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that any one of us has thought so little on the subject as to lend his name to grace such an empty and irreverent pageant? If so, it is high time it be fully discussed.
Brother Williams, you have got the popular side of the question. Did I want by popular machinery to build up a school, a college, or a worldly church, I would certainly become a Free Mason, an Odd Fellow, and a Son of Temperance; and, perhaps, presume for pardon on the example of Paul, who "became all things to all men, that by all means he might gain some." But you have too much intelligence and good sense for such an outrage against the great Apostle to the Gentiles. I know that we have brethren that are led by what they call the example of good and great men. Therefore, so much the more ought we to be prompt, timous, and fearless to reprove sin, and to warn one another against such worldly conformities. Shall we inveigh against sectarian sins and the aberrations of other parties, and be blinded by partiality to the sins of our own brethren? Heaven forbid!
But the truth is, the solemn worship of Almighty God has been so long desecrated and made so common and ceremonial in this age, so prostituted to every scheme, political, financial, sectarian, and carnal, that out of the same mouth proceed, with equal fluency, the blessing and the curse; and on the same ear fall, with equal apathy and indifference, the benediction and the imprecation of evil.
In a time-serving and truckling age, the great majority of professors, so far from cultivating a stern uncompromising conscientious. ness, are rather seeking than shunning occasions to be called on to act the priest or hierophant on all public occasions. It appears to me since the political campaigns of 1840 and 1814–since the era of national conventions for grand political nominations, so hachneyed has been the conscience of public chaplains, that were the great hall called Pandemonium, or council chamber of Milton's devils, to be opened to make a President, to canonize a hero, or to legitimate a cock-fight, a horse-race, or a duel, there would not be wanting rival chaplains seeking for the honors of the day, and the plaudits of unthinking, indiscriminating, and untutored crowds.
If there be any sealing ordinances for the confirmation of the unbelief of infidels if there be any sovereign opiate for a troubled conscience--if there be any effectual means of annihilating all reverence for religion and religious men, they will be found in these complimentary odes, prayers, and benedictions offered at the nod of some hypocritical demagogue, or sold for the paltry smile or
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suffrage of some worldly cabal met to lay a stone or to consecrate a dome sacred to the idol, or whim of some one of these hundred and more new inventions for spending time, money, and conscience, under pretence of a sublimer philosophy of benevolence, or a more rational and religious manner of doing good than that developed and inculcated by Jesus Christ himself, the supreme philanthropist.But I must approach still nearer to the point and bearing of your third essay.
The only principle in your letter, neither anticipated nor responded to in my last essay, is, as you suppose, the assumption that though there can be no substitute for the church, yet there may be societies so organized and managed as to be auxiliaries to it. To my ear a society auxiliary to the church is just as great an assumption as a society substitute for the church.
Indian corn, wheat, and grass, flocks and herds, sciences and arts, schools and colleges, may, if any one will have so, be argued as auxiliary to the church; inasmuch as without food and raiment we could have no men, consequently no church at all. But that there can be any moral or literary institution of a worldly character auxiliary to the church, is, to my mind, just as visionary as to say that the Moon is auxiliary to the Sun-Eaton Grammar School, to the government of Queen Victoria-or a passenger in a rail car, to the steam engine which propels it. The assumption of an auxiliary to the church is just as much “a man of straw” as the assumption of a substitute for it. It is only the other day since I heard, from good authority, that certain “Sons of Temperance" earnestly affirmed that they desired nio better church than their own meetings; and a gentleman from a populous city declared that “Free Masonry, Odd Fellowship, and Sons of Temperance, had eaten up almost all the churches and religion is town."
I equally repudiate the auxiliary character as I do the substitute character of any merely human or worldly institution as respects the church of Jesus Christ. She has neither auxiliary nor substitute under the broad heavens. “The earth helped the woman" is the only text in the Bible that could be tortured into such an idea. And yet who would presume to apply it in this case? You may mean no more than this when you say that “by the aid of an organized body, bused upon the noble pledge, as the centre of attraction, that no brother shall make, buy, sell, or use, as a beverage, any spiritous or malt liquor, wine or cider.” This is as if when your Christian brother makes a solemn pledge to Jesus Christ that he will love, honor, and obey him, he must strengthen himself and strengthen
your confidence in him by making a solemn and noble pledge to man, that over and above or beside this pledge to Jesus Christ, he will not make, buy, sell, or use as a beverage, &c. &c. The last pledge is auxiliary to the former; that is, his vow to man will help him to keep his vow to God. But he vows more to man than he does to God; and, therefore, the human institution is not merely auxiliary, but additional to the divine institution. It helps by addition. But addition is not always help. The addition of a human vow does not necessarily strengthen a divine vow or obligation.
But to keep out of the mist of abstraction, allow me to say for future development that, in my opinion, there is a grand mistake of Christianity on your part or on mine, indicated in the attitude you have assumed, and in that which you have assigned me, in these communications.
I can but hint at it at present. Your assumption implies that a union with our enemies will qualify us to discharge our duties to our friends-and, perhaps, to our enemies also. “The friendship of the world is enmity against God. Whosoever will be a friend of the world is an enemy to God.” Out of Christ's church “the whole world lieth under the wicked one." I know no Temperance, Odd Fellow, or Free Mason fraternity, that does not recognize a brotherhood with the world. “They are of the world, they speak of the world, and the world heareth them.” Christians, though in the world, are not of it. Any union, then, for moral purposes with the world, that brings us to commune religiously with it, by the laws and usages of the institution itself, is opposed to the law and king. dom of Jesus Christ, and cannot be either favorable to the church or to the world.
But you make the Temperance cause and reform “an Aid to the church!” In giving her aid and comfort, or in swelling her numbers? Have you found an answer to the question which has been on file unanswered for two thousand years?"If the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith shall it be salted?" Do you assume that the church having lost its saltness, its converting and sanctifying power, is to be salted or revived by the Temperance cause!! Insipid must it be, indeed, if it can be salted by such a tertium quid!
You ask, “Has not the church failed to do her duties?” She may or she may not have so failed, without in the least justifying a new organization with the world. There is neither point nor argument to me in the apparent question which you propose. There were thousands of drunkards in Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, &c. &c., while the apostolic churches yet stood there, even in the days of the Apostles. Does such a fact prove that the church had failed to do her duty? or if she had, would that fact have demanded a new church organization or a mere auxiliary?-! And if it had, why did not these divinely wise and inspired Apostles set it up or suggest it!
You, however ingenious or astute, can never answer this question favorably to your position. The folly of finding fault with institutions and reformations, human or divine, is never more conspicuous than when alleging against them our own sins or those of others. Some ask, on your philosophy, Have not the principles of our reformation failed? because they who profess them may have failed to do their duty; or because, if they have done their duty, the whole world is not converted. You have placed youself amongst this class, unless you abandon
your present position. Still, had she failed because of some constitutional imbecility, or some radical defect, a question to you of no easy solution yet remains. Suppose she has eminently failed to reform drunkards, or even a moiety of them, how would you reform her in this particular? By making her join a Temperance Society!! Why not rather resolve her into a Temperance Society? Christ's churches are Tem. perance Societies already. They are so by profession. If they do pot keep their vows, cast them out and be done with them. Do not vainly imagine that by adding to them a few infidels, or adding them to a few Jews, infidels, and Musselmen under a new vow, you will, by a change of position, effect that which Christianity alone cannot effect. It is, believe me, a preposterous conceit. Tell me not what Temperance Societies have already done. Tell me not how bright they shine. I have seen a Britannia spoon, when new, outshine a silver one when old. May not this be true of your pretended Sons of Temperance? You will never, I presume, reform the church, nor make her a Temperance Society by causing her to. take a pledge, or make a prayer, or sing an ode, or read a chapter, or express. a benediction in company with a Jew, a Pagan, a Ro. manist, or a Sceptic, dubbed a Son of Temperance.
But you think you have a decided advantage in support of the Sons of Temperance to be regarded as auxiliary to the cause of Christianity, and as worthy of being so sustained, in the fact; that there is a Bethany College incorporated by law, giving education to saint and sinner, Jew and Greek, with a full suite of officers, with its badges, sessions, secret and open, conferring degrees, &c. &c. &c. With all this, however, she neither professes to be, nor is, in fact, auxiliary to the church in preparing members for her communion, or in supplying what is wanting in her discipline, doctrine,
or worship. She is not an institution got up for an auxiliary to the church, but for imparting instruction in literature, science, and art to youth. One thing may resemble another-as a wasp, a bee-an ass, a horse—a goose, a swan; and yet be essentially different. Many things may be advantageous to the church, because they enlighten the mind, that neither are, nor presume to be, auxiliary institutions. The sophism of illogical comparison is one of the most common, and one of the most fatal to truth. Our pulpits and our courts of law and justice are infested with this sophism.
Books, it is alleged, are sometimes auxiliary to the Bible, and it must be confessed are sometimes antagonistic to its influence. But only as the earth, the ocean, the corn, and wine, and oil, are auxiliary to a church, can a school or a college be. They may afford instruction to youth, but whether that instruction shall redound to the church or the devil, depends upon an influence extrinsic of the college and the school. Orange Men, United Irish Men, Whigs and Tories, in their day, like Sons of Temperance, Free Masons, and Odd Fellows, have assumed to be, or have imagined that they were auxiliaries to the church. And if history has not already shown, it will show, that any, one of them, in the long run, is just as much an auxiliary of the church of Jesus Christ as another. But I am sorry to see and to say that all your reasoning, and that of many who agree with you, indicates, as I conceive, one grand misconception of the grand differential attribute of Christ's kingdom from all human institutions whatsoever. The LITTLE STONE was not in type more different from the toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image, than is all this reasoning from the true reason of things as set forth by the Great Teacher and his inspired Apostles. I am sure you will agree with me in one grand affirmation, viz.--that your reformed drunkard, as such, is just as far from the kingdom of heaven as were Horace or Virgil, with all their poetry; or as were Stephen Girard or Jacob Astor, with all their wealth and money-loving sobriety and industry. But of this, more fully hereafter.
Meanwhile, do not think that I do not appreciate the benevolence, or that I do not rejoice in the success of the cause of temperance. As a citizen of Virginia, I give my aid, my vote, my tax, or my voluntary contribution in aid of the common cause of humanity and mercy, in any and every form in which they have a claim upon my benevolence. I do this merely as a Christian or as a citizen of Virginia. These are not sectarian, nor particular, nor special institutions. One of them is wholly divine; the other, wholly human. God ordained the one and permits the other, and gives directions to