« AnteriorContinuar »
OBSERVATIONS ON MEN, BOOKS AND THINGS.
-There is, from time to time, a lamentable necessity of coining new names for new errors, or for old errors in modern fashions. It is but fit that the authors of such necessity should confer their own names on their progeny, whether it be born for lasting infamy, or for mere passing notoriety. We know not what Mr. Parker's parents anticipated, when, as though he might be a divine gift, they bestowed on him the pious name of Theodore. But whatever their fond hopes might have been, the event argues him rather to be a gratuity from "the god of this world who hath blinded the eyes of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Quoth Tertullian : "What is not from God, is from his emulator, the devil." And to quote the old Montanist still further, "the devil is God's ape;" and therefore sends forth his "false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ; and no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." Hence we have devoted, in this number, a very large share of our pages to an exposure of Mr. Parker's impieties. The work is thoroughly and faithfully done, by one of the most vigilant watchmen on our towers. He is a patient and calm searcher, and possesses, to a remarkable degree, what may be called the power of observing and collecting coincident quotations. He is far from having exhausted his collections. His trouble, as to his store of citations, has been rather as to what he should leave, than as to what he should take. Each error ascribed to Mr. Parker is proved by at least two or three passages from his writings, that by the mouth of the lawful number of witnesses, "every word may be established." It had been easy to adduce a cloud of such witnesses, a cloud black and hideous as the central seat of the kingdom of darkness. Let the men of God, who are "set for the defence of the gospel," study Parkerism well; for it is in this form, that infidelity is making its most insidious assaults, and here must the friends of truth put forth their strength in its behalf.
PRESENT ASPECT OF UNIVERSALISM. This sect in America commenced at Gloucester, Mass. Mr. Murray professed to be an orthodox man, and by his hypocrisy gained admission to orthodox pulpits. He thus came to preach in Gloucester. A man in that town owned "Relly's Union," the book which had made Murray a Restorationist. This man detected Murray's sentiments, and through his influence Universalism was planted in that place. Some ten years ago, it had possession of nearly the whole town. It had four societies there. In all of these, it is certainly waning. In the Harbor, the great congregation has dwindled to a handful; and it was voted to close the house for some months during the past season.
Hardly any where in New England has Universalism existed ten years, without shewing signs of decay. There is no more of it in Boston, notwithstanding the great increase of population, than there was twenty years ago. At that time, the First Society was even
larger than it is now. The Second Society, under Hosea Ballou, was the chief congregation of this sect in New England. It was near extinction, when Mr. Chapin took it a few years since. He has spent his force, and is about removing to New York. And the cause is threatened with a serious relapse. The South Society, late Mr. Skinner's, has been for some time languishing. A small gathering in the Chardon Street Chapel, the brands and embers of burnt out Millerism; and a small concern at the extreme South part of Boston, complete the Universalist organizations in the city proper. Two or three halls have been, for a short time, occupied for Universalist preaching, and then closed. At South Boston, there is a weak Society, which has always been what it is now, too insignificant to demand attention. At East Boston, a meeting-house was reared; but the enterprise has failed, and the house is sold. In Charlestown, this sect has one house, as it had twenty years ago. It has remained stationary, while all around has grown and prospered. The same is true in Roxbury. In Cambridgeport, twenty years ago, the Universalists had a large place of worship. As the town increased, it was found necessary to contract the house, and its size was reduced nearly one half. It is owned principally by the editor of the Trumpet. In the prosperous village of Woburn, within the same length of time, two houses have been built for Universalist meetings, and both have been sold, and the Society has ceased to be. Such is the case in Andover, also, except that the house is still in the market.
The rapid decay of so many societies, has thrown out of employ a large number of preachers. At their chief place of concourse, or "ministerial exchange," may be seen a squad of over-grown lads, with their black coats and verdant visages, who have left plough, anvil, shoe-bench, or some other honest calling, to "argue down the Orthodox;" and who have fitted themselves for the job by a few weeks' study of Balfour and Ballou. Like the laborers in the parable, they stand all the day idle in their ecclesiastical market, "because no man hath hired them." Many have been forced to resume their former occupations for bread. Öne of them joined the Shakers, as he said, "because he could get three good meals a day!" We have the names of near a score in this vicinity, who still bear the title of preachers, and who obtain a precarious living by herb-doctoring, mesmerism, and "other such branches of science."
We have a remarkable sign as to the present condition of Universalism, in the late Convention, held first at Lynn, and then at Cambridgeport, to decide whether a belief in the Bible account of Jesus, is essential to the office of a Christian minister. Mr. Chapin, of Boston, spoke strongly against the resolution, but was not present when the vote was taken. The published records carefully omit to make mention of his opposition. It is asserted that Mr. King of Charlestown, Mr. Mayo of Gloucester, and many of the more popular preachers agree with Mr. Chapin, in thinking it not essential to believe what the Bible says of our Saviour. The posture of their minds seems to be this: 'We have found it needful to our success, that we should profess to have faith in a book in which we do not really believe. Has the time come when we may throw off the disguise? Shall we give up the
Bible to the Orthodox, to whom it belongs? Shall we openly adopt Davis's Revelation, or some other, or none?' For the present, the question is answered, by a part of them, in the negative. Others wish to keep up the disguise a little longer. But this has only roused the wrath and zeal of such as call themselves "Rationalists." One of them, John Prince, has published a newspaper-sheet, called "A Statement of Facts concerning the Boston Association of Universalists." Here, assisted by several others, he tells the whole story; and amply confirms all that has ever been asserted of the gross selfishness, mean duplicity, and secret infidelity of his brethren. The complotters in this conspiracy against religion, have fallen out among themselves; and in their anger, are revealing the secrets of the craft, telling the truth on one another, and mutually tearing from each others' faces the mask of hypocrisy.
PROGRESS.- - Our pilgrim fathers made great and important advances in religious and social science. In family government and instruction, and in the noblest elements of character, they made high attainments. Their descendants have, for some generations past, been rapidly falling into the rear in these respects. And they who are retrograding still farther, call their shameful defections by the nice name of "Progress." We are for progress, too; not that which consists in backsliding down hill into the swamps of corruption; but that which shall take us along the ascending path climbed by our pious and public-spirited fathers. We are for making all possible advancement toward recovering the ground which has been lost. And if ever there shall be another generation in New England which shall fully come up with its first progenitors here, then let it, as those conscientious and independent spirits would have done, press onward in the same line of movement to higher stages of human development. The Puritans were the most thorough innovators and revolutionists the world has seen since the days of the apostles, whom they followed and resembled. The true children of such a parentage cannot be excessively conservative.
WE seldom open a paper which has not its column of "revival intelligence." A friend informs us, that since the year began, he has collected above a hundred items of the kind. These are probably but a small part of what might be reported. God is evidently visiting his people in many parts of the land. Boston is not excluded from the blessing, though nothing is said of a general revival here. Meetings for inquirers are frequent, and some are cherishing the hope that they have lately passed from death unto life.
The Episcopal papers are giving great publicity to the fact, that Hon. Daniel Webster, a few weeks since, received the sacrament at the Calvary Church, New York. If this fact is set forth out of proper
motives, we will help on the good work, by stating that our Senator has often communed in Congregational churches, which did not deem it important to publish it to the world. Thus, in a town some distance from Boston, a political mass-meeting was held on a Saturday evening, and addressed by Mr. Webster. The Orthodox and the Unitarian ministers were each invited to act as chaplains. The Unitarian accepted. The Orthodox minister declined, because wine was set upon the table. The next day, Mr. Webster attended with the Orthodox church, where, upon the usual invitation, he remained and partook of the sacrament.
The Unitarian papers complain, that, in our account of the strength of Orthodoxy in Boston, we omitted to state that two of our churches went out of existence during the past year. That we did allude to Mr. Towne's church, our article will bear witness. We also stated that a new congregation had been commenced in that section of the city occupied by the Leyden Church. We did not assert that the church over which Rev. Dr. Jenks was settled had become extinct, because it is not true; and we deal in fact, not in fiction. That church, so far from being dissolved, has received of late more accessions, probably, than any other in this city. The congregation worshipping with it is said to be the largest in Boston, except those of the Romanists. At its ordinary Sabbath worship, it is so thronged that the aisles are often replenished with occupants of extra seats.
In the course of the first week of February, there were several conventions in Boston. That of the Liberty Party, held in the Tremont Temple, was largely attended and with great spirit, being animated by the presence and speech of Hon. John P. Hale, that party's candidate for the presidency. In our judgment, it is better that the great body of the friends of liberty should act zealously as such in the political ranks where they belong. And yet it may be well for a strong and active third party to watch over the special interests of freedom, and stimulate the other parties to hasten forward the work of emancipation. While this convention was going on, there was another held in the Melodeon, by the servile followers and slavish worshippers of W. L. Garrison, and the old dictatorial and domineering anti-slavery clique. That roomy hall fitted the lean assemblage, to use a sailor proverb, as "a purser's shirt would fit a handspike." In vain did the dispirited orators try to rouse and lash themselves into one of their old fits of fury; they could only "spit cold froth." In vain did they ply their "pump-handle gestures;" the boxes "sucked dry." In vain did they vent upon themselves that wrath for which every one else had ceased to care. Over, and over again, they proclaimed the grand mass of their own party to be "the meanest creatures in God's creation." Such a truism could arouse no emotion. The speaker who made the most stinging remarks upon the stinginess of his party, declared that he knew not what they should do, if they were under one of "the peculiar institutions of the South." He said: "I understand that they make no use there of copper currency. But here by far the greater part of our anti-slavery contributions consists in a coin of a value much less than a five-cent piece!" It was hardly possible to keep from imagining this grim brother, looking ruefully at
the hats and boxes not over-heavily laden with their baser metal, and saying within himself: "Alexander the copper-smith hath done us much evil!"
The day after this convention was closed, there was another held by the anti-hangmen in a small hall. Most of the leaders here, if there any faith in physiognomy, were strongly marked with the "scapegallows" look. They raged against their natural dread, the gibbet; and mouthed most malignly against Moses and the ministry. To borrow the expression of Gilfillan, applied to Byron, that lord paramount of what in his day was called "the Satanic School," these pupils in the same seminary, "showed all the activity of scalded fiends." The same band of defamers have called an anti-Sabbath convention to be held this month. Having no rest for their own souls, they would enviously deny a day of rest to others.
The doctrinal lectures at the Old South continue to be thronged in a manner which evinces the eagerness of the public for this kind of instruction. Never can that ancient edifice hold more people than its massive walls have sheltered on these occasions. We learn that many of the pastors, improving the hint as to the manifest desires of the public, are turning much of their attention to doctrinal instruction in their respective pulpits.
The death of Mrs. Adelia S. Rogers, wife of Rev. W. M. Rogers, of Boston, on the 26th of January, was an event, saddening, because of the departure of so much worth and loveliness; and cheering, by reason of the evidence it gave of the power there is in religion to support the child of God under the extremity of mortal suffering.
"She hath passed away, and on her lips a smile
Jan. 17. Mr. Joshua S. Gay, Andover, Me.
20. Mr. William Hall, Jr. Jenksville, Ludlow.
25. Mr. George F. Magoun, Schullsburg, Lafayette Co., Wis.
66 28. Mr. Samuel W. Eaton, as Evangelist, Mineral Point.
Jan. 6. Rev. C. Lockwood, Dexter, Michigan.
12. Rev. Rowland Ayers, Hadley, Ms.
Rev. E. Taylor, Randolph, N. Y.
19. Rev. A C. Page, Pelham, N. H.
20. Rev. R. C. Hand, First Church, Bennington, Vt.
DEATHS OF MINISTERS.
Jan. 30. Rev. John S. Winter, Ossipee, N. H. æ. 55.