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my two first letters. As the reply is of no great length, I shall not be obliged to detain you long by my remarks upon it. I have come before the public, he says, with what J call an answer to his article. I do call it an answer. The main purpose of his article, as far as it regarded Unitarians, was to set forth, that notwithstanding our abundant means, we had not yet established a single foreign mission, and that this fact was conclusive proof that Unitarianism was a faith essentially cold. I mistake him altogether if this was not his chief design. In reply, I denied that our means were abundant, that our resources were vast, and in support of this denial I recounted the number of our churches, and added that there were but few, even of these, which had so fully received Unitarian doctrines, as to take a decided and zealous part in their favor. Furthermore I stated, that it was among the most decided and zealous Unitarians only, that those gentlemen were to be found, who were endeavouring to establish a mission to India. My conclusion was, that Unitarianism is not an essentially cold system of belief. The Reviewer has said nothing to shake this conclusion. As to the rest of his points, I did not conceive myself bound to notice any more of them than I pleased. Some of them I did notice; others I had not time to notice; and others again were not worth notice.
He goes on to say, that the subject of missions is not denied by me to be an embarrassing one, at least to myself. I certainly did not admit that it was. I feel no embarrassment about it. I do not pretend to say what must be done, and what will happen, with regard to it, as freely and confidently as some people do; but he may be sure that I do not suffer it to embarrass me.
Again he asserts, notwithstanding what I say about'sarcasm and ridicule,' every reader sees that whatever of the ridiculous there may be about the narrative (of Unitarian embarrassment,) belongs to the facts and not to the manner of relating them, and so long as the facts remain, cannot be separated from them by any awkward compliment to the 'skill,' of the Reviewer. Now I did think that there was something sarcastic in talking about a stir in our camp, 'the shelves of pamphlet-mongers,' and in other similar phrases of which the Reviewer made use; and if there be not something supremely ridiculous in maintaining, that as soon as Unitarians become zealous enough to send missionaries abroad, they will by their own heat be melted down into Orthodoxy, I shall never undertake to say what is ridiculous again, without first going to ask the Reviewer's opinion about it.
He calls my compliment to his skill and eloquence an awkward one. I am beginning to perceive that it was.
Two quotations from my letters are next introduced to show that he is my superior in courtesy. The first is a paragraph in which I had animadverted on his opinion,'that even the negations of Unitarianism are better than the positive and horrible superstitions of the heathen.' The next quotation is the account which I gave of a village, from which some of the most worthy inhabitants were obliged to banish themselves, for the crime of being Unitarians. He complains of my not having imitated instead of ridiculing his courtesy, because I doubted whether the inhabitants of that village did not need conversion as much as the heathen, whereas he, in the fulness of his generosity, had allowed that our Unitarian negations were better than their horrible superstitions! I will not dispute the point of courtesy with him; but will only ask him whether he does not discern some difference between condemning the whole system of Unitarianism as barely better than idolatry, and censuring a small body of men for conduct, which, in any sect, would have disgraced its christian profession and name? He speaks of my faith as of a mere inefficient negation. I speak not of Aw faith at all, but of the uncharitable, and oppressive, and truly unchristian conduct of some who profess it, and for whom I continue to wish a speedy conversion to the first elements of christian practice.
His next perversion of my language is truly astonishing. He says that I seem to think,'that the reason why Mr Adam is not as successful as the Apostle Paul, is simply that Mr Adam cannot work miracles.' My first feeling on reading this piece of intelligence was surprise; as I was confident that I had not only never mentioned Mr Adam's name in this connexion, but never thought of comparing him in any way with St Paul, or any apostle whatever. My surprise was not diminished, when I came to the extract from which he drew this most strange and unjustifiable conclusion. It would be tedious, both to myself and to your readers, to tell the,whole story over again. Suffice it to say,that the manner in which the Reviewer spoke of the apostolical miracles, did not, in my opinion, bear with it much respect for those signs of God and the presence and power of God. It intimated that it was not of much consequence whether a preacher of the gospel could perform them or not; and that the circumstances under which a modern missionary addressed the heathen did not greatly differ, on that account, from the circumstances of the apostles. Against such an opinion as this, 1 felt that I ought to protest; and I conceived myself seconded by the book of the Acts of the Apostles, and by the small success of modern missionaries. The advantage given to the apostles by the power of working miracles appears to me too great for estimation. To the Reviewer it appears inconsiderable.
That this is really his mind on the subject, is evident from an extract which he gives, in a note, from a sermon by the Rev. S. E. Dwight. I will also quote it, that your readers may see how the Orthodox talk on this matter, and may judge whether my own inferences from their manner are, or are not correct.
'Christ and the Apostles regularly acted on this principle. —Of all their miracles, not one was wrought merely as evidence of their Divine mission, or of the truth of their doctrines; but every one to relieve some case of distress providentially presented.—In many cases too, where, if the gospel has no such evidence, miracles were absolutely necessary, no miracles were wrought. This was true at Sychar, at Thessalonica, at Antioch in Pisidia, at Iconium and at Corinth. A remarkable example of this nature occurred at Athens. When Paul found himself in the Areopagus surrounded by the most distinguished philosophers and orators of Greece, instead of working a miracle to prove that he was sent from God, he exposed the folly of idolatry; made known the true God, a future state, and the mission of Jesus Christ; and then in the name of the true God, commanded them to repent: "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now he commandeth all men every where to repent; because he hath appointed a day in which he will judge in the world righteousness."'
One or two questions naturally arise on reading this passage. What does Mr Dwight mean by saying, that not one miracle of Christ or his apostles was wrought merely as evidence of their divine mission r Did not Christ himself tell Philip to believe him for the very ivories ' sake? Is it not said in one place, that 'many believed in his name 'when they saw the miracles which he did?' in another, that 'a great multitude followed him because they saw his miracles?' and in yet another is he not
Vol. ill/—No. ir. 35
called''a man approved of God by miracles, and wonders and signs?' and in another, is it not said, ' God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost?' What does Mr Dwight mean? And what does he mean by saying that every miracle was wrought 'to relieve some case of distress providentially presented?' Was the first miracle which Jesus worked, the changing water into wine, occasioned by a case of distress providentially presented? And what if every miracle had been wrought to relieve a case of distress? Would that have proved any thing more than the benevolence of the worker and of him who sent him, strengthening thereby the proof of a divine missioa by the union of mercy with power? Merely as evidence of their divine mission! Was it not more fully and undeniably an evidence of the divine mission of Jesus, that he gave life to the brother of Mary and Martha, rather than to the stones in the streets? that he created bread for the fainting multitude in the wilderness, rather than for the people in the midst of the city, who did not want it?
Let us hear him again. 'In many cases too, where, if the gospel has no such evidence, miracles were absolutely necessary, no miracles were wrought. This was true at Sychar, &c.' Where did Mr Dwight get his information? Who told him, that on any supposition, miracles were absolutely necessary in those places? Is he not setting himself up to be wise above what is written? I do not undertake to say that Christ and his apostles made no converts but by the aid of miracles. Many doubtless received the gospel on account of its own intrinsic truth and beauty; but many would in all probability never have received it, if they had not been led into belief by the display of supernatural power. Here I feel myself standing firmly on the declarations of holy writ.
But I cannot yet leave the note. Mr Dwight proceeds to say, that the system of doctrines which produces these remarkable effects, is not that system which he describes as ours. 'You may go and preach that system,'' he adds, 'to the unchristian nations " until time shall be no longer," and they will not renounce their immoralities or their false religions.' That it will have no effect 'is admitted by the advocates of the system themselves; for they universally avow, that the conversion of the heathen is impossible. This probably is the true explanation of the never to be forgotten, but in no degree surprising fact, that no nation was ever yet converted from heathenism to that system of doctrines; as well as of another fact equally deserving of notice, and yet equally incapable of exciting surprise, that the advocates of that system, from the time of the JVicene council to the present day, have never attempted a mission to the Heathens, the Mohommedans, or the Jews.''
Now, as to our avowing universally that the conversion of the heathen is impossible, we avow no such thing. A simple contradiction is answer enough for that part of the assertionFor the rest, I believe the apostles themselves to have been the first missionaries of that system, which Mr Dwight holds in such aversion; but, dropping this contested point, I would ask how Mr Dwight could know, with all his knowledge, that that system might be preached to the heathen till doomsday, without effect, if not one trial of its efficacy has ever been made? If it is ' a never to be forgotten fact,' that we have never attempted a mission to the heathen, why then, I think, the other never to be forgotten fact, that we have never converted the heathen, might have been omitted, as 'in no degree surprising,' and the equally never to be forgotten but in a high degree surprising conclusion, that we might preach till we were tired, without converting them, might have been omitted also. And now I have done with the note. ,
The Reviewer complains that I have given a false impression of the success of foreign missions. I followed respectable authorities, aye, Orthodox authorities, some of them. I said, moreover, and I still say, that'I have no disposition to deny or to undervalue any good, that has been effected by missionaries any where.' I only wish that the good was greater, and the boasting less. Whatever can be truly claimed, I will not only allow, but allow gladly; and for the sake of the good, I will not say all that I might of the boasting.
In answer to my explanation of the character and extent of Unitarian resources, contained in what he calls my 'six pages of statistics,' the Reviewer replies, that he always believed the number of Unitarians to be few, but he 'spoke of the resources which those few possess.' He then takes us a journey through 'the ten Unitarian churches of Boston,' to the dwellings of their members,'to their places of business, to their warehouses and their ships, to their banks and their counting rooms.' Stopping to take breath, he turns round, and asks whether here there are no resources^? Then he is off to the expensive church