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compelled to hang our heads in shame, and blot out our own charges with tears. But all these evils are passed over without notice by accusers; while they, with one voice, denounce these Christians as conspirators against religious liberty! That is, charges which might easily be proved; under which, indeed, ninety-nine in a hundred would, at once, confess guilt, are not once mentioned; while one is repeated even to hoarseness, which not only cannot be proved, but on the contrary is falsified by facts of every day's occurrence, and by the whole tenour of history. We ask, why is it so? Can it be accounted for on any other principle than this? The enemies of evangelical piety know the sensitiveness of the American people, in regard to liberty in general, and religious liberty in particular: they know too, (for many of them are politicians) the effect of bold denunciations often repeated; and they have resolved to open and keep up this outcry, because it is the surest way to bring evangelical men, and their principles, into odium. The dislike of all unconverted men, to the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel, and to their advocates, is well understood by Dr. Channing, and his co-accusers in all parts of the country; and it was no doubt expected that such charges as were brought by him, unsupported as they are, would be believed by numbers, because they want to find some reason for the dislike of which they are conscious. This, then, has all the appearance of a deep laid scheme to stop the progress of evangelical truth in the United States. And it accords well with another declaration understood to have been made by the Dr. in some Unitarian Association or Convention, “These Bible Societies, and Missionary Societies must be put down." Yes, delenda est Carthago. But the present race of evangelicals are incurable, they must be permitted to die out; and as for the rest, care must be taken so to rouse public hatred, and so to cover evangelical principles with reproach, that in this country, where every thing is governed by opinion, a stop may be put to their progress.
Our readers will, we hope, understand, that in all these remarks we are attempting to account for facts, undisputed and indisputable, such as these: that evangelical Christians in general, and Presbyterians and Congregationalists in particular, are treated with much obloquy and scorn; that the liberal Dr. Channing, and Deists, and Roman Catholics, and others like them, have openly accused these Christians of dark and malignant designs against the religious liberties of the country.
VOL. III. No. I.-L
And now, let every one judge, whether we have assigned the true cause. Of one thing we are most certain; there must be some deep seated, powerful passion urging onward the men, who appear before the world, and accuse millions of their fellow citizens, of a deep-dyed, atrocious, damning crime, without one tittle of evidence to support the accusation. We are willing to admit, that very often this allegation is made by men who do not consider what is implied in it. But it would be a poor compliment to Dr. Channing and to some men who copy him, to plead the excuse of inconsideration. They know that the American nation regards their religious liberty as the most precious part of their birthright; and that they who plot its destruction, are in heart guilty of the worst sort of treason. Of the thousands condemned to infamy in the dungeons of our penitentiaries, perhaps not one ever meditated wickedness so dark and diabolical, as that of which a very considerable part of the citizens of the United States are publicly and frequently accused. It is time that such injuries should have an end. Especially at this period of general agitation; during this shaking of the nations, men appointed to make, and men appointed to administer laws, ought not to inflict deep and irreparable injury on an innumerable multitude of the citizens of this country. But if a sense of justice will not, at least a sense of shame ought to prevent a repetition of these outrages.
What are these men doing who are thus furiously denounced? They are making efforts to put a Bible into the hands of every citizen. They are endeavouring to afford elementary instruction to every child in the United States. And inasmuch as a very great proportion of the instruction received by the mass of our population is received on the Sabbath, they have asked the government of their country not by any arrangements to desecrate a day so important for general improvement.* And it is inferred that there is a dark, Judas-like plotting against the religious liberties of the country! In other countries, where religious liberty was actually destroyed, the deed of wickedness could not be achieved but by taking the Bible from the people, and preventing their instruction, and destroying the religious influence of the Sabbath. The Reformation too, could not be effected until the Bible was restored and the people taught to read, and the Christian Sabbath consecrated to its
* It is not our object here to vindicate the wisdom of the application to Congress in regard to Sabbath mails; but the intentions of the applicants. Or the former we say nothing; of the latter we have no doubt.
proper uses. With these facts recorded on the pages of history, citizens of this country are denounced. Often native citizens are denounced by foreigners and men of foreign education, for doing the very things which, more than charters and laws, have secured religious freedom!
This case is rendered more striking and extraordinary by the fact, that the very same efforts which have brought on evangelical men in this country such injurious accusations, have produced in England, at the same time too, denunciations of an exactly opposite character. Here the cry is, “ Liberty is in danger!” There, “ The Church is in danger!” Here the accusation is, “ These men are plotting to effect a religious establishment.” There, “ They are the enemies of the establishment.” The case was the same in Russia, as far as the experiment was made. The Bible Society was suppressed by the priests and nobles, lest the people should become discontented with their condition. We could easily adduce similar facts in the case of Switzerland and France; and we could easily ask, why do the laws in some States of the Union shut out the Bible, and the Sabbath school, and the Missionary from the labouring part of the population ? But the absurdity of these charges is only equalled by the credulity of the men who believe them.
The Presbyterians and Congregationalists are now the prominent objects of dislike and attack. But it is not because they are Presbyterians or Congregationalists; but because they are thought to be particularly active in promoting evangelical principles; because they with some zeal propagate that religion which tells man he is a sinner, and he must repent or perish; he must be born again, or he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Orthodox Baptists, Evangelical Episcopalians, and all other evangelical Christians, are as really the objects of this dislike as the men who at present have, for some cause, to bear the brunt of the battle. None need
that the world loves them or is at peace with them.
Only let those who have been first selected as adversaries he put out of the way, and the turn of some others will come next. The opposition will go on, either until evangelical piety shall be exiled to some Patmos in the Southern Ocean, or, which we believe will be the case, until the “ truth as it is in Jesus,” shall so prevail as to make all opposition hopeless.
We can only offer additional remark. The spirit which has manifested itself in the writings of Dr. Channing, as brought
under review by Professor Stuart, and which has shown itself in many other places and on many other occasions, is the very spirit of tyranny. It claims for itself the right of doing what it is greatly offended if others do. It arrogates to itself all taste, all wisdom, all liberality, all comprehension of views, and attributes to others vulgarity, folly, contractedness of feelings, and narrowness of mind. « Nihil non arrogat sibi.”
ART. VI.—THE AMERICAN QUARTERLY REVIEW ON
We have frequently been struck, in reading the numbers of the National Gazette, with the justness and weight of its editorial remarks on the responsibility of the conductors of the periodical press. And we have often sympathized with its accomplished editor, on observing the severity with which he has been treated by party prints, for endeavouring to conduct a paper on national principles, abstaining equally from indiscriminate commendation and abuse. We readily yield the tribute which is due to him, for the elevated stand which he has proposed to himself, and think that, as far as politics are concerned, it has been successfully maintained. As it is universally understood that the editorial departments of the Gazette and of the American Quarterly Review are filled by the same individual, we had hoped that the moderation and fairness which mark the political character of the former, would also have been impressed on the pages of the latter. tertained this hope with the greater confidence, from the conviction that the editor had too much discernment not to be aware, that a responsibility peculiarly serious rests upon the individual who undertakes to conduct an American Review, which aspires, in its measure, at once to form and represent American sentiments and opinions. In despite of our sectional partialities, we are constrained to admit, that in respect to candour and fairness, whenever religion has been concerned, it has fallen far below its great eastern compeer. In the very first number of the work, there was an article, which, from the levity and injustice with which the character of several of the most distinguished of the American clergy was treated, we considered of unpropitious omen. This, however, it seems,
was but a premonition of the spirit afterwards to be exhibited. We question whether the pages of the respectable periodical literature of this country, can furnish an instance of a more uncandid assault on the character and opinions of a large part of the Christian community, than the recent article on Sunday Mails in the American Quarterly Review. We cannot but regard the publication of that piece as a high offence against the professed principles of the work, and a flagrant breach of the confidence reposed in its conductors. The public, unquestionably, have a right to expect that works of this character should not avail themselves of the power lent to them for other purposes, to disseminate principles which the mild and venerable Bishop White has pronounced anti-christian in their character, and licentious in their tendency. It is no justification of this course to state, there is a portion of professed Christians who agree with the leading doctrine of the article in question; for the Review professes not to be the virulent and party advocate of any set of opinions; much less does it claim the right of insulting, in behalf of an inconsiderable minority, the faith of nine-tenths of the Christian community of the country. The public, indeed, do not presume to pry into the private belief of its Editor, nor of any of its conductors; but in consenting to admit the work into their families, to operate on the opinions and character of their children, they surely have the right to expect that it should be kept free from decidedly anti-christian sentiments. It may well be that some of the contributors to that Review have no faith in Christianity at all, no regard for its institutions, nor respect enough for its worship to induce them to pass the threshold of a church once in twenty years. But would such persons be authorized to avail themselves of the access afforded them, under the name and sanction of American reviewers, into hundreds of Christian families, to attack the authority of our religion, or to asperse its doctrines and institutions? Assuredly not. And yet they might with too much truth affirm, that many of their readers coincide with their views. Or were they to appear as the open advocates of Unitarianism, the same justification might be offered. In either case, however, it is acknowledged that they would violate their contract with the public, by appearing in a different light from that in which their prospectus and general object present them. We are utterly at a loss to discern how they can justify themselves for having, in the article under review, assailed opinions which they know to be held