Page images


of God, and established principles whole heart. With this it is satisof philosophy.

fied. Why should it not be? What It will be sufficient to direct the more can it desire ? Whoever has reader's attention, to a few of the dwarfed his powers by previous dismost radical of these errors.

obedience, must answer for that The departures of perfect Chris. disobedience that needs an atonetians from the perfect law are, ac- ment-but there can be no obligacording to Wesley, of two kinds tion to any law, to serve God now, short-comings and mistakes. The beyond the present capacities of the short-comings are measured by the subject. difference in degree between the We must be indulged here with love which man is able to exercise a passing remark on a closely contowards God, now in his fallen state, nected, and very weak point of Wesand the love he could have exer- leyanism—the annihilation in Adam cised if he had retained his original of man's free will, and its restora. purity. The perfect law, he con- tion in Christ. The former is called tends, requires of man all the moral an'act of justice, the latter an act excellence to which he could have of grace. But the former was not attained in a state of primitive in consequent on any act of ours. The

This law man can not Gospel does not find us in a state of now keep, and Christ does not re- natural impotence, of our own proquire him to keep it, but graciously curing. In our opinion, it does find atones for the sin of not keeping it. us in a state of moral impotence, The mistakes are of a different char. entirely consistent with our ability acter in one respect—they are sins to do right, but calling for the interof ignorance-yet they are equally position of Divine grace to save us unavoidable. “ I believe,” says from self-ruin. But in the opinion Wesley, “ there is no such perfec. of Wesley, the Gospel finds man tion in this life as excludes these naturally incapacitated by the sin involuntary transgressions, which I of Adam for the least right action. apprehend to be naturally conse. And then he calls the mending of quent on the ignorance and mis. the human constitution by the Gostakes inseparable from mortality." pel, an act of grace. This absurdity

” These transgressions also, he thinks is built on another-the supposition, are not forbidden by the law of love, that man deserves for Adam's sin, and therefore he refuses to call them to be cast off forever ; that, without sins—and thus smoothes the way an atonement, he would have been for Christian perfection. An antag. born incapable of serving God, with onist, we think, would detect in this no natural power to do right, and part of his scheme two errors—the would have been destroyed for Adfirst, surprising; the second, both am's sin and for his own unavoida. surprising and pernicious.

ble transgressions! Whoever first These “short-comings,” he would believes this, may of course believe say, have no relation to law what that the failures of a perfect Chris.

The most perfect law of tian to keep the Divine law, are unwhich we can conceive, can not re- avoidable by him, yet that they can quire us to love God with more than not bear the rigor of Divine justice! our present power of loving him. Were these “ short-comings” the The Adamic law is the same as the only faults attributed by Wesley to angelic law; the angelic law the perfect Christians, we should say same as the law of love, of Christ, that he unwittingly believed in legal not requiring of Adam, of angels, perfection, or entire conformity to of fallen men, an equal degree of the perfect law. But the “mislove, but of each, the love of his takes” which he says are consistent


with perfect love, are, many of We commend to our Wesleyan them at least, real transgressions of brethren a reconsideration of these the Divine law—sins of ignorance. “ mistakes." Are they strictly un. These are sins“ in the Scripture avoidable? Can not a perfect Chrissense,” notwithstanding the igno- tian discover their opposition to the rance. Whatever it would be wrong Divine law? If not, why call them for a person to do if he were better transgressions of the law of God? informed, he can not now innocently Why say that they can not bear do. Ignorance palliates, but does the rigor of Divine justice? Why

of unlawful action. The key to the atone for them, or man bear the whole difficulty, probably, is, that penalty of eternal death? If, on one would never mistake how he the other hand, man has power to ought to feel and act in his various re- avoid them, why deny that they are lations, if no sinful bias to a wrong sins ? Why assert that a person decision remained in his heart. If may be perfectly holy who commits he were perfectly holy in his affec- them? You are obliged to introtions and purposes, he would be duce the figment of a law of love guided infallibly to a corresponding in the place of the original law of course of action. Wesley's doc- perfect purity, as the standard of trine of a physical depravity of the moral obligation, in order to give human powers, permanent as life, the semblance of consistency to leading by a fatal necessity to wrong your assertion that these trangresjudgments of what we ought to be sions are not sins. And is not this and do, and then to wrong conduct, to make Christ the minister of sin ? is a baseless dream, not idle, but On the supposition, that the mispestilent, charming myriads into a takes in question are unavoidable, false sense of purity and safety. you need no atonement for them Wesley says, p. 274, “ It (this dis- they are not sins—are not contrary tinction between the law of faith' to the most perfect law conceivable, or love, and the law of works') is and you are legal perfectionists, absolutely necessary, to prevent a whatever you may think of the subthousand doubts and fears, even in ject, or profess. On the other supthose who do walk in love." Very position, that they can be avoided, probably it is a matchless opiate to they are sins against the perfect the consciences of men, who think law, and even against your law of they fulfill the law of love, but know love. Why then lay claim to sinthat they break the law of right- less perfection ?

You admit, in eousness! Would not " a thousand all your standard writings, that men doubts and fears" be a blessing to in a state of evangelical perfection, them?

are continually transgressing the The hypothesis of Wesley and perfect law by mistake. Now if his successors, that these « mis. these mistakes are avoidable, what takes” are unavoidable transgres- is it but an admission of the truth sions of the Divine law, is a mere of the charge, that you hold to a assumption of theirs, a mere ipse perfection entirely consistent with dixit which they have never at- great errors and faults?" And tempted to prove; yet it is the cor- if

you still adhere to the absurdity, ner stone of their perfectionism. that these transgressions of the DiOnly admit that such mistakes are vine law need an atonement, but inconsistent with a heart of perfect yet are unavoidable—not sins in love and holiness, and you instantly the Scripture sense--then confess, recognize them as so many signs of that you hold, in common with Dr. moral imperfection.

Woods and those of us who sym

bolize with him, both to the at- tory of Christian dogmatics, lest our tainableness and non-attainment in silence should be construed into an this life, of a state of legal per expression of opinion favorable to fection.

his labors in this department. We We ought, perhaps, in justice to have, however, room only to say, ourselves, to speak of Dr. Peck's that we find little to admire but his work as a contribution to the his. industry.

I L. Kingsley


The early history of no country to preclude the supposition of any is so well ascertained as that of the thing more, than that want of care United States ; and of this history, or that forgetfulness, to which all wri. no portion perhaps, admits of so full ters are more or less subject. In unan illustration from original docu. dertaking, however, to correct the ments, as that of New England. erroneous statements of several of The first colonists were careful to re- our authors, it should be understood, cord all their proceedings, which ap- that we hold ourselves responsible peared to them important; and even for mistakes of our own; and that traditions, which by their descend- we would prescribe to others no law ants were thought valuable, were of history, to which we do not ac. soon committed to writing. The knowledge ourselves to be in like historian, therefore, who treats of manner amenable. the events of this part of the coun. The first work, to which we would try, has seldom occasion to indulge invite attention, is the “History in surmise and conjecture. To con- of Connecticut ;” being the one struct a credible and satisfactory hundred and thirty third number of narrative, he finds in most cases, the “ Harpers' Family Library," little more to do, than to institute a published in 1841.* Here it is said, full and exact comparison of au- (p. 73,) that “ in the autumn of thentic materials within his reach. 1637, Mr. Davenport, with several of Still, undoubted mistakes occur in his friends, visited the shore of Long our histories ; and it is an obvious Island Sound, with the commercial duty of those who discover them, and other advantages of which they to suggest corrections. If an event were much pleased. They selectdeserves mention in history, it de- ed the place called Quinnepiack serves to be reported according to by the Indians, and by the Dutch the evidence in the case. It is with Roeabert." Dr. Trumbull's account such views of this subject, that we is, that “in the fall of 1637, Mr. have thought it proper to notice Eaton, and others who were of the what appear to be errors in a few company, made a journey to Conrecent publications, in which are necticut, to explore the lands and narrated some early transactions in harbors on the sea-coast," and that the two colonies, which compose “they pitched upon Quinnipiack the present territory of Connecti- for the place of their scttlement.”+ cut. We are very far from believ. For this he has the authority of ing, that in a single case to which we shall refer, there is any thing like designed misrepresentation; on

* The History of Connecticut, from the

first settlement to the present time. By the contrary, in every instance, the

Theodore Dwight, Jr. character of the writer is such, as + Hist. of Connect. Vol. I, p. 96.

[ocr errors]

Winthrop's Journal. That there is by East Country, Mather meant the any authority for the story, that Mr. East Indies; though how he should Davenport and several of his friends have made such a mistake, it is not made a similar excursion to the easy to see. Governor Eaton, by west, we have strong doubts. his participation in the East Coun

We find likewise in this new his try trade, and by going himself into tory of Connecticut, (p. 72,) that the East Country, became well "ac“ Messrs. Eaton and Hopkins had quainted with the affairs of the Bal. been successful merchants in Lon- tic sea,” and was thought by the don," and that “the former had re- king of England to be qualified to sided three years in India, where act as his “ agent unto the king of he held the office of deputy gover. Denmark.” How his being an East nor.” Dr. Trumbull's narrative is, India merchant, or his having rethat “ Governor Eaton was educa. sided in the East Indies should have ted an East India merchant, and made him familiar with the affairs was sometime deputy governor of of the Baltic, or prepared him to the company trading to the East be the English agent at the court Indies."*

He says nothing of Gov. of Denmark, is not very apparent. ernor Eaton's residence in India, or Mr. Savage, in his notes on Winof his having been deputy governor throp's Journal, was the first pubin that country. Indeed, at that licly to point out this error of Dr. time there was no governor of In. Trumbull, and others have since dia, and as for a deputy governor, done the same thing. The com. we are not aware, that to the pres- merce with the countries about the ent day, the English have any such Baltic sea was formerly in England, functionary in the East. But that and we suppose is still, called the Governor Eaton was deputy gover- “ East Country trade;" and this is nor of the East India company, or the acceptation in which Mather that he had any connection with uses this language.* There is no that company, rests upon no proper good reason, therefore, why this evidence. Dr. Trumbull in these mistake of Dr. Trumbull should be particulars is obviously wrong. He perpetuated ; much less, why it appears to have been led into error should be made still greater. by misapprehending the meaning In this same history of Connecti. of Mather in the Magnalia, who in cut, we are told that the colonists his life of Theophilus Eaton, says for Quinnipiack sailed from Boston of him, that “ being made a free. on the 30th of March, 1638, and man of London, he applied himself reached their place of destination in unto the East Country trade, and about two weeks. “ On the 18th was publicly chosen the deputy of April they spent their first Sabgovernor of the company, wherein bath there," and " Mr. Davenport he so acquitted himself as to be- preached an appropriate sermon come considerable. And afterwards from the 6th chapter of Matthew, going himself into the East Country, 1st verse: Take heed that you do he not only became so well ac- not your alms before men to be seen quainted with the affairs of the Bal- of them, otherwise ye have no retic sea, but also became so well im- ward of your Father which is in proved in the accomplishments of heaven." That the first Sabbath a man of business, that the king of spent by these colonists at Quinni. England employed him as an agent unto the king of Denmark.” Dr. * “ East Country is a name of old and Trumbull evidently supposed, that still given by mercantile people to the

ports of the Baltic sea; more especially

those of Prussia and Livonia.” Andere Hist. of Connect. Vol. I, p. 231. son's Hist. of Commerce, Vol. II, p. 197. Vol. I.


[ocr errors]

piack was the 18th of April, is lately published, the same errors ocagreeable to the account of Dr. cur, in part, with some which are Trumbull; but in this he is certainly new, or with which we do not recol. mistaken, as the 18th of April, 1638, lect to have before met. Thus, it as is easily seen by calculation, was is said that “ Eaton had been a depWednesday. There is here evi- uty governor of the East India comdently a typographical error, and pany;" and that the colonists, " the we have 18 for 15, a mistake not first Sunday after they arrived, met difficult to be accounted for, as the and worshiped under a large tree," resemblance between the figures 8 &c. This day is put down as and 5, in manuscript, is often very April 18.” These mistakes have great. Besides, 15 accords better been already corrected. The his- . with the statement, that the passage torian then goes on to say, “Not from Boston occupied about two long after, the free planters assemweeks. This error is not now point. bled in a large barn belonging to ed out for the first time. But what Mr. Newman, and subscribed what, was there appropriate in Mr. Dav. in distinction from a church union, enport's sermon ? His text cer- they termed a plantation covenant. tainly appears most inappropriate ; By this, each church was to be be. as an ostentatious giving of alms gun by seven of their best and most was a sin, to which these forlorn pious men, called the seven pil. pilgrims, self-banished to the ends lars' of the church, who were to be of the earth, should seem the least selected by twelve, chosen by the of all exposed. The language of people at large for the purpose." Dr. Trumbull is, “ The people as- “ Under this covenant they continsembled under a large spreading ued until the next year, when they oak, and Mr. Davenport preached formed themselves into a body poto them from Matthew vi, 1. He litic, and established a form of gov. insisted on the temptations of the ernment. The facts are wilderness,” &c. But what connec- here correctly narrated. Nothing is tion between the temptations of the known as to the time when the planwilderness, and a text denouncing a tation covenant of the Quinnipiack vain display in alms-giving? There settlers was signed, except that it is without doubt here another typo- was soon after their arrival. This graphical error, and instead of Mat- original agreement was comprised thew vi, 1, it should be Matthew in a few words, and served for the iv, 1, and the text of the sermon foundation of a government till the was, Then was Jesus led up of the 4th of June, 1639. On this day the spirit into the wilderness to be people assembled in Mr. Newman's tempted of the devil. It was not barn, and “ formed themselves into unsuitable to the occasion for the a body politic;" and what is said of preacher to warn his audience, to the “twelve, chosen by the people,” resist such temptations as might as- and of the “ seven pillars," belongs sail them even in so remote and to the second meeting, and not to wild a solitude as Quinnipiack; or, the first. These transactions are in the language of Mr. Bancroft, to fully and accurately detailed in suggest, that, “like the Son of Man, Trumbull's History of Connecticut. they were led into the wilderness to Some doubts have been expressed be tempted.”

by several writers, whether Dr. In a History of the United States* Trumbull is correct in saying, that

the place where the Narraganset * History of the United States, or Repub- chief Miantonimoh was put to death lic of America. By Emma Willard. Second revised edition; Philadelphia, 1842.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


* p. 51.

« PreviousContinue »