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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1839, by
P. PRICE, in the Clerk's office of the District Court of the Southern
District of New-York.
The following letters originally appeared, at successive periods, in the columns of the Universalist Union. As this little volume may fall into the hands of some who did not see the letters in the form in which they were first presented to the public, a brief statement of the circumstances which called them forth, may be necessary here.
In the month of February, 1837, Rev. Mr. Hatfield, of the Sevcnth Presbyterian Church, in New York, took occasion to lecture on the subject of Universalism, from the text-Romans vi. 23:" The wages of sin is death,” &c. This lecture was replied to by Rev. T.J. Sawyer, in the Orchard street Church, in a discourse from the same text, which was afterwards published in the Universalist Union of March 25, 1837, and bsequently issued in a pamphlet, entitled —" The Penalty of Sin."
A copy of the Union, containing the Sermon, was conveyed to Rev. Stephen Remington, then pastor of the Willet street Church, by one of his congregation, with a request that he should notice it in his pulpit. With ihis request Mr. Remington complied, in three lectures, on three successive Sunday evenings.' An experienced Reporter was employed, but from some unavoidable circumstan. ces, but imperfect notes were obtained of the first lecture-the second and third were obtained in full. In the progress of their delivery, however, the Trustees of the Willet street Church, and particularly the “ Young Men of the congregation,” became much interested in the lectures, and strongly impressed with the great good they were doing in pulling down the strong holds of Universalism, and were anxious to extend these benefits to the world at large. Meetings were held, the lectures applauded, for their " original, lucid and scriptural" arguments, and unanimous resolutions passed, requesting their immediate publication to "counteract the delusive error" of Universalism. At their close, Mr. Sawyer respectfully requested a copy of the lectures, for the purpose of replying to them. He was informed that the author was actively engaged in preparing them for the press, and that they would be out in a week or two, when a printed copy would be cheerfully furnished. It was
deemed advisable to wait for a certified copy, instead of using the stenographic notes.
Week after week passed, but no book appeared. It was under. stood that they were put immediately in the hands of the printerthe first lecture printed, or nearly so; and then, there was an unaccountable suspension in the work. Some said that the copy was withdrawn-that the rigor of the Methodist discipline would allow no preacher to publish any thing to the world unless it had first received the approbation of the Book Committee, (a kind of Censorship,] or of a Conference. Be this as it may, ihe second and third lectures, as published, bear evident marks of " a change" having "come over their spirit," when compared with the notes as they were delivered.
The book at length appeared-after some eight or ten weeks and a copy was kindly furnished Mr. Sawyer, who reviewed it in several lectures on successive Sunday evenings, during the winter following. It was intended, immediately at the close of Mr. Sawyer's review, in his church, to have published in the Union, Mr. Remington's lectures, as he delivered them, that the public might compare them with the book ; but a long period of sickness with the writer of this article, defeated this purpose; and after the unavoidable delay, it was deemed best to omit them entirely.
It may be thought, by many, that Mr. Remington's labors have received more attention than they were entiiled to. They undoubtedly have, more than they intrinsically deserved-far more than they could claim, as they were first delivered. But they are sent forth to the world under the seal and patronage of the Truse tees of the Willet strect Church, and “the Young Men" of that
congregation;" and beside, bear marks of foreign aid, and may be regarded as embodying a considerable part of the argument and abuse of the whole Methodist denomination against Universalism. All these considerations seem to entitle them to a more particular examination than they would otherwise merit.
It was Mr. Sawyer's first intention merely to glance at some of the leading points of the lectures, in a few letters, through the Union, and close the subject, but he has continued them along, at his leisure, till they number twenty-two letters. If their publication in the paper, and in this form, shall tend to explode error, and advance christian truth, their object will have been accomplished. New-York, May, 1339.
L E T T E R S
- TO REV. STEPHEN REMINGTON, IN EEVIEW OF HIS LECTURES ON
Dear Sir-Several months have elapsed since you delivered in your church, and subsequently published, a series of Lectures on Universalism. As you had the kindness to present me a copy of these discourses, I feel under some obligations to express my candid opinion of their merits. I regret, however, that circumstances have hitherto prevented me from performing this duty to you and the cause of divine truth. But much of my time has been otherwise occupied, and besides, I have, till recently, been unable to obtain a particular volume, which, as it seems to have contributed largely to the Lectures before me, I deemed almost indispensable to one who should attempt their examination.
The subject which you, sir, have seen fit to discuss, is I believe among the most momentous in the world, and is possessed of an interest the most thrilling. I know not what question should cominand the candid attention of every reflecting mind, if it be not that which relates to the unending happiness or misery of the human
The temporal interests of communities, the destiny of states and empires, and even the fortunes of the whole world from its commencement to its termination, dwindle into insignificance when compared with the weal or wo of one immortal spirit.
" What in the eye of an intellectual and omnipotent Being," said Coleridge, “is the whole sidereal system to the soul of one man for whom Christ died ?" And if the spiritual so infinitely transcends the physical, she interests of eternity must equally surpass those of time. He, sherefore, who comes to discuss the prospects of a single soul for