor have I any objection to the rules of conversation, which you have given: but knowing a little what I am, I fear I shall act like a ferryman, who looks one way and rows another; or like a professor, who believes like a Christian and lives like a pagan; or like a Christian who has given all up to God, and would give the world if he had it, for Christ's sake; yet never gave a dollar to the poor, nor a cent of what he really has, to forward the gospel among men.

J. Well, my dear Philo, I am anxious to hear; please to proceed.

P. My tutor, with whom I studied divinity, adopted the maxim, to "explain every passage of scripture literally, if the phraseology would any wise admit of it; and riveted in my mind, that the preacher who would allegorize narratives, and spiritualize moral precepts, would thereby prove anything and everything, and at the same time prove nothing to the purpose. With the maxim of my master before me, and his just observations sounding in my ears, I have read the Bible ever since I left him; but until the present time, I am unable to give a literal exposition on many passages in the Bible. In the ninth chapter of the Revelations, the four angels were loosed to destroy the third part of man, and raised an army of two hundred thousand thousand. The earth never contains, at one time, more than a thousand millions of living souls not more than one-fifth of them are soldiers. The army here spoken of, contained two hundred millions, which includes every soldier on earth. Now, if all the soldiers on earth were in this one army; who formed the other army, which was destroyed, called the third part of men? Also, in the 14th chapter, when the earth was reaped, and the vine of the earth was cast into the great wine-press; blood came out, it seems, in every direction, the distance of two hundred miles, as high as the horse-bridles. The lowest part of the bridle is four feet from the ground. Now here Is a blood-pond, spoken of, four hundred miles in diameter, and four feet deep; which would contain 235,615,018,905,600; more than two hundred and thirty-five billions of cubical inches. Men in general are said to possess twenty-five pints of blood; which is about seven hundred cubical inches: making no deduction for children, who have less blood than men; all the blood of all the living would amount to 700,000,000,000 of cubical inches. Of course, it would take all the human blood of more than three hundred and thirty-six such worlds as this, to form the blood-pond spoken of. I now wish, secondly, to converse with you, my dear Jubal: and to lead on thereto, I ask, what allowances are we to make for the phraseology of the Bible, and yet hold it divinely authentic?

J. It is not likely that the original copies, written by the prophets and apostles are now in existence: the most, therefore, that any can boast, is transcription: and we, from transcription, have a translation. Our Bible was translated in the days of Prince James; when the English language, was differently spoken from what it is now. Of course, many passages will not admit of a grammatical construction. Prepositions, moods, tenses and numbers are used in a barbarous manner (according to modern taste) and yet a clue will be found, which unveils the meaning to the sincere seeker, in all essential cases. It was not written at first, nor has it been so wonderfully preserved since, in transcriptions and translations to teach men the arts and sciences; but to instruct them in the will of God, respecting their duty and the ground of their hope.

P. Will you give an instance, wherein you take the liberty of changing mood and tense.

J. I will. Take your Bible and look over Ac 3:19-21, and I will repeat it, as I think it is to be understood.

"Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out; for the times of refreshing are come from the presence of the Lord; and he has sent Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you, by the prophets: whom

the heavens did receive until these times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets since the world begun."

P. You have taken great liberty, indeed, in this passage; much greater than I should dare to do, lest I should be guilty of adding to and taking from the sacred book.

J. I grant it. The context, however, seems to invite it; and if the text itself will not admit of the transposition which I have given; still, this new versification conveys no corrupt idea.

P. Well, my brother, in the third place, I wish to hear you converse. J. I have been frequently called upon to give an exposition of Mt 5:25, and will now avail myself of the auspicious moment, and do it. The text referred to, reads; "Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison: verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." Some, by the adversary, understand God - others the justice of God, or the law of God; which they suppose the sinner is to agree with. Others, again, are of opinion that the Devil is the adversary intended: But all these opinions seem to be utterly groundless. Those who apply it to the church discipline, bid much fairer to be in the right; were it not applied to magistracy, by St. Luke. "When thou art in the way to the magistrate," &c. Now, as church discipline has no affinity with magistracy, the sense given cannot be admitted. The text is introduced thus: When thou bringest thy gift to the altar. The Jews brought their lambs and other offerings to the altar; and Christians bring their prayers, praises and gifts of improvement into the church and offer them before God. And there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee. Either a natural brother, national brother, spiritual brother, or human brother. When thou comest before the Lord with thy gift, and rememberest, that thou hast given any man just cause of offence, which is actionable by law, leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. This offended brother is the adversary; and I tell you my disciples, if you have given offence, make it your first business to effect a reconciliation. If your offence calls for confession, restitution or other costs, pay all immediately before a prosecution begins. If you do not, the adversary may, at any time bring you before the Judge; and being found guilty before him, he will deliver you to an executive officer, who will inflict on you such punishment as the law directs; and if your crime is debt or trespass, you will be cast into prison; and when once you are imprisoned, all your repentance, faith and prayer will not deliver you; for I came not to destroy civil law, or save men from these legal penalties which they have incurred: Of course, they must remain in prison, until, they have paid debt and costs. The doctrine of this text, in part, is exemplified in the case of the dying thief. Our Lord forgave his sin; promised him admission into Paradise; but did not deliver him from the penalty of the law, but let him hang on the cross until he had paid the last farthing, with his life.


In the year 1785, there lived in the city of Richmond, (Vir.) a free negro woman, who by her parsimony obtained money enough to purchase her husband, who was a slave. The woman being a member of the Baptist church, in that city, was complained of before the church, for allowing of lewd conduct in her house. She did not deny the truth of the charge, but excused herself thus, "Pray, how can I help it? My husband is the head, and does as he pleases; and I, who am his wife, cannot help it. " At the same meeting, another charge was brought against her, for whipping her husband; to which she replied, "I bought him with my own money - he is my legal property, and he shall mind me; otherwise I will whip him."

* * * * *

Excuse - the doctrine of the fall,
From Adam first we hear;
The roots are found within us all,
No mortal man is clear.

When God commands him to appear,
And answer to his case -
words from him we hear,
Instead of saying

* * * * *


Now Naaman, captain of the King of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable; because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valor; BUT he was a leper. Dr. Ashly is an accomplished divine, BUT he cannot admit of an equal. Rev. Mr. Benson is an excellent preacher; BUT his discourses are more declamatory than sentimental. IF he was as full of ideas as he is of words, he would shine like a star of the first magnitude. Elder C - , is a good preacher, BUT he is too often telling of what great things he has done. "I had three thousand hearers - I baptized forty in a day - I was moderator of the council," &c. Elder D, is a man of talents, BUT, like Ceasar, he had rather be the first man in a village than the second man in Rome. IF he was not so much like Diotrephus; IF he was willing that other preachers should have more praise and fame than himself, he would much more resemble the chief Shepherd. IF the writer of this number did not partake of a large share of the vices of these Rev. gentlemen, and but a small part of their virtues, he would he a better man than he is; BUT he is a chip of the old block - a degenerate plant of a strange vine a bottle in the smoke.

The virtues of the low we tell,
With elevated strings;
But those we fear will us excel -
We strive to clip their wings.


Once there was a precious season,
When my Saviour smiled on me;
Ev'ry groan his grace did sweaten,
Ev'ry bond his love set free.
Patient, I could bear affliction,
Never murmur at the pain;
Just conception, resignation,
Cheerfully did me sustain.

Joyfully I heard his preaching,
Read his word with vast delight,
While his spirit, gently teaching,
Was my comfort day and night.
Sweet was Christian conversation,
Christ and grace was all my theme;
Oh! these days of consolation!
How delighted I have been!

Had I guarded every passion,
Watching daily unto prayer,
Of each sin made just confession,
I had never felt this snare;
Now my Saviour's smiles are wanting,
Now my groans perpetual rise;
Ev'ry hope of joy is falling,
Now I vent my fruitless cries.

Just conception, resignation,
From my breast are far removed;
Now I murmur at affliction,
Doubting whether e'er I loved.
Oft I hear the gospel sounded,
Oft I read my Saviour's name;
Yet my heart, most deeply wounded,
Still remains unmov'd, the same.

Now I've fearful apprehension,
Whether Christ I ever knew;
Tho' I made a great profession,
Yet 'twas rather false than true.
Oh! that Jesus was my saviour!
This is all my soul's desire!
A portion, Lord, within thy favor,
Tho' I enter here thro' fire!


COLONEL SAMUEL HARRISS, of Pittsylvania, Virginia, was converted, and called to preach, about the year 1758; on which he quitted all his honorary and lucrative offices, and applied himself to the work of an evangelist. A train of seriousness followed him; and, for a number of years, he was more blessed of God than any man in the southern states. His preaching was not much fraught with the wisdom of man, but so full of simplicity, zeal and the Holy Ghost, that judgment and eternity would seem to be present before himself and hearers. His heart was so full of burning love to the souls of men, that his domestic concerns fell into derangement, while he was seeking to pluck them as brands out of the fire. Finding, at length, the absolute need of providing more grain for his family than his plantation had produced, he went to a man (whose name I do not retain) who owed him a sum of money, and addressed him thus:

Harriss. Sir, I should be very glad if you would let me have a little money.

Man. Mr. Harriss, I have no money by me, and, therefore, cannot oblige you.

H. I want the money to purchase wheat for my family; and, as you have raised a good crop of wheat, I will take that article of you, instead of money, at a current price.

M. I have another use for my wheat, and cannot let you have it.

H. What will you do?

M. I never intend to pay you until you sue me, and, therefore, you may begin your suit as soon as you please.

H. To himself, "good God, what shall I do? shall I leave preaching for a vexatious lawsuit? Perhaps a thousand souls will perish in the time. I will not. Well, what will you do, Harriss? This I will do: I will sue the man at the court of heaven."

Having resolved what to do, the colonel retired into the woods, and, falling on his knees before the Lord, opened his mouth to this effect: "Lord Jesus, thou hast redeemed my soul from hell and sin, and thou hast called me to preach faith and repentance to my fellow men; but, while I am doing it, my family is like to suffer. Blessed Jesus, a man owes me, and will not pay me unless I sue him. I am in a great strait - O, Lord, teach me what to do."

In this address, the colonel had such nearness to God, that (to use his own words) Jesus said unto him: "Sam, I will enter bondsman for the man - you keep on preaching, and omit the law-suit - I will take care of you, and see that you have your pay. " Mr. Harriss felt well satisfied with his security; but thought it would be unjust to hold the man a debtor, when Jesus had assumed payment. He, therefore, wrote a receipt in full of all accounts which he had against the man; and, dating it in the woods, where Jesus entered bail, he signed it with his own name. Going the next day by the man's house to attend a meeting, he called a little negro to the gate, gave him the receipt, and bid him deliver it to his master. On returning from meeting, the man hailed him, and said-

M. Mr. Harriss, what did you mean by the receipt which you sent me by the boy?

H. I mean just as I wrote.

M. You know, sir, I have never paid you.

H. Yes, sir, I know it. I know, moreover, that you said you never would, except I sued you. But, sir, I sued you at the court of heaven, and Jesus entered bail for you; and I thought it would be unjust to hold you in debt, when I had got so good security, and, therefore, I sent you that receipt.

M. I insist upon it, it shall not close in this manner.

H. I am well satisfied - Jesus will not fail me. Farewell.

A few days after this, the man loaded his wagon with wheat, and carried into Mr. Harriss.


HAVING heard more than three hundred preachers exhibit in my life, and some of them a great number of times - without ill will or vanity, (for pray, who will own himself wrong?) I have noticed that the most brilliant, as well as the most obscure, have their hobby-horses - I mean words or sentences, which they use, in preaching, to great disadvantage. If these by-words or sentences, were used only in rare instances, they would not only be appropriate, but harmonious; but when they are repeated again and again, without thought, and, indeed, in many instances, to supply the lack of ideas, no apology can be admitted, on the principle of ingenuity.

Mr. Y. was a good man, and felt the importance of the doctrine which he preached; on account of which, he contracted the habit of saying depend upon it; which sentence would not only be heard in a great part of the observations through his sermon, but would sometimes mingle in his prayer. The writer once saw him on his knees at prayer, at the close of a meeting, and heard the following words flow from his lips: "O, Lord! look down in mercy on these poor sinners, and convince them that if they are not converted, they must be damned, depend upon it."

Mr. B. is a good divine, and an excellent preacher, but he has so much apostolical benevolence, that he not only introduces every section with, My dearly beloved brethren, but often uses the address in the middle of a sentence. He was once observed to use his favoritism more than two hundred times in one sermon.

In one section of the United States, a great part of the preachers were exceedingly fond of the note of similitude, as it were. The note frequently occurs in the New Testament. But among these preachers, the note was used so much in course, that it lost all comparison, and was made to substantiate facts. Without holiness, no flesh shall see the Lord, as it were.

But, among all the vulgarisms that find the way into the desks of learned and polite preachers, none appears more clownish than the old adage, I've often thought. When we meet a farmer in the road, we expect his first remarks will be on the weather; or, if we see a merchant, we calculate to hear the din, hard times and little money. But when we hear preachers, who are in the habit of composition, telling us so often what they have thought, it naturally makes us wish that they would think a little better.

But surely, a man guilty of all of these errors, and seven times as many more, ought to be careful of casting stones, and withhold his criticisms, till he first casts the beam out of his own eye.


The little epistle to Philemon is fraught with good things. In composition, it exceeds all the efforts of the learned. Simplicity and benevolence are its characteristics. The tragic scene, therein contained, is drawn with more than human pencil. The cause of the epistle follows:

Philemon was the disciple of Paul, and owed himself to him as the in strument of his salvation. Philemon had a servant, Onesimus. This Onesimus, not liking his religious master, instead of paying him a debt which he owed, wronged him still more, by pilfering his property, and then running away. Making his way to Rome, where Paul was prisoner, he fell in with the apostle, at his own hired house, which stood within the limits of the prison, where Paul was preaching the gospel with all readiness, and receiving all that came unto him. Here the preaching of Paul arrested the conscience of Onesimus; and the prisoner Paul begat the fugitive servant, by the word of truth to a lively hope.

Onesimus, on this change of character, gave Paul a true account of his conduct towards his master; on which information, Paul wrote the epistle to Philemon, and sent it by Onesimus to his master, to effect a reconciliation between them. So intent was Paul to gain his point, that he wrote a bond and signed it with his own hand, to make good to Philemon, whatever injury he had sustained by Onesimus. His words are-

"For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him forever. Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more to thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord. If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If he hath wronged thee or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account. I, Paul, have written it with mine own hand - I will repay it: albeit, I do not say unto thee, how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides. Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord."

When Onesimus returned to his master, by his own confession of his error and the letter of Paul, a reconciliation was soon effected between the returning servant and his pious master. Philemon frankly forgave him all that he owed; and in addition thereto sent him back to Paul with a liberal offering to supply the necessities of the prison. After which Onesimus tendered his services to Paul, to bear the epistle from Rome to the Colossians; and some say that he became a preacher of the gospel there-after.

Query. If the great apostle Paul wrote and signed a bond, that he would pay an unknown sum to Philemon, can any man be scrupulous of signing a subscription to pay money for religious uses?


Of all the villains that haunt the world, not one of them is more mischievous than Old They. He is generally treated as a noun of multitude, followed by a single verb, (They say,) which makes it exceedingly difficult to identify the vagrant. Whether he is an individual, bearing as many titles as a Spanish Don, or a monster, having as many heads as a Hydra, is hard to ascertain.

If a man wishes to spread a false report, to injure his ruler, priest or neighbor, he has nothing to do, but to add, They say so, and all passes currently.

If any, however, are incredulous, and back the evil report, after passing many hands, which gave the report publicity, and drawing near the ideal residence of They, he then plays the game of a talisman before them, or dissolves himself in air.

Others, who have been often foiled in their pursuits after the fugitive, and yet are in the habit of believing that They has said so, instead of fixing the blame on the infamous tatler, who is retailing the slander, conjecture a substitute for They, and ever afterwards consider the substitute as an enemy, when, at the same time, the poor suspected man, knows not for what. If it will not be considered too dictatorial, I will here suggest a salutary expedient.

When a man begins to retail the libellous reports of others, or vend his own choleric manufacture, on the credit of, They say so, if he will not identify his author, hold the man responsible for all he says, and let Old They shift for himself.


Levi, the son of Melchi, married a woman and begat Matthat. He then died, and Eleazar married the same woman and begat Matthan.

Matthat married a woman, who bare him Heli; then dying, Matthan married the widow and begat Jacob.

Heli married a wife, but dying childless, Jacob married the same woman, and begat Joseph (the husband of Mary) who succeeded to Heli; according to De 25:5-6. Agreeable, therefore, to St. Matthew's account, Eleazar begat Matthan, and Matthan begat Jacob, and Jacob begat Joseph. And according to St. Luke, Joseph was the (ceded) son of Heli, Heli was the son of Matthat, and Matthat was the son of Levi.

026 A Speech Delivered


MR. SPEAKER: The right of private judgment, like sight and hearing, is inalienable in nature. Should an individual attempt to surrender it to society, it, nevertheless, would remain with him still in all its vigor. Whatever individuals, from the source of private judgment, might be led to say on the subject now before the house, provided the house was in the capacity of a convention, assembled for the purpose of framing a constitution, I cannot determine: but at the present time, the house is on legislative ground, under the solemnity of an oath, to legislate according to the meaning of the constitution in their best judgments. The part of the constitution, sir, which the subject before the house has particular bearing upon, is contained in the second and third articles of the Declaration of Rights. It is well known, Mr. Speaker, that the inhabitants of this commonwealth, were, when the constitution was framed, as well as at the present time, divided in sentiment about religion, and the mode of its support. From the face of the constitution, as well as from a knowledge of those times, there exists no doubt, that a decided majority believed that religious duties ought to be interwoven in the civil compact - that Protestant Christianity was the best religion in the world - and that all the inhabitants ought to be forced, by law, to support it with their money, as a necessary institute for the good of the body politic, unless they did it voluntarily. While a respectable minority, equally firm in the belief of the divinity of Christianity, and still more Protestant in their views, conceived it to be a measure as presumptuous in a legislature, as in a Pope, to lord it over consciences, or interfere either in the mode or support of Christianity. This minority, Mr. Speaker, did then, and do still believe that religion is a matter between individuals and their God - a right inalienable - an article not within the cognizance of civil government, nor any way under its control. In this discordance of religious sentiments, the second and third articles of the Declaration of Rights, are evidently a compromise of parties, in which mutual concessions are made for a general union. The language of the convention, in the constitution, appears to be as follows:

"Let those towns, parishes, precints and other religious societies possessed of corporate powers, support their religion by force of law, but if there be any one residing within the limits of those corporate bodies, who attends other worship, and yet has no scruples of conscience in being legally taxed, his money when paid, if he requests it, shall be paid over, by the collector, to the minister of his choice. And, whereas, there are many religious societies, who have scruples of conscience about availing themselves of corporate powers; if such societies, voluntarily, in their own mode, make suitable provision for the maintenance of their ministers, all such societies of Protestant Christians, properly demeaning themselves as peaceable citizens, shall not be forced by law to support the teachers or worship of any other society. But as we cannot well know how these principles will operate on experiment, we lay down one fundamental maxim, as a polar star, for the legislature - no subordination of one religious sect to another should be established by law!"

Taking this, sir, to be a good translation of those two articles, which seem to be somewhat obscure, the question is, whether the laws, made since the adoption of the constitution, or more particularly, whether the interpretation of that part of the constitution and laws, have not effected a subordination of one religious sect to another? The Congregationalists, sir, have no scruples about supporting their worship, in its various parts, by law, but some other societies have- some, indeed, have availed themselves of corporate powers for no other purpose but to defend themselves from being taxed to support a worship in which they had no faith. In such instances they have been subordinate in time and expense to extricate themselves from the clutches of the Congregationalists. Others are so well convinced of the all-sufficiency of Protestant Christianity, and the completeness of its code to govern in all things, that they will not - they cannot in good conscience submit to a power, which they believe, in their best judgments, was never given to government to be exercised. These are peaceable subjects of state - ready to arm in defence of their country - freely contribute to support Protestant Christianity, but cannot pay a legal tax for religious services; this, sir, is one of the essentials which constitutes them a distinct sect: and what have these endured since the adoption of the constitution? Have they not been reduced to subordination? How many law-suits - how much cost - and how much property has been taken from them to support other societies? Mr. Speaker, is not this subordination?

According to a late decision of the bench, in the county of Cumberland, which, it is presumed, is to be a precedent for future decisions, these non-incorporated societies are nobody - can do nothing, and are never to be known except in shearing time, when their money is wanted to support teachers that they never hear. And all this must be done for the good of the state. One hundred and seventeen years ago, wearing long hair was considered the crying sin of the land: a convention was called, March 18, 1694, in Boston, to prevent it; after a long expostulation, the convention close thus: "If any man will now presume to wear long-hair, let him know that God and man witnesses against him. " Our pious ancestors were for bobbing the hair for the good of the colony, but now, sir, not the hair, but the purses must be bobbed for the good of the state. The petitioners pray for the right of going to heaven in that way which they believe is the most direct, and shall this be denied them? Must they be obliged to pay legal toll for walking the king's highway, which he has made free for all? Is not this a greater subordination than to sail under British licenses, or to pay three pence on every pound of tea? In Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, of the old colonies, and in Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio, the new states, there has never been any legal establishment of religion, nor any assessment to support Protestant Christianity, for the good of the states, and yet, sir, these states have stood and flourished as well as Massachusetts.

Since the Revolution, all the old states, except two or three in New England, have established religious liberty upon its true bottom, and yet they are not sunk with earthquakes, or destroyed with fire and brimstone. Should this commonwealth, Mr. Speaker, proceed so far as to distribute all settlements and meeting-houses, which were procured by public taxes, among all the inhabitants, without regard to denomination; it is probable that the outcry of sacrilege, profanity and infidelity would be echoed around; and yet, sir, all this has been done, in a state, which has given birth and education to a Henry, a Washington, a Jefferson and a Madison, each of which contributed their aid, to effect the grand event; for which event the Presbyterians and others prayed and gained. It is there believed, sir, that God hates robbery for burnt offerings, and ought not Massachusetts to pay a decent respect to the voice of fifteen of her sister states? We should imagine that laudable pride would prevent any one religious society from forcing another to pay her laborers, and that the same principle would not admit a public teacher to take money, collected by distraint, from those who did not hear him; but in this particular, we find that religion is made a covert to do that which common honesty blushes at!

Sir, it is not to disrobe towns of their corporate powers; no, let them go to heaven in such turnpike roads, and pay legal toll at every ministerial gate which they choose, and what can they wish for more? According to our best judgments, we cannot pay legal taxes for religious services, descending even to the grade of a chaplain for the legislature. It is disrobing Christianity of her virgin beauty - turning the churches of Christ into creatures of state - and metamorphosing gospel ambassadors to state pensioners. If my information be correct, the town of Boston has enjoyed the liberty which we plead for, more than one hundred years, yet the inhabitants increase and are virtuous. Fifteen states, now in the Union, have all that we ask for, and is religion demolished in those states? Mr. Speaker, let gentlemen turn their eyes to the religious magazines, published in this state, by those who plead for law-regulated religion, and they will find, that while the editors in one page plead for the old firm of Moses and Aaron - ruler and priest; where the language is, "you comb my head and I'll scratch your elbows - you make laws to support me, and I'll persuade the people to obey you; " in the next page, they will narrate the wonderful works of God in those states wherein there are no religious laws, and indeed, wherein the inhabitants know that religious establishments and assessments, serve only to make one part of the community fools, and the other hypocrites - to support fraud, superstition and violence in the earth.

Let Christianity stand upon its own basis, it is the greatest blessing that ever was among men; but incorporate it into the civil code and it becomes the mother of cruelties.

It is questioned, Mr. Speaker, by good judges, whether it is possible for the legislature to execute the power vested in them, in the third article of the Declaration of Rights, without defeating the provision in the same article "that no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another, shall ever be established by law. " I know not, sir, what can be done, but one thing is certain, it never has been done since the adoption of the constitution. Supposing, sir, it cannot be done, to which part of it ought the legislature to adhere? - to that which supports partiality and injustice, or to that which secures right and equality; can any gentleman be at a loss?

Tyranny, Mr. Speaker, always speaks the same language. The tyrant of Ammon would be friendly to Israel, if he might put out their right eyes. The tyrant on the Nile would let his subjects go free, provided they would leave their flocks and herds behind.

Go serve the Lord, proud Pharaoh said,
But let your flocks and herds be staid -
Go serve the Lord, says Massachusetts,
But bow to Baal with your certificates.
You all may worship as you please,
But parish priest shall have your fees;
His preaching is like milk and honey -
And you shall pay
our priest your money!

Mr. Chairman, if Christianity is false, it cannot be the duty of government to support imposture; but if it be true, the following extracts are true: "The natural man receiveth not the things of God, neither can he know them; the world by wisdom know not God; none of the princes of this world, know the genius of Christ's kingdom." If, sir, Christianity is true, these sayings are true; and if these sayings are true, natural men, as such, with all the proficiency of science, cannot understand the religion of Christ; and if they cannot understand the subject, they must be very unfit to legislate about it. If, to escape this dilemma, we adopt the Papal maxim, that government is founded in grace, and, therefore, none but gracious men have a right to rule; and that these gracious rulers have both right and knowledge to legislate about religion, we shall find, what other nations have found, that these divine rulers, will be the most cruel tyrants: under this notion, Mr. Chairman, the crusades were formed in the eleventh century, which lasted about two hundred years, and destroyed nearly two millions of lives. In view of all this, and ten thousand times as much, is it to be wondered at, that the present petitioners, should be fearful of attaching corporate power to religious societies? These petitioners, sir, pay the civil list, and arm to defend their country as readily as others, and only ask for the liberty of forming their societies, and paying their preachers, in the only way that the Christians did for the first three centuries after Christ: any gentleman upon this floor, is invited to produce an instance, that Christian societies were ever formed, Christian sabbaths ever enjoined, Christian salaries ever levied, or Christian worship ever enforced by law, before the reign of Constantine; yet Christianity did stand and flourish, not only without the aid of the law and the schools, but in opposition to both. We therefore hope, Mr. Speaker, that the prayer of thirty thousand, on this occasion, will be heard, and that they will obtain the exemption for which they pray.

The second section of the bill before the house, I object to. It recognizes principles which are inadmissable - invests all non-corporate societies with corporate powers - puts the mischievous dagger into their hands, which has done so much mischief in the world, and presents no balm for the wounds of those who cry for help. 59

The petitioners do not ask to be known in law, as corporate bodies, but, to be so covered, that religious corporate bodies shall not know, and fleece them; but, this section puts the knife into their hands against their wills; a knife, sir, which is more pestiferous than Pandora's box. The interference of legislatures and magistrates, in the faith, worship, or support of religious worship, is the first step in the case, which leads in regular progression to inquisition; the principle is the same, the only difference is in the degree of usurpation.

The bill has its beauties, and its deformities. One prominent defect of the bill, is, a crooked back; it makes a low stoop to his high mightiness, town-clerk, to pray for the indulgence of worshipping God; which is, and ought to be guaranteed a natural and inalienable right; not a favor to be asked by the citizen, or bestowed by the ruler. It has also a disagreeable squinting; it squints to a purse of money with as much intenseness, as ever a drunkard does at the bottle, or as ever Eve did at the apple. Yes, Mr. Speaker, if there was no money to be got, we should never hear of these corporations. How strange it is, sir, that men, who make such noise about Christianity, should be afraid to trust the promise of God, unless they can have legal bondmen, bound by incorporation.

Government should be so fixed, that Pagans, Turks, Jews and Christians, should be equally protected in their rights. The government of Massachusetts, is, however, differently formed; under the existing constitution, it is not possible for the general court, to place religion upon its proper footing; it can be done, however, much better than it is done, either by the late decision of the bench, or by the adoption of the present bill, in its present shape; and the best which the constitution will admit of, is all that I seek for at present. I shall therefore take the liberty, at a proper time, to offer an amendment to the bill.

I shall no longer trespass on the patience of the house.

59. After the delivery of this speech, the bill passed some radical amendments.

027 A Short Narrative of a Five Hours Conflict


I am the man that have seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. - JEREMIAH.

IN the summer of 1811, there appeared to be a gracious work among the people in Cheshire. I had my trials to bear; yet the circle which I trod, on the whole, was pleasant. My outward man was affected with a jaundiced debility, but my inward man was renewed day by day. By the last of September, I had baptized twenty-eight, and the work seemed to be prevailing; when suddenly I was stopped from my ministerial labors, and called to pass through a scene very afflictive. Whatever the disease might be called, it shocked my whole nervous system, and assailed my head with such pain that it deprived me of a great part of my hearing and power of speech. Whether my sickness was brought on by latent causes - by imprudent conduct - or by unavoidable events, is immaterial to my narrative. I was sorely attacked. When first seized, I had an impression riveted in my mind that I should be given up of the Lord, to pass through a doleful conflict; how long I could not tell. But whether this affliction was to come upon me for specific crimes committed, for a trial of my faith, or to prevent me from being exalted with pride, or falling into some other sin, I could not suggest. On entering this valley of the shadow of death, I seemed to be stripped of all my armor, which so lately I had gloried in. The God whom I had addressed and confided in; the Mediator, through whose blood and righteousness alone I hoped for pardon; the gospel of salvation, which revealed the only foundation of trust; and the spirit of prayer, which I preferred to all riches, were removed from my grasp; nor could I conceive that there was any happiness in the universe. In this state, however, I had a small hope, that God, in his own good time, would bring me back again to that circle which I had lately walked in; and notwithstanding my distress of body and mind were great, yet I had some acquiescence in the affliction. The language of the prophet became mine; "I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause and execute judgment for me. " But when I had waited more than a fortnight, my sickness still prevailing, and no deliverance granted, it struck my mind that the Lord would never bring me back again to that state where I enjoyed my armor and happiness, and that I must begin in hell's belly, where I was, to call upon the name of the Lord. Memorable time! dark and doleful night! let it never be forgotten by me! My mind was arrested, by some invisible power, and my soul seemed suspended on a point, that unless I could solve a number of questions, all would be lost. How did my poor heart tremble! It was ten o'clock at night; all was dark, without and within! On entering the contest I felt like a feeble child cast into a pit to combat with dragons, The first question propounded to me, was, "Is there a harmony in the universe becoming a God? " The immensity of the universe I could form no idea of. How many worlds and systems of worlds there were I knew not; and what an infinity of space surrounded those worlds, was beyond my stretch of thought. The visible heavens and earth were all that I could contemplate to any advantage; and indeed the condition of rational and animal creatures was the subject that summoned my attention. Among rationals, war, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, plagues, personal slavery, despotic oppression, sickness, pain and death, &c. Among beasts, fear, hunger, cruelty, killing and living upon each other, bearing the abuses of men, and slain by them to feast upon, &c. Here the reasoning of my mind was this - "Why did the Almighty make creatures subject to all this? If he is the parent of all, why does he suffer one of his children to inflict so much injustice and cruelty upon another? Could he not have made things otherwise? If not, why create at all? After he had created, could he not have prevented sin and misery? If he could, who can justify his goodness in withholding aid? Can it possibly be pleasing to God to see darkness, wrath, sin, misery and death rage in his dominions? If his will is otherwise, why did he not, why does he not prevent it? But this he does not do. These destructive evils have always existed since I can remember; at least, do still exist, and I can see no end to them. How did my aspiring and arrogant soul struggle against believing self-evident facts, when I could not comprehend the great constitution, (or the events that took place under the constitution,) whence all those evils arose! At length it was suggested to me, that I was utterly incompetent to understand the mystery that was enfolded in the smallest insect or grain of sand; that there was a principle, known to exist, by which to pour cold water upon a cold stone 60. would raise fire to burn up the house. That I could not tell why the water ran down hill; why the wind did blow; or what that angry spirit, called fire, was, that ate up the wood and warmed the flesh. That I could not account for the voluntary or involuntary motions of my own body; nor did I know why or what the pain was which I felt. And if I could not understand the least of God's works, I must be more insufficient to understand the whole system than the smallest fly was to understand the greatest piece of machinery. This kind of reasoning had a little weight in my mind, but effected no real subordination in my spirit. Creation was all in disorder. Darkness, wrath and confusion reigned through the whole; and happiness did not exist. And here this subject was left.

The next question which arrested my mind was this, "there is no God. If so, who is he? " On the first part of this suggestion, my reflections were as follows. There either is a God, or there is not. If there is a Supreme Deity, he must be increate, himself uncaused; and this I can form no idea of; it seems impossible. But if there is no God, whence arose all creatures and things, which I know exist? To suppose that the visible heavens and earth are eternal; or that the first man on earth had never a beginning, is equally impossible to sense, and less likely to be true. Of course then, to escape a greater dilemma I must believe that there is a God, and that his eternal power and Godhead are seen by the visible things which he has made. If, then, there is a God, who is he? Here my thoughts were exercised thus. Whoever God is, he must be eternal, without beginning - sovereign, under no law - and omnipotent, to create all things. The gods many and lords many of the heathen world, were, some of them, ideal and others of them material beings; but none of them that I have ever read or heard of, claimed the character, nor have any of their worshippers ever given them the character of creating all things and raising the dead. The heathen accounts of creation are chimerical enough: but they never ascribe it to any of their gods. And the resurrection from the dead is looked upon as a thing incredible by them; in it they have no hope. But the Holy One of Israel, who is the Christian's God, claims the works of creation and the resurrection as his own. Here many texts occurred to my mind; such as, "Thus saith the high and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity - I am God and there is none else - I am the Lord, that is my name, and my glory I will not give to another, nor my praise unto graven images - Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth; I have made the earth and man upon it; my hands have stretched out the heavens, and all their hosts have I commanded - Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens; when I call unto them, they stand up together; I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering; I kill and I make alive; Thy dead men shall live; All that are in the graves shall hear his voice and come forth; they that have done good to the resurrection of life, and those that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation, and many more beside; for never did the scripture flow into my mind as it did that night. Now, if creation certainly has taken place, (which none can deny,) and the resurrection also in a few instances, and will be universal according to history and prophecy; and none of the heathen gods claim the work; to whom can it be ascribed better than unto him who claims it? Surely Jehovah he is God! the Lord he is God! It is not to be understood that my convictions of the God-head of Jehovah were so clear and absolute as to prevent all scruples; they seemed but to hold me up with a little help, while the horrors of atheism and black despair, like billows, were dashing round my trembling soul.

The following thought next bolted into my mind: "Jesus Christ was not truly God, nor the Saviour of men. " This was no new suggestion to me; it has often assailed me in my life; but it came now with great force, when I had but little strength to withstand it. In health, I had given up the point, that the mystery of the trinity, and of the union of two natures in Christ were incomprehensible; and here it struck my mind that the Creator and Saviour of men must be too exalted in nature for men or angels to scrutinize; that a being must be just as incompetent to create and redeem, as the creatures were competent to understand. But the question arose in my mind, "Is there not rational evidence within the comprehension of men to prove facts, which are, in their nature, inconceivable?" The answer was, yes. For proof, I have evidence to believe that my eye can see, my ear hear, and my tongue speak; but why these organs have that power, and others have not, I cannot tell. The question then followed, "Is there rational evidence to believe that Jesus Christ was truly God, and the only Saviour of lost sinners?" This evidence I then sought after. It here occurred to me, that Jesus bore all the names and titles of Israel's Holy One, and did godlike works by inherent power, and, therefore, must be the true God and eternal life; and that salvation was in none other; for there was no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must or could be saved. But here I got headed. It burst into my mind like a torrent, "That I was bringing my evidence from the Bible, which was a fictitious book - that the history of Jesus was not true, and the gospel was only an imposture." How this sunk my spirits! The only prop which my feeble soul had to rely on, must now be taken away. "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" In the course of my life, I have read all the deistical books that came to hand, and have had many difficulties in my mind about the divinity of the Bible, which no Deist that I have read after has availed himself of. I have also read the replies to the Deists, and have had some arguments of my own in defence of revelation. But now, when I was weak, and my life hanging in suspense, to go over all the ground of debate, was so elaborate, that it was not practicable. Some shorter way of relief I must find, or plunge. The divinity of the New Testament - the truth of the gospel, was now the point at issue. On which I reasoned thus: the New Testament is in existence: it was written either by bad men or by good men: to believe that bad men wrote it, requires a faith more marvellous than it does to believe the truth of any article contained in it. For bad men to form a book that condemns every species of sin - that lays the honors, pleasures, and wealth of the world in the dust - that enjoins patience under injury, and good for evil - in short, to sacrifice everything that is pleasing to bad men: who can believe it? The New Testament is written in a style peculiar to itself. In it, there is such majesty and simplicity, united with such force to arrest the conscience, that all the wise men and wits on earth cannot imitate it. The belief of the gospel never makes good men worse, but often makes bad men better. If the gospel is not from heaven, who can account for the impression that it has had on the hearts and lives of thousands in our day, and we cannot deny it.? The presumption is, then, that the gospel was written by good men; if so, they spake the truth, for a liar is not a good man. And, if they spake the truth, their writings are divine; for they assure us that "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

So I reasoned with myself. But, notwithstanding the arguments in favor of the divinity of the gospel overweighed those against it, yet, I found logical reasoning to be but feeble support for a desponding soul, verging on eternity. I wished to know, without a doubt, that Jesus was a Saviour, and that the gospel was from heaven. The prayer of Moses came to mind, "I beseech thee, show me thy glory." How did I long to see Jesus, either in a trance, like Paul, or to have the heavens open that I might see him, like Stephen; but this I was not favored with. At length, I corrected myself thus: But few of Adam's children, for four thousand years, ever saw him, and those few only saw him in vision. When he was on earth, but a small part of men, then living, saw him; and, since his ascension, he is not to be seen without a miracle; and, therefore, is not my prayer tempting the Lord? But is it necessary, or any ways advantageous, for me to see him? Many saw him, and believed not. Should I now see him, perhaps I should not reverence him; and, if I did, perhaps I should as soon doubt the truth of that appearance as I should the gospel Here the following words occurred: "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded although one rose from the dead." But neither Scripture nor reason would still the tempest in my soul. The suggestions, "hearsay will not do; history may be false; you must have ocular evidence lo convince you, " would break over my head like mighty billows. Words cannot express the distress of my heart at that time. An instance recorded of Abraham was appropriate to my case. "Lo! a horror of great darkness fell upon him." While musing on my state of misery, of which I could see no end, the plaintive language of Jesus came to mind. "My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me? Now is my soul exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. If it be possible, take away this cup from me. Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood."

Never did I before have so great a sense of the agony of Christ - never such fellowship of his sufferings. But he agonized and resisted unto blood; I did not. He bore his afflictions for others; I for my own sins. Indeed, his sufferings appeared so much greater than mine, that my own hardly deserved a name, and yet they were severe.

While thus tossed to and fro in my spirit, the words of Paul and Silas to the jailer fell into mind. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." This text caused a pause in my thoughts. I remembered that the words were spoken to a man, who, but a few minutes before, to prevent impeachment and disgrace, would have killed himself. Surely, thought I, this is short work, indeed. This too was after Christ left the earth; and is he the same now? If so, O, that I might believe! What is it to believe? How must I come and bow before him? The answer was, "he that cometh to him must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them who diligently seek him. " While I was querying with myself whether I believed or not, the words of a man (who was desiring and doubting) flowed into my thoughts with great force. "Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief." Never did words suit a man's condition better. I felt as if I believed a little, but was surrounded with surges of unbelief. If words had been made on purpose for me, they would not have been more applicable than was the text, "Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief." But the thought followed, "you have not seen him, and, therefore, your faith in him is no more than fancy." On which the words of Peter seemed to strengthen me: "Whom having not seen ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." And also the words of Paul: "We walk by faith and not by sight." Together with the saying of Jesus: "A little while and ye shall not see me, and again a little while and ye shall see me. " But the text which was most impressive, was, "Blessed are they which have not seen and yet have believed." By this time my soul was full; like Jacob, I could say, "It is enough." Or, like the apostles, "We believe and are sure that thou art Christ the Son of the living God. " It really appeared to me that, when I breathed, my soul drew in the water of life, or breathed her native air. " But rest was not for me yet. It was next presented to me, "that if ever the texts were spoken in which I had rejoiced, they were spoken to others, and bore no relation to me."

Here I plunged again, and sunk in the mire, where there was no standing. And is the Bible false? Is it compatible with the goodness of God, to leave all his creatures without any directory to guide their feet - any foundation to encourage their hope? Have all the martyrs and saints suffered so much in vain? If, however, the history of their sufferings is false, or if they suffered from sinister views, what shall we think of what we know has taken place in our days? Thousands, in our days, have been so impressed by the gospel, as to have their principles changed, and their lives reformed, which I cannot impute to any cause but its divinity. It must be true. My soul then rose up again in faith, and I fled, as before, to my refuge. "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed - Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief." I cannot say how many times, but I believe more than twenty, in the course of my conflict, I had these triumphs in believing and plunges in unbelief. I compared myself sometimes to a child riding on the end of a beam fixed on a pivot; sometimes his end would be up, anon it would fall, and bruise and break him. At other times, to a man cast into the ocean in the night, feeling with hands and feet for some support; at length, he finds a solid rock to stand upon, but the rolling billows, beating around, and breaking over his head, almost sweep him from the rock.

The next attack which I had was this. "Man is all mortal and has no soul that will survive his dissolution, but his death is the close of his existence." This suggestion has greatly assaulted me for twenty years. Not-withstanding the scripture proves the contrary so abundantly, yet a spirit has been fluttering around me, and whispering that the complexity of man was chimerical. (Those who know how hard it is to realize, as Christians, what they believe as rationalists, will understand me.) Here my spirits played again. My nerves were grievously attacked; and this close thinking on abstruse questions I knew was injurious to me. Fain I would have stopped thinking to save my life, but I could not do it. Some invisible power impelled me to it. Well, thought I, if myself and all others die like brutes, there will be an end of us all; I shall fare as well as any, and all of us shall certainly escape future pain, and lie in dust unconscious of our existence. But this state of passivity looked horrid to me. And besides, I did not see as the decay of my health, flesh and strength impaired my thinking faculties, nor could