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or make them positively injurious. Before they can work all the good intended, men must be taught, that liberty of conscience is not the liberty to do wrong, but exemption from compulsion to think right; that the law permits to no man the use of bis liberty to the injury of the rights of others. And it speaks here with the authority of the gospel of Christ, which teaches us that true liberty is in the service of God and men; which, in conferring the most glorious freedomn, demands, that we employ it not as a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. It inseparably connects the privilege of personal freedom with the strictest regard to social obligations. “ Ye have been called to liberty," says the Apostle; "only use not your liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

We are aware, that the subject to which we have adverted is one of difficuliy, and we have approached it with diffidence, koowing the diversity of sentiment anong considerate and religious men. It might be wished that all prosecutions for blasphemy, and especially for obscenity, which is vileness without a shadow of excuse, might be effectual to the terror of the evil doer. The man, who reviles the religion of his country, and offends against the decencies of society, though he might scorn the sentence of a spiritual tribunal, and defy the judgment of his God, ought to quail under the inflictions of law, whose glory it is, that, " while the least shall feel her care, neillier the greatest nor the woist shall be exempted from her power.” Yet there are other guards for truth and virtue than mere law. Public opinion of itself can rebuke even to withering; and for the cause of religion we have no fear.

It is the cause of God. However doubtful or inadequate may be the protection of legal sanctions, his faithfulness and omnipotence are its support. He has laid its foundations broad and deep in the soul of man, in his wants, his sorrows, and sins; and every attempt 10 assail it has only revealed more fully its matchless glory, its everlasting truth, its divine and exhaustless consolations.

But it is time to return to the subject of the Memoir, whose favorite doctrine of Toleration has given opportunity for this, we hope, not inapt digression. There are still several remaining topics belonging to the character of Roger Williams, which our limits will scarcely allow us to notice. For bis peculiar religious opinions ; for his baptism in England in the Episcopal Church, of which he was a clergyman; for his re-baptism in Providence and communion for a season with the Baptists there ; bis pastoral relation to their church and his withdrawing from it three or four months after its establishment; for his strange doubts as to the validity of that ordinance, as last received by him, because not administered by an Apostle ; and his yet stranger scruples, at a later period, of the authority of any existing ministry to adininister the ordinances, or even to preach the gospel to the impenitent; his refusal to coinmune with all, except bis own wise, and even she not excepted, according to Hutchinson ; - for bis controversy personally with the Quakers in Newport in 1672,* and afterwards in writing with their leader, the celebrated George Fox; for his supposed relationship and familiar visits while in England to Cromwell, with whom, as well as with Milton, he held much in sympathy; for his characteristic bumanity and generosity to the turbulent Gorton ; for his labors as a preacher, notwithstavding his schismatical

his schismatical separation from all churches; for his bonorable poverty and dependence in his old age upon his children, † and finally, his death in 1683 in his eighty-fourth year; — for these and other interesting details we must reser our readers to the Menoir itself.

* To be faithful to his engagement to this debate, from which it would seem, “ that George Fox slily departed, » Mr. Williams rowed in an open boat thirty miles, a feat,” remarks his biographer, os which few men of 73 years could perform in these degenerate days. He arrived at Newport about midnight. But his health was feeble ; and he says, that on the morning of the second day, 'I heartily wished that I might rather have kept my bed, than have gone forth to a whole day's fresh disputes.'”

* " A singular mode,” says Dr. Eliot in bis Biography,“ of showing respect to the meinory of this uncommon man, who was poor, and altogether spiritual in his views, is shown by the citizens of Providence. One of the Banks in the city is called Roger Williams Bank." Yet we know not why he, who was the founder of their prosperity, and through life was attentive to the temporal as well as spiritual wants of the colony, should not have his name borne by an institution, which is itself among the fruits, though distant, of his labors.

In concluding this article, we repeat our thanks to Professor Knowles for his impartial and interesting work. But wbile we heartily concur in his admiration of the generous virtues of the Founder of Rhode Island, it is impossible to avoid the reflection, that to his peculiar and separating spirit must be ascribed the origin, at least, of his no less remarkable sufferings. It is true, - and the sentiment is ably illustrated by his biographer, - that his banishment was the foundation of a free and Aourishing commonwealth. But the manifold wisdom of God in making the errors as well as the wrath of men the occasion of good, must not be pleaded in defence of the errors themselves. A schismatical spirit in religion, though it be redeemed by the noble virtues of Mr. Williams, is an evil spirit. It is precisely that "evil thing," which holy Scripture condemns as heresy. It is generally accompanied by some peculiar, misshapen notions of religion itself, the joint offspring of a clouded understanding and of a blind devotion to one's own fantasies. It was this spirit in Mrs. Hutchinson, Sir Harry Vane, and some of Cromwell's ministers, that plagued and divided families and churches in Old England and New at the very period we have been considering: And it was this spirit in another form, that persuaded even Roger Williams, “whom every body loved,” to forsake his church, to condemn himself to a melancholy, exclusive worship in his own house (accepted, we may not doubt, for its sincerity, but pitied, we must believe, for its error, by the God, to whom it was offered), and, what was worse, to denounce, as unchristian, Winthrop and others, “the excellent of the earth,” who were quite as generous and noble as himself. This wisdom cometh not from above. In the best it works division, and with the most, pride and uncharitableness. The sooner a man or a church, magistrate, minister, or people rid themselves of it, the better. And to him, who being bound desires to be freed, we recommend more effectual remedy, than just the peaceful gospel of Jesus Christ, who was separate, but only from sin, who made himself a servant to all, and in whom neither circumcision availeth any thing nor uncircumcision, but faith that works by love. VOL. XVI. - N. S. VOL. XI. NO. I.




ART. VII. — The Burning of the Ephesian Letters. A

Sermon preached in Hollis Street Church, Sunday, 8th
Dec. 1833. By John PIERPONT, Minister of that
Church. Published at the Request of the Congregation.
Boston. Printed by Ford & Damrell. 1834. 8vo.

pp. 16.

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THE Sermon, of wbich the title is given above, may be called a truly ingenious discourse ; - not ingenious because it is subtile or metaphysical, or displays great skill in technical divinity, or throws a cloud of words over a simple truth, or labors to make a truth out of a palpable error, – but because it offers an original, and yet perfectly natural, allowable, and unforced application of a portion of Scripture history to circumstances of the present day, and brings an occurrence of Apostolic times to bear, at first with an almost imperceptible, but afterwards with a powerful and singular force on practices of our own age.

Mr. Pierpont's text is from Acts xix. 19, 20. “Many also of them who used curious arts, brought their books together, and burned them before all men; and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed."

After a few explanatory remarks, concerning the nature of the books thus offered and burnt, which were probably rolls, containing “the mystical signs, figures, and characters used by sorcerers and magicians in their unholy rites,” and an e-timale of their value in our currency, which is stated to be “

more than sixty thousand dollars," the preacher goes on to answer the questions, Why was this sacrifice demanded or accepted, why was this waste of means, why this destruction of property, the proceeds of which might have been laid out in objects of charity and the promotion of the new faith? He does this in the form of a discussion, which may be supposed to have arisen between one of the Ephesian converts, and the Apostle who had converted him, - the convert being not yet well imbued with Christian principles, and therefore not very willing to burn bis valuable books. The discussion is carried on with ability on both sides. The neophyte is made to say about all that could be said in favor of saving his books from the flames, and the Apostle still

answers and confutes him with grave and solid argument, not inadorned with poetical illustration.

“But what is the purpose of exbibiting the argument, or imagined argument, now?- it may be asked by those who have not read the discourse, — “and what is the object of introducing such a discussion into a modern pulpit; what, in short, is the drist and end of the sermon ?”

The fact is, then, as will be perceived at once by those who do read the discourse, that its design is to promote the temperance reform; that it is a temperance sermon, though we are not aware that the word temperance is used in the whole course of it; that it is an appeal to the dealers in spirituous liquors, against their traffic, though neither spirituous liquors nor the dealers in them are named once in it, froin beginning to end. If there was a call and an obligation on the Ephesian convert, afier his reception of Christian truth, to come forward and manfully burn his heathen incantations, cost what they might, - just so, is the conclusion to which the preacher would lead us, is there now a call and an obligation on dealers in spirituous liquors, in view of what is now known of their pernicious effects, to forsake their trade, let the sacrifice be ever so great and difficult.

One point in this supposed discussion we must find room to present in the preacher's words. The convert, though driven from several positions, is represented as still continuing the struggle, and offers at last, what seems to be considered by both parties, the most weighty objection.

'Yet,' says the owner of the books of curious art, these books are the implements of my trade. By them I get my bread. The use of them is the only art I know. They are my capital in business; and I cannot afford to make the sacrifice. Besides, many worthy Ephesians are engaged in kindred employments, and are supported by them. The artisans, who convert skins into parchment for these books, are, many of them, respectable citizens, and are ready, like their fellowcraftsman, the tanner of Joppa, to show hospitalities to an Apostle. Shall they be thrown out of their employment? The patient and pains-taking scribes, who earn their bread by copying these volumes, -- shall they be thrown out of theirs ? Will the Jew of Tarsus deign to be reminded by some future Jew of Venice, that

“ You take my life When you do take the means by which I live"?!” - pp. 10, 11.

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