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. Payson and Mr. Streeter. (June, it fair for you to refuse me the civilities you would show any other man, because you think I am wrong in my faith, and still refuse to meet me on equal ground and expose my errors. You will not pretend that you would have treated any other man in the house, as you have me. If you are friendly to me as a man, you will exert yourself to promote my welfare; and should you feel opposed to controversy, you may propose questions, and after giving me a fair opportunity to answer them, you may make remarks, and I will not reply.
Dr. P.--I do not wish to engage in a controversy with you; but I must tell you plainly, Mr. Streeter, that we view you as a spy among us, and disposed to make unfavorable remarks upon our performances. I presume I speak the feelings of every christian in this meeting, when I say you embarrass us, and injure our feelings, by coming among us; for we do not view you as a friend, or as having come to our meeting with any good intentions.
Mr. S.-The spirit of jealousy is as cruel as the grave; but you know, Dr. Payson, it torments those only who possess it. What makes you jealous I am a spy, and disposed to make unfavorable remarks? Have you heard of my speaking reproachfully of this prayer-meeting ?
Dr. P.-We think you would be as likely to misrepresent us, as you were the Baptists. You crowded yourself into their meeting, which was intended for private fasting and prayer, and went off and represented them as being the worst people in town, and said you were ashamed you had been among them. And can you deny it, as you have other things?
Mr. S.-Yes, sir, I do deny your assertion, length and breadth, and call on you to support it, or acknowledge your error. I will tell you what I did say about the Baptists, and why I said it. But I would first observe, that it was not a private meeting, which I attended, nor did I crowd myself in among them. I asked a member of the Chụrch if I was intruding upon them to be there, and he told me I was not; though none were permitted to speak, but the members. If I disturbed their meeting, it is for them to call me to an account. I called on a friend, immediately after the fast, and was asked how I was pleased with my meeting.
I told them I was well pleased ; thought we had had a solemn, profitable meeting.
But, to try an experiment, I observed to them, that I did not know but I should hereafter be sorry I went among them; for I had heard some very bad stories about them, and if they were true, the Baptists were the worst people in town I hoped, however, there was some mistake, and they were much better than I had heard. I observed that I had heard, by men whom I took to be men of veracity, that every one of them was extremely wicked and corrupt at heart-deserved the worst punishment for every thing they did, and during the last year, had done every thing which they ought not, and had left undone, every thing which they ought to have done and deserved to be cut off from the earth and sent to hell, to weep and wail with devils and damned spirits, &c. My friends replied that the stories were doubtless false that they were well acquainted with the Baptists, and knew many of them to be pious people ;-and demanded my authors. After hesitating a moment, I told them that I heard the Baptists themselves tell the Lord of their conduct, and they said they were in earnest. But I immediately added, that I believed it was more a matter of form than otherwise, and that more than one half of their deeds, for the last year, had been virtuous, in the eyes of God and man. So that instead of misrepresenting them, by making them worse than they are, I intended to show, that I had a better opinion of them, than they had of themselves.
Dr. P.-Well, that amounts to what I said. It shows that you did not feel as they did, and wished to make unfavorable remarks.
Mr. S.-Do you say, sir, that by representing them as unfortunate in the use of language, and as being better than they say they are, is misrepresenting them to their disadvantage? If that is the case, I must be condemned for misrepresentation; for I still persist in saying, that I do not believe they are half so wicked as they pretend, but are a pious people, and would be highly offended with me, if I should give them the character which they gave themselves.
Dr. P.-Well, Mr. Streeter, as I said before, your observations amount to what I stated, and show that your feelings are not like ours. Had I been there, I coule!
heartily have joined with them, as I feel myself as sinful, as they confessed they were. I am sensible that I am guilty of all which they could acknowledge, and deserve to be cast off forever, for the best deeds I perform. So that your feelings and mine are entirely different.
Mr. S.-And do you mean, Dr. Payson, as your words import, that you are a very sinful, wicked man, and deserve to be sent to hell forever? Would you wish me to consider you such a man, and represent you so to others ?
Dr. P.-Yes, indeed I do.
Mr. S.-Very well, sir; I will so understand you; and hereafter consider you as wicked and corrupt as you profess to be. If I take you according to your own words, I hope you will not accuse me of misrepresentation. If I was unfavorable to the Baptists, in representing them better than they are, I hope you will acknowledge that I do you justice, when I look upon you, to be just as wicked, as you say you are.
REFLECTIONS. We should not have given publicity to the foregoing singular occurrence, were it not deemed indispensable, in jus, tice to both parties, by reason of the numberless falsehoods, and pervertions of facts, which have been, and would prob. ably continue to be, circulated, concerning it. Though we cannot expect to prevent all prevarications and misrepresentations, among those whose superstition and bigotry allow them to see only one side of a subject, and, who would probably shudder on taking up a pamphlet, which was published by a Universalist, still, we hope to present facts in such a connexion, that all candid and liberal readers will be able to form a correct opinion of the merits of the case. To such, and such only, we offer these reflections.
We have stated nothing but truths ; and truths are stub+ born things. Nothing of importance has been omitted, which concerns the conversation between Dr. Payson and myself.
After I made the last reply to the Doctor, some of his friends and Rev. Mr. Taylor made some remarks, which it is unnecessary to relate. They appeared to be friendly, and wished me no hurt, but said they prayed for my salvation, &c.
Having frequently and prayerfully reflected on the Doctor's conduct, I am led to abide by my first conclusion, viz : “ TO ERR is human; to FORGIVE, divine." I do, in my heart, forgive my brother his trespass against me, and wish him all the health of body and mind, which our common Benefactor may deign to vouchsafe. I fervently pray that he may so conduct, as to enjoy the approbation of a good conscience, exhibit towards others the same disposition which he would approve in them, that when he is called to his death-bed, his dear bosom may not bleed with anguish, by the recollection of offences against his friends, "unrepented of, unreprieved.” And at some distant period, when his active and useful life is finished, may the Great Shepherd and Bishop of Souls receive him to the joys of the heavenly City, to unite with all restored sinners, in ascriptions of praise to God, who hath saved us by the blood of the Lamb. Amen.
In our reflections and remarks on the Doctor's conduct, and in requesting an explanation of his allegations and insinuations, we would not by any means be understood, as exhibiting any hostility against him, or any disposition to detract from his virtues and christian graces, or to shoot the least arrow at his fame, beyond what his own language justifies ; and none but those 6 who worship and serve the creature more than the Creator,” will consider it presumptuous for us to remark on his doings, and declare his errors, as a man. Should any tears be shed because we cannot revere him as super-human, and confess that “ his vices are better than other people's virtues," and should any pious indignation be raised on the account, we have but one prayer to offer, viz : Father, forgive them also, for they know not what they do.
1. We are very sorry to hear that several of Dr. Payson's friends have assigned so many different reasons for his treatment towards me, since, if what they say be true, it is certain, that what he said was untrue. As their contradictory stories cannot all be just, I am inclined to give the preference to the Doctor, and consider all the rest as false. For them to say, I had previously offended him,--that I went to the pew that morning, knowing he was in it, that he happened to have his arm on the door,--that he is shortsighted, and did not see me,-or was so engaged in looking out a hymn, that he did not notice me,-or that he is a man of quick passions and spoke before he thought, that I never had been invited to sit in that pew, &c. is surely false, if what Mr. Payson said be true ; at least, most of them are. We do seriously advise them to consider, that "he is of age, and can speak for himself.” • 2. Has not the Doctor accused me of crimes worse than fratricide and patricide ? Had I murdered my parents and brothers, my hands would be stained with human-blood. But he judges me guilty of the bloodshed of immortal souls, and sees the stain of their blood on my hands! Now comes the test. I do, in the presence of God, and angels, with one hand on my breast while I write, plead, NOT GUILTY ; and challenge him to prove that such stains are, or were, on my hands. Either I am guilty of perjury in essence, or he is an unjust accuser of his brother. If he refuses to come forward, and show wherein I have been guilty of shedding the blood of immortal souls, he must adjust the account with the Public, his Conscience and his God. This truth is as plain, as if penned in sun-beams : viz. If I am the man whom he describes, he ought to prove it to the world, that every creature may shun me, as worse than a Robetspierre ; but, if he has no evidence to support his judgment, he is wholly unworthy of all confidence, till he makes a public acknowledgement of his high allegation.-Christian reader, bring the matter to a point. If Dr. Payson had said, he believed my hands were stained with the blood of my father and mother, is he not bound by every obligation of reason, humanity, justice and religion to produce his evidence, when required? And is he excused when, infinitely worse ! he judges me guilty of immortal blood ; the blood of immortal souls ? Could we impannel a Jury of Angels, I would cheerfully submit the question to their decision. Bring it home to yourself, my dear friend, and see if you would put confidence in a man, whose prejudice or passion would lead him to such rash judgment, and would not produce his proof, or acknowledge his fault. I have no disposition to retort on the Doctor, in the animadversion of Paul, “ Thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art, that judgest," but ask him to