Images de page
PDF
ePub

practice of privately instilling prejudices, some of them of the most cruel kind, against Mr. Ballou; and boasted that he had got to come down.' He had likewise pursued the same practice in his conversation with the members of his society in Charlton, till it had become a subject of very general complaint among them.

“Ever since that convention, he has, both in conversation with the ministers and in letters to them, confidently declared that there would be a separation of the convention. Of himself and his associates, he has said, that they do not think that a union ought to be maintained, or can be justified, between two so opposite theories as are professed by the members of the convention. [Mark this, reader; for they, in the Appeal, pretend to have labored for union.] He has almost uniformly maintained that the doctrine of no future punishment tends to immorality; and that the professed believers of it are, in general, infidels. The following is only a specimen of his representations: Returning from Boston, he stopped at Mr. Nathaniel Whittemore's, in Lancaster. Mr. Whittemore asked him, 'What news?' to which he replied, 'Bad news, bad news, Br. Whittemore: really sorry!' 'What is it?' rejoined Mr. Whittemore. Mr. Wood answered, Nine-tenths of Br. Ballou's society are infidels,

-I am

-I am really sorry.' As to his common practice of talking against Mr. Ballou, it may be well understood by considering the fact that he has repeatedly declared to the ministers that it is his design and determination to lessen Mr. Ballou in the public esteem; and the societies where he has preached can bear him testimony, that he has showed himself in earnest in the prosecution of that design.

"When we consider all these facts,—the part that Mr. Wood has acted with the knowledge, and, often, coöperation of Messrs. Turner and Dean,- and the course that Messrs. Turner and Dean themselves have pursued, though not so openly,—we stand in utter astonishment at the falsehood of the Appeal. Have they endeavored to preserve union? Are we the authors of the threatening separation? Why, Mr. Wood himself has voluntarily and deliberately stated that he knew ENVY to be the cause of the

threatened schism!

[ocr errors]

Br. B. Whittemore had asked him the cause of Messrs. Turner and Dean's opposition to Mr. Ballou. Br. Whittemore,' said Mr. Wood, in answer, I know human nature so well as to know that envy is the cause of the impending schism.' He likewise told one of the editors that he had no doubt that the opposition of Messrs. Turner and Dean was caused by envy towards Mr. Ballou.

"Mr. Dean has reported, secretly, that Mr. Ballou retained nothing of Christianity but the name; and has talked against him in such a manner, to some of the brethren, that they have told Mr. Ballou they never should repeat the conversation, nor tell him what it was, unless they saw him in real danger from it. About two years ago, Mr. Turner intimated an unwillingness to proceed on in harmony; for, said he, then there would be nobody but Ballou.'"'*

Such were some of the leading facts in the reply. It produced a stunning effect. The brethren who had published the "Appeal" and "Declaration," made no further movement for some time. No rejoinder to the reply of the editors was attempted, and it seems to have had the force of demonstration among the people. The only thing in which Mr. Ballou had done wrong, if it was wrong, was in defending what he honestly believed to be the doctrine of retribution, as taught in the Scriptures. He had not sought division, but peace. He saw no reason why Universalists might not go on in harmony, although they differed somewhat on the subject of punishment. If he defended his opinions, they had the same

* The original reply of the editors of the Universalist Magazine to the "Appeal" and "Declaration" will be found in the fourth volume of that paper, pp. 125-127. It was prepared and written by Rev. H. Ballou, 2d, and was signed by the three, Hosea Ballou, Hosea Ballou, 2d, and Thomas Whittemore.

+ He said, two or three years after this: "Suppose a whole family is

right and opportunity to defend theirs; and the public could judge which was in the right. He felt deeply wounded, especially at the defection of Mr. Turner, whom he had known and loved so long. He resolved to be faithful to the cause of truth,- to do his duty to the utmost of his ability, and leave the consequences to God.

[ocr errors]

SECTION XIII.- THE CONSEQUENCES.

It is painful to look at the consequences that followed these publications. Brethren who had heretofore stood high, found that their influence was greatly impaired. Mr. Wood soon left the society of which he was pastor;

on a journey, from New England to the western country, where the provident father has vested a large sum in landed estate, where he purposes to settle for the remainder of his life. He has provided comfortable means and eligible accommodations for his whole family on their journey, and their prospects justify every rational gratification of hope. But among the children, who are ignorant of the country whither they are bound, and of the distance they must travel to reach it, some difference of conjecture arises. One thinks it will require six months to perform the journey; another is fully persuaded that they shall all be safe at their home in three months; there are also different opinions among them respecting the country through which they are to pass. Some have formed a notion that they must encounter very rough and fatiguing way, others think the road is more smooth and comfortable; but they all agree that in due time, having passed all which was necessary, they shall arrive at their destined, happy home. Would it not be unwise for these children to indulge a bitter spirit toward each other on account of these various notions? Would it not be the very height of folly, and even perverseness, for these children to refuse to travel together on their journey, because they entertained these different opinions? Let the children be quiet and love one another, trust all their concerns to the wisdom and providence of the parent, who impartially regards them, and who will bear them company, and bring them safely home.”—Universalist Magazine, volume vII. 139, 140.

and, after obtaining one or two subsequent settlements, abandoned the ministry altogether. He was less malicious than ambitious. Mr. Turner had stood very high in the public respect; and the society of which he was pastor, was one of the largest and most respectable of the Universalist societies. From this time his influence was broken. He made an ineffectual attempt to restore it, by a sermon subsequently published, from the words, "Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence, which I make now unto you," Acts 22: 1. A majority of the society became dissatisfied, and, after a brief lapse of time, he removed to Portsmouth, N. H., to supply the vacancy which had been made by the removal of Rev. S. Streeter to Boston. Messrs. Levi Briggs and Barzillai Streeter soon left the ministry, as did also Mr. Hudson, a few years later, who went into political life. It remains for us to speak only of Mr. Dean. He had been settled in a new and beautiful church in Bulfinch-street, in Boston. The society kept along for years, but dwindled gradually, until, by his consent, it went into the hands of Unitarians, and his connection with it was dissolved. He entered the last-named sect as a preacher. Mr. Ballou never harbored a particle of ill-will towards these men. He would often speak of them with great affection; and when he referred to his intercourse with some of them in early days, it was difficult for him to refrain from tears. His influence in his own society, and among the Universalists at large, was not abated, nor did it abate to the day of his death. Having thus taken a glance into the future, we will return to the regular course of the narrative.

[ocr errors]

SECTION XIV.-ORDINATIONS, ETC., IN 1823.

It was with much satisfaction Mr. Ballou learned, at the very beginning of 1823, that the Universalists of New York were zealously engaged in the formation of a new society, and contemplated the erection of another house of worship. His visit to the city had evidently inspirited them to this, although he probably gave no direct advice to that end. He took little part in advising the brethren when they should form societies, or build meeting-houses; his great object was, in all his labors, to edify men in Christian truth. When we say, therefore, that his visit to New York inspirited the brethren to make the efforts we have described, we do not mean that he was a schemer, forming plans for the action of others; but it was done in no other way than in bringing them to feel the power of the truth as it is in Jesus. The cornerstone of the edifice referred to was laid July 10th.

In February, he made a journey to Vermont, to attend the dedication of the new Universalist house of worship at Hartland. His old friends gathered together, in scores and hundreds, to see him again. The services took place on the fifth of the month; the day was remarkably fine, and the congregation overwhelmingly numerous. The services were performed by Revs. Lemuel Willis, Robert Bartlett, Dolphus Skinner, and Hosea Ballou, the latter preaching the sermon.

The ordination of Rev. Benjamin Whittemore, as pastor of the Universalist society at West Scituate, Mass., took place on Wednesday, 21st May. Mr. Ballou

« PrécédentContinuer »