Images de page

multitude of respectable citizens, and plead entire innocence in respect to the sin which has been named; and, casting their eyes at a poor, miserable group of idle, dissipated wretches, whom they spurn from their company, exclaim, 'These are the guilty;' On them let the condemnation fall; At their doors let the iniquity lie.'"

Mr. B. took the ground that the vendor was guilty, as well as the consumer. "Let us," said he, "examine into the case, and comprehend the relation in which those who protest their innocence stand to the vice under consideration."

"If the parent of a numerous family, who is vastly rich, who has a large estate for each of his children, should bring them up in the habit of intemperance, till their appetites became strongly inclined to ardent spirits, and then should sell them as much as their several estates would purchase, and by this means reduce them all to entire poverty, and their health, their strength and their mental powers, to utter ruin, could he, in strict moral propriety, say that he was entirely innocent? Is it said that this parent is himself temperate, that he seldom tastes of ardent spirits, that he has been prudent and saving, has been kind to his children and given them large estates, and that they have been prodigal, intemperate, and have spent the whole, and ruined themselves? No one is so blind as not to see that a most unreasonable avarice in the parent, whose duty obligated him to guard his children against intemperance and every temptation which leads to so deadly a vice, was the cause of parental neglect, and of the ruin of the wretched children. Now, as parents are to children, so are those who have wisdom and knowledge in society to those who lack these advantages; and they are accountable for the use they make of the whole of their powers and abilities in relation to those who are naturally dependent, and need the wisdom of others to guide them."

Thus Mr. Ballou held the temperate drinker and the

vendor of ardent spirits to be guilty, in part at least, of the wide-spread drunkenness there was in the land. He expostulated with the public in the following strain:

"Finally, we must come to the following queries: Have our laws, our magistrates, our public men, our merchants, parents of families, our ministers of religion, done all that their duty calls them to do in order to check this vice of intemperance? Is there not, in this enlightened age and nation, wisdom enough to devise some means to prevent a vice which renders thousands worse than useless? Is there no better way that can be invented, than to amass wealth and riches by ruining thousands, soul and body, and then maintaining them in charitable institutions? " *

Thus we see that the opinions of Mr. Ballou on the subject of intemperance were sound, and such as have been adopted by the leading friends of temperance since that time.


[ocr errors]


The truth made many triumphs this year. Among Mr. Ballou's travels, all of which it is impossible for us to describe, he went up, in the month of August, into the interior of New Hampshire, to form a new association. The meeting was holden in Deerfield, and the new body was called the "Rockingham Association of Universalists." Besides Mr. Ballou (who was elected moderator), there were Revs. S. Streeter, Dolphus Skinner, Lemuel Willis, Josiah Gilman, Eliphalet Case, jr., and Wm. Bell. The meeting was continued for two days; and Mr. Ballou preached on the afternoon of the second.

*These extracts on the matter of intemperance are from the Universalist Magazine, vol. vi., p. 26.


He went, also, in the same month, to Hartford, Conn., to officiate at the dedication of the new house of worship, which his services had been so instrumental in procuring to be erected; and also at the installation of Rev. John Bisbee. In the performance of these services he was joined by Rev. Messrs. Flagg, of Dana, Mass.; Mitchell, of New York; Pickering, of Providence, R. I.; Dodge, of New London; and T. F. King, then of Norwalk, Conn. On the first day (Wednesday, August 18), the dedication took place. Mr. Mitchell offered the dedicatory prayer, and Mr. Ballou preached from Haggai 2: 6, 7,-"For thus saith the Lord of hosts: Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts." Great harmony prevailed. Mr. B. regarded the original application of his text in the following light:

"The shaking of nations, the convulsions of kingdoms, the confusions and divisions which characterized doctrines and the ministers of religion, at that eventful period when the kingdom of the Redeemer was set up in the world, together with the glory of the gospel day, may be regarded as the fulfilment of the words of the prophet."

But there was a modern application of the prophecy. The desire of all nations, who was promised, was the Messiah. His glory filled the temple. But Christianity

soon became corrupted; and it has become necessary to shake the order of things once more.

"The falling away of the Christian church, the corruptions of its doctrines by the inventions of an ignorant, superstitious priesthood, sanctioned by the authority of synods and councils, having introduced the man of sin into the temple of God, who has for ages been worshipped as God, the glory which Jesus manifested departed, and the darkness of papal errors and abominations has succeeded.

“But the reign of the beast may be said to have come to an end; the true testimony is received, and God is now carrying on the work of shaking earth and heaven, removing those things which are shaken, as things which men have made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. The desire of all nations is advancing to enter the Christian sanctuary, and God is about to fill the same with glory."

He went on to speak of those things which may be shaken, and to show that these are the systems of doctrine which men have invented, and which must be removed. Haggai's words were interpreted, in the epistle to the Hebrews, as follows: "And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain."-12: 27. Under this part of his subject, the preacher went into a consideration of the false doctrines which the wisdom of this world has invented and set up in the holy places of Zion, which, instead of making religion "the desire of all nations," have made it repulsive and painful to the pious and benevolent mind. He spoke of despotic governments as one manifestation of unrighteous authority, and showed the effect which the establishment of our own form of

government had had in shaking the thrones of Europe. And then he came to what he called the " erroneous creeds of Antichrist," and he said he saw before him “a mass of rubbish, whose incoherence produces confusion, in comparison with which the confusion of languages at Babel might seem like harmony." There was scarcely ever a time in which he exposed the errors of Calvinism with more force. In the course of his remarks, on suggesting a caution whether he might not misrepresent the dogmas of that system of worldly wisdom, he said, honestly, that men could not misrepresent it to its disadvantage; that, as it presented to us the most horrid conceptions of the Almighty and his government which it was possible for the human mind to conceive, any misrepresentation could only make it appear better than it was in itself. Thus Mr. Ballou thundered against Calvinism

*His words were: "We are not endeavoring to give these things any false color to represent them as odious; no, any false color would serve to hide their native deformity, and would give them a grace which they do not possess." See "A Sermon Delivered at Hartford, Conn., on Wednesday, August 18th, 1824, at the Dedication of the New Universalist Meeting-house. By Hosea Ballou, Pastor of the Second Universalist Society in Boston, Mass. Boston: 1824." These words of Mr. Ballou bring to mind the language of the Welsh writer, Llewellyn, who in his Tracts (see Monthly Repository, enlarged, vol. vi. A. D. 1792) describes the Calvinistic theology in the following forcible manner :

"I challenge the whole body and being of moral evil itself to invent, or inspire, or whisper anything blacker or more wicked; yea, if sin itself had all the wit, the tongues and pens, of all men and angels to all eternity, I defy the whole to say anything of God worse than this. O, sin! thou hast spent and emptied thyself in the doctrine of John Calvin. And here I rejoice that I have heard the utmost that malevolence itself shall ever be able to say against the Infinite Benignity! I was myself brought up and tutored in it, and, being delivered and brought to see the evil and danger, am bound, by my obligations to God, angels and men,

« PrécédentContinuer »