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Extract of a Letter from a Jolember of the Mission Family, destined to the Great Osages of Missouri, to a Gentleman in Philadelphia, dated June 5, 1821. “We are now at St. Louis, and expect to start from this to-morrow morning.— But one of our number sick (Miss Weller), and she is fast recovering, we trust. Things, as yet, appear encouraging, except the prospect of an Indian war, which, it is thought by governor Clark, will involve the Great Osages, as well as the Osages of the Arkansaw. Perhaps the great adversary of souls is, in this way, come down with great wrath, determined to prevent, if possible, the good to be derived from these missions to the poor Indians. But I trust his counsels will be crossed, and that he will be foiled by his own weapons, and be agonized by seeing floo out of this evil. The way of the Lord may be preparing by means which, to us, might seem least likely to produce the effect; while, in ignorance, we might be ready to say all these things are against us, a better knowledge of things might show that they are for us.”
“Now, what we call upon you to mark, is the perfect identity of principle between this case of making a brother to offend, and another case which obtains, we have heard, to a very great extent among the most genteel and opulent of our city families. In this case, you put a lie into the mouth of a dependent, and that, for the purpose of protecting your substance from such an application as might expose it to hazard or diminution. In the second case, you put a lie into the mouth of a dependent, and that, for the purpose of protecting your time from such an encroachment as you would not feel to be convenient or agreeable. And, in both cases, you are led to hold out this offence by a certain dclicacy of temperament, in virtue of which, you can neither give a man plainiy to understand, that you are not wiłłing to trust to him, nor can you give him to understand that you count his company to be an interruption. But, in both the one and the other example, look to the little account that is made of a brother’s or of a sister's eternity; behold the guilty task that is thus unmercifully laid upon one who is shortly to appear before the judgment seat of Christ; think of the entanglement which
is thus made to beset the path of a creature who is unperishable. That, at the shrine of Mammon, such a bloody sacrifice should be rendered by some of his unrelenting votaries, is not to be wondered at; but that the shrine of elegance and fashion should be bathed in blood— that soft and sentimental ladyship should put forth her hand to such an enormity— that she who can sigh so gently, and shed her graceful tear over the sufferings of others, should thus be accessary to the second and more awful death of her own domestics—that one who looks the mildest and the loveliest of human beings, should exact obedience to a mandate which carries wrath, and tribulation, and anguish, in its train–O! how it should confirm every Christian in his defiance to the authority of fashion, and lead him to spurn at all its folly, and at all its worthlessness. “And it is quite in vain to say, that the servant whom you thus employ as the deputy of your falsehood, can possibly execute the commission without the conscience being at all tainted or defiled by
it; that a simple cottage maid can so so
phisticate the matter, as, without any violence to her original principles, to utter the language of what she assuredly knows to be a downright lie; that she, humble and untutored soul, can sustain no injury when thus made to tamper with the plain English of these realms; that she can at all satisfy herself, how, by the prescribed utterance of “not at home,” she is not pronouncing such words as are substantially untrue, but merely using them in another and perfectly understood meaning—and which, according to their modern translation, denote, that the person of whom she is thus speaking, instead of being away from home, is secretly lurking in one of the most secure and intimate receptacles. You may try to darken and transform this piece of casuistry as you will; and work up your own minds
into the peaceable conviction that it is all
right, and as it should be. But be very certain, that where the moral sense of your domestic is not already overthrown, there is, at least, one bosom within which you have raised a war of doubts and of difficulties; and where, if the victory be on your side, it will be on the side of him who is the great enemy of righteousness. There is, at least, one person along the line of this conveyance of deceit, who condemneth herself in that which she alloweth; who, in the language of Paul, esteeming the practice to be unclean, to her will it be unclean; who will perform her task with the offence of her own conscience, and to whom, therefore, it will indeed be evil: who cannot render obedience in this matter to her earthly
superior, but by an act, in which she does not stand clear and unconscious of guilt before God; and with whom, therefore, the sad consequence of what we can call nothing else than a barbarous combination against the principles and the prospects of the lower orders, is—that as she has not cleaved fully unto the Lord, and has not kept by the service of the one Master, and has not forsaken all at his bidding, she cannot be the disciple of Christ.” “And let us just ask a master or a mistress, who can thus make free with the moral principle of their servants in one instance, how they can look for pure or correct principle from them in other instances What right have they to complain of unfaithfulness against themselves, who have deliberately seduced another into a habit of unfaithfulness against God? Are they so utterly unskilled in the mysteries of our nature, as not to perceive, that if a man gather hardihood enough to break the Sabbath in opposition to his own conscience, this very hardihood will avail him to the breaking of other obligations that he whom, for their advantage, they have so exercised, as to fill his conscience with offence towards his God, will not scruple, for his own advantage, so to exercise himself, as to fill his conscience with offence towards his master? that the servant whom you have taught to lie, has gotten such rudiments of education at your hand, as that, without any further help, he can now teach himself to purloin and yet nothing more frequent than loud and angry complaints against the treachery of servants; as if, in the general wreck of their other principles, a principle of consideration for the good and interest of their employer—and who, at the same time, has been their seducer —was to survive in all its power, and all its sensibility. It is just such a retribution as was to be looked for. It is a recoil upon their own heads of the mischief which they themselves have originated.
It is the temporal part of the punishment
which they have to bear for the sin of our text, but not the whole of it; for better for them that both person and property were cast into the sea, than that they should stand the reckoning of that day, when called to give an account of the souls that they have murdered, and the blood of so mighty a destruction is required at their hands. “The evil against which we have just protested, is an outrage of far greater enormity than tyrant or oppressor can inflict, in the prosecution of his worst designs against the political rights and liberties of the commonwealth. The very semblance of such designs will summon every patriot to his post of observation; and, from a thousand watch-towers of
alarm, will the outcry of freedom in danger be heard throughout the land. But there is a conspiracy of a far more malignant influence upon the destinies of the species that is now going on; and which seems to call forth no indignant spirit, and to bring no generous exclamation along with it. Throughout all the recesses of private and domestic history, there is an ascendency of rank and station against which no stern republican is ever heard to lift his voice—though it be an ascendency, so exercised, as to be of most noxious operation to the dearest hopes and best interests of humanity. There is a cruel combination of the great against the majesty of the people—we mean the majesty of the people’s worth. There is a haughty unconcern about an inheritance, which, by an unalienable right, should be theirs—we mean their future and everlasting inheritance. There is a deadly invasion made on their rights— we mean their rights of conscience; and, in this our land of boasted privileges, are the low trampled upon by the high—we mean trampled into all the degradation of guilt and of worthlessness. They are utterly bereft of that homage which ought to be rendered to the dignity of their immortal nature; and to minister to the avarice of an imperious master, or to spare the sickly delicacy of the fashionables in our land, are the truth and the piety of our population, and all the virtues of their eternity, most unfeelingly plucked away from them. It belongs to others to fight the battle of their privileges in time. But who that looks with a calculating eye on their duration that never ends, can repress an alarm of a higher order It belongs to others generously to struggle for the place and the adjustment of the lower orders in the great vessel of the state. But, surely, the question of their place in eternity is of mightier concern, than how they are to sit and be accommodated in that pathway vehicle which takes them to their everlasting habitations. “Christianity is, in one sense, the greatest of all levellers. Ut looks to the elements, and not the circumstantials of humanity; and regarding as altogether superficial and temporary the distinctions of this fleeting pilgrimage, it fastens on those points of assimilation which liken the king upon the throne to the very humblest of his subject population.— They are alike in the nakedness of their birth. They are alike in the sureness of their decay. They are alike in the agonies of their dissolution. And after the one is tombed in sepulchral magnificence, and the other is laid in his sod-wrapt grave, are they most fearfully alike in the corruption to which they moulder. But it is with the immortal nature of each that Christianity has to do; and, in both the one and the other, does it behold a nature alike forfeited by guilt, and alike capable of being restored by the grace of an offered salvation. And never do the pomp and the circumstance of externals appear more humiliating, than when, looking onwards to the day of resurrection, we behold the sovereign standing without his crown, and trembling, with the subject by his side at the bar of heaven’s majesty. There the master and the servant will be brought to their reckoning together; and when the one is tried upon the guilt and the malignant influence of his Sabbath companies—and is charged with the profane and careless habit of his household establishment—and is reminded how he kept both himself and his domestics from the solemn ordinance—and is made to perceive the fearful extent of the moral and spiritual mischief which he has wrought as the irreligious head of an irreligious family—and how, among other things he, under a system of fashionable hypocrisy, so tampered with another's principles as to defile his conscience, and to destroy him—O' how tremendously will the little brief authority in which he now plays his fantastic tricks, turn to his own condemnation; for, than thus abuse his authority, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. “And how comes it, we ask, that any master is armed with a power so destructive over the immortals who are around him God has given him no such power. The state has not given it to him. There is no law, either human or divine, by which he can enforce any order upon his servants to an act of falsehood, or to an act of impiety. Should any such act of authority be attempted on the part of the master, it should be followed up on the part of the servant by an act of disobedience. Should your master or mistress bid you say not at home, when you know that they are at home, it is your duty to refuse compliance with such an order: and if it be asked, how can this matter be adjusted after such a violent and alarming innovation on the laws of fashionable intercourse, we answer, just by the simple substitution of truth for falsehood—just by prescribing the utterance of, engaged, which is a fact, instead of the utterance of, not at home, which is a lie—just by holding the principles of your servant to be of higher account than the false delicacies of your acquaintance—just by a bold and vigorous recurrence to the simplicity of nature—just by determinedly doing what is right, though the example of a whole host were against you; and by giving impulse to the current of example, when it happens to be moving in a proper direction. And here we are happy
| to say, that fashion has of late been
making a capricious and accidental movement on the side of principle—and to be blunt, and open, and manly, is now the fair way to be fashionable—and a temper of homelier quality is beginning to infuse itself into the luxuriousness, and the effeminacy, and the palling and excessive complaisance of genteel society—and the staple of cultivated manners is improving in firmness, and frankness, and honesty, and may, at length, by the aid of a principle of Christian rectitude, be so interwoven with the cardinal virtues, as to present a different texture altogether from the soft and the silken degeneracy of modern days.
“And that we may not appear the champions of an insurrection against the authority of masters, let us further say, that while it is the duty of clerk or apprentice to refuse the doing of week day work on the Sabbath, and while it is the duty of servants to refuse the utterance of a prescribed falsehood, and while it is the duty of every dependent, in the service of his master, to serve him only in the Lord—yet this very principle, tending as it may to a rare and occasional act of disobedience, is also the principle which renders every servant who adheres to it a perfect treasure of fidelity, and attachment, and general obedience. This is the way in which to obtain a credit for his refusal, and to stamp upon it a noble consistency. In this way he will, even to the mind of an ungodly master, make up for all his particularities: and should he be what, if a Christian, he will be ; should he be, at all times, the most alert in service, and the most patient of provocation, and the most cordial in affection, and the most scrupulously honest in the charge and custody of all that is committed to him—then let the post of drudgery at which he toils be humble as it may, the contrast between the meanness of his of. fice and the dignity of his character, will only heighten the reverence that is due to principle, and make it more illustrious. His scruples may, at first, be the topics of displeasure, and afterwards the topics of occasional levity; but, in spite of himself, will his employer be at length constrained to look upon them with respectful toleration. The servant will be to the master a living epistle of Christ, and he may read there what he has not yet perceived in the letter of the New Testament. He may read, in the person of his own domestic, the power and the truth of Christianity. He may positively stand in awe of his own hired servant—and, regarding his bosom as a sanctuary of worth which it were monstrous to violate, will he feel, when tempted to offer one command of impiety, that he cannot, that he dare not.” o
From the view I have given of the church and her ordinances in my last letter, you will have perceived, that I do not consider circumcision and baptism as primarily designed for the purpose of building up believers in holiness; but as ordinances designed for the conversion of sinners of a certain character. My view of the subject is briefly this :—When a Gentile, or Jew not circumcised, was morally persuaded that Jehovah was the true God—that the ordinances delivered by him to Moses were the only true means of grace, and mediums of acceptable worship—that it was the command of God, and his duty and privilege to attend on these means that he might obtain grace; and under this impression attended with diligence on these means for this important purpose; then he was by circumcision to be planted in the church of God, and his children with him; and when he, or o brought forth the fruit of a living faith, then, circumcision was to him or them as
to Abraham of old, “a seal of their interest in the righteousness of faith.” And by parity of reasoning, when a careless or profligate sinner, a heathen, or infidel, under the present dispensation, is morally convinced that he is a lost and perishing sinner—that Jesus is the only Saviour of sinners—that in order to obtain an interest in his atoning blood, and the regenerating influences of his spirit, it is the command of God, and his duty and privilege to attend on the means of grace appointed by Christ, and diligently attends on these means for this purpose, then that person is to be planted by baptism in the church of God also, and his minor offspring with him; and when he or they bring forth the fruit of a justifying faith, baptism is to them also, a seal of their interest in the righteousness of faith; and they have, moreover, a right to the ordinance of the supper, designed to build up believers in holiness, and to strengthen them in their journey through this world to Immanuel's fair land. I have no doubt, that every Baptist, and some Paedobaptists, are now ready to assail me, and say, does not one apostle say that “without faith it is impossible to please God ;” and another, that “faith without works,” or a speculative faith, “is dead:” and will you sa that such a faith, though o with a conviction of sin, entitles a person to admittance into the church of God? To this I reply. that I believe as firmly as any of 2 U.
you, that there is no work really ood that does not proceed from a #. faith—that without it there can be no acceptable approach to the table of the Lord ; and that without it, no adult person can be saved: but it does not follow that a speculative faith, accompanied with a deep sense of guilt, may not, by divine appointment, answer the end of a qualification for admittance into the visible church. We do not differ about the importance and neces. sity of a living faith; our difference is concerning the nature and design of the church. You consider it as designed for the reception of regenerated persons only: I consider it as designed not only for the reception of such, but as primarily designed for the regeneration of sinners of a certain character through baptism, as the appointed mean. A speculative faith and sense of guilt, in adults, is necessary, in the nature of things, for this purpose. Considered abstractly, they are not evil exercises of mind, in themselves, and answer a valuable purpose as far as they go; for you will grant that it is exceedingly wicked not to believe that there is a God, and that Christ is the Son of God; and not
to be sensible of our miserable situ
ation as guilty and morally polluted sinners. Now that this faith and this feeling entitles adults to admittance into the church by baptism, I hope to make appear from an examination of the terms of admittance into it, both under the former, and present dispensations of grace. For this purpose I would now observe, that when it pleased God that the church should assume a more visible and compact form in the days of Abraham, he expressly commanded that not only that distinfollo patriarch himself, “with all is seed,” but that all born in his house, or bought with his money of any strangers, should be introduced into the church by circumcision, declaring at the same time, “that the man-child, the flesh of whose fore
skin was not circumcised, should be cut off from the people of God;” or should not be considered as belonging to his church. I would now ask my Paedobaptist readers, who believe with Stephen, that “Moses was in the church in the wilderness,” if you can believe that all these, with all their countless offspring, to the coming of the Messiah, were true believers. But the command was given by God, who knew the heart and could not be deceived. There is no way of accounting for this matter, but by admitting that circumcision was appointed as a mean for producing “the circumcision of the heart.” And, indeed, this view of the subject perfectly corresponds with what Jehovah himself says of his vineyard, or his church,in the 5th chapter of Isaiah, already alluded to. “My beloved had a vineyard in a very fruitful hill; and he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a wine-press therein. And he looked that it should bring forth grapes.” Whatever difference of opinion there may be about the meaning of the fencing, gathering out the stones, the tower, and the wine-press; one thing is incontestable, that all this care and apparatus was, that the vine planted therein should bring Our blessed Lord’s parable of the vineyard, in the 13th chapter of Luke, corresponds also with this view of the church under that dispensation, and is almost a copy of the foregoing allegory. “A certain man,” says he, “had a figtree planted in his vineyard, and he came, and sought fruit thereon, but found none. Then said he to the dresser of the vineyard; behold these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none: cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground. And he answering, said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, until I dig about it, and dung it. And if it bear fruit well ;