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their persons from the violence has an understanding of his own, of the spirits of darkness. so it is his duty and his right to And thou who knowest every use it, and to regulate his princi. degree of their necessity by thy ples by his own inquiries and infinite wisdom, give supply to convictions, and not by the un. all their needs by thy glorious tried maxims of others. That mercy, preserving their persons, scheme of religion may justly be sanctifying their hearts, and suspected of being an imposition leading them in the ways of on mankind, that declines the test righteousness, by the waters of of a free and accurate examina. comfort, to the land of eternal tion, and requires belief without Test and glory, through Jesus investigation, for those who are Christ our Lord.
conscious of the excellence of their doctrines will not be afraid of bringing them to light, and of exposing them to the inspection of the most attentive observer. They know that the more care.
fully they are viewed, their truth They (the Bereans) listened and beauty will be more appar. without prejudice to the instruc. ent. Truth can bear the light tions of Paul, examined with care and loves to be seen, but falsehood every argument in support of and vice seek darkness, and dread them, as well as every objection investigation. against them; and when convinced When we insist upon the rights of their truth expressed their as of private judgment, we do not sent with cordiality and steadi. mean that every doctrine of our ness.
religion may be fully understood The divine Spirit whose aid our on investigation. There are some Lord promised to lead his people doctrines which are above our into all necessary truth, counte present comprehensions, and nanced the researches of these which we must believe on the honest inquirers, and crowned divine testimony. These bafle them with success.
the inquiries of the acute phi. It is our duty and right as rea. losopher, as well as of the honest sonable creatures, to inquire and peasant. Yet this is no better judge for ourselves concerning reason for neglecting the study the truths of religion.
of the Bible, than it would be for We should receive no doctrine abstaining from the study of the of religion upon human authority, works of nature; for there are or the affirmation of fallible men mysteries in both. It is our dulike ourselves. Though respect and ty to search with modesty the attention are due to teachers, they Scriptures, not only that we may are not entitled to implicit faith,know those doctrines and duties
The noble power of our pa which are easy and intelligible, ture cannot be employed in a way but also those truths which we more suited to their dignity and are to receive on the authority excellence, than in forming just of God, and of which we are to apprehensions of the character expect a more full discovery in and will of God. As every man a future state.
All the protestant churches by the terror or infliction of soncur in maintaining the para, punishments, to counteract their mount authority of the Serip. convictions and speak as they do, tures, and in declaring the falli. that they are chargeable with tybility of all synods and councils. radny, and violation of the rights
It is when a church pretends of conscience. to infallibility, and stifles pri.
“ The Study of the Scriptures vate inquiry into their tepets ;
recommended." when they attempt to compelmen, Andrew Hunter, D. D. &c. &c.
At the request of a respected friend, we readily fill our miscellaneous department, this month, with the just and eloquent observations of M. Gregoire, on the Columbiad of Mr. Barlow. These observations were translated for the Anthology, and are prefaced by the editors of that work with the following remarks: "We are much gratified in being able to present to our readers the following eloquent
pages; which we are enabled to do by the kindness of a friend who lent us the original pamphlet in French, which he had just received from Paris. The observations of a foreigner on our publications have always a certain degree of interest, which is greatly increased in the present instance by the distinguished character of the writer, and because the work on which he remarks is an object of public attention at the moment. The feelings of a partisan will be frequently remarked, and we think the boldness with which he occasionally writes will excite surprise. He is most known to the world by his very eloquent report to the convention, which was the first effort to stop the Vandalism of the revolution. We have seen, in some of our newspapers, an anonymous criticism on the same poem, extracted from the English Monthly Magazine; but this is less interesting, since so many unworthy tricks have been practised on that Msicellany, by writing articles in this country on American works, sending them to be published there, and then quoting them here as the opinions of Englishmen.”
Critical Observations on the Poem of Mr. Joel Barlow, the Colum. biad, in 4to. Philadelphia, 1807; by M. Gregoire, formerly Bishop of Blois, Senator, Member of the National Institute, &c.
&c. Paris, 1809. MY DEAR FRIEND,
enters the domains of criticism; I HAVE received with gratitude, you yourself solicit it in the letter and read with interest, your mag- which accompanies your present; nificent work, the Columbiad. you solicit it with the fraukness This monument of genius and which is natural to you. Thus I typography will immortalize the exercise a right as well as perform author and give fame to the a duty, not in addressing litera. American press; this alone would ry observations to you, but in re. be sufficient to destroy the asser. pelling an insult to christianity,an tion of Pauw and other writers, insult on which I should be silent, that there is a want of talents in if Barlow was a common writer, America, if your country did not or his poem an inferior work, already offer a list of great men, because the book and its author who will go down with eclat to 'would soon sink together into the posterity.
stream of oblivion. When a book is published, it Amicas usque ad aras, says an Vol. II. New Series.
ancient. It is at the foot of the civil establishments, which may altar, that I blame certain lines be in favor of error as well as of in your book, and an engraving truth, are often unjust, impolitic, which has the following inscrip. dangerous in more than one res. tion, Final destruction of preju. pect, though Providence may draw dices. Prejudices !.... Perhaps good from them, as it does from no one desires their destruction many other evils which it tolerates. more than myself. But what do Let every thing relating to you call by this equivocal name? conscience, as well as every thing and what do I perceive in the that belongs to social organiza. midst of the heaps in this picture, tion, be freely discussed ; truth which serve for emblems? The demands examination, which des. attributes of the catholic minis. potism only can fear: this alone try, and, above all, the standard finds it necessary to invoke igno. of christianity, the cross of Jesus rance, to surround itself with Christ! Are these what you call darkness, to repel the light which prejudices! If even the excellent breaks out from the researches works, which have rendered evi. that are directed by good faith dent the truth of the gospel; if ev. and sagaoity. en the principles and the history But what will be the result, if, of eighteen centuries did not give instead of reasoning with calm. you formally the lie, it would be ness and respect on religion, the easy to shew that this picture is an most important object for man in attack against all christian soci. the course of his fugitive exist. eties, that it is an act of intoler. ence, calumny should point its ance, of persecution, which of. sarcasms, and spread its black fends God and man.
colors over historical facts which The unlimited freedom of re. it misrepresents; if, instead of ligion in the United States confers speaking to the understanding to on no sect a character of domi, enlighten it, we address ourselves vation, nor any of those exclusive to the passions to seduce? This privileges, that are possessed in has been the conduct which our different countries of Europe by infidel Frenchmen have followed, the churches of the Catholics, pluming themselves with the title Grecks, Lutherans, Calvinists, of philosophers. It is important &c. &c. Let us leave to the pars to recollect, and to recollect of. tisans of the English church the ten, that of those who have com. endless dispute on the preroga. batted christianity, the greater tives of the established church, part have vomited the most infa. on the utility of those civil estab. mous things against decency and lishments which, already shaken, morality; Lamettrie, Voltaire, will crumble, perhaps, on all J. J. Rousseau, Diderot, Mira. sides, at no very distant epoch. beau, of the constituent assem. Though I am by conviction, by bly, P...., &c. Others have seritiment, a catholic, and hon. said before me, that incredulity ored with the episcopal character, almost always has its source in after a deliberate examination, Í the beart, and that the antagothink that if we owe to ihe state nists of a religion, whose moral. a guarantee of obedience when it ity is so pure, are advocates who requires it, that nevertheless these defend their own cause.
Almost all of them have at. ever exercise good faith? Will tacked christianity by reproach- they ever cease to reproach chris. ing it with the abuses it has ex. tianity with the abuses which she perienced, as if the abuses were laments ? the thing itself; as if, after having Wbat further did they do ? directed the wind on the straw, They travested august liberty as we must still blow away the a bacchante; they exclaimed that grain ; as if wine and iron ought no one could be at once a Chris. to be proscribed, because there tiao and a republican, at once a are debauchees and assassins. republican and a moderate ;
In the stormy course of our though thousands of examples revolution, the infidels held, dur. among us, as well as among you, ing some years, the sceptre of attested the contrary; though a power; you were a witness of holy and natural alliance estab. the use they made of it. In an lishes itself between those char. instant, these champions of tol. acters. Some pious, but unen. eration and humanity were seen lightened men were frightened to display all the ferocity of Di. by these clamors; believing them. ocletian; to shut up, profane, selves placed between liberty and and destroy our temples ; to religion, could they balance in pursue the religious man even their choice? It may be seen into the asylum of his thoughts; how our rcformers, wishing to to incarcerate and transport associate the republic with every bishops and priests. A great thing that could destroy it, them. number of catholic pastors were selves precipitated the vessel of dragged to the scaffold; during liberty into the abyss, at the mo. eighteen months I feared and ex. ment it was reaching the port. pected the same fate; it is well What would they have substi. known with what outrages I was tuted for christianity ? A goddess, loaded, in the midst of the nation. and a temple of reason, man for al convention, for having braved God himself. . They afterwards the infuriated howlings of impi. made temples to the Supreme Be. ety; the greatest favor that was ing ; temples in which theophi. accorded us, was only to mark lanthropy erected her booths, u3 out as superstitious, as fana. till the period when the worship tics ; these were the epithets in of the deists found it, chap. fashion. For several years we els deserted in France, as that of were constantly under the axe of David Williams was in London. executioners, calling themselves At this period foreign nations philosophers. Do you hasten to waved among us the banners of tell me they usurped this title; discord; they were powerfully we are agreed. God preserve me aided by all the enemies of the from attributiog to philosophy revolution, of whom a part hav. the crimes of brigands, who ing fled their country when it dressed themselves in her liveries. was in danger, to stir up against In the face even of the altar, I it the potentates of Europe, corhave justified her from crimes she responded with those who re. abhors ;* but will our infidels mained in their homes, to kindle .* Discourse on the opening of the na. discord and anarchy. By a re. tional council of 1801, p. 2.
finement of perversity, they con.
ceived the plan of destroying the on this subject with your coun. most salutary reforms, by out. tryman, Thomas Paine. Write, stretching the object, and forc- said I to him, on political rights, ing every measure; of render. but not on religious matters; ing odious or ridiculous the your Age of Reason has discov. soundest notions by exaggerating ered your incapacity; you will them ; in fine, of revolting the never be able to oppose any thing people by alarming their con- solid to the excellent refutation sciences.
of your systems by a crowd of Who could believe it, if ac. writers, above all by the learned cumulated facts did not attest it, bishop of Landaff. that two classes of men the most Some of our persecutors, who opposite were seen at this period styled themselves philosophers, acting in concert to commit the are already thrown into the sew. same crimes, and to destroy re- ers of history; the rest will be ligion ? Pretended philosophers in their turn. The greater part of from hatred against it; pretend. those who have survived vent ed Christians from hatred to eve. themselves in maledictions over ry priest, who had submitted to the tomb of Robespierre, that it the law requiring an oath ? They may be forgotten they were his would rather have seen our altars accomplices, his guards, and his overturned, our sanctuaries pro. banditti. They would be so faned, and covered with filth and again, if he and his power were sacrilege, than to behold their resuscitated. Formerly, under brethren in the same sacerdotal grotesque names aod cynical habits, but, faithful to their God dress, they dishonored the cause and their country, offer the same of liberty ; vile Proteuses, they sacrifice, and preach the same have changed their language, gospel. These distressing re. still more than their dress. For. collections will be engraved by merly they blasphemed against history, they will resound in fu. christianity ; bigots now, and ture ages; and when reason shall at no time pious, limited to cer. surmount extinguished passions, tain forms, certain trifling cus. impartial posterity will decide on toms, neglecting in religion every which side were truth, charity, thing that restrains them, per. and justice.
verting its august truths as their Does not your engraving ap. interest' may dictate, and from pear to retrace, not as regards the motives which St. Augustine the manner, but the results, what has developed in so striking a our persecutors have executed ? manner in his City of God,* The illusory theories of impiety they call themselves Christians are falsified by the most decisive through policy, because, acexperience; which attests that cording to the expression of morality is wavering and with a modern orator, religion is out support, if it does not re necessary for the people ; and ceive it from the hands of relig. as the secret of their heart ion; that religion is without always betrays itself more by consistence, if it is not positive, their conduct than their disthat is to say, founded on facts course, the sacred instrument ang on revelation. I conversed
* B. 4. C. 32