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hour of trial comes, we shall of course be equally alive to the same impressions of propriety, and easily capable of assuming to ourselves a port at once so dignified and pious.
As for myself, sir, I am free to confess that I appear before you with feelings strong and highly mingled-feelings most dissonant, and in many respects, probably, of no ordinary kind. Appealing to your tribunal from a sentence of my Presbytery, of the merits and motives of which you only are to be the judge, I should not be acting honestly were I to disclaim, with an apostle, all intention of bringing charges against “the children of my people," all disposition to advert to the colour of their deeds. It was a supremacy of virtue, of high and hallowed feeling, to which I yield the homage of my lowliest reverence, but fairly to copy which I should strive in vain. “ The spirit of a man,” we are told, “ will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” This is not the first nor even the second prosecution which I have in some shape sustained before the Presbytery of Kentucky. Of these I will only take the liberty of saying, that the process was in either case vexatious, and the decision most unfair. These have been permitted to stand upon the records unimpeached before the higher tribunals of the church, because I prefer quiet to irritation, harmony to strife. And prone as are the churches to foster by such process the most unhallowed and destructive passions of our nature, I hold it to be the duty of every christian man to make many sacrifices both of comfort and of fame, before he endangers either by process or appeal, even in vindication of hio unquoationablo rights, that little residue of harmony and union which the selfishness and pride and passion of our nature have yet left with the church of God. For this reason I had borne with these blots on my escutcheon; I had permitted the record of my shame as an evil doer to be handed down in your archives to men of other times; rather than that the hope of future harmony should perish, by complaining to a court which I know would have done me right. I looked, and yet look forward to the second appearing of the great God our Saviour: I said that in the day when the hidden things of darkness shall be brought to light, and when in the sight of congregated millions judgment shall go forth unto righteousness, Jesus Christ will reverse the unjust
decision-Jesus Christ will unfold to every eye the manner and the motive of my deeds. Till then, for his sake and for his people's sake, I will bear this partial shame - These, Moderator, are words of “ truth and soberness.” The facts of which I speak will not be brought before you on the present trial. With me they would have slept in deep forgetfulness; for the cause on which I enter is by far too high and hallowed to require or indeed to admit of such extraneous aid. And strong as I feel in the justice of this cause, honoured as I am in being called to suffer for it, I would not wilt the laurels of the Saviour by the introduction of an argument, however strong its grasp, that might even bear the semblance of a source other than himself. But there is a cause now awaiting the decision of this Synod, in which justice to an individual and to the church of God imperatively calls for a full exposition of the character and conduct of the Presbytery of Kentucky. In that case you will be compelled to attend to all the truth. Under these circumstances I now allude to it, as serving to explain to you why I cannot consent to notice the present attitude of that Presbytery with a temper so conciliatory and in a language so lenient, as your cooler feelings may incline you to demand. I will consent, sir, during the agitation of the present controversy, to leave them and their proceedings as much as may be out of sight. And I will even acknowledge that, seeing an effort must be made, seeing controversy must be agitated, I feel full well disposed to pass them over in their lowliness and to pounce a nobler quarry. But still, they can prefer no claim to such indulgence. And since forbearance has failed to conciliate them to harmony, since forgetfulness of injury has emboldened to higher darings; no man may claim indulgence for them: none need be surprised if after process upon process, decision on decision, conflict succeeding conflict, the very semblance of forbearance is at length laid aside, and they are assaulted on your floor as by the spirit of the whirlwind.
And yet I rejoice, both for their sake and my own, that the cause involves questions of such high and awful bearing as do not well consort with much indulgence of indignant feeling. For Setting aside those points on which charges have been framed through misconception strangely and strongly persevered in, there are others, one at least, of very high importance, in which they have only acted up to the views and sentiments of myriads whose names maintain a just renown. Whether it is my happiness or unhappiness to have differed from them in this particular point, it belongs to none of us too resolutely to say. I. may, however, be permitted to remark that I have long and carefully surveyed the ground I stand on; and every new survey has added new conviction that it is tenable, that it is firm. “ For the hope of Israel”. then--for the hope of all the world, I stand arraigned before you. And that hope, I trust I shall be enabled to defend with something of the meekness and singleness of heart appropriate to a cause so high and hallowed, and worthy the discharge of so honourable a trust.
From the papers heretofore submitted to your inspection, you must have already seen that the grounds of actual difference are few and very plain. And I should be the gainer, you would be the gainer, the interests of truth would reap important gain, were it possible to restrict the range of our inquiry to the limits there defined. But your libel embraces matters of very various character, and presents then to you in knots which it will be hard to disentangle. In fact never was a paper judgment; if the object were only to perplex and to mislead. Never was paper worded more unhappily; if the intention was to exhibit a just statement of the case. You will find one principle, single and unembarrassed as exhibited in thc essay, worked up into charges of many a varying aspect, distinct in their nature, diverse in their bearings, and having every thing like out-line defined with fearful strength. In other cases you will discover such a masterly grouping of discordant ideas, such a delicate blending of the correct with the erroneous, such an artful disposition of things right and wrong, that the best furnished mind must be put to a stand before it will venture to pronounce any judgment on the several propositions, even as they are prepared to be by you anathematized and discariled. Much more then do they call for narrowest inspection, before such a mind can so view them in their parts, as to decide how far, and in what respects alone, they faithfully exhibit the opinions of the book. For my own part I will acknowledge that when first I heard the articles of
this libel read, it was with such a feeling of perplexity and astonishment as cannot be well described. I saw that many of the propositions it contains strongly resembled in various respects the language and spirit of the book. But yet I felt that these were not my views. I felt that there was a fallacy most success, fully practised; but I knew not where to seek it, or how to compass its detection. I felt, in one word, sir, as if my feet were in the mesh, completely in the mesh; and I imagine there were few who heard these articles read, that did not feet and think about them pretty much as I did.
But fallacy, though an imposing, is still a feeble web. it was not long ere I discovered how easy it is to rend, without being at the trouble to unravel it. Nevertheless, unravel it I can. And if this Synod chose to be at the trouble of attending on me while engaged in a task so tedious and unprofitable, I will cheer. fully go through with it article by article, sentence by sentence. But I hope to be spared the labour of so inglorious an achievement. I hope that the papers already submitted to your inspection, and the light which may be reflected by this cursory view, will enable you to discriminate with perfect satisfaction between the views imputed to me and those I really hold; and will dispose you to forestall all needless skirmishing by entering at once on the merits of the case
In this hope, I will confine my remarks within a compass much narrower than that which it may be found necessary to take hereafter, provided the Synod do not enter into my meaning. Suffer me then to group the articles of the ļibel, with a reference to the ground taken in the appeal before you. It arranges
thena under three classes.
1. Such as, though condemned by the Presbytery of Kentucky, will be admitted by this Synod, and have been heretoforé admitted to be agreeable to your standards, and to the word of God.
2. Such as are falsely imputed to the essay.
3. Such as are founded on the word of God, but assumed to be at variance with the confession of your faith.
You are not, however, to suppose that this arrangement so distinctly embraces the various counts of the libel, that each one of them will fall distinctly and exclusively under some one of these three classes. I have already warned you, that the charges are drawn up with unexampled art. There is such a mixture of fact with falsehood, of something right with something wrong, in almost every article, that very
few of them are to be wholly rejected; and, perhaps, still fewer wholly sustained.
You will have seen from the papers now in your possession, that it is in most cases impossible to give an answer to the second class of charges, without at the same time discanting on the last, I mean, those which relate to the new exposition of the federal principle: because it is from a misapprehension or misstatement of my views on the last named article, that the second class of charges principally take their rise.
I wish to put the issue of this controversy entirely on the merits of the case. Under this view it will subserve a good purpose, to notice briefly, and then dismiss entirely, the various articles which, though embraced in the libel, are also acknowledged by the standards of this church. These principally relate to the doctrine of communion, and to matters connected with that doctrine, On the merits of these questions I have not one word to say. The questions themselves have been pending for years before this court. And till you have had a decision of the controversy in its general form, you cannot possibly enter up a judgment in this particular case. If, indeed, this court think otherwise--if they are disposed to countenance the Presbytery of Kentucky in seizing on such grounds of process as have never been called matters of legitimate complaint-if I am to be pursued for writing and publishing things similar to those which have been so often spoken, and spoken with impunity, on this very floor-why then, sir, I am not only willing, I shall be glad to meet the Synod on this ground. But I am not prepared to think that a court which has hesitated for six long years to decide upon the principle, that a court which is known to have suspended its decision till the industry and talents of a champion in this cause should have prepared and published for the information of the churches, all that his genius might elicit or his researches bring to light-- I cannot suppose that such a court, thus sanctioning as lawful, these written controversials, will have the temerity to proceed against any hapless wight, merely because, without