Before the controversy on re-immersion had closed, another source of contention had come into operation; other and deeper questions had arisen. The constitution of man, and of the things to which he stands related here and hereafter, as God has constituted him and them, had received the attention of the Doctor, primarily (as he said in the Advocate) by the necessity he was under of replying to certain questions bearing on the topics embraced in this general design; as well as by the difficulties that presented themselves when reading the Scriptures. Not having arrived at conclusions, he determined to seek the aid of others. The following information is gleaned from the Herald of the Future Age: “In writing to our father in London, who has been all his life an intense and laborious student of ‘divinity’ and college lore, we commenced to propose a few questions for his consideration, in hope that he would answer them, and thus furnish us additional matter and variety for the pages of the Advocate. One question suggested another, until the list grew to upwards of thirty. When we had finished, the thought occurred, if these questions were also published in the Advocate, they would, perhaps, elicit examination of the Scriptures; and replies, which might likewise furnish ‘information’ on their divers subjects. We adopted the suggestion, and copied them out forthwith. The original was mailed to England, and the copy appeared in the next number of our paper.” The following are the questions which appeared under the heading, “Information Wanted.”
1. --“Is there any other differences between man and the inferior animals, than their organization, i.e., does not the essential difference between them consist in their susceptibilities?
2. –“What was the state of our first parents, in relation to eternal existence, before God said, ‘Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it,’ &c. i.e., was it any other than a state in which they were susceptible either of mortality or immortality?
3. –“Is man naturally and, therefore, necessarily immortal, i.e., is he an ‘immortal soul,’ because he is man; or is immortality a gift consequent upon the due observance of certain conditions proposed by God, at certain periods of the world’s age?
4. –“If the former, how can ‘life and incorruptibility’ be said ‘to be brought to light by Jesus Christ in the gospel?’
5. –“If the latter, can idiots, infants, pagans, and unbelievers of every grade, with Scripture propriety, be called ‘immortal souls?’
6. –“If immortality be a gift, is that gift conferred as soon as a man dies, or does he wait for it, in unconsciousness, ‘till the revelation of Jesus Christ’ at his second advent, when he will descend from heaven to ascend ‘the throne of his father David?’
7. –“Can any person living be said to be immortal, except by anticipation of his resurrection from the dead?
8. –“If, as soon as the breath is out of a man’s body, he be instantly translated to heaven or hell, how can he be said to be dead, and to rise again from the dead? Is a man in heaven or hell, dead and alive, at the same time? If so, where do the Scriptures teach this?
9. –“Do the Scriptures teach that men and women, and children, come from heaven and hell when they rise from the dead; or do they not rather teach that men’s mortal bodies will be made alive, i.e., re-animated by the spirit, i.e., the power of God, as the body of Jesus was?
10. –“If immortality, or perennial bliss or woe, be conferred upon men as soon as they die, i.e., if they be even sent direct to heaven or, contrariwise, to hell, pray what is the use of the judgment, which all say is to be at the end of the world?
11. –“Is the ‘second death’ eternal life in torment?
12. –“If instant perennial bliss or woe has obtained through all ages, at death, consequent upon the alleged possession of an hereditary immortal principle, is not the gospel nullified, seeing that Paul says it brings life and incorruptibility to light?
13. –“Are not ‘the great recompense of reward’ and ‘punishment’ consequent on the rejection of God’s proclamation, or offer of immortality on the terms of the gospel?
14. –“If so, and if God have never made the offer of ‘life and incorruptibility’ to pagans, say the Chinese, will they be raised again from the dead to suffer punishment, and to be involved in a common and fierce catastrophe with those who have heard it and yet refuse to obey it?
15. –“Does not God’s distribution of judgments on the nations, show that He makes a difference between those to whom His message has been sent and those to whom it has not?
16. –“Is not the term ‘unjust’, in the Scripture sense, limited to those who have rejected God’s way of justification; as the term ‘just’ is confined to those who have accepted it under His several dispensations?
17. –“Does not ‘the resurrection of the just and of the unjust’ exclude pagans who have never heard the messages of God, infants, idiots, and insane, i.e., do not these at death fall into a state of unconsciousness, from which they will never be delivered?
18. –“When it says, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and RE-plenish the earth,’ &c., does it imply that the earth was inhabited before the creation of Adam; and that the earth being without form and void, and darkness upon the face of the deep waters which pervaded it, was the result of a catastrophe, by which its former inhabitants were destroyed?
19. –“May not these inhabitants be ‘the angels who kept not their first estate, but left their proper habitation, whom God has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, to the judgment of the great day’ (Jude 6), ‘the angels that sinned whom he spared not, but with chains of darkness confining them in Tartarus, delivered them over to be kept for judgment (2 Peter 2:4)—the angels whom Christ and the saints are to judge (1 Cor. 6:3)—may not these inhabitants of a former world on earth be the demons whom God in ancient times permitted to possess man, the chief of whom is Satan, * and who cried out, saying, ‘Ah! Jesus of Nazareth, what hast thou to do with us? Art thou come to destroy us? I know who thou art, the holy one of God’ (Mark 1:24); and ‘what hast thou to do with us, Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us BEFORE THE TIME?’—(Matt. 8:29).
20. –“Is not the word ‘heaven,’ in Scripture, synonymous with dispensation, state of society divinely constituted and governed, in opposition to that composed of institutions merely human?
21. –“Does not the phrase, ‘heaven and earth,’ signify an age in reference to its governmental and subordinate relations?
22. –“Does not the phrase, ‘a new heaven and a new earth’ simply import a NEW dispensation of ages in relation to a former one which had become old?
* Dr. Thomas found reason, on further investigation, to alter his views on this subject. —R.R.
23. —“Are not dispensation, state, age, and world, often and for the most part synonymous terms in Scripture?
24. –“Does not the solid material earth composed of hills, mountains, oceans, rocks, &c., bear a similar relation to dispensation, state, age and world, that the permanent stage of a theatre does to the shifting scenes?
25. –“Does not the Scripture teach that three ‘heavens,’ or Divinely constituted states of human society, are to obtain upon the earth; and that the third is to remain through all eternity?
26. –“Are not these three heavens, first, the kingdom of heaven, or the church of Jesus Christ; second, the millennial age; third, the eternal dispensation? Is not the first illustrated in the writings of the Apostles and Evangelists; the second in Isaiah 65:17-25; Ezekiel 37:21-28; chaps. 40-48, &c., &c.; the third in the Apocalypse, chaps. 21, 22 to v. 5? And was it not the third heaven, or eternal age, which is also called Paradise, to which Paul was suddenly conveyed away in vision, when he heard unspeakable things?
27. –“Does not the promise made to Abraham, Gen. 17:8, confirmed by the institution of circumcision, v. 9-14, —in which those who are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands by the circumcision of Jesus Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, are interested—refer to the possession of Canaan, in Asia, under the personal reign of the Messiah?
28. –“Will not the faithful of all past dispensations be put in possession of Canaan in Asia, and of the governments of men of all nations, by a resurrection from the dead; and will not the faithful on the earth at the time undergo an instantaneous change from a state of mortality to one of incorruptibility; and will not all this be consequent upon the decent of Jesus to the Mount of Olives?
29. –“Is not the subject of God’s promise to Abraham synonymous with the ‘Kingdom of God and of Christ,’ ‘the Kingdom of God,’ ‘the reign of God,’ ‘my Father’s Kingdom;’ and is it not when Jesus enters on the possession of the land of Canaan that the apostles will sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of (the restored) Israel; that he will partake of the Passover which will be accomplished in the kingdom of God; that he will drink of the product of the vine, with the apostles, new in his Father’s kingdom; that many will come from the east and west, and will be placed at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven, &c?
30. –“Does not the present animal constitution of things bear the same relation to the millennial and eternal ages as a mass of bricks, stones, timbers, scaffolding, mortar, &c., do to a palace about to be built, or rather being built from their materials; and may not all but the true believers, be aptly compared to the refuse or rubbish, after the palace is built, fit only to be burned, destroyed, or cast out, and trodden under foot of men?
31. –“Will not the inhabitants of Paradise restored, or the eternal age, symbolised by John in the Apocalypse, as the new, not the restored, Jerusalem, be the TRUE ISRAELITISH NATION—a nation, every member of which will be an immortal, incorruptible, or spiritual, as opposed to an animal or mortal man; a nation, constituted of the descendants or children of Abraham according to the promise?
32. –“Is not restoration, and not destruction, the ultimatum of all God’s dealings in relation to man; and does not the restoration relate to the earth, which was cursed on man’s account, as well as to its inhabitants? If so, why look for heaven in some unknown, unrevealed, remote region of immensity? And cannot the hell of the wicked be scripturally discovered in the renovating and purifying flames latent in the bowels of the earth, to be brought into operation for judicial and physical purposes?
33. –“Are not ‘the court of the priests,’ ‘the holy place,’ and ‘the most holy place’ types of the Jewish, Christian, and millennial states of society under Divine rule?
34. –“Are not these interrogatories worthy of the investigation of all who desire to add to their faith, knowledge? Are they not calculated to stimulate us to search the Scriptures? And if the hints contained in these questions be valid, what becomes of the popular notions of immortality, heaven, hell, baby-rhantism, circumcision by modern Jews, funeral sermons, modern psalmody, immersion into experiences, obituaries, salvation of Pagans independent of the gospel, untypical sectarian churches, &c., &c.; and would not their scriptural elucidation remove many obstacles at present in the way of objectors to revelation on account of the supposed incompatibilities and its incongruities?”
The reception accorded to these questions was very unfriendly and hostile. The questions were construed into a declaration of convictions on the points raised, and were denounced as a new and infidel creed. Letters breathing this sentiment came from all parts of the country, and some readers at once discontinued their subscriptions to the Advocate. “We asked bread,” says Dr. Thomas, “but our contemporaries gave us a stone. Our mind was not made up on any of the questions. We wanted light. Instead, however, of some one condescending to instruct us, we were beset on every side . . .. No one ventured to touch freely and candidly on a single point or suggestion contained in them. On the contrary, they vented their ill humour. And why? Is it because it is a criminal thing to ask for information? Did Jesus brand the disciples with infamy when, in their simple ignorance, they asked questions for information? And yet we have asked many who profess to tread in his footsteps to impart to us their views in candour and honesty on certain things which have been suggested to our own mind, and instead of, in a gentlemanly and Christian-like manner, attempting to enlighten our darkness, or to direct us in the way of truth, they turn round upon us, and cry aloud earnestly, with a pretended zeal for orthodoxy, ‘Infidel, infidel!’”
The hue and cry raised against the Doctor was, however, beneficial in its results. As he himself says: “had no notice been taken of these questions, it is exceedingly probable we should have thought no more about them.” The abuse showered upon him from various quarters failed in its desired effect. “Instead of intimidating or putting us to silence, it only roused our determination to comprehend the subject; if wrong to get right, and when righted, to defend the right, and to overthrow the wrong or perish in the attempt.”
Much of the opposition owed its virulence to Dr. Thomas’s attitude in the controversy on re-immersion. On this point the Doctor expressed himself in the Herald of the Future Age:
“We do not say that the war began; it had commenced several months previously. The question which began the strife was, ‘Does immersion, predicated on ignorance of the doctrine of remission impart to the subject remission of sins?’ Mr. Campbell had already published that ‘the popular immersion was no better than a Jewish ablution;’ and he had declared to us in a letter, that he had himself re-immersed individuals, but always upon their own application, and ‘with all attainable privacy,’ because of the cry of Ana-baptism, which had always been injurious to the truth, and that there was no difference between us on this subject except as a matter of expediency.”
“After such admissions as these, it was obviously impossible for Mr. C to maintain successfully his opposition to us on this ground. He had subjected himself to ‘expediency;’ we, however, acknowledge no such lordship; our rule being, that it is proper to advocate whatever is true. But Mr. Campbell was the champion of a squad of preachers whose baptism, from their own protestifications against their former co-religionists, was evidently no better than a Jewish ablution. They preached a baptism they were not themselves the subjects of; and there was no one to disturb their drowsy consciences on this matter but the editor of the Apostolic Advocate. They could not silence him by Scripture or argument, and to the time of the thirty-four questions, they had failed to affect him by clamour. Hence, these questions came as a god-send to these preachers, who preached baptism for the remission of all men’s sins but their own. Our correspondent had caused us to turn our attention to the question concerning infants, Enoch, Elijah, Moses, &c.”
“The article thus elicited was as a spark to the ecclesiastical electricities whose combination shook the heavens with its thunder. The questions were magnified into a creed and test of fellowship; others fancied they saw in them infidelity and Atheism; some declared them to be untaught questions and speculations; and others consequently prophesied that we should be an infidel in six months! Henceforth, they said very little about re-immersion, being too glad to find something to fasten upon by way of a foil to that. They now appealed to material prejudices, and raised a clamour about materialism, soul-sleeping, and no-soulism. This process not being sufficiently rapid, they attacked our character, and denounced us for everything villainous and unholy. All this failed in its desired effect. Instead of intimidating us and putting us to silence, it only roused our determination to comprehend the subject; if wrong, to get right, and overthrow the wrong, or perish in the attempt.”
“The battle being thus forced upon us, not upon a field of our own selection, but on ground chosen by the adversary, we were involved in a discussion of minor and comparatively unimportant points, such as the destiny of infants, idiots, and pagans, the last end of the wicked, &c. These are details, or consequences, resulting from a great principle, not the principle in itself. The opposition strove to keep this out of sight, and make it appear, if possible, that what we contended for was the non-immortality of the soul, the non-resurrection of infants, idiots, and pagans, and the annihilation of the wicked, ‘as the pith and marrow of the gospel!’ Here is where their hypocrisy, dishonesty, or ignorance beam forth as the meridian sun. We were long detained campaigning in the chaparral of these diminutive growths from the parent stock; nevertheless, we gradually acquired experience in the art of war; and came to understand well the character and capacity of the men with whom we had to do. Their attacks compelled us to defend points which might have been neglected.”
“The result of the whole has been that, from being the assailed, we have become the assailant; and, without boasting, the facts show that, having driven in their outposts, their camp is now besieged, and they are put to it to prove that they are upon apostolic grounds at all. This makes some exceedingly mad; others are disposed to meet the crisis calmly and dispassionately; while others seem to be dumb with astonishment at the turn which affairs have taken.”
One or two correspondents, whose letters appear in the Advocate, treated the queries in a candid and reasonable mood. One found many valuable considerations embraced: some of which were entirely novel to him. Nevertheless, he saw difficulties which he duly presented, such as the cases of Enoch and Elijah, the thief on the cross, Stephen’s dying words, spirits of just men made perfect, etc.
The appearance of Dr. Thomas’s reply to these points only added fuel to the fire. Mr. Campbell was bitterly chagrined that a co-worker in “the Reformation” should promulgate ideas calculated to jeopardise the rising popularity of the movement. To counteract their effect, he published an article, in conversational form, entitled “Conversation at Thomas Goodall’s.” In this Dr. Thomas’s articles on the mortality of man were freely canvassed. A Mr. Wickliffe (supposed to represent Mr. Campbell) acting the part of the Doctor’s confuter, a Mr. Payne undertaking to explain the views to be confuted—a duty for which he was quite unqualified.
Catching up the idea, the Doctor published a “Dialogue Between Three Friends on Men and Things,” from which the following are extracts: -
Philo. —Good morrow, friend Alethes. It is with pleasure I meet you again after so long an absence. What tidings do you bring from a far country?
Alethes. –My absence has been indeed long; but as for tidings, I have none of importance to communicate. I thank you for the pleasure you express at seeing me again. I reciprocate your kindness, and trust that the blessing of God will rest upon you, and upon all the faithful followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Philo –I thank you, Alethes. —Pray what is that you hold in your hand?
Alethes. –It is the April number of the Harbinger, which I have just obtained from the Post Office.
Philo. –Does it contain anything of interest?
Alethes. –Yes, indeed; the Editor, you know, is always worthy of being read.
Philo. –Read the table of contents, if you please. (Alethes reads.) There, friend Alethes, stop! Turn now to the Conversation at Thomas Goodall’s. Read it, if you please. (Alethes reads it through deliberately, and Philo pays profound attention.) Who is he whose writings seem to be the subject matter of conversation there?
Alethes. –Mr. Payne calls him his “English friend;” I judge, therefore, that he refers to an individual who edits a paper in Richmond. I am the more strengthened in this opinion, because I have some recollection of having heard the quotation which appears to have concussed Father Goodall’s aged nerves so violently, cited as coming from him. I know that he is from England.
Philo. –Then you do not read Mr. Payne’s friend’s writings?
Alethes. –No; as yet I have not. But the manner in which the Harbinger has recently noticed several of his articles has excited my curiosity. I like to read both sides of a question; and to read a man’s defence of his own sentiments, which I confess the Harbinger has not enabled me to do in relation to this “shrewd gentleman’s” writings, as it calls him. I intend to take his paper, and judge for myself.
Philo. –I coincide with you in this matter. The whole conversation appears to be a very one-sided view of the subject, written in a style calculated to catch the multitude. For my own part, I cannot learn the views of this half-christian, half-sceptic, as he is represented, from the Editor’s exhibition. He reminds me of the textuaries, who dislocate a sentence from its connexions, and declaim for an hour or so upon it, like men beating the air; when they are done, no more is known of the author’s meaning or views than when they began weaving their theological web. So it is with this conversation in relation to me; I am still ignorant of this “learned” and “grave preacher’s” views . . .
But here comes Tomaso, perhaps he can assist us in our review of this conversation at Father Goodall’s.
Tomaso. –Good morrow, brethren! May I enquire the subject matter of the discourse in which you seem so earnestly engaged?
Alethes. –We have been commenting upon a conversation in the last number of the Harbinger. I suppose you have read it, for I know you are a reader both of it, and of the Advocate published at Richmond. Are you acquainted with their respective editors?
Tomaso. –Yes, I have a personal knowledge of them both. He of the Harbinger is a very excellent man; of fascinating manners, and most esteemed by those who know him best.
Philo. –Can you tell us the reason there is so much difference on many subjects between your two friends?
Tomaso. –With the greatest ease in the world and no offence to either. The history of the men’s lives solves the whole mystery if there be any. My friend of the Harbinger, you must know, is by birth an Irishman, and by education a Scotch Presbyterian. He was educated in a University in Scotland, the land itself of ghosts and witches, in all the mysticisms of that gloomy sect. Hence he imbibed all their traditions, with which his mental constitution became thoroughly imbued. He is most accurately instructed in the “divinity” of John Owen and other mystics, and I have heard him lament the time he lost while transcribing the scholasticisms of these Rabbis. Now, what I much admire in him is the successful effort he has made in forcing his way through so many obstacles in order that he might occupy the kingdom of heaven. He has clearly set forth to the men of this age what is the true worship of God, and what the means he has appointed for the remission of sins. These things he has clearly proven. But as he has himself remarked, I think, concerning others, “he still smells of the old cask.” He has not succeeded in emancipating himself from all his popular divinity; hence every now and then, but more frequently of late, you find him standing up as the champion of human tradition, without indeed knowing it. He seems to manifest an undue sympathy with the sects of the Anti-christian world, so that I have reason to believe he is rising in their estimation; at least in these parts. Notwithstanding this, he is a man of great merit and devotion to the truth as far as he knows it, and therefore, deserves our unfeigned gratitude for what he has done and may yet do. As for my other friend of the Advocate, he has never been cursed (shall I say?) with the poison of a theological education. His early years were spent in a private boarding school in England, and from his seventeenth to his twenty-fifth year among physic bottles, lecture rooms, and dead bodies. He knew, and he counted it his happiness to know, nothing about the writings of popular divines; nor did he ever trouble himself much about “divinity” of any kind, till about 1832, three years and a half ago, when he obeyed the gospel of our Divine Master. Since that time, he has addicted himself to the incessant study of the Scriptures. Not having had his mind perverted by human tradition, it just takes whatever impression the word may make upon it: like a blank sheet the impression of the printer’s types. This is the true cause of the difference between them—the teacher of the one is the word of God alone; the teacher of the other is compounded of popular divines and the word. You need not marvel then that they come to such different conclusions.
Alethes. –What is your judgment concerning this conversation at Thomas Goodall’s?
Tomaso. –In the general, I think that my friend of the Harbinger has not done his reputation as a reasoner justice. He has descended to gossip, instead of conversing, as a man of his superior attainments ought to have done, in an enlightened and dignified manner. He appears to me to have written for the unthinking multitude, rather than for those who think for themselves, and who can be swayed only by Scripture reasoning. In this design no doubt, he will succeed. Indeed, he might have saved himself the trouble of writing at all for he has their credulous assent to begin with My friend of the Advocate has a very unequal battle to fight, and nothing but the sheer force of truth will enable him to overcome. He has not only a powerful opponent to contend with, whose hints are laws to hundreds—(though, this must be said, it is contrary to his wish that it should be so; nevertheless, such is the fact, to a great extent, within the range of my acquaintance and that of others)—but he has the prejudices of all Christendom, Mahometdom, and Pagandom against him. The Romanist, to whom the Holy Scriptures are denied by his ghostly advisers, will condemn him; the Protestant, who contends that “the Bible alone is his religion,” and yet scarcely studies a chapter in twelve months, will condemn him; the Mohammedan, who believes in the instantaneous translation of the “spirit” to paradise, will condemn him; the worshippers of wood and stone, who have a paradise of their own peculiar formation, to which their spirits immediately depart on the extinction of life, will condemn him; the poor Indian of the forest, whose spirit goes, with the velocity of lightning, to a community of warriors, and to the fair hunting fields of his elysial abode, would tomahawk him, were he to question the sudden transfer of his ghost from the prairies and wilds of earth to the country of deer in heaven; and thus he would prove to him in a summary manner that he was not only unfit to be “admitted into Christian company,” but that he was unworthy of the society of the wildest Seminole. I say, all these my friend has to contend against, and all these enlightened religionists, my excellent friend of the Harbinger has to shout “Amen” at his back! Were I a caricaturist, I would sketch a “stripling” with a sling and stone on the one part; and I would have a giant with a double-edged Spanish blade encased in iron, having a huge crusader’s lance in rest; and followed at full charge, with a rout of Italians, Hollanders, Turks, Chinese, and Indians—honourable representatives of their respective faiths. You may easily guess what sort of a chance my stripling would stand . . .
Alethes. –It is, indeed, as you say; the believers in an instantaneous translation of what they call the “immortal soul” to heaven, are, with few exceptions—your friend of Bethany, one of these, of course—the unthinking world . . .
Philo. –The immortality of the soul! Pray, Tomaso, show me where this is taught in the Scriptures of truth. The multitude believe it; but I never yet had much faith in the soundness of the opinions of even the majority, much less of all the world. As far as I am informed, they have never been right yet on religious faith and practice.
Tomaso. –I suppose you will except Noah’s family after the flood? As to the immortality of the soul, in the popular sense of that phrase, it is nowhere taught in the Bible. It is a dogma of the Pagan philosophers, especially of Plato. It was adopted by Origen, and other corrupters of the Christian church, as a revealed truth. The notion having been previously instilled into the minds of the pagans by their priests and philosophers, when they became nominally Christian, they found the dogma in the Catholic church in a new dress. They took it for granted that it was all true and so perpetuated it from generation to generation, until the Reformation of Popery, or rather the breaking up of Popery in certain countries into new and adverse forms, called in the aggregate Protestant Sectarianism. The sects forming this new ecclesiastical system adopted this tradition of their mother Pago-Christianism, alias Romanism: and thus we find it among us, at the present day, the almost universal belief of the Christian and anti-Christian worlds. —To such an extent has the poison of Pagan philosophy diffused itself! The doctrine of the Bible, on the contrary, is THE CONDITIONAL IMMORTALITY OF MAN. This is easy to be understood by those whose minds have not been poisoned by human tradition, and who are content to learn the religion of the Holy Spirit, as He has taught it in the Word . . .
Alethes. –Mr. Payne is but a lame defender of your Richmond friend, Tomaso! He does not seem to understand the matter at all. I would advise him, as well as the rest of the company, to make themselves better acquainted with both sides of the question before they set up for critics, or presume to be so lavish of their unfledged opinions. Mr. Payne says, absurdly enough, that the Advocate “distinctly affirms that soul, body, and spirit all go down to the grave, and sleep there to the resurrection.” This, I undertake to say, must be a most unfounded assertion, for, as I understand him, it is man’s inanimate material that goes to the grave; to say, that he went there body, soul, and spirit, would be to affirm that men are buried alive! There are but two conditions in which a man can be in relation to this matter—either dead or alive. And this is what he seems to contend for. Am I right, Tomaso?
Tomaso. –You are; and as to the rest, I must say I incline very much to the same judgment. The spirit of the family circle is to seize hold of the most vulnerable sentence, and, by an unfavourable construction, to prejudice all to whom their sentiments may come. The proper course for these good folks to have adopted would have been to let the author of the obnoxious articles speak for himself. They have plenty of room in the vehicle of their opinions. They have devoted ample space to criticise, satirise, and to hold him up to public reprobation. The least, therefore, they could have done in equity would have been first to insert his replies to Mr. Flippo in full, and then to make converse upon them. If they could not do this, they ought then to have said nothing at all. If they proceed in the way they have begun, they will cause their hearers to judge an unrighteous judgment concerning my friend at Richmond. My motto is, let justice be done though the heavens fall.
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