« הקודםהמשך »
« Lest the venom should not be fitted to every palate, or be “ swallowed in sufficient potions, they have found the pious art “ of engaging the pulpit in their cayse. The particular case I u refer to is a seditious Sermon, just reprinted here. It was “ first preached, about two months ago at Philadelphia, for the e comfort and edification of the City-Volunteers for the com" fort too of the Continental Congress, which was then sitting 6 there.
« The Preacher is not satisfied with assailing the state, by " proving from a very extraordinary passage of Scripture that “the Americans ought to rebel; but he, with great effrontery, “ presses the doctrine of our Church into his service. Let us “ hear him speak on the subject."
“ A continued submission to violence (says he) is no tenet of our Church. When her brightest luminaries, near a cen
tury past, were called to propagate the court-doctrine of a dis“ pensing power, above law-Did they treacherously cry« « peace, peace,' when there was no peace? Did they not mag“ nanimously set their foot upon the line of the constitution, and “ tell Majesty to its face, that they could not betray the pub“ lic liberty;' and that the monarch's only safety consisted in “ governing according to the laws ?' Did not their example and consequent sufferings kindle a flame that illuminated the land."
[Here this Critic injuriously stops short, mangling the sentence, by suppressing what follows, in the conclusion of it, viz-} “ And introduced that noble system of public and personal liberty, secured by the revolution ?" See the Sermon, p. 278.
This writer seems to hate the Revolution, and would not have the idea conveyed that the author of the Sermon was contending for Revolution-principles. He goes on and tortures the above sentence, thus partially quoted, in order to justify the following assertions, viz.
“ Certainly this preacher, (says he,) would have us to un“ derstand, or else we must be void of understanding, that a con“ tinued submission to violence is now expected of the Ameri“cans, and that his present Majesty wishes the Ministers of « peace should betray the public Liberty.
« Let us see how this preacher justifies the fine kettle of & Tea that was made at Boston some time ago. He has found
by his text, that when the Americans pay taxes which are « imposed by their own assemblies, they worship the true Di* vinity, or the great idol of the Constitution; but when they are. « required to pay a single sixpence that is imposed by the Bri“ tish Parliament, they are tempted to worship False Gods, “ which like good Christians they resent–The reader may “ stare, if he pleases; but such discoveries the Preacher has made
“ The following quotation will sufficiently explain how he as wishes to inflame his audience to the highest pitch of Trea“ son and Rebellion, by painting the British Parliament as the * most oppressive Tyrants; and the Americans as the most in« famous Rascals and Slaves, if they should submit to them.” The words which this writer quotes from the Sermon to support this grievous charge against the author, are the following, viz.
“ Look forward to distant posterity. Figure to yourself millions and millions to spring from your loins, who may be born Freemen or Slaves, as Heaven shall now approve or reject your Councils. Think that on you it may depend whether this great Country, in: ages hence, shall be filled and adorned with a virtuous and enlightened People ; enjoying Liberty and all its concomitant blessings, together with the Religion of Jesus, as it flows uncorrupted from his sacred oracles; or covered with a race of men more contemptible than the Savages that roam the Wilderness."
Let the world judge whether there be any thing in this sentence “ inflaming to Treason and Rebellion ;" unless the writer will suppose the government of Britain unfriendly to Liberty and the pure Religion of Jesus. And further, when he was about quotations he might have added that, besides Looking Forward, I had advised Looking Backward to the times of ancient virtue and renown; and, above all, Looking Upward to the God of Gods, the Rock of our Salvation; since, in His Hands, the Nations of the Earth are but as clay in the hands of the Potter.
This angry Critic concludes as follows, in the mere language of abuse, and persecution.
“ The author of this discourse, (says he,) is at the head of a “ College. We shall say nothing about the streams that may “ be expected from such a pure fountain, nor about the honour
our Church derives from such a luminary. But we will ven“ ture to say that while such essays are re-printed and dis“ persed* with impunity, the mild voice of a Proclamation to suppress Rebellion will not be heard.”
In the Public Advertiser, of September 14th, 1775, another writer, who signs himself Unitas, has inserted a very long piece against this unfortunate Sermon. His talent seems to consist in low buffoonery, as a few quotations will shew. He begins thus, addressing himself to the printer of the Public Advertiser.
“ Pray, Mr. Woodfall, do you ever read Sermons ? A political one, or so, I suppose, now and then, pour tuer les tems. 6 Well, if you have not seen Dr. Smith's on the present situa« tion of American affairs, let me recommend it to you as a “ curiosity. It was preached and published at the instigation
so you may be sure it is a good thing. The business 66 of the Sermon, as the Doctor assures us, is with the utmost « impartiality (dele im) to attempt a state of the unhappy con6 troversy (soft words for unnatural rebellion) that now rends “ the empire in pieces-and to say a few things which seemed “ necessary respecting the Church, (his zeal for which is no less “ conspicuous than his loyalty to the king) at this time. “ Should what he has delivered tend to promote the Cause of “ Liberty and Virtue, (he says) he would account it among
the “ happiest circumstances of his life-and he might account it
among the most extraordinary too; for he may as well expect * to gather grapes of thorns and figs of thistles, as that the “ cause of Liberty and Virtue should be promoted by preaching « Rebellion. The Doctor concludes his preface by observing « that enough has been done to shew that the Americans are “ not passive, and therefore that it is time for government to « listen to some plan of accommodation, which if he could see
• Alluding to the edition printed and distributed at the expense, and by the direction, of the Chamberlain of London.
* take place, on a just and permanent foundation, he would be .content, if it were required, to sing his nunc dimittis, and « take a final leave of earthly concerns." Here Unitas exclaims and it is his most witty stroke" What a heavenly “ Soul! It is a pity he did not sing it before, instead of deferring “ it till after, Sermon."
All this and more, Unitas has said concerning the old preface to the Sermon. His criticisms on the Sermon itself, are of the same nature, and too tedious to be copied. He tells Mr. Woodfall that, “ conversant as he may be with his Bible, he
could not have laid his finger on the text ; but, when pointed
out, he will be surprised to see how exactly it tallies-- That the " Doctor is a dead hand at a parallel; that two Pease cannot be « more like than the resemblance between the Reubenites and « Americans. Does not the Doctor vouch for his Fellow-Citia zens that the idea of an independence upon the parent country “ is utterly foreign to their thoughts; that they are always “ ready to maintain, at the risque of every thing dear to them, “ the most unshaken fidelity to their Sovereign, and are anima« ted with the purest zeal for the mutual interests of Great-Briu tain and the Colonies ?”
Let me answer to the above, that it was certainly a true character of the People of North-America, when the Sermon was preached; and before their affections were alicnated by the measures which administration have since pursued. But what serious answer does this writer give to the forgoing quotation? Hear it as follows:
" Whether, (says he), the Reubenites observed precisely the " same mode of testifying the sincerity of their professions, the « history does not inform us; but, for the sake of the parallel, we
may suppose that they threw the Israelitish East-India Com
pany's Tea into the River Jordan, tarred and feathered the « officers of the customs, determined not to submit to the Su
preme Authority of the Theocratical government, and dis. “ dained to worship at the Altar of the Lord in Shiloh.”
In the same manner this writer goes on to torture the other paragraphs which he partially quotes, just as they may suit his purpose. The following specimen shall serve for the whole.
6 A notion prevailing, (says he) that in America, the clergy “ of the Church of England are friends to government, and obe« dient subjects upon principle; the good Doctor, vexed at the “ heart to think their Religious Usefulness among the people « should be destroyed, and the Church suffer through such an “ imputation, steps forth to vindicate both Church and Clergy, " and demonstrate that the charge is false.
" A continued submission to Violence (a new word for go“ vernment enacting Laws, which some people do not like) says « the Doctor, is no tenet of our Church*."
Here he quotes the Articles, Liturgy and Homilies of the Church against me, but I think they are pointed by him very wide of the mark. I was indeed exceeding vexed at the heart to think any of our Clergy should be justly considered as holding principles injurious to the civil rights of America. They had been long encouraged and assisted in these Northern colonies at least) by the benefactions of pious people in England, not for any political purpose, but (as I always believed) from a sincere unmixt desire of propagating those pure doctrines of the Protestant Religion, professed in our Chruch.
• I might lengthen this preface, with many more quotations, both for and against the sermon from the English periodical publications of that day; the authors of which were chiefly among refugees, whom I had served; sundry of whose names, even some of my old pupils, I could here mention. But I leave them to their own reflections, at least such of them as are alive.