Images de page

suppression of his foibles, by kind book which Calvinistic theologians and tolerant allusions, if any allu- of every grade will approve, and sions were made, to measures which which is adapted to accomplish but others might pronounce injudicious, one end-the end which the biograand by exalting unduly his talents pher undoubtedly had in view—the and his usefulness. And we think promotion of such revivals of relithat most readers will decide with gion as appeared under the preachus, that if our biographer were un ing of Nettleton. We spoke above der any bias, it was the amiable of one exception-we hardly know bias of friendship.

whether to call it an exception or Besides the familiar knowledge not--we refer to a letter from Dr. which Dr. Tyler had of the subject Nettleton to Dr. Taylor, written of his memoir, he was supplied with about six months before the writer's an abundance of materials in the pa- decease. A short period before this pers and correspondence of Dr. N. letter was written, Dr. Taylor made for the compilation of an interesting a visit to Dr. Nettleton at East work. With these means of accom Windsor, when they had a very plishing his task, we expected from affectionate and melting interview. Dr. Tyler's practiced pen, a rich, It afterwards probably occurred to instructive, useful book—and we Dr. Nettleton, that this brotherly are not disappointed.

parting would leave the impression Although Dr. Tyler's task was on the minds of Dr. Taylor and otheasy to him, yet, as we observed ers, that his hostility to Dr. Taylor's above, he had one serious difficulty speculations was very much softto encounter. Both he and Dr. ened, if not entirely subdued. For Nettleton had been from the first, this or some other reasons, he wrote strenuously opposed to certain theo- the letter alluded to, directing it to logical, or rather philosophical theo. be forwarded to Dr. T. as soon as ries, embraced by many ministers he himself should be in a dying in New England, of which Dr. Tay state. This letter Dr. Tyler has lor of New Haven was a prominent inserted in the Memoir; and as a expounder and advocate. In that part of the life of Nettleton, it may controversy Dr. Nettleton took an deserve such a place. The biograearnest, though not a very public pher appears not to have intended part. This afforded his biographer by its publication, to prop up and an opportunity, and presented a strengthen by the authority of Dr. strong temptation to make the Me. Nettleton's name, his own views of moir a vehicle of influence against Dr. Taylor's theological opinions, the other party in the controversy for he virtually acknowledges in a -thus rendering it offensive to Dr. passage in which he speaks of his Taylor and his friends, and to all motives for publishing the letter, who think that the controversy re

that he did not employ it as an arferred to had better sleep—and by gument against the correctness of the same means unfitting the work Dr. Taylor's views. Indeed, as a for exerting that influence in favor man of sense he could not thus of pure revivals of religion, which employ it. Dr. Nettleton's opinion, obviously was the only natural and when his mind was weakened by important end to be accomplished disease, could not have more weight by a biography of Nettleton. Dr. and authority on metaphysical points Tyler has avoided this danger with of great difficulty, than the same commendable dexterity. He has opinion when entertained in his betmade a work free, with one excep- ter days. This fact taken in contion at most, from the error to which nection with another very extenhe was so liable. He has made a sively known, namely, that Dr. Net

tleton was never known to state Dr. ren wrong; but to correct two false Taylor's views correctly, or so that impressions which have been made, Dr. Taylor or his friends would ac to some extent, on the public mind. knowledge them to be his, strips One is, that Dr. Nettleton felt a bithis dissent, however solemnly ut- ter hostility towards those brethren tered, of all force. For the doc. from whom he differed. The other trines constantly imputed by Dr. N. is, that in the near approach of to Dr. Taylor, were rejected by the death, his views underwent an imlatter gentleman, with as much ab- portant change in respect to the horrence as Dr. N. himself could tendency of those speculations which feel. Having such a misapprehen- had caused him so much solicitude. sion of Dr. Taylor's real sentiments, Neither of these impressions is corhis opinions and declarations re rect, as this letter fully evinces." spected, not Dr. Taylor's real views, However the publication of this letbut the conceptions of his own im- ter from these motives may strike agination. We therefore think at others more immediately interested Dr. Taylor and his friends need not than ourselves, our present impresapprehend from the publication of sion is, that none need apprehend this letter, any danger to what they any injurious influence from the consider the cause of truth. On book, or doubt that it will accomcandid minds it will exert no influ. plish one single object—that intendence ; and if we may judge from ed by the author-the promotion of the strict impartiality, candor, and active and productive piety in the spirit of conciliation which Dr. Ty. churches ; and that therefore Chrisler manifests in every other part of tians of every shade of opinion, may the Memoir, we must conclude that heartily unite in giving it a wide the motives which he professes led circulation. him to the publication of the letter,

We conclude by acknowledging were his real motives. These mo our obligations to the publishers of tives are thus stated on p. 301: the Memoir, for the gratuitous use - This letter is inserted here, not of their engraving of Dr. Nettleton, to prove that Dr. N. was right in by which we are enabled to place his theological views, and his breth- his portrait at the head of this article.



MR. WEBSTER is one of the great It is hard to say which his forte is, men of the age-of gigantic intel- because he has so many strong lect-of deep

and inexhaustible re points—whether he shines most, in sources a great statesman—a pro- the senate, in the cabinet, at the bar, found constitutional lawyer-an un or in the popular assembly. To us, rivalled logical and analogical rea we confess, Daniel Webster seems soner-a mighty debater--a power to be about equally great at Plyful writer and an eloquent orator. mouth, at the foot of Bunker Hill

monument, in the cradle of Liberty Mr. Webster's Plea in favor of the at Boston, in the senate chamber, Christian Ministry and of the religious the department of state, and the preme Court of the United States in the Supreme court-room at Washingcase of Stephen Girard's Will, Feb. 10, ton, and amid the deafening cheers 1844.

of thronging multitudes, wherever Vol. III.


he chooses to discuss the all-absorb any sect whatever, shall ever hold ing topics of the day. If he is not, or exercise any station, or duty take him all in all, the greatest man whatever in said college ; nor shall in the nation, we feel safe in saying any such person ever be admitted for that he is surpassed by no one ; and any purpose, or as a visitor within put him down where you might, on the premises appropriated to the pur. the other side of the Atlantic, he pose of said college.” would stand with the very few, like The ground which Mr. Webster Saul the Benjamite, who “ from the takes, and maintains with all his shoulders upward, was higher than great abilities, against this extraor. any of the people."

dinary proscription is, that "in the Let this tribute, however, which eye of equitable jurisprudence the we could not refrain from rendering devise of Mr. Girard so restricted, on so fitting an occasion, pass. Our is not a charity, entitled to the fa. main design in this article is not to vor with which such bequests are eulogize Mr. Webster, nor to discuss received and upheld by the courts any of the intricate legal questions, of Christian countries, but conteminvolved in the decision of the Su. plates the establishment of a school preme Court, confirming the will of on the plain and clear principles of the late Stephen Girard, for the es. infideliiy, and therefore that the will tablishment of an orphan college ought to be set aside.” near the city of Philadelphia. As Other points adverse to its valid. good citizens we bow to the decision ity are taken, but this is the chief. of the highest judicial tribunal in In giving a synopsis of Mr. Webthe land, whose duty it is, not to ster's masterly argument, we must make the laws, but to expound them. of course study brevity, which will Nor do we enquire into the motives deprive our readers of much of the which prompted to the most princely pleasure to be derived from the full bequest that ever was made in this report, in the pamphlet of sixty country, for the endowment of any pages now before us. The lofty, public charity whatever. These moral, and Christian tone of the motives we reverently leave with whole argument, which occupied Him, who “trieth the heart and the the Court for nine hours on three reins.”

successive days, was thrilling and Having set apart the enormous delightful. We can not despair of sum of two millions of dollars from the republic so long as our halls of his vast estate, to erect and endow justice are made to resound with a college, for the accommodation of such sentiments from the lips of our at least three hundred orphan schol. most illustrious statesmen and gifted ars, and the requisite number of advocates. And here let us say, teachers, he ordered the ground on that the decision of the Court, by which it was to be built, consisting which our great New England bar. of no less than forty-five acres, to rister was overruled, does not debe enclosed with a high solid stone duct in the slightest degree from his wall, capped with marble and lined noble defense of the Christian reliupon the top with long iron spikes. gion, nor the vital importance of Mr. Girard, in providing for the early Christian education, which government and instruction of his he so powerfully advocates. Nor, three hundred orphan boys, in all again, does the decision prove that future time, thought proper to in- any member of the Supreme Court sert the following remarkable re. differed from Mr. Webster on either strictive clause in his will

of these points. The laws of the “I enjoin and require that no ec land often extort judgments from clesiastic, missionary or minister of the highest tribunals, which they

[ocr errors]

would gladly be excused from ren- purity of life and character, for dering; and the only remedy lies, learning, intelligence, piety, and that if remedy be necessary, in revised wisdom which cometh from above, and better legislation.

is inferior to none and superior to Mr. Webster's first objection to most others, by voluntary contribuGirard's will, is that “ it attempts to tions alone.” attach reproach and odium to the How common was it in Mr. Jef. whole clergy of the country-to ferson's palmy days, and how comevery individual of the profession, mon is it even now, in some quarwithout any exception. No minister ters, for men of high and commandof the gospel, of any denomination, ing political consideration, to speak may ever set foot upon the grounds reproachfully of the clergy, as big. belonging to this school, for any oted, narrow-minded, canting, nasal purpose however urgent. Against hypocrites, who are so far from doevery man of the sacred profession, ing any thing to promote the true inthe iron gates are to

closed and terests of country, that no class barred and bolted.” This exclusion of men require to be more narrowly Mr. Webster denounces, (and how and jealously watched than they do. his dark eye flashed when he utter. Now, let us hear Mr. Webster. To ed it,) " as the most opprobrious, call this great American politician the most insulting and the most un. and statesman an ignorant or cantmerited stigma that was ever cast, ing eulogist, would be more than the or attempted to be cast upon the reputation of the bitterest enemies preachers of Christianity, in the of the Christian ministry, for intel. whole history of the country.” ligence and candor, is worth. Let “When, where and how,” he in us hear him. dignantly demands, “ have they de “I hope that our learned men served it? I take it upon myself have done something for the honor to say, that in no country in the of our literature abroad. I hope world, upon either continent, can that the courts of justice and memthere be found a body of ministers bers of the bar of this country have of the gospel, who perform so much done something to elevate the charservice to man in a full spirit of acter of the profession of the law. self-denial, under so little encourage. I hope the discussions in Congress ment from government of any kind, have done something to meliorate and under circumstances always the condition of the human race, to much straitened and often distress secure and extend the great charter ed, as the ministers of the gospel in of human rights, and to strengthen the United States, of all denomina- and advance the great principles of tions. They form no part of an human liberty. But I contend that established order of religion ; they no literary efforts, no adjudications, constitute no hierarchy; they enjoy no constitutional discussions, nothing no peculiar privileges. They have that has been said or done in favor to depend entirely on the voluntary of universal man, has done this contributions of those who hear country more credit, at home and them.

abroad, than the establishment of " And this body of clergymen our body of clergymen, their sup: have shown, to the honor of their port by voluntary contributions, and own country, and to the astonish- the general excellence of their char. ment of the hierarchies of the old acter, their piety and their learning. world, that it is practicable, in free And yet, every one of them is, by governments, to raise and sustain a Mr. Girard's devise, denied the pribody of clergymen, which, for de. vileges which are open to the vilest votedness to their sacred calling, for of our race. Did the man ever live,

who had a respect for the Christian tunate as to be placed in the proporeligion, and yet had no regard for sed college. any one of its ministers? Did that “Now let us look at the condition system of instruction ever exist, and prospects of these tender chil. which denounced the whole body of dren, who are to be submitted to Christian teachers, and yet called it- this experiment of instruction, with. self Christianity ?

out Christianity. In the first place, “I maintain," continues Mr. Web- they are orphans—have no parents ster, in a noble strain of manly, to guide and instruct them in the Christian eloquence, “ that in every way they should go—no father, no institution for the instruction of youth, religious mother, to lead them to the where the authority of God is dis pure fount of Christianity; they are owned, and the duties of Christian. orphans. If they were only poor, ity derided and despised, and its there might be somebody, bound by ministers shut out from all partici- the ties of human affection, to look pation in its proceedings, there can after their spiritual welfare, to see no more be charity, irue charity, that they imbibed no erroneous opinfound to exist, than evil can spring ions on the subject of religion; the out of the Bible, error out of truth, child would have its father or its moor hatred and animosity come forth ther to teach it to lisp the name of from the bosom of perfect love. its Creator in prayer, or hymn his

“No, sir-no, sir! If charity de praise. nies its birth and parentage ; if it “But in this experimental school turns infidel to the great doctrines of instruction, if the orphans have of the Christian religion ; if it turns any friends or connections able to unbeliever, it is no longer charity, look after their welfare, it shuts them for it separates itself from the foun. out. It is made the duty of the gotain of its own creation !”

vernors of the institution, on taking Mr. Webster then goes on to main. the child, to keep it from any after tain, with climacteric force and elo. interference on the part of guardi. quence, (we give the sense, though ans or relations, in any way whatnot his exact language,) that this unblest feature in the Girard Col. “ The school, or college, is to be lege is a perfect anomaly. There surrounded with high walls, with is nothing like it in the whole history two gates, and no more. They are of the Christian religion. A great to be of iron within, and iron-bound charity school, in a Christian land, without-thus answering more the where thousands are to be educated description of a castle, than a school. for the duties and trials of life, but house. The children are to be thus which no minister of the gospel, of guarded for twelve years, in one any denomination, can ever be al. great enclosure, and all that is done lowed to enter! It is monstrous! for their bodily or mental welfare, is It is an insult to high heaven, which to be done within this enclosure. It the wealth of a kingdom, devoted to has been said, that they could attend the purposes of education, could not public worship elsewhere. Where atone for.

is the proof of this ? There is no Having proved, as he thinks, that provision in the devise, there is nothe Girard bequest lacks the essen- thing said about it in any part of tial element of a Christian charity, Mr. Girard's will, and such a priviand ought not to be sanctioned by lege would be just as adverse to his any court in a Christian land, Mr. whole scheme, as it would be that Webster proceeds, most feelingly the doctrines of Christianity should and eloquently, to portray the situa. be preached within the walls of the tion of those who may be so unfor. college.


« PrécédentContinuer »