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Full text of "Trial and Acquittal of Lyman Beecher, D.D.: Before the Presbytery of Cincinnati, on Charges ..."

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TRIAL AND ACQUITTAL 



ft. OF 



LYMAN BEECHER,D.D. 



BEFORE 



TH£ PRESBYTERY OF CINCINNATI, 



ON CHARGES PREFERRED BY 



JOSHUA L. WILSON, D. D. 



c4l.t^-..A 



REPORTED FOR THE NEW^ YORK OBSERVER, BY MR. STANSBDRY, 

OF WASHINGTON, D. C. 



CINCINNATI: 

PUBLISHED BY ELI TAYLOIU 

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For this full and impartial report of the mW^ interesting ecclesiastical trial which ever occurred in this 
country, the public are indebted to the enterprise of the Messrs. Morses, editors and publishers of the New 
York Observer. At great expense they procured the attendance of Mr. Stansbury, whose reputation as a fair 
and able reporter is unrivalled in the United States. As this trial occurred in the west, and will be likely to 
have an important bearing on the interests of the Presbyterian church in the great valley, it was thought desir- ' 
able to publish the report in a neat pamphlet, by which it would be more accessible, and more permanent than 
in the columns of a newspaper. The reader will perceive that the controversy is purely theological. The 
accused and accuser, have no personal contention. It is therefore hoped that this pamphlet, while it throws 
light on subjects of vast interest to the Presbyterian church, will furnish no just occasion for revilers to heap 
odium upon religion. If it paves the way for a happy and speedy termination of dissentions in one branch of 
the church, and brings ministers and private members into more harmonious cooperation for the salvation of 
souls, those who have contributed to its enlarged circulation, will unfeignedly rejoice. It is commended to 
the patient and candid attention of the christian community, and to the blessing of the Great Head of the 
church. 



CINCINNATI : 
PRINTED BY F. B. BENTON, 

S. E. corner Main and Fifth streets. 



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TRIAL. 



The Presbytery of Cincinnati, to which Dr. slon, because, it was said, I had no right to protest in 
Beecher belongs, held an adjourned meeting in a case,- in which I had no right to vote. Afterwards it 
that city, on Tuesday, the 9ih of June, 1835.— w" wen by puWiMtions, in different periodicals, that 

The court consisted of the following members, **"« '«"".^""'" °^?^ ^f^" fr, it^^^ 
. ^ ° m question, and this rresbytery was caltea upon 

^^^ ' to take up charges against him on the groiuid of 
Ministers — J. L. Wilson, D. D., Lyman Beecher, general rumor. But the common fame was denied to 
D. D.*, Andrew S. Morrison, Daniel Huyden, Francis exist and the call was unheard. Subsequently the 
Monfort, Tlios. J. Biggsf, J. L. Gaines, Sayres Gasley, sermon of Dr. Beecher on * Dependence and Free 
Benjamin Graves (Clerk), Artemas Bullard, John Agency^ was circulated and highly commended.— 
Spaulding, F. Y. Vail, Thos. Brainerd, A. T. Rankin, This Presbytery was then called upon to appoint a 
Calvin E. StoweJ (Moderator), Augustus Pomroy, committee to examine some of the Doctor^s sermons 
George Beecher, Adrian L. Aton, £. Slack. and report whether they contained doctrines at vaci- 
Ruling Elders — William Skillinger, J. G. Burnet, ance with the standards of our church. This call was 
Adam S. Walker, Simon Hageman, Peter H. Kem- disregarded also. Complaint was made to the synod 
per, Andrew Ilarvcy, William Cumback, Robert Por- of Cincinnati, and they said the presbytery could not 
ter, John Arcliard, llcnry Hageman, A. B. Andrews, be compelled to take up charges, only by a re- 
Israel Blown, Bryce R. Blair, Wm. Carey. sponsible prosecutor. Being more and more grieved 

Tho PrP^hvtPrv wi^ ronstiliitod with r>ravpr- ^^^ alarmed, I carried the matter up by appeal to the 
1 he 1 resbytery was constituted with prayer. ^^^^ ^^^^^j Assembly. This appeal was cast out by 

when a sermon was delivered by the Rev. Cal- ^^^ ^ ..^.^^ committee, because, it was said, Uiat I 

vin Stowe,from Phil. in. 16. *WhcreunK) we ^^^g ^^^j ^ne of the original parties. Had I called 

have attained, let us walk by the same rule, let ^y appeal a complaint, it would have been tried. 
us mind the same thing.' ^^^ ^^^^^ j^^^^ ^^^^ ^^j^ ^^^-^^^ ^^^^^^^^ A^. 

The Rev. Dr. Wilson had, jit a previous meet- grant: 

ing of Presbytery, brought forward certain 1. The public commendation of Dr. Beecher's the- 

chargcs against the Rev. Dr. Beecher, and the ology by perfectionists. 

present meeting had been appointed to consider 2. Some of the perfectionists have been inmates of 

and issue the accusations ; citations had been Lane Seminary. 

issued, and the requisite steps taken to prepare ^^ ^'^^ ^^ ^^^^^^ ^^""g^* ^"^ believing that Dr. 

the case for trial Beecher has contributed greatly to the propagation of 

The charges were then read as follows : dangerous doctrines I feel it ray duly to bringcliargcs 

° against him before this presbytery. 

CHARGE OP wiifiON vs, BKECUER. j j ^,|,j^rge Dr. Baecher with propagating doctrines 

To tiio Moderator and Members of die board of the Presbytery of contrary to the word of God and the Standards of the 

Cincinnati :— Presbyterian church on the subject of the depraved 

Dear Brethren, — It is known to the trustees of nature of man. , 

hxna Seminary, and to some of liie members of Pros- Specifications. — TIio scriptures and our standards 

bytcry, that after the appointment of the Rev. Lyman tcacli on the subject of a depraved nature^ 

Bccichcr, D. I), to the professorship wliich he now 1. That a corrupted nature is conveyed to all the 

holds, ill that institution, I more than once expressed posterity of Adam, descending from him by ordinary 

an opinion that lie would not accept of the api)ointment, generation. 

because, as I tliou^'ht, he could not, consistently with 2. That from original corruption all actual trans- 

his views in theology, iidopl llie standards of the Pres- gressions proceed. 

byterian church. 3. That all the natural descendants of Adam are 

Aly opinion of Dr. B loclipr's tlu^ology was then found- conceived and born in sin. 

cdon my rccollrciiun of a convers;ition held with 4. That original sin binds the descendants of Adam 

him in 1817, and his sermon published in 1827, enti- over to the wrath of (iod. 

tied * The Native Character of Man.' When I heard 5. That the fall of Adam brought upon mankind the 

that Dr. Beecher had entered the Presbyterian church, lo>s of connnunion with God, so as we are by nature 

without/«/oyi/iw^/ier«/rtMdtfrJ*, I was surprised, griev- children of wrath and bound slaves to satan. Con. 




♦ Professor of Theology 



• I'rofessor of Theology 1 

t I'mffhsor of F.cclesin8tical Hiiloiy > in Lnne Seminary. 

\ Profcf>£or of Languages ) 



S. That neither a depraved nor holy nature are pos- 1. The fallen man is uUerly disabledy and wholly 

sible without understanding, conscience and choice, defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body 

3. That a depraved nature cannot exist without a and made opposite to all good and wholly inclined to 
voluntary agency. all evil by original corruption. 

4. That whatever may be the early constitution of 2. That from this original corruption do proceed all 
man, there is nothing in it and nothing withheld from actual transgressions. 

it, which renders disobedience' unavoidable. 3. That effectual calling is of God's free and 

5. That the first sin in every man is free and might special grace — and a work of God's Spirit; that men 
have been and ought to have been avoided. are altogether passive therein, until being quickened 

6. That if man is depraved by nature, it is a volun- and renewed by the Holy Spirit, they are thereby ena- 
tary nature that is depraved. bled to answer this call. 

7. That this is according to the Bible. * They go 4. That having a new heart and a new spirit creat- 
astray as soon as they be born,' that is in early life, — ed in them, they are sanctified and enabled to be- 
how early, so as to deserve punishment for actual sin, lieve. 

God only knows. Vide Dr. Beecher's sermon on 5. That justifying faith is wrought in the heart of a 

Native Character, National Preacher, Vol. ii. No. 1, p. sinner by the Spirit and word of God, whereby he 

II9 1^* is convinced of his disability to recover himself 

II. I charge Dr. Beecher with propagating doctrines Conf ch. vi sec. 1,2,4; ch. x. sec. 2, chap, 

contrary to the word of God, and the standards of xiii sec. 1, ch. xiv sec. 1. Larg. Cat. Ans. to Quest, 

the Presbyterian church, — on the subjects of Total 72, and scripture proofs. 

Depravity and the work of the Holy Spirit in effectual i„ opposition to this, Dr. Beecher teaches, 

callmg. I •j'ljg^j jj^gjj jjj jjjg present state is able and only 

Specifications, — Tlie scripture and our standards unwilling to do what God commands, and which being 

leach on the subject of total depravity, done would save the soul. 

1. That by the sin of our first parents, all their na- 2. That the more clearly the light of conviction 
tural descendants are dead in sin and wholly defiled shines, the more distinct is a sinner's perception that 
in all the faculties of soul and body. he is not destitute of capacity, that is, of ability to 

2. That by this original corruption, they are utterly obey God. 

disabled and made opposite to all good. 3. That wlien the Holy Spirit comes to search 

3. That a natural man, being dead in sin, is not out what is amiss and put in order that which is out of 
able by his own strength to convert himself or prepare ^he way, he finds no impediment to obedience to be re- 
Limself thereto. moved, but only a perverted will; and all he accom- 

4. That no man is able either of himself or by any plishes in the day of his power is to make the sinner 
grace received in this life, perfectly to keep the com- willing to submit to God. 

mandments of God. Conf. ch. vi., sec. 2, 4. Ch. ix., 4. That good men have supposed that they aug- 

sec. 3. Larg. cat. A. to Q. 25, 149, 190. Short, cat. ment the evil of sin, and the justice, mercy and pow- 

A. to Q. 101, 103, and scripture proofs. er of God in exact proportion as they throw down the 

In opposition to this, Dr. Beecher teaches, f'""^;: ^'^l? * condition of absolute inipotency : that 

1. That man is rendered capable by his Maker of *f .t^^' Needier] cannot perceive the wisdom of 
obedience ^^^^^ views; that a subject of God's government who 

2. That' ability to obey is indispensable to moral ^«^^"^ ^^^^ "u^ ""^^^^ ™'f^^ ""^P^" ^"^ himself much 
obligation " -^ *^ more guilty than one whose capacity of obedience 

3 That where there is a want of ability to love ^^^ ^^^» ^^^^^^ annihilated by the sin of Ada m.-- 

God, obligation to love ceases, whatever may be the Sermon on Dependence and Free Agency, &c. p. 11, 

''''4!^ That the sinner is able to do what God ^ote. Dr. B. uses the terms natural capacity and 

commands, and what being done, would save the "^\"^^^ ^^1^'^^ '" \h« «'!!"? «?"^^- Compare p. 27 

gQyj^ ^ With 31. Page 10, he calls it plenary power of a mor- 

5. That to be able and unwilling to obey God, is ^' ?,^®"/- . t^ n u .1 r a 
the only possible way in which a free agent can be- , .'"' I charge Dr. Beecher with propagating a doc 
come deserving of condemnation and punishment, trine of perfection contrary to the standards of the 

6. That there is no position which unites more uni- Presbyterian churches. 

versally and entirely the suffrages of the whole human Specijications.— Oar standards teach , 

race than the necessity of a capacity for obedience 1. That no man is able neither of himself nor by 

to the existence of obligation and desert of punish- grace received, to keep the commandments of God, 

ment. tjut doth daily break them. See Conf. ch. ix. sec. 3, 

7. That no obligation can be created without a Larger Cat. Ans. toQ. 149 and proof texts, 
capacity commensurate with the demand. 2. Dr. B. teaches that the sinner is able to do what 

8. That ability commensurate with requirement is God commanded — that the Holy Spirit in the day of 
the equitable foundation of the moral government of his power makes him willing, and so long as he is able 
God. and willing, there can be no sin — Sermon Dep. and 

9. That this has been the received doctrine of the Free Ag. compare p. 11 and 19. 

orthodox church in all ages. 3. The perfectionists have founded on Dr, B's. 

Vide Dr. Beecher's sermon on Native Character, p. theory the following pinching arguments: 

12, also his sermon on Dependence and Free Agency ^Wlio does not know that theology as renovated and 

])p. 11, 21, 19,23. redeemed from the contradictions and absurdities of 

On the Subject of total depravity, effectual calling, former ages by such spirits as Beecher, Taylor, and 

and the Holy Spirit in the production of loving faith their associates, forms the stepping-stone to pcrfec- 

tbe Scriptures and our standards teach, tion? Who, that can draw an obvious conclusion 



"1 



'"> 



\ 



from eslablislied premises, but mnat see, at a glance, vivalg prevailed, and heresy was kepi back— and moat 

that clirisiian perfection, substanlially as we hold i(, is notoriously it was 'dead orrliodoxy,' opened the dikes 

tho legilimnle product of New England divinityf — and let in the flood 'of Arrainian and Unitarian her»i 

We have been taught in their schools ihal sin lies ay.' By attending lo the whole passage, page 33," 

wholly in the mil, and that man as a free agent pos- same sermon, Ihe presbytery will see that 'dead or- 

8BSS03 adequate ability independent of gracious aid thodoxy,' as the Dr.calla it, was Ihc doctrine of man's 

lo render perfect obedience to tlie moral Jaw; in natural impotency to obey the Gospel.' p. 31. Tha 

otlier woidb, lo be a perfectionist. They have estab- Dr. attempts to make us believe that from the lime r>( 

lished the iboory that, by virtue of a. fixedneag of Edwards, the theory of this sermon has been and now 

purpoie, man is able to stand against the wiles of the is the received doctrine of the ministers and churches 

Devil, and fully to answer ihe end of his being. — of New England. The truth of this I am nol prepar- 

Now if this system, which the opposers of Iho New ed to admit, bad as I think of the New England ihe- 

Schoot men were not able to gainsay, leaching man's ologians, in general ; but I am not prepared to deny it. 

ability, independent of gracious aid, lo be perfect, to Be it so, the matter is so much the worse. Again, the 

SDswer fully ihe end for which hia Maker created him Dr. proceeds, in his strain of calumny— 'For the greater 

if ihis be orthodoxy, I ask, is it heresy to affirm thai portion of the revivals of our land, it is well known, 

by virtue of aid from a risen Savior, superadded to have come lo pass, under ihe auspices of Calvinism, 

free moral agency, the thino is dose? J see 'no as modified by Edwards and the disciples of his 

point of rest' for ihc advocates of the New Divinily school, and under the inculcation of ability and obli- 

ahort of the duclrine of perfection. If they will nol gallon, and urgent exhortations of immediate repen- 

■advance ihey must go back and adopt the inability lance and submission lo God; while those congrega- 

■yatem of iheir opponents, wliich ihey have so often lions and regions over which natural impotency and 

and BO ably demonstrated lo be the climax of absur- dependence, and the impenitent use of means, and 

dity and folly,' See letter lo Theodore D. Weld, wailing God's time, hive disclosed their tendencies, 

member of Lane Theological Seminary, pubhshed in have remained like Egypt, dark beside ihe land of 

*Tho Perfeclionisl,' Vol. i. No. 1, August 20, 183.1, Goshen, and like the mountain of Gilboa on whioli 

' liy Whilmoro &, Buckingham, New Haven, Connec- there was no man, nor fields of offering, and hke the 

I ticut. valley of visions dry, very dry.' p. 34. 

f IV. I charge Dr. B. with the sin of slander, viz. And to complete the climax, ihe Dr. adds: 'No 

Isl. Specification. In belying the whole church other obstruction to the success of the Gospel is there 

of God. so great, as the possession of the public mind with the 

The Doctor's alatements are these : 'There is no belief of the natural and absolute inability of uncou- 

poailion which uniloa more universally and entirely verted men. Il has done more, 1 verily believe, to 

ihestiflrragesofthe wiiole humaa race ihan the iieces- wrap in sackcloth llie sun of righteousness, and per- 

I iity of a capacily for obedience, lo the existence of peluale ihe shadow of death on those who mighl have 

k (Aligation and desert of puniahmenl.' Again 'The been rejoicing in his lighl, than all beside. 1 cannot 

f doctrine of man's free ageaej/anA natural ability aa anticipate a greater calamily lo ihe church, Lhan would 

Ihe ground of obligation and guilt — has been the re- follow its universal inculcation and adoption. And 

ceived doctrine of ihe orlhodox church in all ages. — mosl blessed and glorious, I am confident, will be the 

Sermon Dep. and F. Agency, p. 12 and 23. result, when her ministry, overywliero, shall rightly 

2d. Specification. In attempting lo bring odium understand and teach, and their hearers shall univer- 

upon all who sincerely receive ihe standards of the sally admit ihefull abiliti; of every sinner lo comply 

Presbyterian Church, and lo cast all (he Reformers with the terras of salvaiion.' — p. 37. 

f previous to the lime of Edward, into the lime of ig- Let ihe Presbytery compare all this with the history 

norance and contempt, of the church and the doctrinn of our standards on 

Dr. Beecher says — 'Doubtless the balance of ihe original sin, total depravity, the misery of the fall, r»- 

impreaaion always made by their language (language generation, and effectual calling, and say whetlier 

of ihe Reformers) has been ihat of iialural impotency, there is an Arminiau, or a Pelagian, or a Unitarian 

and in modern days, there may be those who have in tiie land, who will not agree with Dr. B. and admit 

not understood the language of the Reformers, or of 'the full ability of every sinner lo complv with the 

lliD Bible, on lliia subject; and who verity believe lhal .lerms of salvation,' and ur"' "''" " ' ' ' 

both leach Ihal man has no abdily, of any kind or de- it a calamily for the doctri 

gree, todoany Ihingthat is spiritually good, and that universally adopted? 

■be light of God to command and to punish, survive V. I charge Dr. Beecher with the crime of preach- 

the wreck and extmctioa in Ins subjects of the ele- ing the same, and kindred doctrines contained in 

DKOIs of ncconnlabihty. Of such, if there be such ihese sermons, in the 2d Preshylerian church in Cio- 

in the church, wc have only to say, Ihat when for the cinnaii. 

I lime ihey oughl to be teachers, Ihey have need that VI. I charge Dr. Beecher with the sin of hypocri- 

I wmo one should leach them which be ihe firat prin- gy: I mean dissimulation, in important religious raal- 

rciples of llie oracles of God.' Serm. Dep. and F. A. (era. 

|p.27. Again: Isl. Specification. If Dr. Beecher has entered tha 

I -It must he admiilod ihal from Iho primitive age Presbylenan church willioui adopting her standards, 

i»4own lo the lime of Edwards, no one saw ihis sub- he is guilty of this sin. This I believe, because I am 

jecl wiih clearness or traced il with uniform precision informed he was received as a member of the 3d Prea- 

and wmsislency. His appears lo have been ihe mind bytery of New York, without appearing before them; 

that first Ti»e above tlie misls which long hung over bocause he was received by ihe Presbytery of Gin- 

■he subject.' p. 37. Again: cinnaii, wilhoul adopting our standards ;*nd because 

bofuraslhaCalviniatic system, as expounded by the installation service docs nol" reuuire their adop- 

Edwords and the disciples of his school, prevailed, re- lion 



L Edward 



2<f Specification. — If Dr. B. has adopted our stan- especially a professed minister of Jesus Oirist. It 

dards, he is guilty of this sin, because it is evident he is sometimes a duty to do this. The obligation in 

disbelieves and impugns them on important points — this case rests upon somebody, and I know of no one 

subjects declared by himself to be of the utmost mo- who will discharge it but myself. I have not consult- 

ment. ed flesh and blood, but the interests of the church of 

3d Specification. Wlien Dr. B's. orthodoxy was Jesus Christ, before whose judgment seat we must all* 

in question, I think before the Synod in the 1st Pres- appear. I have counted the cost; and now call upon 

byterian church, he made a popular declaration 'that you, in presence of God, for your due deliberation 

our confession of faith contained the truth, the whole and decision upon every charge submitted, 

truth, and nothing but the truth,^ or words to that a- With all due regard, I am your brother in the Gos- 

mount. I thought then, and still think, that it was pel of Christ. J. L. Wilson. 

dissimulation for popular effect. The ciime is infer- jv Beecher beinff called uoon to answer 

able from the circumstances of the case. If he has .V^V ^™^^f ^ P.f "S caiiea upon to answer, 

adopted the standards of our church, as our form of «^^^' I/"" »i^' S^'^^y ""{.^^^^'y' ' ^™ "^^ ^""'j^y 

government requires, it is competent for him to show of slander: I am not guilty of hypocrisy or dis- 

when and where. But the charge of hypocrisy is simulation in the respect charged. I do not say 

equallysustained,inmy estimation, whether he has or that I have not taught the doctrines charged: 

has not. He may take which ever alternative he can but I deny their being false doctrines. The 

best defend. course! shall take will be to justify. 

4th Specification. When Dr. B. preached and The Moderator calling upon Dr. Beecher to 

published his sermon on Dependence and Free agency, say what plea should be entered upon the niin- 

he was just about to enter the Presbyterian church, utes in his name, Dr. Beecher replied, the plea 

with an expectation of being pastor of the second Pres- q{ < j^qj. GQi]ty.' 

byterian church of Cincinnati, and teacher of theo- t\ xir -j i. i t\ -o u 

logy in Lane Seminary. He either did not know the ^^' Wilson said he supposed Dr. Beecher 

doctrines of our church, or if he did know them, he *ook the proper distinction between facts and 

designed to impugn and vilify those who honestly a- crimes. He admitted the facts specified, but de- 

dopted them. nied the crimes charged. Dr. W. wished ta 

Witnesses to prove that he published the sermon know whether the admission extended to one 

in view of entering the Presbyterian church: Dr. of the facts respecting which no crime was 

Woods, of Andover, and Prof. Stuart, Prof. Biggs, • charged ; but which had been stated because it 

Robt. Boal, Jabez C. Tunis, Augustus Moore, James ^as closely connected and linked in with the 

Mclntire, and P. Skinner. The allegation respect- other facts of the case: viz. that Dr.B.hadde- 




on ^Dependence and F. A.' both of which are here- "Uthi 
with submitted for examination. Dr. Beecher replied that he should not admit 

If Dr. B. denies being the author of these ser- the fact stated in that naked form; he would 

mons, published under his name, the authorship can not admit the words quoted, without other words 

be proven by Rev. Austin Dickinson, Rev. Dr. Woods by which they had been accompanied, 
of Andover, and Perkins and Marvin, of Boston, Dj.. Wilson then said, that as to this point he 

Mass. The witnesses to prove the 5th charge, are gi^^^i^j ^gj^ i^^^^ ^^ adduce testimony. 
Augustus Moore, JepthaD<Janst, John Sullivan, ^ commission was then granted to take the 

Robert Wallace, James Mclntire, r. Skinner, and ... en r -d- ^u • r ui 

James Hall Esq testimony of Professor Biggs, who was in feeble 

The 3d specification under charge 6th, I expect to *^^a'^^' ^^^ "^^^^^^ *° ^*^^"^ ^^^ ^^"'''• 
prove, if it be denied, by the members of this Pros- The Rev. Sayres Gasley was then duly 

bytory, including myself; but I will name Rev. sworn and examined, and his testimony having 

Sayres Gazley, John Burt, L. G. Gaines, Daniel Hay- been taken down by the Clerk and read to him, 

den, and others. he approved the record as correct. Itisasfol- 

And now, brethren, you will not forget that the Sy- lows: 
nod of Cincinnati have enjoined it upon you to ex- , , , . ... , .. 

ercise the discipline of the church, even upon those ^ > remember the circumstance which occurred in 

who disturb her peace by new terms and phrases; Synod to which the charge alludes. Ihe precise 

much more are you bound to exercise it on those words contained in the specifications I do not recol- 

who destroy her purity by false doctrine, and vilify l^ct My impression seems dear that in speaking of 

her true miiiistrv the Confession of Faith, Dr. Beecher said that the 

In the case of Dr. B. 1 send you an extract from Confession of Faith was true, every sentence and ev- 

the minutes of the Synod : 'The Synod do not say ery word, and that he so believed it. 1 don't recollect 

that there are not sufficient reasons for the Presby- precisely which. 

lery to take up a charge or charges on common fame; Question. What were the circumstances under 

but are fully of the opinion that, of that, Presbytery which the above declaration was made? 
has full liberty to judge for themselves; and that Ans. I cannot say positively, but to the best of my 

they can be compelled to take up a charge only by a behef, it was in Dr. Beecher's plea before Synod, in 

responsible prosecutor.' An attested copy of the de- an appeal from Dr. Wilson, because presbytery would 

eision I herewith submit. not appoint a committee to investigate his sermon. 

I feel it a solemn transaction, to accuse any one, Dr. Wilson— Was not the declaration made, when 



Dr. Beecber was making a speech on that subject? — before presbytery as a witness in this case? — Ans. I 

Ans. Tliat is my impression. did not, for the following reasons : 

Ques. by Dr. W. Was there a considerable crowd 1. I understood that the citations of all witnesses, 

of spectators around the Synod at that time? — ^Ans. I except the members of the presbytery, was dispensed 

do not recollect. with by agreement of the parties. 

Dr. W. Was there not considerable excitement 2. The same was understood by several of the 

during the discussion of that subject? — Ans. There brethren of the presbytery with whom I conversed on 

was. the subject, after the meeting of presbytery, for the 

Rankin. Was there any thing in theDr's. manner purpose of being myself certified of the fact, 

which induced you to believe that it was done for To which I herewith affix my signature, 

popular eflfect? — Ans. I have no distinct recollection Th. I. Biggs. 

at present of noticing his manner, but from all the cir- ^j^^ following witnesses were then duly sworn 

cumstances of the case, I was led to that opinion. ^^^ ^^^ir testimony recorded as follows : 

Rankin. What were the circumstances of the case ? '' 

—Ans. The published sentiments of Dr. B. and the Francis Monforfs testimony. 

place where it was uttered. I recollect very well that Dr. B. said, I believe the 

Dr. Wilson. Was not Dr. B. at that time making Con. of Faith contains the truth, the whole truth, and 
an effort to prevent synod from sustaining my com- nothing but the truth, after having shown that he re- 
plaint? — Ans. That is my impression now, but I can- ceived the Con. of Faith as a system. 
not say positively. [Read to witness and approved.] Dr. Wilson. Where and under what circumstances 

The Presbytery then adjourned till to-mor- was the declaration made ?-Ans It was in the 1st 

•^ '' *' Church, m Synod, on the complamt of Dr. Wilson and 

""^^ , - . T» 1 . i 1 others against Presbytery for not appointing a com- 

Wednesdat/morning.—Vreshytevj met and was ^j^^^^ to examine certain sermons of Dr. B. 

opened with prayer. Dr. W. What were the circumstances?— Ans. The 

The Rev. A.S. Morrison , from the commission Doctor was giving his last address, the house was full ; 

appointed to take the testimony of Professor there was considerable excitement. 

Biggs, made the following report: Dr. W. When the same subject was before Pres- 

Walnut HiUs, June 10, 1835. ^ytery, did not Dr. B. express his approbation of the 

Meeting opened with prayer. standards of he church with the reservation of puttmg 

Dr. Willon wished Mr. Biggs to state what he knew "Pon them his mterpretat.on?-Ans. So I under- 

on the subject — whether any perfectionists were in stood »'• t«t .i ^ * . ^ i /. 

attendance it Lane Seminary the last year.-Ans.- ^ ^\ Beecber. Was the statement made before 

As young men whose minds were made up on that Synod attended by an explanation or qualification?— 

subject, I do not know that there were anv. ^"^' heard none. 

Dr. W. Were there not students in Lane Semina- , ^l:, ^- Di^d I profess before the Synod a belief m 

ly who jrere making inquiries and manifesting tenden- *?« Con. of Faith according to any other interpreta- 

cies that way.— Ans. 1 am under the impression that !'«"' M*?". '"^ °"® * P"' "P*"^ ' ,;r'*^'"'.* ^^"^ "°*' 

there were some. '°g ^'** *^°"' interpretation. (Read, &c.) 



Dr. W. From what sections of country, did those Mr, AUm's testimony. 

young men come t-Ans. From the state of New j ,ecollect, distinctly, that in the time and place 

York. I think, 1 had but two or three at all in my mmd, specified in the charges— 

of whom I had any suspicion. (D,_ B^e^he, ^^^1,3 ^^^^^ ,^g ^j^ j^^^ ^„^ ^^j 

Dr. W. What mformation did Prof. Big^ give me e^ee were as described by the preceding witness.) 

on this subject in a conversaUon we had at Hamilton? witness resumed. Dr. B. said he believed the Con. 

Ans. That Dr Beecherso far from countenancing of F. contained the truth, the whole truth, and noth- 

IgliiasT^rselti^^etr"'^'"' """''" '•"''"'' jng but the truth. I heard no qualificatiotls. (Read. 

Dr. W. Were not the statements you made to me wr r^ • t » 

calculated to impress my mind with the belief that the ^^\ Oaines testimony. 

students who manifested such tendencies to perfec- ^ recollect very little distinctly. I recollect Dr. B. 

tionism, were led to place themselves under Dr. B.'s ottered the words mentioned by Mr. A ton, and 

instruction, in consequence of his published views of .'"^^® ^ gesture more violent than usual; cannot 

theology? — Ans. I have no recollection that they recollect whether it was before Presbytery or Synod, 

were. (Read, &c.) 

Dr. Beecber. Did you ever hear any one of the stu- Mr. Burt'^s testimony. 

dents at any time avow the doctrine of perfection?— I agree with the witnesses in respect to the time, 

n. n °^yf 'Z'^- 'jt c ^ t^ P'^^^ ^"^ circumstances, so far as I have heard. I 

Dr. B. Had you any evidence of tendency to that distinctly recollect that the Dr. in the course of his 

doctrine further than what results from questions com- speech, stated Uiat the Con. of F. contained the truth, 

mon to inquiring mmds, in the investigation of a sub- the whole truth, and nothing but tlic truth. Not ex- 

^Anl'^^fhlffTK^- • -"^^^^^^ pecting to be called upon, I have not treasured up a 

Ans. I believe their inquiries were all directed with recollection of the circumstances, whether Uiere were 

a view to the formation of an ultimate opinion. any qualifications or not. (Read, dtc.) 

Dr. B. Were you apprized of the fact, that one of rx rj i 

my lectures was on the subject of Christian Character, ^' Hayden^s testimony. 

and in opposition to th^ doctrine ofperfection?— Ans. I heard Dr. B. say that he believed the Con. of F. 

^° w?^^' ,. ^^ contain the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but 

w. Wjjson. Did you cite T. D. Weld to appear the truth. I remember no qualifying statemeoS. I 



8 

think I should have remembered such qualifications, Mr. Rankin. Do you know why he left Mr. Kirk? 

had they been made. — Ans. No. 

Dr. Wilson. What was the declaration in Presby- Mr. R. Was the perfectionist's letter addressed to 

(ery on the same subject?-— Ans. I do not recollect. Mr. Weld, on the supposition that he was a perfec- 

(Read, &.c.) tionist?— Ans. No. It contained a labored arau- 

F. A, Kemper's testimony. "If"* }? ^^°^ i"."! ^^^ ^'^^^ ^^ those doctrines. 

J ^ , «a J.1000T.T* .ji JWr. Graves. Did you everhear that Dr. Beecher was 

I was a member of Synod in 1833. Dr. B. said he suspected of perfectionism ?— Ans. Never, until I 

believed the Con. of F. contained the truth, the whole heard these charges. (Read, &c.) 

truth, and nothing but the truth. He made no ex- tm- r • 7 , 

plaaation at the time. When Dr. Wilson was reply- ^^* LuOe s testimony ^ 

ing , Dr. B. got up and made explanations. Dr. B. What are your recollections of my language 

Dr. W. Was you a member of Presbytery at the before Synod?— Ans. I concur with Judge Burnet 

time the same subject was up there?— Ans. I think I and Mr. Woodbury, except I heard this expression a 

was. little stronger than their language: <Dr. B. said the 

Dr. W. What were Dr. B.'s declarations as to his Confession of Faith and Catechism were the best com- 

receptionofthe Con. of F. there?— Ans. That he pendium of the doctrine of the Bible he had 

adopted it as a system; the Dr. called no man father seen.'— (Read, &c.) 

on earth, nor allowed any man to explain the Bible or -nr -o * ^ rw^ » 

Con. of F. to him. ^^' Brmnerd^s Testimony. 

Mr. Gaines. Had the explanations reference to ^ ^?^® ^®®" t^® P^P®^ ^^^^^^ *^e Perfectionist, and 
the words, or something else? — Ans. To the words '®*^ ^^ carefully. I have seen also many other ex- 
only, tracts from the Perfectionist. They have three 
Dr. Beecher. What were the explanations?— Ans. ^^^^ Z^ becoming perfect. The first is, they be- 
I do not recollect. (Read, &c.) **®^® themselves able to obey God and do so. When 
y , y , „ , . pushed with diffiuclties in that view of the subject, 
Judge Jacob Burnet's testimony. Uiey represent themselves as being, by the literal im- 

Called in by Dr. Beecher — putation of the righteousness of Christ to them, 

I was present at the time referred to by the other ^^ that God looks upon them as one with Christ, 

witnesses. I heard Dr. B.'s address to the Synod. — ^^^ ^^^^ "^t regard their sins as sins. Again, they re- 

1 recollect distinctly that in that part of his address in present sometimes their perfection to be the result of 

which he spoke of the Con. of F. he said that there t^^® special grace of God; they say that God hears 

had been a time when he could not subscribe to the ^^^ answers all right prayer, that their perfection is a 

whole of it; but mature deliberation and ascertaining S*^^® received in answer to their prayers. 

to his own satisfaction what was the meaning attach- ^ ^^' Wilson. Is not the whole theory of the per- 

ed to the terms when the Con. of F. was written, the ^ectionists built upon the hypothesis of the natural 

•difficulty was entirely removed. He added, that he T^**^^ ^^ »"^" to do all that God requires, and that 

.now believed the Con. of F. contained the truth, and ^^^ "®^ ^"^^^3^ ^^ the will— Ans. No: with those that 

I thought he said the whole truth. He raised his hands believe in natural ability and moral inability, they 

Jto his bosom, and, said he believed it to be one of the ^^^^^^ according to the sentiment of the question; 

ibest expositions of the meaning of the Scripture. 1 ^'^^ others, that deny this doctrine, they reason upon 

cannot give his words precisely. (Read, &c.) * ^^^l^^ assumption. 

, Dr. W. With what difficulties are those pressed 

A. Duncan s testimony. who hold to the ability of man to do what God re- 

Dr. B. How long have you been a member of Lane quires and say they do it* — Ans. 1 will not pretend 

Seminary? — Ans. Two years and a half. to state all. The fact is shown from their own con- 

Dr. B. How long a member of the Theological duct, that they do violate the laws of God; those pas- 

<]llass? — Ans. About a year and a half. sages of scripture are opposed to them, which state 

Dr. B. Have you heard the testimony of Mr. Weed, that Christians, though not constrained by natural ne- 

and do your views correspond with his? — Ans. Yes; cessity do sin. 

•except that my recollection of the discussion is not Dr. W. What practices of the Perfectionists contra- 

as distinct as his. diet their theory and profession, and how do you know 

Dr. Wilson. Did you see the letter addressed to that they are guilty of those practices? — Ans. They 

T. D. Weld, in the Perfectionist? — Ans. I saw it in appear to fall into the same sins as other men, and 

Delhi, two miles from this city. learn the fact that they thus sin, 1st. by the Bible,which 

Dr. W. Who wrote that letter? — Ans. I do not teacheth that no man liveth and sinneth not, and 2d. 

<listinctly recollect his name; I think it was Dut- by the standards of their opponents brought out in 

ton. the publications of the day. 

Dr. W. What was the general character and stand- Dr. W. Are you personally and intimately acquaint- 
ing of Mr, Dutton? — Ans* I know nothing about ed with any persons of that denomination? — Ans. I 
him, except that he was once studying theology with never saw one. 

Mr. Kirk, of Albany. I have heard his intellect spo- Dr. W. What do they mean by the literal impu ta- 
ken of as one of great value. tions of the righteousness of Christ? — Ans. They 

l)r. W. On what occasion and in what manner did seem to mean, that they are so united to Christ, tha^t 

Dr. B. warn the students against the perfectionists? — all his obedience becomes theirs in such a sense, as 

Ans. I recollect no such warnings. I never heard to release them from criminality although they violate 

of them, until I saw the letter in the Perfectionist at the law of God. 

Delhi. I heard the lecture mentioned by Mr. Weed. Dr. Beecher. Do those Calvinists who teach the 

George Beecher. Did you see ^e written or print- doctrine of the literal imputation of Christ's righte- 

<4Bd copy of the letter? — Ans. TTie printed* oosness to believers, deny the doctrine of man's nat- 



ii 



r 

ural ability t—Ans. In speculation they do; in prac- was ready to admit that the sermons (and he h«id 

tice I believe most of them assume it to be true. read them attentively, many times,) did contain 

Mr. Gasley. Did not the system originate with many things that were excellent: but the ground 

those "who held the doctrine of natural ability?— Ans. ^p j^|g charge was that the author had placed in 

From the region where it originated, I should think ^^^ ^^^y midst of them the most deleterious poi- 

it probable ; but I have no certain knowledge. g^^^^ Were Dr. W. invited to partake of a dish 



inff, 1 think not :tney ao noi aeny mai men nave "y V ' ^ j 

nallire an aversion to God, which has been called deniy come to a dep( 

inability, which makes regeneration necessary. stop, and eat no more, unless he could with cer- 

Mr. Alton. What do those Calvinists mean who tainty pass over that portion of the preparation 

teach the literal imputation of Christ's righteousness? and complete his meal with what was not poison- 

Ans. There is a class of professed Calvinists who ed. Let the whole be read: the court, he was 

seem to teach the doctrine of imputation, the same ^ell assured, would be able to separate the pre- 

doctrine as the perfectionists'; but this I would not cious from the vile. 

apply to any oHhose who hold and teach the doctrine ^^ Beecher said it was his right to have 

ofimputationm the sense of our Confession of Faith, the documents referred to in the charges read 

(R^^^' ^'^ entire. 

The oral testimony having now been complet- xhc Moderator admitted this: but express- 
ed, ed a doubt whether the present was the proper 
The first charge was read a second time, and stage in the proceedings at which this right 
as it referred to certain passages in Dr. Beech- might be exercised. In his defence Dr. B. 
er's sdrmons, the clerk was about to read the might very properly give the whole sermon in ap, 
passages cited; when gument, to show that the charge was not well 

Mr. Rankin moved that the entire sermon, founded, 
and not extracts only, be read. jjr^ Beecher still insisted on having the 
Dr. Wilson said, that if the whole sermon ^j^^j^ ^.^^^^ jf p^.^ ^ wished to verify the ex- 
was to be read because a part of it was referred ^^^^^^ ,^g j^^^ ^^^^^ jy^. ^ ^^^ ^^ady to admit 
to in the charges, the whole Confession ot Faith ^heir accuracy : at least, he took it for granted the 
might as well be read, for certain parts of it were passages had been copied correctly. But it 
also cited. was certainly the fair and correct mode of pro- 
Professor BiGOS could not consent that mere- needing to allow the body of the sermon, as de- 
ly isolated passages should be read ; he should Hyered, to make its own impression, and then the 
be mcst unwilling to have his own character tried f^^^^ ^f ^j^^ passages excepted to could be bet- 
by garbled extracts selected from his writings ; ^^^ • ^ j ^f^ j^ ^^ ^^,1 constructed sermon 
he could in that manner prove every man in the ^^^j^ ^ ^j ,g ^ i^^ the effect of the 
Presbytery a heretic. Let the connexion of the ^j^^,^^ A sermon was heretical, or otherwise 
passages With their context be seen; let their according to the combined and intended results 
tearing be understood; let the presbytery re- of all its parts taken together. ^ In every prop- 
ceive the same impression as the audience had ^^.j ^^.^^^^ sermon, the combined effect was the 
received, before whom the sermons were deliv- ^^^ ^j^^ ^ ^^ ^^^ ^„ ^he parts were so arrang- 
ered; and as to the objection which had been ^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^^^ ^^ fo„^^ ^^^,^ ^^i ^^ ^est to 
urged, if It was necessary for consistenc^^^^ secure that end. Let the sermon tell its own 
to read the whole Confession of Faith, let it be g^^^^. ^^^ ^^en the court might make what an- 

^^^r -n -J .. 1 . irr alvsis of it thcy might dccm proper. 

Mr. Rankin said there was an obvious differ- •'_,- -^ °, t.^ ,. Ji ^ -,- 

ence between the reading of the Confession and . The sermons on the Native Charac^r of Man 

the reading of the sermon. The Confession of l" ^^^National Preacher, Vol. IL No. L for 

Faith was not introduced before the court as ev- J""^' 1827, were thereupon read, 

idence; the sermon had been: nor could the The second, third and fourth charges were 

court have any just and adequate conception of read: and then the sermon to which they refer- 

what the passages cited conveyed, unless they red,viz: ^Dependence and Free Agency,' a ser- 

listened to the whole and understood theconnex- mo" delivered in Andover Theological Seminary, 

ion. Besides, in one part of the charge the ser- July 16, 1832. 

mons at large were cited, without any particular Dr. Wilson stated that he wished to lay be- 

passages being specified. fore the Presbytery, certain information show- 

Dr. Wilson admitted, on reflection, that the ing on what grounds he had been induced to 

cases of the Confession and the Sermon were not state that the Perfectionists claimed Dr. B* as 

analogous. He had no objection to the reading strengthening their hypothesis, 

of the sermons entire; it could do no harm; but The Moderator inquired whether Dr. W. 

he wished the court to bear in mind that there wished to introduce this information as testimo- 

was such a thing as insinuating the most deadly ny in support of any one of the charges he had 

poison into the most wholesome aliment* He Deferred? 

S 



10 

He replied that he did not: It was a letter for him to obtain from synod an attested copy of 

from an individual who was not and could not be their decision in the case; which would be at- 

present, and whose testimony had not been for- tended with great delay. But if this letter 

mally taken* should now be received, the delay and inconve- 

After a discussion, the letter to which Dr. W. nience would be avoided. It would be remenn- 

referred was permitted to beread. It wasa let- bered that there was an express rule, which 

ter contained in a newspaper published at New admits the offering of new testimony before 

Haven, entitled ' The Perfectionist,' and ad- a superior court in cases of appeal, where the 

dressed to Theodore Weld, late a student in court should deem such testimony requisite to 

Lane Seminary. a right decision. 

The letter being very long, and appearing to Mr. Brainerd observed there need be no 

be on a subject wholly unconnected with the difficulty as Dr. W. could get from the synod 

matter in hand, it was moved that the reading all he had need of. 

be arrested: and that only so much be read as Dr. Wilson said that the writer of the letter 

Dr. W. had referred to. was the Rev. Dr. Phillips, of New York; and that 

The Moderator decided, that if any part of he should have cited him as a witness upon the 

the paper was read the whole must be. present trial, if he had not understood that the 

Mr. Rankin inquired what was the signature citation of all witness save the members of the 

of the letter. court, was by agreement waived. 

The Clerk stated that it had no signature: Mr. Brainerd said, that nothing of this 

whereupon on motion of Mr. Burnet, seconded sort had been stated before the presbytery, 

by Prof. Biggs, the paper was rejected as being Dr. Wilson then observed, that as there ap- 

no testimony. peared to be some mistake as to the extent of 

Dr. Wilson gave notice that he took excep- Dr. Beecher's concessions, he wanted to know 

tion to this decision ; in order that he might avail whether the 4th specification of the sixth charge 

himself of such exception, should the case go up was conceded, or not — which is in the following 

to Synod. And also, that he should avail him- words: [see it above.] 

selfof the testimony introduced by Dr. Beecher Dr. Beecher replied that all was conceded 

before the last meeting of Presbytery, viz: his which was contained in the sermon referred to. 

own sermon with a review of the same by Dr. Dr. Wilson then inquired, if the fact in that 

Green. specification was not conceded, whether he had 

The examination of testimony being resumed, not a right to the testimony which he had cited 

Dr. Wilson stated that he had no farther tes- to support it; and whether the cause must not 

timony on the part of the charge. be suspended till such testimony was obtained. 

Silas Woodbury was examined, and his tes- He was resolved to have that testimony before 

fimony is as follows: he proceeded any farther. 

I was present in the Synod, when Dr. B. gave his Dr. Beecher wished to know, whether sup- 

statement: and facts are substantially as given by posing that specification to be proved. Dr. Wil- 

Judge Burnet, according to the best of my recollec- son meant to avail himself of it with a view to 

tioh. show that the sermon in question had been writ- 

The testimony being now closed, it was mov- ten and shaped in reference to Dr. B.'s coming 

cd that the parlies be heard. into the Presbyterian church. The date of the 

Dr. Wilson stated that he was much exhaus- sermon would speak for itself, without any con- 
ted and requested an adjournment, cession. If Dr. W. wanted to know, whether 

Dr. Beecher gave notice that he might have the sermon was printed, at the time Dr. B. was 

occasion to introduce farther testimony, should about coming into the Presbyterian church, there 

he be able to procure it, before proceeding to was no secret about the matter. But if he 

the defence. wanted it to be conceded that the sermon was 

Presbytery then took up other business before either prepared or published with reference to 

them, and which occupied the judicatory until Dr. B.'s coming to this place and being the 

the hour of adjournment. President of Lane Seminary, that would not be 

Presbytery then adjourned. conceded. Dr. W. might argue from the date 

Thursday morning.— Freshytcry met and was of the sermon in any way he pleased, 

opened with prayer. Dr. Wilson said, all he wanted was the fact. 

Farther testimony was introduced on the part that he might use it in argument. If Dr. B. 

of Dr Beecher. conceded the fact. Dr. W. would have the right 

Dr Wilson said that he wished to apprise the to draw such inference from it as he might deem 

presbytery of a diflSculty which must arise from proper* 

their having rejected the information he had Dr- Beecher: You may draw it. As to the 

been desirous of laying before them, and which fact, it is conceded. 

was contained in a letter not permitted to be The concession was, by Dr. Wilson's desire, 

rend. If the present trial should not terminate P"^ "P^" record. 

according to the views of the prosecutor, and the Dr. Beecher now called for the testimony of 

case should go up to synod, it would be necessary Edward Weed. 



Dr. Wilson Inquired, whether Mr, Weed was versalion and confessions of sin in prayer? — Ans. 

a memher of the church. Yes. 

The Moderator replied, that he was an elder Mr. Brainerd. Did you ever hear that Dr. Beecher 

ofthe4(h church in Cincinnati; and a candi- Y^a. suspected of perfectionism, until you heard it 

date under the care of the Chillicothe prcsby- from Dr. Wilson's cliar^^^ 1 never lieard of 

* -^ It until yesterday, that Dr. Beecher was charged or 

^'7* suspected of perfectionism. (Read, &c.) 

Mr. Weed was thereupon duly sworn; and ^ _.. . ,. , . ^ /. i 

his testimony being taken, was as follows: ^^^J; Wilson then addressed the court as fol- 

Dr. Beecher. How lone was you a member of the .^ ' , , mi . . . j ui ^j j 

Lane Sem.narv?-Ans. Two vears and a half. Moderator-The inriportant and blessed ends 

Dr.B. How long a membeV of tlie Theological of church government and discipline can only be 

Qj^gg7 ^ns. One year. attamed by a wise and laithtul administration* 

Dr. B. Was there, during your continuance in the I" the hand of church officers, the Lord Jesus 

Seminary, to your knowledge, any member who was Christ has placed the government of his king- 

a perfectionist? — Ans. I knew of none. dom on earth; and I can conceive of no station 

Dr.B. Was there any whom you regarded as tend- more responsible than that occupied by those 

ing to that opinion? — Ans. None. officers to whom are committed the keys of the 

Dr. Wilson. Did you, while a member of that kingdom of heaven; to open that kingdom to the 

Seminary, see a letter addressed to T. D. Weld, in the penitent; to shut it against the impenitent; to 

Perfeciionist?— Ans. I saw it m the city. (Weed vindicate the truth and the honor of Christ; to 

'^'if? w "" wf "" * "' ""^ '^^ ^^^^^^^^^^ . A purge out that unholy leaven of error which 

Dr. W. Who was the writer of that letter? — Ans. L- u* • r * *u u i i i a i. r ^^ 

r might infect the whole lump; to deter men from 

ji cannoi say. ,. • • /• /y» . j ji 

Dr. W. Do you know why Dr. B. warned the ^¥ ^^"J'Ti^^l'^" of offences; and prevent the 
students against perfectionism, and delivered a set ^''^^n of God from falling on the church.* 
lecture on that subject?— Ans. 1 think I know. I It belongs to the officers of the kingdom of 
think that in one of the lectures of Dr. Beecher, the our Lord, when solemnly convened as a court of 
discussion came up, whether an individual could at the Christ ministerially and authoritatively to deter- 
same time be under the exercise of religious feeling, mine not only cases of conscience and matters 
and commit sin. of practice, b lit to decide controversies of faith; 

Dr. W. What arguments were advanced by some and their decisions, if consonant to the word of 
of the students in favor of the doctrine, that while Qod, are to be received with reverence and sub- 
under religious feeling, christians cannot commit sin? mission.t 

Ans. The discussion was simply in the form of ques- r\r ii ai ^ i.* x i. i.j. i. r l i. 

tions and answers, and it was argued on. the part of ^f 1^" ^^f. ^"^J^!^*« '^'"^"g^* ^^'^T^ ^ ^'^"^^'^ 
the students, in this discussion, that an individual's ^^"J: ' ^^"^ adjudication, none are so important as 
feelings were at the same time entirely holy, or entirely controversies of faith, and none so diflicult to 
ginful. determine. None so important; because truth 

Dr.B. Did every student profess to express his is essential to purity, peace and goodness; and 
own opinion on those subjects? — Ans. No. They no crime, of a pardonable nature, is so great as 
simply argued on that side of the question in order to that of corrupting the word of God. so as to 
elicit Dr. Beecher's opinion. preach another gospel: no adjudications are 

Dr. B. Was it in immediate connexion with this more difficult, because under the appearance of 
discussion (perhaps at the next lecture) that I gave a piety, zeal a,nd liberality— by popular talent 
regular discussion of this subject ?- Ans I think it ^nd the arts of persuasion— by the concealing 
r^ko^r^t ttXsT'^ ^^^^^"^^' ''' ''' ^'^^"^ -^ ^^e poison of asps tender the pure milk an! 

Dr. B. Was it in opposition to the views of the 1"^'*^ ^^^'^'"^ '""^T'^ Iruths-and by an appeal 
Perfectionists?— Ans. It was in opposition to the *^ numbers, and wealth, and success— false 
theory that the chrisiian's feelings are entirely holy or teachers, if it were possible, would deceive the 
entirely sinful. It had no special reference to the "^^^Y clect.J The whole history of the church 
Perfectionists. proves that no crime ever committed has been 

Dr. B. Did any student express it as his opinion, so complicated, so hard to be detected, so diffi* 
in any other form than to elicit opinions from me? — cult of eradication, so hurtful to the church, so 
Ans. No, not in the discussion. ruinous to the world, as the preaching of another 

Dr. Wilson. Did every student express it as bis gospel. And, sir, no class of men has ever pos- 
cyinion, in any other place, in their intercourse with gessed more talent, manifested more zeal, exhi- 
the.r fellow-students? Ans. There were many bited more perseverance, or exerted greater nu- 
students, who expressed their opinion ih^^ ^^^j^^, J^ pecuniary power, and gained a 

feeling is entirely holy or entirely sinful, but not an i * j i "^ i .i_ ° r i 

indifidual who believed in the doctrine of the Perfec- """'l «'evated popular applause, than some fnlso 
tionists. teachers. And this we have reason to believe 

Dr. B. Were there any of the students who be- w*" continue to be the case till *lhe day of the 
lieved that any person in this life attained to that state Lord Cometh that shall burn as an oven;' till 
where they bad only holy affections and none sinful? ^the sons of Levi shall be purified,' ^the sanctu- 
Ans. Not an individual ; they all discarded it. 

J^ ?• •li*'*.?!" r"l!f ''^^•^' ?'"" ^•P'J^l^y «^^- •Coofe»k>n of F.lih, ch. ««. p. 139. f Ibid. p. 13f . 

iMpond with that of other Cbrittiaot in their con- % MattiMw uW. 94. 



12 

arj of God cleansed,' and Hhe kingdom and be come-at-able in case of need; are matters not 

tha greatness of the kingdom under the whole for me to decide. The very record itself, in 

heaven shall be given to the people of the saints respect to these papers, is so equivocal in its 

of the Most High.' Were it necessary, before terms that no future historian will, from inspec- 

an enlightened court of Christ, to support these ting it, be able to tell whether the charges have 

statements by proof and illustration, 1 might cite been taken up by presbytery on the ground that 

you to the state of the church in the time of Jere- the accuser is competent, or from mere courtesy 

boam, in the days of Ahab, and the period which to the feelings of the accused. The supposition 

elapsed between the reign of Josiah and the that the admission of the charges has been purely 

eleventh year of Zedekiah, I might remind you gratuitous, and that they have been acted upon 

of those who compassed sea and land to make a out of mere courtesy to the accused, places an 

proselyte in the time of Christ; of those who obstacle in the course of justice. How far it 

called the apostles and elders from their fields of will be permitted to operate I pretend not to say: 

labor to determine a controversy about doctrine, but I do believe that that will be the impression 

commended at Antioch and adjudicated at Jeru- produced, because I know something of impres- 

salem. I might tell the long and melancholy sions made upon the human mind. I feel per- 

storicsof Arius, Pelagius, Socinus,andArminius: suaded that neither rashness nor unkindness has 

I might speak of the powerful but perverted appeared either in the charges themselves, or in 

talents of the great Erasmus, and notice the daz- the manner of conducting them. Whatever may 

zling splendor of Edward Irving: I might name have been my youthful indiscretions; or what- 

men in our own times, in our own church, whose ever may have been the spirit I have manifested 

eloquenceandpopularity have deluded thousands when again and again placed atyour bar, I think 

and turned them aside from the truth and sim- I may appeal to you, sir, and to every member 

plicity of the gospel. But I forbear; and only of this court, to say, whether in the course of the 

add that the case before you is a case precisely present trial thus far, it has not been conducted 

in point. You are called upon to determine a on my part with that temper and in that manner 

controversy about doctrines: doctrines intimately which becomes one standing in the important 

connected with practice: doctrines of vital in- station which 1 occupy? I have manifested no 

terest to the church of Christ: doctrines which impatience under much needless delay: I have 

are parts of a system wholly subversive of the treated the court with due deference, and the 

gospel of God: doctrines which have been prop- man whose theological sentiments I cannot ap- 

agated by a zeal and talent worthy of a better prove, with uniform respect and courtesy. I 

cause: and the propagation of which has deeply feel confident, therefore, that when the subject 

convulsed and shaken into disunion the Presby- shall be viewed in all its parts, the obstacle 

terian church in the United States, from the which arises from the character of the accuser, 

Atlantic to the Missouri, and from the Lakes to will be removed, and you will approach the de- 

the Gulf of Mexico. cision of the cause, in that respect at least, with 

And now. Sir, permit me to remind you, while an unbiassed mind, 
sitting as a Court of Jesus Christ, that there are 2dly. A second obstacle in the way of a just 

several things which stand as prominent obstacles decision of this trial, is found in the character, 

in the way of a just derision: and these I must standing, and talents of the accused. Were the 

be permitted to remove, before it will be possible accused a man isolated in society, of but moder- 

for you to make a decision in accordance with ate talents, low attainments, and of bad moral 

the standards of the church : character, there would be little, perhaps no diffi- 

And 1st, the character of the accuser in this culty in obtaining a decision against him: but 
prosecution stands as one, and the first obstacle the very reverse of all this is true. And it is also 
in the way of a correct decision. The accuser, true, as has been strenuously pleaded before you, 
in this prosecution, is considered by many as a (with what effect I know not) that Dr. Beecher 
litigious, ultra partizan in the Presbyterian by a long life of correct conduct, and by the dili- 
church. In attempting to wipe away this odium, gent promulgation of what he believes to be re- 
lic puts in no plea of personal merit. He feels ligious truth, has acquired a large capital in 
himself to be a man of like passions with others; character and reputation on which it has been 
and when he has felt deeply, his language has supposed that he could live in the west, notwith- 
been plain, and has strongly expressed the feel- standing all opposition. While all this is not 
ingsofhis heart. Whatever may have been denied, and while it is freely admitted that his 
the opinions formed ofhis merit or demerit, these efforts especially in the temperance cause, have 
opinions ought to have no place in the trial, been such as to secure him not only admiration 
Yet your records contain matter going to show at home, but fame in both hemispheres and 
that documents had been received by the court throughout the world, yet it is believed to be 
which were intended to prove the ecclesiastical very questionable whether he has been able to 
incompetency of the prosecutor. .Whether those import with him here all that amount of capital, 
documents have been placed upon your files: in established character, which he possessed be- 
whether they are anonymous,or over responsible fore crossing the Appalachian. On this point I 
names: whether they are so placed that they will shall refer the court to what was written in New. 



r 



Engliind, touching Ibe manner of hia acquiring thought of reading from thia book, had not Dr. 
thiscapital, and also showing the loss of much of B> attempted to produce an impression to Dr. 
it before he look his stand among tis of the west: W.'s disadvantage and bis own elevation. The 
thereby proving that the loss he has sustained book seemed to be written not only with good . 
was not owing to the opposition he has bad to judgment, but by a man who possessed a chrig- 
"'■*''' -. ■- - 1---. ti an spirit. In animadverting on a letter of Dr. 



mcounter on this side llie mountains, but 
incurred in the land from which he emigrated. 
I shall beg to call the attention of the presbyte- 
ry to two short passages in a book entitled 'Let- 
ters on tho present state and probable results of 
Theological Spccuhitions in Connecticut.' 

Mr. Braincrd inquired who was the author of 
the Letters? 



Beecher to Dr. Woods, of Andover, the author 
first quoted the words of the letter, and then used 
ihc following language in relation to it: 

Dr. Beecher 'has Imd the dellberBlo opinion for 
many years, derived from exiensive ottaeivation, and 
a careful altention tollie elementary principles of the 
variousdlRerenccs wiiicli have agitated tiie cburch. 
Dr. Wilson stated in reply that they appeared i!iat ilie miniBlers of llie orlhodox Congregational ■ 
under the signature of 'An Edwardean,' and cliurcli, and iIib minisiera oflbe Presbyterian church, 
contended that they were to be received on the ore all cordially unilcd in every one of iIjs tloclrines 
same footing as the papers f ubmillcd liy Dr. of the hihle, and of ihe confessions of faiib, which 
Beecher at the last meeting of presbytery. ''^''e been regarded and donominflled fundamental.' 

Mr. Brainerd thought not: those papers had See his second leilerloDrWoeds.) How much lobe 

been signed with the initials J. L. W. understood ^^"^"'^^ '' " ^''^^ »V h''5m 1 ""' ""■ n 'r' f'*" 

. = I k T W'l covory in season, or that he did nol seasonably feel it« 

TI Josnua L. wuson. influence to have saved unbroken ihe harmony of 

tale, and the peace of Ihe surrounding re- 
1 For, whence came those chatgea of physical de- 



Dr. Wilson replied that he introduced these j^j^ ^ 
extracts in order to show how the views expres- 



sed in the loiters of Dr. Beecher and Dr. Woods 



praeilg, and pkffsical regeneration, and ot'making God 



were viewed in New England, before Dr. B. /AcaitfAoro/atB, wiiicb~cerlaiiilj did not ariso'wilh- 

lefl that country: and if they were not evidence out his knowledge, and which have grieved liia^brBlh- 1 

of that fact, then there was no such thing as evi- ren for years! Whence came thai labored effort a few I 

dcnce of anything. If he was to be prohibited years since, lo mski a new creed or confession of I 

from referring to such proofs, then he might give faith, for Ihe sia[e? who inlroduced it lo Ihe General 

" ■ ■ ■■ ' ■ Association, oradvised U 

and agitation of many r 



lo Ihe grief 
Dr. Beecher eup- 
were P"^'^^' ^^ ^^^ i" cordially agreed ia every one of ibe 
docirinesoflhehible. Again, Dr. B. 'doubls not that 
we might BO live, as lo leave the church in a blaze of' 
conirovcrsy, which lliegeneralion to cnrae might not' 
live toseeextingnislied,' And wiiall ask, has pro- 
of conlroversy for len years past, buf 



Dp, at once, all expectation of being allowed to 
argue tlie present question. 

Mr. Brainerd said, that if the let!, 
read as anonymoup, and were introduced merely 
as a part of Dr. Wilson's argument, he had no 
objections to their being read. .„„^^ v... 

Dr. Beecher wished lo know what the accuser ventedibe bl^ 

intended to prove by these extracts? How did llie forbenranceoflliose, who, Ihoughassailedon every 

Ihoy bcaron the matlcrin hand? side, have chosen lo make almost any sacrifice f« 

Dr. Wilson replied that he inlroduced them peace? And what now prevents a blaze of controveiw 

to prove that Dr. B. bad not brought all that sy, liiat many gencraiions will not see cxiiiiguished, 

amount of capital into the west which be had uak-ss those who adhere lo the faith of their falimn, 

alleged, and which ho represented Dr. W. aa the ^'^ willing to sec themselves, and wliai lliey esteem 

inslrument ofcurtailing. '''" '""'* '"impled in the dusi? Let Dr. Beecher view 

Dr. Bceclierreplied, he was perfectly willing >he subject on all sides. Bui he has at length mado 

thattheoxlrncts should be read: because he was 'he discovery, that there is a greal difference, in 'the 

not willing it should be supposed he was afraid ^J« "peavt^n mlhceye ofman and in ourown eye, 

n. I ■ ,1 - I ,1 1 ij I on a (leal I bed; and on i he recordof olernilv. between 

lavuig this or aiiyllmig else that could be pro- ,j,e appearance of a great pacificalion.or aV'S 

duccd read before the whole world: bu he be- fl„gra.ion, aciiieved by our inslrumemalitjJ He £ 

leved the admission ofthem to be wholly irregu- ceitam]ytobecongraiulatedont!.i3discovery,aBdb«d 

lar. Neither Dr. Wilson nor himself was here ha made it len years ago, iho present ngiiationa would 

(o he tried on the point whether Dr. B. did or not have been witnessed. Bui ii is matter of joy 

did not bring with him inio the west the whole that the discovery has been made, and it is devoutly 

ofthe capital he had possessed in the cast. What lobe hoped the effec is will soon bo viaible. Let Dr. 

ifbedid?or what if he did not? The thing was Beecher llien, use his influence lo remove llie present 

whollv outre. Yet he desired Dr. W. mieht be causes of irrilalion and suspicion. Lei us havo men 

. . .' . . ... ... . .?. .t .!.„ I 1 „r "fil.-.l^-: I t' 



indulged to read it: he must take the liberty,, 
however, of saying that it was wholly irrelevant 
lo tho trial. 

The Moderator thought the reading had bet- 
rbe allowed; Dr. B. would have an opportun- 
ity of speaking of its irrelevancy when hisdcfcncc 
was in order. 

Dr. Wilson replied, that he wished tointro- sound 
^ duce nothing Irrelevant; nor should he have over the ini 



the head of our Theological Seminary, in whom ■„ 
ihe churches and ministers havo confidence; and thua 
give ug back as an united communily, our College, a 
Chr^slain Speclalor, our candidiiles for (he minialrj, j 
our revivals of religion.oiir harmonious ossocialion^ J 
our unilcd churches. But if thia cannot be done, lal, 1 
noi Dr. Beecher, or any other man suppose, that tho 1 
communily will always be amused with mer<ii 
ir liiat the cause of truth will be aacri6ced t 
eala or caprice of a few men. pp. 3:2.33. 



14 

Another consideration is derived from the letters hope and believe all things. Others believe your 

recently published by Dr. Beecher to Dr. Woods, professions, and impute your seeming vagaries to the 

These letters contain some pathetic remarks, on the eccentricities of your mind and the warmth of your 

benefits of union, and the evils of alienation. But preaching — pp. 4,5. 
• these remarks, from Dr. Beecher, come too late in the The novelties to which I refer in this letter, are 

day and they imply an mcorrect view of the subject, those which have been called 'new divinity,' and 

They imply that the divisions and alienations are oc- ^new measures.' I mean the theology of the New 

casioned by the opponents of Dr. Taylor, whereas Haven school— and the measures for converting sin- 

they are chargeablewholly to his friends, and himself, ners and promoting revivals, which have had tl>eir 

It IS presumed that some transactions, which took principal seat of operation in the State of New 

place ten years ago, are not now present to Dr. Beech- York. It is no part of my object— it would lead rae 

er's recoljeclion. The days and nights he has spent too far out of the way, to prove these principles and 

with Dr. Taylor in maturing and bringing forward measures to be unscrlptural; or even to show, at any 

this very system, whicli makes all the disturbance; and considerable length, what they are. That they exist, 

the warnings they then received from an intimate jg, j believe, granted on every side. That their ad- 

friend, who was sometimes present, and who pointed vocates believe them to be widelv different from old 

out to them these very consequences, have proba- principles and measures, and also to be exceedingly 

bly passed, in some degree, into oblivion. There is preferable to them, is manifest, from the fact that they 

no doubt that if Dr. Beecher would, even now, set continually inculcate and extol the new, and express- 

himselftoundo, what, by his countenance he has Iv undervalue the old; from the fact, that they pert i- 

done m this matter, the breach would, in a great naciously adhere to their alleged improvements, al- 

measure, be healed. But for him now to write let- though they know they are unacceptable to a large 

terson the benefits or duty of union, though very portion of their brethren, and have excited animosi- 

fulloffeeling,will not reach the case. Some exam- ties and divisions; and from the fact, that they seize 

pie with precept is needful. And especially, let him every occasion to diffuse their principles, and to in- 

not attempt now, to cast the odium of this separation troduce men who preach them, at every open door. — 

on those who have done nothing to produce it, and My complaint against you, sir, is, that you have act- 

who have, from the beginning, deprecated its exist- ed fully with other leaders in this matter; but not 

ence; those who have kepc straight forward in the doc- ^ith that open avowal of your object, which was to 

trines, in which they have always found consolation, be expected from your general reputation for frank- 

and by which Uicy would administer it to others, ness, and from your Christian profession. 

*^*^' ' • Of this new scheme of doctrine, which I have said 
Dr. Wilson said, that afler reading this he I cannot stay to exhibit at length, it is requisite I 
would only remark that the date here given should give a synopsis. Perhaps I cannot better 
corresponded exactly with the period mention- characterize it in few words, than by saying, that it re- 
ed by Dr. Beecher himself, in which he had sembles, in its prominent features and bearing, Wes^ 
been engaged in preaching and publishing the ^f»^; a strange mingling of evangelical doctrine 

doctrinef hi now held. That period he stated T ti'TTTT r!i' ^ ^J^^^™' '^^ «"<=^^ '^ J"^y 

. V L xu I X * J -i. wi be called, which the orthodox of New England have 

to have been the last ten j^ars; and It was with- , ^^^^^^^ ^^ be subversive of the gospel, and 

in just that period, according to this writer, that ^^^^jj^g ^^ p^^^^^^ sp^.i^^g conversions. It certain- 

the troubles and disturbances of the churches jy i^as some variations from that system, however, 

of New England on the subject of the new Di- which I need not point out. It professedly em- 

vinity had been experienced. This coincidence braces the atonement, the deiiy of Christ, the Trini- 

of date gave the more authenticity to the state- ty, the personalty and offices of the Spirit, depravity, 

ments of the Edwardean. regeneration, justification, and the other doctrines of 

Dr. Wilson now proceeded to read from a g"Cf- Its distinctive feature is, that it abundantly 

printed 'Letter to Dr. Beecher, on the influ- '"f "Ic^tes human acl.v.ty and abd.ty m the affair of 

^ -,. ..^.T». L A Tij salvation; even professing to resuscitate them from 

ence of his ministry in Boston: by Asa Rand, tl^e dead, alleging that we have heretofore killed and 

Esq. Editor of the Volunteer,' as follows: Juried them. Holding that sinners, though depraved, 

The object which I aim to accomplish is, either to have poicer to convert themselves, it proposes the 

elicit something from yourself or your friends which minute and direct steps by which they may effect it, 

may remove injurious perplexities; or, if these must content with a general allusion now and then to the 

remain on your part, to disabuse the public mind of necessity of divine influence to aid and persuade 

prevailing misapprehensions, and so arrest or retard, them. pp. 5, 6. 

if it may be, the progress of existing evils. I say, Apparently induced by their wish to present the 
disabuse the public rpind; for although # there are ability and obi io^tion of sinners in the strongest light, 
many who probably understand and follow you, and and to convertthem as fast as possible by every 
many others who regard your course as inconsistent means, the preachers in question have renewed the 
and erroneous; yet tliere are multitudes in our church- attempt which has been a thousand times baffled be- 
es who do not, for lack of information, understand fore — an attempt to make the humbling doctrines of 
this subject, even so far as it is intelligible to others — the gospel plain and acceptable to the carnal mind. 
They, have been accustomed to listen to you almost Original sin is explained away. Adult depravity is 
as' to an oracle. They have heard from you and of resolved into a habU of sinning, and the various ruling 
you things which startle them. But they have heard passions; while the deep, 6xed, inherent aversion of 
of your disclaimers, and your abundant professions the soul to God and all holiness, is kept out of sight. 
^^nho^Qzy; and they dispose of their perplexities Election, the sovereignty of God, the special influ- 
:4lli|^ ftjro Able^ Some nimi in c|oubt of you; but ence of the Spirit in renovating the heart, are so ex- 

f. 1 " . ■* ■ d ''*^ ' ' , '"^ ■• 

[i«4 ■'cir*'-i* Iti '^''- ■ • ■■■ «• 

**^- '..V ;■ ,. .;: ■ .-t . 

«;■-,.■•;■ 

•iii*;->'.. ■.■■ 
-•"Si}' .'•':< 



^ined, that llic 'natural man' can underaland them, 
•nd be rccoDciled to llicm besides. 

VoiirselF anil llie public will expect to Itnow my 
ftaaont, for regarding jou as connected wiih liie 
New Haven Bchoul, and a leading advocais of llieir 
theology. I will now allempi logive llieni. 

1. Your preaching, together inlh your treatment 
ofifiquircrs and eonnerls. And wlien 1 speak ortliia 
chttiacier of your sermons and addresses, I do not in- 
tend senlcnce or expressiun; but ihe prevailinj; tone 
of senliment on frequent occasions, among your own 
people, lo other congregaiions in the city, and at nu- 
merous oppurlunilies abroad. 

I cannol, however, refer 1o the chaplor and verse; 
or quote yout language verbatim. You have seldom 
pui your new theology to ibe press, ihougb you have 
published much on Turious lupics. Whether ihe o- 
iDissJon hns been by design, or fur imperative reasons, 
I knovf nol. 1 must liiercforc resort lo other sources 
of evidence. And 1 here premise, ihat I do not af- 
firm whal you haw preached, bul what you have been 
tmdcrUood lo preach; fur the words of ihe oral preach- 
er pass into (he air, and cannot be remembered with 
perfect accuracy and repealed wiib confidence. I 
only mean to say, that in New England the Impres- 
sion is strong anil deep, thai you Lave fully preached 
among us the iheology above described; thai while 
Dr. Taylor and olliers have writlen, and reasoned, 
■nd philosophised, and myalicised, you have rendered 
the same system pjiipable and practical in your preach- 
ing and miuialraliuns, subserving tlieir cause far 
more efiectually than they have done ihem^eives. pp. 
B, 0. 

Dr. W. said he had marked other passngea 
with Ihe intent (o read them, but would ^pare 
the time of the court, and lay Ihe book on Ihe 
fable for reference. 

Now he wished the Presbytery to recollect 
the object for which he had introdured and read 
these printed documents; it was lo show that 
whatever amount of capital Dr. B. might have 
attained — within the last ten years, it had been 
diminished, in no inconfider.iblc degree before 
he had taken up his line of march (or the west: 
and therefore the lo^s was not chargeable on 
the opposition of Dr. \V. But suppose all this 
proof be laid wholly out of view, and suppose 
that Dr. B. is slitl in possession of the entire 
amount of fame which can be the result only ofa 
long life devoted lo the promotion of what he 
believed the cause of truth and benevolence, 
was this lo be pleaded In his favor here? was 
he to be more exempt from the judgment of his 
peers than the humblest individual in society? 
Dr. W. would say to the court on this subject, 
'Look not upon his countenance flor upon the 
height of his intellectual stature.' You are to 
'know no man after the flesh.' His talents, 
fame, and even his usefulness, ought not to bo 
remembered when you cast your eye upon the 
charges now before you. The in<|uirie8 sub- 
milted (o you arc plain and imporlnnt. Has he 
published nnd pn-ach'd promincnl and m-liinl 
errors? Wiml nx-lhod^ has hi; taken lo propa- 
gate, and runderthctn popular, in the Presby- 
terian Church T 






3. A third article, said Dr. W., presented in 
the way of a just decision in this case is Dr. 
Green's review of Dr. Beecher's sermon on 
'The Faith once delivered lo the Sainfs.' Ex-. 
tracts from this review were read before thia 
court at its last mcniing to prove — what! to 
prove that if the specifications made under these 
charges be all true, ihey form no propei ground 
of complaint! Now I should not have referred 
to this sermon, or to Dr. Green's review of it, 
had Ihey not been brought before you by Dr. 
Beecher himself. I confess that all my knowt- 
edge of the sermon is from the author's own 
statements, from Dr. Green's review of it, and 
from the review in the Christian Examiner, to- 
gether with Dr. Beecher's answer In the Chris- 
tian Spectator. Thus 1 get a knowledge of 
sermons I never read. But 1 would ask, is Dr- 
Green to be quoted as good authority against 
tiie standards of the Presbyterian church? Dr." 
Green, it is said, pronounced Ur. Beecher a 
Calvinist. Permit me, sir, to disabuse jour 
minds on this subject. Dr. Beecher did not 
call his own sentiments Calvinislic. He called 
his sermon 'a Select System' — held by no man 
nor denomination, so as to render it proper to 
call it by the name of any man or any sect; 
and he says that some of almost every denomL- 
nnlion hold it, and some reject it. Dr. Green 
gives the same account of Dr. Beecher's 'Select- 
System.' He says, that Calvinists in Ihe most 
proper sense of ihe term would except lo some 
of the articles of this system, and a great many 
who would by no means consent lo be denom- 
inated Calvinists would only consider Dr Beech- 
er as holding the Evangelical system subslantiaU 
ly. Well indeed did Dr. Green say that strict 
and proper Calvinists would except to some of 
Dr. Beecher's articles of faith. Look, sir, at 
the following: — 'men are in the possession of 
such faculties and placed in such circumstances 
as render it praclicable for them to do whatever 
God requires.' This is an article in Dr. Beech^ 
cr's 'Select System' to which no true Calvinist, 
and but few Armtninnscan subscribe; for, while 
it directly eontfadicts the Calvinislic creed on 
the one hand, on the other it asserts an ability 
in fallen man which intelligent Arminiansdony. 
Indeed, Rir, no man can assert such an nbilily in 
fallen man, much less can ho make it the foua- 
dation of the Divine government, without being 
deeply imbued with the Pelagian heresy, and 
making a display of his entire ignorance of the 
true doctilnes of the Fall. 

In reference to the Atonement, Dr. B. statei 
that God can maintain the influence of his law, 

and forgive sin, on the condition of repent; 

toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ 
and that a compliance with these conditions 
praclirahle, in the regular excrri^c of the no 
crs and r.iculti.-s ^-iveii lo man as an ac. 
creature. [See Christian Advo.ale. Vol. -i 
31, 3-2.] Every man whoundfrstands the*-* 
lan controversy bnowg that those nro pr 




16 

the sentiments of Unitarians. Did Dr. Green what he has preached and published from ten to 
say that Dr. Beecher was a Calvinist? No. — twenty years in his 'Select System^' which some 
What Dr. Green attempts to show is that Dr. of all sorts believe, and some of all sorts reject. 
B.'s'Select System' contains sentiments to which And what does he desire you to infer from all 
no strict Calvinist, no strict Arminian can sub- this? That his sentiments are in accordance 
scribe: and this is precisely what Dr. B. himself with the standards of the church, at least, ' for 
asserted of this Select System. His words are substance of doctrine;' or if there be 'shades of 
these: 'It is a Select System, which some of difference,' they have been so long, so persever- 
almost every denomination hold, and some re- inglyand extensively propagated, that there is 
ject.' And he calls it evangelical to prevent now no just cause of complaint: as if when a 
circumlocution. Now I claim the right of call- man is arraigned for sapping the foundation of 
ing this 'Select System' by a more appropriate civil society, and introducing misrule in all the 
name. And as Dr. B. is extremely anxious to states, he should plead in bar of the prosecution, 
be considered a Calvinist, I will call his Select or in mitigation of his offence that as he had 
System Liberal Calvinism: and I will adopt the been engaged in the project of a select system, 
language of Dr. Green, and say 'the peculiar from ten to twenty years, no one now had any 
sentiments of the class of Calvinists to which right to complain. But suppose Dr. Green, in 
Dr. Beecher belongs are also apparent in other 1824, delighted with the ability with which Dr. 
parts of this discourse.' And what is Liberal Beecher defended or sustained the doctrine of 
Calvinism? According to Huntington, (I do not the Trinity, had in kindness and courtesy, over- 
mean Huntington of London, nor Huntington in looked the errors of the 'Select System,' and pro- 
Boston, formerly in the Old South Church, but nounced Dr. Beecher a Calvinist in so many 
Huntington the author of Calvinism Improved) words; what weight ought such a declaration to 
in his book entitled Calvinism Improved, liberal have with you, on atrial held eleven years after- 
Calvinism is Universal Salvation. According to wards? It ought, sir, to be with you less than the 
Dr. Taylor and Prof. Fitch, liberal Calvinism is dust of the balance. Could Dr. Green possibly 
the adoption of a Calvinistic creed 'for substance have foreseen what evils would result from this 
of doctrine,' admitting the primary propositions, 'Select System' in ten years? Andean any man 
and rejecting the secondary as unwarranted and now see the amount of mischief which this 'se- 
obsolete explanations. According to others, lib- lect system' will produce in ten years more, if 
eral Calvinism is the stepping stone to Pel a- the desolating tide is not rolled back? 
gian perfection. In my opinion, liberal Cal- 4th. A fourth obstacle in the way of a just de- 
vinism is that Select System now called in cision, is the claim that is set upon the subject 
the Presbyterian church New-School ism. — of interpretation. Let us see what this claim of 
What did Hberaj Calvinism do in Scotland?^ It interpretation is. I quote from Dr. Beechers 

~ Remedy of Scep- 

28. 

teristics.' wnat aia uoerai i^aivmism ao in _„_ , i . . t j i i. 

^ , ift J. 1 1 TT •* • :w> ♦u^ „«..<r With these remarks m view, I proceed to observe, 

England? It placed a Umtarianm the very ^^^^^ ^^e creeds of the reformation are also made often 

pulpit once occupied by the venerable Matthew ^j^^ ^^^^.^^ of perplexity and doubt, to inexperienced 

Henry. What did liberal Calvinism do m Ge- ^\^^^ * * 

neva? It placed a pologian in the very seat ^^^ ^^^^ constructed amidst the most arduous 

of Calvin. What has liberal Calvinism done m controversy that ever taxed the energies of man, and 

America? It has undermined and almost anni- ^^j^ ^j^^ ^^^ g^^^j ^p^j^ ^1,^ errors of the day and on 

hilated the Saybrook Platform in New England: ^^^ p^jntg around which the battle chiefly raged j on 

it has divided, distracted, and almost ruined the gQ^e topics they are more full than the proportion of 

Presbyterian church under the care of the Gen- the faith now demands; some of their phraseology al- 

eral Assembly: it has exalted unto high places so, once familiar, would now, without explanation, in- 

men whose talents and opinions are inimical to culcate sentiments which are not scriptural, which the 

the dearest interests of truth. It has palmed up- framers did not believe, ^and th^e creeds were never 

on the east and west and south, such talented intended to teach, 

and liberal spirits as Duncan and Flint and Of course they appear rather as insulated, indepen- 



'" ;; . ° , u A 1 - ^»--f «^fKinor h«a protectiiJg the rights of the universe, while tne alien- 
not be mistaken, he declares that nothing has P^^^ ^^^ Reconciled and the guilty are pardoned; and 
done more to eclipse the Sun of Righteousness though as abstract truths correctly expounded, accor- 
than *old dead orthodoxy.' He tells you that as ^j^^ ^^ ^j^^ intention of the framers, they inculcate 
a congregationalist in New England, his creed ^^ system of doctrines contained in the Holy Scrip- 
was the Assembly's Shorter Catechism and the tures, — and though, as landmarks and boundaries be- 
Say brook Platform; that as a Presbyterian his tween truth and error ihey are truly important; yet as 
creed is our Confession of Faith; and at the same the means for the popular exposition and the saving 
- i time he declares, that there is nothing in these application of truUi, they are far short of the exigen- 
I •: cbai^cs on the subject of erroneous doctrine, bqt cies of the day in which we live, mere skeletona ot 



■ ••.■.. ^ 



injlhconipnicd Willi llieayalem clotlied anJbeaulifiecl, church herself had interpreted them; hut here 
Uid inspired with life, as It exisia and operates in remark that the church, as a church. 



! of iIjo 



'en any iriterpret;ition of hci 



indard?, and 



of the day, i 



Ibe word of God. Unhappily i 

most imporianl iruilis ihey inculcate are, in ihcir ox- i^,^ ^^^■^^ obvious reason that wher 

.ated IN «,lb the reign.ng pl.iloaophy ^.j ,^3 ,,g^^ i,^^„ ^^^^j ^„j d^^^^^ .^^^^' j]^^ 

obe.nlhepopularappreheusronLden- fo^m of a confession, all interpretation ii at an . 

tlbed WJtIi ]l, snd are made odioua aiid repellent by , .-i . . -. , ■ 1 1, i_ 

.iteerrorB,asif Iheae philosophical iheorie/were the end, until she decides to review and alter her 

fMdamenlBl dDc.Tinea of the Bible. There ia no "*=«''- The fmlh she holds stands there in her 

end to the miachief whicb false philosophy, employed confession; which confession is to be received in 

in the espoaiiLon and defence of the doctrines of the obvious sense of its vi-ords, and all who be- 

tiie reformalion, has in this manner accomplished, come ministers and rulers in her connexion, are 

Good men have coniended for ihcories, as if tlicy required to receive llial confessionexaiiimo,witb- 

wsre vitol lo the syaiem.ond regarded as heretical tboso out explanation. To prove this, I might refer 

who received the doclrimQ of llie Bible and only re- to every adjudicated case on the records of the 

jeclcd their philosophy. • * # General Assembly. That body never attempt, 

' ■ my delibetalu opinion Ibaltbe false philosophy to give any interpretation of the church's stand- 
but simply proceed to compare the lan- 



which has been employed for the exposition of the 
C>lvii- • 



; sya em, has done more to obstruct the „„^' ,„j „„„/,.„► „r :„j: 
,■;...' J , , .1 Riiaee and conduct ol indi 

chriatianilv. and lo nara vze he aavinir now- S,. "^ . , , 



aurch of chrisiianiiy, and lo paralyze the 
•r of the Gospel, and lo rai^e up and organize around 
tbe church, ibe unnumbered rauhltude, to behold and 
wonder, and despise and perish, than all other 
causes beside. * ' * 

The points lo which I allude, as violated by a 
blse philosopliy, arc the principles of pcrs nal idenr- 
tily, by which tbe poslerily of Adam are distinct from 
01 confounded with their ancestor, and the principles 
of personal accountability and desert of punishment, 
M men are made accountable and punishable for his 
conduct, or become liable to sin. and misery, as a uni- 
versal consequence. The nature of sin and holiness, 
considered aa maletial qualities or ihc substance of die 
eoal, or as insliucts, or as the sponi 



iduals there 



rith.- 



The standards are considered by her as n straight 
rule, but interpretation can only he required, 
when the straight rule is to be bent so as to make 
it coincide with every curve or right nngle 
to which it is applied. Instead of this, the curves 
and the right angles should be brought along- 
side the straight rule, and then the discrepancy 
will at once be obvious to all. 

Dr. Beecher in his sermon, with a view to 
prove its orthodoxy, refers to certain authorities; 
which references are made both in the body of 
the discourse itself and in the notes. These 
nutharitles consist either of what arc called, by 



iral governmeni, in the full posaeaaion of ^°'^^' standard writers or standard adjudications. 



And above a 



mind under 
all the clemcni 

Ihe doclriues of Ihe decrees of God, and the univer- 
sal certainly of all events lo his foreknowledge, as 
Ihey are either uncxpUiued or explained by a false 
pbiloaophy. 

To which may be added die nature of ihe atone- 
ment and its exient, and the doctrines of election and 
leprobulion as they siiinc in the Bihlc.or through iho 
medium of a peivcrling philosophy. Whatever of 
th^ae philosophical theories appertained lo the system 
daring the arduous conflict fur civil and religious I'b- 
arly, against the papal deapoiism of modern Europe, 
■Ben endured, even swallowed them unhesitaiitigly, 
almost unthinkingly, in ibe presence of a greater evil; 
HI since the conflict lias passed Bway,iind the nature 
of mind and moral government is better undersiood, 
and ihe numbers who think and will tliink for theni- 
■elvea multiply, llicso repcUencies of false philosopliy 
kitve steadily increased, and will increase, lill that 
which is adventitious and false is rchnquished — and 
Ibe truth is preached in its purity and unbroken pow- 
,er. pp.34 to Se. 



There is, however, but one adjudication men- 
tioned, and that is by the Synod ofDort. It 
will, however, no doubt, he pleaded that we are 
to regard standard writers as interpreters of the 
Confession of Faith, and that we are at liberty to 
refer lo them .is showing what was the real 
meaning of its framers. But in nit the references 
contained in Ur. B.'s hook, there is but one 
solitary allusion to the Cotifcsjlon of Faith, and 
but a single quotation from any Presbyterian 
minister. Why this longarray of names? Why 
are we lold of Justin Marlyn, of Origcn, of Cy- 
prian, of Jerome, of Bernard and the Synod of 
Dort? Why arc we referred to Calvin and 
Bellamy and Hopkins and Smalleynnd West 
and Strong and Dwight, neither of whom ever 
adopted our standards, or preached or published 
in conformity with them? Unhappily, one pres- 
byteriun minister, and that as sound a man, and 
as ripe a scholar as is to be found in any age, 1 
mean Dr. Witherspoon, and he in but one singln 
It seems that the principle of interpretation is sentence in all his works, has varied a hair's 
■ ■ ' " " breadth from the standards he acknowledged; 

and that single sentence has been seized upon 
with avidity. 

But Ihe appeal is made also lo our theological 
seminaries. We are, it seems, to interpret our 
sliiiidards, not pnly according to Justin Martyn, 
and Origcn. and Cyprian, and Bern.ird, but ac- 



claimed; and that all things which Dr. Beechei 
conceives to have been cither twisted in or left 
out where the confession is loo full or loo emp- 
ty,and where itwill not, in hisjudgment produce 
those eflecis, which popular preaching was de- 
signed to accomphsh, must be stricken out or ex- 
plained away. 



I did indeed understand him to say at one cording to the interpretation put upon them by 
lime that he only claimed the right of interpret- our seminaries. And why arc these quoted ?- 
ing these pauagcs of the Confession, as the It is accoiding to the old fashion, which prevnil- 



L 



18 

ed before the Confession of Faith was ever fram- trines exists among the mioisten of the Presbytemll 
ed, and continued to prevail long afterward. It church of the present generation, very few, 1 am per- 
was the fashion of the day to refer theological waded, are prepared to say with any degree of exact- 
questions to the colleges of Oxford and Cam- "ess. But were we to compare the present state of 

bridge, and nobod y knows how many more ; and T"!^° ^'^^ ^*^^ '« !l??^" ^^i>^^? ^^^"^ ^^® ^^^? ^^ 

whatthey decided that waste be the interpre- ^P;"'«« among the dmnes of a former generation, 

A A- w II 1 * -i. u *r-* ^«^ u^ u.,4. T Ml who are now admitted to have been orthodox, the re- 

tation. Well, let it be so, if it can be; but I will ^„,^ ,j^^, ^^„,j ^ ^^^ ^^ ^^ „^^ ^^^^ ^.\^^^ ^^ 

show you something about our seminaries, any of the leading doctrines, of the Westminster CJon- 

What does professor Stuart hold? He is a pro- f^^i^^^ of Faith, than the fathew of that age them- 

fessorof high standing in a seminary where mul- gelves were. Baxter and Owen, for instance, are 

titudes of our young men receive their prepara- readily appealed to by almest every minister of the 

tion for the christian ministry; and I nave not Presbyterian church, as standards of correct theological 

heard any one who came from thence, that did opinion; and yet these men have given very different 

not say, that both professor Stuart and Dr. explanations of some of the most important doctrines 

Woods advised them to adopt the Confession of of !he Westminster Confession; and neither of these 

Faith; and yet what were the sentiments which ^^n went in all things with the assembly. Nor have 

professor Stuart publicly preached and after- we any reason to believe that the divines of the assem- 

wards published in reference to confessions? I ^^^ themselves, m their final vote upon the most of 

n,?!! /,„!^^^ o r.«ceo«.^ r.^ f™r^ A.^rv> « ^r^^^r.,. ^^^^^u tho srticles iH tho Confessiou, were agreed upon any 

will quote a passage or two from a sermon preach- ^^^^^ j^^. , ^^^^ ^^^ j^^j^,^ of compromiie. Ai 

ed by him at the dedication of Hanover street approximation towards unity of opinion as to the best 

church, Boston, m 1826: ^^^^^3 of expressing our individual views of divine 

What then are the peculiarities which distinguish truth, is all that ever can be obtained in our adherence 

them, and which render it proper to say of them that to a public creed, p. 18. 

they meet in the name of Christy or on account of If this be true, we must forever live in dis- 

him? A very interesting and a very delicate question; obedience to that command of the Bible which 

one which, however, my text leads me to make an enjoins all christians to * speak the same things.' 
attempt briefly to answer. If 1 am not fully, I am at •'. , . , - . t u 

least in some good measure, aware of the responsibil- ^^^ °^^' ^""^ ^^ P^"^^ ^' *"? argument, I beg 

ity and difficulty of the case. But I am not going to ^e^ve to read some passages of my reply to Dr. 

dogmatize. I shall appeal to no councils; no fathers; Bishop. 

no creeds; no catechisms; no works of the schoolmen; Has Dr. Bishop yet to learn that the Assembly of 

no labors of acute and. metaphysical divines; in a Dj^ines did not meet of their own accord— that they 

word, to no human system whatever. All, all of these were permitted to discuss no subject hot what was 

are inade by frail, erring men. They are not of any proposed to them by Parliament— that they were 

bmdtng authority; and we have a warrant that is carefully watched by Lords and Commons to see 

sufficient, not to receive them or any of them, as pos- that they did not transcend their commission— 

sessing «tic* authority. I advert to the warning of our that they sat long, and carefully investigated every 

Savior, which bids us caU no man master vpon earth; subject committed to their consideration— that whdn 

for there is one who w our Master, that dweUeth in they gave Hheir final vote' upon each article— they 

heaven, pp. 12, 13. ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ u^n principle, and not upon compro- 

Now what is the testimony here? (And Dr. «iwe— that they were all at liberty when their labors 

Beecher adopted the same sentiment). I object W6re ended, and the Assembly was dissolved, to a- 

not to the language, but to the application of it. ^°P* *^^ Confession of faith, Catechisms and Cover- 

Faithful adherence to a creed after we have nnr^ ment, or not, as they pleased— and that Owen, and 

ff^"fl"i f, . ,r creea,after we nave once ^^^ ^^^ Usher, and many others, never adopted 

adopted It, is calling no man master. Professor t^e standards of the Presbyterian church? Why sir, 

says: ^^ y^^ amuse yourself and deceive your hearers by 

Another peculiar trait of christians, as drawn in the illustrations drawn from the theological diflerences of 

New Testament, is, that they render religious homage such men. 

10 the Savior. To show that tliere was no compromise in the votes 
On tliis topic, as well as on others, I stand not iti of the Assembly of Divines, I need only cite one of 
this sacred place to descant as a polemic. With hu- two cases. The Assembly were unanimously of 
man creeds, or subtieties, or school distinctions and opinion that <baptism is rightly administered by pour- 
speculations, I hove at present nothing to do. Creeds ing or sprinkling water upon the person.' But some 
judiciously composed, supported by scripture, and members thought that dipping or immersion ought to 
embracing essential doctrines only, are useful as a be allowed as <a mocZ^ of baptism.' On this subject 
symbol of common faith among churches. But they the Assembly were divided, and the moderator gave 
are not the basis of a protestanl's belief; nor should *he casting vote against immersion* They all agreed 
they be regarded as the vouchers for it. pp. 24, that ^pouring or sprinkling was right. But 24 out of 
25. 49 thought immersion might be allowed as ^a mode 
So much for the authority of this seminary. of baptism.' When they were so equally divided up- 
But now let us go to another seminary, and ^'^ ""'T^f of external ordinance, and no com^omise 
hear what languaie it holds. I' quote from a could be had-and when the m^^^^^^ 
1. 1 i-xi j^A T>i / .?Y >,,.'. book that 'dipping the person in water is not neces- 
book entitled,^ A Plea for united Christian g^ry,' but that 'baptism as ordained by Christ is the 
action, by K. H. Bishop, D. D. washing wUhwaterhys^uiMmg or pouring water up- 
To what an extent diversity of opinion as to doc- on the person, in the name of the Father,' &c. — can 



,*liy sobermindsd man believo they WooW cwnpro- 
Hise Ihe essential (rullis of salvation? 

Take another case. The Assorably of Divines, of 
(VeslminHler, was at firaicomposedof Epiacopaliana, 
Eb-Bsiians, lodepenJeiitB and Presbyterians. 1 know 
101 (hat any of the Anabaptists, Neonomians, or An- 
tionnaians were members. The parliament sen! an 

.order 'that ihe Assembly of Divines and others, should 

■fbrtliwiih confer, and treat among Iheraaelves, of such 

'a discipline and government as maybe most agree- 
able to God's Holy Word — and to deliverlheir advice 
touching the same, to liolh Houses of Parliament with 

'«1! convenient speed.' A plan was proposed, in order 
to unite all parlies, namely — ihal every bialiop should 
be independent, and tliat synods and councils should 
be for concord and not for government. Abp. Usher 
was agreed lo liiis plan. But no compromise could 
,be obtained. Tlio Presliylerial form of church gov- 

.emment was adopted. I findnocaseofcomp-OBiMe, 
but in regard to the Solemn League and Covenant. 

■ The Scots' commissioners were instructed 'lo promote 
the extlrpalion oF popery, prelacy, heresy, schisnu, 
[j~ 'scepticism and idolatry, and lo endeavor an union 
between Ihe two kingdoms, in one confession of faith, 
one form of church government, and ono directory of 
worship.' 

The solemn league and covonanl was (o pave Ihe 
way for all this, and was to be considered ihe safe- 
guard of religion and liberty. This league was adopt- 
ed Id Scotland, none opposing il but ihe King's cora- 
laissioners. When it was presented lo the two Houses 
of Parliament, they referred it lo the Assembly of 
Divines, where il met with opposition. 

'Dr. Feaily declared he durst not abjure prelacy 
nbsolulety, because he had sworn to obey his bishop 
in all things lawful and honest, and iherefore propos- 
ed lo qualify the second ariicle thus: "I will endeavor 
the extirpation of popery, and all an li -christian, lyran- 
nical, or Independent prelacy;" but it was carried 
■gainst him. Dr. Burgess objected to several arti- 
cles, and was not without some difficulty persuaded lo 
Hibscribc, after he had been suspended.' This looks 
very much like the days of cmnpromifc, does il noit 
Ycl, diere was a compromise. Mr. Galaker, and 
nanjr olhert, declared for primilive episcopacy, or for 
one Slated prcsidcni, wilh his presbyters, lo govern 

Ienery church, and refused lo subscribe till a parenihe- 
•is was inserted, declaring what sort of prelacy was to 
be abjured. 

The Scots, who liad been intrdouced into the As- 
•euibly, were for abjuring episcopacy as simply un- 
lawful, but ilieKnghsiidi vines were generally against il. 
Tlie English pressed chiefly for a civil league, but ihe 
Scola would have a religious one, lo which ihe English 
were obliged lo yield, taking care, at ihe same limc. lo 
leave a door op.;n for a laijiude of interpretation. Here 
was a cotn^n-omue. And what was this door of 'lati- 
tude of interprotaliou?' It was this: The English 
inserted the phrase, 'of reforming according to ihe 
word of God;' by which tliey ihoughl themselves se- 
cure from tlie inroads of Presbytery. The Scols 
iiuerled (he words 'according to ihe practice ofthebest 
lefonned churches,' in whicli ihey wereconGdent tlieic 
discipline must he included- Here was a eomproiniae 
from nocessiiy. The English were obliged lo adopt a 
religioua league and covenant, or not obiain ihe assis- 
tance of ilic Scols in a war which ihey were carrying on 
in defence of civil and religious liberiy- As your rea- 
ding is mucli mote exicnHiro and minute than mine, 



I beg you to poinl out Uie instances where comprom- 
ises were made, and a latitude of intcrprelalion al- 
lowed on points of doctrine. J believe it will be a dif- 
ficult task for you, or any member of ihe New School, 
to do Ibis. And if iliis be not done, I hope lo hear 
no more about eomprondaing the irnths of God. — 
pp. 0, 19. 

What I wish to impress upon the nnind of eve- 
ry member of this court if, that it is out of 
place to (]uotc the opinions of men as standard 
writers, and interpret the Confession of Faith 
hy them. The opinions of men on the contra- 
ry, must conform to the standard as lo a straight 
line. Still more absurd is it to quote men who 
never adopted our standards at all. Yet Or. 
Bishop refers us to Baxter and Owen, who gave 
' very different explanations of some of the most 
important doctrines of Ihe Westmininster Con- 
fession,' as Dr. Bishop afiirms. What have these 
diflerent explanations to do with the Confession 
of Faith? If men do not adopt the Confession, 
it is obvious their opinions have nothing to do 
with it; and if they do adopt it, and (hen give 
opinions different from it, their creed should be 
brought up, proposition by proposition, line by 
line, word by word, to the straight line, that their 
crooks and turnings may be discovered. I will 
here slate hut one case in illustration:, I publish- 
ed a sermon on Imputation. When itsorthodoxy 
was questioned, I wanted my sermon laid side 
by side with the Confession of Faith. The 
editor of the New York Evangelist reviewed 
that sermon; and in the course of his review, what 
does he say? That Dr. Woods advised his pu- 
pils, if they should change their theological 
views, still to retain the same language. But 
thnt editor himself wilh more honesty, denies 
both language and thing. If he has falsified 
Dr. Woods, he alone is responsible for il. 

Prof. Brioub inijuired for the copy of the 
Evangelist, to which Dr. Wilson referred. But 
the Dr. replied that he had only a borrowed copy, 
which wns not now in his possession. 

The editor of the Evangelist says, that ho 
agrees with me and I with him as to the sense of 
the standards; but that I and all who hold 
in senliment wilh me are absurd. Now I think 
that the editor is quit-! as orlhodos es those 
who, while they contradict Ihe doctrine of Ihe 
standard, still retain its language. And while 
he is equally orthodox, he is a little more 
honest. Yes, sir, I love that man, though I 
hate his error. I love him for his franknees and 
for his honesty. He comes plump up to thtf 
mark, and speaks out what he means. 

To sum up what I have to lay on this subject, 
I deny the justice of this claim of interpreta- 
tion for the following reasons: 

1st. Because when a confession of faith is 
selllcd, interpretation is at an end; until it bc> 
comes unsettled, and a resolution is formed to 
re-consider and niter it. 

2d. Becnitsc no one is compelled to adopt 
the Confession of Faith; and inote who do ttra 



L 



J 



20 

bound to adopt it in its obvious, unexplained orthodox sentiments contained in a certain book^ 

sense. but also find thrown in and linked in, and (to use 

3d. Where the right of interpretation is an expression of Dr. Beecher) ' twisted in' 

claimed and exercised, it introduces endless dis- with these orthodox sentiments, a set of most 

putes; and men will use an orthodox language, heretical andperniciou opinions, whatisit but a 

and slill teach error by explaining away the concealing of poison amidst wholesome aliment? 

language they use. Is not the poison the more dangerous, from the 

4th. The judicatories of the church, in giv- inviting food with which it is surrounded? And 

ing decisions upon erroneous opinions, never can any thing be worse than the practice of such 

explain the standards, but simply compare the artifice? Sir, on this subject let me show you a 

language of which complaint is made, with the book. It is entitled: 'The Gospel Plan,' by 

language of the book. All the decided cases Wm. C. Davis; and in this book may be found 

have brought alleged error by the side of the some of the finest passages, both as to the 

standards in their obvious language. Witness eloquence of the language and the soundness 

the decisions in the cases of Balch, Davis, and orthodoxy of the sentiments they convey. — 

Stone, Craighead, and the Cumberland Presby- There is a great deal of such sentiment; and 

terians. The compromise was adopted only in presented in the ablest and most convincing 

the case of Barnes. manner. In fact the greater part of the book 

You sit here as judges and jurors. As jurors is of this character. Yet this book contains 

you decide the facts; as judges you compare the the most pernicious heresy. And where is the 

facts with the law in its obvious meaning, that is, poison to be found? In comparatively but a few 

as unexplained. P'^ges, though in a covert manner, it is wrought 

5th. Duty compels me \o notice a fifth into many more. And what was the fate of 

obstacle to a right decision in this case; and Wm. C. Davis? He was convicted of heresy, 

which is found in the real condition of this court, and suspended from the ministry. But did the 

1 feel, sir, that I am speaking on a delicate presbytery which tried him, read this whole 

subject. I hope I shall speak so as not to give of- work of 600 pages on his trial, in order to find 

fence. out the error? No, Sir, they extracted eight 

• Mr. Rankin here interposed, and inquired propositions, which were short, concise, and de- 

whether it was in order for Dr. Wilson to impugn cidedly erroneous. Of these, I will give you 

the integrity of the presbytery. two as a specimen ; and one of these, in the self- 

The Moderator replied, that it would not be ^^"^^ ^^''^^ ^« contained in Dr. Beecher's ser- 
in order, but advised Mr. Rankin to wait until "^^^ °" ^^? "^V"!^ character of man. The 
he heard what Dr. Wilson had to say. proposition is that God could not make either 

Dr. Wilson said that he had no wish to im- ^^^"^ ^F any other creature either holy or un- 

pugn the motives of any man. But it was known ^^^)? And the sentiment is, that where either 

that at this time and ever since Dr. Beecher had ^^"^ ^^^» ^« 3'^^"? choice, there can be nothing in 

been received into the presbytery, there was a ^^^ creature either good or bad. And what 

large majority of its members, who coincided s^js Dr. Beecher m his sermon? He declares 

with him in his theological views. While some, J^^' "/^ ^^^1^" ^^" ^^ ^'}}'^^ ^^^^ ^f ""^^^^' "°- 

with pain and with great reluctance, but for ^t«^ ^^^""^f' understanding, conscience, and a 

conscience sake are constrained toopposc them; ?^^'^^- The other proposition is, that no just 

others had taken him by the hand, circulated his ^^"^ ^\f condemns or criminates a man for not 

sermons, praised his works, and held him up as <lo>ng that which he cannot do. And how often 

the first theologian of his day. Could it be sup- Z""^ ^hat very sentiment asserted and repeated, 

posed or expected, that brethren in such a situa- ^^^^^*^^ ^^^ retierated in the sermon which was 

tion would be willing tD bring up Dr. B. to the ^^""i ^o us yesterday? I shall not pretend to 

standards of the church, and try him and his say but leave the court to decide, 

works by that rule? In condemning him, must Having now removed, or at least attempted 

they not condemn themselves' And was it to to remove out of the way, what I conceive to 

be expected that they should be willing io com- be important obstacles in the way of ajust deci- 

mit suicide? sion, I shall now proceed to examine the 

Mr. Rankin a^ain interposed, and declared charges themselves, seriatim, with their several 

that such language was wholly inadmissible. specifications, and the evidence in support of 

Dr. Beecher said, that he wished Dr. W. to them, 

be permitted to say all he had to say on that The court here took a recess of ten minutes. 

t^PJf- , First Charge. 

Dr. Wilson replied that he was done; he had 1 1 t t% «r i 

nothing more to say respecting it. The court being re-assembled, Dr. Wilson 

6th. A sixth obstacle was found in the proceeded to read again the first charge 

fact thatmany orthodox and excellent sentiments C^^^ ^t on first page.] 

had been preached and published by Dr. B. He then quoted the Confession of Faith, cb. 

All this he most freely and cheerfully admitted, vi. sects. 3, 4, 6: 

But, said he, the question is, when we find HI. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt 



1^ — '- 

^bT this sin was imputed, and ihe same death in sin nnd 
J^TOmipled nature conveyed lo all tlieir poaierily, de- 
[••cending from lliein hy ordinary generation. 
f IV. From this original corruplion, whereby we 
'«re utterly indispoEed, disabled, and made op- 
posite to all good, and wholly inclined lo all evil, do 
. proceed all aclual transgressions. 
, , VI. Every sin, both original and actual, being a. duly of ma 
Iransgreaaion of the righleoua law of God, and con- the posaesi 



render it impossible for man to love God religiously; 
aod whatever may be the early conslilution of man, 
there is nothing in it, and nothing withheld from it, 
which renders disobedience unavoidable, and obe- 
dience impossible. The first sin in every man afreet 
and might have been, and onglit to have been, avoid- 
ed. Al the time, whenever it is, that it firat becomes the 
to be relJgiouH, he refuses, and refuses ia 
in of such faculties as render i 



trary ihei 
opnn the 



nto, dolb, i 

inner, whereby he ia bound 

■ ■ o death, with all 



law, and so made subji 
flpiritual, temporal, and eternal. 

Also the Larger Catechism, questions 26, 27; 

Q. 20. How isoriginal sin conveyed from our £rsi 
parents unto their posterity T 

A, Original sin ia conveyed from our first parent 
onto their jiosterity by natural generation, so a: 
thai proceed from them in llial way are conceived 

Q. 37. What misery did the fall bring upon man- 
kind; 

A, Tlie fall hrought upon mankind tlie loss of com- 
munion with God, his displeasure and curse; so as wc 
are by nature children of wrath, bound slaves to Sa- 
tan, and justly liable to all punishments in this world, 
and that which is to come. 

He next rend a portion of Dr. Beecher's ser- 
mon on ihc native character of man: 



iring guilt sonable service, and him inexcusable, and justly 
Q the punishable. The supreme love of Ihe world is a mat- 



of choice, formed undc 
that man might have chosen otherwise, and ought to 
have cliosen otberwiee, and is therefore exposed to 
punishment for this his voluntary and inexcusable 
disobedience. If therefore, man ia depraved by nai- 
ture, it is a voluntary and accountable nature 
which ia depraved, eseiciaed in disobedience lo the 
ill law of God. Thia is according lo the Bible—' They 
have ail^one aside,^ — each man baa been voluntary 
and active in bts transgression. 'They go astray aa 
soon as they he bom ;' that is in early life : — how early, 
ao as 10 deserve punishment, God only knows. 'Tha 
fooMiaih said in his heart, there is no God.' Every 
imagination or exercise of man's heart is evil. Na- 
tive DEFKAVITT, THEN, IB A STATE OF THE AFFBtmONI, 
IN A VOLUSTABY ACCODISTABLB CRBATUBH, AT TABI- 
A.XCE WITH DIVINE BEat^IHEMENT 
OF ACCOUKTABIUTV. 



, by a 



The preceding part of this sermon was intend- 
to prove that man ia not religious by nature- 
will be recollected that throughout the whole 
pour forth of whnt precedes this passage, there is a mixtnre 
jr animals Qf that which has a wrong tendency, and is 
pposiog against the standards of our chnrch. For, let it 
-.wiere- ^^j ^^ forgotten, that when the original pro- 



A depraved nature is by many understood 
« nature excluding choice, and producing al 
unavoidable necesaity; as fountains '' 
their streams, or trees produce ih 
propagate .their kind. The misial 
that the nature of mat terand mind are ihe same: where- 
as ibey am entirely different. The nature of matlerex- ■,■ 1 - I , - 1 ,. ■ - c ■ 

eludes perception, understanding, and choice; but the P"^'^!?" ''?%''*=^" sustained, this paragraph u 

nature ofmind includes them all Neither a holy nor a mtroduceJ for llie purpose of explana ton, m 

depraved nature are j«M«6ie, without understanding, order to show what Ihe writer means by the term 

conscience, a!id choice. To say of on accountable accountability, in those passages where the 

creature, that he is depraved by nature, is only to say, meaning of that term is not explicit. And the 

that, rendered cajKihle by bis Maker of obedience, be explanation goes to show, that the sentiment 

disoheya from the commencement uf hiaaccountahili- of the writer is, that there is a period in human 

ly. To us it does not bulong 10 say when accountabili- existence when the creature is neither good nor 

ly commences, and to what extent it exists in the car- bad. Now the question ia, whether this scnti- 

Ijaiagesoriife. This is the prerogative of the AI- menl does ordoeanotconicide with the standards 

niighiy. Doubile^theroisat.mewhenmanhecornea of o.ir church? Isilnotat variance with them? 

accountable, and .bo_ law of God ohhgalory: and ^^y, does it not positively contradict them? 

wliul wo have proved is, that, whenever the time ar- n-u' ,. ,", ^^ i ■ ,i a; 

rives that it becomea the duly of man lo love God P'= ''""'^ '""^' be answered m the affirma- 

more than the creature, he does in fact We ibe crea- *'*"'» ^"<', "'<= standards of our church must be 

tiiro more (ban God— docs moat freely and most sustained. I might easily go on to show that, 

wickedly set his alTifclions on things below, and rcfuae according to this doctrine, tiie condition in 

I lliem on ibiogs above, and that bis depravity which children are placed under the moral gov- 

, consists in thia Biaie of Ihe affections. For this uni- crnment of God is such as fits them neither for 

Tcrsal Cfincurrenco of man in preferring the creature heaven nor for hell; for, according to Dr. Bee- 

■ CFS some cause or rea- cher they are neither holy nor sinful. In con- 

>r which disobedience tradiction to which, 1 might aa easily prove, ac- 
cording to the doctrine of the Apostle Paul, and 
the faith of all sound Calvinists, that they are 



Jo Ibe Creator, there is douhih 

^n involuntary and unavoidable result. Abiliiy 
>IOlicy,ia indisjiensahle to moral obligation ; and the mi 
IcWnt any cause should renderlove lo God impossible, ■ j „ ■■ i,i, l ,l ■ •- 

'^- ™„„. .!.„ „i i:„,,:„„ ,„ I u „.,,„., ... ) under condemna ion, although they have not 

Jmeni the obligation to love would ceaae, and , ,. , .. . .,., j (■■^ . i , , 

Fman could no more hava a depiaved nature, ihan any 
oiliet animal. A depraved naluro can no more exist 
wtlhont voluntary agency, and accountability, than a 
material nature can exist without solidity and exlen- 
sion. Whatever etTeci, tliereforc, Ihe fall of man 
may have had on his race, it has not had the effect Ic 




ncd according to the similitude of Adam's trans- 
exist gression. Our standards keep up a constant distin- 
ction between original sin, the turpitude conveyd 
by it, and the puiiishmcntincurrcd previous to the 
time of volition on Ihe one hand, and actual sin 
on the other, as proceeding from the depraved 




22 

and. corrupted nttture of the children of Adam, Man, by his fall into a stateof sio, hath wholly lout 

who are a\\ born under a broken covenant, and all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying 

whose fallen nature is inherited, without their salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averae 

knowledge or consent, from the federative rela- ^">m that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his 

tion in which they stand to Adam their re- own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself 

presentalive and first father. thereunto. 

As to the first sin in any man, there are none ■D'"- W. also read the following from the Larger 

who deny that it is voluntary. But our stand- Catechism, Ques. 25; and Shorter Cat. Questions 

ards teach that it is nevertheless only a corrupt ^^m 1^3: 

stream proceeding from a corrupt fountain. — Q- Wherein consisteth tlie sinfulness of that estate 

This the sermon denies; and holds that, previous whereinto man fell? 

to this, the creature is neither good nor bad. — -^- The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man 

Let us here apply our Savior's own rule of judg- ^^^*' consisteth in the guilt of Adam's first sin, the 

ment. He says, that a good tree brings forth ^"*.^^ *^^' righteousness wherein he was created 

annd fruit- and a rorruot trpe brings forth pviI *°^ ^® corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly 

Eu ^'"^!:. ?ll Tk?I' i^Luw^^.^^^^ rj. indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that 

wholly inclined to all evil, and 
I is commonly called Original 

_. , , ^ - , proceed all actual transgres- 

nature are in accordance with the nature from sions. 

which they proceed, then that which proceeds Q. What do we pray for in the first petition? 

from a nature neither holy nor sinful can itself A, In the first petition (which is. Hallowed be thy 

be neither sinful nor holy. name) we pray, that God would enable us and others 

But it is said that those who deny this, place ^ glorify him in all that whereby he maketh himself 

mind and matter upon the same footing; and l^nown ; and that he would dispose of all things to his ^ 

that the error of those who think that men are ^^!1 ^„!?* , i. . , , . 

born in sin, arises from supposing (hat the nature ^ i fi! H^I P"^^- V'l ^^^^^''Jj^^'^l^!^^ . 

of mind and matter is thVsame. Hear what ;„ "l^S ^^ w^J^''^" ^ ^^^ 

., .,. ,. . m earth, as it is m heaven) we pray, That God, by 

the sermon says on this subject: his grace, would make us able and willing to know, 

A depraved nature is by many understood to mean, obey, and submit to his will in all things, as the angels 

a nature excluding choice, and producing sin by an do in heaven. 

unavoidable necessity; as fountains .of water pour ^..j^ resoect to what is here Qaid concerning- 

forth their streams, or trees produce their fruit, or r_ .,, ,u^ a v .- / ? concerning 

animals propagate their kind. The mistake lies in ^eewill, the declarations of our standards are 

supposing that the nature of matter and mind are the F^^,^ ^7 ^^?^^ recorded in the Scnpture. The 

same; whereas they are entirely different. The na- fi"t declaration is proved by the fact, that Adam 

ture of matter excludes perception, understanding, ^as not forced to cat the forbidden fruit; the 

and choice, but the nature of mind includes them second is proved from the fact, that Adam at 

all. Neither a holy nor a depraved nature are possible first did good, and then did evil. And the third 

without understanding, conscience and choice. is no less proved by fact and daily observation: 

Does the writer mean to say that none of the for men never do convert themselves; nor pre- 

animals has a depraved nature? that the serpent, pare themselves for being converted. They are 

the vulture, the tiger, have not a nature that is wholly indisposed and unable, from the fall, to 

depraved? This he does not mean. But if do either. But the framers of this confession, 

they have, whence did they derive it? whence, speaking of the will, say that the inability is an 

but from the curse of the fall? Would there inability of the will. But in the questions of the 

have been any evil among the animals, if God catechism, and through the standards generally, 

had not said, 'Cursed is the ground for thy sake'? they take a just distinction between ability and 

Still there is a wide difference between the re- will. It is, indeed, said, that man is unwilling to 

lation which these inferior beings sustain to Adam, keep the commandments of God, but they give a 

and that which his own children sustain to fuller explanation, when they come to state what 

him. But according to the sermon, this is not it is we ought to pray for; for there they teach 

3Q, the church that she is to ask God to make her 

But I forbear. The court has the sermon in both able and willing to keep his commandments, 

its hands, and is as competent as I can be. And I have cited these passages to prevent any 

to compare it with the standards of the church cavil that might find seeming justification in the 

and to see how far they agree or disagree, phraseology of this chapter on the will. From 

Nor can they fail to see that this is but one the words of the chapter alone, it might be ar- 

part of a system which a logical mind must gued, that though man has lost the will he still 

carry out to other and most important results, retains the natural ability to keep the divine 

What these results are, I shall show hereafter. law. But what the chapter does mean on this 

subject, is afterward more fully explained, and 

becond Charge. [^^^ ^^^^^ subsequent explanations it is per- 

Dr. Wilson now again read the 2d charge; fectly clear, that our standards deny in a fallen 
[See it on first page] also the following from the man both ability and will to do any thing spirit- 
Confession of Faith, ch. 9, sec. 3; ually good. 



Dr. W. next read agaia (he 3d speciBcatioD. — 
[See it on Istpage.] 

lie theu read ao extract Trom Dr. Beech- 
er's Bermon on Dependence and Free Agencj' 

-p. 11. 

The aitiner can be accountable, iben, and lie is ac- 
counlable, for hia impenilence a.nd unbelief, ibough be 
vill not turn, and God may never turn him, because 
be is able and onlj unwilling lodo wbat God com- 
mands, and wli id i, beitig done, would save liiseoul. — 
Indeed, lo be able and unwilling to obey God, is the 
only possible way in which a Tree agent can become 
idesetving of condemnation and puniabment. So long 
as ho is able and willing lo obey, ihere can be no sin, 
and die moment the ability ofobedience, ceaaea, ibe 
commisaion nfsiu becomes impossible. 

Here the queglion naturally arises, How does 
it happen llint such mulcitudea of the human 
family sufier so tnuch its they do previous to the 
possession of the knowledge, conscience, and vo- 
lition which is declared lo be essential to all sin? 
He then rend fiom pages 19 and 23. 

And the more clear the light of his conviction 
shines, the more distinct ia the sinner's perception, 
llmt lie ia not deaiilule ofcapaciiy — but inflexibly un- 
willing lo obey the gospel. Does the Spirit of tiod 
produce convictions which are contrary lo fact, and 
conlmtyto the teachings of ihu Bible T Never. What, 
then, when he moves on lo that work of sovereign 
mercy, wliicli no sinner ever resi at ed, and without 
which no one ever submitted lo God, nbst does he 
do? When he pours the dayhght of omniscience np- 
on the sout, and cornea lo search out what 'n amisa, 
and put in order ihai which is out of the way, what im- 
pedimentlo obedience docs he find lo be removed, 
and what work does he perform? He finds only the 
vill perverted, and obstinately persisting in lis wicked 
choice; and in ihe day of hispower,all he accomplish- 
as ia, to make the sinner willing. 

It is not grace resisted alone, butltie ability of man 
perverted and abused, that brings down upon liim 
guilt and condemnation. The influence of the Spirit 
belongs wholly lo ihe remedial system. Whereas 
ability, commensurate with requirement, is the e'liiit- 
able and everlasting foundation of the moral gorern- 
ment ol God. p. 10. 

The facts in ijio caae are juat ihe other way. The 
doctrine of mnn^a free agency and nalumi ability as 
the ground of obligaiion and guilt, and of his rm- 
polency of will, by reason of sin, has been the receiv- 
ed doctrine of the ortliodos church in all agea. p. 23. 

To prove that this is the doctrine of the orlho- 
doK church, we have here a long array of names 
of men Ihe most of whom never so much as pro- 
fessed to embrace our confession. And not a sin- 
gle item from that book which Dr. Beecher so 
loudly eulogized and pressed with so much em- 
phasis lo his heart. 

Dr. W. then read the 5th specification. [See 
it on 1st page.] He also read the Confession 
of Faith, ch. xili. sec. 1, and ch. xiv. sec. 1. 

They wlio are efieclually called and regenerated, 
having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, 
BrefardiersBncti&ed, really and personally, through 
the virtue of ChristV death and resurrection, by his 
word and Spirit dweltingin ihemi ihedominion of 
Ihe wbolo body of sin ia dcslroycd, and the several 



lusts thereof arc more and more weakened and mor- 
tified, and they more and more quickened and strengili- 
ened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holi- 
ness, without which no man ahallseo ihe Lord. ch. 

The grace of falih, whereby the elect are enabled 
lo believe lo the saving of their souls. Is the work of 
the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily 
wrought by llie ministry oflhc word; by which also, 
and by the edminiatiation of ihe sacraments, and pray- 
er, it is increased and strenglliened. ch. siv. sec. 1. 

Also the Larger Catechism, question 72: 

Q. 72. What ia justifying faith I 

A. Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought ia 
the heart of a sinner by llie Spirit anil word of God» 
whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, 
and of the disabihty in himself and all other creaiures 
to recover him out of his lost condition, not only 
asscnteth lo the Irutli of the promise of the gospoU 
but rcceivelh and resleih upon Christ and his right- 
eousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for 
the accepting and accounting of his person righteous 
in the sight of God hr salvation. 

He then read from Dr. Beecher's sermon pp; 
II, 19, and 99. [See above pp. U and 19.] 

One would think that a subject of God's glotiouft 
government, who can, but will nol obey him, might ap- 
pear lo himself and lo the universe much more ac- 
countable, and much more guilty, in the day ofjudg- 
men', than one whose capacity of obedience had 
been wholly annihilated by the stn of Adam. Does it 
illuatraie the glory of God's Justice more lo punish 
tlie helpless and impotent, than to punish the volunta- 
ry but incorrigible in rebellion? p. 29. 

In answer to this,it might be said that lor God 
to punish the innocent and the helpless, would 
exhibit his character only in the light of a ty- 
rant. But as he docs punish the infants of our 
race, it remains for Dr. B. to reconcile what he 
here says, with the standards of our church. — 
Where is there a single sentence in those stan- 
dards which contains the assertion that ail ca- 
piicity ofobedience hns been annihilated by the 
sin of Adam? And here I may remark, that 
Ihe disciples oflhc now school, when speaking on 
the subject of original sin, either deny or carica- 
ture it. 

Dr. W. here read from Dr. Beecher'g sermony 
as already quoted, p. 29. 

Also from the Christian Spectator for 1825, p, 
100, ns follows : 

Men are free agents; in the possession of such fac- 
ullies, and placed in such circumstances, as lo render 
il practicable for iliem lo do whatever God requires;, 
reasonable thai he should require it; and fit that ho 
should inflict, hterally, the entire penally of disobed- 
ience — |Such ahiliiy is here intended, ns lays* perfect 
foundation for government by law, and for rewanls and. 
punishment according lo deeds. 

The presbytery now adjourned till to-morrow 
morning; closed with prayer. 

Friday mormng, June 1'2/A, half pail 8.— The: 
presbytery met and opened with prayer. 
Third Charge. 

Dr. Wlifon read the 3d cliarge. [See it on Ut 




24 

page.] Also the Confession of Faith, ch. vi. his sermon maintains that the sinner is naturallj 

sec. 2, 4. ch. ix. 3. L.C.qaes. 25, [quoted able to keep the whole law of God, and here he 

above,] 149, 190 — S. C. ques. 101, 103. [quoted declares that the Spirk^'makes him willing to do 

above.] it, and that while hens both able and willing 

Tf Ti.. 4U- • .u r 11 r ^ *u«:- ^..:n,:»oi *:»kf there can be no sin. And how can there be? — 

II. By this sin Ihey fell from Iheir original right- ^ . r .i i . i t. . 

eousness and communion with God, and 80 became The conclusion is perfectly logical. It is en- 

dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and ^^rely irrefragable, and follows by necessary coa- 

parts of soul and body sequence from the premises. 

IV. From this original corruption, whereby we are And on this part of my subject, I will turn to 

utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all that part of the specification which declares that 

good, and wholly inclined to all evil", do proceed all g^j^e of the perfectionists have been inmates of 

actual transgressions _ r • u .u u n Lane Seminary, and I now call-upon the clerk 

III Man by h.s fall into a state of s,n hath wholly ^^ ^^^^ ^^^ testimony which has been taken 

tost all ability of will to any spiritual fjfood accompany- i/» •. j jixi--i.uA 

ing salvation ; so as a natural man, being altog^her ^^^f^^ piesbjtery and recorded touching that 

averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by 1^, , • , , 

his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare ^^^ testimony was here read accordingly.— 

himself thereunto. [See it on first page.] 

Q. 149. Is any man able perfectly to keep the After listening to this testimony I suppose 
commandments of God? there can be no doubt of the truth of the state- 
A. No man is able, cither of himself, or by any ment that -some of the perfectionists were iii- 
grace received in this life, perfectly to keep the conri- mates of Lane Seminary. For if this was not 
Xou r word ndd' d"^ '" *^^ fact, and if the leaven of that heresy was not 
Q.^19a''whatdowe prayforin the firstpetition? ^1''}^''^ .^^"i'?^ ^°^ ifno fear was entertained 
A. In the first petition, (which is, HaUowedbe ^^^^ *^™g*V^ increase and thereby aflfect the 
% name,) acknowledging the utter inability and in- interests of that institution, why was it necessary 
disposition that is in ourselves and all men to honor ">r Dr. Beecher to give his students a warning 
God aright, we pray, that God would, by his grace, against it. For it seems that the letter to Weld 
enable and incline us and others to know, to ack- was not known in the Seminary. The witness- 
knowledge, and highly to esteem him, his titles, at- es met with it elsewhere. And what says Mr. 
tributes, ordinances, word, works, and whatsoever he Weed: that although the students expressed no 
is pleased to make himself known by; and to glorify decided opinion in favor of that system in pre- 
him in thought, word, and deed: that he would pre- g^nce of Dr. Beecher; yet he knew of many 
vent and remove atheism, ignorance, idolatry, profane- who avowed to each other the opinion thateve- 
ness, and whatsoever is dishonorable to him; and by exercise of the mind was either entirely holy 
?hin7sTo"&r'lor^^^ and dispose of all ^r entirely sinful. If we are to credit his word, 
TT xi_ J ^ T. « , ^"^ no one thinks of doubting it, then the fact is 
He then quoted Dr. Beecher's sermon : established not only from Dr. Bcecher^s finding 
When he pours the daylight of omniscence upon it necessary to deliver a set lecture in opposition 
the soul, and comes to search out what is amiss, and to those sentiments; but from the fact that many 
putin order that which is out of the way, what impedi- ^^f ^^e students avowed them. No one will deny 
ment to obedience does he find to be removed, and xi^^ ,»«^r^..;«*,,^r«^.,r.rr »««r^ ;« ofV^i^^ir^rri/^ol com 
what work does he perform? He findsonly ih; will *^ propriety of young men '^,''^}'^flS^^^^^^^ 
perverted, and obstinately persisting in its wicked inary investigating every subject of a theologi- 
choicejandin the day of his power, all he accomplish- ^^J ^'"^V That is all right and proper. But 
es is, to make the sinner willing, p. 19. when we have it m evidence that many of them 
_, ., , j.i ,c^..i. received and avowed the sentiment, that eve- 
The idea here conveyed is, that the Spirit of exercise of the mind is either entirely holy 
God makes a smner willing in no other way than or entirely sinful, does it not show that they de- 
by presenting truth to his mind in a clearer man- ^jed any such warfare in the bosom of a chris- 
ner than the preacher can exhibit it. He here tian as is ppoken of in the Confession of Faith 
read from the sermon, p. 1 1. .^^^ in the Scriptures, God forbid that I should 
So long as the sinner is able and willing to obey, gpeak a word against christian perfection. I 
there can be no sin, and the moment the ability of ^ell know that it is one of the precious doctrines 
obedience ceases, the commission of sin becomes of the Bible; and when properly understood it 
impossible. jg ^jj^j J j^^g j^ fg^,^ f^j. ^^,g^,j. .^^^ ^^ ggg f^j^ 

Dr. Beecher here teaches perfection in two more prevalent than it is among us. But while 

ways. For it follows that when any creature 1 see perfection enjoined in the Bible, and while 

has rendered himself incapable of doing good he I hear holy men earnestly praying for the attain- 

can commit no sin. And according to this doc- ment; and while I can say that 1 delight in the 

trine, the devils must be perfectly sinless, ever law of God after the inward man, 1 am neverthe- 

since the first sin which they committed; for I less constrained to add, that 1 see another law 

suppose none will deny that by their first sin in my members which wars against this law ol 

they rendered themselves incapable of doing my mind. 1 can say that to will is present with 

good: and the ability ceasing all sin ceased me; but how to perform that which is good I find 

likewise. But Dr. Beecher in the first part of not. Oh wretched man that I am, who shall 



:£D 



deliver me from the body of this death ! Now I Let these gentlemen speak for themselves. Hero 
would ask if I had full ability before I was con- Dr. W. read the following quotation: 
verted, what has become of it? I have it not We believe the gospel is crnplialically glad tidings 
now. Even when I will I cannot perform.— of redemption from sin, and Cliriatianily is distinguish- 
There is a law in my members which wars cd from tiie dispensation which preceded it, chiefly 
against the law in my mind, and brings me into by the fact that it brings in everlasting righteousness. 
captivity to the law of sin which is in my mem- Ilence 

bers; and who shall deliver me? I thank God We believe thatsinners are not Christians— wo ob- 

through Jesus Christ our Lord, we are com- jcct not to calling some of them Jewish saints, or sin- 

plete in him. And this is christian perfection.— ^J^ believers, or unconverted disc.plcs or servants of 

but not that perfection which is taught in S°^' ^' ^T^^"rl'^ Tr o"'^^^^^^^ 

.,. u I J L xi. 4 J A • T a they are out of Christ; for *he that abideth in nim, 

this sermon, or held by he students in Lane Sem- ^. J^^,^ ^^^_,,^ ^^.^^ ^i^^'^^b hath not seen him, neith- 

inary, or by the perfectionists of New Haven. ^^ known him.' 

With respect to these perfectionists, let me do Now it is proper to know how these young 

them justice. They are for the most part high- brethren (I still call them brethren, for they are 

]y talented men, and men of amiable disposi- men of much mind and talent, and in many re- 

tions; but they are misguided. And how came spcctsof good feeling) should fall into sentiments 

they to be misguided? I shall show. The fact like these and should be so confident in the main- 

that such young men were in Lane Seminary, I taining of them. [The same confidence that 

have not charged as a crime upon Dr. Beecher. w.is displayed thirty years ago by the Shakers in 

Can a professor hinder the presence of corrupt maintaining theirs.] They will tell you. Here 

students among the young men under his charge? X)r. W. read as follows: 

It is indeed a serious question whether such colloquy, no. 1. 

ought to be excluded. Dr. Mason was the only g , understand you profess to be perfect, how is 

roan who ever expelled a student from a theolog- «|^|g9 

ical institution for holding heretical opinions. — * Xns. Ciirist is made unto mo wisdom, righteous- 

And has it not been made a subject of grave ncss, sanctification an I redemption. In the Lord 

complaint that there were in Princeton Seminar have I righteousness and strength. I will greatly ro- 

ry some who came there with the express view joice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; 

of making proselytes to ialse doctrine. I nev* for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, 

eralleged it as any oflence in Dr. Beechen And he hath covered me with a robe of righteousness. We 

I introduced it merely to show that Dr. Beech- are complete or perfect in him. 1 Cor. i. 30. Isa. xlv . 

er's sentiments, whatever he mieht have intend- ^a ^^h. ^^\ 9"^' "* \^,\ . i . i 

ed, do lead directly to such results. No man »• »"^ ^°«^ y^" ^*""^ ^^ ^"8^^^ *^ ^'^^^ ^ '»«^^- 

will pretend to blame him for warning his stu- ^^?"®'' ah "' ^T. .n «..o. «r«„. fiiihv r«rr« Fnr 

j.*^.. .. . rji'« J. Ans. All OUR riffhteousnesses areas filthy rags, ror 

dente against sentiments or for delivering a set they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going 

lecture in opposition to them. But where is the ^bojit to establish their own righteousness, have not 

consistency of such a course. He advocates a submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.— 

theory which naturally leads to this; a theory Not having mine. own righteousness, which is the law. 

which men do understand; which men of culti- but that which is through the faith of Christ, the right- 

vated minds not only, but of very devotional feel- eousncss which is of God by faith. Isa. Ixiv. 6. Rom 

log, have understood, and have perceived that x. 3. Phil. iii. 0. 

it does lead to such consequences. If Dr. B. I have always understood that there is no pcr- 

Beecher had come plainly up and openly re- fection in this life? 

nounced those doctrines to which his system led ; A"«- Herein is our lave made perfect that wo may 

if he had declared with manly frankness that have boldness in the day of judgment; because as 

though he had been the unhappy instrument of «? [^''"^^l j*'/^ «''^ «^ ^^ ^'"« ^^"'^- , ^° "^ 

i^«^.^^ *k^-^ — k CI J • u- A iu I witnesses and God amo, how iiolilv, and justly, 

leading those who confided in him to the adop- and unblameably we behived ourselves among you 

tion of siich opinions, he nevertheless repudiated (|,at believe. Bo y« followers of me, even as I al- 

and condemned them, this would have been con- go am of Christ. As many of us as bo perfect be thui 

sistent and praiseworthy. But when he suffered minded. IJohn iv. 17. 1 Thess. ii 10. ICor.xi. 1. 

his sentiments still to stand unoblitenited and Phil. iii. 16 — 17. 

not denied in the text of this sermon; and then B. ButdonH you think it savors of pride to say you 

proceeded to warn these young men against that live without sin? 

which was the necessary consequence, it was, Ans. It is the Lord*8 doing, and it is marvellous in 

to say the least, not a very consistent course. ®"^ eyes- Not that we arc sufficient of ourselves to 

All can see who have eyes to see, the perfect in- think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency 

coneruity. is of God. 1 am crucified with Christ, nevertheless 

«r , J ,, 1 . , I live, yet TfOT I, but CArwMiVM in OTtf. Lord thou 

We heard a good deal yesterday, concerning ^i^ ^rrlain peace for us; for thou hast wrought aix 

what these perfectionists hold. They publish a our works in us By the grace of God I am that I 

newspaper called *ThePerfectioni8t,Uhe editors am. Not of works, lest any man should boast. In 

of which, Messrs. Whilmore & Buckingham, are God we boast all the day long, and praise his naro«« 

responsible for eyery thing that appears in it. — forever. What have we that we have not received; 



20 

How if we receive all aa a free gift, why should we York, on his way to the we9% he is uoclenstood to har« 

glory, as if we had not received it. Matt. xxi. 42w— taken frequent occasion to extol Dr. Taylor, as one of 

2 Cor. iii. 5. Gal. it. 20. Isa. xxvi. 12. 1 Cor. xv. the first theologians of the age. And they who are 

10. Epb. ii.3. Psal. liv. 8. 1 Cor. iv. 7. acquainted with their consultations, correspondence 

B. Admitting that you are free from sin, would it and other indications of intimacy, have long told us 

not be better to avoid professing it? that these two gentlemen weie united in promoting 

Ans. With the heart man believeth unto righteous- the same theological views, p. 13. 
ness, and with the mouth conjessio't is made unto Now, sir, wIm> was Mr. Finiicy^s principal adviser, 

sdlvation. Goiiome to thy rriiiids, and tell them how coadjutor, and confidential friend, from his coming to 

great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had Boston till he finally left itt I answer, withotit lieei* 

compassion on thee. And he went his way, and pub' tation. Dr. Beecher. Who originated the invitation, 

lished throughout the whole city, how great things Je- I know not. It was extended by Union church, or 

sus had Hone unto him. No mttn when he hath light- their agents. Mr. F. replied, 4 am ready to go to 

ed a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it un- Boston, if the ministering brethren are prepared to re- 

der a bed, but setteth it on a candlestick, that they ceive me; otherwise I must decline.^ The question 

which enter in mny see the ligl;t. I have not hid wa^ submitted to the pastors assembled. No very de- 

thy righteovsness within my heart. I have declared cisive answer was given by most, I believe; but Drs. 

thy faithfulness and thy salvation; I have not con' Beecher and Wxsner expressed their doubts of the ex» 

eeated thy loving-kindness and thy truth from the^eii< pediency of the measure. But tlieir doubts were soon 

congregation, Rom. x. 10. Mark v. 19. Luke viii. after removed; and he came, with their express ap- 

16, 39. Paul. 1. 10. probation, and the acquiescence of others. He was 

This speaks language which cannot be misunder- i'n«>ediately made the public preacher for the whole 

stood. Whatever may be their conceptions with re- orthodox congregational interest hi Boston, and a 

spectlo the reformation, t.hcy give the Reformers no contnbut. on was levied upon the churches to support 

credit save for having produced a reform in that which "^'^ ^^""'^^ ^"' six months. He held public evening 

wasanti-christianity; and they assert that God then meenngs, generally twice a week, in a large and <^n- 

raised up others who have produced a true reforma- ?'^^ ^^"*^- } *^^^® meetings were uniformly notified 

tion, and who have carried it on until this day, when '" ^L'^ «^^^'*^ congregations on the Sabbath Some 

it has issued in that new divinity, of whicli we have o^" the pastors usually attended with hiin, took part in 

all heard so much. This new divinitv, it seems ac- fhe exercises, gave his notices, and ajipeflred to act 

cording to their own account, was the thing which ? perfect concert with him, thoughhe was always 

gave them the first stepping stone; and no wonder; <»>« preacher. In these movements. Dr.. Beecher and 

for if the premises be true, their argument from them ^/""^^ were more prominent and active than all the 

IS correct. If it is true, tiiat the sinner is able to keep ?.^*^f ^^ V^?'* ^'' Beecher repeatedly declared in pub- 

the commandments of God, and if the Spirit makes ^*^ ^'^/"" accordance with views which had been ad- 

him willing to keep them, there can be no sin. The ^*"ced. p. 14. 

inference is most clear and logical; and ifl believed I have read (his to show that it is not without 

the first position I would go the whole; nor can there reason Dr. Beecher was connected by the per- 

be any consistency in doing otherwise. The friends fectionists with Dr. Taylor and Mr. Finney. — 

of the new school must either return and take up the The system held by them ail is substantially the 

exploded doctrine ofhuman inabihty, or carry out Uie game, though they do not all express it so fullj 

opposite scheme and avow themselves perfectionists, as Mr. Finney and Dr. Taylor. The testimony 

Let them publicly abandon their whole system; or let ^^ have heard, has established the fact, that 

Jiuoll's tTuh's """^^^ ^ ^ '''"^'' «<>"^« ^^ ^^^ perfectionists were students in 

Lest it should be supposed that tne perfectionists ^?",^.^k^"JT^^'^.;, Dr. Beecher's own book has 

have done Dr. Beecher injustice, by associating his established the 2d specification. Jt is now with 

name with that of Mr, Finney, I will ghow how his ^^^ ^^^^^ *^ ^^^ ^*^®^ '* "^® nature and amount 

course was viewed in New England, by some quo- of my charge. I do not blame him, that such 

tations from the letter of Mr. Rand: students were there; nor do I charge him with 

Another reason why you are reckoned as a deci- being a perfectionist, for he is not aware of it* 

sive advocate of new principles is, the associations you I merely charge him with preaching sentiments 

have voluntarily formed. And here we judge accor- from which those doctrines naturally flow. And 

ding to the common maxim, that a man is known by if these sentiments are inconsistent with our 

the company he keeps, p. 12. standards, then let Dr. Beecher say which of 

Some years ago, but after Dr. Taylor had made the two he renounces, and to which he adheres* 

himself conspicuous as a theoriser in theology. Dr. The Presbytery here took a short recess* 

Beecher had occasion to be absent a few weeks from 

his people in a time of religious excitement; and he Fourth Charge. 

put Dr. Taylor i« his place, to preach and Conduct d^^ Wilson now read the 4th chaige, and 1st 

the revival.' Dr. l.^l id not ^harshly obtrude his new specification. [See on Ist page.] He said that 

?n3LT»V^^- ^""^^^ ''''^'' ^'T* ^:i'F'' ?• "''" ^ was not prepared to deny this when he wrote 

Tni S\hl S/T^ - ^^ the charge; hut he was now fully prepared, 

stances ot ttie times, as giving distinct evidence of *,'«.' , ., , i ^ 

partiality for his views. When the first protracted f'""!^ hi^torKral evidence, to do so. 
meeting in Massachusetts was held at Boston, Dr. I will now give a definition of slander. The 

Taylor did a large portion of the preaching, and was verb means to belie, to censure falsely. The 

the only fninister from abroad who took part in the noun means false invective, disgrace, reproach, 

public exercises. When Dr. Beecher was in New disreputation, ill name. A slanderer is one 



■ ^lio belies nnothcr, who lajs (ahe charges npon 
I another. These are the definitions of Dr. John- 

i; and I will now reduce them all to a scrip- 

ral delinition which is contained in the 14lh 
chap, of Number?, 36 and 37 verses: 

'And llie men, wliicli Moses sent 10 search tlic land, 
who ralurned, and made a I llic con grcgi lion lo mur- 
taur B^iainsl him, by bringing up a sliiiiiier upon ibe 
lind; even ihose men llial did bring up ibe evil report 
Upon Ilie land died by ibe plague befure the Lord.' 

Now I say that Dr. Beechcr lias in his wri- 
tings brought up an evil report upon Ihe church 
of God, and upon IJiosc ministers who teach the 
doctrines of tlie Confession of Failh. To make 
bis impression the decpur, he has given a cari- 
cature of their sentiments. Who ihat holds Ihe 
doctrine that a t>inner is unable to keep the law 
of God, preaches that man ought lo engage in 
the 'impenitent use of means?' Is not this a 
slander? Yet from what was read here yester- 
day, it appears that Dr. Beecher continued to 
otter this slander, even after the charges had 
been tabled against him. For he contends that 
it was part of that false philosophy which was 
twisted into the creeds of the Reformation. — 
And ho farther slates that revivals have always 
flourished where his doctrine is preached; or if 
any liave occurred elsewhere, it has been where 
the old system has been mitigated in its severity; 
and (hat it is other doctrines and not those of 
the old system, which in siieh cases have been 
blessed of God. Sir, this is the slander which 
has for years past been cast upon the old school: 
that its advocates are tlic enemies of revivals, 
and that they preach doctrines whic!'. destroy 
the souls of men. What did we hear in this 
» ■presbytery when a young brother applied for li- 
^'l^nse? Although his doctrines wc<re admitted 
"to be in accordance with tlie Confession of Faith, 
and his licensure could not be withheld, yet it 
was openly declared, that such doctrine never 
converted men. We are told by Dr. B. that 
where the doctrine of human inability to keep 
the commandments of God, inability to convert 
oursevles, inability to engage in any holy eier- 
cisfs, have been taught, Ihose churches have re- 
mained like Egypt by the side of other church- 
es where the opposite doctrines were inculcat- 
ed. Yes, sir, like Egypt in its. midnight dark- 
ness, tike the mountains of Gilboa without dews 
of heaven, or fields of olTering; or like the val- 
ley in Ezekiel's vision where the bones were 
very many and dry, very dry. 

Now, sir, I ask, what has been the true history 
of the revivals thus produced by the preaching 
of the doctrines of the new school? It has 
been just what 'the Perfectionist' stated. Such 
revivalshave left the churches cold, barren, and 
spiritually dead. Such has been the utter ster- 
ilily experienced in the state of New York, and 
in gome parts of New England, that all vitality 
is gone, and nothing but some new dispensation 
of Divine grace can renovate the face of the 
church. Sir, what has been the history of these 



revivals on this side of the mouDtalns, In our own 
region, and within the bounds of our own pres- 
bytery. Wherever the doctrines of the new 
school have prevailed, and nrlilicial excitements 
have baen got up among the churches, there all 
vital religion has been prostrated, and thechurch- 
es sunk into a death-like apathy and silence; 
just such as 'the Perfectionist' informs us has 
takeu place on the other side of the mountains. 
But on the contrary where the doctrines of the 
Confession of Failh have been received and 
faithfully preached, Ihe churches are growing, 
are in a slate of order and harmony, and spirit- 
ual health universally prevails. Now to bring 
up »n evil report on but an individual is slander, 
provided the report be untrue; lo say indeed 
that a drunkard is a drunkard, or that a liar is a 
liar, is no blander, however imprudent the de- 
claration under some circumstances may be. — 
But where the charge is made, and it turns out 
to be utterly false, it is the crime of slander, 
and is punished as such. But what is slander 
upon an individual, when compared with slan- 
der directed against the whole church of God, 
against the orthodox in every age, against the 
blessed apostle whn first preached the gospel to 
the nations, against the martyrs who freely shed 
their blood lo confirm it, and against the compa- 
ny of the reformers who were ready to lay down 
their lives in its defence? Look, sir, at that ven- 
erable company of Westminster divines, men 
whose talents, learning and piety have been the 
theme of just admiration from their own age 
until the present day; men who took up and in- 
vestigated the whole system of diviNti V. atn, wiiu 
continued to sit for sis or seven years, and who 
yet when they formed Iheir book, put into it this 
doctrine of the inability of fiillen men: a doc- 
trine which it is said the men of the new school 
have completely demolished; and with respect 
to which none, according to Dr. B. had ever a 
distinct apprehension, sj as to rise above the 
mists by which the subject is surrounded, till the 
time of Edwards; and those who have since 
followed the track he marked oul: men who 
seem continually to cry out, 'We are the men, 
and wisdom will die with us.' If this is not 
bringing up an evil report upon the church of 
God, upon the Christian ministry, and upon the 
whole body of those who are the friends of or- 
thodoxy in this country, I am quite unable to 
conceive what ought to be so denominated. 

F'/ih Charge. 
Dr. Wilson here read the 5th charge. [See 
first page.] 

As the fact here charged has been conceded, I 
need refer to no proof in its support. Dr. Beech- 
er, however, objects lo the introduction of the 
word 'kindred' and has expressed a wish that 
that word might be erased. To this I shall 
make no objection, and will only observe that 
there must be something very wrong when peo- 
ple feel dishonored by their own kin. 



188 

The MoDBRATOR pronounced this remark to The sessions of pur Synod have just closed. The 

be a violation of order* .doings in several cases were such as to try our strength. 

Dr. Wilson said, if *it was out of order, he ^^ have a large and decided majority of old school 

was willing it should be omitted. He thercup- P^^": The opening sermon was preached by a mern- 

J J * J *u^ ^\^4U ^u»..»^ r««« her from the country, Mr. Thompson, who was m the 

on proceeded to read the sixth charge, [bee Assembly last spring! It was honest, bold, and faith- 

tirst page.J ^'yj. much more so tlian we were prepared to hear. 

Sixth Charge* Most of our lime was occupied in rectifying 

He commenced his remarks on this charge by the irregularities of the 3d Presbytery. When tJiat 

quoting Johnson's definition of the terms: %- Presbytery was formed, we expected strange proceed- 

pocrisy,' ^dissimulation in respect to moral or re- 1"^' ^l^ our expectations have been far exceeded.— 
liffious character- 'hvvocrite' 'r dissembler in ^^'^^ ^^^® held 35 meetings during the year, and 

° ,.. J ,. '. S ' have licensed and ordained a very large number of 

morality and religion.' vounir men 

Dr. W. then read again the 1st specification. , , . \ .ri«j ji. t 

P« ^ , T ° *^ In the judgment of the Synod, expressed by a de- 

L^ee nrst page.J ^-^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^^ j^^^^ violated the constitution in 

Under this specification I shall read from a three instances, viz. — 1. In dismissing a private mem- 
document produced by Dr. Beecher at the last her of the church, a female, over the heads of the 

meeting of presbytery. He .read only a pa rt of ®^JT"- T" ^^^ P'««^y>ery gave her a dismission 

T • L X J i-i*.i tA.'*' * ^. and letter of-recommendation to another church, which 

It. Iwish toread ahttlemore. Itis anarti- church would not receive her. So she is still under 

cle from the Standard dated October 20, 1832; their care. 

and it is not over the signature of Dr. W. al- 2d. In receiving Mr. Leavitt, af this city, editor 

though it was said yesterday that Dr. B. had o^ the Evangelist, without any credentials whatever. 

read nothing but what had these initials append- ^^^ ^*« introduced to the Presbytery by Dr. Cox, 

• , , ..^ ® rr and received on their personal knowledge of him 

^** to li» without a dismission from his Association or Dismiss- 

♦New York, Oct. 20, 1832. ing Council. 
Ahhough I have not had the privilege of much per- 3d. In receiving Dr. Beecher without the requisite 

sonal intercourse with you, yet I feel as if I were inti- credentials, and by letter, and dismissing him to ^ 

maleiy acquainted with you. 1 am impelled also by Presbytery without his appearing before them at alK 

existing circumstances to write you, and hope you — 'He sent a written subscription to the questions 

will ~i-. I pray that you may have wisdom and l.^^^' ^^,°^? ^^^^ ^ 'TT ^"^ !'«^5«««iy^<i».^l«°^^ H' 

_ *^ % » I -r i-* J mi commendation from the Association to which he be- 

peace as you need — - to glorify God. •— ;- The j^nged, but not from the Dismissing Council, which is 

men of the new school talk much of love, forbear- the only ecclesiastical body which could give him ere- 

ance, and peace, when they are in minority, and wish dentials. Yet they received him. He was thus ^ 

to carry their point; but when they have power, .-. into a Presbyterian, that he might accept his call, and 

'^hft friends of the Redeemer, however, have nothing become Professor in the Lane Seminary. They knew 

lo ffeaY. » v^gret that they should, in any instance, he did not intend to reside within their bounds, but to 

have thoutrht it necessary to contend against accommodate him, and prevent they received 

with his own weapons. — r- It appears to me that and dismissed him in /ra/iw/tz. They were very 

«««^ ««!« 4^ r^.iro.i^ o o««.o;r.u* XX.^,^r^ ^u'.Ai^^ u„ sonsitivo, Bud afiected to consider our objections to 

we need only to pursue a straight course, abiding by ^^^.^ proceedings an attack upon Dr. Beecher, which 

tlH3 word of God and the constitution of our church, ^^^ ^^.^hest from our intentions. It was not hrs 

and leave events with the great Head of the church, foujt that they acted unconstitutionally. But you 

If we are in the minority, we can enter our dissent, perceive the tendency of such proceedings. 

solemn protest, and remonstrance, and thus preserve The committee appointed, , to examine their 

a good conscience, and be protected in our rights, by records, being of their own school, reported favorably; 

the . I, for one, feel less apprehensions than I but in their statistical report, we learned the fact in 

did, and would discountenance any thing like the the case of Dr. B. and objected . After consider- 

combination, management, anJ attempts to overreach able discussion, a special committee was appointed to 
an practised by the new party. Let us be firm in our examine their records, who brought their doings to 
adherence to the cause of truth and righteousness. — ^^g^t. Two of their members were refused ad- 
Let us do our duly as Christians, and as ministers of "";,««i°° into —^ Presbytery, and were not permit- 

the gospel, and we are under the broad and impene- l!;^..^.^/'^^'*' ni° ^^^ ^^?"' ""^T "^T^uV 

. if L- ij £• *u • p r* ^ ic Dounds. . 1 hese are trving times, and call for 

trable shield of the prormse of God. ^If we are ^^^^^ ^nd concertof prayer.' I desire to feel that our 

to be outnumbered and outvoted, be it so. has hope is in God alone. We need his guidance and 

always had a majority. God has always had his protection, and having that, we have nothing to fear.' 

witnesses. The church has always been preserved. . , ^,, ., . .11^1 

Perhaps the Lord may have something better in \ member of the court here inquired wheth- 

store for us than we have feared. Perhaps he will pre- ^^ *"^8 paper bad any signature? 
vent the spread of error in that branch of his church Dr. Wjison replied that it had not; and that 
to which we belong. It may be that — ^ shall not he should not have been at liberty to produce it, 
have a majority in — . Many in this region who had not Dr. B. been permitted to do so first.— 
Yiere on the fence, vrho were taken with their appar- Dr. W. then read the 2d specification. [See 
ent Zealand devotedness, and feltinchned to favor 1st Dace 1 
their measures, have had their eyes opened, have w- i. i_- t 1 
seen the tendency of their measures, and have ^**" respect to this, I only need to remark, 
been disgusted with the men. They begin to feel ^^^^ what I read under the charge of slander, 
the importance of guarding our standards, and are shows conclusively that Dr. Beecher does con- 
convinced that the matter of difference between eider the difference of doctrine to be material 

is something more than a question about words . and essential. That it is not a mere logomachy, 



ttor is there a mere shade of dlfierence^^etween majority of whose members adhered to the stan- 
the two systems. Far from it. For he teltB^-w-^dards iQ their literal sense and obvious meaning, 

that one of these systems of doctrine practical-' Dr. Beecher made those statements respecting 

ly eclipses (he glory of the Sun of Righteous- his Belief in our Confession of Faith which have 

ness; and has done more to hinder the salvation been given in testimony before you. .. He made 

of sould than any thing else in the church; them, the witnesses say, with an emphasis pectt- 

while the otiicr is blessed of heaven and spreads liarly impressive. One witness spoke of the 

light and life wherever it goes. Yet while he waving of his hand; while another tells you that 

thus impugns the standards of our church, and he clasped the book to his bosom with a gestica* 

places the two doctrines in so strong contrast, he lation that was very unusual to him, and th^B 

does — what? I do not say that he adopts our declared, in the form of an oath, that he believei 

■standards, because I have no proof that he ever those standards to contain the truth, the whole 

has adopted them, But I do say, that if he does truth, and nothing but the truth. This took 

adopt them, he is guilty of hypocrisy; and no place in the autumn of 1833, and now in the 

man can exonerate him from the charge. For spring of 1835, what does Dr. Beechcr publish 1 

he must be a hypocrite who professes cordially Why he says with respect to the creeds of the 

to adopt that which he disbelieves, impugns and reformers, and not excepting his own creed, that 

docjs his best to bring into disrepute. on some topics they were more full than the 

Dr. W. then read the 3d specification. [See proportion of faith would req^ire at this day; 

first pace.! while as a means of popular instruction and the 

Under this specification I call for the read- exposition of truth, their language falls far short 

ing of the testimony which has been taken be- ©/ what is called for by the times in which we 

fore this court, touching the declarations made "ve. 

by Dr. Beecher respecting the Confession of Now I ask, where is the man in this house, 

Faith, when he stood before the Synod* who, upon his solemn oath, can state that he 

The testimony was read accordingly. [See believes this Confession of Faith to contain the 



fit. f r.nrr« 1 & ^ L truth, thc whole truth, and nothing but the 




his ministry on Long Island by adopting the that it does not. It is obvious, therefore, that 

Confession of Faith as a Presbyterian minister; the declaration made by Dr. Beecher, before 

jthathethen removed into New England, and the Synod, was made m a reckless manner. And 

tookthe charge of a Congregational church, but *?*^*"S «" the circumstances of the case into 

without any change in his religious sentiments, view, remembering where he stood, and that his 

The Confe.-sion of Faith was still his creed, and standing and orthodoxy as a christian minister 

although ho acted under the provisions of the were at stake, it appears to me equally obvious 

Plan of Union, he ^till approved the form of that the declaration was made for popuh^^^ 

government adopted and practised in the Pres- And what he has since published, shows that he 

byterian church. He afterward left the Con- ^eheves our standards to be far short of what is 

gregalional churches, and entered the body to ^'r"" ^""^ ^^ ^*'f exigency of our times; and 

which we belong. At this lime, it seems, he ^t course, that they do not contain the whole 

fitill professed to adhere to our standards; but it trutli. 

was under certain explanations ofthe terms there ^^' Beecher here inquired whether the Ian- 

used. In the sermon which has been read be- g«age last referred to had been by him applied 

fore you, he admits that the language ofthe re- ^^^P^ Confession of Faith? 

formers spoke of man's inability; but that this Dr. Wilson replied that he so understood it. 

language was not understood, and therefore he Dr. W. proceeded to read farther extracts 

has a right of interpretation, inasmuch as the from Dr. Beecher's book, entitled: * The causes 

church has interpreted her own creed. Ad- «nd remedy of Scepticism.' [Already quoted.] 

mitting that he did adopt the standards fully Here, said Dr. W. he is attempting to show 

with this right of explanation, still when his right that the very creeds of the reformation are calcu- 

to explain was called in question, when the Ian- lated to produce scepticism. He says that they 

guage of his sermons was made a subject of arc mere skeletons. What then becomes of his 

controversy, wlien he came before Synod in con- declaration, that they contain the whole truth? 

sequence and found himself in peculiar circum- And here I was going to stop; but I am led to 

stani:cs, surrounded by a large popular assembly, remark, in general, that Dr. Beecher is in the 

and placed before an ecclesiastical body, the habitof making reckless declarations. To show 

complexion of which W49 well known, and a this, I will take his lecture on the cause of 8cep« 



^ 



tictijm. * W6en speaking of the Preiich revblu^ 4lrtlne*ire ifeatare of the Calvinistic system^ 

tipti.Bad its eiffect * » * The creed may very appropriately be called a 

"^r-fitere Mr- Brainerd iDterjioM^^nd observed Select System, which some of all sects receive, 

that this was not relevant to the case. Dr. and which some of all sects reject. I will now 

Beecher was not on trial for making reckless read Dr. B.'s note appended to his sermon on this 

declarations. Select System. 

if v'^*^^ he did not care about Mr. Bbainerd here inquired whether Dr. 

^e introduction of the passage. It would only Beecher had set forth these eleven articles as 

go to show that the sweeping declarations of Dr. the fundamental principles of Christianity, or as 

B. were intended for popular effect. They must expressing the whole of his creed, 

be made eitherwithout intention, and that would Dr. Wilson replied, that he did not care 

argue what Dr. W. never should charge upon whether they contained his entire creed or not. 

Dr. B. namely, a want of sense; or they must These were the articles as he had given them 

be made, as he had averred, for the purpose of in his sermon. Dr. W. then read the note as 

producmg popular effect: and that was all he follows: 
bad charged under this head. 




at Dr. Beecher's sermons, and then consider the designate them by the name of an individual or a sect, 
facts in connexion with the third specification. It is a select system, which some of almost every de- 
how can you conclude otherwise than that his nomination hold, and some reject; and which ought to 
course exhibits dissimulation? be characterized by some general term indicative of 

I shall now close the argument, by referring ^^^ system as held, in all ages and among all denomi- 

the court to the decision of the S^nid of Ohio, "^^»^°^ of christians.' 

which was made in reference to these very diflS- To sum up the whole matter: it will be proper 

culties: not as they have been occasioned by Dr. for you as a court, to mark Dr. Beecher's course, 

Beechcr^s preaching and publications, but else- as far as it has been exhibited to you by evidence, 

where, as produced by others holding the same from its commencement to the present time* It 

sentiments. . The Synod made a record on their must be evident to all, that his course has been 

minutes, and gave it as an injunction upon all marked with vaccillation, and has been calcula- 

the Presbyteries under their care, that persons ted to excite deep suspicion and long -and loud 

using doubtful language, or phrases which were complaint, both in and out of New England; that 

new, and which caused disturbance in the church, it has been such as hitherto to elude detection, 

should be subjects of discipline. and escape anythinglike a trial on its real merits; 

In the next place, I shall present to the that one feature which has peculiarly marked it, 

court Dr. B.'s creed, as contained in his Select ^'*^^ ^^^^ *^® mixture in his publicaiions of truth 

System. It consists of eleven articles, and may and error: just enough truth to make the error 

be found in Dr. B.'s reply to the Christian Ex- ^>^^ which it is associated most deleterious and 

aminer. The Christian Examiner, let it be re- deadly to the souls of men. This lias been the 

membered, is a Unitarian paper, and the Uni- course adopted by all false teachers, in every age 

tarians claim all the articles of the creed, except of the church, as well before as since the coming 

two* And such was the clearness of the article of Christ. Nor is it strange; for no error could 

in which this claim was advanced, so strong and succeed, if it should be presented naked and 

so conclusive were the arguments it contained, alone, unless in a system of the most open and 

that Dr. B. was obliged, to come out in a long abandoned infidelity, or in such lectures as are 

and labored reply. The articles of the creed delivered in Tammany Hall, New York. What 

are these: ^as our Lord told us respecting such teachers? 

^'mcn are free agent«; in the possession of such ?® ^''^^^ that they would come in sheep's cloth- 

faculties, and placed in such circumstances, as to ren- ?"^- ^"^ ^"^^j ^^ sheep s clothmg, but an exhi- 

der it practicable for them to do whatever God re- ^ition m part of such truths as none can gainsay 

quires; reasonable that he should require it; and fit or disprove, accompanied by an example of per- 

Ihat he should inflict, literally, the entire penalty of sonal conduct with which none can find fault? 

disobedience — such ability is here intended as lays a We have had two individuals in the west, I refer 

perfect foundation for government and for rewards and to Barton W. Stone, and to Mr. Parker, of New 

punishments according to deeds.' Richmond, who, while they were the most deci- 

And now I ask, is there here to be found one ded errorists of modern times, maintained for the 

single distinctive feature which belongs exclu- last thirty years morals of the most exemplary 

sively to that system of doctrine, which is taught and unimpeachable description. They came in 

in our standards? There are, to be sure, senti- sheep's clothing. And what is Paul's descrip- 

ments, which are held in common; and the last, tion? He says that with good words and fair 

especially, is received by Arminians, Catholics, speeches, they should beguile the hearts of the 

Universalists, and almost all other sects, the Uni- simple. And what is very extraordinary, men 

tarians excepted. But here is not one single of this description have ever appeared to be 



■ ■ 

^^^tircly unconscious of Iheir own inconslstefit 
^Vwid reckless course. Of this there is not a more 
■ impressive example thnn lh;it ofthe brilliiintnnd 
conspicuous Irving. When he had pushed his 
delusion even to the eitreme of professing lo 
tpenk with new tongues, and after he had been 
tried nnd condemned for his false and heretical 
opinions, he laid a paper on the table of the 
presbjterj, declaring in the fullegt term^ his be- 
lief in the whole Confession of Faith. Errorists 
ever appear unconscious of their own character. 
And how can it be otherwise, when God himself 
has told ua thai il would be so? The sentiments 
of which 1 complain, are not insulated and in- 
dependent tenets. The; form partof a system; 
and lEisasptem $o connected, that if you adopt 
one of il3 leading principles, and possess a logical 
mind, you will be obliged lo follow Ihal principle 
out, until you have adopted the whole. For cx- 
smple: suppose you adopt the doctrine of the 
natural ability of fallen man to do what is good; 
his perfect capacity In comply fully with the law 
and the gospel of God; and make faith and re- 
pentance the terms on wliich God will forgive 
gJM and save liie soul> You then necessarily ex- 
clude the direct agcnry ol the Holy Spirit upon 
the heart in quickening those who are dead in 
sin. You then represent the Spirit, in the work 
of conversion, mertly as being more capable of 
presenting truth lo Ihe mind than a man is. 
And this is the very ilhislralion given in Ross' 
treatise, enlillcd: 'Failh according to common 
ecnsc.' And as soon as you lay aside Ihe agency 
of ihe Spirit in creating a new hearl, you get at 
once upon Ihe system of moral suasion. Then 
comes an indefinite atonement, through which 
God can forgive sin on condilion off^ilh and 
repentance; which repentance and faith the sin- 
ner by bis own slrcnglh is able to exercise, and 
which he is persuaded to exercise because the 
Spirit of God is able to present truth in a more 
luminous manner, than a human preacher can do 
it. Or, lo use Ross' illustration, a boy cannot 
eplil Ibe log, not owing to any insufficiency in ihe 
wedge or the m^iul, but because he has not 
Btiength enough for the task; but when a man 
comei along, and taked hold of them, tlie log is 
immediately riven a.«undcr. This illustration, 
however, was a bad one on their part, because it 
implies passivhy in regeneration, a point which 
they deny. Well, as soon as you adopt the in- 
detinilc atonement, )'ou cut up by the roots the 
federative representation of the second Adam; 
and when you have done this, consistency will 
oblige you lo go hack, and deny ihc federative 
representation of the first Adam; and thus you 
have got lo the denial of original sin; and you 
must say with Dr. Beecber, that 'soau;how in 
consequence of Adam's fall, all men sin volun- 
tarily; and that the first sin in every man could 
have been and ought to have been avoided.' 
Again, lake the other side of the proposition, 
nnd you run into the system of the perfeclionisli. 
Man is able lo keep the whole law. The Spirit 



80 pewuaSesWih WloWSKTlim wnttng; AnJ* 
when he is both able and willing, there i 

course, ho no sin. 

Now wo say ihat llifs n ' enoilier gospel;^ lint it id 
not Ihe system of irulh revealed in llie scripturoBj ftni 
1 am hire prepared lo say, as ihe apoallc did, without 
the tensi bitlt^rness of spirit, and niib an eariieui desire 
(liat God would be pleased lo turn men from their 
darkness and delusion, fbal if any mnn preuch anollier 
g03|>ol, lot him be analliemn. Tlie apostolic injunc- 
tion must be obeyed: lo mark tho^e wlio cause coi- 
teniions among christians, and lo avoid them; because 
by good words and fair specclies, ilicy beguile the 
hearts of iho simple. 

Sir, ijiis system is zeulously pushed forward. It 
has already creiled divisions and dialraclions tlirougU- 
out the Presbyterian church. Wliat was ones ihe 
condilion of all ibe churches under Ihe care of Ibis 
synod? They lived in peace. Tliey acted as brelh- 
ren. Meetings of the synod and of ihe preabylerioa 
were aniicipated as seas.ina of refrestiing. We wer& 
all eniiagcd, not indeed to llie extent we should have 
been, in laboring in the Lord's cause. Wo did indeed 
fall far ahori of our whnle duty, but still we labored 
together with mutual afieciion and our meetings were 
bleaacd. And I here say openly and without fear of 
con trad id ion, that we enjoyed happy seasons of reli- 
gious revival until iliey were checked and interrupted 
by ihe inlroduclion of ihis new system. But since 
the new divinity has entered our bounds, we have had 
nothing but dislruction and disunion. Our revivals 
have been killed, end our once ri-joicing churches now 
sit in a deatli-like ailence. Yes, sir, they are like ihg 
nionnlains of Gilboa destitulc of the dews of heaven; 
Ibey arc like ihe bones in the valley of vision, dry, 
very dry. My hreiliren you are called upon, aa 
guardians of the purity of the church, and wuichmea 
UjKin her walla, lo restore Ihal peace and order which 
she once enjoyed, by pulling a check lo a system of 
doctrine which ought, tike ibc idols ol' the heathen, lo 
be cast with all speed, to Ihe moles and lo ihe 

And let mo tell you now, llial with thissyatem there 
can he no compromiac. Things which are so utterly 
contradictory never can be made lo coalesce. The 
old and the new divinity are now engaged in an ardu- 
ous and desperate struggle, li is like ilio contest of 
fireand water. And ihey muslconiinue to fighiualil 
ibe neakcr shall die. And though this is poetry, it ia 
no fiction. Much will depend on you. The divs of 
while-washing are gone by forever. Thai parly which 
shall be vtclorious will aiainiain the seminary and con. 
Irol its funds; and that party which is not sustained, 
must go out; fur we cannoi live logeiber. The Con- 
fession of Failb musl go down; or llie new theology 
tniisl he put out of doors. Your decision, it is true, 
will not he final. But if it shall be made in conformity 
with the standards of our church, what you bind oa 
earth will be bound in heaven; and even though it 
should be annulled by men, will nevertheless in the 
end be recognized by the broad seal of ihe great 
IVIdSlcr. 

Tlie simple question which each of you is bound lo 
put lohts own conscience, undereacbaeparaie charge, 
in this IrinI, ia simply this: lias this charge been sua- 
laincd by eviilence?and, unless lam greatly deceived 
indeed, your reply must be in the affirmalive,' And if 
it is, will you arqnil this mnn? Will yon lell him to 
do BO no more? and will you there lei il end! Be 



S2 

reminded, I pray you, of the cases of Barnes and (3.) Asa Rand, edilor of the Volunteer, and afief-^ 
Duffield. There a white-washing committee was wards the Lowell Observer. I was for many years ac^ 
appointed, who white-washed both parties. In the quainted with Mr. Rand, having fitted for coUsge in 
latter case, the charges were sustained and the man the parish of which he was minister, and boarding 
proved guilty: he was gently advised to oficnd no next door to him, and afterwards occupying for about 
more. And what followed? — Peace? order? — No; a year the same office room with him in Boston, as an 
deeper and deeper animosities, and wider and wider editor. He is a man of great industry, perseverance, 
divisions, were the natural consequences; and must and other valuable traits of character; but, from his 
continue to be the consequences, until the decisions peculiar habits of thought, and feeling, and action, 
of church courts are made so clear with respect te the not likely to do justice to such a man as !>. B. Ho 
infliction of censure that they will effectually guard was opposed to Dr. B's. theology, being himself an 
against the inroads of heresy, that they shall strike advocate of the taste and doctrine scheme of Dt*. 
terror into the breast of avery heresiarch, and shall BurtoQ. He disliked Dr. B's. mode of prea<ihing, be- 
rescue every inexperienced novice from his facilis ing strenuously hostile to religious excitement and 
descensus Averni — the easy road to perdition. strong appeals to the feelings, of which he had given 

I have taxed my ingenuity to discover what de- decided proof many years before, by his disapproba- 
fence could possibly be set up by the accused; and I tion of Dr. Payson's mode of preaching, in wliose 
confess myself utterly unable so much as to conjee- neighborhood he was settled, and whose sister he had 
lure. This may be owing to my want of imagination married. Besides, Dr. B. was uniformly successful 
and of ingenuity; end Dr. Beecher will very probably in Boston, and constantly rising in influence, while 
show something -that was far beyond my powers of Mr. Rand was uniformly unsuccessful, and his influ- 
imagination to anticipate; and when his powerful in- ence was continually decreasing. Those acquainf- 
tellect shall have denjonstraled that while is black, ed with the circumstances, will receive Mr. Rand's 
that two and two do not make four, then, and not till statement and inuendoes with great abatement; not 
tlien, may he expect an acquittal. from any distrust of his moral integrity, but from a 

r* .J, x-k T lo "t\ T> «.^ « knowledge of the medium throuffh which facts would 

.^'''^u^. 2^f ^^^«» -^"'^^ .^^-T- ^* Beecher ^^^^^^ themselves to his mind.^ To the best of my 
said, that before commencing his defence, he {.^owledge, the suspicions and complaints alluded to 
wished to adduce some additional testimony in j^^ m, ^^^^,^ ^^^^^^ ^^ ^^ B ^^^^ confined to a very 
reference to the question, how much of his cap- g^an number of persons, and did not by anv means 
ital in character he had lost, before he left New extend to the great body of what is called the old 
England; and he adduced it in order to meet school party in New England, or the most judicious 
the anonymous and personal letters which had and leading men in that party. Of the men of this 
been read by Mr. Wilson, as published by Mr« class, no one stands higher than Dr. Woods, of Ando- 
Rand, the Edwardcan, and others. ver. I lived in his house part of the time while I 

Dr. Wilson 
9s it was testimony 
er himself stood 

the other, as to the question of Dr. Beecher's ating wWhVrshmiW c^^^^^ 

capital in reputation. He presumed the Pres- Woods frequently, and with the deep feeling charac- 

bytery was competent to decide between them, teristic of him, expressed to me his affectionate con- 

. Professor Stowe was thereupon sworn, and fidence in Dr. B. and his earnest wish for the success 

testified as follows* of the Seminary. The same feelings were express- 

According to the 'best of my knowledge. Dr. B's. ?f '« "?« ^y ^i' ^?°^/' ?"'' '•;«. ^^"^ kind wishes re- 
reputation and influence in New England were never |'"«'«*^' ^''^" ^ ''«"°^ 1"™*' '"«''°"^° "» September 
SO great, nor did he ever enjoy so extensively the ' 

confidence of the religious community, as at the Dr. Tyler is well known to the public as the chief 

time when he received and accepted the mvitation to antagonist of the New Haven theology. He stands 

come to Cincinnati. to me in the relation of a father and confidential 

To the best of my knowledge, he had then but friend. 1 have been for years a member of his family, 

three open and declared assailants of public charac- and his children are my brothers and sisters. When 

ten I was deliberating about coming to Lane Seminary, 

(1.) Thomas Whit emoTC^ editor ot the Universalist Dr. Tyler expressed the same feelings with Dr. 

Trumpet: a paper uniformly marked with the worst Woods, and perhaps with still greater distinctness. — 

features of the most ferocious kind of Universalism. He has frequently said to me, in conversation, 'I al- 

(2.) Moses Thatcher, editor of the New England ways loved Dr. Beecher, and have entire confidence 
Telegraph, a paper devoted to the most ultra kind of in him,' .or words to that effect. It is my full convic- 
Hopkinsianism, which mrikes God the direct, efficient tion, that the feelings of Dr. Woods and Dr. Tyler 
cause of every sinful thought, emotion, word and towards Dr. B. are the feelings of the great body of 
deed of every sinful creature in the universe, and to the religious community in New England, even among 
the most ultra kind of independency in church gov- the strong opponents of what is called new divinity 
ernment, which he carried to such an extreme, that men and measures. The Congregational ministers 
the Hopkinsians themselves, with Dr. Emmons at of Maine and New Hampshire, particularly, are al- 
their head, made a public disclaimer and condemna- most entirely of this class, and I never saw one that 
tion of hjs views and proceedings in matters of church did not love and confide in Dr. B.; and I am person- 
discipline. Mr. Thatcher had had difficulties in his ally acquainted, I think, with a majority of the minis- 
own church, which were divided against him in a coun- ters in both those Stales. The pamphlet by an Ed- 
cil of which Dr. B. was a prominent member. wardean, I am sure, does not express the feelings of 




even the old school party in New England. I never Dr. W. Has Mr. Rand, in his letter to Dr. B. 

heard Dr. Woods or Dr. Tyler say a word in favor of misrepresented or misstated Dr. B.'^s connections with 

it. This pamphlet was strongly disapproved by men Dr. Taylor and Mr. Finney f — Ans. I donH know 

of all parties; and the author, as far as I know, has, what was in that letter. 

to this day, never dared to avow himself* and from Dr. W. Why did the Unitarians hate Dr. B. when 

my connexion with opposers of New Haven theology, the Christian Examiner, in a review of his sermon on 

I think I should have known it, if he had. It was every- 'Faith once delivered,^ &c. claimed tlie sentiments 

wliere regarded in New England as a great and heroic as their own? — Ans. They liated and dreaded him^ 

sacrifice on the part of Dr. B. to give up the advan- because they supposed tliat he was the roost powerful 

tages of the reputation and public influence ho had and efficient opponent of Unitarian sentiments. His 

then acquired, and to go to a distant field, where he tabors in Boston were specially directed to counteract 

roust gain reputation anew, and work his way like a Unitarian sentiments. 

young man. Dr. W. Do you not know it as a historical fact, that 

Rev. F. Y. Vail was then sworn, and his les- Unitarians greatly rejoice at the progress of what is 

tlmonj isas follows: called new theology? — Ans. They did not, if you 

lhave,duringthe last four years, visited the church- mean that Dr. Beechor's doctrines are new theolo- 

es and ministers extensively in New York and the S^;, _ . , . , , , , 

States of New England, in obtaining funds for the , ^\ Bramerd. Are the orthodox mmisters and 

Lane Seminary. 1 have grqat confidence in stating, churches of New England Calvmist f'— Ans. Yes, so 

that the association of Dr. Beecher's name with this ^^^^^ they follow any man. ... 

institution was one of the most important means of , Dr. Beecher. In what estimation do ministers and 

securing the funds requisite for its endowment, and churches hold the Assembly's Shorter Catecliism ?-^ 

that both ministers and churches, wherever I have vis- ^ns. The orthodox churches, universal y, consider 

ited, have, with scarcely an exception, manifested the it the best epitome of the doctrines of the Bible.-- 

most unshaken confidence in Dr. B. The general The families are taught that Catechism as universally 

impression seemed to pervade the Congregational and ^^ *^®y ^'^ »" !*^® Presbyterian church. 

Presbyterian churches with which I have had inter- ^^' ^- ^o they teach the Shorter Catechism as 

course, that the removal of no other man would be so ^^ ^^ mutilated and altered by the American S. S. 

great a blessing to this important section of our Union, or as it exists in the standards of our church? 

country, as that of Dr Beecher; and it was with much 77^^^' ^ "^T^"^ !^"?)^ ^^l ^f "^^ ^™®"^^." ^' ^ 

regret that they were called to give up his important Union Catechism in New England. Ihey did use— 

and valuable services in New England. Mr. Bullard confirmed the testimony of Prof. 

u^A. 13 II J ^ J Stowc, respecting Mr. Rand, and the Editors of the 

* ^Ta ^^^T""^ ^""''^''^ ^''^^ "^^^ «^^^"' ^'^"^ Telegraph, Trumpet, and others. 
testified as follows: . , .. , Mr. Stowe called up again. 

nZV^^liSvl^.^^^^^ Dr. W. lias Mr. Rand, in his letter to Dr. B. 

setts ». 0C11OO1 Union, before Dr. B. wks called to the .ru-iiu 1 u c *i-t»u * 

West, and for several years a member of Dr. B's. P^t of which has been read before tins Presbytery, 
church in Boston. 1 have visited nearly every ortho- T'^r'T"^^^^ "Vf ' • « ' co-operat.on w,th 
dox Congregational minister in Massachusetts, and a ^'l T^y'^' »"*' Mr. Fmney, m Bo3lon?-Ans. I can- 
portion ofall in the New England States. Am^ng all not g._ve a s.mple afHrmaljoa or negatmn to the ques. 

these I know the reputation of Dr. B. had been uni- •'°'^' ^^\ "!"^' ^"y*. ""' t ^""«'"«»'f "^ {!'« '*>"«' 

formly rising tilt he left. There was no minister a/c "nfair, masmuch as they represent Dr. B. as en- 

in New England so uniformly dreaded and hated "'«'y <=«n<i"""'g '"' ""Vn''°T'^iL .n^J M? %" ' 

by Unitarians as Dr. B. I was in the church mee- "«="'' and measures of Dr. laylor and Mr. Fm- 

<:.» -k^n 4K« ....»„.:„ A- »-"•«-" "■^" ney; and the disc aimer winch he inserts of such 

ling when the question was discussed whether '/'.. , ... »ii _.,.„.,. .i,„ „„„«^i : . 

Drf B. should bo dismissed to come here.- intention does no at all correct the general iroprcs- 

The main reason urged why he should not come, by «"°" ™'\"='' "'« '""" "^'^'^^ '""''*''• ^^^"'^ ""'' "P" 

members of the church, was, that he never had so P*"®^^"') 

much influence in the orthodox community as then. I^"". Beecher now rose, and addressed the court in 

Dr. Wilson. What is the standard of orthodoxy nearly the following terms: 

among the clergymen you denominate orthodox?— ' have fallen very unexpectedly, at my time of life, 

Ans. Those are denominated orthodox, in New Eng- ©^ the necessity of getting testimony to support my 

land, who are opposed to Unitarian sentiments. theological and clerical character. But since lam 

Dr. W. Have they any written or published creed, <^^^^^^^ to it, I may as well make thorough work; and 
and which forms a bond of union among them in our ' shall therefore request the clerk to read a letter ad- 
system of doctrine?— Ans. Nodiing like the Cohfes- dressed to me by the Rev. Dr. Green, two years pre- 
sion of Faith of the Presbyterian church. vious to my coming to this place. The letter is dated 

Dr. W. Is not every congregation, in respect to ^Ist March, 1828, and is as follows: 

its articles of faith, independent, claiming the right Philadblpbia, March 81, 1828. 

of forming its own creed and covenant — Ans. 1 be- Rev, and Dear Sir,— This, sir, will bo banded you 

lieve it is. by two members of the Fifth Presbyterian church of 

Dr. W. Was the creed and covenant of Dr. B.'s this city, who have been delegated to consult you on 
clrarch similar to that which has been extracted from t*»® subject of a call to the pastoral charge of that 
the sermon on ' Faith once delivered to the Saints?'— ^I*"'**:*'- V"^ "^*'*^ ""^ assistance from me, in ex- 
Ana I nooor /./xm.^.r«,i «K« «,«« plainingf their views, or in showing the importance or 

Dr W In «rf^ r Ti .1 .1 1 • the sitmition to whicli they and the people they rep- 

• *« T'm ^!>^\ estimation did the or! l.odox m.n- ,,.,^.„t j,.,,.^ i,.,.it,.d you. .My dcsirrn, in writing this 
istcrs ot INew l!-ngiand liokl that, sermon/— Ans. I note, \n loKay.tliut ri;ivin;T presicJcd at the mooting of 
don t recollect ever hearing (liat luculioncd ad dis- tho ronj,'r(';^r:ition, at which this call was voted, 1 can 
tioct from other sermons. and do assure you, that the most perfect unanimitv 

5 



34 

and apparent cordiality marked the whole proceeding, fold* I have no doubt that, bv yoiir acceptance of the 

Public notice of the meeting had been fully given on station to which yon are called, your opportunity for 

the preceding Lord's day ; the assembly was large and doing good in the American churches would he Jo«« 

solemn ; and there was neither adissenting voice, nor, bled ifnot quadrupled^ at a stroke, 

so far as I judge, a neutral individual, when the vote Say not, that these things are matters of human cal- 

was taken. culation. They are so ; and yet, I think, the book of 

I have only to add, that if you shall find it to be your God, and human experience, furnish an abundant 

duty to become an inhabitant of this city, and a mem- foundation for them to rest upon. The truth is, we 

her of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, you shall, if I want nothing for the benefit of our 1800 churches^ 

am spared to witness it, be received and treated in the (next to the sanctifying Spirit of God) so much as an 

most respectful manner, and with true fraternal affec- individual in Philadelphia, (our ecclesiastical metro* 

tion. polis) who should be active, energetic, untiring, com- 

Your friend and brother in the gospel of our precious prehensive in his plans, and firm and unmoved in his 

Redeemer, Ashbel Gbeen. purposes and efforts. Will you not cast yourself on 

Rev. Dr. Beecheb. the Lord's strength and faithfulness, and come and 

T 1. .J. r , J al A zL« I AA help us to unite all our forces in one mighty effort, in 

Let It be remembered, that this letter was the name of our heavenly King, to promote his cause 

written by Dr. Green after he had commended, at home and ahroadl With the cordiality of a broth- 

as Calvinistic, the sermon in which I advanced er, and the freedom of an old friend, I can assure you» 

the doctrine of man's natural ability, for which, when such an open door is set before you, not to enter 

in theopinionofmy brother Wilson, I ought to ^^'t As to your reception among us, I hope I need 

i.*^j Aril u L jr i-i notsay, that It would be wmrcrfoWy, with WaaAcor/» 

be turned out of the church, and of course Dr. ando/cnarmf/ May the Lord direct and bless youl— 

Green also. Sincerely, your friend and brother, 

I will now request the clerk to read another Samuel Miller. 

letter addressed to me, about the same time, from j h^^e reason to believe that Dr. Miller, at 

the Rev. Dr. Miller. This is dated April 2, 1828, the time he wrote this letter, had read all my 

and ism the following words: publications but the last; and if so, he and 

Princeton, April 2d, 1828. Dr. Green ought to go out of the church to- 

tlet^ and Dear Brother, — Before this letter reach- aether. 

es your hands, you will have been apprised that the j j^^^g ^^^ another letter to read, of a somc- 

church of which our friend Dr. Skinner was lately the i ai a j a^ «'..j «^^ t «^ u^i/iir.^ .«»•««« 

pastor, has given you fiu unanimoui call to become what later date; and now I am holding up my- 

their minister. self, by certificates of character, I wish that this 

Some are disposed to smile at this measure, as a too maj be read. It is from the Rev. Dr. J« L. 

sort of desperate effort, or retaliation^ for robbing Phil- WilsOn. 

adelphia of Dr. S. Others view it as a plan by no p^. Wilson here inquired whether this wag 

means hopeless. But all, so far as I know, in this .i i .. i. u t\ •d^^^u^^u,.a ^^^a.-,^^a 

region, would moit cordially rejoice in the success of ^^^ sanrie letter which Dr. Beecher had produced 

the application, and hail your arrival in Philadelphia at the last meeting of Presbytery, 

as an event most devoutly to be wished by all the Dr. Beecher replied in the afii'rmative. 

dhulJch''^^''''''^''*''"'^^''^^"^^''^^^^ Presbyterian jy^. Wilson then inquired of the Modem- 

^ My dear brother, I beg, with all the earnestness ^^^ whether Dr. Beecher had not said at the 

that I am capable of feeling or uttering, that you will time, that the explanation which he (Dr. W.) 

not either lightly consider or hastily reject this call. — had made in respect to it, was satisfactory. 

I do seriously believe that, however painful the step j)r, Beecher said, that the explanation was 

ofremovaltoP.)mightbe,both to the friends of re- satisfactory, so far as respected the sermon on 

ligion m Massachusetts, and to yourself, the residue °""°/"^^"*Jj °" j V au 

of your days could not possibly be dispossed of (so far Native Depravity, and no farther. ^ 

as human views can go) in a manner so much calcu- Dr. WiLSON said, he had no objection to the 

lated to U7i2/e the friends of Christ in the South and letter being read; because he could make the 

West, with those at the East, and to introduce a new g^me explanation again. 

churles!^"*^' ''''P'''''^'''''' ^° the American j^^ ^ ^^p,j^j^ \y^^^ he would not make the 

It is not only a matter of immense importance, that same explanation, because he (Dr. B.) should 

the individual church in Philadelphia, which gives you make that sermon an exception. The letter 

this call, should be supplied with a pastor, wise, now to be read had been addressed hy a com- 

pious, peaceful, prudent, and acceptable, as far aspos- mittee of the Board of Trustees of Lane Semin- 

S^c!;^7l^''i^n«?!i^ ^°'^ ^^n ary to the church to which Dr. B. belonged, 

place, 1 am most deeply persuaded, that you will y., .. i_ • ^a ja u tx • j 

have an opportunity of a most happy and reviving in- at the time he was invited to come here. It is da- 

fluence all around you, to a degree which very few ted on the 5th February, 1831, and is in the fol- 

men in our country have overbad; that you will be lowing terms: 

likely, humanly speaking, to bring together feelings _, nu k iqqi 

and efforts which are now widely separated ; and, in , , Cincinnati, Feb. 0, lO^i. 

feet, of giving a new impulse to all those great plais To the Hanover church and congregation : 

which I know to be near your heart. Beloved Brethren and Fellow-cUizens.'-'AB a 



com- 



By removing to Philadelphia-nnless I utterly mis- ""'"ee of the Board of L'"'*' Jheolog^al Sem nag. 

calculate-you would not be likely to subduct very »»'« "°^,?"'?°^.^ '■? *='"*rTT w?.*nff!'pr? "t^" 

essentially from your usefulness in Massachusetts.- half of that '"«»'>"»•»"• tj^f J?"" P'^f^^'*^^^^^^ 

You might stai, by means of writing and occasional 'masons drawn from a general view of the wants of the 

visits, continue to do there a large portion of what 

you now do ; while your influence and usefulness in •We print here according to copy. Ti ought probably to read, 

the Presbyterian church, from New England to New < I beg you, when such anclopen door is set before you, not to re- 

Orle&ns^ might and probably would be increased ten- fuse to enter it.'— £(&. Obs. 



so 

weity Ibr the erection of the Seminary, ^c. It then preacher, renderf his labors at thif point peculiarly 

proceeds :] important and desirable. * It is well known that Cin- 

Having presented this general view of the charac- cinnati now contains about 80,000 inhabitants, &c« * 
ter, claims, and prospects of our Seminary, permit us • - While training up young men for the ministry 
dcMur brethren and friends, to specify a few particular where their influence on the city will be powerfully 
reasons why Dr. Beecber is called, by Divine Provi- felt, the contiguity of our seminary to the city will 
dence and the great interests of the church, to this in- enable the Doctor to preach the gospel to the popula- 
stitution.— '1. The strongest convictions of many of tion as extensively and powerfully, and, we doubt not, 
oar wisest and best men, east and west of the moun- as successfully, as at any former period of his minis- 
tains, that the great interests of the church, and es- try. Who then would not rejoice to see Dr. Beecher 
pecially of the west, require Dr. B.'s labors at the double his influence and usefulness, by giving charac* 
head of our Seminary . A large number of our minis- ter and prominence to a great Theological Seminary, 
terial and lay brethren have expressed their deliberate while powerfully wielding at the same time the sword 
conviction that the enterprise of building up a great of truth against the augmenting powers of darkness in 
cenlral theological inttUution at Cincinnati — ^soon to our city and surrounding country 1 
become the great Andover or Princeton of the west, 5, The deep and general interest which would be 
and to give character to hundreds and thousands of awakened at the east, in behalf of the west, by the re- 
ministers,, which may issue from it — is one of the most moval of Dr. Beecher to our Seminary, constitutes, in 
important and responsible in which the cburch was ever q^^ estimation, an urgent reason for bis acceptance of 
called to engage, and that no man in our country, in ^u^ call. We all thank God and take courage, in view 
many important respects, is so well fitted to give of the interest which has been excited, and the effort 
character, energy, and success to such an institu- made at the east, in behalf of the west within the last 
tion as Dr. Beecher. Never has the presentation of f^^ years. • • ^c. What then, do we ask, can be 
a similar subject excited more deep and lively inter- ^one now for the west, &c. 1 We answer, let bun- 
eat, and called forth a more general and cordial ap- ^^eds and thousands of pious and intelligent families 
probation among the friends of religion at the east fr^m the east, with the spirit of missionaries, scatter 
and the west, than by the announcement of Dr. Beech- themselves over all the towns and villages of our 
ler's appointment as our President and Theological Great Valley, without delay. • • • Do you ask, 
Professor, and the consequent prospect of our secur- bow the interest, necessary interest to bring them on 
ing ample funds for the endowment of the institution, ^^g ground, can be excitedl Wo reply, let it be known 
This voice of public opinion and of the ministers that Dr. Beecher is reallv going into this field of labor 
and the church of Christ, we think is to be regarded himself; that in entering upon the work, he is will- 
as no unimportant indication ofthe will of Providence j„g to lead the way; and, as he passes over the AUe- 
in this matter. ghenios, let him pass through tbe old states and beat 

2. Dr. Beecher's well known standing and well up ^r volunteers in this truly christian crusade 
known reputation at the west, as well as the east, will against the infidels. And when the east feel sufficient 
make his labors of incalculable importance to our interest in the salvation of the west to send to her aid, 
seminary. • • • Nor is it a consideration of small ^^t merely a few ofthe young and inexperienced sub- 
importance, that Dr. B.'s habits of rigorous exercise alterns, but some of their most distinguished generals, 
and labor would exert a most powerful practical influ- j^ ^jn ^^ feit that the warfare in which we are engag- 
ence in giving increased repuUtion and popularity gj jg 0^^ which must soon give liberty and happiness, 
among the community generally. ^^ despotism and ruin to our country ; nor will men 

8. * * * The church is now doubtless entering nor resources be wanting to achieve a speedy and tri- 

into the most eventful period of her most glorious en- umphant victory* 

terprise, in speedily sending the gospel to every crea- The last reason we shall mention for Dr. Beecher's 
ture, and subjugating the world to the Prince of connexion with our institution is, that the security of 
Peace. To accomplish this great work, we want, in- the funds pledged on this condition, and the conse- 
deed, hundreds and thousands of additional laborers, quent existence and prosperity 6f the Seminary de- 
but we need more especially, in the character of those pend upon it. * * * The professorships, amount- 
who come forth, to see men of higher and holier enter- ing, in all, to $50,000, are nearly secured, on condi- 
prise than most of us who have entered the ministry, tion that Dr. Beecher becomes our professor, and that 
Do we not need, and must we not have, if the millen- we at the west raise from $10,000 to $20,000 more, 
nium is ever to come, men of evangelical and deep- for buildings, &c. These funds, thus liberally offered 
toned piety ; baptised into the spirit of revivals — pos- to us, are to be given on account ofthe special confi- 
•essing clear and discriminating views of divine truth dence which the donors place in Dr. Beecher, to pre- 
— despising the compromising spirit of worldly pru- side over and give character and success to our Sem- 
dence — fearless and firm in their attacks upon the inary, dec. 

strong holds of infidelity and the devil ; men, who By a Committee ofthe Board: 

should be fully up to, or rather far in advance of, the J. L. Wilson, ^ Signed by me at 

spirit of the age, in christian enterprise and action, J. Gallahes, > their request, 

and men whose whole souls are absorbed in the great F. Y. Vail, ) F. Y. Vail. 

workof converting the world. And how, dear breth- _. Ti.ijiA*i.i."rk rwr*i 

rcn and friends, can we so effectually rear up such It I8 proper I should state that Dr. Wilson 

men, as by putting them under the instruction of one, declared that he had not seen my sermon on tbe 

whose spirit shall become theirs, and who» without in- Native Character of Man, at the time this letter 

vidious comparisons, has no superiorin the character- ^^g written ; but he certainly had a full knowl- 

ChrTst^^rr^*''"^'^ '° ^^'' ""' """^ ''^^''' ^'^'''° ""^ ^^P ""^^y sentiments on the subject of natural 
When we reflect how much has been accomplished, ability so long before as the year 1817, when 
and is now doing, for the salvation of our coontrv and he had a conversation with me on that subject, 
tbe world, by one such spirit as Beecher, we feel that Dr. Beecher having no farther testimony fo adduce, 
the church will be deprived of his most important ser- qq^ entered upon his defence, and spoke substantial- 
vices and influence, unless he is permitted to impress )y j^ follows: 

the important lineaments of his character upon the ris- ^ , . . ' ^..,^. ^r ^^u«»^.-«^««# !« A«i«ik»:«.<* 

ing ministers of the west. ' 'r."" *T. "^""V i""^ e™barrossmenl In entering 

4. The influence which Dr. B. would be able to ex- upon Uiis subject. I know that 1 am liable to be ro- 

ert in our city and the surrounding country, as a garded as a stranger, thrust in upon the quiet and 



36 

comfort of a venerable pafrlarch, who had borne the enjoy the opportunity of one word of exptanation 

heat and burden of the day; and vexing his righteous from that time to this. Now I freely admit that ho 

soul by obtruding upon l.im my own novel crudities had a perfect right to change his opinion in regard to 

and heresies. And in the second place, lam also me, and the expediency of my settlement here. Bat 

aware that it may be said that ever since I came here, he had not a right, in utter recklessness of my per- 

there has been nothing but quarreling in the 'church- sonal feelings and the impairing of my ministerial 

ea of the west; and that so it will be all the time I usefulness, to drag me before the public^ at my time 

stay here.^ To this my answer is, that as to my be- of life, after I had served God and the church so 

ing an intruder, this good brother himself called me many years and must soon go to give in my account, 

to come here, and in so doing, acted as ho thought It was wrong, very wrong in my brother, to tear me 

in obedience to God's high - command,* and in up after tliis sort. 

obedience to what 1 understood to be the manifested ^he doctrines charged upon me , are not recent. I 
w.l of heaven I came 1 am not an intruder. I left ^^ „„j ^ ^^^^ j. ^ ^^ f ' j^. ^^^ ^. 

all that man can hold dear, m respectful estimation ceived and professed; nor of innovation in the intio- 
nnd the sympathies of friendship; and came to this j„^,j„„ of notions till now unhear.l of. The doctrine. 

church before 
examination, and on 
ing and pub- 
- J , , r . .1 1-11 i.i^uing which 1 am now to be tried as a heretic. In 

sense of duty (0 refer to the manner m which I was ^^^^ p^sbytery which ordained me, there were men 
received and treated by him. And here let me say, ^^ „|; ^,J J^ „j. ^,,^j ^^^ then called the new 
that If U.I8 matter had respected myself alone as a ^^^.^. ,^^ ^^ .^ ^^ thirty-five years ago) and the 
private mdividual, no mortal would ever have heard ^„,^ L\ny ordination wis unanimousj and I was 
« word upon Ihe subject from my hps. But I am not accordingly ordained by the Presbytery of Long 
my own My clmractcr and influence belong o j^j^^j 1 do not say, that 1 subscribed the ConfessioS 
Christ. And if I have not done evil, I have no right „f ^,^^^^^ ^^ ,^^, ^.J^^ „„j^, j,,^ declaration that it 
to permit them to be suspected. And if my brother contained the truth, the whole truth and nothing but 
with ever so good intentions, has done roe wrong, if ^^^ j^^,^ j ^^^ „Jj „^j ^^ ^^^^ ^.^^ ,^ ^^ ^^ 
he has broken the arm of my influence as a .man as- , ,,^j „„t 4,,^^ studied it enough, nor had I been 




thank the clerk to read a few extracts from the paper 

called the * Standard,' a religious periodical publish- The doctrines on which I am accused are not 

ed in this city. The articles are subscribed with the matters of mere metaphysical speculation; but 

iniiialsJ. L. W. they arc truths of which I find it necessary to 

[Some difficulty occurring in turning to the extracts, make a constant use in the performance of my 

Dr. Beecher waived his call for the reading of them, pastoral and ministerial duties; and which of 

and proceeded with the body of his defence.] all others I have found efficacious in producing 

If Dr. Wilson, after having invited me to settle in conviction of sin and the conversion of men's 

this city became possessed of information, which led souls to God. It has no doubt been necessary 

Irim to believe that I ought not to accept the call to guard against the perversion of these doc- 

which had been put into my hands, christian courtesy trines, as it is in regard to all other doctrines: 

and sincerity required of him that he should inform for as Horace says: Mf the vessel be not clean. 



me of such change in^his opimoji, and frankly avow whatever you pour into it will turn to vinegar.' 

T wVuld ll^e" Jone t'olilm and"went 5"^ ministers, surely, are not responsible for all 

upon his bosom in view of such openness and in- **^/*.* , perversion of the truth they preach, of 

tegritv. But he never did it. When he opposed my ^"*^*\ sinners are constantly guilty. I do not 



admission into ilic presbytory, I expressed my con- regard myself as standing here as an insulat- 

fidence that I could explain my views and ductrinal ed individual suspected of heresy* I do not be^ 

opinions satisfactorily to him; and we had an inter- Heve 1 am suspected of heresy, nor ever have 

locutory meeting of presbytery for tliat purpose. But been to any considerable extent. I do not 

it did not resuii as I had expected. After that, I feel as if I stood here alone, to be sifted and 

told Dr. Wilson repeatedly timt ho misunderstood scrutinized to see whether I am worthy of a 

my views in respect 10 original sin. For I porfpctly standing in the church, or ought to be excommu- 

wc knew that 1 hold op.n.ons on that su!,j.ct which nicated as a heretic. 1 am one of many, who be- 

he thought d.d not hold ; and on the co urary that I ,iev3 the same doctrines that I do. And if any 
did not hold certam other opinions which he tioui/ht i n t li j i^ i iu i. ai. r 

I did hold. And I asked him, whether it would not T"" ''''''", ^^,^^^^i^^ *^ make the truths of 

be better for us mutually to explain, and endeavor to |^^ g^^P^i '^" ."^^'^ g'T^.^"' t^ ^? ,. ^^^ 

come to a satisfactory understanding, than at our ^^^^^^^ ^^^ consciences of sinners than I have 

time of life to agitate the community with controver- "*^^^ ^^®™ *c"» ^ ^^^^ "'^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^** No 

sy and run the risk of breaking up the peace of tho ^^^ shall be envied by me because his ministry 

church. Dr. Wilson replied, that when men had has been more successful than my own. My 

reached our period of life, their opinions were suffi- heart, I trust, will ever be a stranger to any sqch 

cieutty known; and he has never permitted me to feelings. 



The charges against me are heresy, slander, and the rights of private interpretation and free 
and hypocrisy; but they all turn on the charge inquiry. 

of heresy. For if the doctrines I teach are ac- And first, they arc not a substitute for the 
cording to the word of God and the Confession Bible; but a concise epitome of what is believed 
of Faith, then I am neither a slanderer nor a to be the meaning of the Bible, 
hypocrite. It is said that I have professed to 2d. They originate from the discrepancies of 
agree with the standards of our church, and human opinion, and the necessity of nuited 
yet know that profession'to be false: while I, on views within certain limits, in order to compla- 
the contrary, say that I do 'concur with those ccncy, confidence and practical co-operation* 
standards as I understand them. If I have mis- Generally they do not aim at a verbal and exact 
taken their meaning still the charge is not sus- and universal, agreement; but so far as affords 
tained. Ah ! Sir, there must be some eye which evidence of Christian character, and lays a foun- 
can look in here (laying his hand on his bosom) dation for united action. The attempt of uqip 
or there must be some clear evidence upon the versal and exact conformity must spilt the 
outside, before it may be said that I have church up into small and consequently feeble 
told a lie. I said that I believed on farther and impotent departments, and of course 
inquiry, and I believe it now, that on the points weaken her associated power and moral in- 
in controversy, our confession of faith contains fluence. 

the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the Whatever differences of opinion do not des- 
truth. If I was guilty of hypocrisy in making troy the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace^ 
that declaration before the synod. I now repeat and are consistent with fellowship and co-opera- 
the offence* I may find oiit that on some tion, may be tolerated; and hence you find that 

Joints I have mistaken its meaning: and if I do, in proportion as you insist upon specific ac- 
will say so. But I am honest in my past and curacy, you render your denomination small 
present declarations. and insignificant, in comparison with the num- 

The topics of alleged heresy respect hers and the wealth, and the amount of in- 

1st. The foundation of moral obligation; or fluence and moral power in society which it 
the natural ability of man as a free agent, and ought to embrace;and thus prevent that momen- 
subject of moral government, to obey the gos- turn for good which the collected body ought to 
pel. exert. The true policy to be pursued, is to push 

2d. The moral inability of man, as a sinner the requirement of conformity only so far, as 
entirely depraved, to anything which includes will enable the masses of men combined 
evangelical obedience and secures pardon and under the same profession of truth, to be large 
eternal life; as consisting entirely in his will or and weighty, to have power and effect in giving 
obstinate, voluntary aversion from God and the a healthy tone to public sentiment, and carry for- 
gospel. ward the great designs which the gospel was in- 

3d. The origin of this moral impotency; or tended to accomplish in the world, 
the relation .between Adam and his posterity, 3^. Churches of every name are voluntary 
and the effect on them of his sin. associations, and on the principles of civil and 

4lh. The properties of all personal sin as religious liberty, have a right to agree in re- 
voiuntary. spect to the doctrine and discipline, by which 

5th. The efficient and instrumental cause, and they, will promote their own edification. The 
Ihc consequences of regeneration. exclusion is no encroachment on the rights of 

Gth. The nature of christian character as others. Those who differ from me in sentiment, 
complete or perfect. jjj^y^ no right to be judges of my liberty^ or to 

My first reply then to these several charges encroach on my comfort, edification or useful ac- 
of doctnnal heresy, IS that what I have belicv- tion; but may seek their own edification with 
cdand have taught on these points through all others who agree with them in their own way. 
my public ministry, is neither heresy nor error; This is the origin of different denominations; 
hut IS in accordance with the word of God and ^nd indispensable in order to practical and 
the Confession of Faith. efficient action. 

My second reply is, that if in any respect they 4lh. The exposition of our Confession of 
dilTer from what shall be decided to be the true Faith appertains of necessity in the first instance^ 
exposition of the Confession of Faith, iUcy to those who subscribe it, and are bound by it. 
include nothing at variance with the funda- Each subscriber must, for himself, attach some 
mental articles of the system of doctrine It definite import to the terms, and all hjive an 
contains; and are such as have characterized the equal right to their own interpretation in the first 
members of the Presbyterian church from the instance; and no individual has any authority 
beginning, and have been recognized in va- to decide, efficaciously, in respect to his brother, 
rious forms as not inconsistent with subscrip- what is the plain and obvious sense. But in cases 
lion to the confession, and an honest andhonora- of difference attended with inconvenience, it is 
blc standing in the church. (o be referred to the higher judicatories, and 

Before I proceed, it will be necessary to say a their decision settles the construction: just as 
word about creeds, and subscription to creeds, every man judges for himself of the laws and of 



38 

his own rights of property, until discrepant claims and professes nothing. If it does mean anything it 

demand a reference to the courts for an authori- must mean what he intends it to mean: and of this 

tative exposition of the law. The decision of he must, in the first instance, be himself the judge, 

the highest judicatory is the meaning of the '^^»' '^ ^? sixth time, I have endeavored to explain 

Bible, according to the intent of the church, ^y meaning on this subject; and I have been con- 

and is obligatory. I certainly have no right, stantly told that I am teaching independency. I deny 

in the exercise of my philosophy or biblical ex- ^^.^ *f *^ mdependency, and insist that it is presby- 

position, or free inquirj, to set it aside. If I '^Jllnl^h r^IJirV^^^ 1 say that each minis- 

5kZ««.«\^„ •«• X -AT -i-u ter and each member has as good a riizht to his own 

change my opinions so as to interfere with exposition of the common stfndard a! another has; 

the bond of union, it is my right to leave the and so I told my brother Wilson. I have as good a 

church ; but I have no right, by my liberty, right to call you a heretic, because your exposition of 

to make inroads on the peace and edification the confession does not agree with my view of it, as 

of others. you have to call me a heretic, because my under- 

In respect to the right of private interpreta- standing of the confession does not agree with yours, 

tion in the first instance, I presume I must have You say that I am a heretic, according to the plaia 

misunderstood my brother Wilson, when he says, *nd obvious meaning of our standards. But your 

the Confession is not to be explained. That is *Pj^^ ^"^ obvious meaning,' is not my ^plain and 

popery. The papists have no right of private obvious meanmg;' and who is to be umpire between 

judgment. They must believe as the pope and ^[ The constitution has provided one. My brother 

v«^.i^n k^i:^„» i^A ^«,, K^i:^«^ ^rui««,-«^ Wilson and 1 must go to the Presbytery. I have no 

council believe, and may believe no otherwise. ,; ^t to traduce my brother, and call him a hereric, 

They are forbidden to exercise their own under- ^^ ^he authority of my private personal intepretation 

standing, and must receive words and doc- of an instrument we both profess to embrace; nor 

trines in the sense prescribed and prepared has he any right, before I have been heard and judged 

for them. I cannot suppose my brother so holds ; by competent authority, to vilify my character, to at- 

but that when he subcribes the confession, he tack my good name, to drag me into the public prints 

subscribes to what, at the time, he understands and to use his long-established and broadly-extended 

to be its meaning. Who else is to judge for influence to bring up a fog of suspicion around me. 

him? Is the pope to be called in? Is he to ask l^or what is the charecter of a minister of Jesus 

a general council what the confession means? Christ? It is like the character of a female: liable 

does he not look at it with his own eyes, and in- \l^\ *^'"^®^ ^"^ '"1°^^ ^X the breath of a slander, 

terpret it with his own understanding? But as I ^.^^^ '^^""'^ °^^""1^ *° '"^"K'"^ than suspicion?— 

understand my brother, he insists that there is to ^^Z^^^J J^^tT^^ uncharitable sug- 
i- x^ !.• I. 1. xi- 1. • gestion or an evil report, come from what source it 
be no explanation; but that every expression ^^yj ^^^ ^^en suggestions not only, but direct as- 
of doctnnal sentiment is to be placed side by gertions, proceed not from an obscure or suspected 
side with the confession, and measured by it: source, but come from years and experience, and high 
just as you would put two tables side by side to see standing and wide-spread influence, what stranger 
if they are of the same size. You are to try the can come and hope to stand before it? In the form 
sermon and the confession by the ear, and see of responsible accusation it might be met. But who 
if they sound alike. If they do not, the sermon can stand before the force of slanuer? 
is heretical, and the author a heretic. Can this Sir, I made no statements about a loss of reputa- 
be his meaning? tion; 1 simply told the truth in respect to what this 
It is admitted that the church is a voluntary associ- my brother has done, and the manner in which he 
ation. None are obliged to join it. But under af- treated me, after having first invited me into a strange 
finity of views and sentiments, a number of individu- place. I came here on his invitation, an entire 
als come together to form themselves into one body, stranger; and instead of receiving me into the open 
How are they to find out what opinions they do hold? . arms of brotherly affection, instead of welcoming and 
It must be by giving an account of what each man un- sustaining and strengthening me, as a fellow-labor- 
derstands to be religious truth, revealed from God. er in a common cause; instead of conciliating tho 
If they have no standards they proceed to form one; public confidence; instead of soothing and comfort- 
er if one has been formed, they look over it together ing, and seeking to encourage and warm my heart, 
to see whether they agree, and if they do agree, they in a great and arduous undertaking, in an untried 
make this standard the symbol of their faith, and thus field, he did what in him lay to weaken my hands, to 
become afiiliated with other churches holding the discourage my heart, and to multiply a thousand-fold 
same opinions. I admit that when they have thus those difficulties which were inseparable from my 
examined, explained, and assented to a common situation, and thus to thwart every good and holy end 
standard, they are bound by it; and if any one alters for which I believed that God had called me into this 
his opinion afterwards to such an extent that the western world. He had a perfect right, as I have 
community becomes dissatisfied; to such an extent freely admitted, on proper evidence, to change the 
as to break the band of union, and be unable any good opinion he had at first entertained of me, but 
longer to walk with his brethreq, he must withdraw ; then he should have come (o me in frankness, he 
or if he refuses to withdraw, he must be put out. In should have taken me by the hand, and he should 
joining the Presbyterian church, each individual mem- have said to me: 'My brother, I have changed my 




to do it, unless his joining the church means nothing the newspaper^?- assail you before the public? re- 



present you as a heretic? cut up your influence? tie bite and devour each other; but let them go before 
your hands from doing good? No; I must — 'bring the Presbytery, and if not satisfied there, let them go 
you to the presbytery. I must prefer charges against to the Synod; and if the sentence of the Synod can- 
yon; and I must have a decision in respect to the not quiet their minds, let them carry up the question to 
opinions you bold.^ Had be done this, had my brother the General Assembly, and then the man who is 
met me so, I would have honored him, I would have wrong, and perseveres in being wrong, must go out 
wept upon his bosom for his brotherly frankness of the church. We are not without remedy. The 
blended with unblencliing integrity. ' constitution has provided for us a competent tribunal. 

[Dr. B. was here sensibly affedted, and it cost him The ministers who differ, come before that tribunal 

an effort to proceed.] ^^ equal ground ; the cause is beard, and the question 

And now, as to what has been said about perpetual s^^^^^^' ^"^,^^\^5'' "^'J^ "•''^ submit to the sentence, 

quarrels in this Presbytery, I deny the fact. We have ^"^^ ^^^/^ *^® ^^^y- ^^ ^^' ^« {.^'\'\ J"st like the 

had no quarrels. There has not an unkind word "g^^^ of property. Two men thmk that they own a 

passed between my brother Wilson and myself, nor certain portion of lands or goods, and both suppose 

have I any knowledge that he entertains towards me ^^^^ }^^y have good and valid reasons for that opinion; 

the least personal animosity; although I admit that but instead of reviling each, or coming to blows, they 

t).hen two walk «n rontrarv to Pnrh nthfir. ih«v arfi ^kc their difference before the court; and each has 




perceived that ministerial disputation had got into the ^® misundersiood again, i nave aone my 

public papers, my whole influence was exerted to my meaning plam; and if I am still misunderstood, I 

silence the paper controversy ; and it was done. And ™"st «^^f P^'' ^f^^f y^f *>«»"§ ^]'\ ^^ ^?!!?^^®i^® ™'^»?- 

although there was much in the opposing paper that derstanding. This is my sixth public effort to da 

was grievous to be borne, although advantage was so. If this does not succeed, 1 must give up the at- 

taken of the prejudices which prevailed in the West t®™P*« 

against men coming from the eastern part of the The question now at issue turns then upon an ex- 
union, and although strenuous efforts were employed position of the Confession of Faith, not merely as a 
to stir up that feeling, and direct it against myself and human formula, but as our admitted epitome of what 
my ministry, and although broad caricatures were the Bible teaches. I am charged with a fundamental 
given of the doctrines I held and openly taught, I departure from the true intent of the Confession. I 
never wrote so much as a line or a word in reply; but claim that I understand and interpret it truly; or that 
when I discovered that the chafing of mind inevitably if there be any variation, it affects only such points of 
produced by these things, was finding its way into-my difference as have in every form been decided to be 
church; when I saw the fire rapidly spreading and consistent with edification and an honest subscription 
like to break out, and to embroil my brother's people and an honorable standing in the chujch. The con- 
and mine in open animosities, my friends know that I fession is not a mere human composition. The state- 
prepared and preached two sermons on the obligation ment indeed is made by man ; but it is the statement 
of christian meekness; and they can testify that the of what God has said, and is to us who receive it, as 
effort was blessed of God, and that there was a great God's word. Dr. Wilson has said, that we are bound 
calm. It was to be sure impossible but that some ex- to abide by it so fur as it is consistent with God^s 
citement should exist, when the ministers of thi two word; but we have settled that, in receiving it as the 
churches stood in such an altitude toward each other; symbol of our faith. We profess that it is in all its 
but from that time the amount was very small and in- parts according to God's word. What is its true 
considerable; and the rumor that we, in this city, were sense is, in case of dispute, to be settled by the courts 
together by the ears, contending and fighting and above; but we have agreed to submit to it and be 
quarreling, was false and unfounded. All who are bound by it; and if we do not like the final decision of 
present can bear me witness that no such spirit pre- the supreme judicatory, no course is left but to go out 
vailed. The people were quiet, the ministers were of the church. For I deny and repudiate all right of 
personally courteous; all was visible peace until the private judgment in opposition to the public decision 
time came round for the presbytery to assemble. — of the whole church. 

But no sooner was it met, than the angels might weep. The whole of the argument on which I am now to 
Brotherly confidence had fled. Thai sweet and fra- enter, is an argument that has respect to the true 
ternal harmony, which ever ought to mark the gath- expositionof our Confession of Faith. The argument 
erings of Christ's ministerial servants, was gone.— will take a wide range; bnt it is all directed to that 
The breath of the Almighty was not upon us. The point. And I am sorry that the point on which the 
saints were not refreshed; sinners were not converted, whole turns, my brother Wilson did not attempt to 
Our coming together was not for the better, but al- explain. He assumed that there is but one meaning 
ways for the worse. But now I pray God, that the re- to the term aMUy, This I deny. I hold, on the con- 
sult of this examination may be such as to put an end trary, that it has two meanings as well in the Bible 
forever to this state of things; that it may issue in re- as in our standards. He admits only one. His labor, 
establishing our mutual confidence in each other's therefore, has been labor lost as it respects me. He 
soundness and integrity; or, if I am a heretic, that admits one sense of the term; but if our standards 
the fact may be proved, and I may go to my own admit two, then he has got but one part of the truth; 
P^^^®' while I contend that I have got both parts of it; and 
But to return to the question respecting the right that therefore his argument falls short of the case. It 
of private interpretation. If two ministers do not is not my purpose to declaim on a topic like this. I 
agree in their understanding of the Confession of feel thafthe providence of God has brought both my 
Faith, let them not contend and call hard names and brother and myself into circumstances of the deepest 



40 

reflponsibility. It is my hope that this trial will be rence to controversies and import of terms which pre^ 
made the occasion, in His hand, of dissipating mutual vailed at the time it was written, and the meaning <^ 
misapprehension, and of bringing forth his own pre- theological technics employed in them, 
cious truth into clearer light and establishing it in a Dr. Wilson has gone to Johnson^s dictionary to find 
more triumphant and unanswerable manner. I will out the meaning of theological terms. But he ought 
not disguise the fact that I hope to convince those to have remembered, that there are few dictionaries^ 
who have hitherto thought with my brother. I will which undertake to define the meaning of either the- 
neither believe nor insinuate that the minds of this blogical or of law terms. The technics of one are as 
presbytery are so biassed that they cannot give an much out of the ordinary road as those of the other, 
upright judgment. I do not think Dr. Wilson himself PJiysicians would not expect to find in an ordinary 
meant to convey such an idea. I do expect lo dictionary the definition of medical words, and the 
convince every minister and every elder, and I am same holds true of every profession. They aH have 
almost sure I shall do it. I rest not this confidence technics of their own, for which you go in vain to a 
upon myself, but upon the cause I advocate. I cherish general dictionary. I say you must go to the time 
tfie hope, because I know what truth is and what hu- when the instrument was written, and inquire, what 
man nature is; and I am perfectly sure, that when was then the import of the technical words and phra- 
the question comes to be fairly stated and distinctly ses employed in the instrument to be expounded. So 
understood, there is no man hero who will say I am if we would understand the Confession of Faith, wc 
guilty of heresy. I will even go further than this, and . must find out in what sense the words 'guilt^ and 
say that I expect to convince my brother Wilson him- 'punishment' were employed by the theologians of 
self; and I have told him soi Oh! if he would but that day. For a right explication of those terms will 
have given me a chance to do so two years ago. How go far towards settling the meaning of the whole Con- 
would our hands have been mutually strengthened, fession. Dr. Wilson cannot but know, that lan- 
and how might the cause of truth and righteousness guage never stands still, because society never stands 
have been advanced by our united efforts. I mourn still. The meaning of a word at this day, is not ne- 
to think how we have both suffered from the want of cessarily the same with the meaning of that word two 
such an explanation. I grieve to reflect upon the pull- hundred years ago; and so every sound lawyer will tell 
ing down and the holding back, and all the want of you. TAeyhave to go back to the days of Judge 
cordial and brotherly cooperation. And I do trust that Hale, and Queen Elizabeth. It will not do to go to 
God has biought us to this point, that all misundor- Webster's dictionary at this day, if we would rightly 
standing may be cleared up, and all misrepresentation interpret ancient statutes; no more will it do in respect 
forever cease. I shall labor for this end, as hard as to the Confession of Faith. 

ever I labored with a convicted sinner, to bring him 4. i* must be interpreted by a comparison with an- 

tothe Lord my Master; and I hope I shall succeed, terior and cotemporaneous creeds and authors: in a 

I am very sensible that I have undertaken a great word, by the theological ttW5 loquendi of the age,-be- 
work, in attempting to convince my brother on this cause this is according to analogy. The reformera 
subject. And I am aware that it is incumbent on me were all the same sort of men; they were all, with 
10 go to the business wittingly ; and I mean to. The gome slight variation, placed in substantially the samo 
task of expounding important doctrinal truth is not a circumstances, and it is wonderful to see how much 
light extempore aflfair. Just exposition is regulated alike the creeds adopted in different parts of christen- 
by fixed laws, laws as fixed as those which regulate <jom were. Now if the ancient meaning of terms, be 
the motions of the universe; because they are found- Jq any case different from the meanings of the same 
ed in truth, and in the nature of things. And what terms in our day, the ancieht meaning cuts its way. 
are these rules and principles? For our creeds were born of them. And that sense 

1st The first is that no writing or instrument of any of terms, which was the analogical meaning of those 

kind is to be expounded in contradiction to itself. So who had all around them, the authors of cotempora- 

that if there are two possible interpretations, that neous creeds must be our guide in construction, 
which harmonizes the instrument with itself is to be 5. The instrument must be interpreted according 

received as the true interpretation. For it is not to the reigning philosophy of the day in which it was 

to be presumed that a company of 'pious and sensible written and 

men with full deliberation and under the highest re- 6. According to the intuitive perceptions and the 

sponsibility, will draw up a paper which contradicts it- common sense and consciousness of all mankind, 
self. They may through infirmity do this, but no such ^o illustrate the propriety of this rule, let me give 

presumption is to be admitted, a prion. ^^ example. I know that there is a propehsity to re- 

2d. The instrument is to bo explained according to ject all philosophy, when we come to the subject of 

the known nature and attributes of the subject, creeds, and yet there is not a human being, that does 

Thus when man is spoken of, in terms borrowed frona not necessarily employ a philosophy of some sort, in 

the natural world, and these terms, literally received, interpreting the bible— and in interpreting every creed 

would imply impolency, we are not to carry over their founded upon it. The New Testament cannot be 

physical meaning into the moral kingdom. When rightly understood without a knowledge of the philo- 

God says, he will take away the heart of stone, if he gophy of the Gnpstics. And in like manner, a man 

was speaking of a mountain, we might well under- must know what was the philosophy of the Arminian 

stand tln^ he meant to remove the granite which system, in order rightly to appfehend that portion of 

was in the midst of it. But when he applies this Ian- the creed which relates to that subject. I will only 

guage to a moral being, to a free agent, the Ian- say, in respect to. the intuitive perceptions of men as a 

guage is not to bo lakenas literal but as figurative; rule of exposition, that it is God who made men, and 

and as meaning to take away a moral quality, name- ii,ai he made both their body and their mind ; and the 

ly, hatred to God and aversion to his law. bible, without entering on a system of pathology, eve- 

3d. The instrument is to bo construed with lefe- rywhere takes it for granted, that God thoroughly uu- 



41 

deratands human nature. And here I will observe In- ferrlng the creature to tlie Creator, there is doubtless 

Cidentally, that it is a good way, and one of the best some cause or reason: but it cannot be a cause of 

ways to study mental philosophy, to collect from the which disobedience is an involuntary and unavoidable 

biUcy that which it assumes; and this was the only way result. Ability to obey, is indispensable to moral 

in which I first studied it. In conclusion, I observe obligation ; and the moment any cause should render 

that to enter upon the Confession of Faith, for the love to God impossible, that moment the obligation to 

purpose of exposition without these attendant lamps, love would cease, and man could no more have a 

18 to insure misinterpretation, and contention, and ev- depraved nature, than any other animal. A depraved 

ery evil work. nature can no more exist without voluntary agency, 

The first point on which I justify, as consistent with and accountability, than a material nature can exist 

the Confession of Faith, is that of natural ability, as without solidity and extension. Whatever eff*ect, 

essential to moral obligation. The following extract therefore, the fall of man may have had on his race, it 

from my published discourse will make my views de- has not had the effect to render it impossible for man 

finite and intelligible. In my sermon on < The Faith to love God religiously; and whatever may be the early 

once delivered to the Saints,^ I say: constitution of man, there is nothing in it, and nothing 

The faith once delivered to the saints, includes, it withheld from it, which renders disobedience unavoid- 

fflbelieted, among other doctrines, the following: able, and obedience impossible. The first sin in 

That men are free agents, in the possession of such every man Isfree^ and might have been, and ought to 

faculties, and placed in such circumstances, as render have been, avoided. At the time, whenever it is, 

it practicable for them to do whatever God require^i, that it first becomes the duty of man to be religious, 

leasonable that he should require it, and fit that he he refuses, and refuses in the possession of such 

^uld inflict, literally, the entire penalty of dis- faculties as render religion a reasonable service, and 

obedience. Such ability is here intended, as lays a him inexcusable,and justly punishable. The supreme 

perfect foundation for government by law, and for love of the world is a matter of choice, formed under 

rewards and punishments according to deeds. such circumstances, as that man might have chosen 

That the divine law requires love to God with all otherwise, and ought to have chosen otherwise, and 

the heart, and impartial love for men; together with is therefore exposed to punishment for this his volun- 

certain overt duties to God and men, by which this tary and inexcusable disobedience. If therefore, man 

love is to be. expressed ; and that this law is supported is depraved by nature, it is a voluntary and accountable 

by the sanctions of eternal life and eternal death. nature which is depraved, exercised in disobedience to 

That the ancestors of our race violated this law — the law of God. This is according to the Bible — 'They 

that, in some way, as a consequence of their apostacy, have all ^one aside,' — each man has been voluntary 

all men, as soon as they became capable of accounta- and active in his transgression. ^ They go astray as 

ble action, do, of their own accord^ most freely and soon as they be born ;' that is in early life :— Jiow early, 

moH tDickedhfj withhold from God the supreme love^ so as to deserve punishment, God only knows. ' The 

and from man the impartial love which the law re- fool haih said in his heart, there is no God.' Every 

quires, besides violating many of its practical precepts: imagination or exercise of man's heart is evil. Na- 

and that the disobedience of the heart, which the law tive DEPBAvrry, then, is a state op the affecmons, 

requires, has ceased entirely from the whole race of in a volu-ntary accountablb creature, at vari- 

man, &c. anoe with divine reciuirehent from the beoinnino 

III mj sermon on the * Native Character of op accountability. 

Man,' my words are these : In my *Letter to Dr. Woods,' I use this lan- 

A depraved nature is by inany understood to mean, g"^g®- 

a nature excluding choice, and producing sin by an Our first parents were in the beginning holy, after 

unavoidable necessity ; as fountains of water pour forth the image of God, to the exclusion of all sin ; but by 

their streams, or trees produce their fruit, or animals transgression they lost all rectitude, and became as 

propagate their kind. The mistake lies in supposing depraved, as they had been holy. 

^k1 ^^. ♦kI^"'® ""^ T"f' !i°^ "''!'^ ^rl^t ^^^ ^"® 'c In consequence of the sin of Adam, all his posterity, 

whereas they are entirely different. The nature of from the commencement of their moil exist^ce, are 

matter excludes perception, understanding, and destitute of holiness and prone to evil; so that the 

choice; but the nature of mind mcludes them all. ^j^„j j^^^h of Christ, and the special, renovating 

«^{!^^' iS^te;!. !^™li influence of the Spirit are indispensable to the salva- 

igent beings to obey God is 

m)l^ioioh^d\Z^^^^^ founded oiThis rights as Creator,^on his perfect char- 

raent of his accountability. To us it does not belong *^*^^' worthy of all love ; on the holiness, justice, and 

to say fi^Aen accountability commences, and to what goodness of his law; and on the intellectual and moral 

extent it exists in the early stages of life. This is faculties which he has given his subjects, commensu- 

the prerogative of the Almighty. Doubtless there is a ^^® ^**^ ^^^ requirements. 

time when man becomes accountable, and the law of *God hath endued the will of man with that natural 

God obligatory: and what we have proved is, that, liberty, that it is neither forced, nor by a nf absolute 

whenever the time arrives that it becomes the duty of necessity of nature determined to good or evil.' 

man to love God more than the creature, he does in (Con. Faith, ch. ix.sec. 1.) 

fact love the creature more than God — does most Man having been corrupted by the fall, sins volun- 

freely and most wickedly set his affections on things tarily, not with reluctance or constraint; with the 

below, and refuse to set them on things above, and strongest propensity of disposition, not with violent 

that his depravity consists in this state of the affec- coercion; with the bias of his own passions, not with 

tione. For this universal concurrence of man in ore- ej^ternal compulsion. 



42 

The Prcsbjtery here adjourned and was then the passage quoted settles the question. — 

closed with prayer. The whole turns on, what is the meaning of the 

Saturday mornings June 13. — Dr. Beecher word man ^ Because, if it means man as yaUen^ 

resumed his defence, and addressed the Prcsbj- if it means Adam's posterity, my opponent Is 

tery nearly as follows: gone. The ground is swept from under him; 

I am now prepared to attend to the exposition he must prove that man means Adam, and Adam 

of the Confession of Faith, in regard to the doc- only, or else the Confession is against him. Now, 

trine of man's natural ability and his moral what is the subject of the chapter to which this 

inability to obey the gospel and keep the divine section belongs? It respects free will, i. e. free 

law ; and in doing so, I shall have regard to those will in the theological sense of that phrase, as the 

principles and rules of exposition which I have doctrine was discussed between Augustin and 

already laid down, viz. That the instrument is Pelagius, and its whole language has respect to 

-not to be expounded in contradiction to itself; man in the generic sense. That this is so, is 

^hat it is to be explained according to the known plain, from the Scriptural references, quoted in 

nature and attributes of the subject, with refer- support of the positions taken. If the declara- 

encc to existing controversies; according to the tions of the chapter had respect solely to Adam, 

import of the terms when it was written; by a the Scriptural references would be toAdam^hxit 

comparison with anterior and contemporaneous these references, without exception, do not re^ 

creeds and authors with reference to the rising fer to him, but do refer to his fallen posterity, 

philosophy; and with regard to the intuitive per- They drive the nail and clinch it; see what 

ceptions and conamon sense and consciousness of they are — 

all mankind. < But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away 

The position I have laid down, in my public of his own lust, and enticed.'— James i. 14. 

teaching, and which is made the basis of the 'I call heaven and earth to record this day against 

accusation on which I am to be tried, is, that man yo"» ^«*. ^ *iave set before you life and death, blessing 

possesses the natural ability of a free agent; an ^^^ <^"^smg; therefore choose life, that both thou and 

ability fully adequate to the performance of all ^^y «^^^ "^^^ hve.'-Deut. xxx. 19. 

the duties which God has required of him, and These are the Scriptural proofs, selected and 

that such a natural ability is indispensable to adduced by the Assembly of Divines, as exhib- 

moral obligation. This is my Acre^y; and, there- iting the Scripture authority on which the de- 

forc, sound doctrine, standing in direct con- clarations in the chapter are made; and what are 

trarielyfo it, must be, that God docs require of they? Listen to them— 

his creature, man, that which it is naturally im- *God hath endued the will of man with that natural 

possible for him to do. Here we are at issue, liberty, that it is neither forced, nor by any absolute 

Dr. Wilson asserts that man has no such natural J^fc^ssity of nature determined, to good or evil,— 

ability, and that because I maintain he has, I arii ^^^' ^^^' *^' ^* 

^ heretic. I have appealed to the Confession of If this means Adam, all I say is, that they 

Faith, and to that confession let us go. I say, made a most wonderful mistake in the references 

that the confession teaches the natural ability of quoted. 

man, as a qualified subject of moral government, I now take the question as settled, that*man' 

and justly accountable in his own person for all here means man as a race^ and that ^ will' here 

his deeds. And further, that the confession means the will of man as a race; and it is what I 

teaches, with equal clearness, man's moral hold, and what all the church hold, and it is the 

inability. By natural ability, I mean, all those fair meaning of the Confession. What follows 

powers of mind^ which enter into the nature of in the next section, with respect to man in a 

a cause, with reference to its sufficiency to pro- state of innocency, is a confirmation and an il- 

duce its effect,,attd by moral inability, 1 mean an lustration of the doctrine as thus explained, 

inability of the will; not man's constitutional «Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and 

powers, but his use of them, so far as the will is power to will and to do that which is good and well 

concerned — and I say that the confession teaches pleasing to God; but yet mutably, so that he might 

man's natural ability and his moral inability, i. e. fall from it.' — Con. of F. ix. 2. i. e. his free agency 

the aversion of his will. Not a natural impossi- included the natural power of choosing right or of 

bility to will, but an unwillingness to choose as choosing wrong. 

God requires. Adam had the moral ability to stand, and he 

In confirmation of the first position, viz. that had it in a state of balanced power, in which he 

the confession teacher man's natural ability, I was capable of choosing, and liabJe to choose 

refer tq chap. ix. sec. 1; and what does it either way. 

^ay ? Then comes section the third, which con tarns 

'God hath endued the will of man with that natural ^ description of the change induced by the fall, 

liberty, that it is neither forced, nor by any absolute « change which respected the will of man, not 

necessity of nature determined, to good or evil.' his constitutional powers; a change in the volun- 

Now if this declaration has respect toman, as ^^"^y. use of his will. ^ „ , , 

a race, jf the term man, as here employed, is 'Man, by his fall into a state of sm, hath wholly lost 

generic, including Adam and all his posterity. Lost! Lost what? Lost his will us endued hy 



r 



Iris Maker, with iiRtiinil liberty, so (hat It cannot 
be forced? No, not a word of it. It was not 
thnt.' It was something elae he lost; and there- 
upon turns the question between us. The Con- 
fession sa^'s: 

'lost all ability of will to any spirilual good accompa- 
nying salvBlion; so 09 a nalurnl man, being allogeiber 
■vei^o from thai goad, and dejd in sin, is not able, by 
his own strength, to convert Jiiinaelf, or to prepare 
bimself there u a to.' 

Heloat *all abiUty of will.' Does this monn 
that, in respect to the power of choice, his will 
fell into a state of natural inabihty? Not at nlh 
He had the power of choice aa much as ever. — 
But he had lost nil moral ability, that is inclina- 
tion, to choose what was good. His will was 
altogether averse from it. He was altogether 
unwilling. He fell into an inability of will, i. c. 
into unwiliingnesB. This is the common use of 
temts until this day. Moral Inability means not 
impoBsibility, but it means unwillingness. Man 
became 'dead.' But how? Not in the annihil- 
ation of his natural powers, not dead in the nat- 
ural ability ofhis will, but dead in sin;soas 'not 
to he able, by his own strength, to convert him- 
Klf, or to prepare himself thereunto.' I say, 
Amen! — this is my doctrine. The word 'able,' 
and the word 'strength,' are both employed iti a 
moral sense, and in a moral sense only; and 
thus interpreted, the Confession is perfectly con- 
aistent with itself. 

The fourth section of this chapter is a further 
corroboration of the same position: 

'When God converts Ibe sinner, and translates him 
ihlo die stale of grace, he froelhhim from his nalural 
bondage under ain, and by liis graco alone, enables 
him freely to will and to do ihat which is apiriiually 
good; yd so as thai, by reason of his remaining cor- 
Mption, ho doth not poTrccliy nor only will that 
which 19 good, but doth also will that which is evil.' 

Frees him from what* From his free agen- 
cy? from the constitutional powers of his being? 
No. Frees him from his bondage under sin, i. 
e. from his moral inability. And how is he 
freed? The Confession says it is by grace. — 
Wonderful grace it would be, to restore his nat- 
ural powers. One would think this w.is more 
Kke justice than grace. But it is argued, that if 
this bondage means mere obstinacy of will, man 
would not need divine aid. Indeed, so far is 
this from being true, that no creature does need 
divine aid so much as a free ngcnt obstinately 
bent upon evil. My children were free agents, 
but they needed aid, and had I not, by God's 
help, made them both able and willing, they 
never would have acquired respectability of char- 
acter. None possess such a power of resistance, 
as a free agent under moral inability. It is a 
bias which be himself never will take away. — 
God must deliver him; and every thing short of 
divine aid, is short ofhis necessity. And men 
arc sometimes fully sensible of Ihis. I have 
heard ofa man, under thepowcr ofthchnbit of 
intcmpcmncc, and he cried out to his friends. 



Help me! faetp me! wake me upl save me,<or 
I fiill ! The love of liquor had not destroyed hia 
natural abilitj'. But he felt that his moral abili- 
ty — his ability of will to resist temptation — waa 
gone. The distinction is plain aud casy;andit 
is one that we can all understand, in the every- 
day afiuirs of life; and if we see our friends in 
danger of being overcome by evil habit, we brace 
them against its power; we perceive their mor- 
al inability, and we bring them all the aid in our 
power. The phrase, 'to incline and enable,' is 
just as consistent with a moral inability as it is 
with a naturah Our natural bondage is that in- 
to which we are born by nature. Our constitu- 
tional bias to evil is called original sin. And it 
is grace, and grace alone, that enables n man to 
relent and overcome it. This I believe; this I 
hold; this I have felt. TheroiV/ will be inclined 
to good alone, only when we reach the state <rf 
glory. 

This reasoning is corroborated by the doc- 
trine of the Confession in respect to God's de- 
crees. 

'God from all eternity did, by the mosi wise and 
holy counsel ofhia own will, freely and unchangeably 
ordninwlialaoQver comes to pass: yet so, as thereby 
neither is God the author of sin, noria violence offered 
to tlie will of Ihe creatures, nor is tlie liberty of con- 
tingency ofsccond causes taken away, but rather es- 
tablished.' 

Here are two points of doctrine hiid down. — 
First: Thathy the decrees of God, no violence 
is done to the will of the creation: its natural 
liberty is not invaded or destroyed. It is not in 
God's decree that it should be forced or divested 
of its natural power, but the contrary. As! un- 
derstand my brother, Dr. Wilson, he contradicts 
the position here takcu, he fakes away the natu- 
ral power of the will, so that it must act without 
constitution or any natural power adequate to 
right volition and under a natural necessity. 

[Dr. Wilson here interposed, and said he had 
not used the word i>«creei atall.] 

Dr.Bcechcr resumed — The remark is nothing 
to the purpose. 1 am speaking on the decrees. 
I want my brother to understand the bearing of 
this truth, for remember I stand pledged if possi- 
ble, to convince him. Now I say that the doc- 
trine of God's decrees, corroborates that which 
I read respecting natural liberty. I have shown 
that there is nothing in God's whole plan that 
amounls to the destruction of the natural liberty 
ofthewill. Now ifl can show that on the con- 
trary, his decrees confirm it, why then, I carry 
my exposition. But what says the chapter: 

'God fiomallelarnily, did freely and uncliangoa- 
bly ordain whatsoever comes lopass.' 

Th;it God did ordain the Fall, and all its con- 
nections and consequences, cannot be denied.—- 
But how were these ordained? This beloved 
Confession tells us how: 

ll was, 'so thai no violence is oCTerod to the crea- 



44 

tures, nor is (ho liberty or contkigehcy of second of second causes, eHher necessarily, freely, or con- 
causes taken away, but rather established.' tingently. 

Here it is disclosed that the natural liberty of The account given of the actual effects of the 

the will is not destroyed, but rather established fal'^ " a stiH further confirmation of our exposi- 

instcad of taking away free agency and the ca- t^on; ch. vi. sec. 2: 

pacity of choice, God decreed to establish it. — By this sin they fell from their original righteousness. 

Whatever has been the wreck and ruin produc- and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, 

ed by the fall, the free agency originally confer- an<J wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul 

red upon man, has not been knocked away. — ^^ body. 

Hence it was, that I pressed this book to my Also Shorter Catechism, Ques. and Ans. 17, 

heart, because it assures me, that the righteous 18: 

Governor of the world, has done no violence to Q. 17. Into what estate did the fall bring man- 

these powers and faculties of man, on which his kind? 

government rests. A. The fall Brought mankind into an estate of sin 

But I am happy on this subject, in being able ^°^ misery. 

to adduce, an authority altogether above my Q. 18. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that 

own. What did the Assembly of Divines mean estate whereinto man fell? 

by this word contingency? The celebrated Dr. A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, 

Twiss, who was heir prolocutor or moderator, consists in the guilt of Adam^s first sin, the want of 

must be high aulhority on that question. If I original righteousness, and tlie corruption of his whole 

can refer to him it is as if I could call up Wash- nature, which is commonly called Original Sin; to- 

ington, or Jefferson or Hamilton, or Adams, and pthej with all actual transgressions which proceed 

question them touching the meaning of a passage ^^™ 

in the declaration of independence. The high If Dr- Wilson's position be right, this answer 

standing of Dr. Twiss, and his prevailing influ- should have been changed, and we ought to have 

ence is manifest, from the fact of his being called *>een told, that th^ fall brought mankind into a 

to preside over an assembly of such illustrious state of natural impotency. But it says no such 

men, and here is his interpretation : ^^^^Z* I^ s^js ^^ brought him into a state of sin. 

* Whereas we see some things come to pass necos- What! Can a man sin without being a free 

sarily, some contingently, so God hath ordained that agent? How can it be? The effects here stated 

all things shall come to pass: but necessary things are, the loss of holiness and the corruption of his 

necessarily, and contingent things contingently, that nati>re. But surely the corruption of nature is 

is avoidably and with a possibility of not coming to not the annihilation of nature; his nature must 

pass. For every university scholar knows this to be still exist in order to be corrupt. What then is 

the notion of contingency.' — Chr. Spec. vol. vii. No. its corruption? It is death in sin, not the death 

1. p. 165. of its natural powers. There is no destruction 

Dr. Twiss is speaking of natural and monil of the agents. But there is a perversion of those 

events, the only events which exist in the uni- powers, which do constitute their agency. So 

verse; and he says that God decreed that all much for the testimony of the Confession of 

things should come to pass; that natural events Faith. 

should come tc pass necessarily; and that moral I said, that in expounding a written instrument 

events, which are acts of will, and which he calls we are always to consider the attributes of the 

* contingent things,' shall come to pass contin- subject, concerning which it speaks, that its 

gently; which he explains to mean avoidably language is to be expounded, in reference to the 

and with a natural possibility of not coming to nature of the thing. The Confession teaches 

pass. He is speaking of the moral worid, and that man's will was endowed with a natural 

he says that in the natural woHdall is necessary, ability and freedom and has suffered no perver- 

as opposed to choice; but that in the moral worid sion but that which consists in a wrong use. Its 

all is free, as opposed to coercion, or natural natural liberty remains, but in regard to moral 

necessity, or naturalinability of choice; and that liberty, i. e. an unbiassed will, the balance is 

every act of will, though certain in respect to the struck wrong. Now in support of the exposi- 

decree, is yet free and uncoerced in coming to tion given, I allege, 1st. The nature of things 

pass, and as to any natural necessity, always as God has made them as existing only in the 

avoidable— never avoided, but according to the relations of cause and effect. The doctrine of 

very nature of free agency, always avoidable, in cause and effect pervades the universe of God. 

accordance with the language of the Confession, The whole natural worid is made up of it. It 

ch. ix. sec. 1. [quoted above-] is the basis of all science and of all intellectual 

Now we shall show how God executes his de- operations which respect mind. Can the intel- 

crees; and what says the Confession on this lect be annihilated and thinking still go on? 

point. (See ch. v. sec. 2:) No more can the faculty or power of choice be 

Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and de- annihilated and free agency still remain. Is 

cree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass there not natural power in angels, and was there 

immutably and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, not natural power in Adam before he fell? AH 

he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature the powers of the mind, perception, association) 



ntctlon, memory, taste and fbeJlng,' con- 
Kience, and capacity of choice, which were 
required and did exist when man was created 
free, are still required to constitute free agency, 
and can it be that when all which capacitated 
Adam f^^^cly to choose is demolished, that the 
Lord still requires of his posterity that they, 
without the powers of their ancestor, should ex- 
ercise the perfect obedience that was demanded 
of him. i)o the requisitions of law continue 
when all the necessary antecedents to obedience 
arc destroyed? Has God required effects with- 
out a cause? If he has, then he has in the case 
of man, violated the analogies of the whole uni- 
verse. For in the natural world there is no 
effect without a cause, nor is there in the intel- 
lectuiil world. How then can it be, that the 
same analogy does hot hold in the moral world, 
where there exists such tremendous responsibili- 
ties? What! Will God send men to hell, for 
not doing impossibilities — for not producing an 
efibct without a cause? 

2. The supposition of continued obligation 
and responsibility after all the powers of causa- 
tion arc gone, is contrary to the common sense 
and intuitive perception of all mankind. On 
the subject of moral obligation, all men can see 
and do see that there can be no effect without a 
cause. Men are so constituted, that they cannot 
help seeing and feeling this. That nothing can- 
not produce something is an intuitive perception, 
and you can't prevent it. Thia is the basis of 
that illustrious demonstration by which we prove 
the being of a God. For if one thing may exist 
without a cause, all things may, and we are yet 
to get hold of the first strand of an argument to 
prove the existence ofa God. All men see that 
to require what there is not preparation for, is 
to demand nii effect without a cause. What is 
the foundation of accountability? It is the pos- 
session of something to be accounted for. But 
if man does not possess the antecedent cause, he 
sees and feels that he is not to blame, and yeu 
cannot with more infallible certainty make men 
believe, and fix them in the belief, that they nre 
not responsible, than lo teach them that they 
have no power. It is the way to make a man a 
fatalist. But you can't do it. God has put 
that in his breast which can't be reasoned away. 
Every man knows and feels that he has power 
and is responsible. Men never associate blame 
with the qualilies of will or action, on the sup- 
position of a natural impossibility that they 
should be otherwise, and always on the supposi- 
tion that they were able to have chosen or acted 
otherwise. Let me confirm this position by an 
appeal to fact. What would be the education 
ofn family on this principle. There js not a 
child offivcycarsold, but understands this. He 
breaks (1 plalc, or spoils a piece of rurnituro,and 
when he apprehends punishment, he pleads, and 
he pleads with confidence, that he did not mean 
to do il. His language is, I could'nt help it, and 
on that plea he rests. The child understands it, 



ani t1ie paren riinclerBtan£ H^ and 
law9 are built upon it. Why is not au idiot 
punished when he commits a crime? For the 
lack of that natural ability which alone makes 
him responsible. Why are not lunatics treated 
as subjects of law? Because their reason hai 
been so injured as to destroy their free agency 
and with it to put an end to their accountability. 
And yet there are men who suppose, that the 
free agency of all men was blotted out by the 
fall! Look at the government ofa family. If 
one child is an idiot, the parent does not trust 
that child as he docs the rest. He feels and 
admits, that the poor idiot is not responsible for 
its acts and the same principle holds in the case 
of monomania, where the mind is deranged is 
one particular respect. I was myself acquainted 
with a case of this sort. 1 knew au individual 
in whom all the powers were perfect — save that 
the power of association was wanting: that 
faculty by which one thought draws on another; 
and she was a perfect curiosity. She would 
commence talking on one subject, and before the 
sentence was complete, she would commence on 
another which had not the remotest councctioD 
with it, and in an instant pass to a third which 
was foreign from both; and thus she would hop^ 
skip, andjump over all the world, there was no 
concatenation of thought. Mow, nuppuse this 
woman was required to deliver a Fourth of July 
Oration, admitting that she possessed all the 
knowledge and talent in other respects, neces- 
sary to such a task; and when she failed to do if, 
is she to be taken to the whipping post, and 
lacerated for not doing that which she wanted 
the natural ability to do? The magistrate who 
would award such a sentence would at once be- 
come infamous, and shall not the Judge of alt 
the eiirlh do right? Will the glorious and right* 
eous Jehovah reap where he has not sown, and 
gather where he has not strewed? Will he re- 
quire obedience, where all power to obey li 
gone? Men do not require that, when even one 
faculty is gone; and will God, when all are gone, 
come and take his creature by the throat and 
say to him, pay me that thou oweat? That was 
what the slothful servant thought and said. I 
knew thee that thou wast a hard master, reaping 
where thou hast not sown, and gathering where 
thou hast not strown, and I was afraid. 1 don't 
wonder he was afraid. Who would not be afraid 
under such a ruler? Who could tell what would 
come nest? God requires according to that 
which a man hath and not according to that 
which he hath not. Were it otherwise, who 
could tell what wantonness and what oppression 
might not proceed from Heaven's high thronel 
Yet some would have us lo believe, that he will 
send men to hell lo all eternity, for not doing that 
which they had no natural ability to do. 

3. The original powers of free agency and ac- 
countability bestowed on man, in innocency, de- 
cide that power to choose wiiha powcrof choice 
lo Iho contrary, it an essential conslituent of ac 



45 

COontaMlity, in all his posterity. There can be obligation to speak truth; but he who telfe ITes isr 
no doubt that God is able to make a free agent, notunderobligation.Sinning does not destroy the 
to bring a mind into being which is capable of power of obedience any more in men, than it di^ 
doing right or wrong under a perfect law. — in Adam. It destroyed it in neither, and there- 
There are two orders of intellectual beings with fore, although man fell, the law marched on 
which we are acquainted, Angels and Men. — unimpaired, unchanged, and therefore it was 
With respect to Adam in innocency, we know that Christ came to save not machines, but per- 
certainly, that God laid the foundation of his ac- verted free agents. 

countability in a free agency, which included 4thly. All such constitutional powers as were* 
both the ability of standing and the ability of requisite or can be conceived necessary for man^s 
felling. Before either Adam or the Angels act- accountability do still remain. The natural 
ed at all, they had a capacity to respond to the power of man is a matter of inspection and' 
divine requirements; and it was indispensable consciousness. We see it in others, we feel it- 
to their moral action that they should. But if in ourselves. We have still, perception, reason, 
this was necessary to begin moral accountabili* conscience, association, abstraction, memory. — 
ty, why is it not equally necessary to continue All these were possessed by man, when he was 
it. Did God. give to man more than he need- constituted a free agent, and they all do now in- 
ed? Surely not. God has told us what he did. fact exist, so far us our natural and constitution- 
There is no metaphysics about it. He confer- al powers are concerned, there is no difference 
red upon him no one item of power, which betwixt us and Adam. The difference lies in 
he afterwards took away. The Confession says this, that Adam while in a state of innocency 
80, and the perceptions of mankind, and the an- put forth these powers in a right direction, while 
alogy of God's government, both in the natural we all exert them perversely, although by the 
world and moral world, and the intuitive know- spontaneous energy of the mind. Therefore, 
ledge which we all possess of the connection of the fact that man is a free agent, is as much a. 
cause and effect and of the foundation of mora4 matter of notoriety and as generally known and. 
obligation, all go to establish and confirm the midecstood,. as the qualities of the inferior ani- 
trath. mals ;; as that a lion is a lion, or a lamb is a lamb. It 

My argument is, that free agency and obliga- isjust as plain that we have the faculties necessa*^ 

tion were commenced, in the possession of natur- ry to free action as that we have five senses. — 

al ability commensurate with all that God re- These were all that were ever put into Adam., 

quired, and that what was necessary to begin We have just as many as he had, neither more 

them, is equally necessary to continue ihem and nor less, and if you take away any one of thenu 

alwayswill be equally necessary. I know that it is you do to that extent take away the responsi•^ 

said, that the devil has fallen into a state of nat- bility of the individual; at least such is the doc-^ 

ural inability. But to this I can't agree. I trine in all human courts of justice, thought 

have no doubt the devil would be glad to think some would persuade us it is- otherwise in^ the: 

80. It would relieve his deep and insupportable righteous court of Heaven, 

anguish if he could believe, that he had never 5thly. It is a matter of common consciousness 

sinned but once, and that ever since that he has among all mankind that men are free to choose 

been a poor, helpless creature. No! he haa with the power of a contrary choice, or, in other 

sinned since his fall and will sin again. He words, to choose life or death. When a man 

does possess free agency and he can't run away does wrong, and then reflects upon the act, he 

from it. It is a necessary attribute of his feds that he was free and is responsible; and so 

being, and so it is of ours. God will live, and when he looks forward to a future action.— 

his law will live, and the curses of his law will When, for example, he deliberated whether he^ 

hve, and that is the reason why the punishment shaj] commit a theft, he listens to the pleading 

of the next world is eterdal. Stripes continue of cowardice or conscience on the one side, and 

to follow upon the footsteps of transgression to ^f cove tousness and laziness on the other. All 

all eternity. these things €ome up and are looked at, and af- 

I say that there was nothing in the fall to tor considering them, he at length screws up his 
destroy man's free agency. The fall in Adam mind to the point and does the deed; and when 
was occasioned by a single actual sin; but does he has done it, does he not know, does he not 
actual sin destroy free agency. If so, drunk- feel, that he could have chosen the other way. 
ards and all liars will be glad to know it. The If not, why did he balance when he was consid- 
more liquor they drink, and the more lies they ering? Did he not know that he had power to 
tell, the less will be their accountability. No, do the act, and power to leave it undone? And 
the fall did not destroy free agency or ac- when it is past recal, is he not conscious that he 
countability. It did create a powerful bias, so need not have done it? And does not he say 
that there was an inevitable certainty that man in his remorse, I am sorry I did it. I say there- 
would go wrong. But it did not destroy his fore it is a matter of common consciousness of 
capacity of going right. Look at the conse- mankind. Give a child an apple or an orange, 
quence that would follow. If sin destroys free after he has eaten the orange he will wish he 
agency, then the man who tells the truth is under had it back again, and he will say I wish 



I 



I hnd enten the tipple and kept the or- you, lie Is indomitable. Tlie will of man ii 

ange. But why, if he did not feel that elronger than imything in the uuiverse, except 

at the time he had tlie power to keep the the Almighty God;arid ifjoudisregard thta tmtb 

orange and eat the apple! Yes, men have the you ruin yourchild. 

power; and the consciousness that they have it I have now finished tlie argument in confirma- 

will go with them through eternity. What saya tion of (he doctrine of the Confession of Taitb,*© 

God, when he warns the sinner of the conse- far us the confirmation is derived from the nature 

quence of his evil choice? Lest thou mourn at the of things. 

last, when thy flesh and thy hody are consumed, j^e interpretation given by Dr. Wilson goes 

and sny, how have I hated instruction and my upstream. It is against the whole constitution 

heart despised reproof, and have not obeyed the of the universe. It is contrary to the common 

voice of my teacher, nor inclined mine ear to sense and intuitive perceptions of man. There 

them that instructed me. Incurable regret will is a deep and a universal consciousness in all 

arise from the perfect consciousnesa that when nien as to the freedom of choice, and in denying 

we did evil we did it freely of choice, under no ihisyou reverse God's constitution of man. You 

coercion ; that the act was our own, and that we nssume that God gave a deceptive constitution to 

arc justly reponsible fur it. This is the worm niind,oradccepttvecon8ciousnes8. Nowlthink 

that never dies, tliis, this is the fire that never that God is as honest in his nwral world as he is 

shall be quenched. And because this conscious- in the natural world. I believe that in our con- 

ncsa is in men, you never can reason them out sciousness he tells the truth, and that the natural 

of a sense of their accountability. Many have constitution, universal feelings and perception! 

tried it, but none have eOeclually or for any of men are the voiceof God speaking the truth; 

length of time succeededjand tiie reason is plain, and if the truth is not here, where may we expect 

there is nothing which the mind is more con- tolindit? 

Bcious of than the fact of its own voluntary ac- My ^^xt argument is to show that in view of 
lion with the power of acliug right or wrong.— such reasoning the wliole church of God basset 
The mind sees and knows, and regrets when it her seal to this doctrine, and that what has been 
has done wrong. Take away this consciousness termed a slander upon herfairfame.so far from 
and there is no remorse. You can't produce re- being a slander, will turn out to be a gloriouB 
oiorse, tts long as a man feels that his act was not truth, and that the demonstralion of it will have 
bis own — that it was not voluntary but the effect wiped ofTfrom her fame a foul stigma, which was 
of compulsion. lie may dread consequences, cast upon it by a misinterpretation of her stand- 
but you never can make him feel remorse for nrds. 

ihe act on its own account. This is the reason i afhrmtlicn, in support of mycxposition of the 
whymen who have reasoned away the existence Confession, that the received doctrine of the 
of God and argued to prove that the soul is church from the primitive age down to this day 
nothing but matter, know, assoon as they rcfieet, jg, that man is a free agent, in possession of such 
that all their reasoning is false. There is a natural powersas are adequate to a compliance 
lamp within, which they can't cxlmguisb, and ^jtii every requirement of God. Nowaa to the 
after all their metaphysics, they are conscious evidence of this, it ia derived from two sources 
that they act freely, and that there is a God to —first, the creeds of different branches of the 
whom they are responsible; and hence it ts that church, and secondly, the works of her standard 
when they crOss the ocean, and a storm comea writers — and by standard writers I mean such aa 
on, and they expect to goto the bottom, they by their talent, learning, number, and the ven- 
■begin.straightway, topray to God and confess cration attached to their names may be taken 
their sins. as fair representatives of the current opinion of 
6thly. I have only to say that there are traces Hie church from age to age. And I affirm, that 
ofthisprincipieofthemonilgovemmentof God, the greatest and the best men in the church 
in the administration of all human governments, have taught the very samcdoclrine that I teach, 
They all proceed upon the supposition of a nat- and "hich I say the Confession ofFaith teaches, 
ural ability to do rigiit. They take it for grant- If this is so, it settles the question, 
cd, and as they depart from this assumption, and But Dr. Wilson has said, what are the opin- 
substitute physical coercion for moral influence, ions of these writers to us I What have we to 
(bey debase man, and break him down into an do with them? I answer that the opinions of 
snimaL Treat men aa if they were dogs, and great and good men in the church, showing how 
soon they will act like dogii. But the moment the church from generation to generation has uu- 
you treat them as free moral agents and rcspon- dcrstood the Bible, is a light in which both be 
Bible for (heir actions, that moment you begin to and I have reason to rejoice. And ifl shall 
elcvatethcm: just as you do a child when you bring the united testimony of the talent, learning 
trust him and address his reason; he feels that he and piety of the church, in support of my expo- 
is raised, and he acts accordingly; and just m sition, I am willing to run the risk of going to 
you depart frpm this yoii become unable to man- Synod. I shall therefore submit to the Presby- 
age yourchild. He gets out of your ban da, he terya scries of quotations from the fathers as I 
gels above you; for us respects his rclutiou to lind them, collected by Dr. Scott, ia his remarks 



4& 

«pMi TMilloe. I take his qootatkos as eorrect, fciedie ptcffen f«t iiig J ■ca lo ao JuiUc^ md per- 

Mil hairiog the of iginak in mj poaicwionj bj ftaai good wocka. p. 42. 

which to Terifj them. I presome Dr. Wiboo Cfaaoif mfAiammkim^ A, D, IM 

win admit their aathenticitj. Ifetenal salTaiioa wife to be bou^ how miicli 

And I commence with the writings of Justin ob mn, wonld joe prolieaB to giie Ibritf If uij one 

Martjr, who liTcd nearer to the apostles than were to oMasore oat all P iOoI m, the fibied river of 

those who lired fiftj jean ago, were to oor pil- gM, he wonld not paj aa e^pdvalent price. Do not 

grim fothersof New England, so that if these ib ead^p ag. It isin jonr ova power, if joa wiU, 

persons should testifj to us, what the pilgrims to proda se this pteooas ^hati oa, with joar own 

beM,at the time of their Unding at Pljraonth, j??"*"?!;"*^ ™ pnce of 

it woald be tcstimoo J bearing jost such relation **^^ P^ ^i^^'^J^^!!!' t 

opmkHis of the apostolic age. -. ,„ « good, witboot the special giace of God. W hare 
The followmg extracts are from Scott s Re- ^ot die disposition and cooseqaenilj not the abilitj.' 
avniu on the Refotation of Calrinism, bj Tom- Scott coomieDtiDg on dement.] 
liney ToL 2. Neither piaise nor dtspiaise, nor honors nor punish- 
Jastta Martp'^ A. D. 140. menls, would be jost, if the soul bid not the powef 
Bot lest snj one should icnsgioe, that I am assert- <rf* desiring and rejecting, if rice weie inrolunterj, 
lag that things happen bj a nccessit J of &te, because P'V'.i^ r u • * l j * ^.^ 
I hare said that things are foreknown, I proceed to ^ therefore be » to be commended, who uses his 
refute that opinion also. That punishments and power m leading a nrtuooshfe; so much more is he 
chastisements and good rewards are given according Jp ^ rcnerated and adored, who has giren us this 
to the worth of the action of ererj one, baring learnt "ee and sorereign power and has permitted us to lire. 
It from the prophets, we declare to be true: since if not hann^ aUowed what we choose or what we avoid 
It were not so, but all things happen according to to be subject to a slansh necessit j p. 54. 
fitte, nothing would be in our power; for if it were »««^ «>"f ™e« af« without faith uid others con- 
decreed by fate, that one sliould be good, and another ^^^?^ *U «? °«' '^^^'J' . ^, perfection of good.— 
bad, no praise would be due to the former, or blame Nor is it possible to obtam it without our own exertion. 
to the latter. And again, if mankind had not the J^ «*^^^ hawcety does not depend on our wm,for 
power, by free will, to aroid what is dii^raceful and tnstamse, our futwre d^Mtuiy; for we are suved by 
to choose what is good, they would not be responsible ^7«^ »<>* indeed without good works. But those 
for their actions, p. 13. ^*>o ^ naturally disposed to good must apply some 

Because God from ^beginning endowed angels attention to it. p. 56. 

and men with free will, they justly receive punish- TerttdUan^ A, D. 200. 

ment of their sins in everlasting fire. For it is the ] find that man was formed by God with free will 

nature of every one who is born, lo be capable of and with power over himself, observing in him no 

virtue and vice, for nothing would deserve praipe, if image or likeness to God more than in this respect : — 

it has not the power of turning itself away. p. 25. for he was not formed after God, who is uniform in 

Tatian A. D, 172. i^ce^ bodily lines, &c. which are so various in mankind 

^ .„ , ,'«.!. • but in that substance which he derived from God 

Freewill destroyed us. Being free, wc became himself, that is, the soul, answering to the form 

ttoer, we were sow, because of swi. No evil pro- of God: and be was stamped with the freedom of 

eeedsfrom God. Wo have produced wickedness; his will. 

but those who have produced it have it in their power The law itself, which was then imposed by God, 

again to remote U. p. 31. confirmed this condition of man. For a law would 

Irenaeus, A, D. 176. ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ heen inposed on a person who had not 

^ . , . J J * I t . inhispoirer the obedience due to the law, nor again 

But man being endowed with reason, and m viotdd transgression hat>e been threatened wUh death, 

this respect like to God, being made free in bis will, ^ the contempt aUo of the law were not placed to the 

and having power over himself, is the cause that Account of man's free will. 

sometimes he become wheat and sometimes chaff. jje who should be found to be good or bad by ne- 

Wherefore ho will also be justly condemned, because ^^^^^^^^ ^^d not voluntarily, could not with jus- 

beinjj made rational, he lost true reason, and living ^1^,^ {^cQvte the retribution either of good or ovil. 

irrationally, ho opposed the justice of God delivering p,54, 

himself up to every earthly spirit and serving all lusts. * * O ' en A D 220 

p* 86. & > • • • 

But if some men were bad by nature, and It [the will] has to contend with tho devil and all 

Others good, neither the good would deserve praise, his angels, and the powers which oppose it, because 

for they were created so, nor would the bad deserve they strive to burden it with sins: but we, if we live 

blamCi being born so. But since all men are of the rightly and prudently, endeavor to rescue ourselves 

same nature, and able to lay hold of and do that which from this kind of burden. Whence, consequently, we 

is good| and able to reject it again, and not do it, may understand, that we are not subject to necessity, 

some justly receive praise, even from men, who act so as to be compelled by all means to do either bad 

iccording to good laws, and some much more from or good things, although it be against our will. For if 

God; and obtain deserved testimony of generally we be masters of one will, some powers, perhaps, may 

choosing and persovoring in that which is good: but urge us to sin, and others assist us to safety; yet we 

others arc blamed, and receive tlio deserved reproach are not compelled by necessity to act either rightly or 

of rejecting that which is just and good. And there* wrongly. 



According to us, there is nothing in any raltenal fathers must be expoaiided with regard to the ob- 

creMure, which is not capable of good as well as evil, wt at which their writings were directed. Let 

'Vh^K^snonaluve that does not admit of good and -itnotbe forgotten, that the tirst heresy which 

et>d except Omt of God, which u the foundation of aU ^ ^ ^,^^^^,^ .^^^^^ ^,,^ j .^ „f ^^^^ apostles, 

good. p. bo. ,, L' c c L I 

We hive frequently shown in all our disputations, ^^^ *^^ P^S'*? "^^1^" ^^ ^^^^?' 2.^^"^^^ ''^ necessa- 

that the nature of rational souls is such as to be capa- ry concatenation ofcnuscand effect,as was above 

ble of good and evil. Every one has the power of the will both of gods and men; the very gods 

choosing good and choosing evil. p. 07. thennselvcs had no power to resist it. The same 

It is our business to live virtuously, and that God re- notion was involved in the heresy of the gnostics, 

quires of us not as his own gift, or supplied by any oth- who held that all sin lay in matter, and that man 

er person, or as some think decreed by fate, but as was a sinner from necessity; and of the man- 

ourown work. p. 08. icheans, who held that all sin was in the created 

A thing does not happen because it was foreknown, substance of the mind. Now in resisting these 

but It was foreknown because it would happen. This heretics, these fathers maintained with zeal the 

distinction IS necessary. For if any one so interprets d^^trine of free will, meaninj 




though .. ...^ ^, „„^ „^ „^ „ .....»^.. 

For in the prophecies concerning Judas, there are viXTxn's natural inability. The philosophers de- 
complaints and accusations against him, publicly pro- rived it from fate; the gnostics, from the^cornip- 
clairaing the circumstance of his blame; but he would tion of matter; the manicheans from the consti- 
be free from blame, if he had been a traitor from ne- tution and nature of the soul. This was the 
cessity, and if it had been impossible for him to be first great attack upon the truth, on which these 
like the other apostles, pp. 80, 81. venerable men were called to fix their sanctified 
The virtue of a rational creature is T/i/ar^c!, arising vision, and it was against these several versions 
from his own free will, and the divine power conspir- ^f error, that they bore their testimony in favor 
ing with him who chooses that which is good. But r r ' -ii 

there is need of our own free will, and of divine coop- A •? ^ r 7 a n q^q 

eralion, which does not depend upon our will, not on- Cynl of Jerusalem^ A, D. 348. 

ly to become good and virtuous, but after we become Learn alsa this, that the soul before it came into 

so, that we may persevere in virtue, since even a per- the world committed no sin, but having come sinless 

son who is made perfect, will fall away, if he be elat- we now sin through free will. 

ed by his virtue and ascribe the whole to himself, not The soul has free will: the devil indeed may sug- 
referring the due glory to Him, who contributes by gest, but he has not also the power to compel contra- 
far the greater share, b6th in the acquisition of virtue ry to the will. He suggests the thought of fornication 
and the perseverance of it. p. 82. — if you be willing you accept it, if unwilling you re- 

Cyprian A. D. 248. jectit:for if you committed fornica^tion by necessity^ 

V » jj u * \i' u / r. I • .!_ ^ why did God prepare a hell? If yau acted justly by 

Yet did he not reprove those who left him or threat- / ^ „„ 1 J'. «««^.^.r,« f« ^J.^ .^«,« r^ol ^i,«;/.o 

.1 1 I * .1 ^ • ^ .1 .1 nature and not according to your own tree ciioice, 

en them severely, but ra her turnincr to the apostles , vj /-• 1 «r uaI ^ ^a^9 •. iaq 

-«:^ *Tvn .« 1 1 o iw « v> a^woiico why did God prepare unutterable rewards? p. 103. 

said,* Will ye also go away;' preserving the law, by •' ^ ^ ^ 

which man, being left to his own liberty and endowed Hilary, A, D, 304. 

with free will, seeks for himself death or salvation, p. The excuse of a certain natural necessity in crimes 

84. is not to be admitted. For the serpent might have 

Laclantius, A. D. 306. ^^en innocent, who himself stops his ears that they 

That man has a free will to believe or not to be- mi • z^* * u r • • 41. i ^ e 

r^„« «^ • rk * ;? 1 *i r !•? There is not anv necessity of sin in the nature of 

neve, see m Deuteronomy,'! have set before you life 1 . \.u :• r • • r *i j • r 

»^A A^^iU ki«c„- A ' 4i r^ 1 vc men, but the practice of sin arises from the desires of 

and death, blessing and cursing, therefere choose life ,, '-n 1 .1 i r • 

«v.«#u.a «K^, A .\ 119 00 the will and the pleasures of vice, 

that both thou and thy seed may live.' p. 88. t> «• r-.i •«• i^^a tu^ -c^^cn^A u..» 

J J t" Perseverence m faith IS indeed the gift of uod, but 

EusebinSjA, Z>. 315. the beginning is from ourselves, and our will ought to 

The fault is in him who chooses, and not in God.— have this property from itself, namely, that it exerte it- 

For God has not made nature or the substance of self 

the soul bad; for he who is good can make nothing Epiphanius and Basil, 360, 310. 

but what is good. Every thing is good which is ac- u^^ ^oes he seem to retain the freedom of his will 

cording to nature. Every rational soul has naturally ;„ j^jg ^orijy Fot to believe or not to believe, is in 

a good tree will formed for the choice of what is good. ^^^^ ^^^ p^^er. But where it is in our power to be- 

But when a man acts wrongly, nature is not to be jjeve or not to believe, it is in our power to act rightly 

blamed; for what is wrong, takes place not according ^^ to sin, to do good, or to do Gv\l--Epiphaniu3. 

to nature, but contrary to nature, it being the work of They attribute to the heavenly bodies the causes of 

choice and not of nature. For when a person who ^hose things that depend on every one's choice, I 

had the power of choosing what is good, did not mean habits of virtue and of vice.— JJa^il p. 115. 

choose It, but involuntarily turned away from what is jf i^e origin of virtuous or vicious actions be not in 

best, pursuing what was worst; what room for escape ourselves, but there is an innate necessity, there is no 

could be left him, who is become the cause of his own ^eed of legislators to prescribe what we are to do and 

internal disease, having neglected the innate law, as what we are to avoid; there is no need of judges to 

It were, his Savior and Physician, p. 91. honor virtue or punish wickedness. For it is not the 

In all these quotations, the words of these injustice ofthethiefor murderer who comW not restrain 

. 7 



50 

his hand even if he would, because of the insupera- now exists between Dr. Wilson and mjself was 

ble necessiljt which urges him to the actions. — Basil, not at issue between them. The question in- 

p. 116. deed had the same name, viz: touching free will; 

Gregory o/Nazianzen A, Z>. 370. but it did not mean the same thing. The qaesk 

The good derived from nature, has no claim to tion between them was, is the will unbiassed? 

acceptance; but that which proceeds from/ree will is Is it in equilibrio? It was not, whether it was 

deserving of praise. What merit has fire in burning? free from the necessity of fate, or the influence 

for the burning comes by nature. What merit has of matter, or of created depravitj; but the queff- 

water in descending? For this it has from the Crea- tj^n ^^g^ ^^s the fall given it a bias? has it struck 

tor. What merit has snow in being cold? or the sun jj ^^^ ^f equilibrio? and struck the balance 

mshmmg. For it shmes whether.tw.il or not. Give ^^^^^ Pelagius said, no. Augustine said, 

me a virtuous will. Give me the becoming spiritual, °j u-i • -i- i. t> i . ! 

from being carnal; the being raised by reason from ^''^"r ^^ile m opposition to Pelagius, he 

being depressed by the weight of the flesh; the being ^^^^^^.l*;®^ y^*"' ^^ ^^^ ^^ strong in favor of 

founJ heavenly from having been low-minded; the ""ee will in the other sense, as any of the fathers 

appearing superior to the flesh, after having been hefore him; as strong as I am: so that if I am a 

bound to the flesh, p. 124. Pelagian, Augustine was a Pelagian; although 

Gregory ofNyssa. ^^^ whole strength was exerted against Pelagius. 

Let any consider how great the facility to what is If what I teach is Pelagianism, then Augustine, 

bad, gliding into sin spontaneously without any effort, and Calvin, and Luther, and all the best writers 

For that any one should become wicked, depends of the church in this age have been Pelagians, 

€ibiely upon choice; and the will is often sufficient for except a few who deny natural ability, 

the completion of wickedness, p. 127. Augustine, A. D. 398. 

Ambrose, A. D, 374. Free will is given to the soul, which they who 

We are not constrained to obedience by a servile endeavor to weaken by trifling reasoning, are blind to 

necessity, but by free will, whether we lean to virtue such a degree, that they do not even understand that 

or vice. ' ^^^y say those vain and sacrilegious things, with their 

No one is under obligation to commit a fault unless own will, p. 176. 

he inclines to it from his own will. p. 131. ^ Every one is the author of his own sin. Whence, 

Jerome ^. 2>. 392. if you doubt, attend to what is said above, that sins 

XT J. r •. If I 'j r V« J J n ii« ^^^ avenged by the justice of God; for they would 

No seed IS of .iself bad, for God made all iLmgs ^^j ^e justly a/enged unless committed with fhe will, 

good; but bad seed has arisen from those, who by v^^^ •» j o 

their own will are bad, which happens from will and ,/ ^jj^^g ^^^^ ^^^j^j ^^^^^ ^^ ^.^^ companion 

not from nature, p 141 of lust, except its own free will. ibid. 

That we profess free-w.U and can turn ,t either to j^^^\^^ ^„ .^ ^^ ^^ ^ ^^ ^^j, ^,^^^ j^ .^ ^ 

a good or bad purpose, accordmg to our determmat.on, „^ ^^^^3 ^j ^^j^^^ .^ ^^ ^^^^^ J ^ ^^^ ^^^^ .^^^ J 

IS owing to His grace, who made us after His image J3 3^ ^j^,^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^ ,^J„3^ ^^^ ^^ ^^^, 

and likeness. *, siderable number of the unlearned dissent from it. 

We have now come to Augustine. And now p. 179. 

it will be necessary to avail myself of the remarks Which free will if God had not given, there could 

I made on I he laws of exposition. I said that be no just sentence of punishment, nor reward for 

it was necessary, in order to a right exposition right conduct, nor a divine precept to repent of sins, 

of any ancient instrument in the church, to take nor pardon of sins, which God has given us through 

into view the controversies which prevailed at our Lord Jesus Christ ; because he who does not sin 

the time of its composition. We must now T"'^^^ ^"?, ^'"; ^^®« ^^'\^'!' «* ^! ; ^^^f" «»"«' ^? ^ 

apply this especially to Augustine. Down to his ^^ '^r ' "^i".f. ^^ ^^^ ^[?^ ^.i* '''' • ^"^ "''^- T"' 

*;vjr/ 4i,« cS^ ™;ii ,.^A ^T.*.,««i «k;ri„ ^r ^^^ VYlierefore, if it be evident that there is no sin where 

time, the free will and natural ability of man ^^ere is no! free will, I desire to know, what harm the 

were held by the whole church, against the soul has done that it should be punished by God or 

heretical notions of a bhnd fate, of material repent of sin, or deserve pardon since it has been 

depravity, and of depravity created in the sub- guilty of no sin. p. 214. 

stratum of the soul. The great effort, hitherto, That t!,cre is free will, and that from thence every 

had been tp throw moral qualities into the will, one sins if he wills, and that he docs not sin, if he 

But now Pelagius arose, and denied the doctrine does not will, I prove not only in the divine scriptures, 

of the fall ; and from this spot it became necessary which you do not understand, but in the words of your 

not so much to prove natural ability which <>wn Manes himself: hear then concerning free will, 

Pelagius admitted, as to prove moral inability, ^^^s^ <J>e Lord himself when he speaks of two trees, 

which was as much opposed to the Pelagian whidi you youraelf have mentioned: hear hira saying, 

i^^»^«,. «« u «rr.» f^ <kof ^Ctv.^ «>or»o» r^Kti/xo/xT^Vw. n« Eitlicr mako tlic trcc good and his fruit good, or else 

heresy as It was to that of the pagan philosophers, ^.^e the tree corrupt^nd his fruit corrupt.' When 

of the gnostics, and of the manicheans. The ^,,^^^^^^^ ^^ ,^l^^^ ^^ ^^ ^j^^ , ,^^ J^^^ 

church had nowtoenlerupon a new controversy, „ot nature. For no one, except God, can make a 

and to fix her eye upon the question, what were tree, but every one has it in his will, either to choose 

the consequences of the fall? The question of those things that are good and be a good tree; or to 

free agency was no longer to be argued, for that choose those things that are bad, and be a bad tree, 

was not now controverted. Both Augustine p. 215. 

and Pelagiui admitted it. The question which If he (Pelagius) will agree that the will itself and 



Ibe ftctton are assisted by God, and ao assisted that wo 
cannol will or do anylliing well wlihoul ilmt assist- 
ance, no coniroversjr will be Icfi between U9, aa far as 
1 can judge conccmiug llie assistance of ilie grace of 
God. p. 221. 

Now the court win please to observe that one 
of the charges nguinst me as a heretic, viz. thnt 
of natural ubilitj, is most abundantly declared 
by Augustine, and often almost in the very same 
words that I have employed. The court has 
heard the words of my sermon; and they will 
know that the proposition 1 luid down is this 
proposition of Augustine, who was the Calvin of 
Calvinism, and the author in fact of all the creeds 
which have existed in the church since his day. 
What a horrible heretic he was! and what 
ignoramuses christians must have been nt that 
time of day. 

The next authority I shall adduce is that of 
Luther, who holds that, in the exerciseof its own 
faculties, the mind chooses, by its very constitu- 
tion, just as much as it thinks by the exertion of 
intellect 

Dr. Wilson inquired who was responsible for 
these extracts? 

Dr. Bccchcr replied that they were taken 
from Milncr's Church History, vol. v., and 
were quotations from Luther's work de Servo 
arbitrio. 

Lulher taught iho natural liberty of roan as a free 
KJIGDl, and the bondage of his will b:) a totally depraved 
Binner. 'Tliere iSj'heBays, 'no reattaini oiilier on 
the divine or human will. In both cases the will docs 
what It does, whether good or bad, simply, and as at 
perfect liberty, in the exercise of its own faculty — so 
long as the operative grace of God is absent from us, 
every thing we do, haa in it a mixture of evil; and 
therefore, of necessity, our works aTail not to salvation. 
Here I do not mean a necessity of compulsion, but a 
necessity as to tlio certainty of llie event. A man 
who has not the Spirit of God, docs evil willingly and 
spontaneously. He is not violcndy impelled, against 
iiiswill, ns a tliicf is to the gallows. But the man 
cannot alter liis disposition to evil: nay, even though 
lie may be externally restrained from doing evil, he is 
Kverso (o the restraint, and his inclination remains 
■till the same. Again, when ihe Holy Spirit is pleased 
lo change the will of a bad man, the new man still 
acia voluntarily: he is not compelled by itie Spirit to 
determine contrary to his will, but his will itself is 
cltanged;and he cannot now dooihorwlso than love 
the good, as before ho loved the evil.* Vol. v. ceni. 
16. chap. 12, sec. 2. 

Thus we see it was Luther's sentiment, that 
depravity does not destroy the innate liberty of 
the will, or its natural power; although it cor- 
rupts and perverts Us exercise. 

I now proceed to quote from Calvin, who 
holds that necessity is voluntary, that is, that the 
will is under no such necessity as destroys its 
own power of choice; that there was no other 
yoke upon man but voluntary servitude; so that 
it will (urn out that Calvin was as bad as I am, 
as heterodox as 1 am; and that the doclrine for 
which I am to be turned out of the church is not 
new divinity, but old Calvinism. 



Calvin declares, that God is VohlDtary la hb good- 
ness, Satan in his wickedness, and man in his sin. — 
'VVe must thercfDro observe,' ho says, 'that man, 
having been corrupted by llie fall, sins voluntarily, 
not with reluctance or constraint: with the strongest 
propensity of disposition, not with violent coercion; 
wiih the bias of his own passions, and not with exter- 
nal compulsion.' Me quotes Bernard, as agreeing 
with Augustine, in saying, 'Among all the animals, 
man alone is free ; and yet by the intervention of ain, 
ho suBers a species of violence, but from the will, 
not from nature; so that he is not thereby deprived of 
his innate liberty.' Both Augustine and the Reform- 
ers spoak, indeed, of the bondage of the will, and of 
the necessity of sinning, and of tbo impossibihty ihat 
a natural man should turn and save himself without 
grace ; but tliey explain themselves, to mean that ccr- 
lainlv of continuance in sin, which arisus from a per- 
verted free agency, and not from any natural impossi- 
bilily. Fur 'this necessity,' Ibey say expressly, 'is 
voluntary.' 'We are oppressed with a yoke, but no 
oilier than that of voluntary scrvhude: therefore our 
servitude renders us miserable, and our will renders 
See Calvin's Instit. Book ii. cli. 3. 



My next quotation will be from the Synod of 
Dort. The Synod of liort was the first attempt, 
so far as I know, after the Reformation, to get 
up a general council. While the church was 
papal, it had been in the habit of often holding 
general councils; but since the Reformation, no 
such council had been held. But now entered 
Arminius, teaching his notion of free will, which 
was nothing but a second edition of Pelagian- 
ism, though a little more diluted. His heresy 
brought together the first general council that 
had been held since the days of the Reforma- 
tion. It consisted of illustrious men from Eng- 
land, Holland, and other countries, where the . 
Reformation had shed its blessed light. It sat 
long; and its decisions were the first public ad- 
judication of Calvinism which had been called 
up by any heresy touching the will. The doc- 
lrine of Augustine, of Luther, and of Calvin, 
had swept all before them; till the impertinent 
Arminius arose to perplex the church. It was 
his errors that produced the Synad of Dort. 

But in like manner, as by ibe fall, man does not 
cease to be man, endowed with inlcUccl and will, 
[free agency,] neither hath sin, which pervaded the 
whole human race, taken away the nature of the hu- 
man species, but it hath depraved and spiritually 
stained it. [Spiritually stained: that is, changed not 
the consliiuiion, but the character.] So even this di- 
vine grace □!' regeneration does not act upon man 
like Blocks and trees; nor take away the properties 
of Ilia will, or violently compel it while unwilling; 
[docs not take away the consiiiulional powers of man 
us afrcc agent, nurviulenily compel them;] but it 
spiritually quickens or vivifies, heals, corrects, and 
sweetly and at ihe same time powerfully inclines it, 
so that wbereas before it was wholly governed by tho 
rebellion and resistance of tlie llesh, now prompt and 
sincere obedience uf the spirit may begin to reign, 
in which the renewal of our spiritual will and our 
liberty truly consists. In which manner, (or fur 
wbicli reason) unless tbo adrairablo Author of all 



52 

good should work in us, there could be no hope to acknowledges that Luther was not Ihe'first to invent 

man of rising from the fall by that free will [free the name of the enslaved will ('servi arbitrii') but 

agency] by which, when standing he fell into ruin. followed Augustine, who had said the same thing con* 

The question is, whether free agency is taken coming it long before; and he censures those who 

away, or only the mind is depraved; and the pretend ilmt the phrase, enslaved will, was unknown 

language of this Svnod shows that they held before Luther. AugusUne says Hhe will is free^ but 
the 
we don' 

nor to the substance of the soul. These men ed,'and again, "man using his free wTirwjckedly^d^^ 

SSLY that the Spirit does not act upon the mind stroysboth himself and it." 

of a sinner, as He does upon stones and trees; p.g^ 939 * The question is not concerning the 

bat if man hes in a stale of natural impotency, power or natural faculty of will, *a qua est ipsum velle 

then He does and must. Every word the Synod yel nolle,' which may be called first power and 

employs, excludes the notion of natural inabili- the material principle of moral action; for this always 

ty, and includes that of moral inability. This remains in man, and by it he is distinguished from the 

is the inability which is removed by the Spirit brutes; but concerning his moral disposition to will 

when He inclinesthe sinner to choose rightly, rightly, which is called second power or the formal 

He does not move him like a block or a stone, principle of those actions; for, as to will, results from 

He does not move him as a whirlwind carries a natural power, so, to will rightly, results from moral 

tree along. disposition. 

Another error charged against me is, that I ^^g® '^^^' Therefore man, laboring under such 

teach that regeneration is produced by the in- ^" inability is falsely said to be able to believe if he 

strumentality of truth. On this subject, I shall ^^^l^^\ as if faith, wluch Paul so expressly declares 

refer the court to Turretin, the great apostle of ^° ^.^ ^ V ' u^ i ^.t""'' 1!' ^^ ""^'^ .^^ ^^'^ ^^^ 
^^lU^A^ 4.U t i. u 1 1- u- Ju *i eemin. J? or, although tlie phrase may, to some ex- 
orthodoxy, the text book which is used by the ,^^,^ ^e tolerated, understood concerning the natural 
Pnnceton Seminary, under the patronage and p^^^er of willing, which, in whatever condition we 
control of the Presbyterian church, and out of may be, is never taken away from us, insomuch as by 
which Dr. Alexander teaches the students of it we are distinguished from the brutes; yel it can- 
divinity and forms the rising ministry of the not be admitted when we speak of the moral disposi- 
church. The passage which Professor Stowe lion of the will to good, not only to willing, but to 
bas been good enough to translate forme, is willing rightly, concerning which alone, there is con- 
taken from the Geneva edition, vol. 1, pp. 729, troversy between us and our adversaries; unless we 
730. S^ o^^** ^^ Pelagius, wiio asserted that a good will 

-n r cs^ 'J xt. i.1 1 J J u' was placed in the power of man. 

Professor Stowe said, that he pledged his rep- _^ ^^^ m, • , ,. ^ 

utationas a scholar and as an honest man for ^ l^-^l^]' The inability of man as a sinneris not 

the correctness of the ver^^ion here eiven. ^^ ^f ^^' , ^ ^^^^} ^'"^P^y* »" contradistinction to na- 

DtirM 'JT. " rxix-/:j tuial, as that is said by moral philosophers to be moral- 

r. Wilson said he was perfectly satisfied. j^ impossible which is such by custom (?) rather than 

Pages 729, 30. 'Turretin distinguishes 51a: 5orte of by nature, and which indeed is done with difficulty, 

necessity—'The fifth, he says is moral necessity *seu yet is done sometimes and ought not to be reckoned 

servitutis,' which arises from habits, good or evil, and among those things which are absolutely impossible; 

the presentation of objects to their faculties. For such since that inability is to us innate and inseparable.— 

18 the nature of moral habits, that, however the ac- Nor is it simply natural as that is natural by which we 

quisition of them might have been in our power, yet are accounted neither good nor evil, since it is certain 

when oar will has once become imbued with them, thai inability is both vicious and culpable. Nor as 

they cannol be laid aside, nor their exercise avoided, natural is distinguished from voluntary, as there is in a 

as the philosopher rightly teaches. Eth. Lib. iii. stone or brute a natural inability to speak, because 

cap. V. Hence it happens that the will, free in it- our inability is in the highest sense voluntary— nor 

self, is so determined to good or evil that it cannot as that is called natural which arises from want of 

but do good or evil. Hence flows the bondage of sin faculty or natural powers (as there is in the blind an 

or righteousness.' inability to see, in the paralytic to walk, and in the 

Page 731. 'And hence it is plain that our adversa- dead to rise,) because our inability does not exclude, 

lies, especially Bellarmine, falsely criminate us, be- but supposes in man the natural power of understand- 

cause they say that the will is in bondage in a state ing and willing. Nevertheless, it is but denominated 

of sin, as though its freedom was destroyed: For it is b^tii natural and moral in different respects, 

80 declared in the scripture above, (Rom. vi, 17, 18) ,-■ , , ^ , . , 

and indeed with a twofold limitation :— IM, that the ^^^^ 1st. Objectively, because it has respect to 

bondage is. understood not absolutely and physically, ^^^^^ «^"^'es- ^d. As to its origm, because it is brought 

but relatively after the fall, in a state of sin :— 2d, «» one's. self; which arises from moral coriuption. 

Not simply respecting every external object, natural, voluntarily acquired by the sm of man. 3d, As to its 

civil, or moral, but principally concerning a spiritual charactor (formahter) because that is voluntary and 

Object good of itself J in which manner the inability culpable, which is founded m a habit of corrupt will. 

to good is the more strongly asserted, but the essence It is also natwal—lsU As to its origin, because it 

of freedom is not destroyed, because although the is born with us and from nature, not created by God 

sinner is so enveloped with sin, that he cannot but but corrupted by man, for which reason, we are said 

sin, nevertheless he doth not cease to sin, most free- by Paul to be by nature children of wrath, Eph. ii, 3; 

\y and with the utmost liberty. Hence Jansenius (?) and by David to be shapen in iniquity and conceive^ 



i 



in siii(P8 li) as pdson is natural to a serpent, oi; inalsin: as saith Augustine. It has taken fVomno 

rapacity to a wolf. man tliO faculty of discerning truth. The power still 

2d. Subjectively, because it infects our whole na- remains by which we can do whatever we choose. We 
ture and implies a privation of that facultv of doing ^ tliat the natural power of doing anything accord- 
well, which was at first given to a man and which was >ng to our will is preserved to all, but no moral pow- 
natural, which was'at first original righteousness. 3d. ®^* 

As to the result, because it is unconquered, and in- If I sin and fall, I sin and fall in Dr. Twiss. 

superable, not less than the mere natural inability in I liave not taught the distinction between natu- 

the blind for seeing and in the dead of rising. For ^^1 ^xid moral ability, plainer than he taught it, 

sinful man is no more able to convert himself than ^j^^ ^^^g ^^^ moderator of the Assembly of 

ilie blind to see, or the dead to rise. Divines, the friend of the Confession, and the 

Therefore, as it is rightly called moral and volurUa- model of Calvinism. He tells us how he under- 

ry to evince the guilt of man and render him inexcu- ^^^^^ ^^^^^ answer in the Catechism: 'No mere 




TV iir-i -J au- ^ii „,u «.u^u« -is notable. His heart is so fully set in him to 

Dr. Wilson said this was exactly what he be- , m iu ^ u- •* n i i. j 

J. , •'do evil, that his enmity will never relent and 

* ^ ' his aversation will never be overcome, till it is 

To which Dr. Beecher replied, then I ask, to overcome by the Spirit of God. He has the 

what purpose is this controversy to be waged? most perfect natural ability and the most per- 

Why must Dr. Wilson and I continue io fight? f^ct moral inability tokeep the commandments 

Here is Turrctin teaching that the natural pow- of God. 

er of the will has not been superseded by the i shall now refer to a work which has the re- 
fell; and Dr. Wilson says he admits this. Why, commendation of Dr. Green, and Dr. Smith, 
if he admits it, then we arc agreed. And as to ^oih Presidents of Princeton College, New Jer- 
man's moral inability, Turrelin teaches that it sey.as well as Dr. Rodgers and others. Dr. 
is never superseded, but by the power of the Green, as you know, is called the father of .the 
Holy Spirit. Dr. Wilson believes this; and I Presbyterian church; the oldest living minister 
behcve it. I told him, we did not differ; and ^ow in her bounds; a man who has exerted a 
we do not. I find all that I understand by na- greater ecclesiastical influence in the Presbyte- 
tural ability in Turretin. He finds all that he ^i.^^ church than any other ten men in itrandthe 
holds with respect to natural inability in Turre- ^j,n ^^o, of all others, is most alarmed by this 
tin; why then must we contend? and why have heresy of natural ability; the man who first lifted 
we not compared notes long ago? Ah, how ^he note of alarm and commenced this battle 
much evil might have been prevented. ^^^ his own brethren, men who for ten and 

My next authority shall be Calvin's commen- twenty years have stood by his side, contending 

tary on that phrase in the 7th chapter of Ro- against the common enemy of souls. It is this 

mans: *Sold under Sin.' Dr. Green, whose cordial sanction has been 

I always exclude coercion, for we sin voluntarily; given to the book I am about to quote, and who 

for it would not be sin, unless it were voluntary.' lias recommended it to the entire confidence of 

Compare also Calvin's Commentary on Rom. v. the church. That book is none other than tho 

12; vi. 12— Eph. ii. 3— Heb. ix. 7— James i. 13— ^ork of Dr. Witherspoon, a divine whom Dr. 

and many other passages. Wilson has himself commended in the very high- 

I now refer the court to Howe's Practical est terms. And what does Dr. Witherspoon 

Theology, edited by Marsh. Howe was co- say: 

temporary with the assembly of divines at West- 'Again, the sinner will perliaps say, But why should 

minster, and an intimate friend of Dr. Twiss. the sentence be so severe? The law may be right in 

«For notwithstanding the soul's natural capacities »>self, but it is hard, or even impossible for me. I 
before asserted, its moral incapacity, I mean its wick- have no strength. 1 cannot love tlie Lord with all 
(Bd aversation from God, is such as none but God him- '"X ^^^^^^- ^ ^'" altogether insnflicient for that which 
self can overcome, nor is that aversation the less cul- ^^ K"<^^^- ^^^ **^^' y"" would but consider what sort 
pable for that it is so hardly overcome, but the more, of inability you were under to keep the command- 
It if an aversation of will; and who sees not that ev- '"^"^^ of God. Is it natural, oris it moral? Is it 
ery man is more wicked, according as his will is more ^^^^^y ^^^»* of ability, or is it only want of will? Is it 
wickedly bent. Hence his impolency or inability to anything more than the depravity and corruption of 
mrn to God, is not such as that ho cannot turn if he y^"*" ^^carts, which is itself criminal, and the source of 
wonld; but it consists in this, that he is not willing.' all actual transgressions? Have you not natural fac- 

i« « «^f« • iu r II • L i. r T\ "llics and understanding^ will, and affections, a won- 

In a note IS the following extract from Dr. dc-rful frame of body and a variety of member;? What 

Twiss, quoted with approbation by Howe: {g n ^1,^1 irmdcrsihem all from being consecrated to 

*Thc inability to do what is pleasing and acceptable God ? Are they not as proper in every respect for 

to God, is not a natural, but moral inability; for no his service, as for a baser purpose? VVhen you aro 

fkcully of our OtUm '" from us by orig- commanded to love God with all your heart, this suro- 



54 

ly is not commanding more than you can pay. For if ed by Dr. Spring about a year ago, in which he 

you give it not to him, you will give it to something expressly asserts the voluntariness of all sin; and 

else that is far from being so deserving of it. The yet that heretic, is at this day appointed by the 

law, then, is not impossible, in the strict and proper General Assembly, to represent the Presbyterian 

sense, even to you. church in Europe; an arch heretic, who ought 

Now if I am a heretic, then I say that Dr. to be turned out of the church with me. I hope 

Green deserves to be put out of the church; and I shall be safe tillhe gets home, and then we 

that quickly, lest he should die before justice can be tried and turned out together, 

overtakes him; for recommending in the very 'Seriously considered it is impossible to sin without 

strongest terms, to the confidence of the whole acting voluntarily. The divine law requires nothing 

church, such an arch heretic as this. It is a but voluntary obedience, and forbids nothing but vol- 

thing not to be endured. The church has come untary disobedience. As men cannot sin without 

to a high pass indeed; and great must be her acting, nor act without choosing to act, so they 

danger when works like these are palmed oflF must act voluntarily in sinning.' Spring's Essays, p, 

upon the world, under the high recommendation ^'^^' 

of Dr. Green. Now there was but one place This nature of sin, as actual and voluntary, 

where I thought it would be difficult to throw he carries out in its application to infants. He 

one ray of light. But here that spot was en- says: 

lightened. For Dr. Witherspoon himself says ' 'Every child of Adam is a sinner [an actual sinner] 

x^^ from the moment he becomes a child of Adam. He 

,.„. , , , . , . 1 .. ' c sins not in deed nor word, but in thought. The thought 

'Withoutperplexing ourselves with the meanmg of ^^f^^,^^^^^ * * * Who ever heard or 

the imputation of Adam's first sm, this we ma conceived of a living immortal soul without natural 

Bensible of, that the guilt of all mheritant corruption ^^^^j^j^^ ^^^ ^^^^1 dispositions? Every infant that 

mus be personal, because it is voluntary and consent- j^^^ ^^^^j^^^ ^^^^^j ^^^^ j, ^^ j^^^^ ^ ^^'^^ j,^g g„^j^ 

ed to. Of both these things a discovery of the ^ gouUsthis. It is a soul which perceives, reasons, 

glory of God will powerfully convince the sinner.' remembers, feels, chooses, and has the faculty of 

I shall next refer to Dr. Watts: judging of its own moral dispositions.' Spring on 

'Man has lost, not his natural power to obey the Native Depravity^ pp. 10, and 14. 

law; he is bound then, as far as natural powers will Jt is the doctrine of our church that there is a 

leach. I own his faculties are greatly corrupted by difference between original and actual shi. It 

^icious inclinations, or sinful propensities, which has ^q^^ seem that Dr. Spring denies this distinc 

been happily called by our divines a moral mabihty ^^ and holds all sin to be the voluntary trans^ 

to fulfil the law, rather than a natural impossibility of '. ri i 

.. , ' r J gression of known law. 

And now I come to the testimony of Dr. Mj next authority is Matthew Henry in his 
Spring, of New York. Dr. Spring is welllinown Commentary upon Lzelciel xvm. 31: 
as a distinguished theologian and minister of a '^alte you a new heart and a new spirit, for why 
large congregation in the city of New York; will ye die, O house of Israel.' We must do our en- 
anlin all the early period of his ministry, was «*«7?'' """^ ">en God will not be wanting to us to give 
engaged in what might be called a virulent con- JlfJ'^ «"'=«.• St.. Austin wel explains this precept: 
, o o ..1 XI ° r^u ij u 1 i_ II Cjod does not eniom impossibilities, but by his com- 
troversy with the men of the old school, who all ^^^^g admonishes us to do what is in our power, and 
considered him as dangerous heretic, because he to pray for what is not. * * The reason why sin- 
maintained and defended the doctrine of man's ners die is, because they will die, tiiey will go down 
natural ability. He was then considered as the the way that leads to death, and not come up to the 
great champion of that doctrine in the city. For terms on which life is offered; herein sinners, especial- 
reasons which I have never been able to ex- ly sinners of the house of Israel, are most unreasona- 
plain, he has since associated himself in action ble and act most unaccountably.' 
with the men of the old school. Still, however, There is no commentary in the English Ian- 
he has not changed his principles. I have of- guage which from the time wh^n it was written 
jlen heard of his saying that his doctrinal senti- until now, has embodied the suffrages of the 
fments were in no respect altered. It would christian church to a greater extent than this 
therefore seem that there are some heretics who work of Matthew Henry. I could, I suppose if 
jpay be tolerated in the church, that is, provided it were necessary, gather up bushels of recom- 
^liey^ote right. mendations which have been written by our first 
Dr. Wilson here inquired, to how late a pe- ministers to aid its circulation. I will now pre- 
riod Dr. Beecher referred, when he said that sent to the court, a work written by Dr. J. P. 
Dr. Spring had not changed his opinions? Wilson, of Philadelphia. 

' Dr. Beecher replied, that he referred to a pe- Dr. Wilson here inquired on what evidence 

nod extending to within two years since. At this work was ascribed to that author, 

that time Dr. Spring had not changed his opin- Dr. Beecher replied, that it was universally 

ion respecting dpetrine, but only in. regard to ascribed to him by his friends, and the author- 

discipUne and new measures. Besides which he ship had never been disavowed, 

could refer to more recent evidence, which was «No mere man is able, cither o^ himself, or by any 

conteioed ip fi wqck on infant character, publish- grace received in this life, perfectly to keep the com- 



mandmenla of God, &o. The ahtUty vhl 
denied, is cviilenlly of the moral kind, because the 
nil) or lliB inabilily is siippoaed lo bo grace, which 
aiMsnoncio faculties, Tlie passage lakcn from tjio 
CoiiressionofFaiih, chap, xvi. is a reproscntalion of 
UiB same thing. 'This obiliiy lo do good works, is 
notalalloftlietnsclves, but wliollj from Die Spirit of 
God.' Here ibo ability spoken of is iliai which <ho 
saint has, and iho sinner has not; and is derived from 
the Spiritof God; it is ihcrefore merely the effect of 
regenerating grace, which changes the heart, removes 
the pryudicea and thus enlighten? the tinderatanding; 
the law itaelfought Id convince audi minds of thoirin- 
ikbilily to render an acceptablu righteousness, and llms 
lead ihcm to Christ. In all these instances, tho ina- 
bililv consists not in the nataral, that is physical dc' 
fectB, either of mind or body; if it were such, it would 
esctue; but il consists in the party's aversion to koli- 
nnt. This is also clear from anoiher passage cited in 
the esBuy, page 15, from tlie Confession of Faith — 
'A natural man, being altogether averse from that 
which is good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own 
■Ireogtii, to convert himself, ot lo prepare himself 
thereto.' Here the words ^deadin tin,'' enpress a 
higher degree of that 'aeem'onfo^oMl,' which had 
been predicted of man in his natural and unrcnowod 
slate, and suppose ihc party to have no more disposi- 
tion to things spiritual and holy than a dead carcase 
possesses towards objects of sense. The inability or 
want of strength here meniioncd, is aHirmcd of the 
nalQialmnn; and his inabilily, or ihal cifcumslanco 
in which it consists, is pointed out cKpreasly by the 
intercalary member, 'being, altogether averse from 
tint which is good, and dead in sin.' Language can 
scarcely be found more clearly to show, llint the 
only culpable tna&i7i/porwan(o/'«/rcng/A in the stn- 
ner, lies in his aversion to that which is good.'' pp. 
14, 15. 

'No man eon come unless the Father draws him. — 
Hero tlio difTicully lies in applying the use of tlie 
word can. The terms express thai iho inability is re- 
moved, when the Fnilicr draws him. This drawing 
by llic iiilluence of tho Spirit; and iho conseq-ient 
power of coming lo Christ is not of walking, but of 
believing on, which includes desiring Christ. Iflhis 
drawing be regeneration, and if this regeneration 
produces no new faculties, bul life and activity, o( 
moral ability, instead of indisposition to holiness; 
then ihe inabihiy expressed in llie passage is also of a 
moral kind, and may be presumed lobe llio same 
which the Savior meant when, on another occasion, he 
said, *Ve will not come to mo that ye might have life.' 
p. 17. 

livery real convert lays these natural raculties un- 
der contribution. His disappninlment arises, not so 
much from a defect in his natural powers, which ure 
as well suited lo the service of God as of sin; his 
chief mistake ilea in depending upon liis supposed 
moral abilities, Ihe nature and strength of his own 
pnrposcs,rcsolutions, and performances. But when 
ho finds his purposes change, his resolutions fail,an(I 
his performances oil tainted with sin, and that while 
his natural powers are sufficiently strong to bring 
him into condemnaiiun, ho has no moral ability, or 
BtroDgih uf inclination to God and holiness to direct 
Ilia eri'uria towards proper object*; hois ihen dispoa- 
cd to sink into tho dnst, neknowledgo his guilt and 
impoicncy, and casi hinwolf upon tho mercy of God 
in Christ, p. 112. 



twaa remarked by the prosecutor, thnt among 
all the authorities I hftve produced in support of 
my exposition of the Confession ofFaith, Ihad 
quoted only a single nuthor from the Presbyte- 
rian church. I hnvc now brought forward a 
number. He also said, after passing n high and 
merited eulogium on Dr. Witlierspoon, (hnt in 
all his extensive works, but a single sentence was 
to be found which could be pressed into my ser- 
vice, and thnt that one sentence hnd been seized 
upon with avidity. I have now presented addi- 
tional testimonies from Dr. Wilherspoon, and 
could easily adduce much more. 

Dr. Dickinson, n cotcmporary of his in New 
Jersey, and a colemporary also with Dr. Green 
in the early part of his life, has this sentiment 
on the point of discussion: 'Let inabilily be pro- 
perly denominated and called obstinacy.' This 
was a divine of admitted and unimpeachable or- 
thodoxy, a man of cmincntabililies, a friend to 
revivals of religion, and one of the pillars of the 
Presbyterian church. 

President Davis, the pioneer and planter of 
Prcsbyterianism in Virginia, afterward president 
of Princeton college, one of the most pungent, 
popular and successAil of preachers, inquires, 
'What is inability but unwillingness?' 

Edwards, thcyonnger,preflidentof Union col- 
lege, was .1 Presbyterian, and what does he say? 
To the question whether the moral inability 
which his father taught, can be removed by the 
8inner,his answer was, 'Yes: and the moment 
you deny this, you change the whole character 
of the inability together with the whole chnrnc- 
ter of the man; for then his inability ceases to 
bo obstinacy, and becomes physical incapaci- 
ty.' 

The Assembly's narrative for 1819, declares 
Ihatthe deslruclion of the finally impenitent is 
charged 'wholly upon thcirown unwillingness to 
accept of the merciful provision made in the gos- 
pel.' And now I invite the attention of the 
court to a vohime of original sermons, by Presby- 
terian ministers in the valley of the Mississippi, 
viz; Joshua L. Wilson, D.D., Daniel Hnyden, 
J. H. Brooks, JnmesBlythe, D.D., SiiyrcsGnz- 
ley, David Monfort, Reuben Frame, Joshua T. 
Russell, John Matthews, D.D., A. McFarlanc. 
I will quote from a sermon by Dr. Matthews: 

Our case though in some rcspi^cts it beats a strik- 
ing re:<embtance to those who sleep ia the grave, yet 
in others is widely diflcreni. They make no opposi- 
tion to the active pursuits of life. Nor does any blame 
attach lo them on account of their insensibility. Not 
so, however, with us. We have eyes, bul we see 
not; ears, but we bear not; we have indeed all Ilia in- 
lelleciual faculties and moral powers which belong to 
rational beings, but they are devoted to Iho world; 
they arc employed igiinsi God and his government. 
I'lalond of love, ihe heart is influenced by enmity against 
God, Instead of reponiiinee, there is hardness of 
heart. Insiend of failh by which thfi Savior is recelv- 
rd, there is unbclier by which with all Ms blc»ingn liQ 
is rejected. We possess indeed all Iho natural facul- 
lies whirh God duinanda in his aurviuo, but wo nto 




56 

^vithout the moral power. Wo have not the disposi- read, do not prove the position which I set oat 

tion, the desire, to employ them in his service. Tliis to prove. My argument is this: The fact that 

want of disposition, instead of furnishing the shadow these writers held the opinions which thej have 

ofexcusefor our unbelief and impenitence, is tlie very here declared, I do not bring as proof absolute 

essence of sin, the domonstration of our guilt. Here that the Confession of Faith teaches as they 

then is work for Omo.potcnce itsclt. Here is not on- j^^,^ ^^^ ^^^^^ j^ j^ altogether probable the fram- 

ly insensib.hty to be qu.ckened, but hem js^ o^^^^^^^^ ers of that instrument belonging to this class of 
t on, here is enmity to be destroyed. The art and , , o o , .^, ,, 

'. f. \^ «Knt,„« \r. comn riorrrno fiiA nnf- mcu, and standmg m the same rank with them. 

maxims of men may change, m some degree, ine out- ' • i i. • • j- i. i. j- i- 

ward appearances, but they never can reach the seat <i»d not teach doctrines indirect contradiction 

of the disease. There it will remain and there it will to this. I have brought down these testimonies 

operate, after all that created wisdom and power can to the present time, because these expositions 

do. That power which can start the pulse of spirit- throw light upon the pages of the Confession, by 

ual life within us, must reach and control the very or- showing the impression which it mad'5 on these 

iginofthought, must change our very motives. Our writers, and the sense in which they received 

case would be hopeless if our restoration depended on jt. It would be one of the strongest anomalies 

the skill and eflbrls of created agents. in the whole history of the human mind, that 

I now beg leave to adduce the testimony of men who knew all about the controversy of Au- 

Dr. Wilson himself, and I do not know that I gustineand Pelagius, fis well as the controver- 

should be so confident of being able to convert sies which preceded, should, when they sat down 

him, if I was not aware that he was converted to make a Confession of Faith, go directly against 

already. This passage from Dr. Matthews goes the whole stream of the Faith of the church down 

the whole length of all that I hold in respect to to this day. 

natural ability. If this is not heresy, it is all I I have but one other argument in support of 

mean and all I teach, or overdid teach. If Dr. the doctrine of Natural Ability, and that is the 

Wilson is not opposed to this, then he. has mis- Bible; but as I am myself fatigued, and presume 

understood me, and he and I think alike. If he that the court must be so too, I should prefer 

agrees to this, then he and I do agree , for I chal- entering upon that subject at our next sitting, 
lenge man or angel to find anything like a discre- Presbytery complied with Dr. Beecher's re- 

pancy, and I challenge him to find any. That quest, and* occupied the residue of the day^ in 

he does agree to this is manifest, and two things other business. 

which are equal to the same, are equal to each Monday Morning, June IG/A.— Presbytery 

other. In the notes he says: n^et^ and was opened with prayer. 

*Thus it is evident that without conference or cor- Dr. Beecher resumed his defence, 
respondence, or even personal acquaintance, there are The charge is, that in teaching the natural 

ministers in the Presbyterian church, who can and do ^^-y^^ ^^ ^^ ^ f^^^ ^ ^^^^ ^^ ^. ^^^ 

speak the same thmgs, who can and do speak the Ian- , j^^,^^,^ ^^^ ,^^ ^ ^^^^^^ ^ ^^ ^ 

euage of the true reformers mall r.ges. May the Lord J. '. c r* -^ j i. i-iT -n-Li t j -i.^!. i.T 

increase their number and bind up .be breach of his fission of Faith and to the Bible. I admit that I 

pgQpjg » havetaughtthcdoctrine,andIjustify.Myjustifica- 

Yes,Hhere are ministers in the Presbyterian tion is, that the doctrine of man's natural abim^^^^ 

church, who can and do speak the same things.' %^'^^ '-^g^^^'/^P^f^' ^^£,^?^P^''.;5 ^^""S^t m the 

The Lord increase their number! ^ Confession of Faith. This position I have en- 

T u 11 ji *u , .• TTi c **. deavored to sustain: 

I shall now adduce the testimony of Dr. Scott, ^ g ^ exposition of the language of the 

in his reply to Tomhne. There is no commenta- CQ^feggjon itself. 

tor whose works have enjoyed such a circulation 2. Corroborated by the analogy of cause and 

as those of Dr. Scott. I could show recommen- ^^^^^ j„ ^^^ ^^^^,^1 ^^^ ^^^.^^1 ^^^j^^ . 

dationsof his works by Dr. Green, Dr. Living- 3^ g ^^e intuitive perceptions of men, that 

ston, Drs. Miller, Alexander, and a host ofother ^^-^^^^ jg indispensable to moral obligation to 

prominent men, both in the old school and the Q^gy/ 

new. And yet Dr. Scott's heretical opinions 4. ' By the universal consciousness of the ca- 

are twisted in everywhere through these works, j^ of choice with the power of contrary 

and still the good has some how so covered up choice. 

the heresy, that good men have recommended ^ j^y^^^ the analysis of mind by metaphysi- 

the whole together. The whole church has been ^j,^^g ^^^ mental philosophers have led them to 

eatinganddrinkingof the mess and she is not define free agency as being the capacity of choice, 

dead yet. ^^[^ th^ power of contrary choice. 

I appealed in the outset to the standard y^^ri- 6. By showing that all the faculties known or 

ters of the church as evidence of what had conceivable are as real and manifest as the five 

been her belief, touching the great points in senses. 

controversy between Dr. Wilson and myself; 7, That the loss of one of them, terminates 

and I now leave it to the Presbytery to say, responsibility in that respect, and much more the 

whether I have not produced testimonies from loss of the whole. 

the most distinguished and responsible divines 8. By the public sentiment of the world, all 

of the church, and whether the extracts I have men, when they suppose they have done well^ 



f 



(tilKim.dasectfMui.UMMe wfaohsva-doasitUrleel- 
•Uig and kaowiDg that Ihey ileservc punjshment. 

9. From all forms of goveniment, fntnilj' and 
'CJvil government; mid (he notorious fact, th^it 
aa allempt to govern man hy force, ns if he 
were not a free ag(;nt, debases iiim, while iiuder 
the jitdicioua tniining of intellect nnd monil 
government he rises. 

My last topic, in corroboration of the propri- 
ety of my mode of explaining the Confession 
of Faith, is drawn from the Bible. 

I have said that tlic Confosiion of Faith ia an 
epitome in human language, of the meaning 
which the Eubscribersto it attached to the Bible, 
in respect to various points of doctrine. But 
it is not the Bible, but merely an exposition of 
Ihc Bible in which we agree, as the bond of 
union and fellowship. -For communion upon a 
general profession of belief in the Bible, with- 
out any exposilion, would enclose in the church 
all the conflicting elements of strife comprehend- 
ed in all heresies and errors of all denomina- 
tions, and would be utterly destructive of all the 
ends of churcli-fellowship. Like the Confes- 
sion itself, unexplained, it would let in every 
body and every thing. When, therefore, an in- 
dividual, .who has subscribed it, doubts or hesi- 
tatesas to its meaning, he goes to the Bible: when 
two of these subscribers differ, if they do their 
duty, they confer together, and compare their 
mutual expositions with the Bible, and pray to- 
gether, in order to ascertain whose understand- 
. ingof the instrument is scriptural; and if they 
cannot agree, the case, in the form of a charge, 
ia brought before I'rcsbylery. The Presbytery 
examines the conflicting expositions, comparing 
them ffith the language of the Confession and 
with (he Bible, and in this manner the question 
is handed up to the highest judicatory of the 
church, and there settled by an exposition of the 
Confession in conformity to a fair interpretation 
of the Bible. This view of the subject is con- 
firmed by the Confession itself, chap. i. sec. 10. 

< Tho Supreme Judge, by which all xonlroversics 
of religion are lobe determined, and all decrees of 
councils, opinions of Biicieni writers, docltinesofmea, 
■nd private spirits, are to be exnmined, and in whose 
Knlence we are to rest, can be no other but die Holy 
Spirit spcakiiig in ibc Scripture. 

Here the Confession tenches the fallibility of 
all human standards, and the infallibility of the 
Bible alone. It is confirmed by the Bible it- 
self, for Jesus, the great teacher, referred the 
Pharisees, for the trial of his own doctrine, to the 

I Bible, saying to them, -search the Scriptures.' — 
*And although inspired apostles prcaclied, the 
ffiercans iirecommended for testing their doctrine 
*by the Bible. 
1 have dwelt on this subject, because it is im- 
•Borlant to give to Ihc Bible its place, nod to the 
^ Conression in place, in the mora] lirmnmeiil, 
and because 1 have heard srmc men sneer at 
our appeal from their exposition of the Confes- 
sion of Faith to the Bible, as if it were an ap- 



peal from the ConfassioiL UtalCf and a presump^ 
live evidence of heresy. I shall not appeal 
from what the Confesiiion teaches, believing it 
to be in accordance with llie Bible, But when 
my brother expounds its language in one maa- 
ner, and 1 in another, I appeal to the Bible, ifi 
confirmation of my own exposition. God fop- 
bid that there should be no appeal from a fallible 
exposition of the Confession of Faith to the 
word of God. You might as well put out Ihe 
sun, and talce a star for your guide. If your 
needle is supposed to be defective, it is to be 
brought to tho magnet, and there tried again 
and again. I observe then, 

1. That the Bible nowhere teaches the 
natural inability of man to obey the gospel. 
The words 'cnniioi,' 'uHo6/f,' &;c. do not teach 
it necessarily, because they are used in all lan- 
guages, to characterize an inability which is not 
natural; and of course the simple word, without 
reference to its subject and connexion, decides 
nothing. There is an obvious reason why, 
when such words arc applied to moral inability, 
they are to be held as figurative. The Scrip- 
tures borrow terms derived from an inability 
which is really natural, in order to show the 
certainty of the results of moral inability. — 
They declare that such is the state of the will 
that a continuity of wrong choice may be just 
as certain as if there existed a natural inability 
to choose right; nnd therefore language derived 
from natural necessity is brought over into the 
moral world, and there figuratively applied to an 
inability which is moral. With this lamp in our 
hand, all becomes clear. Whenever the Bible 
speaks of inability in moral things, it speaks of 
tiie sin ol the will, its aversalion from good. — - 
Yet where has my brother Wilson, in the whole 
course of his argument, in support of his char- 
ges against me, ever once detined the term 
' cannot'? where "has he recognized this obvious 
distinction, and the manner of its application! — 
He has held me down to a single meaning of tlie 
term, which meaning ho himself assumes, and 
then denies to me a.ll right of explanation. As 
soon aa the word is explained, ne is gone. — ■ 
These words, like all other words, arc to be tried 
by the principles of exposition, by the establish- 
ed usuj'ojufn A, and not by their sound on the 
tympanum of the car; or else Jesus Christ might 
as well have spoken Greek to men who under- 
stood nothing but English. Take an illustra- 
tion on this subject: Suppose an assault was com- 
mitted; (hccase is carried into court, where the 
assault is admitted, and the only question arising 
is a question of damages. A witness appears, 
and is asked. Did you see this assault! Yes, I 
saw A.strike B. How hard did he strike him! 
i dont't know; 1 can't exactly tell hoiv hard. A. 
was a very ncroout man. * Oh,' cries the lawyer 
in favor of A. ' if he was a very nervous mrm, 
he mu»t have been too feeble to hurt him much. 
Another witness is introduced, and asked. How 
hard did A. strike B.t 1 can't exactly tell, he 



58 

Bajs. What sort of a man was A.T Oh, he was or would he ^ draw them with the cords of love 
a very stoat, brawny man; a very nervous, athle- and the bands of a man,' to move onward in 
tic man. ' Then,' says the attorney on the oth- their orbits? Yet the Confession, and the Gate- 
er Fide,' if he was a nervous man, no doubt he chism, and the Bible, all as certainly teach that 
must have hurt my client exceedingly, and he the impediment to be overcome is over- 
is entitled to heavy damages.' On this a dispute come by moral means: by the truth, by 
arises as to the testimony, and it turns on the the word of God, by the reading, and es-- 
meaning of the word 'ncrroM*.' One of the at- pecially the preaching, of his word, made 
torneys brings into court Webster's Dictionary, effectual by the Holy Spirit. It cannot^ 
and shows that nervous means of weak nerve, therefore be any natural inability; any such ina- 
feeble: and there he stops. Would this settle bility as renders believing a natural impossibili- 
the question? Would this determine the mean- ty, which is removed in regeneration. But it 
ing of the testimony? Just so with the word in- is said,^ the carnal mind is enmity against God,' 
ability. It has two meanings, according as it is and that this is an involuntary condition of mind* 
applied. It may either mean a total want of But is it a natural impossibility for an enemy of 
power, or a total want of inclination. Yet Dr. God to be reconciled to him? The text does 
fVilson allows it but one meaning, and charges not say that fallen man cannot be reconciled to 
me with being a heretic, because J maintain that God; but it says that the carnal mind cannot be 
it sometimes has a different sense. Now I might subject to the law: ^ It is not subject to the law 
just as well charge Dr. Wilson with being a of God, neither indeed can be.' Carnality can 
heretic, and with denying moral inability; never be so modiGed as to become obedience, 
and on his own principle of interpretation, the Again, the ^ natural man receiveth not the 
proof of his heresy would be quite as abundant things of the Spirit of God, neither can he 
as of my own. know them, because they are spiritually discern- 
2. But secondly, the subject^ and the circum- ed.' Does this mean that an unconverted man 
stances of the case, forbid the construction of a can have no just intellectual conceptions of the 
natural impossibility, as relating to man in the gospel, of truth, and his duty, in order to his 
case of duty, because the subject is admitted to obeying it? How then can he be any more to 
be a free agent, and free agency is known and blame than the heathen, who have never heard 
defined, and by the Confession itself is admitted of Christ? And what better condition are men 
to be, the capacity of choice, with power of con- in? with the Bible which they cannot understand, 
trary choice. A free agent to whom spiritual than the heathen are with no Bible at all? But 
obedience is a natural impossibility is a contra- if *>y receiving and knowing be meant, a willing 
diction. By the laws of exposition,! am enti- reception and an experimental knowledge, 
tied to all the collateral evidence which can be which is a common use of the terms, then the 
thrown upon <he meaning of the Confession, text teaches simply, that until the heart is chang- 
from the several sources of expository knowledge ed, there can be no experimental religion in the 
already enumerated, and which I will not here soiil; that a holy heart is indispensable, not to 
recapitulate. Dr. Wilson insists that man is able intellectual perception but to spiritual discern- 
to do nothing — but nothing is a slender founda- ment, to Christian experience, 
tion on which to rest the justice of the Eternal II. The Bible not only does not teach the 
Throne, in condemning men to everlasting pun- natural inability of man to obey the gospel, but 
ishment, and feeble indeed would be God's gripe it teaches directly the contrary. The moral 
upon the conscience. Butit will be easy to show law itself bounds the requisition of love by the 
that the strongest passages relied on to prove strength of the natural capacity of the subject, 
natural inability are forbidden to be interpreted Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with what? 
in that sense, by the established laws of exposi- with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and 
tion. For example, it is said, John vi. 44: ' No with all thy mind, and with what else? with all 
man can come unto me, except the Father which thy strength. But if a man has no strength, 
hath sent me, draw him.' The nature of the how is he bound by such a command as this? — 
inability here declared is indicated by the kind In the same manner, constitutional powers, bear- 
of drawing which is to overcome it. But what ing such a relation to obedience as constitutes 
docs the Confession teach on that subject? — obligation, are recognized in the gospel. See 
•God inaiceth the reading, but especially the Isaiah v. 1,2,3,4. Was there nothing in the 
preaching of his word, an effectual means of soil and culture of this vineyard which rendered 
convincing and converting sinners.' 'I will fruit, in respect to the soil, a natural possibilit^yt 
draw them by the cords of love nnd with the But the vineyard was the house of Israel, the 
bands -of a nnan.' That's the drawing: with the owner was God, and the fruit demanded was 
bands ofa man; not by the attraction of gravity. — evangelical obedience: and God« the owner, 
Suppose the planets should stop in their course, decided that what he had done rendered obe- 
would God, do you think, attempt to overcome dience practicable and punishment just. He 
the vis inlertiae of matter by the ' reading, and calls upon the common sense and common jus- 
especially the preaching of his word'? Would tice of the universe to judge between him and 
he send the ten commandments to start them} his vineyard* He asks whether he had not fi 



I 



fast ri ght to expect grapes, tind declares that the 
Dringing forth of wild grapes was a thing enor- 
mous ;»nd po enormous, [hiilhe goes on to pro- 
nounce Judgment upon his vinejard. 

So in the parable of the tiilents: The owner 
committed » certain portion of his money to eve- 
ly man according to hi* several ahilily. Now 
these servants a{;nin, represent the Jewish na- 
tion. The talents represent gospel privileges; 
the improvement to he made wn3 believing, and 
the misimprovcment was sloth and unbelief. The 
trust was graduated in proportion to the ability 
of each man. There was ability; therefore, the 
servant who improved his trust, received a re- 
ward. But the servant who made excuses, 
pleaded his nat'irnl inability: 1 knew that thou 
wert a hard master, reaping where thou hadst 
not sown, and gathering where thou hadst 
Dot strewed; (worse than the task-masters of 
Egypl); and I was afraid. I dared not under- 
take to do anything with my talent. I thought 
the safest way would be to hide it, and run no 
risk. But his Lord said to him: Thou wicked 
and slothful servant, thou knewest that I was a 
tyrant, demanding ihc improvement of gifts not 
bestowed. How could you suppose, then, that 
] would not exact llie improvement of what was 
given? Why are yon not ready to pay me the 
interest on my money! why did you not put it to 
the eschnngers?and then Ishouldhave received 
my own wilh its results. Do 1 demand c9<:ct- 
without causes? Take him away, thrust him ins 
to outer darkness: he has libelled his Maker, he 
has slandered his God! 

III. The broad principle is laid down in 
the Bible, thatability is the ground and measure 
of obligation. According to that which a man 
hath, and not according to that which he hath 
not; to whom much is given, of him shall much 
be required, but to whom Htllc is given, of him 
(hall little bf! required, is the language of the 
equitable Ruler of (he world. But if ability is 
not needful to obligation, why observe this rulef 
why not reverse it? Why not require Jitlle of 
him to whom much is given, and much from 
him to whom lillle is given? Present this 
priniiiple to any man but an idiot, and see what 
he will say to such a proceeding? There is not 
a human being whose sense of justice would not 
revolt from it- And shall man be more just than 
God! Nor is the principle of gradu;)ling re- 
iponsibllity by nbility,a limited rule of the divine 
government, applicable only in particular cases; 
the nile is general; it is universal; it applies to 
every free agent in the universe. 

IV. The manner in which all excuses are 
treated in Scripture, which arc founded on the 

Elea of inability, confirms our ex position. There 
Hve been impenitent sinners who were as or- 
thodox on this subject as Dr. Wilson. In the 
time of the prophet Jeremiah, there were those 
who perverted God's decrees, as creating ihe 
unavoidable necessity of sinning. They said 
they could not help it. But God, by his prophet, 



insicBd of conceding Ihe peiat, denied It witb 
indignation. 

BhIioIJ, yo Inisl in lying word', ihat cannot profit. 
Will yu stoul, murder, and cornmilt adultery, niid 
swear falselj, and burn incense unio B.iat, and walk 
after oilier gods whom ye know not; And conie and 
sUiid before me in this Luuss, wIticU is called by 
my name, nndssy. We ore delivered to do all tlies« 
abominstiona? Jer. vii. 8, 0, 10. 

Docs he approve of men's reasoning, when 
they say, God has decreed it, and God executes 
hisdecrecs, and a resistless fate moves us on to 
evil. Far from it. In what stronger language 
could Ihc Lord God speak to hardened and 
impudent men, who laid (heir sins at his door! 
Now the full itself was some how comprehend- 
ed in God's decrees; and if it be true that the 
fall took away all man's natural ability, wherein 
were those Jews wrong? Their excuse was 
that their sins were produced by the fatality 
of God's decrees. They were delivered to do all 
these abominations. Their fathers had eaten 
sour grapes and the children's teeth were set 
on edge. By the sin of Adam they had lost all 
free agency, and therefore they wore not to 
blame; it was all right and just as it should bei 
an inexorable fate drove them on, and how could 
they resist the Almighty? And if God did in- 
deed require spiritual obedience from men who 
lay in » state of natunil impolency, how is it 
that he frowned so indignantly, when they plead- 
ed their impotence in bar of judgment? 

Again, in Ezk. xxxiii. 10, we have the follow- 
ing language: 

Tlierefure, O lliou sun of man, speak unto the house 
of Israel, Tliiis ya Byeak, saying;. If our transgression! 
and our si:;s be on us, and wc pine uway in liicm, Uow 
should wo then live? 

Now, suppose they had been born blind, and 
God had commanded them to see, and they had 
replied, Our blindness and darkness sils heavily 
upon us, and we pine away in it, and it is in^ 
possibleforus tosee, how thencan we escape thy 
displeasure? Would God in such a case have 
answered: 

' I have no pleasure in your blindness, which it it 
impossible for you lu rumove. As I livi?, saiih tha 
Lord Uod, I have no pleasure in your blindness, ilier*- 
fore open your eyesund see yeV 

Does God call men to turn, when n natural 
impossibility lies in the way, and punish them 
forever, for not turning? That is not like God. 
Shall not the Judge of all the earth do rightf 
The representations of the Bible attach obliga- 
tion and accountability to a free agent as being 
able lo choose both wayt; aa having ability to 
choose hfe, or to choose death. For what it 
written in Dcut. xxx. II — 20: 

Par diif commandment, which I command ilioe ibii 
day, it U not bidden from tbec, ncillieru iifarolF. 
Ii i» not in ticavcn, lliai thou sliouldst say, who sliall 
gn up for us lo heaven, and bring it unio us, lliat we 
may hear ii, and doit t Ncidier ii ii beyond theaea, 
tbnl thou sliouldsl lay, nlin shall go over ihfl sea for 



i 



60 

m, and bring it unto ut, that we may hear it, and do it? church, and onlj by heretics. The orthodox 
But the word is very nigh unto |hee, in thy mouth, portion of the church of God never has question- 
and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. See, I have ed it; but always denied moral ability in Opposi* 
set before thee this day life and good, and death and ^^^ ^q t^c Arminian and Pelagian heresies, 
evil; In that I comraand thee this day to love the Lord ^jj ^^e leading opinions opposed to Christianity, 
thy God, to walk m his ways, and to keep his com- ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ acknowledged to be the most 
mandments and h,s statutes and ^'s judgments, that heretical, irreligious, and even licentious, as at 
thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God 'aiJi^u \ u-p^ r j r *u 
shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to pos- ^^^ 7'*^ the accountabdity of man and of the 
sess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt moral government of God, mclude and rest upon 
not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other the doctrme of man s natural mabihty. The 
gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, materialism of the atheist, subjects the soul to 
that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not pro- the laws of instinct and to elective affinities and 
long your days upon the land, whither thou passest • attractions of matter. The soul, according to 
over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and him, is a little, curious, material machine, a sort 
earth to record this day against you, that I have set of patent model for thinking, which goes by the 
before you life and death, blessing and cursing: there- affinities of matter, and which continues to go so 
fore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live : ^ ^g ^he pendulum vibratesand the pivots are 
That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that oiled, till it runs down or the mainspring breaks, 
thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest rp. . ' .u doctrine of the French school 
cleave unto him; (for hew thy life and the length of l^'^ Z u^a^C tnel^rench school, 
thy days) that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Man, they held to be a mere animal; and as it is 
Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and » matter of no great consequence whether the 
to Jacob to give them. li^^ of Ian animal continues for a little longer or 
If it is said that men are free to evil and ac- a little shorter period, they proceeded, without 
countable for doing wrong, I answer, if God any compunction, and on the most philosophical 
commanded them to sin, they would be thorough- principles, to shed the blood of about two millions 
ly furnished; but if he commands them to stop of men. The Stoic Fatalists supposed a series 
sinning, and they have no free agency to doit, of natural causes and effects, which controlled 
and it is a natural impossibility, how does free inevitably both the will of gods and men. Against 
agency to do what is forbidden create obligation this, the declarations of our confession are ex- 
to do what is commanded, when they have no pressly directed; for in the chapter apon free 
power? Besides, could they not sin without will, it affirms that the will of God is free, as 
ability to sin? How then can they obey without opposed to fatality, and that the will of man is 
ability to obey? And if they have free agency ^ree, as opposed to natural and inevitable 
to obey, that is just what I am contending for. necessity. Take the philosophy of Priestly. 
For they can no more obey without natural He was a materialist, and held that the soul of 
power, than they can sin without natural powen ^^^ was composed of matter consisting of innu- 
If man, as a free agent, has not natural power merable centres of attraction and repulsion; it is 
to obey, then commands, and exhortations, and matter and matter only, though ijt be not bigger 
entreaties, and expostulations might as well be than the point of a cambric needle, and is subject 
addressed to men without the five senses; com- to all the laws of matter. And admitting his 
manding them on pain of eternal death to see, premises, he reasoned correctly. Being a 
hear, feel, taste, and smell. Tliis argument was material thing, the soul must be under a con- 
used by Pclagius and Arminius; and in the forms stitutionaland physical necessity of action in 
they urged it was easily answered; they brought accordance with those general laws which gov- 
it forward to prove not only that man is naturally ern matter in other fprms. A question has been 
able to obey God, but to prove that he actually asked, how it happened that the Socinians in 
does obey the gospel without special grace, that Boston first claimed me, and then opposed me. 
his will is under no bias from the fall, and that his The answer is easy. They denounced me first 
moral ability is so unperverted,that it is sufficient as a Calvinistic fatalist; but when some who 
without regeneration, to do all that God has heard me thus denounced came to hear me under 
commanded. Augustine maintained that the that notion, they very quickly discovered their 
will was entirely struck out of balance; Pelagius mistake, and found that I preached free agency, 
on the contrary maintained, that it remained in This information was carried back to those who 
delightful equilibrio, and consequently that no denounced me,and they replied ah? then he has 
grace of God was needed to determme it to a changed his opinions. But why, tlien, they were 
right choice, insisting.that dependence on grace asked, do. you not like him? You tell us that 
to change the will was inconsistent with com- Calvinism is such a horrible thing, why then 
mands and exhortations, &c. But Augustine, don't you like this man, who opposes Calvinism 
Luther, Calvin, and all the reformers, fully ad- as we have understood it? What reason they 
mit the ability of man as a free agent, and deny gave I cannot tell; but I can tell why some did 
that his moral inability and dependency as a sin- not like me. They were Priest leyans, and my 
ner supersedes obligation, invitation, and com- doctrine of free agency made their conscience 
mand. The natural ability of man is a point qnake. I preached as I supposed the state of 
which has never been controverted by the things required. I found that with those around 



me, the bottom of accoantabilityhad fallen out; pravity, or If it is in the sabstance of the soul^ 

and I labored to restore it to its place. But by or if God being unable to make a free agent, 

some who heard without understanding, I was has to create all his agencies: just as he makes 

charged with being an Arminian. I am no rain and hail; then God is the author of evil. — 

Arminian. I went among that people as a There is no scape but in the doctrine of free 

spiritual physician. I found a particular disease agency. If God can make a free agent capa- 

rife around me, prevailing and destroying. on hie of acting right and wrong — accountable for 

every side. What was I to do? Prescribe for his choice, and dependent upon grace for his 

some other disease? They had been drugged recovery after once he has chosen wrong; then 

with natural inability, and they wanted an sin may be in the universe and yet God not be 

alterative. Igave them one that made their ears its author. In what other way Dr. Wilson can 

tingle, and their hearts bleed and ache-^and account for the existence of sin, and not make 

live. Had I preached natural inability to man God its author, I am not able to perceive, 
under such circumstances, it would have been I have now gone through the scriptural argument 

like giving opium to a man in lethargy; so it is in in support of my interpretation of the Confession of 

some parts of this city. Here is a disease which Faith. I have been as concise as 1 could consistently 

needs just such an alterative. ^'^*^ ^^'^ introdction of all the necessary points. On 

^, . , ,, 1 , . y-1 J . X the soundness of this arirument, I rest. On this 

The scriptures unequivocally teach, that God IS not ground I am willing to put myself into the hands of 

the author of sm. He did not lay his plan with a This court and to abide its decision. I will do more, 

direct design to produce it. Neither does he admin- j ^,^^ ed to seal it up unto the day of judgment, 

ister his government with a design to produce it. He ^^^ ^^ ^^j^^ j^ ^^^^^ j';^ ^ conscientious in hold- 

has not planned to bring sin into being, nor adopted . ^,,^g^ opinions, as my brother Wilson can be in 

any terms to that end, m order that afterwards he rejecting and impugning them. God is the righteous 

might bring a great amount of good out of it, and a .^^ J us both; and to his dread tribunal,! am pre- 

great deal more good than could ever have existed -^ f ^ ^^ ^^^^ ^ , 

without It. I know very well there are some in the *^ Upon motion, the Presbytery took a recess, till 

land of all heresies, who do hold this. But we be- jifQrjdav mominf 

licve tliat He arrays his character, his law, his gospel, ,r j n^ '. » ^^ t% n i 
bis providence and his Spirit, all, against sin; and ^f^^^-^fl^^ -»foriw^, Jimc 16.--Dr. Beecher contmu- 

tliat, as the scripture declares, wickedness is from the ®^ '"^ defence as follows: 

wicked, and not from God. Wickedness is a perver- My second proposition is this, that the Confession 

sion of free agency, in direct opposition to God^s law of Faith, and the Bible, and the voice of the whole 

and blessed Spirit, and all the powerful in^uence of church from age to age, all teach the moral inability 

God^s righteous government. of man to obey the Gospel, and his entire and univer* 

There are but three ways in which God can be the sal rnd absolute dependence upon the influence of the 
author of sin: either he must have made corrupt, Holy Spirit — to begin, continue, and consummate the 
wicked matter, and put the mind into it as its habita- work of conversion. I have not usually employed the 
tion; which is a heresy long since condemned and terms, natural and moral inability, in my preaching; 
Atamfied with lasting ignominy: or he must have crea- because I thought it best to avoid those technical 
ted sin in the substance of the mind; which was the terms,which always gather around them many mis- 
manichcan heresy, and like the otiier, condemned cen- apprehensions. I had rather take clean words to 
turics ago. Both these detestable opinions were express my meaning, than words which have been 
exploded as soon as they appeared. They just stuck made impure by long use and much controversy. But 
their heads out to be crushed, and have never hissed in this case, I can^t avoid the use of technical terms; 
again. There is only one other way in which God because it is on the meaning of technical phrases, 
can make sin; and that is, by creating the sinful that the controversy turns. It is in respect to these 
volitions of men. This is Dr. Emmons' idea. He terms^that the whole alarm which agitates the church 
supposes that God cannot make a free agent, who has been created. The great thing required to tran- 
can act by the energy of communicated powers; that quilize the church, and get those who have been dis- 
It is impossible in the nature of things. This, to be puting to come to a right understanding of each 
sure is very respectful to God. It declares, in sub- other's meaning, is to explain our theological tech- 
stance, that he began to build and could not finish, nics; to state with clearness, what they mean and 
He was not able to make a free agent, who might act what they do not mean; by moral inability, I mean 
right and wrong under a law^ Dr. Emmons admitted the inability of mind, not of matter. We arc speak- 
once in conversation with me, that God creates the ing of moral government, not of physical; of free 
sinful volition of men. 1 inquired, how then is man agency, not of necessity. When I talk of moral in- 
to blame? Oh, said he, the blame does not lie in the ability I do not deny that ability which consists in free 
cause of the volition, but in its qualities. Well, I agency, and wh'ch is indispensable to moral govern- 
rcplied, supposing I admit this to be true; Ik)w can ment, nordo I mean as I have been supposed to mean, 
God command man (o put forth volitions, which he when I say that the will is free from constraint or 
does not create? How can those ho does create bo defect, that the faculty of the will has not been shat- 
avoidcd, and those he docs not create be brought into tered, wounded, disturbed, and put out of order. I 
being? How can he require men to have holy do not mean that; and I admit that such a change 
volitions, while God works sinful volitions within them? was produced in Adam's constitution by tlie fall, that 
Dr. Emmons was a venerable man, and greatly my though he continu3d to act in a voluntary and ac^ 
superior in age, and as bo made no reply, I ceased to countable manner, ho acted wrong, and left to him- 
press the inquiry. self, would ever continue to do so. The shock struck 

If therefore there be a natural necessity for de* his will out of its balance, and it was followed by iho 



63 

same effect on all his posterity. The free agency of woulJ leave off their controYersies. O that tbej 

fallen man all goes one way. The will is free, but it might see eye to eye. How would Zion ariscy if her 

IB under a bias; and so fully set in the wrong way, standard-bearers could see truth alike; if they aU 

that nothing but the truth and Spirit of God can spoke the same thing and were perfectly ngreed in 

ever bring it right again. What I say is that some- the same judgment. Then would one chase a thou- 

thing has taken place in respeci to man, insomuch sand, and two put ten thousand to flight, 

that when life and death are set before him, although Then comes the chapter on free will, 

he has ample power to choose life, he has no will Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly 

to choose it, but wills to refuse it. He lies under lost all ability of will to any spiritual good aecom- 

that impotency of the will which consists in aversion panying salvation ; so as a natural man, being alto- 

from God. With full power to return, he refuses to gether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not 

return, he wraps his talent in a napkin; and when »hle, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to 

pressed by the motives of the gospel, he pleads natu- Prepare himself thereunto. 

ral inability, when it is only the inability of unflinching When it says that man has lost all ability of will, 

guilt. The inability of a will fully set agaiast God it does not mean that he has lost all free agency. It 

and duty. ^ees not mean, that he is not able, as a free agent, 

I say in the firet place, that this must he the mean- ?"^ ^P"'!?, *« ^^ }^^^ which is right, but that he has 

ingof the Confession of Faith: for, according to a lost all irtZno do it. My soul! do I not believe this? 

rule which I laid down at the beginning, an instru- J^'d I not feel it when God convi^^^^^^ Full 

ment is never so to be interpreted, as to make it con- ^fi i! } fl^' t "^^ . ** ^"® footstool and 

tradict itself, without necessity; when it is just as J®" r^'^^^^ that I was gone, that I was ruined and 

easy to harmonize all its parts, by adopting a different J^elpless and never should come back to him, unless 

interpretation. Now if 1 have not proved that the he put forth his hand to deliver me. If I ever preached 

confession, as I interpret it, is sustained by other col- *°y ^^^^^ to dying jnen, with all my heart and with 

lateral arguments in addition to that which I have »» /^y soul, it is the truth of man s total depravity 

drawn from the Bible, then I shall despair of ever sue- and inability; that his condition is desperate and 

ccssfully expounding a document in the world. I P®^®'^ ^^4 "® ^"'" »»^ V^®» "n'^ss God should 

never have seen so much light thrown on any one Jook down from heaven and have mercy upon him.— 

point of exposition before. The confession does ^^'%^^ !^y doctrine; and it is the doctrine of the 

speak of an inability other than a natural one; and ^onfession, which says, we are averse from all good. 

*- -- -'■ - ' Wilson; why 

is qo catch in 

^ ^^ _ _ fully and hearti- 

can7ot"ra7aVto Vo'mradFct' what "ft had^before^aMerl- [^ believe that raaa is utterly averse to all good; that 

ed, with respect to my being able. I may be able in ^^ '^^®*°,5 f®^^ 7^ **^ *"^ ^®^^ >" sin— under the 

one sense, and unable in another. The confession, ^"[^f ^^ V- ' ^"? ^^ .™"3^ ?^®»' remain, until God 

in fact, interprets itself. (And this, I suppose, is what qu^^J^ens him by his spirit and grace. 

Dr. Wilson means, when he says, we must receive the ^"^ let us see what the Confession says in sect, 4, 

language of the Confession witi.out any explanation.) chap. 9. 

I agree with him, that on many points it needs no ex- When God converts a sinner, and translates him 

planation. It guards against its own perversion, and into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural 

its language is such as 1 should think it almost im- bondage under sin, and by his grace alone enables him 

possible to misunderstand. freely to will and do that which is spiritually good; 

■g . I * • „i 1 u* t- 'x L ij • y®^ so as that, by reason of his remaining corruption. 

Let us see what is the language which it holds in i^ doth not perfectly nor only will that which is good, 

chap. 6, sec. 4. but doth also will that which is evil. 

From this original corruption, whereby we are ut- ^Enable' here does not imply that there is any 

terly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all natural inability. Grace enables us to will freelv 

f^tl'i *triLlLIn« ^"^ ' ^'""'^'^ *"" The Confession holds no Perfectionism. It is orUio- 

actuai traus^ressioiis. j •^ .% ^ • ■ i •.« . «* . 

TT . ^ - , . r.1, oox; It says that no mere man IS able. Without divine 

Here is active aversion, not fatal necessity. The aid, to keep God's commandments. That is my faith, 

man is indisposed , he is disabled by being indisposed, i admit, however, that this was the spot at which I 

But It has been said, that if a man needs help, it once stumbled, when, as I said, I was unable fully to 

must be a natural inability under which he lies. This embrace the Confession of faith. I saw a difficulty 

I deny. A man who lies under a moral inabilily needs here. I believed the confession to mean just as Dr. 

aid asmuch, if not more; and the aid he needs is Wilson still believes it to mean; and in that sense I 

such as God alone can bring him. What Christian never could receive it. But on reflection, and witli 

does not pray that God would help him? But does those collateral lights which I have mentioned, I now 

he mean that he has no strength of any sort? Not understand it to speak the very truth, and I embrace it 

at all. He is afraid to trust his own heart. He prays accordingly. I believe in the moral inability which it 

for moral aid, for moral ability, for strength of pur- here declares: and I believe that moral inability will 

pose. Surely we are all agreed in this. There can continue until the christian reaches his home in 

be no need that my brother and myself should be at heaven. 

odds. We believe alike— for we pray alike. New gu^ ^q^ jet us hear what the Confession says upon 

school and old school all confess, when they get be- effectual calling. I quote from chap, x, sec. 1. 

fore God, that their powers are perverted, and with- ^^ ^^ose whom God hath predestinated unto life, 

out his help they can do nothing. I have put off my ^^^ ^y^^^^ ^^^jy^ he is pleased, in his appointed and ac- 

coat, how shall I put it on? We also feel the same cepted time, effectually to call by his word and Spirit, 

impotency; and what we feel, God sees; and that out of that state of sin and death in which they are 

which he sees be has testified. O that his children by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; en* 



l^tanJB^ their minds BpiritoBilf Bad niTlnf ly to on* 
derstand the things o( Godi tabing awny their hea.rt 
or atone, and giving unto them an heart of Qeshi re- 
newing tlicir willa. nnd by liis almighty power deter- 
mining them to that which la gooil; and cffbctiially 
drawing them to Jeaiis (JhriEt; yet ea a,a they come 
moat freely being made willing by hia grace. 
_ Thjg enliglKcninglbold lo be a divine illumina- 
tion, and such as llie Spirii ofGod alone can give. 
Theplirase'iieartof stonc,'whicli is employed in one 
of the lexis cited as proor, is a metaplior; and so is 
the Lean of flesh; and ihis 1 believe is ilie only pass- 
age in the whole Bible where the term 'Hesli' ia em- 
ployed lo signify anyihing good. A heart of flesli 
mnnifesily means tenderness, suscepliUilily — in olher 
words a willing bearl. Renewing the 'will,' that is 
turning (be will into a new dircciion. Il is Gad wlio 
turns it. The sinner left lo himself never will (urn. 
Bui in converaion God does nol make a free agenl. 
I{e turns a free agent, lam perfectly aware llialsoms 
very good men suppose and nsaerl ibal iha men of 
ibe newscliool (ihongh lhat,by-ibe-by, is one of the 
most undefined of all designations; ilielerm is like 
fog, it lias nosubslance and no definite limits, hut 
floats about in a sort of palpable obscure) bold toself- 
regeneration; and that the influence of ibe Holy 
Spirit ia not necessary in turning a sinner from dark- 
ness lo light. No man ever heard me leach sucb a 
doctrine. I have laugbt directly the reverse, and 
have put the doctrine of man^s absolute dependence 
into as strong terms as I knew bow to employ. If 
there are any stronger, I shall be glad to get hold of 
them. All who are in tbe habit of hearing me, know 
perfectly that the total depravity of man and his 
dependence on tbe power and help of the Spirit of 
God has been the great end of all my preaching; and 
I as well know, tbiil it has been tbe power of nil my 
preaching. I tliink, and always have iliouglil, ihnt the 
display of divine Omnipotonce in converting rebel 
minds ifl greater by far than anyexhibitionof it, which 
ever has been madu in the material world. And fur 
an obvious reason; because mind has more power of 
resisiancf! than matter. Some men seem to think 
that if God does a thing by instrumentality, no oppor- 
tunity is left for him to show his own great power. I 
think farolherwise. To me tbe trutit ecetns weak 
enough in itself to leave ample space for the display 
' ' " k that the act of God in re- 
stupendous manifestation of 
has ever been made by the 
er expect to see anything in 
il the solemn majeaty of that 



nipolonce. I il 
generation is tbe mo: 
omnipotent energy tb 
Almighty. Nordo I 
God'K works that will 
greatest ofall his operations, which, 
music of the spheres, moves on in its resisiloas 
Birengih, making the hearts of rebel men to yield 
before it. What then isgraceT It is God's use 
of his own truth. Itul though tiutb is the instrument, 
the grace ll»t uses it is none die less grace on that 
account. And now, I think, I can clearly understand 
how it ia thai my brother lina became jealous of ine, 
and htk» thought me a heretic. Looking at tliis doc- 
trine in all iiH important beatings, and in all its glory 
and beauty, bo lias said to himself: 'Beecber does 
nol hold iliat, lie dues not believe a word of it.' 
But Beccher does hold that, and does believe every 
word ofit. Ho holds il in his head, and he cherishes 
it in bis heart. 1 believe original ain, just as Dr. VVil- 
•on believesit: and I shall bring Ur. Wilson himself 
loHuppori mc. 



And now let ax retam again to the synod of 
Dort. 

Ail men arc conceived in sin, and by nature chil- 
dren of wrath, iiicHp;ible of any saving good, prune t.j 
evil, dead in sin and in bondago thereto; nnd without 
the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit they are 
neither able nor vVilling torelutn toGod-toreform the 
depravity of tlieir nature, nor to dispose tbeinsolves lo 
reiormaiion- 

'Dcnd in sins' is a very different thing from 
being dead in constitulionnl powers. A m:in 
cnnnotsin without having a conslilulionRi agea- 
cy. A man must be able to act, before he can 
act wrong. He must be able to choose beforfihc 
cat! choose wrong. 

And lliisis the doctrine which ia ascribed to 
us !is aclf-regencralion. Wc hold that a sinner 
is regenerated by the Spirit of God; and that 
the Spirit does not act at an uncertninty; and al- 
though grace be not irresistible, in any compul- 
sory sense, yet in the hand of God the result is 
sure. And though the operation is moral and 
not physical, God ran mnke it as effectual and 
as certain as any effect in his government of the 
natural world. Wc are not pelagians. We do 
not hold tlic pelagian notion of free will and 
moral suasion without any special grace. Far 
from it. We hold that where God wills to act, 
all goes forward; nothing holdsback. When he 
commands the light to e^hine out of darkness, 
then the blind see,and when bespeaks the word 
of power, the dead arise. Every rebel, great or 
small, under God's effectual calling, submits to 
God nnd suhmils freely. If this is not the doc- 
trine of the Confession of Faith, and the doctrine 
of the Bible, then my hope is vain and my faith 
is vain. 

[Presbytery hero took a recess till the after- 
noon. When it again met, Dr. Bcechcr resum- 
ed his defence and observed:] 

The next point in the conlirmntion of my ex- 
position of the doctrine of the Confession, touch- 
ing Ihe moral impotence of man, is to show, that 
what it affirms on that subject has been the doc- 
trine of the church of God in alt ages. And 1 
shall now show that the fathers, while they held 
free will in opposition to necessity and blind 
fate, nevertheless taught the moral inability of 
man, nnd his dependence on the Holy Spirit, 
just as I tench it. And the first authority I shall 
produce on this point is that of Clement of Al- 
exandria. 

Since some men are without faiih and others con- 
tentious, all do not obtain the perfection of good. — 
Nor is iipoBsibtelo obtain it without our own exertion. 
Tho whole, however, does not depend upon our own 
will ; for instance — our future destiny ; for we are sav- 
ed by grace not indeed without good works. But 
those wlio are naturally disposed to good must apply 
some attention to il. ScoU's Tomliue. vol. 2, p. 56. 

Clement next proceeds to take up the other 
side; but he has got both sides: beholds man's 
natural ability and his moral inability with equal 
clearness. 



64 

Now let us hear Origen. though manj of them saw with penpicaity the 

The virlue of a rational creature is mixed, arising nature and truth of the distinction, yet the truth 

from his own free will, and the divine power conspir- on that subject was not reduced to that sjstemat- 

ing with him who chooses that which is good. But ic clearness which it has assumed since their 

there is need of our own free will, and of divine coop- day. 

oration which does not depend upon our will, not only I will now quote Jerome* 

to become good and virtuous, but also after we become Through our own will we do not receive the word 

so, that we may persevere la virtue : smce even a per- ^f q^^^ ^„ j therefore it becomes a reproach to us, that 

9on who is made perfect will fall away, if he be elated ^j^^ ^gs given us for salvation, through our own fault, 

by his virtue, and ascribe the whole to himselF, not re- jg converted into punishment, p. 45. 

ferrinff the due glory to Him who contributes by far -,,. ^ , j i« i.u *. uu ^u 

iciiiiiguio M c gi J ^ . . , r^ . J . This father declares that although man is 

the greater share, both in the acquisition ot virtue, ana . i *• ^ .^u i» 

in the oerseverance in it. p. 82. bound to work out his own salvation with fear 

T X J !-• I. r A i A *k«f \^^ woo «nd trembling, yet that he is not able to do it un- 

I quoted h.m before, and showed that he was ,^^^ ^^ should work in him. Is not this right? 

strong on the doctrme of free w.ll, as opposcd to ^^^^ .^ ^^ ^^^^ j.^, ^^^^ ^^ S 

fate. What I have now quoted maj be cons.d- ^^^J^ ^^ conscience will ever effect the work, 

ered as a good commentary upon the text It .s ^,^.^^ .^ ^,^^^ .^ ^^,^ ^^ ^^^^^^ j^ ^ » 

God that worketh in jou both to will and to do ^^ ^.^ ^^^^^ like a lump of lead, in the handsof 

of his good pleasure. ^.^ j^ ^^ ^^ ^^ moved and lifted as a block 

Next we will hear Gregory Nazianzen. of stone. No: he must strive, and ypt, if he 

When you heat 'Those to whom it is given,' add, 'It strives ever so much, he will accomplish nothing 

is given to those who are called, and who are so dis- savingly unlessGod draws him. By the energy 

posed. For wlien you hear, it is not of him that will- ^f ^y^ f^^g ^jn ^g ^^f^^^ ^o receive the word of 

eth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth q^j ^^^ ^^ ^^^ opportunity that was put 

mercy,' I adv.sc you to suppose the same thmg. For .^ ^^^ hand, justly becomes our punishment. Let 

because there are some so proud ol their virtue, as to , ,'•'•'. * 

attribute every thing to themselves, and nothing to us hear Jerome again: 

Him who made them, and gave them wisdom, and is This we say, not that God is ignorant that a nation 

the Author of good, this expression teaches them that or k-ngdom will do this, or that; but that he leaves 

a right will siands in need of assistance from God; or man to his own will, that he may receive either re- 

rather the very desire of what is righi is something wards or punishments, according to his own will and 

divine and the gift of the mercy of God. For we his own merit. Nor does it follow that the whole of 

have need both of power over ourselves and ofsalva- what will happen will be of man, but of his grace, who 

tion from God. Therefore, says he, it is not of him has given all things. For the freedom of the will is 

that willeth, that is, not of him only that willelh, nor so to bo reserved, that the grace of the Giver may ex- 

of him' only that runneth, but of God that showeth.— col in all things, according to the saying of the proph- 

Since the will itself is from God, he with reason attri- et, except the Lord build the bouse, their labor is but 

butes every thing to God. However much you run, lost that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the 

however much you contend, you stand in need of him watchman waketh but in vain. It is not of him that 

who gives the crown. Except the Lord build the willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God ihatshow- 

house, their labor is but lost that build it: except the eth mercy, p. 146. 

Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Though man is a free agent, jet regeneration 

I know, says he, that the race is not to the swift nor is not the effect of his agency, but of God^s free 

the battle to the strong; nor is the victory to those grace: as the preservation of a city is not the 

who fight, nor the harbor to those who sail well; but it result of the watchman's care, but of God's 

is of God both to work the victory and to preserve the ^^^ unsleeping providence. Unless the Lord 

vessel into port. j^^^p ^^^ ^j^^^ ^.^^ watchman waketh but in vain. 

Gregory says that God is the author of faith, Again: 

that he is the beginner of good in the soul; yet g^^ ^^^^^^^^ „^ ^„3 .^ ^^^^ ^j^^out his own will, 

he is equally explicit on the doctrine of free will (f^^ we have free will,) he wills us to will that which 

as opposed to fatalism. He holds that man has jg go^^^ that, when we have willed it, he himself also 

need of all that free agency can do, and all that may will to fulfil his own counsel in us. p. 163. 

grace performs beside. And now let us listen again to Augustine: 

And now we see there were good men who jf i,e (Pelagius) will agree that the will itself, and 

knew something before we were born; and here the action, are assisted by God, and so assisted that 

let me say that there is but one thing which I we cannot will or do anything well witliout that assi*. 

have advanced that I want to take back. I am tance, no controversy will be left between us, as far 

now convinced that I did not give sufficient as I can judge, concerning the assistance of the grace 

credit to those who lived before the times of Ed- of God. p. 221. 

wards for clearness of discrimination on thissub- I referred to this father, as being thestrong- 

ject. If what 1 said in that respect was a slan- est and most explicit of all the fathers on the 

der on the church, L here take it back. The doctrine of man's natural ability. He every- 

fathers did speak more clearly on the distinction where holds that, as a free agent, man is able 

between natural and moral ability than I had to answer the requirements of God;. that God 

supposed they did, before I had so particularly has given him a capacity which sin has not 

examined the ground. It is true, however, that taken away. But then he talks of inability ^ 






ifmt not soch «n uiitbility as. is in opposition 

andcontrndicljon to the one he had before as- 
ierted; but that which is moral only. Would 
Oien have O:- lo believe that Aii<,'u;line was a 
Pelagian, when it was he who stood in the 
breach against that flood of error, which Pel- 
Hgius sought to bting in, and, but for him, would 
have brought in upon the whole church, deny- 
ing tlie Aill and all its efiucts in biasing the 
human will? It will not he pretended Ihat the 
writings of Augustine smell of hcrosj. When 
heia proved lo bo a Pekgian, then I will ad- 
mit myself to be one: but never till then. — 
Augusline taught that there was such an im- 
potency in the human will, as that man*can- 
Dot' convert himself, or prepare himself for 
conversion; because there is such a bias on 
his will, derived from Adam's sin, as must for- 
ever prevent it. Docs Dr. Wilson agree to this? 
I know he does. Dr. Wilson believes free 
will. I believe free will. Di-. Wilson believes 
in man's moral inability. And so do I. And 
now will Dr. Wilson shako hands with me. — 
Augustine would haveshakcn hands with Pela- 

fiuB, if Pelagius would only have admitted what 
admit. And what then is there lo keep us 
apart? But we shall see more oflhis, when we 
come (o the doctrine of original sin. 

Now let us hear Theodoret: 

Neither the grace of ilie Spirit ia sufScienl for those 
who tin Te noi willingness; nor, on llic oilier hand, can 
williagnaas,witlioiil this grace, collect the riclies of 
virtue, p. 21H>. 

Here we see thai while llic grace of the Sjiirit does 
not supersede ilic nccessiiy of earneal aiiention and 
atriving on the pari of man, yd lliat no alrivings of 
man will ever issue in a. saving result, wiilionl Al- 
mighty gnce. And grace is nol lo be expected while 
■ roan wilfully indulges in sloth and sleep, and puts 
(bith no eSbri for his own deliverance. 

I will now Invite the ailcniiou of Presbytery lo the 
IlaTmony ofConfeaaions. Tlie doctrines ufilie early 
reformers in Europe were misunderstood by the Cath- 
olics, against whom lliev cintended, wUa maintained 
ibai iliey were all a sel of schismatics; Ihal they wore 
perpetually jangling among each other, satliiit no two 
oflliem could agree; and on ihia alleged fact, they 
Itrcnglliened the greal atguuient of their church as 
to the necessity of having some head on earth lo the 
visible church, whoso ducistotis might settle contro- 
versies and give uniformity lo the faitli. To meet 
this argument and repel it, the reformers got up this 
book, which is entitled tlio Harmony of the Confes- 
tiona: the design of which was lo show, by collating 
ibe confenions of dilTcrcnt evangelical chufches, lliat 
ihe representatiua of llieir enemies was fdac; and 
that, in all fundauiouial points of faiih, they were ful- 
ly agreed. 

From tins book, 1 am about to show what llie Pro- 
lealantchuiclies, just come out of Ihe fiery furnace 
of Papal peraeculion, held on the subject of the moral 
ftuthilily of man. I have already shown what was llio 
OfHaiiiii of tlie fatlicrs. I shall now show that of the 
' nfonners. And I begin with itie Confession of Hel- 
vetia: 

And we take ain to tx that □alntal corrii|)li<in of 
d«riv«d or spread froin Urate out first parenU un- 
» 



to us all, througb wtuqli vnhamgdrouinediHenleott' 

cuphceiicet, and clean lurned atpay /ram Gad, bitl 
prone la all evil, f\M i,/ allteickedaets. distrust, eon- 
tempt, and hatred nf God, caadonog'ood ofourselvoa, 
uo not BO macli as Ibink oF any. p. 58. 

Here we see that man's inability does not consist 
in any want of understanding or conscience, or any 
other Btlrihute or power ofa perfect free agent; but 
that it is ihe effect of that which is moral; that it arises 
from the evil concupiscene ofn corrupt nature, the 
wilful unbelief ofa wicked hearl. Men cannot do 
what is good. Why? Because iheyhave a moral in- 
ability lodo it. Wlio can bring a clean thing out of an 
unck'an? Again: 

We are to consider, what man was after Iiia Tall. — 
His underataading indeed was not taken from him, 
neither was he deprived of will, and altogether cbang- 
edintoa stone or stock. Nevertheless, these thioga 
are so altered in man, that they are Datable to do 
that now, which they could not do beraro hia Tall. For 
Lis uniteretaading is darkened, and his will, which be- 
fore was _/rre, is now become a servile will: for it 
eerveth sin, not nilling, but trilling: Tor it ia called a 
uiU, and not a nilling. Therorore, as touching evil 
or sin, man does evil, not compelled eilktr by Ood or 
Ike Devil, bill of hit own accord; aad in this respect he 
hath a moat free will. p. 60, 

Tho fall ia here said nol to have deprived man of 
free agency ; not to have turned him into a slock or a 
Hlono; but thai his free agency Is not able to do for 
him now that which it could not do for him before ibe 
fall. His powers as a free agent did nol keep him 
from falling, much less can ihey recover him being 
fallen. Again let us listen to ttie same confession: 

Now it is evident, that the mind or understanding ia 
llio guide of the will: and aoeing the guide is blind, 
it ia easy to bo seen how far the will can reach. — 
Tlierefore man not as yet regenerate Lath no free aitt 
to good, no slrenglli to perform that which is good,— 
p. 61. 

the regeuerale, in the choice and working of 

that which ia good, do not only work passively, bat 
actively. For they are moved of God, that Ihem- 
aelvea may do that which they do. And AiipuMlini 
doth truly allege that aayiny, that Gorf « --■*■''- '- 
our helper. For nu man ct 
dolk lomevlMt. The Manicheea did 



Ipfd, but he, Ihal 



all a 
p. 63. 



I, and made bin: 



lika a 



e and a blocks— 



s helped of grace until 
elf. A piece of lead 
ny be lifted. But it 
I simple reason] that it 



Hero we hnil that n 
he docs aomothing to help liim 
cannot he helped lo rise. III 
cannot be helped. And for ih 
has no agency of its own to bo ucipea. 

Now let us turn to the confession of the Waldensea 
— (a good name.) 

Wherefore ibe spring and principal author of all 
evil is that cruel and detestable devil, the tempter, 
liar, and manxlayer: and next the free will of man, 
which tiutwithetnnding being converted to evil, 
llirough lust iind naughty desires and by porferae con- 
cupiscence, chooselh that which is evil. p. 65. 

Hero we find moral inability again as the conse- 
nuoncc of the fall ; and the efficiency of lemplalion in 
leading fallen men into evil: which efficiency doea 
and miist continue until God by bis Spirit comes to 
the helpof llwsinncr justly condemned, because he 
is in possession of a natural abdiiy which he will not 
exert in obeying Qod. 

I refer next lo tho French Confession: 

Also, altboogh be ha endu«d with will, wboreby be 



66 

is moved to this or that, yet insomuch as that is alto- the Gospel, he doth not say, withont me ^e cannot 
gether captivated under sin, it hath no liberty- at all profit, but without me ye cannot do anything. For 
to desire good, but such as it hath received by grace if he had said, ye cannot profit, then these men might 
and of the gift of God. We believe that all the off- sny, we have need of the help of God, not to begin to 
spring of ^ Jam is infected with this contagion, which do guod, for we have that of ourselves, but to prpfit 
we call original sin, that is, a stain spreading itself it. And a little after. The preparation of the heart 
by propagation, and not by imitation only, as the is in man, but the answer of the tongue is of the Lord. 
Pelagians thought, all whose errors we do detest. — Men not well understanding this, are deceived, think- 
Neither do we think it necessary to search, how this ing that it appertaineth to man to prepare the heart, 
sin may be derived from one unto another. For it is that is, to begin any good thing without the help of 
sufficient that those things which God gave unto the grace of God. But far be it from the children of 
Adam, were not given to him alone, but also to all promise so to understand it, as when they heard the 
bis posterity: and therefore we in his person being Lord saying, without me ye can do nothing, they 
deprived of all those good gifts, are fallen into all this should as it were reprove him, and say. Behold, with- 
misery and curse, pp. G8, G9. out thee we are able to prepare our hearts: or when 
Let ii be remembered that the question in dispute *^®y ^^^^ P»"^ ***® Apostle saying, Not that we are 
was not whether the will of man is free as opposed ^' ^° ^^'^"^ anything, as of ourselves, they should al- 




Belgia; is of God, that he is happy. For what is that, pf 

Therefore whatever things are taught, as touching his own, but of his sini take away sin, which is thy 

man's free will, we do worthily reject them, seeing own, and righteousness, saith he, is of me. For 

that man is the servant of sin, neither can he do any what hast thou that thou hast not received ? Am- 

thing of himself, but as it is given him from heaven: brose saith. Although it be in man, to will that 

For who is so bold as to brag that he is able to per- which is evil, yet he hath not power, to will that 

form whatever he listeth, when as Christ himself which is good, except it be given him. Bernard 

9aith, no man can come unto me, except my Father, saith. If human nature, when it was perfect, could 

which hath sent me, do draw him? Who dare boast not stand, how much less is it able of itself to .rise up 

of his will, which heareth, that All the affections of again, being now corrupt? p. 77. 

the flesh are enemies against God 1 Who will vaunt i u^„« ,,^«, «r,:/i,«.i «i,:o i.««,i ..».v.^i„ *u^ ^^s i 
«f k:o .«»^».»«..«ri:»» , I- ui *i *u *rr»u * 1 nave now iinisheu tins ncad, name y, the nafaral 
of nis understanding, which knoweth, that The natu- ,.,.. ^ ,, i • . r j .• i» ^t 
ral man cannot perceive the things of the Spirit of ab'lity of man, as the only just foundation for the mo- 
Godi TocoBcHide, who is he that dare bring forth ^^^ government of God, and have endeavored to 
any one cogitation of his own, which understandeth show, that the doctrine is taught in our Confession, 
this, that we aro not Able of ourselves to think any ond in the word of God; that it was held by the 
thing, but That we aro sufficient, it is altogether of fathers, and no less strongly by the reformers; and 
Godi Therefore that saying of the Apostle must that man's moral inubilitv is taught with equal clear- 
needs remain firm and steadfast, it is God which work- ness and by the same authorities. All these witness- 
eth in us both to will and to do, even of his good gs of the truth hold to the freedom of the will as op- 

t^\lZ\^ZZ,T^fr''T''^^ \% posed to coercion or necessity, but deny its right in- 

to rest in the will of God, wherem Christ himself 'i- ,• • .i . -i *i *" • .c A j^ ® • 

hath wrought nothing before. The which also he c»'«al»««; and thus, while they justify God's require- 

doth teach us, saying. Without me ye can do nothing ^ents, they throw the sinner at the feet of sovereign 

p. 70. grace. There he lies dead, hopelessly dead, not in 

The Augsburg Confession gives concurrent testi- l^ody, not in natural power; but dead in sins, dead 

iHQi^y. morally, cead lu hatred to God, dead m unbelief, 

A J ^1 . ,. /. , . . , , dead in wilful and obstinate disobedience. And this 

And this corruption of man s nature comprehenoeth r .• .♦ • u.i i ] j j /; i /* i 

ii/vti» fK-. ^«ft>«* «r ^-^-^^i • ♦• • . ^""M'*^"^"'^^''" distinction, once rightly apprehended and firmly fixed 

ootn the defect of original justice, integrity, or obedi- . ^, • \ - i. . . i i i ji "^ i. . 

ence, and also doncupiscence. This defect is horri- "^^'"^ """,^' '^ ^"^^^ ^"^ ^"T^"/^ Iiundred candles light- 

ble blindness, and disobedience, that is, to wit, to want ^^ "P ^"" carried through the whole Bible, 
that light and knowledge of God, which should have After recess Dr. Bcecher resumed: 
been in our nature being perfect, and to want that up- ixtu a t u i j • i x ;i ..t .i 

rightness, that is, that perpetual obedience, that true, ^^^^ ^ ^^^e already said, togeihcr with the 

pure, and chief love of God, and those other gifts of quotations which I have given, from the father's 

perfect nature. Wherefore those defects and this of the Reformation and from the Harmony of 

concupiscence are things damnable, and of their own Confessions, comprises my understandings of the 

I!*'"'^^'^''*'^ of death. And this original blot is doctrine of man's moral inability. And when I 

am indeed, condemning, and bringing eternal death, i . . . * ji «• ^ r.i /• n 

even now also, upon them, which are not born again *^^^^ given my opinion as to the effects of the fall 

by baptism and the Holy Ghost, p. 71. on mankind, you will have my entire view on the 

And what says Augustine ? subject of original sin. And, if there be any 

We confess that there is in all men a free will, P'^^^ j° ^^^ ^^^^^^ system of theology where 




tbgb^gootortvifS^T?' ''"""'"''' "'"^^^ point Of responsible thought and v6ntion. Nor 

T u II 1 • i_ A . 3 A , ^s this wonderful; because here we enter mto a 

I shall close with Augustme and Ambrose: dark cavern where we have no candle to light us, 

PptS'o^nmP ' Jh ^ ?'^' ^^""^^^ "l'^^^ ^^-'^^^ "0 guide to lead us, and no witness to declare to • 
i'elagius to come, doth not say, without me ye* can °u i. • *u r? *u' u t 

hardly do anything, but he saith, without me ye can "^ ^^^^ ^^ *^^^^- ^^^^^^^ reason, whenever I 

do nothing. And that he might also answer these ^^ve attempted to speak on the subject at all, I 

men that w«re to come, in the very same sentence of have always kept close to the Bible, and have 



^Kwrtiaii^tenMheSriz^lbdl^UtheiJriz- 

•■^Bg on thUsubject to be vain, because the entire 
^ philosophy of Ihe infant mind prior to Uie period 
of oveil action iicovered up from us by a veil of 
impenetrable obscurily; except so div as Ihitt 
veil is drawn aside by ihc Bible. What is pre- 
cisely intended in tl>e charge which has been 
brought against me on the subject of original 
sin, I do not esacljy know. But from the evi- 
dence which has been relied on, it would seem 
that I am charged wilh holding the Pelagian 
doctrine that the posterity of Adnm are not af- 
fected by Ilia f;rll, and nre born without any bias 
to evil; and that inHints when born, aro as pure 
as the angels before God's throne. If this is the 
charge, 1 observe that Ihc proof is irrelevant. — 
Dr. Wilson refers, in support of his charge, to 
my sermon on the N;ilive Character of Man. In 
respect to wliieli sermon, I utterly deny tlint it 
teaches any such doctrine. As to tlic Irne in- 
tent and meaning of lh;it discourse, it will be 
better understood, when I have related to the 
presbytery a history of the circumstances in 
which it was written. There was in my con- 
gregation at (he time, an individual of high 
standing in society who possessed much sagacity 
and acute discrimination and great power of ar- 
gument, who became exceedingly restive under 
my prefiching of the doctrine of Total Depravity, 
CFpeciully when I undertook to reject and cast 
nway,as moml excellencies, all those good qual- 
ities and kindly sympathies which nre found in 
unregenerate men; such as parental and conju- 
gal afToction, love and friend^liip, pity for ihe 
poor and distressed; and so uneasy did he at 
length become that he began to write on these 
Bubjects and to broach his opiniuna in eonvcrs.v 
tion,amongyoungmen of high cultivalioni en- 
deavoring to form a parly and make head against 
me, so as to resist the impression of my labors in 
the cause of truth. Perceiving this, I found it 
was lime forme to move, unless I would permit 
the truth lobe undermined. With an especial 
view to meet and to refute (he notions which this 
individual was endeavoring to propagate, I con- 
structed Ihc sermon which is now urged as a 
witness against me on the subject of original sin. 
I began with (he assumpdon that unconverted 
men have no true religion. This I assumed, be- 
cause this was n point which he conceded; and 
having, as I believed, invincibly established it, I 
then proceeded to draw from these premises in- 
ferences which cut up hi.^ system root and branch; 
showing that there was in us by nature no good 

tithing, and that our will tended to evil and only 
pBvil, aud that continually. Under God's blessing 
nthis settled the matter; and (hen, at the request 
Jwfmany, I consented that my sermon should go 
'to the press. The whole discourse has respect 
'4*adult man and to adult man only. Every in- 
"fcrcncc it contains, and every proposition it lays 
^ down, were intended to apply to men in their 
adult state of free agency. What I say on this 



subject is contained in the first tnference, aaJia 

such language as the following: 

'Neillier a Luly nor a depraved nature ore possible, 
ivilhoiJt uuderslaiidiiig, conscience and choice.' 'Abll- 
ily lo obey is indispensalili! to moral tiLiligallon. A 
dcprnved unlure can no more exist wiihout voluntary 
agency and accountabilily ih.in a material nature can 
exist widiout solidily and extension. Whaiever eflect, 
therefore, the fall of man may have bad oa Ijis race, it 
lias not bad lbs etTect to render it impoasihle for raun 
to love God rcli{,'fously ; and wlialevcr may be ifaa 
early constituiion of man, there is notliieg in it and 
nothing willibeld from it wbich renders disobedience 
[actual] uaavoiduble, and obedience [nclual] impassi- 
ble.' 

What Ihe precise effect of Adam's sin was I do 
not say; and how can I be convicted for deliver- 
ing false doctrines on a topic which I express- 
ly refused to discuss, or so much as to touch? I 
protest against (his sermon being received as tes- 
timony, because it is wholly irrelevant. But 
further, if anything had been -said in the sermon 
in respect to original sin, which in its language 
would not bear the test of rigid scrutiny, when 
it is remembered (hat my eye was fixed, and 
all my faculties put in requisition to refute a 
dangerous error without reference to original sin, 
no candid court of Christ would hold me guilty; 
as if I had expressly undertaken to discuss the 
doclrineand had vented dangerous errors in re< 
gard to it. The sermon was written, I believe, 
ten years previous to the controversies which 
now agitate the church; it had not the remot- 
est reference to them; and surely it is not to 
be brought up at this day, to convict me of 
holding this or (hat opinion, on a subject which 
I was not then discussing, hnt which 1 have sinca 
discussed, and with respect to which my opin- 
ions nre avowed and known. The presbytery 
certainly hns a right to get the clearest light 
they can obtain, but they are to judge by the 
testimony, and this testimony is, 1 insist, irrele- 
vant. It is no evidence what my opinions are, 
when Ihavcepokcn directly and professedly, as 
I have since done, on the doctrine of original 
sin? Proof of this lallerdeclaration of opinion 
isabundnnt, but that has not been adduced by Dr. 
Wilson, and is now out of court. And the very 
passngc, and the only passage in the whole 
sermon, which can, by possibility, be twisted in- 
to evidence against me, so far from denying o- 
riginnl sin does by implication assume i(. It ad- 
mils that there was a connection between Adam 
nnd his posterity; owing to which they became 
affected by his sin, (which position the Pelagians 
deny;) and it merely denies with our Confes- 
sion, that there is anything in that connection 
which renders sin a matter of fatality. The 
statement of what I hold in respect (o the doc- 
trine of original sin, m.iy be found in my corres- 
pondence with Dr. Wood, from which give me 
leave to rend an extract: 

'In conseqiicncp of dm sin of Adam, all his postori- 



68 

ty, from the commencement of their moral existence, cial and moral beings aflFectcd by the natneless in- 

nre destitute ofhormess and prone to evil? so that the fluences of the christian example and deeds of 

atoning death of Christ, and the special, renovating their fellow-men, he proceeds to say: 

influence of the Spirit are indispensable to the salva- ^ rj.^^^ ^^^ .^ . ,,jg ^^^^^^^ intimately 

lion of any human being. connected, in a great variety of ways, with tbonsands 

The question put by myself to George Beech- of his fellow-men, whom he has never seen; and that 

cr, with his answers, in Dr. Wilson's presence, the conduct and the character of a eingle individual 

were entirely satisfactory to me. And what may have an extensive, and a lasting influence upon 

views do they contfiin? The presbytery cannot millions of his fellow-men, who are far removed from 

have forgotten them, but let me refresh the mem- him, both as to time and place. 

cry of the court: [This examination is mislaid or 2. That these liabilities may be classed under two 

jj^gj^ j^f^g^ Ql^g^ general heads, viz: — Natural and Posstivo. The son 

',,*^'. ,^. ^-. - , inherits a diseased or a healthy body, and^ in many 

And here I might stop, for I am under no ob- ^^g^g^ ^jg^ ^^^ intellectual or moral character; and 

ligation to volunteer statements of my opinions, generation after generation sustains the character of 
in respect to the subjects on which lam to be their ancestors, by what may be called a natural in- 
tried. My errors are to be shown by evidence; fluence. Like produces and continues like. But in 
and I say that, in this case, the evidence has ut- commercial and political transactions, lasting and ins- 
terly failed; and I might, therefore, repel the portant liabilities are created and continued by poti- 
charge of heresy,as not established. But I have tive arrangements. 

no secrets on this subject, or as to any of the re- 3. That, in all cases of social liabilities, individual 

ligious opinions which I hold. At my time of and representative responsibility are alwayd kept dis- 

life, and especially under the circumstances in tinct. Nor is it, in the most of cases, a very difficult 

which I am placed, both as pastor of a flock, and <hing to have a clear and distinct conception of these 

is an instructor of the rising ministry of the two distinct responsibilities. 

church, 1 have no right to any secret opinions. ^^.^^^ ^'^'f " f ^^l^.^^ Vr*'^^^ ?-''*\^7^'' ^^'J"^ 

I scorn concealment, and therefore I will declare ^f .."J'' "?"«* f^fj '*^^^ »»"^^elf and lus children, and his 

... ,1 ^u Vii • I.- L T J u 1- children's children are deeply interested in the con- 

with all openness, (he things which I do believe, ^^^j ,„j ^,,^,^^,g^ „f ,1,^ President of the U. S. for 

The presbytery sha I not suspect nic of being a ,,,3 ^■^^^ ^eing. An able and virtuous President, 
heretic. If 1 am a heretic, they shall /cnoaj it.— with an able and wise and faithful cabinet, must be a 
You shall have in respect to my views of original great blessing to the millions, both the bom find un- 
sin, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but born, on both sides of the Atlantic. And, on the oth- 
the truth. er band, a weak and a wicked President, and cabinet, 
1. As to the federal or representaiive charac- •""*" be the occasion of inconceivable inconvenienceit, 
ter of Adam, and the covenant with him and his ?."<* '■°^' privations, and sufferings to countless mil- 
posterity. I have through my whole public life, 1°"^' '"U'' f "^ P'^"*'"'' and of succeeding genera- 
telieved and taught that the constitution and '»•«'•»'" ye/, no man ever thought of attributing to 
^1 . /. , . ^,. , ., "«."•."" himself, or to his children, the personal wisdom, or 
character of his entire posterity, as perverted or intellectual ability,or inflexible integrity, which has 
unpervcrtcd, depended on his obedience or de- marked the character of any distinguished executive 
fection; and that he was in this respect, and officer; nor, on the other hand has he ever thought of 
by God's appointment, constitutionally the cove- being charged individually, or of having his children 
nant head and representative of his race. And charged individually, with the weakness, or wicked- 
ihat, in this view, all mankind descending from ness of a bad executive officer. He, and his children 
him, by ordinary generation, sinned in Atm, and nnd his neighbors, and their children feel and ac- 
fell with him in his first transgression; that is knowledge, that they are personally and deeply involv- 
their character and destiny were decided by his ^^ '" ^^® consequences of the official acts of these 
4eed. men, whether these consequences are of a beneficial 
ry^ ^ 1 . /• . -r or a hurtful tendency: but, at the same time, Individ- 
For a more ample expression of my views, I ual and personal merit and demerit, and individual 
«nbmit the remarks of Dr. Bishop, Pnjsident of ai?d personal responsibility, are clearly understood, 
the iViiami University on the subject of Social and never, for a moment, wr^ed in social and rep^ 
Liabilities^ the best name that ever was devised resentative transaction, . 
for (he idea. A name which* I hope, we shall From a view of the above facts it follows, 
all remember and ^x in our minds, as it is calcu- ^' That the terms, gt/t'Z/y and innqtcenl^ must with 
lated to avoid much error which has arisen frohn every thinking man, be used in a different • sense^ 
the use of other phraseology. In respect to the when they are applied to responsibihties incurred by 
bpok from which I am about to quote, I heartily ^^^ conduct of another, from that in which they m-e 
thank that great and good man, for having con- «'*^^«^^^'» ^^P are applied to personal condud. In 
densed so much truth into so small a compass; thefonnerapplication,^««%can.od^ 
and I do believe that the simple substitution of ?»ff«^l'^^*^^»^ and «n«oe^ to be not liable .But 
<k:o f^^k«-^ t • 1 I- U1/9 ^ 1^°''"^ ,, in the latter application, they mean, having violated, or 
this technic, 'social liability' would carry us all having not violated, some moral or positive command- 
out ot the swamp together. For we in fact ment. In the dne case, the terms apply to a person- 
think, and ought to speak the same thing. Af- al act, and to personal character, but in the other 
ter illustrating the social liabilities of men, for they on\y mdirk the nature and the consequences of a 
the conduct of others in the family, in commer- certainact, or acts, as fhese consequences are felt by 
cial relations and as parts of a nation, and as.so- another person. 



0: In ewT? case of Social Liabmtyy «K4r ^ »t»g- 
niaed. The individuaU concerned may be millioM, 
or ouly two, and ihey mny be in every other respect 
and bearing, dialinct ond suparnte; bill in Iho partic- 
ular case in which linhilily op|)lie3, Ihey arc in bw, on- 
ly one moral person. 

'I'he father nnd son, ihe ancestor, and the descen- 
dant, lave only one common nalure, or one common 
right. In cnmmercinl transaclions. 111 e company la 
one, ilwugh composed ofmany individuals; and ilie na- 
tion acting by iho constituted auihorities, with all her 
olber voriiies, apd diffarencca, while a nulion contin- 
ues one and indivisililc- 

And here let me sny, that thia principle is re- 
cognized in ihc relnlion of Adam, to liis posteri- 
Xy, jind of (heirs to liim, so that the effects in pen- 
nl evil, while they blasted him, blasted Itiem 
also. 

There is in mj* apprehension something of this 
conslilutionalsocial llabilitj' pervadingthe whole 
moral universe, nnd inseparable from the nalure 
of mind and moral governmenl, and the effects 
of Icmptiilion, character and example. It is 
probable thai rntiona! beings conslilated as they 
nre, cannot be brought together, bo that the ac- 
tion of one Bhall not in some degree affect the 
others. Whether it was a positive appointment 
merely, or whether it was nn inevitable effect 
flowing from the nalure of things, or which is 
more probable the united result ofbolh; such 
was the constitution established by God, be- 
tween Adam and his seed; so that if Adam 
should stand nil his children woulJ retain their 
integrity; but if he should fall they would fall 
with him. And we mny well apply to the fall of 
our first parents the nffocting language of Mark 
Anthony ovcrCiPsar's body: 

KMi wlisl a rail wm ihttc, my rounirj'meii I 
'rtienjau,Bnd t, ami all or m rdl down.' 

The conslitnlion was equally certain both 
ways; nnd in this respect it was just and equal. 
l( then it ho nslted. whether I hold that Adao) 
wfis the federal lieiid of his posterity? I answer, 
certainly he was; because that which he did, de- 
cided what was to be Ihc character and conduct 
of nil his poslerily. If tlie inquiry is made, 
whether I admit the impn'ation of Adam's sint 
I "ll fimputalion be underslood to mean, that Ajam's 
"^ Micrily were present in him, and thus sinned in 
I answer, No; and Dr. Wilson answers. 
And here wc nre iigreed: and I imagine 
^would be hard to get a vote in favoroflhat 
roctrine in any town meeting you could geCher. 
^For ifmnnkind were present in Adam, nnd in 
thnt sttndc sinned with him, who does not see 
that their sin was actual not original? perianal, 
nnd not derived, or trnnsmittcd, or propagated? 
I know that n doctrine like this was tmight by 
110 less n man than Eilwards himself; nnd he goes 
intft one of ihe most curious discussions ihnt 
ever was (bought of, to show that pcnonal iden- 
tity is consistent wilh the actual existence nnd 
nctuni sinning of nil Adam's poslerity in him; 
find insisting thxt each of all mnnkind wns per- 
sonalty present in Adam, when the covenant 



¥ 



was made, and when it was broken, mnlntnlned 
that there is no distinction between original and 
actual sin. But the day of such a theory is gone 
by; it will trouble the church no more. 

Again: if by original sin be meant, thai Adam's person- 
al qtialitics were transferedipiit over, and stuck on lo 
bis poslerily, (a theory which like the other had once 
iis day) I reply ilint i do not and cannot believe any 
Euch thing; neither does Ur. Wilson believe it, and 
here lei me say liiat all the alarm anil all Ihe odium 
which has been excited in relation lo ihe divines of 
New England, have arisen from two things: iheir op- 
position lo ihe notion of our personal idenlily with 
Adam; and ibeirdenialof llio transfer of his moral 
qualities lohis posleiiiy; But neither of these things 
is involved in the diargcs prcfetre J against me by my 
brother, Dr. Wilson. 

What then is the true doclrine of Original Bin? It 
is the oboxiouaness cf Adam'e posterity to llie pon&l 
co^^seqiiences of his lransgre<sioQ; to all llial came 
in that stream of evils which liisoffunce let in upon 
the world. The same change of consiimiion, of na- 
ture, or, (as Dr. Wilson has it) of character, nrhicb 
was wrouglit in him by hU transgression, appears in 
Ihem Ihrongh all their generations. This liability, 
ihiscxposedaesE to punishment, is in the Confeesion, 
called -Guilt;' hut that won), as ihen used, conveyed 
theologically, a different meaning from what is now 
usally attached to the lenn. By Guilr, we now un- 
derstand the dcacrl of punishment for personal sin; 
but this is not the sense of ihe word in the Confession 
of Faith; there it means liability lo penal evil in con- 
Boquonce of Adam's sin. This was another of ibe 
spills, wliere I sluinhled once, at the language of the 
Confession. I could not consent to tho punishment 
in my person of the guilt of Adam's sin as being per- 
sonally my own. To that I do not now consent. 
Thai I now believe tlie Confession of Faith not to 
leach; hut 1 cordially receive it as teaching that Ad- 
am was OUT re pose nta live, and thai on his breaking 
Gnd^s righteous covenant with him ns such, tlie curse, 
which full like a thunder clap nnd struck the offender, 
struck widi him all his posterity, struck all the nai- 
mnl world, struck ihe ground on which healood, and 
ihcwhulo world in which be dwelt, 

'^[ili [(It Ihc wound.' 

This sncial liability is illustrated in ihe full of An- 
gela. The influence of one master spirit drew away 
(as it would seem from some passages in Scripture) 
one third pitrl of the heavenly boat. Let aedilion and 
revolt take place in a nation; who gets il up! does 
ihe entire nja«H of ilie nation oil rise spontaneously 
and siniulianoou^ly by one common iupulsef Nu. 
Some loading mind first flres ilio train; and I hu' one 
half the (xipuhiiion may uliiinately perish under Iho 
reaction of the Uovernmeni, Iheir death is to be lia- 
ccd up In one master spirit asllicmnvcr nnd promoter 
of Ilio whole ciimtnulion. Let us never forgei the 
maxim — it is worthy lobo written in letters of gold, 
'individual and repesent>Uive responsibility are always 
to bo kept disiincl.' 1 adept thid langusjte of Dr. 
Ilisliopand lay il in, aannexpiisilioo uf my own viewa^ 
with respect to the cl>atacter ui' Adura, to guih na hn- 
puled, and Co piiiiishmeni as die Donse<iuence of our 
social reluliuns. 1 havo always adopted iho language 
of Edwarilsias correctly Bloting the truth on lliia sub- 
ject. 

'In conai;<|nenco of Adam's sin, all mankind do 



70 



constantly, in all ages, without fail in any one instance, 
run into llie moral evil-, which is, in effect, their ow« 
Mtter and eternal perdition, and a total privation of 
God's favor, and suffering of his vengeance and 
wrath.' 

So that the real doctrine is not that Adam's 
posterity were one in personal identity, or per- 
sonally guilty, hy a transfer of sinful moral quali- 
ties or actions; but simply that apart of the 
curse of the law fell on the posterity of Adam, 
as really as on himself; and the punishment was, 
the loss of original righteousness which would 
lijive been their inheritance had Adam obeyed; 
and that change of the constitution of human 
nature, from which results the certainty of entire 
actual sin. Now what the particular change 
was, which furnished the ground of this absolute 
certainty, that all mankind would run into sin, 
I do not profess to understand. Paul, in the 
fifth chapter of Romans, states the facts of the 
case, in the imputation of a nature spoiled and 
tinder such an effectual bias that as soon as the 
mind acts, it acts wrong. This is all that I can 
say touching original sin. All is confusion and 
darkness beyond this. I have no light and pre- 
tend to no knowledge. And surely there is no 
heresy in ignorance. I always believed in 
original sin, and that Adam was the federal head 
of his posterity; although I have not used that 
particular phrase. I believe as much in the 
truth it is intended to convey, as any man in the 
church. I believe that God made a covenant 
with Adam; that its effects reached all his pos- 
terity and produced in them such a change, that 
the human mind which before willed right 
thence foiward, was sure to will wrong; that, in 
consequence of the change which took place in 
Adam liimself, the happy bias, which, had Adam 
stood, would have been the blessed inheritance 
of all his children, was utterly lost, so that they 
now inherit a corrupt nature. I have always 
called it so. I have expressly denominated it a 
depraved nature. I believ.e they inherit this not 
as actual personal sinners, that it comes upon 
them, not as a punishment of their personal sin, 
but as a political evil would come upon the peo- 
ple of the United States from the evil conduct of 
their Chief Magistrate. In a word, that wc 
share the character of our progenitor, and all the 
deplorable effects of his transgression. 

And Ishall now show that this is the view 
entertained by the professors of the Princeton 
Seminary. Let me read a passage from the 
Biblical Repertory, for July, 1830, p. 436: 

What we deny, therefore is, first, that this doctrine 
involves any mysterious unipn with Adam, any con- 
fusion of our identity with his, so that his act was 
personally and properly our act; and secondly, that 
the moral turpitude of that sin was transferred from 
him to us; we deny the possibility of any sttch transfer. 
These are the two Ideas which the Spectator and others 
consider as necessarily involved in the doctrine of 
imputation, and for rejecting which, they represent 
«s as having abandoned the old doctrine on the sub- 
ject. 



The words gtdU and puitMmeni are tliose. 

particularly refened to. The former we had defined 
to be liability or exposedness to punishment. We 
did not mean to say that the word never included the 
idea of moral turpitude or criminality. We were 
speaking of its theological usage. It is very possible 
tliat a word may have one sense in comnran life, and 
another, somewhat modified, in particular sciences, 
p. 440. 

Punishment, according to our views, is an 

evil inflicted on a person, in the execution of a judicial 
sentence, on account of sin. That tjie word is used 
in this sense, for evils thus inflicted on one person for 
the offence of another, cannot be denied. It would 
be easy to fill a volume with examples of this usage, 
p. 441. 

These are the two mistaken views which the 
clergy of New England have always battled 
with; and I do not believe that, on these points, 
there is any substantial difference between the 
tenets of the New England divines, and tSose of 
the whole Presbyterian church. You may read 
Dwight and Bellamy and West, and all her other 
standard writers, and you will find that they 
impugn fhe two points which Dr. Wilson also 
impugns; and that they hold all the rest. I will 
next quote Dr. Wilson himself: 

Let us guard here against some mistakes. The 
doctrine of a union of representation does not involve 
in it the idea of personal identity. It does not mean 
that Adam and his posterity are the same identical 
persons. It docs not mean that his act was personally 
and properly their act. Nor does it mean that the 
moral turpitude of Adam's sin was transferred to his 
descendants. Tiie transfer of moral character makes 
no part of the doctrine of imputation. 

This is all right — rvery orthodox — and it ex- 
presses my views exactly. Now let my brother 
differ from me if he can. I throw these errors 
overheard; and so does he. And the Repertory 
says, whoever holds that we are punished for 
Adam's sin, holds the doctrine of imputation- 
Well, I hold it; so I hold the doctrine of imputa- 
tioii: that is my doctrine. 

The Repertory says also, guilt is removed by 
pardon: not personal demerit, but exposure to 
punishment. *Guilt' as used now, means desert 
of punishment for personal crime; and here lies 
all the difference between us. One party takes 
guilt in the one sense, and the other takes it in 
the other, and then they commence a violent 
contest, like the fight about the color of a shield, 
which was white on the one side and black on the 
other. 

The Repertory next comes to the word pun- 
ishment — and this like the word guilt, has its 
technical and theological as well as its popular 
use. And just the same disputes arise here as 
did with respect to guilt. . It is asked Imw can a 
man be justly punished for the act of another 
which happened before he was born? and 'pun- 
ished' being understood to mean penal evil for 
Eersonal demerit, the question is unanswerable: 
Ut takjB the word in its theological sen^o, as 
meaning evil which comes upon one man ia con- 



sequence of the net of nnother with whom he 
stRnda connected in social liability, and the 
difficulty is over. In this t:itttT sense we are 
punished; In n sense no linrdcr to be understood 
than how the children of Achrin, and of Korah, 
Satlian nnd Abiram were punished for the 
transgressions of tlieir parents, and went down 
with them into the opening earth or were con- 
sumed with lliem in the same fire. That happy 
and luminous phrase SOCIAL LiABtMTy keeps ua 
out of the fog. 

Let me now refer the Presbytery to a judi- 
cial decision of the General Assembly in Ihc 
case of Mr. Balcli. 

Tlie transferring of personnl sjn or rigbteouaneas 
bos iieTcr been held by Cnlvinistic divines, nor by nny 
person in uur cliurch ns far bs is known lo us. But, 
with regnrd to bis (Mr. B.'s) doctrine of original sin, 
i[ is lo bo observed, that ho is erroneous in repre- 
senting pei'sonel corruption as not derived from Adam; 
fnaking Adrnn^s sin lo be imputed to his postcrriy tn 
consequence of o corrupt nature already poitetted, 
and derived from, we know not what; thus m cBect 
selling aside llie Idea of Adam's being the fodend 
head, or representative of his descendants, and 
ilic whulo duclrino of llie covenant of works, p. 
130. 

Now it may be that there are some things in 
Dr. Wilson's views respecting Adam's reprcscnt- 
Htive ctiitraclcr, or on imputation, which 1 do 
not underslniid; but what I do understand and 
what I leach, is (hat which I have slated, nnd it 
is the fame whicli has been held in the church 
of God from (lie days of Augudine until now. 
I presume and hope that Dr. Wilson and myself 
are now agreed in our underslniiding of this 
mil Iter. 

To close Ihc subject I will again rend iho 
passage already quoted from my sermon on the 
Fnith. once delivered to the saints. 

[S^-e a»fe, p.41.] 

[Presbytery here took a recess.] 

in the next place 1 am charged by Dr. Wilson 
with teaching the doctrine of Perfection. 

On thissulycct it will not ho necc^ary lo go 
inlo any extended analysis. The subject in dis- 
cussion is that of evangelical obedience, and the 
ability of the sinner lo render il. I do teach 
that a, sinner is ablt lo render such obedience as 
the gospel requires, and that so far as God 
renders him teUling he is perfect. But my ser- 
mon nowhere tenches that God does actually 
render him willing to keep all his commandments. 
1 know that to cflect this nothing is needful but 
that the sinner should be willing; where once he 
is so, all obstacle is removed. If my language 
in the sermon dues convey the idea, Ihat a sin- 
ner is, ever, so rendered willing that he keeps 
the cniire will of God, I conveyed that which I 
did not mean. And Dr. Wilson knows that this 
is and must he so; for ho has himself admitted 
that he does not believe that 1 hold the doc- 
trine of llie Perfectionists. But whiit do 1 
sayT 

Indasd, to In able and unwilliug lo obey (JoJ, is 



the only possible way in which a free agent can be- 
come deserving of condemnation and pualshmcnl. 
So long as be is able and willing to obey, lliore can 
be no sin, and the moment the ability of obedience 
censes, the commission of sin becomes impossible, 
p. U. 

What, then, when be moves on to that work of sot- 
ereiga mercy, which no sinner ever resisted, and 
without wliicli no one ever submilled lo God, what 
docs he do! When he pouts the daylight of omni- 
science upon the soul, and comes to search out what 
is amiss, uiid put in order that which is out of ilie way, 
what impediment lo obedience does be find lobe 
removed, and wlinl work does he perform? He finds 
only the will pervericd, and obsiinalely persisting in 
lis wicked choice; and in the day of faia power, oil 
be nccomplishes i^, to make Ihe sinner willing, p. 
19. 

Both passages respect wiliingness to obey the 
gospel, and have no reference to a perfect obe- 
dience of the moral law. 

Dr. Wilson here inquired, whether he had 
rightly undei^lood Dr. Bcecher to say. lhat God 
did not render a convicted sinner willing to do 
ail hi? commands^ Dr. Beecher replied that he 
had said so. God commands us to be perfect. 
But I am not speaking of legal perfection; my 
language is to be governed hy the subject. 1 
deny that that willingness which God creates ii\ 
tlic heart of a christian, ever is such as actually 
leads him to keep all his commands. 

As to Ihc otherevidence apart from my sermon, 
I was surprised that Dr. Wilson should bring 
forwardthe misapprehension and misconstruction 
of those whom he holds to be heretics, in order to 

frove what doctrine I have (aught — when what 
have taught is on record, and the record is in 
his hands. And though I will not allow myself 
(o draw unfavorable inferences, and though I 
desire to give dominion lo thai charity which 
hopeth all things, and have worked hard to keep 
an opposite conclusion out of my mindj still the 
impression will intrude itself lhat it was wrong, 
very wrong in my brother to bring forward such 
n charge on no better proof. I am n minister of 
Jesu) Christ; and 1 am placed hy his authority 
nnd providence at the head of a Theological 
Institution for the education of those who wish to 
become ministers after me. The utmost influ- 
ence which I can wield is needed hy an infant 
institution under its present circumstances; and 
I have volunteeredlhe jeoparding of my all with 
a view to build it up, and secure those important 
nnd hiippy results which it promises to accom- 
plish for this wcslern world. A man so situated 
ought not lightly to be held up to suspicion. 
Charges such as those preferred against me, 
nwalce Ihc public car, and hold up me and my 
character and my designs as objects of unfriendly 
notice and undefined suspicion. Ought this to 
be ilone except on grounds the most solid nnd 
irrefragable* Surely it ought not; and there- 
fore it h,that the constitution of our church 
makes nn accuser responsible for t>fingiDg for- 
ward charges, which ho fails toiubslnntiate. 




72 

Now what is the evidence that I teach anj roagh state, to the very kitent that the dour might be 

doctrine of Perfection? Some young man, some separated from the bran. If our young men are per- 

where, has written a letter to Theodore D. feet theologians when they apply to us for admission. 

Weld, with a view to convert him to the notions we have only to make them a bow and very respect- 

of the Perfectionists. And this is brought to ^""X s*^"^ ibe door, recommending them to take 

provethat /teach those notions! Dr. Wilson license and go to preachmg. , 
knows that this is no evidence. But then he But what is the next fact in evidence. That 

asserts that some of the students in Lane Seniin- I have warned the students against the doctHne 

ary held those notions and were perfectionists in ^^ perfection. I confess it. 1 did so; and 1 sup- 

principle. Supposing they were, does that prove posed I was doing my duty. If I warned stu- 

that / taught the doctrine? There was a Hop- ^^nts against it, why then I 9uppoae that I did 

kinsian student in Dr. Mason's Seminary in New "^^ teach it. It has been testified that I deliver- 

York— does that prove that Dr. Mason was a ed a lecture to them on the seventh of Romans. 

Hopkiosian? But there rs one fact, which has L^.*../^:,^:^'Luf 1 :^Lj ^^ "^"^ 

been proved on 
Wilson ought 
ed to ring the 

was not one perfectionist in the Seminary. . • t»ru i. • i_ /• 

fessor Biggs and several of the students have m/ own church. Where then is the foundation 

been examined before yen, and they expressly ^^ ^^is injurious charge? Cannot my brother 

say, that they do not know of a single young man n<>^^ see that it was wholly premature, and very 

in that institution who holds the perfectionist wrong, to bring charges hke this before a court 

notions. And what was the origin of the report, of Jesus Christ, without one shred of evidence 

if report there was, on which Dr. Wilson has *» support them? 

founded his charge? It was that some of the ^gain I am charged with preaching the doc- 

studentsheld one oftheoldHopkinsian notions, trme of regeneration as accomplished by the 

which has been called the exercise scheme; and t**"^'^- 0» ^ t^F^ like this much might be said, 

here let me state that concerning that old Hop- J shall, however, content myself with sayfng but 

kinsian system, I heard Dr. Green say he could "^"e. I have no theory to produce and descant 

get along with it very well. At all events no "P0"5 ^"* shall refer simply to the catechisfn and 

body ever thought of calling Emmonism the doc- ^^ the Bible. What says the shorter catechism? 
trine of Perfection. Was ever anything more Q. 89. How is the word made effectual to salva- 

absurd than such an assertion? Dr. Emmon's t*on? 

notion is, that the exercises of a christian's mind. 4\T^f ^P'"* ^S.^^^r ^^^^^ }^^ reading, but es^ 

alternate from good to bad; that such as are pecmlly the preaching of the word, an effectual raeana 

good, are perfectly good without mixture of evil; l^^T'^J^^^ ^°^ of b«,ldmg 

Ind that such as are bad, are perfectly bad with! them j^m holmes and comfort, through faith, unto 

oiit mixture of good: in other words, that the ^^^ ^^^at says the larger catechism? 

mmd swings from perfect selfishness to perfect benev- q ^^^ ^^^\^ ^j^^ word made effectual to salfE- 

olence, and then swings back again: and this is the ^Jq^^ 

doctrine of Perfection ! A rnan might as well say that ^ ^he Spirit of God maketh the reading, but es- 

a mingled shower of pebbles and hail-stones is a r^««:«n« ik^ ™n«k;r.« r.r*u« «,«-^ <r * i 

^u^^J^c ...-r.o* v.o:i ^ Ar.A ,.,uu ,.«o.^ ♦^ ik:. ^^_ pecially the preaching of the word, an effectual means 

sinners; of 
them un- 

sojourn in the sem'mary would Jiave been a very long A[^\^"'\T2^\^^}\\«ln!;\\^^ *" ^" * 

•D * T T? T» r ,• • duing them to nis will; oistreng<heninff themasrainst 

one. Bat even .f Emraontsm were Perfecl.on.sn,, temptations and corruptions; of building them up in 
(which It « not nor any shadow bf it, but wh.ch Dr. <; ^„j establishing their hearts in holiness and 

Spring now holds while he is the appointed represent- s,,^j.„^t j^^ ^ faith unto salvation. 

"wXl T '=''"''=''1° "i° '^Iv'ff, ,f ^""""P^' 7^ And what says the Confession? 
which be has avowed and published) there was not a ah 4U^«« ^,u L r> a \ *u j *• 4 j . i.i. 
soul in the seminary who held that these perfect ;f * ^^^'^ whom God hath predestinated unto life, 

exercises continued in the bosom of the christian- and those only he ,s pleased in his appointed an^^^^^ 

without alternating exercises of a contrarv character, ^^f"^ '*T »' f''T''}^y '^^^"' ^ • T' k^^u ^'"^ 

So far from it, you have heard the witnesses testify, out of that state of sin and death in which they are 

that these students humbly confessed their sins before ^y^^^^^ure, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; en- 

God in prayer, just as all other christians do. And I'ghtemng their minds s^^^^^ 

was this ground on which lo hold up a christian min- ^.^^^^^"^ ^^^. ^.^""^^ f ^°^ ^ ^^^'"^ ^7^^ '^^'' ^^"^ ^ 
ister to the nublic iraze as a heretic? Have I taught ^^°"®' and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renew- 
^!Llr r ^il ^ ! ^^'?1'^^ ^.f ® V^^l ing ll^eir wills, and by his almighty power determin- 
perfection, because I had some Emmonsite studentt . ^ ^, . .u * ,„u:/u:« „^«^.^„^ V.ir«^*. n j 
i.«r*>^ 4^ «!« rr.. • « ♦• wi, T 4U u* «i«» « ing them to that which IS good; and eflectually draw- 
come to me for instruction? Why,! thought that a . ® ., , t««.,« r»L..:»#. ««♦».> «»*i,^, ^ i 
.1 1 . 1 p 1 1 r .1 mff them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most 
theological seminary was founded for the very pur- r i i • ^ ^« ,*:ii2«^ k„ k:» „.««« iu '^^ '"^* 
c «T • J J- .• -lU • • r • freely, beinff made willing by his grace, ch. x. sec. 1. 
pose of rectifying and directing the opinions of pious, •'' tu i i 

but inexperienced young men on the various topics of And now I beg leave to submit such quota- 
theological inquiry. I thought it was an intellectual tions from the Bible as shall present the views 
and doctrinal mill into which minds were cast in their that I entertain on this subject. 



See Rom. viii. 80, xi. lOjEph. i. 10, 11; 2d Thess. heresy, I shall carry it out of the church with 

«; 3 H; ^d^or. iii.3,6; Rom. viii.2; Eph. ii. 1-5; me— and yet I hope that I shall leave il in the 

2d Tim. 1. 9, 10; Acts xxvi. 18; 1st Cor. ii. 10, 12; church too 

Eph. i. 17, 18; Ezek. xxxvi. 26, xi. 19; Phil. ii. 13: p 'Lrf^.t. o^;^„..«^^ ,«*i «r,«.^ 

Deut. XXX. 6; Ezek. xxxvi. 27; Epii. i. 19; Jolin vi! Jresbytery adjourned until Tuesday morning, 

44, 45; Cant. i. 4; Psa. ex. 3; John vi. 37; Rom. ^^%^^<>^f ^»th prayer. ^ 

vi 16 17 18 luesday nwrning^ June 17m. — Presbytery 

The whole mailer turns upon this-a thing which "^^* ^'^"^ was opened with prayer. Dr. Beecher 

is done by instrumental agency, cannot at the same resumed his defence: 

time be done by direct agency; because it involves a J^ "f ^ *^®®" «^^^' ^^^^ ability and obligation, 

contradiction. Now our book says, thai regeneration ^"en brought together, imply absolute perfec- 

18 accomplished by the instrumentality of the word of tion. And so say the Perfectionists. But Dr. 

God, the gospel of Christ; and the Bible declares, Wilson does himself great injustice, if he says 

that men are begotten by the incorruptible seed of the that there is no man but must be perfect, if he 

word — and Paul declares that it is by the cross of has the power of being so. That proposition 

Christ that he is crucified to the world. The Cate- assumes, that every free agent does all that he is 

chism and the Bible, therefore, both say that the sav- able to do; so that if you show that he is able to 

ing change in man is accomplished by instrumentality; ^eep God's commandments, it pro?es that he does 

and the charge against me implies that this is untrue, ^^g^ them. 

We both admit that it is God who converts; bull say tu * j *u j. • ui j. i. al 
he converts men through his word of trulh, and Dn ' ^ave proved that man is able to obey the corn- 
Wilson says that he converts them by a direct agency, mandmcnts of God, whether in the gospel or the 
without any intervening instrumentality whatever.— 'a^* ^^^ ^^^ Wilson says, if so, then I hold 
On account of this difference between us, he charges that man is perfect; because no free agent has 
me with heresy. My answer is, to the law and to the ability, unless he does all that he is commaded 
testimony. to do. 

And first, the subject does not require in its \P^^ Wilson said, that Dr. Beecher had ad- 
own nature the intervention of God's naked om- fitted, that so long as a man is both able and 
nipotency. This indeed would be required, if an willing, there can be no sin. Did he mean to fe- 
operation was to be performed in the natural f"*® ^^^ ^^^ argument?] 

world. Matter can be moved in no other way. ^^* Beecher replied by asking whether all 

But as the eflfect is a moral one, being none other ^^^ ^^o were able to pay their honest debts, do 

than a change of an enemy into a friend, what always pay them? and whether if a man did not 

is the instrumentality by which it is to be eflFect- P^J his debts, it follows that of course he was 

ed? Must not that be moral also? Why did not able? Did a miser give always according to 

Christ die? Why was his atoning blood put Ws ability? or is not a liar able to speak the 

into the hand of the Spirit, to be thrown by him truth? Dr. Beecher said, that he was amazed 

upon hard-hearted man, that he may be subdued »* the argument of the Perfectionists; and still 

to love and obedience? Are these the means more, that his brother Wilson should have clas- 

which God employs, when he works a change sed himself with them. 

in things material and natural? What should But, said Dr. Beecher, another argument 

God employ to move a free agent, but the mo- brought against me is that the heresies I have 

tives so abundantly contained in his own word? taught lead to the doctrine of perfection, as their 

The charge assumes that He works this change natural result. Dr. Wilson has conceded, that 

without means of any kind. Now I don't phil- he himself never supposed I meant to teach per- 

osophize about the matter. Let them who do, fection. But he affirms that I teach that from 

tell us how enemies are reconciled. It is not for which others draw the doctrine of perfection as 

me to say how God does this work. It is for an inference. Now admitting the fact that 

God alone. to tell. God says he does it by the they do draw such an inference, the question is, 

word; and the catechism says he makes the word whether they draw it logically; whether my 

an effectual means of doing it; and if the premises lead to any such conclusion? And I 

Word has done it, and has been effectual in doing have proved that they do not. Will Dr. Wilson 

it, then it is not done without the word, by di- affirm, that a man holds and teaches whatsoever 

rect power. If a thing cannot be done in two other men draw as inferences from his language? 

different ways, at the same time, and it is known There were ignorant and unlearned men who 

from good evidence that it is done in one way; perverted even the language of Paul. If a 

then we know that itis not done in the other way. man's doctrine is <o be tested by the use which 

A tree cannot be cut down with an ax, and at heretical persons make of it, then Dr. Wilson 




does not push it down ! And as God has said in maintaining their systems, they were only 

that he makes the preaching of the gospel bf- carrying out the principles which Dr. Wilson 

FBCTUAL, no man may set aside God's testimony, had laid down. Such a ground of charge will 

in order to introduce his own philosophy. This not do; it is a sword which cuts both ways, 

is my ground : it is not new divinity ; and if it is Another charge, which I am to answer, is that 

10 



74 

of having slandered the whole church of God. become convinced that instrument did cantaui 

I rather think that such slander is not ac- the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the 

tionable. Men are usually prosecuted for slan- truth. I had no such thought as applying thin 

deringone another; for speaking falsely of men language, rigidly, to the whole Confession, and 

above ground, not below ground; and the whole every particular it contained; but I meant the 

Church of God is not a living <7gcnt to be the remark in reference to the doctrines concerning 

■object of slander. All that 1 have done is to which, it was said my soundness was suspected: 

state historical facts, according to my knowledge and they are doctrines of vital importance. With 

i:>( history. And if, in so doing, I have even fal- res-pect to these, I once more repeat the declara- 

len into error, it is not slander. If I have mis- tion, our Confession teaches the truth, the whole 

read the documents, left to us by the fathers, it truth, and nothing but the truth. If indeed, 

is a mistake, but it is not slander. But I have gome of its terms are taken in the meaning usu- 

. proved the truth of my allegations with respect ally attached to them at this day, it speaks error; 

to the church. I have shown that she holds and but receiving its language in the sense in which 

has held in all ages, that man is a free agent, but the framers intended, it speaks the very truth. 

lies in condition of moral impotcncy ; and I say Nor did I say this for the sake of making a 

ihat this is no slander on the church, but the re- flourish, and producing popular effect; and had 

verse. It is not to her discredit, but to her hon- the intercourse between myself and my brother 

or, that she believes the truth. If I had said Wilson been such, as I weep to think it has not 

that the church held the doctrine of fatalism, been, had he felt the warm beatings of my heart, 

and had failed to prove it, that would have been whilf, he opened his own to me in return, be 

a slander indeed. And now I ask whether Dr. would not have suspected me of such a manoeu* 

Wilson's charity could not by any ingenuity vrc. It has never belonged to my character, 

have found out a more favorable construction to either here or any where else, to conceal ray 

T3uttipon my course? And even admitting that feelings and mask my sentiments. I alwajsgo 

I hod fallen into a mistake, in stating what heart tirst. But brother Wilson seems to think 

i believe io be true; could he not have found that I go head first, and sometimes rather reck- 

forjTiy error a more brotherly name? lessly. 

Dr. Wilson's other charge against me, is that _:_^"^^,^.*^PP^!^_^J11^^^^^ 
of hypocrisy. The occasion 
*4hi8 charge was the rel 

stltute an inquiry into tl --- . . , /. i ii- • « t i 

the ground of common fame. Being dissatisfied keep back from the public view? Is there no 

with that decision, he appealed to the Synod, in ^"ch thing possible as a mistake? And if a man 

which Court I defended the course the Presby- thinks he agrees, when he really differs, must he 

tery had pursued; denied the existence of be a hypocrite? Do men never make mistakes 

that common fame, which had been alleged to who are admitted to be honest? And is it not 

exist, and to furnish ground of process against within the range of possibility, that the things 

mei and openly avowed my faith in the Confes- which I hold to hem the Confession, actually are 

*8ion. It is in this avowal that I am said to have i" i^; arid that it is others who differ from it, and 

^acted hypocritically. The doctrines I held, were "ot I? Before Dr. Wilson can established this 

•as-w^lrknown then as they are now; and when charge, he must prove two things: first, what 

I spoke of the Confession's containing the truth, I ^^'^^'^ ^^^ secondly, that I was not and could 

the whole truth, and nothmg but the truth, my "ot be honest in saying it. Has he proved 

words are to be interpreted by the subject on them? Can he prove them? He has not 

which I was speaking, and are not to be taken Proved them; but he has publicly made the 

out of the record and made to apply to some- charge; and I cannot but consider his course in 

thing else chichi was not talking about. The this matter, as unkmd, unbrotherly and mvidi- 

entire svstem of doctrine contained in the Con- o"s. Christian chanty hopeth all things, and 

fession was fiot the matter in dispute: the discus- beljcvcth all things; and it never will adrnit the 

•sioii had reference only to a few points of doc- «Jtistence of sin in a brother, and especially a sm 

trine, concerning which I was charged with fo o^/o"s as that of hypocrisy, till the proof is 

hddiflg error. It is an irrefragable law o^f iji- irresistible. 

terpretation,that words, spoken are to be under- I have attempted to show that the Confession 
stood in reference only to the matter concern- teaches man's natural ability .is a free agent, 
Ing which they were uttered. Now it was in and bis xnoral inability, as a fallen and lost sin- 
reference to these particular idoctrines, that I ner; that on the subjects of original sin, includ- 
said, there had been a time when I could not ful- ing federal representation, the covenant with 
ly accord with the language of the Confession; Adam and his posterity, the imputation of sin, 
but that since! had attended more fully to the the guilt of it, its punishment, and the original 
subject, and had acquired more knowledge of bias of our nature and will, 1 have taught noth- 
the meaning of the terms employed as technics, ing against the Confession of Faith. On the 
at the time the Confession was adopted, — terms contrary, all that I have written and avowed on 
now obsolete but then w'ell understood — I had these subjects, is in strict accordance with the 




Confceston; with the views of the standard 
writers in the church, nnd with the Bible. I 
have shown that my views of regcneriitton, by 
the special influence of (he Spirit, and the instru- 
mentality of truth, are expressed fully by the 
Lai^er and Shorter Catechisms ■ and by the 
article concerning effectual calling, in the Con- 
fession. I do not deny, but admit, the interpo- 
sition of- the direct power of God so far as it re- 
spects he bodily and nntural power of man, so 
far as these are calculated to impede hisemanci- 
palinn from sin> Whatever impediment may 
arise from bodily habit or constitution, may 
be, and no doubt is, operated upon directly; 
and in these respects I never denied or disbe- 
lieved that an exerlioa of God's nntural power, 
M far as it respects natural things, is concern- 
ed in the work of man's regeneration. This 
I have always believed, nnd well 1 may; for 
Dolhing but the direct interposition of God's 
almighty power can account for my own convic- 
tion of sin, which was as instantaneous as a Hash 
of lightning. What was it that opened my 
eyes! What was it that directed my natural 
powers to such thoughts as instantly filled and 
absorbed (hem? How was it, (hat the whole 
train of the operations of my mind was, in a 
moment, turned to that subject and that alone; 
and thatlhewholehcmisphere was instantaneous- 
ly Glled with light? AVhat convinced me in an 
instant of my sin, and spread before me the ter- 
rors of the law of God? How was it that I saw 
at a glance, the broad circumference of that 
law, and my own voluntary, total, and ccnstant 
violation of it? No doubt there was a direct 
interposition; no doubt there was in eome rc- 
epec(s, nnd(o a certain degree, an exertion of 
God's omnipotent power. But it was his own 
truth that wrought upon my he rl . God 
docs not change man, as if he were a block; but 
as a free agent, nnd by means properly ad- 
apted to a free agent, according as it seems good 
in his own sight; and he puts forth his natural 
pnwcr,only so far as to make that which is moral 
more sure in its results. 

There is but another point which needs ex- 
planation, and on which (he mindn of some of 
my brethren may still labor. I have already 
shown that my sermon on the native charac- 
ter of man, was not designed to have any 
reference to original sin; (hat it spake only 
of (he present, actual condition of adult mind; 
nnd that the question how a man came into 
such a state, was not so much as touched; that 
I was teaching the existence of total depra- 
vi(y against a wily and practised antagonist, 
with the sole view of cutting up his false posi- 
tions, and proving regeneration necessary; nnd 
that if i did say what had the appearance of 
looking back and of doubting or denying the 
doctrine of original sin, my language is not to 
he BO understood. But, it is said, that though it 
might not have been my eipress meaning to 
Bwcep nwtiy the doctrine of original sin, yet tlint 



I constractfld r scyllie which cSectually did (be 

work; and that there can be no such thing ns 
reconciling the proposition there laid down, 
with the belief of original Bin, nt all. I pre- 
sume this is the didiculiy. Now (o explain it 
will be easy. There were two systems in regard 
to adult actual depravity. The one holding de- 
pravity to he a moral instinct, a created faculty 
of the soul as much as any other faculty which 
controlled the will according to its moral nature 
as the helm governs the sliip, nnd upon which 
Ihe will could no more act, than the ship can act 
on the helm. The other a philosophy which 
discards this instinctive involuntary moral taste 
and subati(u(es the direct efficiency of God for 
the creation of nil exercises and acts of choice, 
good and bad. 

Tliese philosophical (lieories were prevalent long 
before ibis conttoveray arose. The question concern- 
ing original sin, was not discussed in my congrega- 
lion; loucliing llmt queBlion,all was as quiet aa (be 
sleep of infancy. TJie question was as to ihe volun- 
luriness ofllie depravity of an adult man. Keep this 
in remembrance, and liien let me explain tlic drift of 
thai sermon. After proving lliat llie depravity of 
man ia very great, J proceed in llio sermon, to say 
thai ilia voluntary, and tiiis doctrine I advance in 
ojiposiiion lo ihe philoaoplij which repreaenia the ex- 
istence of a great black pool, somewbere behind iho 
will; Idon'l know how big; but which continually 
pnura out its w.iters of death, killing all ihe gross and 
wirhcring all the planis, and spreading ruin and des- 
olation wherever they como: waters wliicli torn iha 
will as if it were a miil-whoel — allachcd lo some 
sort of patent model, wliicli is coniinuiilly working 
out sin. 1 do not of course intend to be understood 
aa giving the language in which the doctrine is ad- 
vnnced. I seize upon mulnpliora because 1 have 
noiliing better to express my view of it. Tlic doo- 
Irinc I meant to oppose, was tlwl of a physical, nn- 
lurnl, constilulioniil depravity, tolally involuntary; 
and 03 instinctive as (he principle which le aches b 
rohin to bnild her neai, or a lion to cat Heah and not 
grass. Against this notion of instinctive depravity, 
leading men of necessity In do nothing but sin, I 
composed the sermon in which 1 declare, 

' [Thai ilio depravity of [iidull] man, implied in his 
destitution oi religion, is voluntary; that neither a holy 
nor depraved nature, in rospecl lo nclual depravity, ii 
possible; that enmity to God, impenilenco, and uube- 
Jief, constituiing thudcpriivlly of adult man, are vol- 
uiilary, ohalinaie, and inexcusable wicltedness.] 

Isaidso then, and I swy so still; and if llmt is here- 
sy, the court will say so; or if the presbytery doe« 
noi, llio general Dsaemb^ will; and if for Iwlding 
ihcBOHcniimenls it sliull he needful for mo to leave 
iho church, it is easy to judge whether my duly will 
Lie to obey Gud or lu obey man. There is, and there 
mual be, somuthing on account of which llie will al- 
ways acts right or ahvays acts wrong; Bomeihiog 
anittior to voluatnry acilon; some reason why men 
goriglitor go wrong; and this wo may, wilhout iro- 
ptopriciy,call n holy or an unholy naiure. Native 
depravity is tlio constitutional ground of iho certain- 
ly iliai man will act wrnng; nod when I say lliat 
lliore Clin bo neiihcr holy nor unholy action wiib- 
out kiiowlodgc.cunacicnce.snda will, ■ do not nuan 
Ihal iJiere is not sumelliiag in man, which mskeB it 



76 

certain he will err. But 1 only say, that it does not They knew better than to adopt it in any other 

include unbelief and sin as involuntary and neccssa- way. Did they mean by mutual subscription 

ry. I do not throw back actual sin on that which is to imply^ that there was an exact agreement, as 

anterior to all action. . to their views in all things? Far from it. They 

I repeat it, that I am speaking in the sermon came together with better religious views and 

of adult man. 1 say that his wickedness, which feelings; they had found by sad experience that 

is to be overcome by regeneration, is voluntary; where contention is, there is every evil work; 

the act of one who has understanding, con- and they mutually agreed to bury the hatchet 

science and will. But I do not say, that there and walk together under that compromiane 

is nothing before the will which is derived from which alone had first made our church, and un-* 

Adam's sin; but I call it a depraved nature der which she had grown up in the enjoyment 

in a diiferent sense from actual transgression. — of unparalleled prosperity and the brightest 

I insist that all his unbelief and sin arc volunta- smiles of Heaven. And at this day the ques- 

ry; and thai if you take aw<ay understanding, tion is, whether a controversy, which sundered 

conscience, and -the freedom of the will, all ac« the church for nine years, and all whose fmits 

countability is gone. The being is no longer a were wormwood and gall, shall be renewed, 

man; he is a stone, an oyster. by making exact agreement in all things essen- 

One more topic remains to which I must soli- tial to the adoption of the common 8yim>ol; and 

cit the attention of the presbytery. Supposing whether those volcanic fires, which have once 

that, in the explanations I have made, I shall rent the bosom of the church, shall now break 

not have succeeded in convincing all my breth- forth anew and burn with redoubled fury, deso* 

ren of my entire agreement with the Confes- lating in all directions all that is good and fair? 

sion and the Bible, as they understand both; still That there have always existed diversities of 

the discrepancy is not such as is inconsistent sentiment which, if pressed and insisted on, 

with the ends of church fellowship and an hon- might have furnished ground of separation, I 

est subscription to the Confession. can show from various sources. 

1. Similar differences have existed fronri the j^ ^ ^^^^ apnended to Wilson's Essay on the 

beginning. My position is this, tha a hair's probation of Fallen Man, page 101, is an ex- 

breadth coincidence in each particular point, resolution by these Synols which excludes 

never was made, or understood or intended to *[„ ^^^^ ^f ^„y,/ ^^^ J-^^ uniformity. It Is 

be made, a pre-requisite condition of adopting follows* 

the Confession. Nor has it ever been so in „,. ./ txt . • • * i-i r • jn ^ i.- 

practice. The court has only to decide on When the Westmmis^er Confession and Ca^^^^^ 

■^ ... . .. j./r T T J JT were received by the Presbyterian Church in Amen- 

one thing: whether my differences, if I do dif- and adopted by a Synodical act, in 1729, it was 

fer, are such as to vacate the system; to put a ^^^ this Proviso: 

sword into its vitals. If they are, then I ought iAnd in case any minister of the Synod, or candi- 

to be pot out of the church forthwith. But if date for the ministry, shall have any scrapie with re- 

they leave the system heart-whole, with all its spect to any article or articles of said Confession, he 

great organization complete and untouched, and shall in time of making said declaration, declare his 

there is only a philosophical difference with re- scruples to the Synod or Presbytery; who shall, not- 

spect to some of its parts; then, I say, such dif- withstanding, admit him to the exercise of the roin- 

ferences have ever existed in the church, and istry within our bounds, and to ministerial commun- 

subscription to the Confession has never been ion, if the Synod or Presbytery shall judge his scru- 

undei-stood as implying the contrary. P^^" «<^^ essential, or necessary in doctrine worship or 

c% mi- j./r I- L , government. The act of Synod, in 1729, was the 
u J?^ differences have been so great, that basis of Union in 1758: but the discretionary powers 
they did, at one time, produce a temporary sep- of a Presbytery, in trying those whom they are to or- 
aration between the "Synods of New York and dain, are secured to them by the Word of God, and 
Philadelphia. The Synods were divided on can neither be taken away nor abandoned.' - 
what were then called new measures and new Three of the Presidents of Princeton Col- 
divinity: and in the heat of strife, they remain- lege, viz: Edwards, Witherspoon, and Davies, 
ed apart for nine years— yet held to the doctrine of the new school, on the 

3. Without any change of opinion or any re- subject of man's natural tfbility; these, it is ad- 
linquishmcnt of their respective peculiarities, mitted, were some of the most illustrious men 
they came together again, wept over all their that the church has ever been favored to possess; 
divisions and alienations, and unkind and un- and yet they held that very heresy, for which I 
brotherly feelings towards each other; and am now to be turned out of the church. I might 
adopted the Confession of Faith, with a decla- add to the number the name of Samuel Stanhope 
ration, that a subscription to it implied no more Smith, for he agreed with them in this opinion, 
than this, that the subscriber believed it to con- But! am not now in possession of the document- 
tain the system of truth taught in the Word of ary proof necessary to establish the fact. Were 
God. I ask, did these Synods come together these men charged with heresy? on the contra- 
on the ground that the Confession contained the ry they are to this day eulogized in the highest 
truth of God, in the sense in which each other strains, by the very men who are now the cham- 
undorstood it? — or as themselves understood it. pions pf orthodoxy in the Presbyterian Church. 



„, n haB mora ezacti; or mote fully ntal 

Jhe doctrines I hold, on the subject of naluml 
^ability and moral inability, than Dr. Wifhcr- 
gpoon? and yet who has been more extoiled by 
rir. Green! 

But it is said that the General Assembly it- 
self, our highest ecclesiasfical judicatory, has 
condemned my sentiments in the case of Davis's 
book, entitled the Gospel Plan. I deny the fact. 
Had 1 the documents in my hand, I could show 
that his condemnation was not based on these 
doctrines alone, or on these mainly. He was 
condemned on ten distinct charges, oul of which 
two only refer to sentiments at all resembling 
mine. And I say that there is nothing to show 
lluit Davis would have been put out of tho 
church simply on the ground of these two char- 
ges; especially when the self same positions 
as arc here made the ground of accusation, had 
been previously taken by such men as Wither- 
spoon, that great apostle of truth, and by Pres- 
ident Davis, that man whofc whole soul was 
one flame of fire in the cause and service of Je- 
sus Chriat. The man might very well have 
been condemned on such an array of different 
errors, when had he taught only the doctrine of 
natural ability he might have remained undis- 
turbed in possession of his ministerial standing. 
I know very well that many at that day, as at 
this, held natural ability to he an error. But I 
deny that any man had then, or has since, been 
put out of (he church fur holding either this doc- 
trine or any of the others, on which it is now 
sought to destroy me. And Ihc proof is, that 
men known, not only by their preaching but by 
their writings, to hold these sentiments have not 
only been tolerated, but have stood high in 
honor and influence throughout the churcii. — 
They were held by Dr. Wilson of Phlladel- 
pliia — why was not he tried? The Assembly 
met in Philadelphia every year; his sentiments 
were no secret, but it was more than Dr. Green 
dared lo do. The breath of slander had never 
tainted his fair character, his well earned and 
illustrious repulation ; and he has gone to heaven 
with ns unspotted a fame in the Presbylerian 
church,, as any redeemed spirit whom angels 
have conducted to glory. 

When Mr. Barnes was tried, Dr. Spring de- 
clared that he wa? ready to sink or swim with 
him; and yet after that declaration, Dr. Spring 
k*||fts been eent by the voice of the General As- 
Tflftmbly ns their public and honored representa- 
tive lo the churches of Europe. What then is 
' c mnttcr, which makes thnt so bad in one man, 
Ihiit he must be excommunicated; while it is so 
Miocont in nnothcr that he may go all over the 
jjorld, representing iho Presbyterian church of 
rUie Uniled Stiilcs? All that lliold is the old 
|7<vpprovcd New England divinity; it is that and 
'nolhingelHC. And nil the attempts which have 
been made to identify mo wilh the New Haven 
school,nsthnt is nprcsenltid, arc slander. There 
ii nolhint; new in my creed. 1 leamcil it under 



r. Itwight; and my preadiii^ is as sound' as 

was the preaching of that illustrious man. If 
there is anything new in the school which has 
been named after Dr. Taylor, it has not origina- 
ted or changed the faith I hold. If Dr. Taylor 
is a heretic, he stands on his own bottom, and he 
alone must answer it. I stand for myself, and 
for the Confession of Faith, and for the Bible; 
and all attempts to get a fog araund another 
man , and then say that 1 believe the same as he 
docs, are slanders. I protest against (his repre- 
sentative heresy, this plan of dressing somebody 
else with bear skins until you have made him 
an object of fear and horror, and then to cry 
out Dr. Beecher believes as he does. Oh! bat 
Dr. Taylor is my friend and that confirms it. — ■ 
Alas! is every man a heretic, because his friend 
is unhappily falsely accused of heresy! 1 con- 
fess without hesitation that 1 don't believe Dr. 
Taylor is worthy of ecclesiastical disfranchise- 
ment. He would be, 1 admit, if he believed 
as some understand and represent him to believe; 
but that is quite a ditferent case. I have always 
refused to permit Dr. Taylor's opinions, or those 
of any other man, to be the representatives of 
mine; but I have as uniformly declared my dis- 
belief of his unsoundness in the faith, and have 
refused to join the cry of heresy and denuncia- 
tion. I hold the peculiar doctrines of the New 
England divinity, as they were taught fifty years 
ago; and respecting which Dr. Green said that 
he had no objection to [hem; (bathe could get 
along with them very well. Nor was this the 
opinion of Dr. Green alone. The General As- 
sembly must have been of the same mind, for 
they laid down a plan of union and fellowship 
between the Presbyterian church and the church- 
es of New England; and for a longtime their 
delegates voted in each other's courts; and to 
this very hour, you give these men the right hand 
of fellowship. Will it be said that their doc- 
trines were not known? Their doctrines were 
published to the whole world, and were as well 
known then, as they are now; and it was with 
a full knowledge of these doctrines, that those 
churches were admitted to correspondence. — 
Can there be a stronger proof that the senti- 
ments of the New England divines were not 
considered heretical? I stand sheltered, there- 
fore, by deliberate and reiterated decisions of 
the whole Presbyterian church. 1 very well rfr 
member the commencement of (hat arrange- 
mcni. The young Edwards, president of Union 
College, was at the head of the committee who 
reported a plan to the General Assembly; ac- 
cording lo which ruling elders and eommittee- 
men were allowed lo sit side by side in the Gen- 
eral Assembly itself. The object of the ar- 
rangement was the accommodation and oom- 
forl of that flood of emigrant piety which came 
pouring from New England, and settling down 
in (he mid^t of Presbyterians, in all our new set- 
tlements. The distinction, which kept brother 
frombrother,onnccountof n mere diijerenccia 



78 

ecclesiastical connections, weakened both; and vinced of her error, and chooses to tighten her 

impaired and often prevented their ability to cords, and to exclude from her communion all 

support the gospel among them. Remove the who hold the original doctrines of the New Eng- 

separating partition, allow them to unite, and land divines, free from all alleged admixtures of 

they would both become strong. When the Taylorism or other admixtures, she certainly 

Presbyterian church received these strangers has a right to do it. She may, if she chooses, 

into a restricted union with herself, she perfectly turn out all her New England children, after 

well knew the materials she took, and what no- they have done so much to build her walls and ex- 

tions they held; and it is too late at this time of tend her influence and power. But she has no 

day to turn about and kick those out of the right to make that a crime which she has herself 

church, who had been received into it on a mu- legitimated, and invited us to do, and never turn- 

tual agreement; when no change has taken plf'ice ed out any for doing. I will now close with 

in their religious belief, and no stain is alleged some miscellaneous remarks, 

against their moral character. Brethren may Xhis western world is a great world; and it 

say, it was very wrong that they were admitted; needs great influences to bring it out from the 

it was a thing that ought never to have been state of chaos which has grown out of the mixed 

done. Very well, you have a right to your own character of its population. It exhibits to the 

opinion on that question. But it was done; eye of the philosopher and the christian, an ^n- 

and now you must restrain your impatience, un- tirely new spectacle. Never till now was the 

til it shall regularly and in an orderly manner be scriptura Iprediction so near to a literal fulfil- 

undone. But you are not to enact ex post facto ment, that a nation should be born in a day. 

laws, and hang men who came into your church ^ j^ destined, and that very soon, to be the great. 

in obedience to laws then existmg. Give us ^g^ ^^ ^^e nations; and its chief glory is that God has 

fair warnings take back your recognition; let established in it the principles of his truth, and seems 

us out unharmed with as fair a character as we to have selected it as a theatre on which to display 

came in; and then if any of us shall put his their happiest eff*ects. Nor is there any society of 

head in, catch him if you can. We are now men whom God 1ms favored and honored with oppor* 

in, and we came in on your own invitation. Now tunity to acconnplish a greater work, than the Pres- 

does the church of God invite heretics into her byterian Church in these United States. This may be 

bosom and admit them to vote in her courts?— said with sober truth and without any invidiouscomr 

Does she hold ministerial fellowship with here- Pa".son. And whatsoever she is able to do is most im^ 

tics? Does she place heretical committee-men penously needed. 1 he interests of this whole west; 

., u u -lu u au J \A ^ a the interests of our nation and ot the world ; the in- 

on the same bench with her own orthodox elders ^^ ^^ and of religion demand it at her 

It won't do. It is going too far. The church has j^^^^^ j^. ^j^^ Presbyterian church shall preserve 

declared that what I hold is not heresy; and she harmony within her borders; if her ministers shall 

has made the declaration in various ways and in proceed on the ground of bearing and forbearing, 

almost every possible form. Even the last as- there are no limits to the power which this our beau- 

sembly refused to dissolve the existing alliance, tiful and blessed church shall be able to send forth to 

and only recommended that no more churches give strength and glory to the land. But if she shall 

be formed on that plan. But here is Dr. Wil- divide, wo'slheday — it shall belike that day de- 

son's own letter. When he wrote it, he knew scribed in the Revelation, when those who have 

that I had held this doctrine and he had no evi- been enriched by her merchandise shall stand at a 

dence that I had ever renounced it. And here distance, and beholding her burnings, cry out, alas! 

• T^ Ti/Tii 9 1 **«- «,k^ irr.^«r wv.^ o^« 4 1 r«^« f o ^138 ! thatiu ouo day SO great Hches should come to 

IS Dr. Miller's letter, who knew my sentiments ^^^^j^^j^^ L^^k to it! brethren : a little precaution, 

as well as Dr. Wilspn knew them; and never- a little kindness, a little of that charity which restored 

theless urged me vehemently to come to Phila- ^j^^ ^^^ g^^^^g ^^ each other's fellowship, thereby 

delphia, to be a sort of pillar there; and accord- joying j^e foundation for the Presbyterian ^hurch — 

ing to his own flattering representations, to ex* ^\\\ carry us safely over this exigency, and make us a 

ert a tranquilizing influence amid all their con- great and undivided people, terrible to God's adver-- 

tentions, endeavoring to make me believe that I saries as an army with banners, 

was the man of all others, best calculated to ac- But should you choose an opposite course, to-mor- 

complish that great work. Does Dr. Miller not row's sun may not have gone down before you may 

know what is heresy? Would he persuade me have cut asunder the cords of our unity and strength, 

to come and put my hand to the Confession of and broken our church up into fragments. 

Faith against a good conscience? Never. I jvfind is a difficult thing to associate with 

have therefore every possible proof that in cm- ^^^^. j^^d when you have got them together, it 

bracing the Confession, I have done that which ig a difficult and a delicate thing to keep the 

the church and the luminaries of the church, union unbroken; it is like broken bones, which 

thought consistent with a godly sincerity. ^re commencing tore-unite; one unguarded 

As to Dr. Wilson, he had evidence of my touch may in a moment sunder them again: and 

heresy as far back as 1817. He had all that that the Devil knows right well. Yetitiscom- 

time to ponder upon it, and yet he united in call- paratively easy to keep men together, who by 

ing me; and when I came at his call, met me long habit have been accustomed to march shouU 

with a back stroke. Now if the church is con- der to shoulder. It is easy in comparison to 



keep oDward with the stream of grace Rnd the 
breathingsofthe Spirit; butinanovJi hour let 
the bonds of her unity be sundered, and then 
bring the church together tigain if you can. Re- 
member thai slic contains elements ofstrire, such 
as were never before gathered together for the 
production of evil. Consider that there are 
within these United States, notions and feel- 
ings which lead to nuHitlcation. Let that spirit 
once got into the churcb,and let it cutofTono 
groat section of the communion, do jou suppose 
the residue will long hold together? If indeed 
we were only to be separated into two parts or 
three, nnd then could respectively abide in peace 
and (jUJet, the dismemberment might not be nn 
event so deeply to be deplored; nay, it would 
perhaps be advantageous, ihnt the two sections 
of the church, between whom some unpleasant 
bickeringshave taken place, should, like Abra- 
hamandLot,agrec to part their flocks, to pre- 
serve the general peace. But alas! it will not 
be so. Our churches are all on thePresbyleriul 
foundation. The heretical parties mutually de- 
nounced, have it not in iheir power to say lo 
ench other: Ifyou will go to the right, then we 
will go to the left; or, if yon prefer ihe left, then 
we will depart to the right. They are chained 
to the soil, and must continue to mingle togeth- 
er. We shall preach and you will preach. One 
will claim the church, and the other will claim 
(he church. The contention will grow sharper 
and sharper; the love of property mingling now 
in the strife, (ill there will be lawsuits in all di- 
rections. And then where will our hearts bet 
Where will be the blessed inllucnces of the Holy 
Spirit? Where will be the work of missions? 
Where will be our societies for education? — 
Where will be the rising institutions of the west, 
when all our strength, and all our property and 
all our influence and power, have been wasted in 
mutual litigations and mutual rcvilings? The 
Devil will utterascream of joy at a spectacleso 
worthy of his most earnest aspirations. He had 
begun lo thiuk that he musl take leave of the 
west, that he must iibandon his long cherished 
hopeof getting ultimate possession of this great 
and wide and fertile valley. But the news of 
the Sacramental Host of God's own people 
falling out and fighting with each other, will 
heal his deadly wound and bid all his hopes 
revive. No brethren; the Presbyterian church 
cannot divide,and not delay the hour of her 
victory for more than half a cenlurj-. If we 
wilness thai lamentable day we must live and 
die in the midst of contentions; and then 
when wc have sunk amidst the ruins of chris- 
tian charily and the desolation of all our best 
hopes, our children will come up nnd finish 
Ihc bad work which wc have begun. They 
too will prolong the fight; and when the battle 
has raged with mntUHl fury until it has spent its 
strength and the fields on every side are spread 
over with desolation, both victors and vanquish- 
ed will pause in their work of ruin, will gaze 



upon ench other, will remember that* ibey are 
brethren, and will draw near and falling on eacb 
other's necks, will confess their sins and the s 
of their fathers, and casting away the weapons of 
their suicidal strife, will at length shake hnuda 
and cease their broils, nnd late, late in conpari- 
Bon to what it might have been, will they begim 
in sorrow, sin and shame,slowty and with pain 
to buildup that which Ihey had spent half a cea>- 
tury in pulling down. 

I have only one other word to address to joir; 
and that respects my views of the Confession oif 
Faith and discipline of the Presbyterian chnrcfr. 
It was asked, in a letter read by Dr. Wilsonr 
who it was that got up a new Confession of Faithi 
in New England? 1 eannot answer the ques- 
tion. But 1 can tell who put down that attempt. 
The scheme was got up, I believe, in Connecti- 
cut, and it was brought by the editor of the 
Evangelist before the General Association of 
Massachusetts, and I was ihe man who madn 
successful opposition to it in that Association. — 
I never lifted a hand to revise or improve the 
Confession of Failh; and I never shall do so, 
while I hold the doctrines of natural ability as 
true, and while I have found them useful in do- 
ing away the notions of fatality and antlnomian- 
ism. I have never preached them, except for a 
particular and definite purpose; just a" a physi- 
cian gives calomel to a patient in a fever; and 
when the fever is bioken, then administers bark 
and tonics. I have not gone oji preaching my 
own views blindfold. But when I thought 1 had 
preached the doctrine of natural ability long 
enough to root out the opposite errors, then I 
have brought up the doctrine of moral depend- 
ence. And I challenge any one to find an Ar- 
mininn in sentiment, in any of the congregations 
to which it has been my privilege to minister. It 
Is impossible lo preach either the doctrine of free 
agency or dependence, prominently, for any 
lenglh of lime, and not have some men run away 
with one or the other into error. Dr. Wilson, 
for instance, preaches the doctrine of depend- 
ence, and there are some who say that he is a 
fatalist; and, if I am not misinformed, ihere are 
some of his hearers who push his system into 
absolute anlinomianism. Is Dr. Wilson to blame 
for this? Not at all; unless, indeed, he omits to 
preach the doctrines which look the other way. 
Both are true; and both must be preached; and 
ifone only is held up to view, the public mind 
will infallibly get a wrong impression. The 
proportion in which the two branches of the sys- 
tem lire to bo dwelt upon, must depend upon 
circumstances. If a man goes where anlinom- 
ianism is prevalent, he must preach the doctrine 
of natural ability and free agency; on the con- 
trary, if he is called to labor where nrminiun- 
ism is rife, he must preach Ihc doctrine of moral 
dependence. Let a man advocate which ever 
side of Ihc controversy he chooses, nnd let him 
do it ever so judiciously and wisely, there will 
always be novices in the church who will run 



80 

bis sentiments into extremes and will be guilty some people who think (bat the Bible ought to be 
of much extravagance. translated again; and it is. possible that a very few 
I suppose Ihat my opinions, when rightly under- '"•« "^'8^^ ^^ rendered better. But happily for us, 
stood, are very nearly the same as those of Dr. Wil- "« 'ersion wo possess, was made at a period when 
son. Does he suppose that I am not sensible of the '''! English language was m its vigor and perfection, 
danger that must arise from carrying them to ex- "'sjust so with our Confession of Faith. We have 
tremes? I am not insensible toit. 1 am as aware of g<" ^« much truth in it as we can hope to comprise in 
danger as he can be. There will always be men who "^y °^f w°'"'' °' "nmspired men.. Let us be content- 
are incapable of discriminaiion; men half educated, ^°-. 'f *ere are a few points in its philosophy to 
full of zeal, but destitute of knowledge and prudence. *'"5'' ^"^^ *=»""°* "g'"«/» «""'. *"« ""crease and pros- 
Luther was vexed almost to death with such, and so Ipe^'y of our church, under such a union, proves that 
am I, and so is Dr. Wilson. We should unite ; we are 'f^ n^"*" "»'' on account of these differences, break 
united. While I preach natural ability, I do and al- ?•"« ^^^ of brotherhood. Let us hold on to what we 
ways will preach moral dependence ; and if 1 find any ?"« 8"': ^c* "« strengthen the things that remain, 
among my people who carry the doctrine to an extreme, '/ihere is any danger of running into extremes, that 
I put the sword of the Spirit upon them. And if oth- ^«"8«' ", "lauced mainly by controversy. Two com- 
ere carry matters to an extreme on the opposite side, ''*'*''^ ^'^ays, and of necessity, push each other into 
then I turn about and fight them too. That is the opp^ite extremes; wjiile, meantime, aU the fiUmg up, 
atand which every minister is called to take. He is f" the middle ground, where lies the substance and 
placed upon his watch-tower, that he may guard •'.<« blood of the truth, is forsaken and leA unoccu- 
*gainst the approach of danger, alike in every direc- P"*^ «•."" the gladiators, in their zeal, become ultra on 
<ion. I am not so under the influence of a theory as *»»"' »"Jf • }^^ ^''^ church divide, and we may find 
to make every thing yield to that. My people know, ^ ?>"** °' f"^^ ;*Sency on the one side, and too 
that I am not always banging their ears with the doc- much of rnoral inability on the other. The safely of 
trine of natural ability. 1 alternate the two edges of •'?<' "}*'"''}} ''?.? •" retaining both; the safety of the 
the sword, and smite as to me seems good ; that I may "^Y'^^ '^''"^ «''l!'« ^Z^^ balancing influence of all ber 
guard my people on every side, and train them up to children; for Dr. Wilson and for me. He maybe 
become perfect men in Christ Jesus. I think that in "««f".' *« ''««? me straight, and prevent my preaching 
some parts of the church, enough has been said on ">«" l"'" arminianism; and i may be justas necesHa- 
the doctrine of natural ability. 1 thought so in Bos- Vf '« ''^.^P •"." f'*''*' ^"^ Jo prevent his preaching inea 
ton, and therefore I ceased from pressing tl.ose par- '?*° antmomianism. I am therefore not wiUiout hope, 
ticular views. Dr. Woods said that 1 had rightly un- '*"*' *'"« /*"? discussion, in its consequences, will 
deiBtood the type of the disease. I had done with the If?'® <« ^^"^ ,'*^«". » *>'ef' "S fi-om God; (hat after 
calomel, and it w;.s time for the bark. I am aware '!"» «?"'"*' explanation and comparison of our respec- 

that Asa Band has said that the change was induced ^i"*^ ''?!'?' *® *•"«" ^^ *y° *^ ^y?- T^, .**^"^ »<=- 
by other considerations. But he mistakes my mo- tion which at present excites the church, if it does not 
lives. I hold that we are not to take a whole apothe- f"™® [" \^"^''' "O"' ""'?, soonjiave goneby; and I 
cary's shop of medicine and throw it upon the people ''°P« ''l*' *'!'^"^« ''f ^^\ ••>« '"""Tt't™? ^«'"'«' "" 
at once, but that we are to administer it judiciously \^"!t"'}'^^ ^ll^y,"* of. the motto-' United we stand, 
in measure according to the state of the pulse. A <^""^*'^ ^« f*"' ^J"'^'?" "U^',' w't^out fail, aMra- 
stranger comes in, in the second stage of the disease, "?** the ultra tendencies of both parUes. Ihe 
and sees the physician administering tonics, and goes 'Church is better constituted for powerful action hi a 
away and makes a great outcry, and calls (he doctor a ^^^^ """e, (ban she possibly can be, subdivided into 
quack, because he administers bark in a fever. He btUe fragments. If men think of breaking her unity, 
runs round among his acquaintance, and very sagely ""h •he prospect of thereby coming to a greater 
predicts that the patient will die; he goes from house agreement of sentiment, they «•» find, that, instead 
to house, and stire up an excitement, that he may get of seeing eye to eye, from such a division, each heart 
the ignorant quack drummed out of town. And, after W'»beMme more and more ultra and heretical, and the 
all, what does he prove? why, that bo himself is a ""ghty beating of tl« heart, and (he mightv move- 
novice, and a busy-body, propagating slander. There ■"/"'« ""^^he arm, by which she might otherwise have 
is a point where bark is needed ; where laxatives must 1^''?'«=«<1 «" "«^'°'y' *'", "'«." •»« gone forever. May 
cease and tonics begin, and it is the office of medical ^°^ """"^^ '^ g'"*" * calamity, 
science, to ascertain when (hat momen( has arrived. One word more, in respect (o' my brother Wilson. 
I am as much afraid of having (he doctrine of free I love him. . I have, indeed, been not a little grieved 
agency in unskilful hands as Dr. Wilson is. I am as at some things which lie has done, and which, I be- 
much afraid of tearing up the foundations of the Con- lieve, in his cooler moments he would not do. I am 
fcssion of Faith as he can be. If he will read my aware (hat the world say, Dr. Wilson and 1 have been 
thoughts upon creeds, he will find (hat I am as much quarreling. It is not true. It is a lie; and it comes 
attached to creeds as he is; and if he will but consent from the proper place of lies. No wound has been 
to bear with me and try me for awhile, ho will find me made upon my heart; and if I have, unwi(tingly, in- 
standing by the Confession of Faith. Yes; it is an flicted a wound upon his, I here say that I am sorry 
instrument I would not tamper with for the world. I for it. I may have said wrong tilings or weak things; 
have heard some say, that it might be amended, and and if 1 have, I again declare that I am sorry. I have 
I suppose, that in some of its passages, where the no prejudice to gratify; and I hope there exists be- 
phraseology has become obsolete, it possibly might twcen us no foolish ambition as to which shall be the 
be. But the attempt to do it would belike begin- greatest. It is possible that my brother, from the fact 
ningtopull down an old house: once begin, and you of having been a leader all his lifetime, may feel 
cannot stop. You may intend to do but little, yet in some pain under the apprehension of a divided em- 
the end the whole will come down. Just so there arc iiire. I trust there will be nothing of that kind in bis 



boBom. Thai daf Ihat Dr. Wilson an valk ivitli me 
and beor willi me, he may lake, with joy, so far as 1 
am concerned, I he catirelcad. He may increase, and 
I wiah he would; and I will bo conlenl lo dccrense. I 
liave nnother sphere in which to move, and I nin will- 
ing lu como and he his stiballcrn. When he says go, 
I will go. He may be commander-in-chief, nnd 1 
will consent 10 be a corpoml. lam conieni, in any 
cnpacity, lo throw myself in ihc breach. But let 
there bo no conlrovcray between us, who shall bo 
greuleai. I hope we neither of us desire lo be great 
in anything, except il be in doing both of us as much 
work for God ks we can do, in our day and genera- 

The fallowing additional autharities were put in by 
Dr. Buccherat tlie elnee of his defeDce, by consent of 
Dr. Wilson and the Presbytery : 

Teattmonjes to be added to the list of exlractfl, in 
conllnuation, on the Eubjcct of man's natural ability. 

1. Wilsius.— 'He [Adam] sinned with judgment and 
will, to which raculties liberty, ss npiioaeii to com- 
pulBioD, la BO peculiar, nay QEsential, that there can 
either judg-mcnt nor will, uoleas they be free.' — 



Vol. i 



. lae. 



The Andovoc Declaration, eubscribcd by the pro- 
fe seore : 

PREB AOBKCT *ND Natural Abilitt.— 'That 
God's decrees perfectly conEist with human liberty, 
God's universal agency witti the agency of man, and 
man's dependence with his accountability : That 
man has understanding and corporeal strength to do 
alltbat God requires D?him; so that nothing but the 
sinner's aversion to holiness prevents his aalvalion. — 
Laws, p. S. 

MoBAL Ihabilitt. — ' That being morally incapable 
of recovering the image of his Creator, which was lost 
in Adam, every man is justly exposed to eternal dam- 
nation. Laws, page 7. 

Dr. Beechcr al^o refers to Dr. Tyler: see Nnlionnl 
Preacher, vol. ii. pp.161, 163— Dr. Woods' Letlera 
lo Ware, cL v. p. 183— Dr. Woods' third letter loDr. 
Beechcr: Spirit of the Pilgrims, vol. vi. No. ] , pp. 19 
— 33, and lo the extracts In Ihc note at iho end of 
Dr. Becchcr's Sermons on Free Agency and Depend- 
ence. 

Tui-sday.June IG/A. — Aftera prcliminnry con- 
versation, in wliich the order of speaking wjis 
agreed upon, 

Dr. WiUon rose in rejoinder, and addressed 
the Presbyterj nearly as follows: 

We arc told by an inspired aposlle, that 
'tribulation workcth patience;' and the injunc- 
tion delivered to us by the same authority, is to 
'let patience have her perfect work.' I there- 
fore beseech you to hear mc patiently. 

I IhinI: I can say, with all good conscience, 
that I reciprocate the kindness, the courtesy, nnd 
the exhibljoii of fralcrrial feeling made by my 
opponent. But there are some things in which 
he and I so materially ditfer, that I cannot, as 
yet, fhake hand^, as he supposed; and there are 
some methods in his practical manner of exhibit- 
ing his views which it is impossible for me to 
imitate. I cannot, in such a momentous trial as 
this, address my language to the popular car; 
nor can I indulge in that wit and pleasantry 
which is calculated to excite a smile; no more 
can I pretend lo follow him in all those wan- 
dcringsjand turnings, and eccentricities, which 
11 



have 10 abundantly ftppenrod in the course of 

his defence. My object will be, in the fear of 
God, to address my argument to this court; to 
take up the leading and prominent points in dis- 
cussion, leaving olIicrsubordinHte and irrelevant 
matters (as they ought always lo have been left) 
out of the question. 

The introduction of new testimony, after the 
prosecutor had closed his arguments, whs, I be- 
lieve, a nsw measure in judicial proceedings'. 
Men, who act rationally, act from forethought 
and design. I impute no improper motive to 
the court. It was kindness and courtesy on 
your part; and I did not object to it, because I 
wanted to know the truth of the whole case. — 
But I may ask, what was the motive of Dr. Bee- 
chcr in presenting nevr evidence, after I had 
concluded my opening argument, but to prevent 
that argument from making the impression it^ 
was otherwise likely to make on the minds of^ 
this Presbytery? No human eye can look into 
his breast; but we are constrained to judge of • 
men's motives from their conduct. Hence I 
am constrained to infer that this manceuvre was 
designed for popular effect. 

[The Moderator here interposed, and observ- 
ed, that the introduction of new testimony had 
been allowed by the court, in consequence of the 
prosecutor's having, in his opening speech in 
support of the charges lauici'!, introduced new 
matter, not contained in the charges.] 

Well, let lhat pass. lam always witling to 
receive proper information; and when 1 have 
entertained an unfavorable impression touching 
the conduct of any individual, I am always glad 
to have it removed. At all events, the introduc- 
tion of this new testimony, at the opening of 
the defence, prevented that scrutiny nnd that 
application of the tesl^ony which might have 
been made by the prAsecutor; and it opened an 
ample field to the defendant for popular de- 
clamation. And how readily and extensively he 
occupied that field, you all know. 

I hnd entertained a hope that no reply to the 
defence would have become necessary, but this 
untimely introduction of new evidence dispelled 
the pleasing expectation. Audi deeply regret 
that BO much lime has been wasted by the in- 
troduction of matter entirely foreign from the 
mi? ri Is of Ihiscause. In this I am innocent. — 
What made it necessary for mc lo read extracts 
from the Edwardean and the Volunteer? It 
was Dr. Beechcr'a boast of Ihe amount of ec- 
clesiastical capital he hud imported from New 
England ; nnd that boast made to cast odium on 
me. as though I had been the cause of all hia 
difficulties. Who made it necessary for me Xa 
read portions of the PeTfeclioniil f It was Dr. 
Beecher's call for Mr. Brainerd's testimony re- 
specting the faith of that denomination. Who 
gave me the right to read an anonymous letter 
respcrling the doings of the third Presbytery of 
Now York? It was Dr. Beecher's indiscreet 
use ol B part of that document. On whose mo- 



I 



82 

tion were two hours consumed in reading ser- ness who knows so much, and knows so little! 

mons, when a few moments' examination were One thing he knows: the Calvinism of New 

sufficient to fiscertain whether the propositions England is the being opposed to Unitarianism. 

presented by me were correctly extracted? — I do not mean to impeach his veracity; bat I 

But I forbear, in order to make a passing re- repeat, that the testimony of a witness needs 

mark on the letters which have been read and close examination, who knows so much, and 

the testimony taken since I closed my argument* yet knows so little. 

And, [Mr. Bullard here interposed, and called for 

1. The letter written by Dr. Green, in 1828. the reading of his testimony: and it was read 
On this I have only to say, humanum est errare over accordingly, by the clerk. See antCj 
— no man livcth and sinneth not. Dr. Green, page 52.] 

in writing that letter, did wrong. Mr. Bullard complained that Dr. W. had 

2. The letter of Dr. Miller. This letter is misrepresented his testimony, in saying that Mr, 
truly characteristic. It exhibits the urbanity of B. had not been in New England to witness Dr. 
Dr. Miller to the life. It proves the courtesy Beecher's approbation of Dr. Taylor and Mr. 
andkindnessofthatdistinguished man, who wrote Finney. He had been in New England at 
-letters to Presbyterians proving that some of our the time referred to, and yet had not witnessed 
ministers were guilty of offences in the church, it. 

:as heinous as swindling, forgery and perjury, in Dr. Wilson explained. He had understood 

civil society; and at the same time protesting so as the examination proceeded; but, in the 

against a separation from such men. reading of testimony, he perceived no such fact 

3 A letter, to which my name is attached as was recorded, 
chairman of the executive committee of Lane The Moderator stated that Dr. Wilson had 

Seminary, inviting Dr. Beecher to come to Cin- fallen into another important mistake. The 

cinnati, in which I bore as much responsibility terms Caivinistic and Orthodox were notsynonj- 

as the Moderator of this Presbytery bears when mous in New England. The term Orthodox 

he signs, officially, the minutes of your business was used in a general sense, as distinguishing 

in which he has no vote, and which business all who rejected and opposed the tenets of tho 

may have been transacted contrary to his wish- Unitarians. 

es. And for wh«{ p-rp^ses were these letters Dr. Wilson repeated his disclaimer of all impute- 

introduced? To cast unmerited odium upon tion on the veracity of the witness. But be would 

roe; to prop up Dr, Beecher's fallen reputation, ask of the court, what has all this array of untimely 

and to prove that if he deserves to be suspended teoiiuiGny to do with this cause? Nothing, absolute- 

for heresy in 1835, Dr, Green and Miller ought Jy nothing. Is it admissible in a civil court, when a 

to be suspended for inviting him to Philadelphia "P^" »s charged with larceny, for him to introduce tes- 

in 1828, nine years, ago; [the Moderator correct- l'.™^"? ^^^^^^^^ ^^^^ "'"^ y^^^« ago he was reputed by 

i3dDr.W.,itwas seven years;] and only one l^'s neighbors to be an honest man ? Is ,t right, m an 

Ci. T\ -n u J u- u ji ecclesiastical court, when a man is charixed with 

yearafterDr. Beecher commenced his headlong heresy, for him to prove that in Massachusetts, &ve 

course m new divinity and new mcfisures. Could years' ago, he was reputed orthodox, by men who 

the writers of these letters have foreseen what have no public creed as a bond of union,- and that 

Dr. Beecher would be, and with what class of seven years ago he was urged to come to Philadel- 

men he would stand associated in 1835? And phia by orthodox men in the Presbyterian church? 

is it logical to say, that if he deserves suspension Can it be possible that tiiis court will suffer them- 

now, they also deserved the same punishment? selves to be deluded by such management? I appre- 

Yes, sir, this is Dr. Beecher's logic! ciate your kindness, in giving indulgence to an accu- 

Leaving the letters, I will make a remark on ^^^ brother, who ought always to be treated with 

Mr. BuUard^s testimony. tenderness; but, sir, you have too much good sense 

»T , .1 ^ TT ./*. 1 . 1 rv -n 1 and stern integrity, to suffer your judgment to be 

He knows that Unitarians hated Dr. Beech- ^^rped by such testimnov. The question is not 
er, though they claimed the greater part of ^hat Dr. Beecher was in New England, but what he 
his select system as their own. He had a is in Cincinnati, and what he is in Lane Seminary? 
long and extended acquaintance with minis- He tells you that he has taught the same doctrines 
ters in New England, but never heard of the in the Second church, which i have proved from his 
«crmon called 'the faith once delivered to the sermons; he declares that on these points bis mind 
saints' more than of any other sermon; he is made up, his principles are immutable; that he holds 
knows of Dr. Beecher's pre-eminent fame in the same tenets this day as he has done from his out- 
New England, but was not there to witness ^^^ ^" ^^® ministry. It is true that I had something 
his approbation of Dr. Taylor and Mr. Fin- ^o do with Dr. Beecher's coming to Lane Seminary; 
uey; he knows not whether Dr. Beecher's |>"Mlio"gh I bore some part in that responsibility, 

sermon on ' the faith once delivered to the saints,' ^^ T"" ^'^ '" 'i '' • ^^ ^l ' \ ""' th,s Presby- 
^„ .. ^r „ . . . I , ^icu lu ujceuiuis, jgjy hears when he signs the mmutes of its pro- 
parts of which have been read on this tria , ceeding., yet all I did in that matter has nothing to 
resembles the creed of the Doctor's church do with this cause. For what purpose were these 
in Boston, though he was a member of that letters produced? Evidently with a view to turn 
church for five years. Surely you should re- away the attention of the court from the real merits 
ceive with great caution the testimony of a wit- of the cas) to matters which are not connected with 



it: ag though what Dr. Xireen, or Dr. Miller, and the judgment bar with them, and there stand the de- 

niyself may have done or said, years ago, was to be a cision of the Judge whether they are false or true. 

bar to any interference with Dr. Beecher^s doctrines Dr. Beecher has expressed another complaint. He 

at this day, and must forever seal my lips from speak- says he has been made ' the subject of suspicion.^ 

ing a word in the character of a prosecutor. They < And who can stand before suspicion?' * The fe- 

are produced with a view to represent me as incon- m:ile character and the character of a minister both 

sistent and wicked, in first extending to a stranger wither under the breath of suspicion,' Sir, no lady, 

the hand of welcome, and then, when he comes, no gentleman, no minister, who speaks and acts dis- 

meeting him with a back stroke. creetly, can easily be brought under suspicion. If th© 

Dr. Beecher here said, Did I understad Dr. Wil- breath of calumny tarnishes the upright, lire impces- 

son as meaning to convey the idea that he had no hand sion must be transient. If Dr. B. has been made the 

in giving me a call to Lane Seminary? subject of suspicion, he has been made so by his own 

Dr. Wilson replied, I said I had the same responsi- continued vagaries. His theological wanderings 

bility in respect to that call that the Moderator of this have surprised and perplexed his friends, and broken 

Presbytery has when he signs its proceedings in his the peace of the church. But I deny that there is 

official character. any suspicion about it in the west. If there ever was 

Dr. Beecher. Did Dr. Wilson give no vote? a time in Now England when he was a subject of 

Dr. Wilson. I might have given some expression |"^''« ""'5'^^ 'a n"' r'""^ ^^ut TntLr^t nf Z 

^c -.«:«;«.. k.,« I ««„1 «^ „^#^ he crossed the Alleghany. But in another part of his 

of opinion, but I gave no vote. ^ ,^ ■ ^ ^. defence he assumes a lofiy note. He always lived 

Dr. Beecher. In tlie consultation held by the lii- ^jj^^^ suspicion, and came among us as a peace- 
rectors previous to the act of giving me the invitation, ^aker. The Cincinnati Journal was speaking out, 
did Dr. Wilson take no part and give no opinion in ^ut he said hush, and it was silent. I knew not before 
favor of that measure? by whose almighty jia< the motto of 'answer him 

Dr. Wilson. I said on that occasion that if Dr* not,' was brought into existence. It is well, sir, for 
Beecher had changed his views from what they had men to be silent when they have no answer to give, 
.been in 1817, and could adopt the Confession of Faith The I^ord has promised to give his people ' a mouth 
in the Presbyterian Church, I considered him as fit and wisdom which their adversaries cannot gainsay 
and as able a man as the Board could* get- for the or resist' — and tlien they will either roar like lions, 
place, and that I should cordially acquiesce in calling or assume the appearance of angels of light. Dr. 
him. I now proceed to inquire what is the benefit of Beecher has pursued the latter policy, and presents 
previous good character to a man when put on his himself before you in the lovely attributes of a perse- 
trial for. treason? The question is not what the man cuted peace-maker! He excites your sympathies by 
once was; but what has he since said and done? If all that is lovely in character and venerable in age — 
he be convicted, former good character may be plead he moves your admiration by his wonderful success, 
as a ground of pardon when he petitions for clemency. But how sudden and unexpected are transformations? 
~ ~^ ' ...---. .... - me as a bitter 

pro quo accor- 




adopt 
Church. I believed him to be an 
would never adopt a creed which he 

for the sake of a seat in Lane Seminary. _ ^.. . .,. .- , 

he entered the Presbyterian Church, through the 3d Here, for once, Dr. Beecher, and I can shake 

Presbytery of New York, I then was thoroughly con- hands. * We are near together.' I perfectlj 

vinced of my mistake. I found to my sad disappoint- coincide with him in this — that if the charges of 

ment and great grief that I liad formed an erroneous (ulse doctrine be unsustained, the others must 

opinion of the man. He complains, further, that I f^\\ of course. 

would never permit him to explain to me his Views. vindicate his doctrines and 

It IS true that I declined hearing his explanations in . ^" " ? *^ . ... .1 ^ o*.,«^o../«o n.f «ha. 

private; because his doctrines were published, and no show their agreement with the s^^n^J^^ f J^^^ 

private explanation could remove the offence given, church, he advertises you of his confidence that 

or prevent the injury done to the church. Besides, the clearness of his argument, would be sucti as 

sir, I did not need explanation. Nothing but public not only to convert to his own faith everyold^ 

and published recantation could heal tlio wound he school man in the court, but even me. * Yes, 

had inflicted on the cause of truth. I would never gaid he, ^ I am confident I shall convince Dr» 

make a man an offender for a word, and especially if Wilson, and I have told him so.' Yes, Modera- 

that word be uttered in the ardor of debate; but ^q,. Dr. Beecher in our private intercourse said 

when a man writes and prints dangerous error, and |^ J^^ q ji^ve no doubt that when I make my 

more especially if he does it once and again, I can ^i^fence, you will be convinced that I am right 

listen to no explanation. He must publicly recall it ^ ^^^ wrong.' But if he had convinced 

or bear the consequences. And it is not likely that a ^ ^^ ^ , ^ ^ y^^ „3 together? Yes, 

roan will recant who has persevered in error till his "»c, wuuiu ^^r " 1 1 . -^^..^ 4^«^*k^n «f f>nri. 

head has been frosted with U,e snows of sixty winters. Moderator, that would bring us together at once. 

Besides, Dr. Beecher has openly declared, in your IH am wrong, and am made to see my error, I 

presence, that he has not changed his sentiments: will at once confess it before Uod and man, 

that he never shall change them; tliat ho will go to God forbid that I should seal my lips 10 silence* 



84 

I would say before the whole world: I have be equally an absurditj to expect that a man in 

been wrong, and I mean to do belter. And I preaching should say nothing beyond the very 

(hen pledged nnyself, that if such conviction words of Scripture, or the very expressions of the 

should be produced, I would make a public con- Confession of Faith: but it is not absurd to ex- 

fession. As I am not contending for victory pect that he should use language that is intelli- 

over Dr. Beccher, but for what I believe to be gible. We have been told by Dr. B. that the 

the truth of God, this expression of confidence English language was at its perfection in the 

on his part so far from nerving me with resis- dnys of King James, when our version of the 

tance, opened my eyes, and ears, and heart to Scriptures was made: cannot we then use the 

all he has said; and after all, sir, so far ns I am same terms that were used then, so that it may 

concerned, he will have to take up the lamenta- be evident that we mean the same thing? Till 

tion, 'I have labored in vain, and spent my Dr. Beccher shall have proved that ^utterly dis- 

strength for nought.' a bled' means full ability — that ^a corrupt nature' 

The first position he took in the argument means a nature neither holy nor unholy— that 

was this: that in the adoption of creeds, we must '^ead in sin' and * wholly defiled in all the facul- 

not expect exact verbal agreement in our ex- ties and parts of soul and body' means that there 

planations. And he imputes to me a sentiment is nothing wrong but the will— that 'utterly in- 

which I never held nor expressed, viz: *that 1 disposed' means plenary powers; I must dissent 

believed the standards of our church as far as ^^om his exposition, for we are the poles apart. 

they are consistent with the Word of God.' Or rather, there is an impassable gulf between 

No, Moderator; I never said so. I might adopt us: not, I hope, that great gulf which separated 

the Alcoran itself, or any other book whatever, the rich man and Lazarus; but there Is a gulf 

with such a limitation. I contended against over which no explanation hitherto given has 

this principle in ourcontest with the Cumberland succeeded in throwing a bridge, and which 

Presbyterians; and if Dr. Beecher understood nothing can fill up, so that Dr. B. and I can. 

me as advocating any such idea, he is entirely <^ome and shake hands over it, but Recanta^ 

mistaken. tion. ■ 

Dr. Beecher said there had been some ex- And now as to the exposition of language. 

pressions used by Dr. Wilson in his opening Dr. Beecher was very lively in his remarks upon 

speech, which he understood as amounting to my producing Johnson and Walker as authoritj 

such a position; and he marvelled to hear here: and tells us that the resort ought to have 

such a doctrine proceed from the lips of his been to a theological dictionary, and to the usu$ 

brother. loquendi at the time the Confession of Faith was 

Dr. Wilson replied that he utterly disavowed compiled. But sir, did I bring Johnson and 

any such sentiment: and if anything that looked Walker to prove the meaning of terms used in 

like it had fallen from his lips it must have been the Confession? No sir: I brought these author- 

a lapsus linguee. ities to prove the true meaning of the word 

Dr. Beecher. So I said, at the time. 'slander,' and I brought higher authority than 

Dr. Wilson resumed- either or both of them; I brought the Bible to 

What I did mean to advance was, that I re- s^ow that in the sense of that book slander nieans 

ceived our standards because I believed, that as the * bringing up of an evil report.' 

far as they went, they were consistent with the .^^\ ^'; Beecher charges me^ with being too 

Word of God. 

Beecher, that 

/rw/A, and nothing ^ ^. .„ 

some things in the Word of God of which they ] ^^" ^'^^^ ^"^^^y ^^^y *^ subscribe to the Con- 

say nothing: for example the subjects of the ^^^fl'i^ without explanation, 

priesthood of Melclnzedec, the millennium, and ,^ C^ere the Moderator reminded Dr. Wilson 

various others of a like kind. It leaves them as *^'V ^^' Beecher had said he did not mean to 

matters of inquiry, and as debateable ground, make this charge personally on Dr. Wilson ; but 

When it speaks it declares that which, though inferred it from his argunient.] 

it may be debateable ground between us and ^. Dr. Beecher observed that he had expressly 

the Methodists, or us and the Episcopalians, is djsclaimedapplymg the sentiment to Dr. Wilson, 

no longer debateable ground among Presbyter- ^'though his language would bear such an in- 

ians: unless'indeed some choose to risk the dis- ^^^ence. 

traction of the church by the employment of Dr. Wilson resumed : well, be it so. J now say that 
novel phrases in divinity. Lest I should be ^*^® ^*'"® argument might be urged against the Pro- 
considered more rigid than I really am let me *^^'^"* ^'^*"* *^ receive the Bible without the church's 
here explain. I care not about exact verbal ^jJP^^^^tion of it. Dr. Beecher says the Confession 

agreement, if he can show me that we mean the ^^ ^'**5 '""'^*?^ ^f^ k^'^k • ^ ^^ ^^' "^ ""''•*'^ 

c.rr«« iKJnrJ T ^^ « * c : Jl . received according to the obvious sense and meaning 

same thing. I do not, of course, expect that of its words as they are understood by one who speaki 

when another man preaches a sermon on the English-in their plain, obvious meaning. He wys 

same doctrine, he should use the very same no; they contain many technics whidi must be in- 

words with a sermon of my own. And it would terpreted according to^he usus loquendi at the time 




itwo3nrillen;nill) are^tard Wlho exialing controver- 
sioB aad llie reigning philoaopli; : and lie has accord- 
ingly gone backlo Augustine, and explained tlia Con- 
fessicrn according lo ibe forco of leclinical lerms at 
thai day, IFiliis be true, llien i ho Confession must 
be a sealed book lo ihe common people, until it aball 
be explained by iLe priest: and so llie body of believ- 
ers nilt have no more lo do wiili the Confession in ihe 
Prcsbyierian cliurcli, Ihan lliey have to do with the 
Biblo in llie church uf Rome. Now which of us is 
llie Culliolic? 

Dr. Beecher, while explaining his sense of ilio Cim- 
feagion, complains liml nobody can undeiatand him. 
He aaja lie has tried five different limoH to explain 
Ilia notions of natural abilil}', end has always baen inis- 
uniIeTsteod,and lie itiea rery paltenlly tried it the 

[Dr. Beecher explained. It was not his notions of 
natural ability, hut his senlimenls as to the right of 
private consiruciion which he had five several limes 
tried to make Dr. Wilson understand, but iviihoui 
success.] 

VVell: ihecc is anDiber point on which his success 
is no beller; and in respect lo which it may he well 
enough to Tcf(esh his memory. He says that I have 
not understood the position he takes on the subject of 
free agency and natural ability^nhat he means by the 
natural ability of man as a free agent lopul forth right 
Bpiriiual exercises. 

By natural ability, T mean what the law of God 
means, when it says. Thou sbalt love the Lord ihy 
God with all thy heabt, and mind, and soul, and 
■THKNGTn; and what the gospel means, when, in the 
form, of a parable, it declares, that he gave to every 
man according to his several abilily, and that the 
moral obligation to improve, corresponded with the 
talenlt given, and the ability possessed for Ilieir iin- 
ptuvement. 

1 . mean,' that God does not reap where he has not 
sowed, or gather where he has not strewed; but re- 
fiuires according lo what a man hndi, and not accord- 
ing lo whal he hath not — much of him lo whom much 
is given, and little of him to whom littlo is given. 

1 mean, that God knows how to create intelligent 
beings with such powers of mind, ihat being upheld 
and placed under law, they are so capable of obedience 
«s to create perfect and infinite obligation to obey; 
llie violation of which brings upon Ihe sinner a just 
condemnation (o eternal deatli. 

I mean, what the Conressions of Paiih of the Pres- 
bylcrian and Congregational churches mean, that God 
hath endued ilie will of man with that natural liberty 
and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither 
forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature dc- 
Icnnined to do good or evil;' so that by his decrees, 
'iieilhet is God the author of sin ; nor is violence offer- 
ed to the will of ihe creatures, nor is tlie liberty or 
contingency of second causes taken away, but rather 
cstubHsbed.^ — Dr. Beec/irr^t Sermoa on Dependence 
and Free Agency, pp. 14, 15, 

Now, after all (hie, I never yet have been able to 
k-arn what he means by natural ability. In other 
places he speaks about hones and sinews; in others of 
underatanding, memory, and other faculties of llui 
mind. I therefore frankly confess :hat 1 do not know 
whaiDr. Beecher does mean by natural ability. 

In laying down rules for construction, the Doctor 
6uya Ihat we must never give to any inslruinenl bucIj 
an interpretation as will cnuso it lu contradict itself, 
if lite worda will bear Mch k oa« as will make in 



parls consistent. Hare we do not difier. It would 

certainly be unjust and unfair solo do. In advancing 
his argument in sup|iort of natural ability, he endea- 
vors to establiish it by an exposition of the ConfessioD 
of Faith. In replying lo what he has said, t shall not 
lake up his topics uf argument in the exact order in 
wliich he advanced them, but in such aa shall best 
suit my own purpose. 
'Prcsbylcry here look a recess until the aficr- 

Tttcadatf Aflcmooa. — Dr. Wilson resumed: I am 
now al the place where Dr. Beecher first touched the 
merits of the real question between him and myself; 
and ihat was when he undertook lo prove Ihat the 
Chriaiian church in all ages believed and taught as he 
docs. But before I proceed to reply, let me stop to 
notice a remark which fell from him afier he had con- 
cluded his argument. Could he show that the church 
now beheves and always has believed as he leaches, 
it would of course ac<]uit him not only of contradicting 
our standards, but also of having brought up an evil 
report upon tile church. The remark was llii^: That 
if ho had misrepresented the opinions of the fathers, 
it still would not be slander, because a man cannot be 
guilty of slander in respect to iliose wlio are slumber- 
ing in the grave. 1> sir^ am of a dilfere'it opinion. 
Wiielhersuch an oSence be actionable, or not, in a. 
civil court, 1 am not lawyer enough to say; nor do I 
know of any adjudicated case which will settle that 
question, i can only state my own view of the mat- 
ter; and for myself, I have always considered it, and I 
do now consider it, a much greater crime to slander 
titoae who have gone into eternity, than those who are 
siill in the confines of time, and who are able lo vin- 
dicate ihoir own good name from aspersion. If the 
departed were true christians, they are not dead; God 
is not the God of the dead, but of ihe hving; they ara 
still members of Christ's mystical body:and if an evil 
report is brought upon them, it is as if LtoughE against 
IJim, their living Head, who has burst the grave, and 
gone up on high, never to be confined within iis cold 
timiis ag.i in. But ho says thai if slander of the dead 
were an aciionnfale offence, slili, as his statement 
rested on hislorical nuthoril)', it might be onJjf 
an error, and that would be no slander. To Ihi j 
I reply, that when nn individual ocoupiea such a 
Slntton as Dr. Beecher does, it is not for liim to 
plead ignorance as to a matter of this kind; and 
although he has here admitted that on n re- 
cxaminnlion of the evidence he is ready to con- 
fess that in what he staled in his sermon as to 
the darkness of the church before the dnys of 
Edwards he was mislaken, and lliat he is now 
willing to rolract it; jet ihis docs not cover the 
case; because a portion of his sermon relates not 
to those who lived before Edwards' day, but fixes 
the same slander upon the living: for It does 
assume that there are, at this day,.-iDd not a few, 
who preaeh the doctrine he opposes, and do 
thereby hinder the onward progress of the cap 
of the gospel and do more than any others to 
eclipse the Sun of Righteousness. Hence, 
though slander against the dead be not nclion- 
able, still there remains slander against llie 
living to he retracted, unless he can make good 
his assertion that the church of (Jod in nil 
ages has held the doctrine he delights lo main- 
tain. 



1 



I 




4 



2MI 



His first argument to show that the charch in bad, endeavor to discover from the writings of 

everj age has held these notions, is drawn from the present day what was the Creed of the 

the universal consciousness of men* This was church during the first four hundred jears after 

not placed first in order by Dr. B., but it is so us. And that they should take up as the promi- 

placed by me. nent writers of the age the works of Ware, 

Dr. Beecher here inquired whether Dr. Wil- Emmons, Wesley, B. W. Stone, A. CampbeH, 

son meant to say that this was one of the argu- Taylor, Dwight, Edwards, and Dr. Beecher, 

ments employed by Dr. B. to show what had and Dr. Bishop; I say that if they settled the 

been the general belief of the church? question according to the writings of these men, 

Dr. Wilson replied that he had so understood they would settle it wrong: I do not indeed say, 

it. that these writers are wrong in all things, or 

Dr. Beecher said that what he had advanced that their writings do not contain much truth -^ 

jrespecting the universal consciousness of man- hut I do say that they would be a false enter- 

kind as to their own natural freedom and ability, >on of what is the faith of the Presbyterian 

bad nothing to do with that part of the argument church. And no more can we, from consulting 

which rested on the testimony of the church in the writings of the early fathers, mutilated, 

all ages; but had been applied in support of translated and what not, as they are, decide 

Dr. B.'s construction of the Confession of what was tlie faith of the Universal church 

Faith. during the first four centuries. 

Dr. Wilson, well: then I will pass over that J will now show what is the historical evidence 

point, concerning the writers of that age. 

I will now proceed to the testimony from the Extracts from Cave's Lwes of the Primitive Fathers:- 
Fathers. Dr. Beecher introduced quotations Cave, speaking of Origen, says: <For though a- 
from the writings of the early Fathers to show bounding wiih words, he was always allowed to be 
that they held the Natural Ability of man in the eloquent, for which Vincentius highly commends him, 
sense he holds it. But that is not the question at affirming his phrase to be so sweet, pleasant, and de- 
issue. We are not settling what the Fathers lightful, that there seemed to him to have dropped 
held : the question at issue is, what did the church not woids so much as honey from his moulh. 
hold? from the days when inspiration closed But that, alas, which has cast clouds and darkness 
•with the sealed lips of the last of the Apostles, upon all his gloiy,and buried so much of his fame in 
down to the times of Augustine, a period of four ignominy and reproach, is the dangerous and unsound 
centuries. Any one who reads the history of the docirines and principles which are scattered up and 
church during that period, will be puzzled to <^<>^» h.s wni.ngs for wh.ch almost all ages, without 
find any Creed or Confession of Faith whatever, ^^J reverence to h.s parts, learnmg p.e ty and the 

. -^i . . r ^ 1 r A .1 . • r judgment of the wisest and best of times he hved m^ 

fiavingUie brief Creed of Athanasius in respect 'have without any. mercy, pronounced him heretic, and 

to the Tnnity, m his conflict with Anus. I^or hig sentiments and speculations rash, absurd, perni- 

fourhundred years the church, so far as we know, cious, blasphemous, and indeed what not. The alarm 

had no Creed but the Bible, and we must look began of old, and was pursued with a mighty clamor 

there alone to find what doctrines she held. It and fierceness, especially by Methodius, bishop of 

was when the controversy arose as to what the Olympus, Eustathius of Antioch, Apollinaris, Theo- 

Bible meant on the subject of the Trinity that philus of Alexandria and Epiphanius; and the cry 

a Creed was for the first time composed: and it carried on with a loud noise in after ages, insomuclr 

respected that point alone. The sentiments ^hat the very mention of his name is in the Greek 

therefore of Justin Martyr, Tatius, Ireneus, church abominable at this day I had once resolved 

r^^i^r.^ r'^rv..;,.,, or,^ fK^ ..Lf ho,r^ «.^f^.;«rr f/^/1/^ to have considered the chief of those notions and 

Urigen, Cyprian, and the rest nave notninc to ao . . i e i • i r\ - • i -i i j u 

,.P .1 '^ ^ .. mi .' . c i\ ^^^ pnnciples of which Ori^en is so heavily charged by 

with the matter. The sentiments of these {he ancients, but superseded that labor, wlien I found 

writers are not exhibited as the Creed of the j,^^^ ihe industry of the learned Monsieur Huet in 

church. Their writings show only what were j^is Origeniana had left no room for any one to come 

their own individual opinions, as urged by them after him; so fully, so clearly, so impartially, with such 

in their controversy against the Pagan philoso- infinite variety of reading, has he discussed and 

phers or other errorists of their times. And be- canvassed this matter, and thither I remit the learned 

sid^, they were then con:»idered, and have been and capable reader, 

ever since, as speculative and unsound men. And for those that cannot or will not be at the 

T ^1 ^^ «.„>r^^c/* o ^oo« T «*. ^^ ;rv.o^;r^« ilinf P^'^^s ^o Tcad his large and excellent discourses, ihey 

JLel me suppose a case. JLet me imacine tnat « , iL j .u • • .,« ..,«k^.. ^r «i.l 

- ^,. , '^^z. ., r r j:«^ may consult nearer hand the ingenious author oi the 

from this day, for the space of four succeed ng ^J^ ^^ resolution concerning Ongen and the chief 

centuries, all Creeds . and Confessions ot the ^^ ^^^ opinions; where they will find the most obnox- 

■church were blotted out; and that then there j^^g of his do^ma/a reckoned up, and the apologies 

should elaspe a further period of eleven or twelve and defences which a sincere lover of Origen might 

centuries more: so that for sixteen or seventeen be supposed to make in his behalf, and these pleas 

hundred years not a vestige of any public sym- represented with all the advantages with which wit, 

bol of the christian faith was visible. And then, reason, and eloquence could set them ofi*.' Cave, 

after this long dark interval of more than a thou- vol. 2. pp. 417, 418. 

sand years, a presbytery should sit among our Speaking of Justin Martyr, Cave says: (306,7,8, 

posterity, and should with such lights as they same volume,) 'Concerning the state of the soul after 



this life, he affirms that the souls even of the prophets had there imbibed stuck to him, and he endeavored| 

and righteous men fell under the power of demons; as much as might be, to reconcile the Platonic prin- 

though how far that power should extend he tells us ciples with the dictates of Christianity.^ 

not J grounding his assertion upon no other basis than go mugh for the faith of the Fathers as a 

the single instance of SamuePs being summoned up ^^ans to show what was the faith of the Uni- 

by ihe enchantments of the Pythoness. ^^^^^1 ^|,^^^^^^ 

Nor does he assert it to be necessarily so; seemg «r , r. r u j j 

he grants that by our hearty endeavors and prayers to , ^ 7 ^ome down after four hundred years 

God, our souls at the hour of their departure may es- *? ^"g"^/^"^; ^e was called by Dr. Beecher 

cape the seizure of those evil powers. To this we ^^^ Calvm of Calvinism, and we were told that 

may add, what he seems to maintain, that the souls of he taught as Calvin taught. And what did Cal- 

good men are not received in heaven till the resur- vin teach? From the passages quoted from him 

rcction; that when they depart the body, they remain it is. proved that he taught that man corrupted 

en kreilionpoi chooroo, in a better state, where be- by the fall sins voluntarily. Well; and who de- 

ing gathered within iiself, the soul perpetually enjoys nies it? But what does Dr. Beecher say? that 

what it loved J but that the souls of Uie unrighteous ^an cannot be depraved till he sins voluntarily: 

and the wicked are thrust into a worse condition, or, to use his own words from his sermon : ^Neith- 

where they expect the judgment of the great day; ^^ a holy nor a depraved nature is possible with- 

and he reckons it among the errors of some pretend- ^ i • ir *u r •« A^^^^^r^A k«- 

ed christians, who denied the resurrection, and af- «"' choice. If therefore mams depraved bjr 

firmed that their souls immediately after death were "^^ure, it is a voluntary nature that is depraved* 

taken into heaven. Nor herein did he stand alone, Dr. B. might as well bring up a question as to 

but had the almost unanimous suffrage of primitive the relevancy of this sermon as testimony. It 

writers voting with'him, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, has been said, after the trial has proceeded to a 

Hilary, Prudentius, Ambrose, Augustin, Anastasius great length, that the testimony is irrelevant: 

8inaita, and indeed who not, there being a general that it is outlawed, 

concurrence in this matter, that the souls of the right- [Dr. Beecher. I did not say that, 

ecus were not upon the dissolution presently translat- pr. Wilson. Well: I will not remark on 

cd into heaven, tlmt is, not admitted to a full and per- ^j^.^^ jj^^jj 

feet fruition of the divine presence : but determined to 'jy\ Beecher. You must not on what I did 

certain secret and unknown repositories, where they . a *.^ *k^«« k«:«« «« A^^..^^rU^ i Ko«/» 

enjoyed a state of imperfect blessedness, waiting for »° «*7; ,J^' '° there being no depravity, I have 

Ihe accomplishment of it at the general resurrection, "»* s«'<^ ^^^'^^ <=°"'** °® "°"*^ without the will, 

which intermediate slate they will have desciibed un- Dr. Wilson. You said there can be none 

der the notions of Paradise hnd Abraham's hosom; without choice; and I know no difier'ence.] 

and which sonoe of them make to be a subterranean ^ ggg^s however, that the sermon has noth- 

■^frh/i'tl" '" * ' .1^*' "!!"''• . ,. , ing to do with the case, because it is not on the 

*lhe like concurrence, though not oltogether so u- * r • • i • u ,«. -^i«<«« «woi.,o;.,<»i», ♦«. 

uncont.ollably entertained of the ancients with our «"^Jf ^ ^^ ^"fl"^* TV^."'*r* .wf f ,^|"'i,*^*^ ^ 

Justin, we may observe in his opinion concerning the «^"*^, '"??• »" what is the title? *A Sermon 

angels, that God having committed to them the care ^^ the Native Character of Man.' I presume 

and supcrinteiidency of this sublunary world, they that what is native is something born with us; 

abused the power intrusted to them, mixing them- ^nd though'it should be spoken concerning an 

selves with women in wanton and sensual embraces, adultman,stillit must mean something born with 

of wliom they begat a race and posterity of demons, him. Native means that. Dr. Beecher can't 

An assertion not only intimated by Philo and Josepli- gpt over it. His argument is that man is irre- 

us, but expressly owned by Papias, Alhenagoras, Jigious by nature. Then the sermon certainly 

Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, Cyprian, Lnctan- has relation to what is called original sin. As 

Y^:^^""]^^^^^^^^ to the sin of adults being voluntary, there is no 

1 bat which first gave birth to this opinion (easiy em- j- * « 1. 1 * *k ;«* /- ^n 

braced by those tho held angels to be corporal,) was ^'^^^^' , «"* ^'%\^' ^^ "7 V"" A ^ \ Thi 

a misunderstanding of this passage: the sons of God !i^ 7^^?'^^,^^ V? our standards say so? The 

saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and Confession of Faith says that original sin is nev- 

thcy took them to wife, and they hear children to them, ertheless sin, and damnable sin. Yes, sir: it is 

the same became mighty men, men of renoitn? that dark and stagnant pool, that black and hor- 

I might here also insist upon what some find so "«! thing behind the will, which Dr. Beecher 

much fault wiih in our Martyr, his magnifying the has endeavored to ridicule. Dr. B. says that all 

power of man's will, which is notoriously known to sin is voluntary: but I shall show that his ser- 

have been the current doctrine of the Fathers, through mon is incorrect not only as it respects original 

all the first ages, till the rise of the Pelagian contro- gin, but as it regards adult man also. That the 

vcrs.es; ihough they still generally own cAari/i ear- sermon has the strongest allusion to original sin 

un ^d cUlf t L'^^^^^^^^ « Pl'-^in. The first of the sermon (I will not 
up and enable llie soul for divine and spiritua things.' ^ , .• . . . . ^«„j:«^ *k« ^^ 

^Some other disputable or disallowed opinions may now rouble presbytery by reading the e^ 

be probably met with in this good man'd writings, but */^^*^) dtstinguishes between the creature be- 

which are mostly nice and philosophical. And indeed '^^c and after accountability; plainly implying 

having been brought up under so many several in- that there is a period during which the creature 

siiiuiions of philosophy, and coming (as most of the exists before responsibility: and during that 

Faihers did) fresh out of the schools of Plato, it is time it is neither good nor bad. lie can't get 

tiio less to bo wondered oi, if tlio notions which he over it. 



83 

[Dr. Beecher. Please to read the passages.] sinning ignorantlj, worshipping the best god 

The sermon is in the hands of the court. It they know. It is true that their fathers once 

Bpeaks for itself. But look here: had the gospel and rejected it; but their de- 

<The first sin is free, and miglit have been and scendants lie under that sin as the Jews now do 

ought to have been avoided.^ under the sin of their ancestors. Docs the 

'Whatever effect the fall of man may have heathen man sin with knowlege and conscious- 
had'— is not that original sin? 'the early coosti- "css? He often does; and did he sin with ma- 
tution of man'— is not this original sin? native lice it would be the unpardonable sin. Paul 
sin? I therefore insist that the testimony is re- h«<i malice in his sin; if he had had knowledge 
levant; and relevant on the charge concerning also? his offence would never have had forgive- 
original sin. ness; his fate would have been sealed. But 

I will now show that his doctrine, as it respects there remains another question: Is all sin vol- 

adult man, is at war with the truth. untary ? You know that is not the doctrine of 

*As all sin is voluntary, every sinner must have pur standards. The doctrine of the Confession 

understanding of the law and consciousness that he ^s <^hat which Calvm taught; that man, bemg 

is about to do wrong.' corrupted by the fall, sins voluntarily. That is 

I say this is against the truth. The Scripture the doctrine of our church, 

teaches us much about 'sins of ignorance.' I ^ut to return; for we have gone into an epi- 

Aall not contend that a sin of ignorance is as sode, aside from the subject of the fathers, on 

heinous as a sin committed with knowledge; but ^^'""^ ^® «*?*'*^^r \ repeat it: four hundred 

I shall contend, and prove, that it is a sin, and J^^^^^ ^Z^^"- ^^^ apostles, down to the times of 

a damning sin. Let us look at Leviticus iv. 2 Augustine, we know nothing of any church 

—13, and we shall find a particular provision creed, but the Bible. If that teaches man's 

made concerning the priest who has sinned natural ability, then Dr. Beecher may prove it 

through ignorance; for a common man who has ^^^, the. Bftle; but not from the fathers. I 

done the same; and for the whole congregation, shall for the present pass by Augustine, and ask 

There was always atonement required. It was ^^ Moderator to be so good as to read his own 

an offence of such a kind that the man who com- ^^^j^^ of an extract from Turretvn, which was 

mitted it deserved punishment, and the punish- produced by Dr. Beecher m his defence, 

ment of his sin fell upon the victim he brought Professor Stowb, the Moderator of Presbytery, 

for sacrifice. And what does Paul teach us, then read again the e£ract in question,^ 

standing on Mars' Hill, in the midst of that il- ret. 729, 730; edit. 1688. See Journal, Aug. 21, 

lustrious assembly of Grecian sages? *The ^Vp* *^^?' , -j .u * m *• * i. -l 

.. r lu- • r>i J • I J i. u I. Now It has been said that Turretin teaches the 

times of this ignorance God winked at, but now doctrine of man's natural ability, as Dr. Beecher 

commandeth all men every where to repent. — does; and that his work is the text book used at 

The sin of that people was gross idolatry— they Princeton; and ihe argument is, that if Dr. Beecher 

were wholly given unto idols; yet according to is a heretic, the professors of the Princeton Semina- 

Paul they sinned ignorantly. *Whom ye ignor- ry must be heretics also. Now Turretin does go in- 

antly worship, him declare I unto you.' And to some nice and subtle distinctions; but in the end, 

what does he say of himself: 4 obtained mercy he comes out plainly and declares that man's inabili- 

because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.' Had ty is as insuperable as that of a lame man to walk; 

he known what he was doing, his sin would have and that it is improper to say that a man can bei.eve 

been unpardonable. Was he conscious of if he wishes to believe. And does ibis prove that he 

crime when he was hauling the saints to prison ?"^ ^'' Beecher teach one and the sarne thing? 

and compelling them to blaspheme? No. He Lay the two side by side rand do they coincide? No; 

•I lu u?— i-L u' ir iL i. u J • they varv from each other as much as a straight 

verily thought with himself that he was domg ,; Jend'a curved line. But suppose that Turrelin 

God service. But as soon as he got knowledge, did teach verbatim as Dr. Beecher does, would that 

then he considered himself the greatest of all p^ove that his was the doctrine of the whole church? 

sinners, and though converted, yet the least of if Princeton adopted the book in whole, it would 

all saints. And what does the Scriptures say of only prove that Princeton was corrupt. But many 

the ^Princes of this world,' when they 'crucified books are used, the whole of whose contents are not 

the Lord of Glory?' that they did it with knowl- adopted; and the students are warned against those 

edge of the fact? No; for had they known it points wherein they are exceptionable. Paley's 

they would not have crucified him; but it says. Moral Philosophy, for example, is very commonly 

that *none of them knew.' And for what is it "sed as a text book, although it contains many things 

that Christ will come a second time? For two that are erroneous. So Turretin might be used in 

objects: to *take vengeance on them that knew Hke manner without any sanction of all the ground 

*; rx J 9 11 1 • J u- he takes. And now I ask, what has Dr. Beeciier 

not God,' as well as to receive and save his peo- ^ ^.^ j^„ }^^^ Turretin? Nothing, 

pie. He says expressly that he will take ven- ^^^^j^^^ Turretin contradicts him. 
geance on men ignorant of God. They are to ^he next evidence adduced by Dr. Beecher is Lu- 
go into the same company with the rejecters of ther. Turretin says that Luther is wrong, though he 
the gospel, to the left hand of the Judge. What followed Augustine. The will is always free, 
need of sending the gospel to the heathen if We all know this. It is an absurdity to talk about ^ a 
their ignorance is to excuse them? They are bound will;' there is, and tliere can be, no such 



thing. Yet Augustine and Lutlier both taught the pleasure. As there is no */r^»^/X in us, so there Is no 

doctrine of a bound will. Were it a proper time, I merit in us.^ 

could s1k)W what the. freedom of the will is. But I If this teaches natural ability, as Dr. Beecher does, 

want Luther to speak forhimsclf. Hear him on Gal- he is welcome to all the benefit of the evidence, 
atians, v, 17: And next let me quote Dr. Matthews, Theological 

*And these are contrary one to the other: so that Professor in South Hanover SeminarJ, Indiana. This 

ye csnnotdo the same thing that ye would' — authority was claimed by Dr. Beecher; andaslrecom* 

*This place witnesseth plainly that Paul writeth ™?»^^^ ^'*® «f T"' ''\ "^"^ ^^^ ™?'^ triumphantly 

these things to the faithful, that is to the church be- 'f*'^^ ^"5 and the mathematical axiom was applied, 

lievingin Christ, baptised, renewed, justified, and that two things which are equal to the same thing 

havini full forgiveneei of sins. Yet notwithstanding are equal to one another. 1 do not recall my recom- 

besaith, that she hath flesh rebelling against till mendation : and now let us hear what the sermon sayi, 

Spirit. After the same manner he speaketh of him- and let us remember the rule about conswteut mler- 

self in the seventh to the Romans. We credit Paul's P^^tation. 

own words that he hath a law in his membere rebel- Extract from Dr. MaUhews^ Sermotij eaUed^UnUjf 
ling against him.'— *This battle of the flesh against of Christ and the Church.^ Orig. Ser. 1833. 

the Spirit all the children of God have had and felt, Habere are two senses in which we are dead.' 
and thesclf same do we also feel and prove. He ^ We, by nature, sustain to the moral Governor of 

that searcheth his own conscience, if he be not a hyp- the world, no other relation than that of condemned 

ocrite, shall well perceive that to be true in himself rebels; we have forfeited all the rights and privileges 

which Paul here saith: that the flesh lusteth against which belong to faithful and obedient subjects. Our 

the Spirit. All the faithful do therefore feel and con- natural life may, for a time, be preserved; but theya- 

fess that their flebh resisteth against the Spirit, and vor of Godj which is lifcj is lost ; the sentence of 

that these two are so contrary the one to the other in death is solemnly pronounced upon us. Nor is it 

ibevnaeUeSj ihtit do UDhai they cauj they are not able possible, by any exertions we can make, to change 

to perform that which they 'tDOtdd do. Therefore our state of condemnation into a state of favor with 

the flesh hindereth us that we cannot keep the com- God.' pp. 211,212. 

mandments of Go I, that we cannot love our neighbors <There is another sense in which we are dead. We 
as ourselves, much less can we love God with all our ^re by nature insensible to the claims both of the di- 
heart: Uierefore it is impossible for us to become right- yi„e law and the gospel. The tenants of the grave 
eous by the works of the law. Indeed there is a are insensible to the interests and active pursuits of 
GOOD wiU in us, and so must there be, (for it is the nfe. the wealth, the honor, the pleasure of this world, 
Spirit which resisteth the flesh,) which would gladly do „o longer make any impression on them. So are we 
good, fulfil the law, love God and his neighbor, and insensible totlie real interests of eternity, to the in- 
such like, but the flesh obeyeth not this good tritt, but trinsic importance of spiritual things, p. 213. 
resisteth it; and yet God imputeth not unto us this *We possess, indeed, all the natural faculties which 
sin: for he is merciful to those that believe for Christ's God demands in his service; but we are without the 
B»ke,^ moral power, we have not the disposition, the desire 

So much for Luther's testimony to the doctrine of to employ them in his service. This want of dispo- 

Natural ability. sition, instead of furnishing the shadow of excuse for 

And now Matthew Henry. (Dr. Green, it seems, our unbelief and impenitence, is the very essence of 

was a great heretic, for recommending Henry and sin, the demonstration of our guilt. 

S<^it!) Here, then, is work for Omnipotence itself. Here 

Ezek. xi. 19. ^And I will give them one heart, and is not only insensibility to be quickened, but here is 

I will put a new spirit within you: and J will take the opposition, here is enmity to be destroyed. The ut 

stony heart out of their flesh and will give them a and the maxims of men may change, in some degree^ 

heart of flesh.' the outward appearances, but they never can reach 

«God will plant good principles in them; he will the seat of the disease; there it will remain, and there 

make the tree good. This is the gospel promise, and it will operate, after all that created wisdom and pow- 

is made good to all those whom God designs for the er can do. That power which can start the pulse of 

.heavenly Canaan ; for God prepares all for heaven, spiritual life within us, must reach and control the 

whom he has prepared heaven for.' Again— Ezek. very origin of thought, p. 214, 
xviii. 31. ^ — make you a new heart and a new spirit.' Could I have found amusement in a scene so 

«*We must make us a new heart and a new spirii.'*'^ solemn as this, I should really have been amused 

This was the matter of promise— xi. 19; here it is ^j the manner in which Dr. Beecher despatched 

the mailer of a precept. We must do our endeavor, jy^ Twiss, Green, and Spring. Dr. Twiss 

and then God will not be wanting to us to give us his ^^^ Prolocutor to the Assembly of Divines at 

S"^*®®* «.,.*. J Westminster; and in a book of his, not in the 

And now to apply Dr. Beecher's rule, of-not need- confession of the Divines, he published a senti- 

lessly making a book contradict itself, look at Phil. u. ^^^^^ ^j^.^^^ jy^ ^ ^^ j^j^ j^^, j ^^ ^^ ^^^ ^y^^ 

* Work out vour own salvation ' &c Twiss taught the same doctrine with himself; 

'Work with fear, for he works'of hi^ good pleasure and therefore Dr. Twiss is as great a heretic as 

•II. ^ . J u .u -X 1^ .J-ww..^ Dr. Beecher. Fine logic! Dr. Spring has 

— toiniland to do — he gives the irAole abiuty. — T^ - i a *^ -r*^*^ i?..«v«.-.. ««Ji kA^...^ 

It is the grace of God th^t inclines the will to that ^een appointed to goto Europe; and becaase 

which is good, and then enables us to perform it, and he published, years ago, a hook that contained 

to act according to our principles. Tkou host wnmgki errors, therefore the whole Fresby tenan cliorcli 

all our works taas.— Isa. xxvi. 12. Of Ms good is erroneous! 

12 



90 

I will now return, and take up the Harmony Whatever may be made out of the sentence 

of Confessions. From the days of Augustine to in St. Augustine, it only goes to prove that he 

the age of the Reformation, there was a lapse of believed in the freedom of the will, yet that it 

eleven centuries, and Dr. Beecher has underta- is under the control of a depraved nature in 

ken to prove that the church in all those ages such a manner tl at it can do nothing accepta- 

held as he holds. For 400 years to Augustine, ble to God, nor act from proper motives, without 

the faith of the whole church is to be learned the aid of divine grace. 

from the Bible; and eleven hundred more to the The Synod of Dort was introduced for some 

Reformation, there is no evidence of what the purpose, I donU remember what. But I now 

church held, save in the dark remains of Popery! introduce it to the same end as I adduced the 

or from the Scriptures. Harmony of Confessions, to show that the ser- 

No evidence has been adduced to show that mon of I)r. Beecher is in opposition to the creeds 

in this long' period they held hisdoctrine. There of the Refonred churches, 

was no creed but the Bible: and he must seek All men are coMceived in sin, and by nature child- 

his evidence there, or find it nowhere. ren of wraib, incapable of any saving good, prone to 

Let us see if the creed ofHelvetia teaches, as evil, dead in sin and in bondage thereto; and without 

has been alleged, the doctrine of natural ability, ^^^ regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit they are 

as Dr. Beecher holds it. neither hble nor willing to return to. God, to reform 

r-Ti T» I T ij ^ 1 .1 r ^he depravity of iheir nature, nor to dispose them- 

[Dr. Beecher. I did not produce the reform- selves to reformation, 

ed creeds to prove natural ability, but to prove t i i * i xu- i. ^ j 

moral inability 1 ^' f I have but one remark on this extract: and 

Very well. You say, however, that the it is, that the word rendered indisposed, is in the 

church, in all ages, has held as you teach. hMm inrpU^^ un^, improper, msufficient. The 

[Dr. Beecher. These cannot be quoted as my word efficient' would most truly express the 

evidence.] ^ ^ force of the origmah 

Well; then they shall be quoted as mine: and ^ "^^ proceed to the Bible. But before I 
I bring them to show that Dr. Beecher docs ^^ s^' ' ^'^^^ to remark, in respect to the inter- 
net hold the faith of the Reformed churches. pretation of the parables: that, in order rightly 

And we take sin to be tha: natural corruption of ^^ interpret them, we must look at the truth 

man, derived or spread from those our first parents »"^»n^y mtended to be taught la each parable. 

.unto us all, ihrough which we being c/rou7neJi/i evil There is but one grand truth aimed at, and 

concupiscences, and clean turned away from God, though there are miiny circumstances thrown 

hut prone to all evil, full of all wickedness, distrust, in to make the parable more complete, it 

contempt, and haired of God, can do no good of our- is improper to make these subordinate parts 

pelves, no not so much as think of any. p. 58. of it the subject of doctrinal or practical specu- 

We are to consider, what man was after his fall. — lation. In the parable of the Virgins, for in- 

flis understanding indeed was not taken from him, stance, it would not be sound interpretation, to 

neither was he deprived of will, and altogether chang- argue, that because there was an equal number 

-ed into a stone or stock. Nevertiieless, these things of wise and foolish virgins, therefore the num- 

are so altered in man, that they are not able to do that ber of saved and lost in the last day will be the 

now, which they coud not do before his fall. For his game. By this false mode of exposition, it 

understandmg .s darkened, and h.s will, which before ^|^^ ^e proved from the parable of the Prodi- 

was free, 18 now become a servile will: for It servelh P « !i *. * • a ^^«*« «. • 

sin, not mm^, hxxi willing: for it is called « will, ^""^ Son, that a returning and repentant sinner 

and not a nilling. Therefore, as touching evil or sin, ^^" ^^ received by God without atonement or 

man does evil, not compelled either hy God or the "mediator. This can as well be proved from the 

DevU, but of his own accord; and in this respect he Prodigal Son, as the doctrine of natural ability 

"hath a most free will. p. 60. from the parable of the Talents. 

They take a distinction between the state of Another observation, touching the figurative 

an adult man who sins, and the state of man language of the Bible. Dr. Beecher has told 

naturally in which the will is servile, the under- "s that there is much of such language in the 

standing darkened, the aflfections depraved. — Scriptures. And who denies it? He insists 

These control the will. that ^heart of stone' does not mean a rock of 

I was not a little surprised at Dr. Beecher's granite. And who has ever pretended that it 

reply when I asked him what the word 'things' does? who ever thought, who ever dreamed of 

referred to here. He said he was not answera- maintaining such a thing? But the figure does 

ble for the grammatical construction of the sen- mean sofnething. It does mean that God does 

tences in the creed. But who can read if, and for man what man Has no power to do for him- 

not see that 'things' refers to the understanding self: it does mean that God takes something 

and the affections? they are the natural antece- out of man, and puts something into him: and 

dents. if you can find out what is that evil within 

Dr. W. then read the extracts already quoted which is taken away, and what is that good from 

in Dr. Beecher's defence, from the French Con- without which is put in its place, then you have 

fession, Belgian Confession, Augsburgh Confes- found out the true meaning of the figure. 

fioD, and the opinions of St. Augustine. I shall not comment upon all the passages of 



Scriptare which have been quoted. But I have able to study it in the original languages as he 

one text on which I shall say a few things. — studies any other book in a foreign tongue; and 

*The Natural Man receiveth not the things of he may be able fully to comprehend what dutios 

the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, it inculcates, and what sins it forbids; he may 

because they are spiritually discerned.' This see the evidence it contains that Jesus Christ is 

is the text, now for the sermon. the Son of God: still it is true that he ^receiveth 

*The Natural Jfan' is a man in his unrenewed not the things of the Spirit of God, neither 

state, a man in the same nature with which he ^^\^^ ^"^^ ^'J^'"' ,.,.., , ,, , 

_ 1 .1 u u- ^ * u I r^ lu Now when his condition is changed, so that 

was born; though his nature may have put forth , , • .* i ^u i • 

' • « *u * i-i, au i?*u- • ^ he becomes a spiritual man, the chansce is as- 

80 many transgressions that like the Ethiopian . i ^ i ^ i- u j l \i. j- ? 

he cannot change his skin, any more than the ^f ^^^^^ be accomplished by the direct agency 

leopard can chlnge his spots! ^The Natural ?[ ^^^'' j)"^ '^'''' ^^"^^^ "P^\*^^ ^^''k'^ 5" 
Man' what is he? a stock? a stone? a brute?- ^V »^*f ^f !T """ """M"^" be helped by God, 
No, he is a man; thugh he is a Natural Man. ""^^^^^ he first does something for himself; any 

He possesses all the physical parts of a human "'^''^ *^^" ^ P^^^^ ^^ ^^^^- • 
body, and all the faculties of a human mind. In [Dr. Bcecher. That was not my reasoning, 

his body are the appetites necessary to its pre- The passage Dr. Wilson refers to was not mine, 

servation and well being. In his mind are the '* >s contained in one of the extracts that were 

faculties of thinking, perceiving, and judging; ''ead.] 

of consciousness; the affections of love and You made the same assertion: that a piece of 

hatred and joy, and the passions of anger malice ^^ad cannot be helped to do anything. Very 

and wrath. But this man, possessing all these ^^uc; it cannot by any human power; but God 

powers of body and faculties of mind, is in a c«n help it just as he once helped iron to swim, 

very different state from Adam. What consti- The law of gravitation prevents iron from float- 

tutes the Man? It is his mind. The body is «ng >« water, because its specific gravity is so 

only the tabernacle in which it sojourns. It is """ch greater; but God can put forth the hand of 

the mind, the soul, that is the Man himself.— po^er against the laws of gravitation, so as to 

The body, without it, is only dead inert matter, "^^^^ '^on to swim: and just so he could the piece 

that cannot think, or feel, or move. But united ^^ ^^^^• 

to the soul it constitutes a man with all his While speaking of the divine agency in pro- 
faculties, all that is necessary to make him a ra- ducing Regeneration, Dr. Beochcr made some 
tional and accountable being. I do not pretend remarks which attracted my attention. He said, 
that in regeneration there is any new faculty if I understood him right, that regeneration is 
added to the soul, or any new member to the always effected by the instrumentality of the 
body. These remain the same as they were word of God; and that what is done by instru- 
before; but they are in very different circum- mentality cannot at the same time be done by 
stances. The Naturcil Man is a fallen being, direct agency. And the illustration of this doc- 
depraved in every part of soul and body; total- trine was taken from the manner in which God 
ly depraved; in ruins; disabled; but not unable operates in the natural world, establishing a law 
as a rational creature to perform the natural ac- which uniformly governs matter; and. it was 
tionsof man. He is 'wise to do evil: but to do contended that he did just so in the world of 
good he has no knowledge.' He cannot discern mind: and hence, by the establishment of natu- 
the things of the Spirit of God; they stand op- ral laws in the natural world, and moral laws in 
posed to the things of the Natural Man. That the moral world, he excluded his own direct 
which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is agency altogether. And we were asked, if the 
born of the Spirit is the spirit. When he is re- planets should stop, would God send the ten 
newed, he becomes a spiritual man; then he has commandments to set them in motion again? I 
spiritual discernment; but previous to this he answer, no; but he would set them moving as 
has none. lie cannot receive the things of the at the first, by his own direct almighty agency, 
spirit, neither can he know them. But docs this There was a time when they did stand still. At 
prove that he can do nothing as a rational in- the voice of Joshua the spheres were stopped 
telligent being, with respect to that which is in in their courses: the very case supposed did ac- 
itself good? He docs many things in them- tually happen. And who set the sun in motion 
selves good; but he does none of them from again? the same right hand of the Almighty 
right motives. He can plough: vet we are told that gave it motion at the creation. But Dr. 
that the ploughing of the. wicked is sin. Why? Bcecher will hjive us to believe that God has 
because they plough not to God's glorj. They excluded himself from access to his own crea- 
do this as all other actions, as natural men. — tures; so that his Spirit cannot operate upon a 
But they have no ability to do it as spiritual men. human mind, whose powers arc all moving in a 
As an intelligent being, with a mind capable of wrong direction, to turn it into the path of life! 
cultivation, and with powers of thought, and Will such a declaration be tolerated in tha 
volition, with affections of the mind in connex- church of God? Look at what the scriptures 
ion with appetites of the body we may see a cay: A sower went forth to sow. His seed was 
Natural Man take up the Bible; he may be good, and ho sowed it alike in four different 



92 

kinds of ground: that by the wayside, that is not the faculty on which the Spirit operates 
which was rocky, that which was full of thorns, to produce a change in man. 
and that which was good and fertile. The The term aciV/, from the various ways in which 
same seed was sown upon them all, and yet in it is used, or different subjects to which it is ap« 
only one out of the four it prospered; and that plied is variously defined. In ordinary conver- 
was in the good ground. Was such a thing sation it frequently denotes ^choice or prefer- 
ever heard of as a sower putting seed upon the ence.' When used in a metaphysical sense, 
ground to make it good ground ? No; he puts those words do not always express the idea. — 
it on a certain ground, because he believes the Will is considered a faculty of the mind. — 
ground to be already good. The ground is good Choice, or preference, is an act, not a faculty of 
before the seed is put into it. It has been pro- mind. 

pared and made fit to receive the seed; the sun President Edwards defines it to be, Hhatfao 
has shone upon it; the showers and dews of w//y, orpozoer^ or principle of mind, by which it i$ 
heaven have descended, and it brings forth a capable of choosing — an act of will is the same 
crop. So in the heart of man. God secures a as an act of choice.^ Mr. Locke says, 'the will 
crop by first making the ground good; and this signifies nothing, but the power or ability to prefer j 
he does by his own direct agency. He quick- or choose.^ Again, 'the word preferring seems 
ens those who are dead in sins by the same pow- best to express the act of volition,^ 6lc* Deference 
er, the same mighty power, by which he raised is due to the opinions of great man: yet proba- 
Christ from the dead. I do not say the parable bly the strict accuracy of these, and especially 
proves this doctrine; but I say that the Bible the last, may be fairly called in question. We 
every where declares it. The preparation of may perhaps choose, or at least desire, or pre- 
the heart in man is from the Lord. Truth will fer, what we cannot be strictly said to will: a 
do no good until the heart is prepared to receive man, for example, who has not a suitable vehi- 
it. The seed of the gospel falls on all sorts of cle, might choose, or prefer riding to walking, 
grouild; but it finds none to be good ground on a journey, but he does not will it, because 
has prepared. The ploughshare of the Spirit he determines to prosecute his journey on foot, 
must first have broken up the fallow ground of Will respects what is practicable; preference 
the heart. 'As many as received him, to them may respect what is not. As a matter of neces- 
gave he power (o become the sons of God; sity I walk on a journey — I do it voluntarily, 
which were born, not of blood, nor of the will Yet I might say with strict propriety, that I pro- 
of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.' ferred riding. I will to eat such food as I have 
That God uses means, that ministers use means, — I might prefer something better, 
that private christians use means for the sancti- Mr. Reid says, 'Will is the determination of 
fication of men, none dispute. But to hear it the mind to do or not to do something which we con- 
said that God cannot reach his own creatures ceive to be in our power.' This, while it seems 
by his Spirit is altogether erroneous, and not to to come nearer the fact, yet it may perhaps be 
be borne. fairly excepted to, provided we call will faculty 
[Dr. Beecher. I made no such declaration.] of the soul. Determination is an act, not a 
Again: we read that Paul went to Philippi, faculty of the soul. Were it said that will is 
and after some time he found out a prayer meet- the power by which the mind is determined with 
ingheld by a few women at the water's side. — regard to its own actions, this would appear to 
He preached the gospel to them, and one of be more correct. What Mr. Reid calls the will, 
their number received the truth. And what is an exertion of a faculty of the mind, not a 
does the text say about her? That the truth faculty itself. The power exerted is the cause; 
opened her heart? No: but that the Lord open- the determination is the effect. His definition 
ed her heart, so that she attended to the things confounds things which are distinct; yet its 
spoken by Paul. The inattentive hearer of the leading features are undoubtedly correct. An 
gospel, I admit, does voluntarily and wickedly act of will or a volition, supposes its object pos- 
close his ears to the gospel. But when the Lord siblc, or within its reach. We never determine 
himself moves upon his heart, then he closes to do, what we know to be out of our power, 
them no longer; then he receives the word in We may desire to fly— we never will doit, 
love, and practises it in his life. This it is It is probable, however, that our ideas are 
which changes the natural man into the spirit- frequently beivildered by multiplying thefacul- 
ual man. When he is changed, there is some- ties of the mind. Will, we apprehend, is the 
thing done for him which he could not do for soul itself determining. The mind is suscepti- 
himself He could see that the gospel was a ble of different exercises, such as love, ang^r, 
beautiful piece of composition ; he might even gratitude, willing, &;c. In each case, it is the 
argue in its favor, as if he understood it well; soul itself exerting a power which it possesses, 
but till his heart is changed he has no spiritual adapted to the particular act. Using the term 
discernment of its excellence or power. in this sense, it implies all the active and moral 

And this leads me directly to take up the powers of the soul determining its omn acts* 

subject of the Will. And I shall show that it We are not disposed to pursue this part of 



the subject further, but shall briefly attend to litions of men. One man inclines to use meat; 

the long agitated and perplexing question, what another, vegetables. One determines on the 

is the efficient cause of our volitions, or, as life of a sailor; another, that of a merchant; 

usually expressed, 'what determines the will?' another, that of a farmer; and a fourth, that of a 

Here observe, however, that this inquiry does mechanic. The intrinsical quality of the ob- 

not call ih question the fact that willing is the jects are the same, whether chosen or not. We 

act of the soul. This none have ever doubted, cannot, therefore, find in objects, without the 

But the question is this; is the soul the efficient mind itself, that which will satisfactorily ac- 

author of its own volition — or, is volition to be count for the different volitions of the mind. — 

attributed to some other cau.^e? Yet we are not prepared wholly to reject the 

We also remark, that what is called the '/i6er- President's theory; for it is undoubtedly true, 
ty of the willj or man's being a voluntary agent that our minds will always be determined favor- 
in his own acts, is not a point at issue in the pre- ably to that object which is the most invi- 
sent inquiry; for in this, all are, and must be ting in the view of the understanding; and they 
agreed. It would be folly to attempt to prove will reject whatever is less so. But, at the 
what the plain common sense of every man same time, it is clear, that no object whatever, 
acknowledges to be a fact. Our own conscious- considered separately from the state of the 
ness, the best possible proof, is our evidence in mind itself, induces volition — it docs not (to use 
thisctise; and hence every rational being feels the President's phrase) 'move.' In other words, it 
himself liable to praise or blame for his actions, is not a motive. A man is sick: you present him 
Wc might as well undertake to prove to a man with the most delicious food — he is disgusted, 
with his eyes open that the sun does not shine at and rejects it. Restore this man to health, 
noon-day, as to attempt to prove to a man, that and present him the same object, there is a dif- 
he is not free in his own acts. An involuntary ferent volition, but no change in the quality of 
act is not our own act; nor do we feel accounta- the object. The state of the man is chang- 
ble in such a case. But this docs not decide the ed; and this accounts for the change of voli- 
point at issue. Our volitions, all agree, are our tion. Suppose another case. Food is pre- 
own acts; but the question is, are we efficiently sented to a hujigry man — through the impulse 
the cause of them, or are they to be attributed of appetite he determines to take it. But con- 
to some other agency? vince this man that there is deadly poison 

Some have contended that the will determin- in it, which will produce instant death, if taken 

ed itself. Now, if in this answer to the ques- — he refuses to eat. Here is a different volition 

tion, by the term will is meant, as often is the in view of the same object, but depending on a 

case, the act of willing, or volition itself, the different cause. In the one case, appetite in- 

assumpsion is absurd. Volition is a determina- duces volition — in the other, a rational prin- 

tion of the soul, an act, an effect, not a cause, ciple preponderates, which prefers life to present 

while the assumption makes it both cause and gratification. Present a sick man, again, with 

effect, which is impossible. It supposes a thing a nauseous medicine; he is disgusted, and re- 

to act in its own production, before it has an ex- jects it. Convince him, however, that the same 

istcnce, than which nothing can be more pre- medicine will benefit his heallh if taken. — 

posterous. But if by this answer it is intended. Here is a change of volition, in view of the same 

tliat the state of the man, including all his ra- object, possessing no change of its intrinsical 

tiona],animal, and moral powers and principles, qualities. In the first case, disgust is the ef- 

dctermines his will, the case assumes a different ficient cause of volition; in the second, the love 

aspect. We are not yet prepared to contradict of health. Animal appetite is the determining 

it* power, in the one case: reason is the power in 

President Edwards says, ^ It is that motive, the other. A child is presented with a beautiful 
which, as it stands in view of the mind, is the object, the use of which is prohibited by a 
strongestthat determines the will.' 'Motive, he parent's authority. The child is pleased with 
says, is the whole of that which moves, excites it; but because its use is prohibited, he ab- 
or invites the mind to volition. Whatever is a stains: here filial reverence determines the will, 
motive in this sense, must be something that is not the object. But suppose him free from the 
extant in the view or apprehension of the un- restraints of filial piety and his will is different; 
derstanding, or perceiving faculty.' If by mo- depraved principle is the determining power. — 
tives, the President means external objects mere- The desire of present gratification is stronger 
ly, which he does not clearly state, the answer than the desire to please his parent. It is still 
is not satisfactory. Food is a motive in this something in the agent, and not in the intrinsi- 
sense; yet it does not determine a man to e<it cal qualities of the object, which induces voH- 
who has no appetite. The different amusements tion. It is true, what president Edwards calls 
or employments of life, are motives in the same motives have their concern in effecting the de- 
sense, yet on account of difference of taste, men terminations of our minds, but it is evident 
are very differently determined, as it regards that independent of the state of the man in 
their use. Anything intrinsically belonging to view of them, they are absolutely inert things, 
(ho objects, cannot account for the different vo- They have no more tendency to move the mind, 



than mere matter has to motion. According to of the man determines the wilK The will is al- 
President Edwards, honey we say is a motive; ways at liberty: choice is an efiect, always, and 
hut it is such in reality only as it depends upon not a cause. It is always produced freely.— 
a corresponding taste in us. It depends entire- When the mind chooses, it always chooses free- 
ly upon the state of the agent, whether to him it ly. There is no such thing as a bound will. — 
is an object of desire or not.' If he has a relish Hence all men do what is good or evil voluntarl- 
for it, then, and then only it is a motive. The ly, in view of a motive, and according to the 
different amusements and occupations, which state of mind in which they are. Take man iu a 
empoly the active powers of men are motives in state of innocence. God made him upright: in 
the same sense; but we cannot account for the his own image: his choice is free, and he choos- 
various selections which are made, only on the es what is right. But not from any power in 
ground that we are determined to do so, by dif- the will. The will, as I have said, has no power 
ferent active principles. The objects have the to operate on any thing but the body. His up- 
same qualities, whether approved or rejected — rightness was in the right state of his aflections. 
Will does not depend upon the quality of the and the luminous state of his understanding; in 
object, but upon a corresponding sentiment in the correct state of his memory; and in his en- 
the agent. Such sentiment may be either natur- tire moral rectitude in the divine image. His 
al or acquired; but the fact for which we contend will was free to do good, while no temptation 
is not altered. A man may be naturally averse was presented to it. .He had no motives 
to the use of tobaco, or strong drink; but he but his accountableness to Godand his love to 
forces himself a little against his natural disgust; God. His will operated according to the state of 
and before he is aware, habit has produced a the man. 

relish for the same articles, and he uses them.— But now look at him in another state: the 

It is still the state of the man that causes voli- state of temptation. Motives are now present- 

*'^'*- ed to him by the arch tempter: but not to his 

We have not time, nor do we deem it neccs- will, at all: they are presented to his understand- 

sary to multiply instances to illustrate the fact jng and to his appetites; to his taste for beauty: 

here contemplated farther. Our object is to be the fruit is ' pleasant to the eye.* It was a natu- 

nnderstood: and from what has been said, it is ral desire in man; it belonged to his constitution, 

apprehended that the following statement is The temptation was addressed to his desire also 

clear, viz: The state of the man, or the active for power. This too, in itself, is innocent; and 

principle 7ohtch prevails in his nature, when voli- the temptation was addressed not to the will, 

Hon takes place, determines the will. but to this strong desire, and to another, no less 

And here I would remark that all the error strong, the desire of knowledge. Here then is 

and all the delusion on this subject, whether in the desire of knowledge, the desire of power, the 

the speculations of Dr. Emmons or of others, love of beauty, and the appetite of hunger, all 

has sprung from one and the same source, viz: addressed at once. And what was the effect? 

from Dr. Edwards' wrong definition of the will. The will was not biased in any other way than 

This wasthe starting point both to Dr. Emmons this: the temptation addressed to these powers 

and Dr. Beecher; though in the systems they was so strong that it overcame the dictates of 

have wrought out of it, they are as far apart as judgment, and the man chose wrong. Volition 

the north and south poles. The whole has orig- moved his hand to take, opened his mouth to 

inated from wrong philosophy and wrong meta- taste, moved his throat to swallow: and the deed 

physics in regard to the will. 1 have shown that was.done. Volition moves the body: the mind 

the state of the man in connexion with the views moves the will; and the mind is moved by that 

presented to his mind is what determines his will, without, which is adapted to its constitution. 

The argument of my opponent is that the will is Now let us take man in a different state. He 

the whole power of the mind: where there is is now fallen, and become blind, so that he can- 

ability in the will, it controls the whole man. — not discern the things of the Spirit; he cannot 

Whereas, although the will is always free, it is know them. His affections are not annihilated 

always operated upon. It never operates upon (as our views have been caricatured to represent), 

the other powers within the soul, but only on the Who ever talked of such a thing? It might as 

powers of the body. By volition we move our well be said that a man's body is annihilated, 

arms. But can wc control the affections by our when he dies. No; his powers were not annir 

will? Can we, by the force of the will, love hilated by the fall: but they were brought.into 

what we hate? and hate what we love? Does a different state. To show that paralysis is not 

the will control the understanding, the memory, annihilation, would be a vain consumption of 

the passions? No. But the will is controlled time. Biit I will merely state what was said to 

hy them all, in connexion with the motives which ^e by a gentleman who was conversing on the 

operate on all through the understanding. subject of ability and inability. The gentleman 

Taste must be created. A change in taste was subject to attacks of rheumatic gout. He 

produces a change in our volitions. had a pecuniary transaction at the Bank of Pitts- 

Now let us look at the doctrine of the Confes- burgh, which required his personal presence 

sion, with this principle in view, that the state there. The night before, he was attacked by 



swollen loot, ne reasonea tnus witn nimseii: — ence over mm. lie is engagea m a warfare; 

Why cannot I walk? Here are all the same that contest under which Paul groaned, crying, 
bones, muscles, and tendons that I had jester- oh! wretched man that lam, who shall deliver 
day: I could walk then; why can't I walk now? me: — from what? from the new nature? from a 

I certainly can, I will. He resolved he would: new will? from delight in God? No; but from 

and he accordingly rose and attempted to step; the old nature which still lingers within him. — 

but he fell flat on the floor. He rose, and the He is now not wholly good, and yet not wholly 

same train of reasoning again presenting itself, bad. He wills both ways. He feels the influ- 

he resolved to make another cfibrt: and it end- ence of opposite motives. He chooses good, yet 

ed just as the first had done. And this is a good he docs evil. And what says the Scripture of 

illustration of the effects of the Fall. The facul- such a man? 'If I do that which I would not, it 

ties of man remain; but the power is gone. To is no more I that do it, but sin, that dwelleth 

talk about natural ability, because a man retains within me.' His sins, thus hated and mourned 

his natural faculties, is to talk like men in the over, are ascribed to his old nature. The new 

dark. The Scripture itself takes the impotence man says, It was not I that did it — I hate it — I 

of the body to illustrate the condition of the soul, resist it. And this is the struggle in every chris- 

Speakingof fallen men, it says — 'their foolish tian's heart. The will is always free, butit acts 

heart was darkened.' It declares that the whole under motives. His character is not owing to 

heart and mind are depraved — so that no physic- the controlling power of the will ; but his will it- 

al operation can restore them: and accordingly self is controlled by the state of the man, and by 

it declares, that it is God thatworkethin us both his fallen and yet renewed nature. 

to will and to do. Lastly: the Confession takes this man to 

And now let us see man in a third state. All heaven. There it puts him out of the way of all 
goes wrong — all is out of the right way. All temptation: his body of sin goes into the grave, 
motives to good are rejected by the understand- '^^ *s now free from all shackles, and free to do 
ing; the heart is filled with hardness and enmity, .8^°^ ^"^ ^"'j E^^^ forever. And why? There 
and all the appetites are depraved. And here '^ "^ temptation: no motive but such as is adap- 
the doctrine of our Confession is, that he is total- ^^^ ^o the state in which he is now placed. Over 
ly depraved in all the powers of his soul and ^^^^ man the devil has no power. But for fallen 
body. The whole head is sick, the whole heart ""gels, no such deliverance has been provided, 
is faint; and from the crown df his head to the They are fallen never to rise. No Redeemer 
sole of his foot there is no soundness in him. Pre- ^"^ taken their nature upon him; no sanctifying 
sent now to him motives to evil, adapted to the influence of the Spirit of God can ever reach 
state of his mind, and he is led captive by them, them; no motive can ever turn them to a right- 
under the power of the God of this world. The ^^"^ choice. They always make a wrong choice, 
prince of darkness ruleth in the hearts of the ""^ persevering in sin, will deserve punishment 
children of disobedience; and if they exclude to all eternity. 

the influence of God, they cannot exclude that Somuchfor the Confession of Faith, and for the 

of the devil. Evil thoughts bolt into the mind; philosophy of the human mind upon this subject, 

they are darts from Apollyon's quiver. ^ "ow close, by putting in a paper which, 

But now the Confession takes the same man though not my own composition, so well expres- 

into still another state: the state of regeneration. !f ® "^l sentiments, that J will adopt it as my own. 



th^ Char. In eh. ZT /' .• """"^T'l^ ."* He appears to have adopted this di^tincUon rather 

this change? In the understandmg. The Spir- for the sake of convenience in opposing the Arminian 

It enlightens the mind. God shines in his heart, notion of free will.' We have often thought, could 

The change proceeds to the afiections; and it ^bo good man now live to witness the use now made 

finally extends to the will. The man now " ^^ *'• *"^ ^^® improvements made upon it, he would 

chooses the good he before abhorred, and re- ?!T^^^^. ^'/?l^" !*'* disciples. Mr. Edwards was a 

«»^u.^o T^o.,^/n> • * I 1 r "y'^"». '*"" 'e Calvinist of the stricter order, and never would be 

ceives Jesus Christ, whom before he rejected— have predicated on a distmctio'n which he adopted, it 

Ihe Savior was yesterday as a root out of a dry is true, but by no means defended as of essential im- . 

ground, without form or comeliness; to-day, he Portance, propositions like the following: ♦ Men are 

is the chief among ten thousand, and altogether *u *^^^ '^ ^^^® ^^^' ""^^^ ^^**^*" "®^ hearts, &c, as 

lovely. What is the reason of this? Yesterday I- ^ *''; ^"^ '''^^^' ^° ^"^ '•'^"''^K' '''V"'"" ^''"'" °"® ^^''^^- 

the man wasanit.iril mnn. tr.Zl ^'r^^V tion and go an opposite one.' We take the liberty, 

r nnTl ,n V ? , . i ^""^ ^^ '' "" '?'" ^'^^^^^'^ ^o object to the distinction forseveral reasons 

niual man. Yet he is renewed only in part. — which wo deem important: 

The corrupt appetites of his flesh are not wholly ^- ^^ " «'* Inaccnraie use of language. The word 

eradicated. He has indeed been created in Je- ^^^^^^y signifies a power sufficient to perform a thing 

8U8 Christ unto good works, which God had h^- *^'' ^®»'ff"- ^^ >» a relative term, and has a relation 

foreordained that he nhonld w .it ;^?k ir ^ «o"ething to which it implies competency, as the 

jorc oru.iinca tnnt he should walk in them, lie cause does to the effect. To be competent/is to be 






96 

adequate to a thing. Now we ask, is what is called volitions and acts — that the Spirit's work in making 

* ncUural power* in this distinction, merely competent us inwardly holy, is the sole mainspringr to holy ex- 

or adequate to a moral action? The case requires ercises — what has he gained? Justnoliiing atall, but 

mere insp^^ction, to convince of its absurdity. Can a an unavailing power — an incompetent, dead machine 

cause which is merely natural produce a moral effect? possessing it is true all its parts except a spring ol 

Is it not disposition or inclination which gives moral motion — a power — no power. But the distinction it 

character and accountability to an action? If not, we intended to remove difficulties, to silence cavillers, whc 

might predicate moral and accountable acts of beings say they are excusable for not doing what they have 

irrational, or even inanimate. It is moral principle notpowcr to do; and will the invention of an inefficient 

which affects the moral qualities of an action. Take incompetent power silence them? Will they be mute 

this away, and the act is hot moral. You take away at being told that they are a whole machinery adapted tc 

all competency to it. The power contended for has motion, provided a proper efficiency be granted themi 

really no more adequacy in the case, than if it had no No: they will still cavil at the doctrines of grace, un- 

existence. The soul, we admit, is susceptible of the til simple truth, without human aid in attempting tc 

exercises of love, desire, hatred, &c. Our rational cover its supposed deformities, prevails over their re- 

and physical natures are capable of acting in accord- bell ious hearts. Provided the plan is successful ic 

ance. But there is an essentia] competency prior to convincing them that their power is greater than i1 

all these: the mainspring of the whole machinery — really is, it may cherish and strengthen their pride 

and this is the very power which the distinciion itbclf and prevent their seeking aid of Him who alone if 

supposes to be lacking. As well might we predicate competent. But supposing the objector should probe 

power of the watch or clock to move forward and point your meaning and find that your power was incompe- 

out the hour of the day without the mainspring, or of tent, inadequate, inefficient, he would be likely to cal- 

the body to breathe without animal life, or of the culate you intended to deceive him. But his objec- 

wheel to move round without the impulse of water, as tions would remain even with increased force on th< 

to say that men can perform moral acts of any discovery. 

kind without the influence of corresponding moral 4. We obiect to this distinction, because it is a 

principle. We cannot love God and obey him from ge^ious impediment to the successful preaching oi 

S^sVve=t ouTLerts.^ 7u7ZZt%r,Zt fs \^^ gosper The success of gc.pel preac'hingconfist. 

prior to all holy exercises; and as this has no existence '" convincing sinners of their absolute impotency, anc 

previous to regeneration, we may as well say that a thus briging them to depend on divine interference 

nonentity has power to act and to produce itself, as to alone for salvation. For when does the sinner come 

say that men unrenewed have power to love God, to God for help? Not when he believes that he has 

make them new hearts, &c. The metaphysics of the natural power himself; but it is when, in his own es- 

Bible would tell us that the love of God, i. e. the na* timation,be is as dettiute of power to save himself as 

tu re of God, shed abroad in the heart by the Holy the Israelites were to part the Red Sea when pursued 

Ghost, is the mainspring to holy exercises. Power by the Egyptian hosts. It is when in the anguish ol 

and yet no competency to a thing is a glaring absurdi- j^jg ^^^^^^ ^is soul fainting within him, he flies to di- 

ty-a palpable contradiction. ^j^^ ^.^ ^^ ^.^ j^^^ alternative. Now to bring sinners 

2. This distinction, besides its incorrectness, is cal- ^^ j|,|g |g ^jj^ ^^^^ ^nj of gospel preaching. A differ- 
culated to mislead. I shall here simply notice the ef- ^.^^ of preaching may augment numbers, silence 
feet likely to take place with the illiterate part of so- ^, -i r t^ ^^...u^^ ..!»:» i..*«k:o^a*^,i«:«» 
ciety. The plain man, who has been taught to con- the cavils ofcarnal men, to whom plamlrmhis^ff^^^^ 
sider, and very correctly too, the phrases • man's na- but it will not humble tne natural heart, nor bring men 
tural state, his state by nature,' and such like, as really ' to rest upon Christ alone for salvation as he 
denoting the whole state of man fallen, including is offered in the gospel.' But if preaching is success 
all belonging to him, natural, moral, and physical ful in advancing the interest of the Redeemer, it if 
powers, will conclude, if we say that men have natural that which holds out to view the offence of the cross, 
power to love God, hate sin, and practise holiness, humbles the pride of the heart, and claims all the glo- 
that aboslute power or competency is intended; and it ^f salvation, as due to the sacred Trinity. Thf 
will require more than ordinary powers of metaphysics ^^^^ j^ jg calculated to convince of our want ol 
to convince him to the contrary. Suppose hi m to be- ^ j,, the better adapted to the end. The true gos 
heve the proposition according to the received import e^cn^uj, mx. vc i^ a« ^^ 1 «« ^ ^^;„*- 
of language, you make him an Arminian of course.- P^l teaches men what they are in fact, ana pomte 
Nay more; you make him a Sandimanian, a New- them to the only Power which is adequate to then 
Light who denies the special agency of the divine case, and when successful in its great end, encourag 
Spirit in order to faith, and love, and holy obedience, es those who in their own estimation have no might 
Thus the distinction is calculated to create heresy, to depend entirely on him who alone has almight] 
and has done it too, had we time to produce the in- strength. 

stances. ... j j ♦!.• 1 • • A conviction of absolute impotency, then, is as nc 

On the other hand, provided this plain man is a , • * r>ii • « «/«„:««:«« ^r«»r>. 
Calvinist, he will at once suppose all the foregoing -Cessjiry to our coming to Christ as a conviction ^ 

heresies as resulting from the proposition by necessary tal disease is necessary to induce us to make promp 

consequence at least. Hence not only heresy, but application for medical aid. We use plainness of speed 

animosity and schism, as has already been the case, here, for we wish to be understood. We most une 

would result from the favorite distinction. quivocally dispute the genuineness of effects produc 

3. Besides being incorrect and calculated to mis- ed under that preaching which extols human povfei 
lead, it gains nothing for those who adopt it, provided and thus keeps back the offence of the cross. Satai 
they do not avow the heresies themselves, to which it himself would be willing how much we might fill ou 
most naturally leads. The intention of this distinc- ranks, provided our preaching were not instrumenta 
tion was originally to answer objections to the Calvin- jj^ bringing sinners to rest entirely on divine aid fo 
istic system of absolute grace; but it meets none; it salvation: for it is in this act that a sinner's league 
creates at least one, for it is itself a most glaring ab- j^ unbelief and Satan is broken off". - If genuim 
surdity. Supposing the man who adopts it to admit .^j^j^i^g ^f religion are brought about, it will be by tha 
the total deprav ty of human nature, as the venerable Jp.'7'7 oirengiuuurc ".'""«5"^"" ' k-^u i^„j« *hi 
President Edwards did-suppose him to admit that faithful, plam, convmcing dealing, which leadteth 
corrupt moral principle is the mainspring of huionan soul io cry out, <Lord, sa?e or i pensh. men 



18 much preacliing which never brlngi Christ and will, destroy the theory of Dr. Emmons, which 

Belial in coUiaion, and which will always have its de- makes God the author of sin, and the theory of 

voted numbers. ^ ^ , ^ . , , Dr. Beecher, which finds nothing amiss in fal- 

But we are no doubt asked agam, how are the ca- j^^ ^^„ but a wrong bias of thi will, and the 

i\t^«!ST™!f i?-\ K V'^r?'"^ • ""''"'[' <ioctrine of Mr. Finney, who teaches that man 
provided the power which, by this distinction, IS creat- . i.i-x * u L» . 
cd for the pJrpose, is an unavailing one, it cannot do has abijity to change his governing purpose, 
it. Let them once know that the power leaves ihem ^^^^ »«» to make himself a new heart. And this 
M absolutely incompetent to their own salvation as theory of the will, that is, of the man himself 
though it had no existence at all, and there is nothing making wrong or right choices, sustains the doc- 
gtincd. By art we may put matters a little out of trine of our Church, which teaches that ^God 
sight, and persuade men that Christ and Beliul agree has unchangeably ordained whatsover comes to 
better than they really do; but the cavils of sinners pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the 
against the truth will never subside till their proud author of sin, nor is violence offered to the 
hearts are humbled and they reconciled to God. A will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or con- 
crucified Savior demands no apology on our part for tingency of second causes taken away^ bat ra- 
aiiy supposed deformity which he has in the estima- ther established.' Con. ch. iii. sec. 1. 
!i^ in the ^ HTii iSenT^u "f ^^''??"^*" By starting with the theory of Edwards on 
none at all. To bring man "to C and7eeTwh7t'te "^« ^"'j. ^S* ^^^^^ makes God the efficient 
in reality is, is the object of truth; and when this end «a"«« ^\ «" .^^^ actions, bad and good, inconsii- 
If gained through the instrumentality of preaching, Gently denying at the same time that God is«he 
Christ is triumphant over the haughtiness and lofty author of sin; and Dr. Beecher gives man the 
k>oka of man. Then the very opposition of nature full ability to do all that God requires of 
which renders tlie sinner unable to come to Christ, is him; inconsistenly denying that man can turn 
subdued, and he voluntarily surrenders himself into himself to God, — a duty which God expressly 
the hand of divine mercy. This is just what the doc- enjoins. The false philosophy and false me- 
trine of total inability is calculated and intended to taphysics of the fathers corrupted their thco- 
cffect. Satan would rejoice to see it banished from j^gy. The same is true of New England di- 
our Theological vocabulanes; but banish it he cannot. y:QJ#«>, 

Let it be preached, should the war between Christ and ^l' __. ^_. . -.. . j j. j i_.i 

Belial wax ten thousand times hotter. We will attempt The Westminster Divines understood phil- 

no compromise — we have no apology to make for the osophy and metaphysics better, and taugbt 

naked truth. M. more correctly. Yet these are the men, who. 

For the greater part of my argument, on the according to Dr. Beecher, saw the subject like 

SD»//, and the reasons offered for rejecting the half-sighted men, < as trees walking.' 
distinction between natural and moral ability, I Dr. Beecher now rose and said, that he should re« 

am indebted to Rev. D. Monfort, of Franklin, mark on the reply now delivered by Dr. Wilson, only 

la. (See Views of Speculative Theology, — Stan- so far as would be necessary to a just understanding 

dard, 1832.) His theory is one which I embrac- ©f the subject. 

ed before I came into the ministry, and finding Dr. Wilson's first excuse for aiding and abetting to 

bis manner of discussing the subject suited ex- call me to the care of a theological seminary, when he 

acUy to the present crisis, I took the liberty, by ^"C^ I ^^^ a heretic, is, that he acted oflScially, and 

his permission, of using it. I am pleased to ^'''}y " *^« ^^l^\^' of the Board of Directom. 

IcarTthat he intends shortly to favor the christian ?" V^« ^f^^ '^ *?^ ^? ^"f ^°J«, «?^*L*t' 11?™^ 

Doblic with his views on this and several other *® *^®P ®^^^ °^^^ '° dispute, just what he knows me to 

poDiicwitti ms views on this and several other ^enow. He had no evidence of any change in my 

•abiects m a more extended form. opinions whatever, and he had evidence of my being 

I am aware that we are accused of teaching ^y^^ ^^ ^^^ considers a heretic. And yet he acted 

the doctnne of Physical regeneration^ but we ^ moderator, [whose official duty it was to see that 

teach i^rW/ua/ regeneration, notPAvMca/.^ That nothing wrong was done by the body, if he couM 

which is bom of the Spirit, is spirit,^ as our Lord prevent it] in making out a call for me to becooio 

taught by an illustration taken from the mytUrir president of that institution. And he wrote me a let- 

ota, impalpable^ and irrcsisthle operations of the ter conUining the inviution; thus confiding the ssfety 

wind — so that we are/wwwc in regeneration, of tlie church to my conscience; believing that if I 

as our Conf. of Faith teaches. Chap. x. sec. 2.— ««w a heretic, I should have sense enough of right and 

The inner man is as passive under the Holy wrongto keep out of the situation to which he invited 

Spirit in regeneration,^ the outer man is ^\ f^^f guardian of the diurch is this! to send 

under the oJeraUons of the wind; as Lazarus ""^"^^^^^^'^i^Th I'JL^l^^^^ 

. ., '^ ., • ',,. , , own conscience! And what is the conscience of a 

was in the grave; or the man born blind, when y^^^^^^ Dr. Wilson ought to have been the very lart 

Chnst opened his eyes. Lazarus, when quicken- ^„ ^^ ^xi me by that name, 
ed, came forth freely, the blind man saw volunta- g^^ j^ ^^^j^l ^ constrained him to facilitate the 

nly, and the regenerated sinner comes to Christ ^^^j^^ ^ ^^e board, why did it not equUy constnin 

Willingly m the day ot God's power. hin,^ ^h^n I received the call and accepted itf He 

The facts stated in the Bible and transferred then did and said many unpleasant things. When I 

into our Confession of Faith, respecting the came, on his own invitation, official duty became Yeiy 

Natural man and the Spiritual man, and the oliant on my arrival here. It had no longer any atera 

theory advanced in my argament respecting the demands which could not be resisted. I say these 



96 

-(bings reluctantly, but they ought to be said, for it b the Suppose Dr. Wilson should quote twenty writeis of the 

truth of the case . new school party, to prove the meaning of some pas- 

[Mr. SkilliDger here interposed and said, this is not sage in my sermon, which I had attempted to wrest in 

a fair statement of the case; it is an attempt to cast in order to get clear of censure; and I should plead 

odium on Dr. Wilson, and through him on the whole that it was not according to the faith of the New En- 

of us.] gland churches; would not extracts from standard New 

Dr. Beecher said, if the elder would wait until he Englanddivinesbetestimoney to the purpose? Itcer- 

was done, he would have a full opportunity to ex- tainly would. What the church hold, the ministers 

plain. If Dr. B. had made a wrong assertion, he was hold. Their^s is the guiding intellect, and the people 

-ready to lalce it back. He was glad if the features of are led by tlieir opinions. 

*the case admitted of being softened down, and desir- gut Dr. Wilson says, that the fathers held many er- 
OU8 iliat it should be so. rors. Supposing they did, and so are of no authority 
Dr. Wilson. At the last meeting of the Presbytery, as to the truih of any particular doctrine ; I did notap- 
I went mto a full explanation, until Dr. B. said he was peal to them, to prove the inOh of my doctrine ; I on- 
satisfied; and 1 really never expected to hear anything jy cited them as witnesses, to show what was held by 
^on that subject again. the church in their day; and to thai purpose their tes- 
Dr. Beecher. I never said tlwt I was satisfied With timony m relevant. It does show what were the 
the sufficiency of his excuses for first calling me, and tenets of influential minds in all generations, 
then meeting me as he did. I supposed, at first, that But he says, tiiat the title of my sermon, being a 
he had seen my sermon on Native Depravity, when sermon on the < native character of man,' proves that 
he called me ; and I therefore complained, that, after it relates to the subject of original sin. I answer that 
iiaving a knowledge of that sermon, and the remem- native constituiion, and not native character, is the 
brance of his conversation held with me in 1817, he p^per term for original sin; and naUve character is 
should still send me an invitation; and then when I the result of it. The character of man is first formed 
came, oppose me. But Dr. Wilson replied, that he by the exercise of it. The distinction is broad and 
Imd not then seen Uie sermon, and I admitted that, plain, and one that is recognized by all writers on the 
ihat statement was satisfactory. But I never declared gubject. The sermon on < native character,' there- 
myself satisfied with Dr. Wilson's explanation a« a fore, is not a sermon on original sin, but on actual 
whoU, gin. 

Dr, Wilson. My statement was, that J had never ru w:i«»^ — «- 4U-* i u^\a ^h -:« ^^ k« . i •««-« 

seen his sermon until after the letter was written ; and , P^' W/^son says, that I hold all s n to be voluntary; 

-That on seeing and reading it, I immediately resigned ''^tTF''^^''l n7if "^'"K' J 'rT^r ^"^ n "I 

my seat in the board. ^'^^^ ^*"- ®"V »" the sin I speak of in my sermon is 



Ihat 



Tk. Ti«««u«. ¥ * •«*^j rk \xr'\ *• 1 ^ «in in adults. This was the whole question between 

Dr. Beecher. I acquitted Dr. Wilson entirely as to ^^ „„j ^„ ^^^„^„* i .„.. «,r:«:^« ^r «-»*.,oi oi.^ 

It- nor would I be oertinacious on this suhiert as it ™® ^"^ my opponent. 1 was writing of actual sin, 

^.1' «^* ^?. V ^^ • \ fi"^^^ ^" . and of that only. And on now looking at the ser- 

does not go very deep into the merits of the general ^^ „|..^, «,«„„ „^„«. r •« ^^^„^a *^ -«« i.^«. #u- 

«„-. «• ir«i r ij u • •* mon, after many years, 1 am amazed to see how the 

question. If It were necessary, I could bring witnes- i ^ r„„^ . „„;i«i Ar.Z^ ;« «../.k . .no^r.^* ♦u-* ;» -.-« 

*. 1 A\. at\ ixr-1 9 r ^- M. language IS nailed down in sucn a manner that it can- 

s^s to show that Dr. Wilson's a.u«e of action was most „ot be wrested so as to apply to original sin, by any 

decisive in favor of my appointment, and that his Ian- jbiiUy. There are some who hold that actual sin 

guage was exulting in the prospect of my being ob- y^^^x^J!■„ involuntary, and that it lies in something 

tamed. But 1 will not urge this thing beyond what ,^, . ^]^.^a ti,e „iif' Now 1 teach that man's oe^ 

equity requires Ibelieve tbatthe state of Dr. Wilson's , „i„i„a,i, j, ^^ ^f ^n actual sinner, whatever 

feelings and judgment were both changed before my , „„^ ^^r^Lc,^^ ^,;«:^«i «;„ «- #k« ™.,«^ -«j 

. f J u J I * I J •«u r 1 L may have come irom original sin, as the ground and 

arrival; and had he told me so jith frankness, when ^ j. ^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^ ,o\x,ni^r^ perveilion of his 

f^rame upon the ground, I should have had nothing to ^j,, . ^^ ,^, j^ ^^^ „^j ^^ ^^^^ Jl^y ^^^ ^^ ^^^. 

*^t \\T'\ m . • 1 •* • .L pulsion in the nature of a cause to an effect which 

• r^'A T"" ^"'•f '«•«'»"«'««» "» *« <??° makes sinning inevitable. And this is the language 

arc now dead. I refer to Mr. Kemper and Mr. of the church and of the Bible. Instead of deny i 4, 

^^ 'xi % J Tk \\T'\ ^1. X I do, by implication, admit original sin. If you take 

Dr. Beecher now resumed. Dr Wilson says that ^ volunfariness, and admit enmity, then you deny 

he does not know whether, in ecclesiastical law, the u,© distinction between actual and original sin, and 

slandering of Uie dead is recognized as an offence for ^^^^ ,„ ,;„ ^^t„„, jj ,„ ,i^ -^ ,^^ ^^^ j ^^ 

which a man toay be held to answer. . But if he did ^„ ^^j^^ f,„„ ^^^ muscular power, which a ian can- 

not knowthis, why did he table a charger Isamin- ^ . „^. .„^„ „„„ ^^^^ tUo^ « cu:«> ««« ««♦ «..^« i,^- 

.,, , ' ^ I ^ -a' 4i' «u * Bot act upon any more tiian a ship can act upon her 

ister's character such a trifling thing, that a man may 11 v j tr tr 

publicly bring a charge against it, in a church court, *'.,.. , , . . <. ^^ r.^ . . 

without knowing whether the charge will lie? Again, he insists that the opinion of Dr. 1 wiss is 

Affain- he savs that he cannot vet understand what nothing to the purpose. Nothing to the purpose?— 

i\gaiB. ae says, inai lie cannoi yeiunaersianawuai yr 1 , mnHftmtnr nf i\\t^ Asspmhlv ihat fnrmpH 

it is I mean by the doclrino of natural ability. Why ^ r- r • f ^ ^i.» w k ^t^^^ 
«k.»« «i,or«« i«« ..,UK ko:«„ « \.^,^i\^9 ir I, A- A \ the Confession of Faith? Was he not one of the lea- 
then charge me with being a heretic? If he did not j. • j • ^t. * mi * • ^„ *^ii«4:^„ ^r i^.^:..^ 
1 .1 ^ T «. I 1^ 1 ^ I . J ^ 1 • ding minds in that illustrious constellation of leadincr 

know what I mean, how could he know I mean heresy? . jo a j • u- • • «^ii«*«..oi ««^ «^«««r 

, I * J f 1- I .-111 ij 1 u* minds? And IS his opinion, as a collateral and cotem- 

and why not defer his charge till he did know what ^ous evidence, nothing? When in one docu- 

he said and whereof he affirmed ? ^^^^ ^^ ^^^^^^ ^.^^ ^.^ companions, of inability, and 

[Dr. Wilson. I understand his proposition very ,-„ another book gives my explication of his meaning, 

well; hut not the explanation he gives of it.J and it turns out to be moral inability, is this to be 

J^^Wilson says, that what the fathers held, is no evi- thrown away, and Dr. Wilson's exposition admitted as 

denceof what the church held. To this I reply, that we the true one? If the question was concerning the 

have no other evidence in the case, but the testimony Declaration of Independence of the United States, 

of tfao fathers. And I ask if testimony is irrelevant? and Dr. Wilson held to one exposition of it, and I to 




Mother, and I can bring writings of Jefferson to show have been advanced. But I did not saj anv 

that his political opinions and sentiments correspond guch thing, and never have said it. 

with my expositions and contradict Dr. Wilson's, is it [Mr. Gazlev here interposed: Dr. Beecher 

nothing to the purpose t Dr. Twiw is a liTingexposi- jij gay that regeneration is accomplished by 

torof the Confession of Faith, and he holds the same j^e word as an instrument; and that if it is 

doctnne which I do, m so many words. He taught ^ ^ instrument it cannot be done direct- 

nan^s natural ability as clearly as I do; while at the , , ^ 

same time he says that 'no mere man, since the fall, -5^'^ -, i»j.j j. l\^ t. c^ y 

is able, in this life, perfectly to keep the command- ^^* Beecher: I did not say that God cannot 

ments of God'— proving that he understood the term acton the human mind directly; nor have lev- 

chU to mean moralfy able. er "^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^ a^^* ^ ^^'^ ^^^^ ^^ such 

Dr. Wilson says the Bible is not te be explained by t^ng could be advanced philosophically and 

Presbyterians in their controversies with each other; theoretically as God acting by means and not by 

because its meaning is explained in the creeds. And means at the same time. I was only interpret- 

he has before insisted that the creed is not to be ex- ing what God says about it. I never said that 

plained. What then, I pray, i« to be explained? He it was impossible for him to do what he would, by 

and I are not to explain the Bible. Why? Because direct agency. But I did say, that if he does it 

he and I agree in receiving the Confession of Faith, directly, then he does not do it mediately/. If he 

„. . x-_ ipotence, then he does. not 

instrument. For the two 
t„ u« uau««iuou u«iw«eu ua. ^rc we uu.y cu x.««r things are inconsistent. No doubt God can do 
the sound thump on our ears, and attach no meaninff ...^ -dj.i i xj a ' m. av. 
to it? And how shall we know that we attach thi ^l"^^*"- But he chooses to do one and not the 
same meaning to it, if we must not explain? I do not o***«[- To settle which this is, I go not to phil- 
doubt that Dr. Wilson has some meaning about the osophy and speculation, but to the word of God. 
matter which he has not expressed; but it ought to If there is any heresy in my opinions on this sub- 
have been expressed. ject, it is the heresy of the Confession of Faith. 

The Dr. says that I take the Bible to demolish my My faith is in that position which both the Con- 

own creed. But I claimed that the Confession teach- fession and the Catechisms lay down. I advance 

es natural ability; and I quoted the Bible tp prove it, no theory about it. I stand upon the language 

and I said expressly, that I did not appeal from the of the Confession. If that is not with me, thea 

creed to the Bible, but that I went to the Bible to prove I must fall. All 1 say is, that direct action with- 

tbe creed. out an instrument, and action by the trivth^ are 

He insists that the parable of the talents does not the same thing, and caanot co-exist. If a 

not mean that man has any natural ability to do man levels a tree by pushing it down with his 

his duty. But does it not respect the Jews^KuA naked hand, then he does not level the tree by 

respect gospel privileges? And were these not chopping it down with an ax. Now the Confes- 

bestowed to be improved by every man, accord- sion and the word of God say that God converts 

ing to his several ability? Did not the improve- men by the truth. Here I beg leave to offer, in 

ment lead to heaven? And did not the neglect corroboration of my view, the opinion of Mat- 

of ability, or its misimprovement, lead to hell? — thew Henry in his Commentary on James i. 18. 
How then can Dr. Wilson say that the parable Dr. Wilson. Who completed that Com- 

does not teach ability? mentary? for Mr. Henry himself did not extend 

He represents me as teaching that God oper- it so far. 

ates on matter and mind by laws. Dr. Beecher. It was completed by Wright. 

[Dr. Wilson. What I said was, that Dr. J^''^' Then this is not Henry's opinion, but 

Beecher teaches thftt God operates on matter Wnght s opinion. 

only by natural laws, and on mind only by moral Dr. B. I will read the passage; and then I 

laws.] will quote another which Dr. Wilson will not 

Dr. Beecher. I hold that God operates on dispute, 
matter by his direct omnipotence; and that he *Ofhis own will begat he us with the word of 
operates on mind by the gospel, and by the truth.' Here let us take notice. 1. A true chris- 



as he chooses. He will not, unless it so seems plainly, Ist Cor. iv. 15, I have begotten you to Jesus 

good in his sight; and if it does, he will. The Christ through the gospel. -This gospel is indeed a 

question ii whether he c^oe«, and we are to bring word of trutli; or else it could never produce such 

no a priori conclusions to that question. To the zeal, such lasting, such great and noble effects. We 

word and to the testimony. What does Chd may rely upon it, and venture our .immortal souls 

say? Dr. Wilson says, that I hold God cannot «ponit. 

directly operate on the human mind; and he is I will now quote Matthew Henry's own Com- 

awfully horrified that such an idea should ever mentary on John vi. 44: 



100 

^o inan can come to me except the Father which discuasion of this point. I will only say, that tf ths 
hath aent me, draw him.' Observei 1. The nature human mind is constituted as he supposes, and po0- 
of the work ; it is drawingf which speaks not a force sesses no capacity of choice but in the manner lie de- 
put upon tlic will, but a change wrought in the will, cribes, he has certainly proved the natural impossi- 
whereby of unwilling we are made willing, and a new bility of man's being anything by the agency of his 
bias given to the soul, by which it inclines to God. — voluntary powers. But he has proved equally, that 
This seems to be more than a moral suasion, for by such free agency has in it no more ground of accoun- 
that, it is the power of man to draw; yet it is not to be tability, than the flowing of a river, or the motion of a 
called a plijsical impulse, for it lies out of the road of clock. The will, he says, is free : not as the Fathersi 
natwre; but he that formed the spirit of man within the Confession, and the Bible say, — capable of ac- 
him by his creating power, and fashions the hearts of ting either way in the choice of life or deaths — but 
men by his providential influence, knows how to new choice, he says, is free; that is, choice is choice, but 
mould the soul, and to alter its bent and temper, and necessary under the coercion of external circum- 
make it conformable to himself and his own will, stances. 

without doing any wrong to ite natural liberty. It is ^ . ^ . ^^Ich the whole question tuna, 

such a drawing as works not only a compliance, but a „, ,„., _ , Vj .u 7 !""**" "*" """« h*"""'"" ^"""' 

cheerful comoliance a comolacencv draw us and we "'• ^^''*''° ^^^ *** *'** agency and responsibility 

^1 run after t do not need any ability at all. I liold that they do. 

o Tk- — ™:'... „r!. M„ .-.„ :„ .1.:- .o.k .»<i ^o' if not, why should God command men more than 

l-lriJf? . . ' .« rt "? wi L i. A. «f »«»««• o' «^ttl« ? Nothing remain, in man to give God 

S«f!, *^' T TV T ^ .i?„ nl..±„n! '"y hold upon him witfa*law and the sanctio^ of law. 

annot do any natural action without the concurrence ,^' j. , V^ ^ ,j 

^»i? rj"*"'.? *"?'.'i "**• *fl' '^"" f fn-ll^I^^^ W". nor «>»W there bo any need of Christ's coming 

rA^^' " "^ f '« 'nfl-ence of "Pec'^l 8ra<^. and dying to deliver him from it. Supposing all men 

ui which the new man lives and moves and has .U ,, ,j ^ ^ q^ ^^i!t>e |ospel to 

he^ng, as much as the mere man has in the divine ^ ^^^^^^^ ^^ ^,^1^', ^^^ jj.^^,^ ^,,^ ,^ ^^^ ^^^ 

proviaence there is in him 'no ability of any kind' to distinguish 

Dr. Wilson has made a distinct avowal, that free him from a stock or a stone? If there is, what is itf 

ueney and moral obligation to obey law do not in- I say, that which distinguishes him . from a stock is 

chide any ability of any kind. the possession of a natural ability to obey God: al« 

[Dr. WiuoR— I limited that avowal to man in his though I admit that his will to do so is wholly perver* 

fallen sUte.] ted. 

Dr. Bkbcheb— Yes, so I underatood ii. We are There isanotherfolicityabout the lucid and Ihorou^ 

talking about man in his fallen state. Dr. Wilson then manner in whi«?h Dr. Wilson has taken his 

admits, that it requires no abUUy of any »ort in fallen ground. He holds tiiat it is in the creed, and he naib it 

auntable agent, and a sub- down by his philosophy. I have taken the liberty to 



, to make him an accountable „, . _ . _ 

ject of God' moral government. animadvert upon his theory. His theory comes 

fDr. WiMOK-With respect to faUen man, / do.] *» *«'* •^*' "'« ^'"J "f" "" ""*Tf J-f ''".'„ *:° r'*"^ 

kow it must be admitted that in this avowal Dr. J"«' »? .'' ^°«^. J«' hesays ihat the wiUis free.- 

Wilson has the merit of magnanimous honesty. He ^^ .'*'* *^^«'. '^ •"! "S"". "u ^ ^^.il' "^"^'^T 

isikirly out on a subject where, with many a man Sr" '\"""' f "?' ""^ '*" '''!?^n'*S* '^^'' Y'' 

for an opponent, I shSuld have had to ferret him out. ^'^^ '««g*" ' ^'^, ''g^fy *?* God never made. 

There oin at least be no doubt as to what Dr. Wilson *[ * ""« «JP"«J?«' * "".'ght 'able a chaige agaust 

does bold. If we are to go to Synod, Uiis point will the Doctor for febe philosophy I observe ona 

be clear; and when tho report is publishedV no man *'"« "^out it: Dr. Emmons and Dr. WiUon boU> 

ammisundeistandthispart ofiLltisseldomdiat we S"? "^J^® """**'! u '''i!**- * ft*** a**'"^ n "^ 

meeta man whowould be willing to march right up ^n the abstract; not how he is after the fall. Dr. 

to such a position, without winking or mystification.* ^ilson goes beyand that; he gives iw a model beyond 

But Dr. Wilson has done it unflinchingly and thor- *e fall. He gives us an account of the free agency 

oughly. He interprets tho Confession of Faith and of the angel Gabriel m heaven; and proves that be 

the Bible as teaching that God may and does com- <;?^'<' "^t have fallen if there were not some coi^ 

mand men to perform natural impossibilities; and dition or state of mind which he could not help: and 

justly punishes them forever, for not obeying! though .'h't Adam fell by a similar fata ity. Ihis is the faU- 

they could no more obey than they could create a ing of which Dr. Emmonds speaks. It supposes that 

world! And he has riveted the matter by his mental Ood cannot make a free agent unless he creates his 

philosophy of the will. Instead of supposing a mind !?''tion3. The inabihly whicli makes the aid of tho 

with powers of agency acting freely in view of motives, «"'> ^host needed is in the nature of things. It is 

be supposes the will to be entirley dependent on the the inability of God to make a free agenl : a neces- 

constitution and condition of body and mind, and **ry inabiliiy of yoliuon withont divine efficiency, un- 

external circumstances; and controUed by these as ah- <?"8ed by the fall, and as real in the unsinning as the 

solutely as straws on the bosom of a river are controll- f!""'"? a»>g^'^- ^t has nothing to do with the faU, and 

ed by tho motions of the water. I shall go into no ^r. Wilson is out of tho record. His free agent 

makes a choice one way without power of contrary 

. . ... «Aoice, it being a natural impossibility. If Adam 

*Dr. Wilson has written us a note saying that the y^ n^t fallen, he could only have done one thing, as 

mfJIno corVrtLr^f th? C^i^r ^f^pi^! ."nj tho circumstsnces of the caso had presented them- 

made no corrections of the Keporter ourselves, and , ^ i^««.:* k»4f^...* r,\»^c r«.#u • «»^».i* 

can allow none, until the whole trial is published, selves: just as an electric battery gives forth a spark, 

We shall theu be governed by our convictions of duty, ^he moment you present a conductor to it. 1 his is the 

If one party mends tho report, the other may; and amount of his scheme. Let circumstances be array* 

we shall have no end of corrections. £d. ed and choice must follow. 1 say then that Dr. 



WilflOQ is out of the recoid. He is talking about bow pable of voluntary action under law, and of 

God made a free agent; and on his philosophy God is choosing life or death : and 80 capable as to hare 

the author of sin. the whole weight of obligation imposed upon him* 

Dr. WiLsoN~I think Dr. Beecher will now alter That there is apou sto in the soul a ground on 

his opinion: and not think we can go together so very \Yhich obligation can rest and which makes 

easily. it right he should be punished for sin as for his 

Dr* Beecher. When I cherished that hope, I own act alone: that is what I mean by natural 

had not heard Dr. Wilson's philosophy. Oh no: ability; something given to man on the ground 

I have done; I knock under; I give up to such of which he is justly responsible. Take this 

A scheme as that! Where is responsibility? Dr. from him and he becomes a machine: or put him 

Wilson is as much a slave to inward constitution in the necessity of circumstances which turn his 

and surrounding circumstances as a slave can be will about this way and that way, as wind turns 

to any physical cause. I do not mean anything a weathercock, and let this doctrine be spoken 

invidious to Dr. Wilson, when I affirm that this out and fairly understood and it revolts human 

is the fatalism of the ancient philosophers, which nature. I do not say it has this effect upon the 

was denied and opposed by Justin MartjT and speculative student in his closet; but if he gets 

the early fathers. These ancient philosophers ultra on the subject; if he comes out with it in 

held an eternal series of cause and effect; and his pulpit, and preaches it forever, so that his 

that the will both of gods and men was subject people get to see and feel what his scheme is, it 

to the control of this series of causes and effects, paralyzes responsibility — it does bring moral 

And that neither gods nor men could do any- death with it. And I know it; it has been 

thing, but that one thing which they did: and preached all around me. I have seen the bottom 

this from necessity. This scheme is the same of human responsibility knocked out; and what 

in substance with that of the gnostics. It is a was the consequence? The besom of error 

scheme of material necessity. Man is held in swept over the land of the pilgrims, carrying 

prison in a poisoned body. It Is the scheme, in holiness with truth before it; and leaving noth- 

fact, of the Manicheans; who held, that sin was ing -behind but an arid waste, where no plant of 

in the substance of the mind. I do not mean to grace was to be seen. Alt was silence; all was 

say timt his scheme is cither Gnosticism, Man- death; till the correct system of human accoan- 

Icbeism, or Paganism: but what I say is that it t<ibi]ity was brought up, and pushed on until it 

goes on the same principle. Infidels take this made its way to the conscience; and then streams 

Srinciplc from the system of Dr. Emmons and broke forth in the desert, and the wilderness blos^ 

k. Wilson, and they draw fatality from it. [Dr. somed as the rose. 

Wilson says that the inferences of other people d^. Beecher said: I am now ready to close. * 

from a man's tenets show the true tendency of rr« ^ i^^t. ^u.,^^^ ^^ ^u-.^u t u^a *^ .»<.«^^. 

• . jM 4 . Tj i.ui« •i.uAU, !L:ii The iirst charge to which 1 had to answer 

bis doctnne: I do not believe it: but how will ., . ,, ,, .Jf^ ^. . „k:iw.. r - 

lie like the application of his own doctrine?]- was, that I hold the natural ability 

This is the doctrine of Hume and Priestly, and {"^^ ^gfnt; and teach that it is this which lays a 

the modern Universalists. They reason jistly, fo^^J^t^on on which God has a nght to command, 

if you give them Dr. Wilson's premises. Then ?"^™^" is nghteously bound to obey, or bepun- 

they tale the old theory about tastes. What ished for disobedience: thereby rendermgGo^^^ 

God has put in the mind none can help-when «^^^^?^ '^rT vrf "^^ nV w^? '' i I 

men love sin they cannot help it; and SoTaking J?^^" ^^ natural ability. Dr. WU^on says that 

Emmons and Burton on one^^side and on thi bere is no such hing-that there is nothing m 

other, between the two they box the sinner's ears *f «<>"' ^ f^',^^1''" k /nJ'"''"^ ^^i; 
into infidelity. ^^'^^J ^*V^* ™" ?bould do what God requires. If 
t% tir-i T>. . , .1. Li. I am a heretic It must be on that ground — that 
Dr. Wilson. Did I say anything about ere- ^^„ ^as no ability of any kind to do anything 
ated depravity? t^^^ q^ requires him to do; in a word, that the 
Dr. Beecher. No: you did not: I could show Presbyterian church hoists the black flag, and 
that your scheme leads to that, but I made no warns no man to enter her door who cannot sub- 
such assertion. There are but three theories of scribe to this doctrine. 

the will. One — which makes choice a matter I then state man's moral inability: the perver- 

of necessity, by a constitutional series of cause sion of his natural powers; their aversation from 

and effect. That is the fate of the Stoics. — God; and this so strengthened by habit as to be 

Another is that of Emmons; that man cannot utterly insuperable. I make man's responsibil- 

choose as an agent, and that there must be a ity turn on the voluntary perversion of his free 

positive physical cause to create volition: as agency; I make the punishment of an eternal 

truly as to create matter. But while he denies hell turn on the same thing. They zoouU not 

fiite, and the taste scheme of Burton, where is have Christ to reign over them. They tooiiU 

the cause of volition? It is God. He marches not come to him that they might have life.-— 

up boldly — as boldly as Dr. Wilson, and avows The next point is, the doctrine of original sin^ 

that God makes sin as he makes holiness. Be- and here — 

•ides these two suppositions there is but one oth- 1. I hold, that in consequence of our alliance 

cr: viz: that man is a created agent, made car with Adam, and of his fall, there is some ground 



102 

or occasion for the certainty of actual sin in all is there one standard writer, nor a minister in 

his posterity. New England, to my knowledge, who denies the 

2. That the ground or reason of this Certain- doctrine. ^ The exceedingly evil nature' of 

ty is some change in the constitution or nature Edwards, aside from actual sin by identity, 

of man, anterior to moral agency. means a certain cause, ground or reason, for the 

That this is not by personal identity of his universal sin which .follows. It is certain that 

posterity with Adam, so that they sinned person- something existed anterior to actual sin, as a 

ally in and with him. ground of its certainty. To prove that a man 

That it is not by transfer of the moral* quali- is able to go this way or that, as an explanatioti 

ties of his actual sin to kis posterity, making his of the reason why he goes, against all motive, 

action their action, and the qualities of his will the wrong way, is nothing to the purpose. Free 

the qualities of their will. agency is no explanation of the ground, or rea- 

That it is not the Gnostic doctrine of materi- son, of its universal and entire perversion. — 

al or animal depravity. There is something in man anterior to volunta- 

That it is not the Manichean doctrine of de- ry action, which is the effect of the fall, and the 

pravity created in the essence of the mind. ground or reason of the certain and universal 

That it is nothing which makes God the plan- perversion of free agency to sin. And this, in 

ner and designed producer of sin, by a plan and the Confession of Faith, is called original sin. — 

means designed and adapted to that end: or This cause or occasion is called properly, a de- 

which makes him directly the creator of sin. praved nature: as a good tree and a corrupt tree 

That it is not in any way that makes sin a mat- are called so, in reference to the fruit they bear: 

ter of fatal necessity. with this distinction, that though it operates with 

It was because of the federal, representative universal and absolute certainty, yet it does not 
relationsofAdan, and the social liabilities of his destroy that natural liberty of the will of man 
posterity, as explained by Dr. Bishop, that the with which God hath endued it, nor is the will 
change took place, which is the ground of the forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature 
certainty of man's universal, entire and actual determined to good or evil; nor yet so as there- 
depravity. And whether it be a mere penal hy is God the author of sin, nor is violence of- 
effect, or a result of the nature of things, or fered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liber- . 
both, it was the appointment of Heaven, in some ly and contingency of second causes taken away, 
way, that so it should be. The fact that man hut rather established. 

is subject to a nature from which results, certain- But if I am asked what is it? Is it in the body f 
ly and universally, total, actual depravity, is the Or the mind? How does it operate? My an- 
doctrine of original sin. And the manner in swer is. I do not know. I seek not to be wise 
which it comes to pass is not the doctrine. The above what is written. I answer only negative- 
doctrine is the /ac^, as it is stated in the fifth of ly: because I do not want to philosophize in the 
Romans. This bias also, and tendency, is not dark, nor attempt to explain the modus operan- 
the same in quality and personal accountability di. I have no mental philosophy which ac- 
as actual depravity. Yet it is that which makes counts for it; and men talk without book, when 
actual sin certain, in respect to adults, and the they attempt to explain why man goes forever up 
atonement and regeneration necessary in respect stream. Certain things arc negative, and in this 
to those who die in infancy. Edwards distin- Dr. Wilson will also agree. I hold fast to a 
guishes carefully; he speaks indeed of actual and change in the constitution of man. I cannot 
original sin as the same, but it is because he con- tell what it was, nor' how it acts, but I know 
sidered Adam and his posterity as united by per- that it is not true, in the sense which givea 
sonal identity. us personal identity with Adam. In that sense 

But in respect to the corruption of nature, it is not true, that we were ever in him, or sin- 

which is the ground and reason of actual sin, he n^d in him, or fell with him m his first transgrea- 

speaks with guarded care. It is evil because of ^*®il! j . i . 

its effectual tendency to eventuate in actual sin. [Dr. Wilson. Do you admit that it was by the 

He felt that if he attached to it sinful qualities, imputation of Adam's first sin, and its propaga- 

positive moral evil, it would make God the author tion by ordinary generation ?] 
of sin. And whenyou strikeout personal identity^ Dr. Beecher, I don't deny it, and you can't 

and transfer of qualities,and involuntary sin in the make me a heretic for what 1 don't pretend to 

created substance of the soul or the body, and afiirmordeny. I hold that we have an evil na- 

the compulsory necessity of sinning; and by ture;but that it is not evil exactly in the same 

speaking of the federal head, the covenant of sense in which actual sin is called evil; aftd it 

Adam with his posterity and imputation, you comes upon us not as the penalty of our own 

mean only the fact of that change by divine ap- sin, but as the penalty of Adam's sin, and on the 

pointment included in the whole curse by which principle of his federal character, and our social 

all men lost original righteousness and became liabilities as explained by Dr. Bishop and the 

subjects of a constitution or nature from which Biblical Repertory. You may search the works 

results univerasl, actual and entire depravity:- of God with a microscope, and I defy you to 

you have the true doctrine of original sin. Nor find any such thing as a plan to make sin. You 



can'C find in all his kingdom a manufkclory of under a rock is the means of raising it, then it 
' wickedness which he has built for that particu- is the lever which raises it, though the lever 
lar purpose. You may light up ten thousand be moved by man. Effectual means, are 
suns and search every cavern, and every deep those which produce the effect; and I cannot 
recess, and you can find no such thing. He has make plain, more plain. 

indeed established an extensive and glorious As to the charge of hypocricy, in saying that 
manufactory of righteousness, but he has given I believed the Confession of Faith to contain 
no law which tempts man to sin, neither doth he the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the 
tempt any man. His whole government and truth, I have given what I trust, is a satisfactory 
providence tend the other way. They lead men explanation 5 and I have accompanied it by what 
to repentance; both his afflictive and indulgeht I hope will be deemed sufficient proof. Itisnot of- 
providences lead men back to God. There is ten that I notice vague reports: but one lunder- 
not the least trace or vestige of anything that stand is circulating in some circles, which it is 
God has contrived to make sin with, neith- my duty to contradict. It is reported that I said 
er is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered sneeringly concerning the Confession of Faith: 
to the will of the creatures^ nor is the liberty or con- there is no document which means one thing and 
tingency of second causes taken away^ but rather es- says another, equal to that. What I may have said 
iablished. This is my philosophy. But if Dr. jocularly among friends, I cannot tell, and 
Wilson's philosophy does not mdk^^ necessity will not be answerable for. But I never ut- 
of nature which forces men to sin, and of which tered any such sentiment seriously, because I 
God is the author, then I am as unable to un- hold none such. I believe that when the Con- 
derstand what he means, as he says he is unable fession speaks of guilt, it does not mean what 
to comprehend what it is I mean by natural is now understood by that term, viz. personal 
ability. desert of punishment; but that it means social 

[Dr. Wilson: I do, today, understand what guilt, liability to punishment in consequence of 
he means -by natural ability, though I never did social relations; and in this sense, and with this 
before. I understand him now!] reference only, I may have said sportingly, or I 

On the subject of the agency of the Holy ^^J ^a^e said seriously, that it says one thing 
Spirit in regeneration, I have already explained and means another: that is, it says a thing which 
my views. What is to be reconciled? The un- ^^^ word then meant, but the words employed, 
willing is to be made willing. I do not deny ^^> "lean another thing. The guilt of Adam's 
that in the preparatory work towards this change, sin, is our liability to punishment for j^dam's 
God may operate according to the laws of «*^; ^^^ punishment means the coming upon 
physical nature, by his own direct power, in as of the penalty which was threatened to 
counteracting the benumbing effects of sin, on ">"^* 

man's bodily powers. I do not deny that he And now I believe I have done with the 
may, by a direct influence of his Spirit, excite charge of hypocrisy. The longer I study the 
the mind of a sinner, as he stimulates the Confession of Faith and Catechism, and the 
imagination of a poet. I have no doubt that he more I .compare them with the scriptural proois 
may create great facilities, and that he may there cited, the more I admire that strength of 
give the motions of mind great additional power, intellect and that burning piety, the evidence of 
But the Confession of Faith and the Bible both which is resplendent throughout the work. — 
deny that there is any physical mode of re- And instead of wishing it remodeled, if I ever 
newing the heart; and whatever may be those refuse to stand up against anvi uch proposition, 
auxiliary influences, which accompany the may my right hand forget itss unning and my. 
work or prepare for it, I do believe God when tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth. I 
he says, tnat he begets men by the truth. Let intend to introduce it, as a text book, in the 
God be true, and all doubt is ended. I adopt Theological Seminary, over which I preside. I 
the words of the Larger Catechism on the sub- consider it the most admirable system of com- 
ject of effectual calling: ^ By his Word and parative theology which the world ever saw. — 
Spirit.' So I hold. And when it is done, it is While it speaks the trutii, it is so constructed 
done. When the log is dragged to the mill by 9s to give a back stroke at errors of all sorts; 
a log chain, then it is dragged by a log chain, and I fully believe it Airnishes a better founda- 
and not moved by a man's hand. If God con- tion for a sound theological education, than all 
verts a sinner by his word and Spirit, it is by his the other text books which have ever been ad* 
word and Spirit that he converts him, and that is opted. 

»"J ^^cresy. Dr. Wilson is alarmed at some of the new 

Now let us hear the Shorter Catechism: measures which have been introduced into the 

« IIow is ihe word made effectual to salvation f — church: So am L Dr. Wilson is afraid of the 

« God maketh the reading, but especially the preach- tendencv to arminianism in some modern 

ingoftiie word an effectual means of convincing and preaching: So am L Not indeed among the 

convcrtmg smners. ge^ed dergy of New-England, nor the settled 

That is my faith. An effectual means is the clergy within the bounds of the Presbyterian 

means which does Che thing. If a lever put Church; but among speculative adventurers. 



104 

We live in a day of Ultraism; wben the child to desist, and be did desist. I have considered 

behaveth himself proudly against the ancient, thus much as due 1>oth to myself, and Mr. ^n- 

and wben with certain unfleaged upstarts, it is ney. 

reason enough for blowing upon anything with On thedoctrineofperfcctionismlbavebntone 

contempt, that the thing is ancient. This spirit, word to say. The whole charge appears wonder- 

I believe it is the duty of all of us to resist. I ful to me. In support of it, Dr. W., quoted those 

for one shall resist it. texts which I bring to prove man's moral inabilh 

An attempt has been made to identify me ty,wilhoutawordofexplanation,or the least re- 

with Mr. tinney. Now I had with that £'*°*« **> '•?« '^'^L *^ 1?^ •'".Tll"^ '«"'*^ ^\ 

gentleman and others a long and arduous con- S*""® ''«1 two sorte of inability. He quoted 

troverey, which continued, without intermis- *«™,' '7*!? '">*'*'5« to explain them hot the 

sion, for nine days, It was held in a council at "?""** ""^ *!?« ^"^5. ""^ "ow, since he has set 

New Lebanon. We discussed many points, *''« example, I wish to try Dr. WiUon in the 

and we parted without being mutually satisBed "me way, as to the doctrine of perfectionism, 
in respJbt to them: and hi went about bis According to the Doctor, there is but o»« sort 

Lord's work in his own way. Mr. Finney is a "^ ^ability, and that is a natural inability, such 

man of powerful intellect; he is a holy man; " renjere the thing impracticable and impossi- 

I have prayed with him and wept with him, and ^\ " r n!!i ^1*" ^Z**^" "'l*? 'Whosoever 

have f^It the beatings of his great, warm " »>o™ ofGod, doth not commit sin, for his seed 

heart before God. And those who speak slight- f*?"""*? '"''T' ""'^ ^ cannot sin, because he 

ingly of Mr. Finney, may do well to remember, » ^"™<*/^ ^f: . .?f^ as conno. always ^pres- 

that there is such a' thing as offending ?«* "" °",J.1™^ 'nabihty, and implies an at»olute 

God by speaking against his little ones.- >mpo«ibihty, we have God himself as a witn^^^^ 

Mr. Finne/bas, since that time, gained knowl- f''^.'' ^•'"«*»«S " «»!**"* "«t"™».»''«M»t^ 
edge by experience. He has reformed some ° ""' ""?, *>** it is absolutely impossible 

.vf hs. ».»«....<>. »,k;^k I ....^.v».«J t^ K« -r tnat he should sin. If this is not perfectionism, 
ot nis measures, which 1 supposed to be oi l ^ • • t x t\ xtra x i r ^u • 

j.»»«.^... t-^^Alw,^.^ ^^A u^ i\.A,.i^ f u«>- what IS t Let Dr. Wilson get clear of the enpe 

dangerous tendency, and he is doing, as I hope, . jj^j^ „re„ment if he can. 

much good, with but few attendant evil con- rrk. w:i-,.» '»pv-i. i —•ii j_ • ^-j- i i i. 

seauencea Wlien I was in Boston as manv as t"^* Wilson. That I Will do immediately, by 

sequences. When l was in Boston, as many as ^j^ ^ing the principle Dr. B. himself has laid 

tmmly deacons, or other influential members . *: ^„ J^ ^ . i-terDP«t a doc 

of the churches, got together, and invited the „"; "® ^^^ we are never to interpret a rto^ 

^. ... . l^.i ° J »u_ A IV. L ument SO as unnecessarily to make it contradict 

ministers to meet them; and they proposed that .^^^^^ j^,,„ .^ ,,^^ comparing those who are 

we should send for Mr. Finney. After consulto- ^o™ of God with the unregenerate, who commit 

tion and discussion, when it came to the vote, ^y^^ ^.„ ^^^^ ^^^^j, ^^^J ^^^ jJh„ ^^^^^ j, 

every layman, I believe, voted for the measure, ^^^^ christians cannot commit the unpanlonabte 

and every minister against it. The intcrposi- ^j^ y^^^^ j^ ^„ bom of God. ^his is not 

tion of the ministers prevented his being sent nerfectionlsm 1 

for, much to the grief of many of the people. ^ ^ n l .xi_ ^ /• ••_ . ' 

Some time after this. Dr. Wisner went to Pro- ^^- B«echer, without farther entenng into ao 

vidence to labor in a protracted meeting— argument on this point, proceeded to support, by 

There he met Mr. Finney, heard his doctrine, documentarv evidence, the second ground of d^ 

and became acquainted with his views and fence which he had set up: viz. that if he bad 

measures; and when he returned to Boston, he »?* '^"'^l^f^ '" P"*^'"f *''!u '^-!^"*f ^ ? "r 

told the ministers that he was satisfied, and he S*.!;f T^V^^^f 1"^^*"^ J"A^u°"i1?'°" 

thought that we ought to yield to the wishes of f"'*' •'^^"^ «* '«'»«* P^V** *•'«* the difference 

the churches. We assented accordinglv; and between them was such only as is consistent with 

then the Union church of Boston, with the ap- an honest subscnption to the Confession. On 

probation of the pastors and the other evangelicS *!?'» ??»°*' Y '»"?*^^ *''!/*' 0^".? ** aT ^ 
^i,....-,k<,. 5„„:t«Jiif.. i?:nno» tr. «/««.« o,./iak»- Dr. Green's review, in the Christian Advocate. 
churches, invited Mr. l^inney to come and labor ,^, „ jj™,. •ei- ..i. .1. ..' 

-~.^«~.* ... ivk^r. \^^ ^^^^ t^M^t^r, f «. of the sermon called 'The Faith once delivered to 
amongst us. W ben be came to itoston, l re- , « . . , 

ceived and treated him as I think Dr. Wilson *"® »aints: . . , . 

ought to have received and should have treated . ?• 23-. 'On^ *« statement here given of the 

me. I gave him the right hand of fellowship, chief articles of what Dr. B. denominates the fwinge- 

as expressive of my confidence in him, at least 'cal System, we remark,that a though it w'>» *»«b<- 

iMi au*^ 1 « u ij X u 1 •!. XT less be considered as a Camnisticstatcmenty It IS ner- 

till something else should occur to shake it. He ^^^^^,^^ ^„^ ^^ ^j^.^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^ Calvinists, in the 

committed himself to our advice and guidance; ^^^-^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^ of t,,e terai, would 
he betrayed nothing of extravagance; he was ^qj unreservedly subscribe. To one or two articles 
just as compliant as a lanb. And this I will say, they would certainly except.' 
that it will be long before I hear again so much p 35 .^^ y^ ^^ this sermon is published under 
truth, with as little to object to, in the manner acopy-right, that the printer who holds that right will 
of its exhibition, in the same space of time* g^Q^ a good supply of copies into the south and west. 
He preached no heresy in my hearing; none. — where they are scarcely less needed than at the head- 
There was one of his measures which I did not quartersof liberality itself: which, as every body knows, 
entirely approve, and from which I wished him are established in the east.' 



I 
1 
c 
i 



Here Is Dr. Green, the head and pattern of As to the doctrine of original sin, let him point 

orthodoxy, while marking the dissent of the strict- out the difference between us, after those points 

est Calvinists to one or two articles, jet express- are excluded which he agrecsshould be excluded, 

ioe his hope that a good supply cf my sermon If there are any discrepancies between us, they 

will be sent out to the west. And on the ground must rest upon some one or other of those ex- 

of this very sermon, I am to be turned out of the eluded points. And now, as to the other ques- 

church as a heretic. tion, have the ministers of our church done wri* 

I will now lay before the court part of a let- ting? Shall we have a new test? Or shall we 

ter written by Dr. Alexander, of the seminary now break bonds, and go cast, west, north, and 

at Princeton, and which appeared in the Bibli- south, into fragments, because we cannot all 

cal Repertory, published in that town, under the come at an exact numerical identity on every 

eyes of the professors. point of human belief? I believe that we are 

Dr. Wilson here inquired, on what evidence it ^^^ as "^a'" ^^ s"cb identity as men can reasona- 

was said that this letterwas written by Dr. Alex- bly hope to be. And of this I am confident, 

on JQ|.f that the more we pray, the more we shall agree. 

Dr. Beechcr replied: on the ground of com- There is one other point on which I must say 

mon fame, uncontradicted ; as it would have been a few words. Our church constitution makes an 

contradicted, if the fact had been otherwise. accuser responsible in his own person, should he 

Dr. Wilson said, that it was understood that fa** ^^ substantiating his accusation; and pro- 

the professors at Princeton had entered an ex- ^'^^^ a reaction upon himself of that penal evil 

press disclaimer as to being held answerable for which must otherwise have fallen upon the ac- 

all articles appearing in that work. cused. And as a general rule, I accord to it the 

Mr Brainerd said, that there was one fact Fk""''^ ""^ Y'"'^ ^""^r •*"'* «"<*.^^P^;^»?"^: ^"^ 

which put the authorship of the letter beyond ^^T ""^l- exceptions, sometimes to its justice, 

doubt. The Rev. Mr. Hf cCalla, of Philadelphia, «°^, sometimes to its expediency ; and in the pre- 

had published a severe criticism on the letter un- -^^nt case, I do not believe it will be expedient, 

dertlieidcathatitwasthe production of Dr. Alex- ^^ * " * '* '^ ^.'!l"^u"l^l^'', PT'^^'?'* ^"^^^^^^^ 

ander, at the same time whitewashing Dr. Mil- f^""" u ^""^ '^^'^±. **?''*' ^^ f ' ^^'^^^.l'' ^^^f^j*^*^ 

lerand Dr. Hodge, as not being answera- ^*^.^ ^^"J|^«- This is wholly a question of doc 

blefor it;and, in a subsequent number. Dr. Mil- t""^' differences. There exists no proof of ma- 

Icr andDr. Hodge had both come out and denied *^^ ^[! ^'^^^\ ^l^^l .P'^ Wilson's is an honest, 

the authorship, without saying or insinuating th,?»gV °'^'* *^'"*^ 'K^ mistaken course. His 

that the letter had been falsely attributed toDr^ ^^J^^^ ^^' ^j?^" to produce the comparative dev- 

Alexander elopment of truth and heresy. While I pre- 

Dr. Beecher. I shall take the responsibility *^°^ "^1*^ ^^f^^'t ^^^ .'"''^"^^^ in which he has 

of reading it as Dr. Alexander's letter. approached this object, I accord to him honest in- 

Andberewewillstepoutofourway,toexpressour ^^""^T' A^t'^'T^ t^"" ^''u^''^. ?? '?A'' 
opinion, respecting creeds and confessions. No so- P"^^^' ^"^ ^""'^^^ ^^ ,^^7^ subjected himself to 
ciety of a religious kind can exist without them, writ- P®"^* consequences; still, as the points in contro- 
ten or unwritten. None of the formularies are infal- versyaremattersconcerning which the Presbyte- 
lible, unless so far as they contain the very words of "^"^ church is waxing warm, I desire that the 
Holy Scriptures; when a man subscribes a creed, or decision of them should be as little mixed up 
asserts solemnly to any Confession of Faith, he does with personalities as possible. Should you fix 
it, just as if he had composed it for the occasion, as ex- a stigma upon my brother as a false accuser, and 
pressing the opinions which he entertains on the dif- the case should go up by appeal, you throw at 
ferent articles of faith which it comprehends. It mat- once a firebrand into the church. There are ma- 
ters very hitle, what the precise form of words may be, ny who love Dr. Wilson, and with good reason; 

I^^S """' ""^n K ^7"/ '^^ """^"^^^^^^^ and though many of these might otherwise be 
impartial men will be, that no man can be honest -ii- x •/ i. -r ® -.. \ .i! 
who adopts, without explicit q^ll^catL, a S willing to acquit me, yet if my acquital must be 
which contains doctrines which he does not believe - H^ condemnation, and must involve the sanction 
To admit this, would render all such instruments and ?^y^^[ sentence upon him, you willat once throw 
engagements peifectly nugatory; and is repugnant to ^"'^ the equal scale of justice all those powerful 
fte moral sense of every unsophisticated mind. But sympathies which ever cluster round the leader 
when a man composes a creed for himself, he will be ^^ ^"J cause; and instead of presenting to the 
ready to acknowledge that it is not infallible; that, in higher court a question purely doctrinal and in- 
many respects, the doctrine asserted might have been tellectual, you bring up one of the most exciting 
more clearly expressed,and that his language mav not questions which can be agitated, viz. a question 
always have been the roost appropriate.' ' of personal character, both his and mine. 

I now claim, on the doctrine of man's free a- I have never believed that truth will triumph 
gency, a more exact agreement with the Confes- by the force of legislation. Decide as the court 
ion of ^aith, than is here required by Dr. Alexan- may, it will not prevent men's preaching either 
. dcr. And I think Dr. Wilson will find it hard to way. It is no doubt proper and necessary to re- 
claw off and to get so far out of the channel that move convicted heretics, if such shall be in your 
we shall not float in the same stream. communion* But you can never cramp the in- 



106 

tellect of such people as direll in this couDtry. There is no such rule. It says merely, that if 

You cannot prevent or repress free inquiry. You you do censure, it shall be in proportion to the 

never will compel men, as with a leaden memory, malignancy or rashness which shall appear ia 

to retain forever just what was taught them in the the prosecution. I appeal to Dr. Beecher^s own 

nursery. statements, and to the good sense of this court, 

I hope the Presbytery will agree with me in to say whether I have manifested either malig- 

theopinions that it is inexpedient to censure my nity, or rashness. I appeal to the Searcher of 

accuser. If you shall decide that he has failed hearts on that subject; and I deny that you have 

to sustain the charges against me, and if you any right to censure me, even if you shall decide 

should think that some act of public justice is due that the charges have not been sustained. 

to the man, who openly advances such charges Pr««k«#«-« ^^^ ♦^^i, « .«-«-^ aa *i. 

i. u- u J.U J i. au 7-1I rresbytery now took a recess. After the reeeaar 
agamst his brother and cannot prove them, still the roll was called by the Moderator, and the mem- 
remember, that this IS not the proper body to bers in succession had an opportunity of delivering 
perform such an act. Let us waive that imag- their sentiments upon the case. Several availed diem- 
ined necessity, and leave the case to Synod, I selves of the privilege ; but, in raost cases, it wag 
am not willing to stand here and hear my church waived. The roll being gone through, Presbytery 
bell ring, while his is put to silence. We are not took a recess until the afternoon. In the afternoon, 
alienated from each other. There is no person- ^he members of Presbytery were called upon to vote 
al bitterness between us. We areas ready to separately on each charge, by saying Sustained or 
see eye to eye, and as ready to draw in the same ^^* Sustamed. 

harness as two men ever were, if we could but The first charge being then read, the vote upon it 

agree in our views. And although Dr. Wilson stood as follows: 

does not now see his way clear to extend his hand Sustained.^Measrs. Daniel Hayden, Francis Mon- 

to me, it is not certain but that after he has con- ^o*"*, LudwellG. Gaines, Sayres Gazley, Adrian Anton, 

ned this matter over; after he has communed {: ^urt, Wra. Skillinger, Israel Brown, Peter H. 

with his friends, and above all, after he has com- SumCktlfa '^""^ Andrew Harvey, Wilhom 

muned with his Grod, he may come to a different r" .' ._ . , an*, 

conclusion. Butif you put upon him a sentence «.^^' Su^med^Mem. Aadtew S. Mrniaon, 

ofecclesu«Ucalceni:.r4ou.£akeitcertaintbat ^^'^^^^.^^'^S:^:::^^^^^^^^^ 

he never wiJl. ^a Brained, George Beecher, Robert Porter, John 

And now, in conclusion, I throw myself into Archard, Henry EEigeman, J.G. Burnet, Brice R. 
the hands of the presbytery; and I do so with the Blair, J. C. Tunis, J. Lyon, W. Carey, J. D. Low, S. 
same kindness as I feel toward my brother. — Hageraan, T. Mitchell, W. Owens, A. P. Bodley, Si- 
There is no sting in my heart. I believe you las Woodbury.— 23. 

will do what is right. But if not, and if you lay So the first charge was declared to be not 

on me what I consider an unjust censure, I shall sustained, 

appeal. On the second charge the vote stood the same 

Dr. Wilson now rose and satd: I shall ofier as on the first charge, 

but a very brief reply. The patience of the As the facts included in the third charge ' 

Court in hearing my several explanations as Dr. were admitted by Dr. Beecher, no vote was ta- 

Beecher proceeded in his reply, together with ken upon it. 

my expectation that the whole proceedings will On the fourth, fifth, and sixth charges, the 

be faithfully reported, supersedes the necessity vote stood as follows: 

of any replication by argument. All I wish to SusUdned-^Measta. Hayden, Monfbrt, Gaines, Ga2- 

reply to is Dr. B.'s last remark. I am always, I ley, Aton, Kemper — 6. 

hope, thankful to any one for courtesy and kind- jy^ Sustained-^Mesars. Morrison, Graves, Biggs, 
ness: but do I apprehend that Dr. Beecher's last Bullard, Vail, Rankin, Poraeroy, G. Beecher, H. Hag- 
remarks had that design more towards the speak- eman, S. Hageroan, Bodely, Porter, Archard, Burnet,- 
er than toward myself. My request to Presby- Blair, Tunis, Lyon, Gary, Low, Mitchel, Owens, 
tery is that they will do their duty: by inflicting Woodbury, Burt, Skillinger, Brown, Andrews, Harvey, 
punishment wherever it is deserved, without Brainerd, Cumback.— 29. 

showing favor to any man. I ask no clemency. On motion of Prof. Bigos, the following min- 

All I ask is justice. I ask that the rules of our ute was recorded as the decision of Presbytery 

Book of Discipline shall be strictly enforced, on in the case. 

the grounds of justice, truth, purity and the pro- Resolved^ That in the opinion of this Presbytery 
motion of the peace of the Church. The rule ^^ charges of J. L.Wilson, D.D. against Lyman Beech- 
is this: *The prosecutor of a minister shall be ^^ j^ j^ ^^^ ^^ sustained for the following reasons: 
previously warxied, that if he fail to prove tlie j ^ ^^ ^^^ o^deprax>ed nature, it appears 

charges, he must f ^-^^^^^ '^^.^^^"^JJI^^^^^ in evidence that Dr Beecher holds and teaches that ia 

derer of the gospel mimstrj m proportion to the »"<"'"«'»•»"''««"'' ,„ . .. , ,. j:.!„^t_ 

malignancy or rashness that shall appear in the eonsequence of the fall of Adam and the dmnelj 

prosecution.'— Dis. ch. t. sec. 7. appointed connexion of all his posterity with him. 

If you say that the charges are not sustained, "an is bom with such a constitationhl bias to evil that 

the book does not sajr you shall censure me. his first sioral act and all sobsecpient moral acts, u»> 



til regenerated, are invariably sinfiil; which bias toeTil The extraefs fiom Dr. Beecher^ eermoiui broogfat 
» properly denominated a depraved natiue, or original to sustain the above charges, when taken in their pro- 
sin, as In the standards of our church. per connexion, and with the limitations furnished by 

II. As to the second charge, relating to total d^aO' the context, do not teach doctrines inconsistent wi A 

K^ and (Ae work of the Holy SpkUj Dr. Beecher holds the Bible and standards of our church, 

and teaches that this depravity is so entire and in such III. As to the charges of Perfeeftonum, slander and 

a sense insuperable, that no man is or ever will be re- hypocrisy, they are ^together constructive and infer- 

generated without the special influence of the Holy rential, and wholly unsustained by the evidence. 

Spirit accompanying the word, as expressed in the stan- Presby terj then resolved that they do not de- 

dardsofour church. Larger Catechism, Question cide the amount of censure due to Dr. Wilson, 

1&5, and Scripture proofs. ''>ut refer the subject to the Synod for their final 

On the subject of ability. Dr. Beecher holds and adjudication. 

teaches that fallen man has all the constitutional pow- Dr. T^ilson gave notice that he should appeal 

era or faculties to consUtute moral agency and perfect *^ ^ynod from this decision. 

obligation to obey God, and propriety of rewards and ^ Messrs. Gaines, Skillinger, Kemper, Cum- 

punishments; that the will is not, by any absolute ne- ^^^'^J ^^^^ T.f^^\ Harvey, Burt, Brown, 

-.el J * • J . J -1 Hayden, Monfort, Gazley, gave notice of their 

cessity of nature, determined to good or evil, accor- ^.J^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^ ./^^ ^j^^ ^^^.^.^^^ 

dmg, to the Confession ofFaith,ch. IX. sec. 1, with Messrs. Stowe, Rankin, and Brainerd were 

acnpture proofs. appointed a committee to defend the above de- 

At the same time Dr. Beecher holds and teaches cision before the Synod, 

that man by the fall is mora% disabled, being so en- The roll was then called, the minutes read, 

tirely and obstinately oMr^e from that which is good, and Presbytery adjourned, after singing and 

and dead in sin, so that he is not able to convert him- prayer. 
Mlf or prepare himself thereunto. 



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