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is apparent from the early efforts which he put forth to acquire an education, and from the success of those efforts under very many disadvantages. It is also evident from other incidents in his early history. But it was when he came to enter upon the pursuit of what we have called his favorite object, the establishment of his seminary, that the decision and energy of his character became conspicuously apparent. He had almost literally to create the institution by his owo exertions. Funds were to be procured; buildings were to be erected; and (the greatest difficulty of all in the way of success to such an undertaking) public sentiment (at least anong bis friends) was to be gained over to the practicability of the object, before any thing could be done. With ihis difficulty he had for a long time io contend. There was a great degree of apathy on the subject. Few entered into his views, or selt much syinpathy with him in the object which lay so near bis heart. And one reason appears to have been, that they entertained no confidence in the feasibility of the project; it was looked upon by many as visionary, and hopeless of execution. Hence he had to struggle with many discouragements. But all this was only bringing into activity the latent elements of his future character, developing his resources, and forming his mind to a decision and energy, which, had it not been for this concentration of his powers upon one point, he might never have exbibited.
He was a thorough and decided Presbyterian, in the larger sense of that word, though of liberal feelings toward all denominations of christians. On the subject of ministerial parity, in opposition to the high-church and jure divino principles of a portion of the Episcopal communion, he felt, as it would seem that every liberal minded and intelligent christian would feel ; namely, that such a pretension, as is set up by the high-church party, in favor of the exclusive validity of Episcopal ordination, and in opposition, virtually, to the right of all other churches or ministers but their own to be regarded as the churches and ministers of Christ, is, in the highest degree, unwarrantable and arrogant, and is calculated only to beget, in those who set up this pretension, a narrow and illiberal spirit toward every other class of christians. Our Episcopal brethren who take this ground, we are very sure, are not only in the wrong on this point, but they mistake their truest and wisest policy, in assuming this high and exclusive ground, and thus excommunicating all the rest of the world who are not within the pale of their own church. Whatever preference they may feel for their own mode of church organization and church government, we have no doubt, that if they would only consent to take, (as some of the best members and brightest ornaments of their church have done,) simply, the ground of expediency, and would give up their divine right, so that they could hold out the hand of christian fellowship to other churches and other ministers of the same common Savior; vital religion, among them would prosper in a degree far beyond what it can now ever be expected to do. As things now are, the tendency of their system is to foster a proud, bigoted, formal spirit; and it seems to us, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this tendency can never be arrested but by abandoning the system. Time will show, whether we are right or wrong in this opinion. About the year 1824, il seems that bishop Ravenscroft, of North Carolina, bad published two discourses, the object of which was, to hold up in the strongest light the bigb-church claims above referred to, and to make out, that the Episcopal church was the church, the true and only apostolic church, baving derived its authority, by unbroken succession, from the apostles themselves. This was the first attempt that had been made at the south from so high a source, to propagate through the press) these exorbitant pretensions. Dr. Rice felt himself called upon to enter the lists against the bishop, by attempting to show, in a printed reply, that the ground assumed in the bishop's discourses was utterly untenable. The attempt, it is said, was highly satisfactory, at least, to the friends of ministerial parity. The field of debate on this subject bas of late been very much reduced, by confining it (where it ought always to bave been confined) to the bible: for it is a matter to be settled only by the authority of scripture. The precise shape of the question thus to be seliled is this:- Does the bible furnish evidence of there being a third order of officers in the church, answering to the modern notion of diocesan bishops ?--the burden of proof resting, of course, upon those who affirin that such is the fact. Now to those who are at all acquainted with the controversy on this subject, as thus restricted to the word of God, and who are not already committed in their feelings in favor of the jure divino claim, we are sure we need not say, ihat this claim can never be made out: it is, to our apprehension, an assumption without proof. This was the result to which Dr. Rice came very fully and clearly, in his review of the bishop's discourses. We do not believe, that any plain reader of the New Testament, unused to controversy on this subject, and unconnected in his feelings in respect to it, ever thought of there being a third order of men permanently established in the church, as the successors of the twelve apostles, and possessing, as such, superior power and superior rights over common ministers or presbyters. Not long after this controversy was over, the subject of this memoir was called into the field a second time, to ineet the same respectable antagonist, whose opinions respecting diocesan episcopacy be had already so successfully combated. This latter discussion arose about the propriety of printing and distributing the scriptures among the people, without note or comment, (as our national Bible Society were then doing.) The no-comnient principle of publishing the scriptures, the bishop had publicly attacked, in a discourse delivered before the Bible Society of North Carolina. He maintained that the common-prayer book, or some other approved exposition of the sacred text, should go along with the bible, or else it would be in danger of doing incalculable mischief, particularly in the form of schism. Now, upon the ground assumed by the bishop in the former discussion, to wit, that the Episcopal church is the only church recognized in the scriptures; admitting this assumption to be true, we are not sure but ihe bishop's attack on the Bible Society was called for, and that the publishing of bibles, alone, without soine Episcopal gloss to accompany them, might tend to render the evils of schism more numerous and more inrelerate than ever, and thus be the means of doing incalculable mischief to the
true and apostolic church. Dr. Rice, in replying to the bishop justly stated, that if we must have a commentary to go along with ihe bible, in order to make it safe to distribute it among the people, then we must have some unquestionable authority for the correctness of our commentary; and where shall we look to find such authority, without going back to the exploded figment of papal infallibility? The result of this discussion was decidedly favorable to the cause of the Bible Society, and to the triumph of that great principle, which is the corner-stone of religious liberty, “ That the bible alone is the religion of protestants.” Now, the point to which we would call attention, is, that in conducting the foregoing controversies, there was manifest throughout, (on the part of the subject of this memoir,) the spirit of christian kindness and courtesy. There was plainness, and faithfulness, and cogency, in the argument; but there was no disposition to wound, or to call hard names, or to trample on a fallen and discomfited foe.
It was a strong feature in his character, that he entertained a great dislike to the bitterness of religious controversy. It was only on great and important points, that he ever consented to take up bis pen as a controversial writer; and then, not without much reluctance and self-distrust; the temper of bis mind inclined him another way. Amicable discussion, as we have seen, be did not wholly decline ; but the spirit of controversy he was very far from indulging. He had a most thorough repugnance to mere disputation and unprofitable logomachy, among the friends of the Redeemer. He thought that mutual love had done more, even in respect to making men think alike, than all the disputes that ever took place. His sermon before the General Assembly, in the spring of 1820, from these words, “ Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and whereby one may edify another,' was characteristic of the man, and is yet remembered, we believe, by many who heard it. Of this discourse, bis biographer says, that, “though it was not particularly able nor remarkably elegant, yet it was judicious and appropriate, and the spirit which it breathed throughout, was eminently evangelical. Some passages in it also, particularly that in which he exhorted his brethren to cultivate the spirit of harmony among themselves, by attending to the great fundamental points of religion, and forgetting minor differences, let little things pass for little things; and that in wbich he urged them to attend to the great duty which was particularly incumbent on them as Presbyterians, to edily, not only the church, but the country, and, by their talents and learning, constrain the rising literature of the land to aid the progress and triumphs of religion, were highly characteristic; and the conclusion of it was deeply solemn and impressive.” He says, also, that this discourse “had a happy effect upon the debates and proceedings of that body throughout the session.” Would that we could have such discourses, and with like effect, before that body in these days; for we are pained to say, that we verily think there never was a time when ibat “venerable body" more needed the influence of a pacific spirit in its counsels than now. We look around and ask, who is there to be found, able and willing to cast oil upon the troubled waters of the approaching session, and hush the contending elements to peace? Who will steer the ship through the difficulties of the Barnes case ? Shall this excellent brother be made to sustain through life the public odium, the privation of the ministerial office, and the expulsion from bis pulpit, under which he is now suffering? or if, on the other band, the odium is to be wiped off, and he is to be restored again to the functions of the sacred office, who is there to conciliate and bring back the aggrieved Act and Testimony men, and preserve the integrity of the Presbyterian body ? Scylla and Charybdis; who will take the helm, and steer the ship through?
As a preacher, he was not fluent, it is said, on account of a natural impediment in bis speech, by which, readiness of utterance and the best modulation of the voice were prevented; but be was "luminous and weighty, and often exceedingly powerful.” We never had the pleasure of hearing bis pulpit persormances, but we have been told, by those who had, that he possessed an unconmon command of his audiences, and rarely preached without some visible effect, especially on occasions adapted to call forth his powers. His principal success as a preacher was owing, we should think, not so much to his skill and power in conducting long and elaborate trains of reasoning, and bringing out in the end a clear and powerful demonstration of some latent or unexpected truth, as by a direct and forcible appeal to men's hearis, in the presentation of more simple and obvious truths. There was wont to be
in his preaching nothing labored or far-fetched. He was too much a lover of nature, to be trammeled by a very nice observance of the dry formal rules of rhetoric in bis popular discourses. He aimed at the heart and conscience, threw himself upon his audience without einbarrassment or reserve, gave a loose to the warmth and energy of bis seelings, and frequently closed his sermons leaving almost the entire congregation in tears. This effect of bis preaching was not a litile aided by the manisest and unquestionable air of sincerity which pervaded his perforinances; bis hearers all knew, that in what he said, there was nothing put on for the occasion, that he was " honest in the sacred cause," and that he himself fully believed what he commended with so much directness and simplicity to the bearts of his hearers.
As a writer, his friend Dr. Speece speaks of him as "the first in bis synod.” His letters, of which the book before us is chiefly composed, show a readiness and care in communicating his thoughts, and a talent at just and powerful description, which we think are rarely surpassed. Upon the wbole, we were interested in his character before we read his lise ; we are much more so since. In his death, the Presbyterian church and the cause of christianity at large have lost an able, a judicious, and a warınly attached friend and supporter.
His views on the delicate and difficult subject of slavery, many of our readers may wish to learn. And it will not be out of place, perhaps, at the present time, when this subject is undergoing so vigorous a discussion, to give them. As a Virginian, educated amid the associations and under the many influences of this strong feature in the laws and the social economy of his native section of country, his views on this subject are, perhaps, as enlightened and liberal as from the nature of the case they could be expected to
We are not quite sure, that, when they are looked upon in their application to the existing state of things at this moment, and with all the advantage of our position as northern men, they are not both just and important. The following remarks are extracted from a letter to William Maxwell, Esq.:
"I am most fully convinced that slavery is the greatest evil in our country, except whiskey ; and it is my most ardent prayer that we may be delivered from it. But it is my full belief that the deliverance is not to be accomplished by the combination of benevolent societies. The great body of persons composing such societies are too little accustomed to calculate consequences. They go directly at their measure, and have no means of accomplishing it but the producing, by means of speeches and addresses, a strong excitement. But on a subject of this delicate character, where much opposition is to be encountered, these very means give the adversary an advantage, which he will not fail to use to the injury, perhaps to the destruction of the society. While,