페이지 이미지

able to find in the volume before us, to sustain the positiveness with which it speaks, in so many places, of the glorious translation of Adams and Jefferson from earth to heaven. If other and scriptural evidence of their piety exists, why was it withheld ? Will it be said, that such evidence would have been out of place in these popular funeral orations ? Then we answer, it is equally out of place, to use the strong language of assurance in them. The latter must be regarded as entirely gratuitous, in the absence of the former. But as great talents, and love of country, and eminent political services, are thought by many to be exceedingly meritorious, or to deserve eternal rewards in the realms of bliss,' we cannot dismiss the present topic without a few additional remarks.

What merit, is there, we ask, in being endowed with distinguished natural abilities ? And why is not the man who possesses but two talents, if he improves them faithfully, as deserving of commendation and reward as his neighbor who has five, or ten? We have learned from very

ancient and high authority, that each will be judged according to what he hath, and not acccording to what he hath not.' It would be just as rational, and quite as scriptural to reckon a man's stature, or the color of his eyes, or the height of his forehead, among his qualifications for heaven, as to lay any stress upon mere native talent, however brilliant, or extraordinary. And after all, how much more patriotic were Adams and Jefferson than they ought to have been ? Could they have been less so, without abusing the confidence reposed in them by their country? And how much more did they do for her welfare, than it was their duty to do? Which of all their illustrious deeds was superogatory? Was it drawing the memorable Declaration of Independence ?

Was it the thrilling eloquence which carried it through all its readings in the great council of an injured and indignant people? Situated as they were, could Adams and Jefferson have done less without a positive dereliction of duty ? And if not, strong as their claim will ever be upon the gratitude of their country, how could they claim anything on this score from the hand of our Creator? While therefore we repeat, that we have nothing to affirm, or deny, in regard to the condition of of Adams and Jefferson now that they are dwellers in eternity, we say without hesitation, that had their labors for the public weal been a thousand times greater than they were, these could never have laid the foundation of their acceptance with God. If they are saved, it is as the publican was eighteen hundred years ago ; and relying wholly on the merits of Christ, they must have felt as he did, that they were miserable sinners.

There is one topic more of considerable importance, which we had reserved for a prominent place in this article; but which our restricted limits, will now compel us to dispose of, in two or three short paragraphs. We allude to the recognitions of a particular providence, which abound in the present selection, and which we have not often had the pleasure to meet with in similar productions. They are such as the following. Does there not seem to have been an especial providence in his death!' (that of Mr. J.) p. 7. Surely the finger of Providence is visibly stretched forth in this long series of singular and unparalleled combinations of destiny.' p.

May we not believe, that an all-seeing Providence as a mark of approbation of their well spent lives, has been mercifully pleased to grant their last prayer— That they might be spared till the fourth of July.' p. 22.



[ocr errors]

p. 187.

Let no cold, calculating philosophy attempt to ascribe such an unbeard of coincidence to natural causes.' Query : must it not have been miraculous ?

Let not the tongue of infidelity tax us with superstition when we consider this event as a special dispensation.' p. 96. In this splendid coincidence of words, what candid and enlightened mind, what grateful and ingenuous heart, hesitates to acknowledge one omniscient and benignant Providence ?

Could they have chosen the day of their death, it would have been the one decreed by Providence.' p. 257. It seems then, that the doctrine of Divine decrees is not held exclusively by ignorant fanatics! Thus, fellow citizens, have our illustrious countrymen been miraculously gathered to their fathers.' p. 60. Such is the general strain in which these writers speak of the providence of God in the removal of Adams and Jefferson. Whatever may be their views of the general doctrine of a superintending providence, extending to the niinutest circumstances and events of every

man's life, in one thing they seem to be perfectly agreed. Here was the dignus vindice nodus, and accordingly God interposed.

And so far as we can gather from the Selection before us, their belief in a particular providence, rests in this case upon two grounds. First, that Adams and Jefferson were very great men, and therefore worthy of such a distinction : but secondly and chiefly, that they both died on the same day, and that day the fourth of July, and most of all, the great day of our political Jubilee. But we have yet to learn that either reason or scripture makes any distinction in these respects, between the high and the low, the king and the beggar; or between the greatest and the smallest events; the fall of an empire and that of a 'sparrow.'

The absurdity of recognising the providence of God in great events, and on remarkable occasions only, might easily be pointed out, did time and space permit. Suffice it to say, that every great event is the result of numberless trains of antecedents and consequents, or is made up, so to speak, of innumerable small events, where their combined influence is brought to bear at once upon some important point. Now to say, that God ordered the American Revolution, for example, and yet had no particular agency in the countless millions of events and steps which led to it, is no less absurd than to affirm that he created the world in the aggregate, but did not create the elements and atoms of which it is composed. And what sound philosophy teaches, the Bible abundantly confirms. According to scripture, God is everywhere, and his efficiency, guided by his infinite wisdom, is always in operation. • In him we live and move and have our being.' Even the hairs of our head are all numbered. His providence was just as much concerned in keeping alive till that time the most obscure individual, who died on the fourth of last July, and then taking him away, as it was in the preservation and removal of Adams and Jefferson. But here a wide and interesting field opens before us, which we cannot at present enter, though we shall bope to avail ourselves of some future opportunity to return to explore it. In the mean time, let all our readers reflect upon the emptiness of human glory, and posthumous eulogy, and seek for that honor which cometh from God only.

[ocr errors]




Cat. 27. For all the Athenians and strangers which were there, spent their

time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear (xaivotegov) something newer.— Acts.

It is impossible to deny, what is so often and so complacently asserted, that we live in an age of actionfor every living thing is in motion. All the mighty energies of human nature are busily at work, on a great scale, and are obviously tending to great results. Beside what is healthful and health-giving, there is a feverish and preternatural excitement abroad in the world, which gives an air of extraordinary enterprise, to all the physical and moral capabilities of civilized society. But the word action does not fully designate the character of these remarkable times. There are other characteristics too broad and prominent to be overlooked. Ours is an age of writing, of reading, of fiction, of strong feeling, and of insatiable curiosity. There is a vast deal of intelligence afloat, and of fancy and genius on the wing, especially about the sea-girt and fast-anchored isle ;' and never was true genius, never were its tinseled and vaporing counterfeits, carried to a readier, or more lucrative market.

« 이전계속 »