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answered it in the negative. But it is a question which will have to be asked, and that with tears and prayers and many a strong struggle, by many a Christian preacher, before this great and perilous question is put to rest. For our part, we think it wise to meet it and examine it with candor, deliberation, and a reliance on the same standard of moralily which Christianity alone can give. And the case before us offers a fit occasion for suggesting a few thoughts in relation to it.
Brother Simmons finds himself at the South, surrounded by an institution new to him. He sees its inconsistency with the first principles of Christian duty, and its evil influences on manners and morals. He may have reasoned thus with himself: “I am a Christian preacher. As such I am commanded to rebuke all sin, I must warn the wicked man lest he die. If I do not warn him, his blood will justly be required at my hands. My commission charges me to call sinners to repentance, and it makes no exception in favor of popular or fashionable sins. On the contrary, these are the very ones which I ought to rebuke the most plainly, most forcibly, and most frequently; for on these points the conscience is the most insensible. True, it may be said, that I shall do no good—that I shall only exasperate without convincing. But that is no concern of mine. It is not my business to calculate consequences but to do my duty. I cannot tell, no one can tell, the consequences of any action or word. The first consequences may appear evil, but the remote ones may be good. It is true that I may driven away or killed, but afterward those who now are offended may reflect on what I say and be convinced. The truth will remain after I am gone. Christianity would never have had a martyr, if the truth had only been preached where people liked to hear it.”
Now I can easily imagine that by such a course of reasoning as this, a young man, earnestly desirous of doing his duty, might be led to think that he ought to denounce slavery, and preach abolition to slave holders. But is this reasoning really satisfactory as applied to such a case? We think not. We have endeavored to state the argument in favor of Brother S. as strong as possible; but yet we believe that it will not prove his course a right one. We frankly confess, however, that we should scarcely know how to meet it, except by arguments drawn from the teachings and example of Christ and his apostles. But these are with us paramount and enough. The following are some of the reasons which induce us to believe that a Christian Minister in a slave holding State, ought not, under present circumstances to preach on the subject of slave-holding.
1. Christ says (Matt. vii. 5.) “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” This language is figurative; but “the swine” probably indicate those who are too sensual, stupid, or worldly, to comprehend or attend to Christian truth. "They trample it under their feet. But the dogs" who "turn again and rend you, probably signify those who are prejudiced against the truththat it only excites their indignation against him who speaks it. But whether this be so or not, the verse plainly teaches that there are some persons to whom it will do no good to communicate truth, and to whom we are commanded not to give that which is holy.
Again, (Matt. x. 23.) in Christ's charge to his disciples, he says, “When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another;" and (verse 14,) “Whosoever shall not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” Here again the Saviour shows that there are cases in which we are not to persist in speaking the truth to unwilling ears.
2. The example of Christ and his apostles shows that they did not themselves continue to preach the gospel or work miracles where men were unwilling to hear them. Matt. xii. 58; Matt. xiii. 13; John vii. 10, 19, 25; John viii. 59; John *. 39, 40; Acts xvii. 10; 2 Cor. xi. 33. These passages, and similar ones show that the Christian preacher should not continue to strive to force people to receive the truth when they are opposed to it.
3. Jesus enjoined wisdom to his disciples, and showed himself eminent wisdom, in adopting his mode of address to his hearers, and their state of mind. Witness his conversation with the captious Pharisees and Sadducees. He did not consider it proper to preach right on, in one way, always. His conduct at Jerusalem, up to the time of his death, shows great prudence in avoiding the enmity of the Pharisees. What judgment and skill did not Paul display in adapting his arguments to the prejudices of those who listened. See for example, Acts xxiii. 6.
4. If then there are some cases, as the above passages plainly shew, in which we are not to continue to preach truth to those who will only be exasperated by it, I ask, whether the case before us is not certainly one of these. In the state of feeling which prevails at the South, the subject of slavery cannot be handled in any way, without producing instant and violent excitement. As regards this matter the public inind
is in a diseased and irritable condition; at present, nothing can be done concerning it.
When, in addition to all this, we remember that slavery existed in the time of Christ and his apostles, in a worse form than among us, and that neither he nor they ever rebuked it, we may be convinced --not indeed that slavery is right, for then war and despotic government would be proved rightbut that it is one of those complicated and difficult subjects which may be approached indirectly. Certainly, if Christ and his apostles were justifiable in omitting all direct appeals on this subject, and in attacking it by spreading a spirit of religion of an opposite character, we may be justifiable in doing the same. And we ought to do the same, when to the best of our judgment we shall, by preaching directly against this institution, be only giving - that which is holy to the dogs, who will turn again and rend us.”
We understand that our friends in Mobile were extremely distressed by the course taken by their Pastor, to which they were generally opposed. They feel as if their Society was nearly broken up, and had become identified with Abolitionism in the minds of their neighbors. We trust, however, that things cannot be as bad as this. A Society will not certainly be held accountable for the doings of its Pastor, if they do not approve of them, and if this be generally understood. We trust they will recover from this injury, and flourish as before,
J. F. C.
LIBERAL CHRISTIANS OUGHT TO BE LIBERALA
It is always easier to preach than to practise. It is much easier to point out the duties of others than to perform our own. It is not difficult to see the beauty of toleration, when it is our own heresies which are to be tolerated. Charity certainly never appears so heavenly as when we wish it to be exercised toward ourselves. Then we very plainly see how much superior it is to both faith and hope. Accordingly Unitarians having been all along the party whose opinions were new and strange, and opposed to those of the whole whole Christian community, and being denounced, and misrepresented, and persecuted on this account, have been loudly singing the praises of charity and liberality. They have
scarcely ever had an opportunity of trying whether they could be liberal, and tolerant, and charitable themselves. They have laid down the maxim that every one should be received and treated as a Christian who professed to believe in Jesus as the Christ, and whose moral character was good. When they said this, however, they only thought of one application of the principle, namely, to themselves.
But now here comes Mr. Emerson, and utters some doctrines which sound strange to them—which have an air of Pantheism, and which seem to oppose some of their views of miracles and historical Christianity. Mr. Emerson they know and acknowledge to be a singularly pure-minded, devout and conscientious person. But what do some of them do? They cry out more loudly
against him than ever they were attacked by the orthodox. They scruple not to call him an ATHEIST, --him, whose life, if the tree be known by its fruits, is the life of one walking with God. They denounce him, and all who are supposed to think with him; and they get up a popular excitement, and a terror of dreadful heresies, and talk about the “ latest form of Infidelity,” and ask indignantly or sorrowfully,“ what we are coming to?" using, in short, the same means to create a vague terror which have been used about themselves.
Are we always to go on in this round? Shall we never learn to tolerate any heresy but our own? In my opinion, if any persons ought to be liberal, it is those who have all along been taking, somewhat arrogantly, the name of Liberal Chris. tians.
J. F. c.
FOR AUGUST, 1840.
THE BOOK OF MORMON. and we defy the world to bring proof of
any such connection. Now the person We republished in the Mes- or persons who fabricated that falsehood,
would do well to repent, and become persenger, a year since, a letter
sons of truth and veracity before they purporting to be from Mrs. express such acute sensibility concerning Spaulding, tending to show the religious pretensions of others. The the Mormon Bible (as it is founders of the said religious sect is also
statement that Mr. Rigdon is one of the called) to be a forgery. We incorrect. now, in justice to the Mor The sect was founded in the state of mons, republish the following Ohio, several hundred miles distant. Mr.
New York while Mr. Rigdon resided in papers tending to show that Rigdon embraced the doctrine through letter to have been a forgery: my instrumentality. I first presented the
Book of Mormon to him. I stood upon To the Editors of the New Era:
the bank of the stream while he was bapSIR :-In your paper of the 25th inst. tized, and assisted to officiate in his orthere is an article copied from the Bos- dination, and I myself was unacquainted ton Recorder, headed Mormon Bible,” with the system until some months after and signed "Matilda Davidson," which, its organization, which was on the sixth justice to our society and to the public of April, 1830, and l embraced it in requires me to answer, and 1 trust that a September following. sense of justice will induce you sir, to The piece further states that "a wogive your readers both sides of the ques man preacher appointed a meeting at tion.
New Salem, Ohio, and in the meeting I am one of the society who believe read and repeated copious extracts from the “ Book of Mormon," and as such I the Book of Mormon. Now it is a fact am assailed in the statement professing well known, that we have not had a feto come from Matilda Davidson. male preacher in our connection, for we
The piece in your paper states that do not believe in a female priesthood. It “ Sidney Rigdon was connected in the further says that the excitement in New printing office of Mr. Patterson,” in Salein became so great that the inhabiPittsburgh) and that this is a fact well tants had a meeting and deputed Doctor known in that region, and as Rigdon Philaster Hulburt, one of their members, himself has frequently stated. Here le to repair 10 Spaulding's widow, and obhad an ample opportunity to become ac tain from her the original manuscript of quainted with Mr. Spaulding's manu the Romance, &c. But the statement script (Romance) and to copy it if he does not say whether he obtained the chose." This statement is utterly and manuscript, but still leaves the impresentirely false. Mr. Rigdon was never sion that he did, and that it was comconnected with the said printing estab- pared with the Book of Mormon. Now lishment, either directly, or indirectly, whoever will read the work got up by said