Images de page
PDF
ePub

to God, reigning throughout his boundless dominions, and rejoicing in their joy, the world of misery shrinks to a point, and the wailings of the damned die away and are lost in the song of praise."

After Dr. Beecher, came Emerson, in his work on the Millennium, who said that, although we are not to suppose that Satan is to be destroyed, as a serpent is destroyed, by crushing his head,* yet it does not look like bruising the serpent's head to have a great part of mankind go to destruction. "If the greater part of the human race are to be lost," said he, "by the cunning craftiness of Satan, would that look like bruising his head? To me it would seem far otherwise." We shall dwell but a moment on this topic. From this time, the features of the so-called Orthodoxy were more and more changed. A favorite figure used by Mr. Ballou, to show the effect of Universalism in bringing that system of worldly wisdom into discredit, was that of the power of the ark of the Lord over Dagon, the idol of the Philistines. In one of the battles between the Philistines and Israel, the former had taken the ark of the Lord, the seat of the divine presence, in the camp of Israel. "And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Eben-ezer unto Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the

* This, however, was the very figure of the sacred penman. See Gen. 3 15.

† See "Lectures on the Millennium, by Joseph Emerson. 2d edition. Boston 1830." pp. 10, 11.

Lord. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him."-1 Sam. 5: 1-4. Dagon became essentially changed by the power of the divine presence. When men bring truth and error into contact, the latter must fall. Mr. Ballou said, if the idol Calvinism continued to be mutilated, it could not be many years before only "the stump" of Calvinism "would be left to him."

CHAPTER XIII.

REMOVAL OF REV. S. STREETER TO BOSTON; EARLY VIEWS OF TEMPERANCE; JOURNEY TO VERMONT; TO WATERTOWN, N. Y.; SUBJECTS WHICH MR. B. MADE PROMINENT AT THIS TIME.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

EARLY in 1824, Rev. Sebastian Streeter, then of Portsmouth, N. H., received and accepted an invitation to take the pastoral care of the First Universalist Society, in Boston. Rev. Mr. Dean had followed a portion of his society to Bulfinch-street, in this city, where a new meeting-house had been built. It was a matter of great satisfaction to Mr. Ballou to have his faithful friend and fellow-laborer from Portsmouth remove so near to him; for, since the coldness of others had been manifested so painfully, Christian sympathy had become doubly precious to him. Mr. Streeter was inducted into office in Boston on Thursday, 13th of May. His brother Rev. Barzillai Streeter, of Salem, offered the introductory prayer, and his brother Rev. Russell Streeter, of Portland, preached the sermon, from 2 Cor. 3: 6. The installing prayer

was offered by Rev. H. Ballou, 2nd, of Roxbury; the charge was by Rev. Thomas Jones, of Gloucester; the fellowship by Rev. H. Ballou, of Boston; and the concluding prayer by Rev. Edward Turner, then of Portsmouth. Mr. Dean took no part, although he had been the late pastor of the First Society. Rev. Edward Turner had removed from Charlestown, where he once stood a monument of glory to the Universalist denomination; but the difficulties in which he had been engaged, in respect to Mr. Ballou, had impaired his influence. Many were the tears that were shed when he left that town. He had been loved, cherished, honored, there.

[ocr errors]

SECTION II.- MR. BALLOU ON TEMPERANCE.

At this early day, Mr. Ballou raised his voice in favor of the cause of Temperance. As an individual, he was temperate in all things." In food, in drink, in labor, in dress, in all the habits of his life, he was free from excess. The writer can remember the time when Mr. B. used intoxicating drinks; but it was at the time when almost everybody used them, and when the melancholy spectacle was sometimes seen of a clergyman overheated with alcoholic fire on the Sabbath day. Mr. B., even then, used such drinks very sparingly; for at no time, after we knew his habits [1820], would he drink more than a half-gill of spirit in twenty-four hours. He became convinced, as early as 1824, that the use of intoxicating drinks was wrong. This was before the temperance reformation arose. The American Temper

ance Society was formed in 1826. In the same year,

Rev. Wm. Collier commenced the publication of the National Philanthropist, and this was the beginning of the temperance reform in the United States. Dr. Lyman Beecher's sermons on the nature, signs, evils and remedy of intemperance, did not appear until 1827. Mr. Ballou did not enter the field as a lecturer on temperance, nor did he produce any book expressly on this subject; but the matter was in his thoughts, and he was not fearful to publish his opinions. We recollect an article of his which appeared in August, 1824, entitled "American Condemnation : "

"Reader, you startle at the title which heads this communication, and, perhaps, feel inclined to ask, What poor, bewildered soul can be so ignorant concerning the glory and prosperity of our country, the peace and happiness of society in general, and, more than all, the excellency of our moral and religious improvement, as to speak of our condemnation? I own that our country is justly celebrated for its political, civil, religious and literary institutions; for the prosperity, peace and happiness, of society in general; and yet, after all, I have to mourn the deplorable iniquity for which we, as a people, stand condemned at the bar of moral adjudication. One deadly vice, one damning sin, lies at our door! I mean the vice of intemperance."

Mr. Ballou introduced the temperate drinker and the vendor of ardent spirits as justifying himself in the following manner :

"Yes, yes, the vice of intemperance, says the temperate drinker, that is a very great evil in society; but, thank God, I am clear. Notwithstanding I deal largely in all sorts of ardent spirit, yet it is but seldom I use any myself; those who use it to excess are alone accountable for the offence; they alone must suffer the consequences of the crime; I am clear. And now stand forth a vast

« PrécédentContinuer »