Samuel H. (Samuel Hanson) Cox.

Interviews: memorable and useful; online

. (page 1 of 26)
Online LibrarySamuel H. (Samuel Hanson) CoxInterviews: memorable and useful; → online text (page 1 of 26)
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I N T E E V I E S :





Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar ; as it is written. Rom. 3 4.

Preach the word instant in season, out of season they will not endure sousd
doctrine they shall be turned to fables. 2 Tim. 4 : 2-4.

Diversities of gifts, but the same spirit ; is it therefore not of the body? 1 Cor.

Est modus in rebus ; sunt certi denique fines
Quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum.

* * * * *

Et genus et virtus, nisi cum re, vilior alga est.


Multa petentibus

Desunt multa. Bene est, cui Deus obtulit
Parca, quod satis est, inanu. Horace.

- si vera feram, si magna rependam. Virgil.
HO.VTO. Se SoKiiJ.o.eTe' TO K.a\bi', (caTe^ere. 1 Thess. 5 : 21.

ev rfj TrtVret, 'ANAPI'ZE2E, KparaicijaGe. iravra. vfj.u>v ev
.l Cor. 16 : 13.

Under a deep consciousness of their imperfections, this is my encouragement,
that there are different relishes in the world ; that something new, or expressed in
a different style and manner, peculiar to the writer himself, may have a greater
tendency to inform and impress the readers, than more accurate performances on
the same subjects with which they are already acquainted. Or f on.



329 <t 331 PEARL STREET,




%* The classic reader may perhaps excuse this acknowledged love of mottoes, if
good ones, and possibly be so liberal, or so obliging, as to render the little but im-
portant monosyllable re central to one of them, in a quasi Christian way of which
its author had no conception, in his piercing and wonted irony, as piety, durable
riches and righteousness, or the authentic hope of salvation consciously radiant in the
bosom, the bright and the morning-star ; unless rigorous to insist that there, in plain
fact, it merely means money, cash, opulence ; since the same author elsewhere des-
ignates an almost poverty by vir exig-ua re. One might be allowed to enhance in-
finitely the value of the sentiment, native pagan as it is, by christianizing it, even
were we to yield to the temptation, seriously felt, to substitute sp for r in that bilit-
eral word of a justly satirical hexameter line. It would then teach that neither race,
though honored in ancestral fame, nor wealth ever so abounding, nor general virtue
itself, however collauded and illustrious of its graceless sort, or all of these in mo-
nopoly combined, could ever begin to be a proper substitute, or a tolerable succeda-
neum, or a fitting compensation, or, in any sense, a decent apology for one mo-
ment, even in thought, for the divine good, substantial, supreme, eternal ; which is
at last identified forever with HOPE ix JESUS CHRIST, OUR REDEEMER AND OUR
SAVIOR. This, in connection with THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL as related to hope,
that precious truth in its integrity and its unity preserved, as the only proper medi-
um of hope, as God gave it to us not to alter, but to cherish and obey, to appre-
ciate, and enjoy, and diffuse, this is properly the normal sentiment of this volume,
as it should be the normal sentiment of every human being ! It is for us the nor-
mal sentiment of God.


i' Tun] ui.: 10 ill Ac- uf Congress, in the year one thousand eight
hundred and fifty-three, by

in the Clerk's Olh'cc of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.











To the following named RULING ELDER.S, in different con-
gregations of the Presbyterian Church in the United States
of America :
Hon. JOSEPH C. HORNBLOWER, LL.D. Ex- Chief-justice of

the State of New Jersey,

Hon. DANIEL HAINES, Ex-Governor of the same,
Hon. WILLIAM JESSUP, LL.D. Pennsylvania,

Hon. JOHN L. MASON, New York city,
PETER, ROE, Esq. New York State.
LOWELL HOLBROOK, Esq. Brooklyn, N. Y.
FISHER. HOWE, Esq. do. do.

Hon. TRUMAN SMITH, do. do.

THOMAS S. NELSON, Esq. do. do.
RICHARD J. THORNE, Esq. do. do.

JOHN F. TROW, Esq. do. do.


Permit the liberty taken by no unfriendly pen, in this ar-
ray of your names in the portico of my humble building ;
even if it should prove that the vestibule is better than the
edifice, to which it ought to be only a fitting introduction.

My estimate of you as Christians, and as officers in the
Church of Christ, is such as to account for the distinction, I
hope not inglorious, which I have spontaneously, and with-
out all knowledge of your own, ventured to award you.

This volume I inscribe to you, but dedicate it to God and


our country ; respecting and esteeming you too much to flat-
ter you, and myself too much to be self- degraded by the at-
tempt. But what is here said will be more acceptable as
the fruit of brotherly kindness, saluting you as Americans,
as Presbyterians, as ecclesiastical officers in my own beloved
Church, as fellow-Christians, and as personal friends, hon-
ored and beloved.

All the favor I ask of you is, to give my \vork a fair pe-
rusal ; and, if you think it of any value, be its friends, its
patrons, if you please, only so far as a sense of duty, and the
pleasure of a good conscience, will allow. Be as lenient as
you can toward its imperfections and its faults. More I dare
not ask or desire unless it be the boon of your prayers to God
for me, that in all I do, in these residuary terms of an ex-
tended public life, and in this present enterprise, I may be
favored with the incomparable good of his own benediction,
however greatly, very greatly, undeserved !

In this impanneling of a jury not a coroner's in the
matter, the number twelve was reached without any partic-
ular design certainly with no reference to the twelve pa-
triarchs, or the twelve apostles ; nor to the twice twelve
Presbyters, sitting on as many subordinate thrones, round
about THE THRONE, clothed in white raiment, and having
on their heads, crowns of gold. Other dozens, single and
double, recur to my thoughts, by the wonderful law of sug-
gesiion or association ; but I dismiss them as useless to my
purpose, and say, that, viewing you as the honorable repre-
sentatives of that general class of my countrymen for whom
more especially this is written, I commend the production
to your favor, as well as your notice ; in the full persuasion
that if, in the main, it wins the approval of such a BENCH
OF RULING ELDERS in the Church, the writer may be much
consoled with the hope that its mission. and its ministry, in
other spheres of our social and even of our national commu-
nity, may hereafter prove both acceptable and beneficial.


In the preparation of these INTERVIEWS I have taken some
liberties, and, at the same time, have observed certain neces-
sary restraints. While not always the order, arid seldom the
exact phrases and style of conversation, could be reproduced
or remembered, I have endeavored to violate no rule of sub-
stantial truth and justice, in the Use of my own method, and
the costume of my own thoughts, for the most part. Many
items and topics are intentionally omitted, as less proper or
useful for the public eye. Possibly it were wiser to have
omitted more. Of those inserted, I have chiefly regarded use-
fulness, and aimed to select the best for my purpose, and to
treat them in some historical or natural order ; but to care
for substance and principle, more than for form and show.
Much on this plan, we know, are written the inspired biog-
raphies of the Savior, the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke,
John ; and also the Acts of the Apostles. The parables of
the Savior are of their own class, as apologues, designed to
give instruction, without any pretension to historical authen-

Where I have given nearly or quite the very words of a
speaker, in some express relation or place, the reader will
probably be able to identify it, from its emphatic nature and
its attending circumstances.

That the age is given to superficial reading, or rather to
pleasure without reading at all, and still less to thinking,
were this possible, is generally too obvious for any thing but
lamentation and epitaph ! It may be a reason, however, with
them that write for the public, why one should aim to take
their attention, et utile cum child miscere, with the things
that interest and amuse, especially if in this way he may
hope ultimately to profit them. Heading, and thinking, and
praying, in combination, seem indeed to be less characteris-
tic even of the good, in our day, than of the fathers of the
previous age or century.

The liberties taken in these writings, describing the INTER-


VIEWS to which they refer, are chiefly in the way of ampli-
fication, without perversion, or misrepresentation of facts, sen-
timents, or characters. Here the writer has to do also with
the reader : to prepare his mind gradually and duly to com-
prehend the narrative, as well as to come to just conclusions
respecting it ; and in all, to set the parts in due array and
sequence, for the proper symmetry and effect of the work.

The selections made, from many, are in obedience at once
to the counsels of judicious friends, and to rny own judgment
in respect to what is interesting and useful. I at first intend-
ed to give at large my two interviews with the late eccen-
tric and original Edward Irving, of London ; one with a
wealthy and learned Jew, of the house of Rothschild, in Ger-
many ; one with an intelligent and polished foreigner, a Ro-
manist, in a stage-coach, before steam-travel existed between
New York and Philadelphia ; one in a rail-car in Western
Pennsylvania, with a self-confident and skeptical merchant
of Philadelphia, supported by a Jesuit priest of Rome ; and
several with men who consulted me on the most interesting
topic of all human inquiry Wliat must I do to be saved?
Bat of these it may here only be said, that the present vol-
ume would be sufficiently large Avithout them ; and also that,
if the present is well received, and life and health are spared,
another volume may be hereafter prepared for the public.

While the forms and the laws of social intercourse are not
to be violated at random, yet there is an excess of etiquette
sometimes imposed, at the expense of honesty, to which a
Christian must refuse subserviency. In any writing on the
subject of religion, if the author ought to remember that thou
God secst me, so should he deal honestly with his readers,
and have the testimony of his conscience for his rejoicing,
that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly ivis-
dom, but by the grace of GOD, he has his conversation in
the icorld, and more abundantly toivard them. I may here
remind myself, at least, that there is no reason or sense in at-


tempting to propitiate the critics, to favor this or any better
production of its class. " To attempt to disarm the severity
of criticism by humiliation or entreaty, would be a hopeless
task. Waving every apology, the author, therefore, has only
to remark, that the motives of a writer must ever remain a
secret ; but the tendency of what he writes is capable of be-
ing ascertained, and is, in reality, the only consideration in
which the public are interested."* But how often do the
public go a motive-hunting, alike careless and ignorant of the
character or tendency of the production !

If to some rny free remarks on several, and even a great
variety of topics, and the censures I have felt required bold-
ly, but wisely, to utter, should seem to present the- v/ork as
characteristically a fault-finder, I only say that it is a very
faulty world in which we live ; and how any well-informed
writer can deal with it honestly and truthfully, or :
the Church of God, in its present schisms and its m
imperfections, and not find fault with it, that is, \vitL .
constituent population, their manners, their ways, their c; '...-
ions, their maxims, and their practices, I candidly acknowl-
edge that I do not know ! So far as its character may be
deemed polemical, while this is in a qualified sense sincerely
regretted, yet, in such a world as this (see 1 John, 5 : 19.
18-20) I feel honestly compelled to it. This has been the
crushing burden of the man of God in all ages. The tender

t_J O

and refined spirit of the iveeping prophet recoiled from his
duties with horror and amazement, and even with extrava-
gant expressions of almost disobedience and seemingly im-
pious refusal; as the record shows, Jer. 20 : 14-18. 7-13.
He exclaims elsewhere, Woe is me, my mother, t/icf thou
hast borne me a man of strife, and a man of contention to
the whole earth, 15 : 10. If there exists a frightful contro-
versy between the footstool and the throne, between our God
and his own human creatures, so that every one of them is

* Robert Hall.
A 2


his enemy by wicked ivorks, and so continues till, by renew-
ing grace, he obeys cordially the G-ospel, then we must
testify and defend these positions ; then God is not more
strong than right, and they not more weak than wrong ; then
any religion that denies this is plainly false ; then to dis-
parage the fact, or obscure the doctrine of it, is no more phi-
lanthropy than it is piety ; then the friends of error are the
enemies of mankind, and wisely to love a human being im-
plies that we faithfully deal with them in the truth ; then
in doing our duty, with the kindest motives and in the wis-

V '

est way, it were no strange thing that we should become
specially interested in the richest of the beatitudes spoken by
our blessed Savior in his sermon on the Mount. Matthew,
5 : 1012. The world is inimical to God and true religion ;
hence the varying systems of falsehood that have been in-
vented, because the truth does not suit the world the truth
is not good enough for it ! ERROR OR NOTHING, is practically
the motto of the world. Hence we must censure it. There
is properly, and safely, and hopefully, no other way. The
greatest fault-finder, or reprover, as I should say, that ever
spoke of it, or spoke to it, was our blessed Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ himself. To some of his own household he said,
The ivorld can not hate you, but me it hateth, because I
testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. And to his
own disciples, the apostles of his kingdom : If the world hate
you, ye knoiv that it hated me before it hated you. If ye
were of the world, the world ivould love its oivn ; but be-
cause ye are not of the ivorld, but I have chosen you out of
the world, therefore the ivorld hateth you. A few such
scriptures as these, and as those I will quote presently, may
convince us that one might possibly be both kind and right
in such censures ; but the world are not convinced, because
they are not ingenuous ; they love not the truth, and they
are deceived by the sin they do, to call evil good, and good
evil ; to put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter, and to


hold on their erratic and reckless way, with no remorse, no
apprehension, no self-examination, no faith in the word of
God, no prayer for Divine illumination, and no sense of their
great need of it from HIM, who made for each other both
the mind and the Bible, and who knows through his truth
how to conciliate the former to the latter, with gladness and
sincerity, in his own wonderful salvation, and by his own
triumphant grace.

The other scriptures to which I refer, may all be read in
the twenty-eighth of Proverbs ; and however disparaged by
the frivolous and the vain, they will by you, my brethren,
be appreciated as the truth of the Eternal God. They that
forsake the law, praise the ivicked; but such as keep the
law, contend ivith them. Evil men understand not judg-
ment ; but they that seek the Lord, comparatively, under-
stand all things. Better is the poor that walketh in his
uprightness, than he that is perverse in his icays, though
he be rich. When righteous men do rejoice, there is great
glory ; but ivhen the wicked rise, a man, who is a man, a
man of God, is hidden. He that covereth his sins shall
not prosper ; but whoso confessetli, andforsaketh them, shall
have 'mercy. Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved; but
he that is perverse in his w-ays shall fall at once. To have
respect of persons is not good ; because for a piece of bread
that man ivill transgress. He that rebuketh a man shall
afterward find more favor than he that flatter eth ivith his
tongue. He that trusteth in his oion heart is a fool ; but
ivhoso walketh ivisely, he shall be delivered.

Many religionizers of the present day either desire no food
for their souls or their thoughts, in the way of preaching or
printing, and so of hearing or reading, or they desire any
thing rather than the mind enlightened, rectified, exercised
in truth, convinced by evidence, habituated to REASON of
righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, and edi-
fied luminously in the faith of God's elect. They desire to be


soothed, charmed, conciliated by something musical, spirited
away from themselves, and indeed from all the rugged realities
of the words, of truth and soberness, and by some super-sens-
uous, or refined and sensual minstrelsy, to be ecstatically
ravished from the consideration of all substances, and facts,
and events, and so stealthily serenaded into heaven, or, rather,
into a refreshing and sleepy oblivion of all things created
and uncreated ! This is quietism, or inanition, or spiritual
apepsy ; not the way in which the wise virgins in the para-
ble forecasted the alarm at midnight, and anticipated with
due preparation, with action and energy, the advent of the
bridegroom. If such fanciful and fashionable stuff be piety,
then the greatest of all difference between classes of men
may not appear, or be shown between the wise and the
foolish, the sheep and the goats, the wheat and the chaff,
them that are saved and them that perish.

In every case, man, that is born of woman, is by nature,
as a grand and an awful matter of fact, and hence as a car-
dinal principle in religion, so acting wrong, and so needing
THE GREAT MORAL CHANGE, in his thoughts and his principles
of action so GREAT his need of this, that the alternative, in
every case, is sure to be deceit, deterioration, and perdition.
This is the plain truth of the Bible. And shall we seem to
blink it, because it is disagreeable to the ivorld of the un-
godly ? Hence it is that they tell us how gloomy is religion '
how melancholy it makes them ! they can not endure any
thing so doleful ! It gives them " the blues." It actually
injures their health. So they insulted Noah, before thejiood
came and destroyed them all.

Strange that they must ever confound as one two things
of all others in the universe the most contrary and antago-
nistic to each other ! IT is SIN THAT is so GLOOMY ; AND SIN
is NOT RELIGION ! If this makes hell, is it the other that
makes heaven ? What impious nonsense ! Religion makes
heaven, holiness, happiness, and hope. Of its essence God


himself is alone the infinite and the perfect impersonation ;
and HE is over all, BLESSED forever.

There is an element or a leaven of false religion, rampant
in some places of our great country, which indeed I view as
spiritual poison, fantasy, and death as infidelity baptized,
and, next to popery itself, the master-piece of Satan. I refer
to neology or the rationalistic philosophy, which, for agree-
ment with Scripture, is almost as good, but riot as honest or as
stupid as Islamism ; and for sustaining the hope of immor-
tality, about as fit and proper as the location of a massive
temple of marble on the summit of a pyramid of sand. And
amid the spasms and the inventions of souls, in their deep un-
rest, since the impracticable desideratum seerns to be to get
" a religion that is fit for gentlemen and for scholars," accord-
ing to the detestable King James and his base progeny, we
may coincidently observe, that, as it is no part of their wis-
dom, or their purpose, or their effort, to OBEY THE GOSPEL, they
generally alternate electively between neology and puseyism ;
not remarkably pertinacious which to choose, but governed
there by circumstances. In either way they manage to escape
scriptural regeneration ; and this seems to be their grand
policy, their chief desideratum, as it will be also their doom.
If it happens to be convenient, since it is worldly respecta-
ble, even more, in some circles, oh ! Churchism is all at once
their divinity, and better men by myriads are organically
consigned serenely to the desperation of " uncovenanted mer-
cies ;" or, if the convenience appears probably or plainly the
other way, they can as easily, with tact, and with some more
taking show of philosophy, be neologists or pantheists. In-
stantly the Bible becomes a museum of transcendental mys-
tifications, and Christ is an ambiguity sublime ; as created
only ; or possibly, by hypothesis, ideally, some way, for
aught they know or care, uncreated ; as dying for us, some-
how, by imprudence or accident, as " he was a young man;"
but not, by all means, as being honestly and really flic pro-


filiation for our sins. Thus their Christology is little bet-
ter than heathenism in a mist. It is a disgrace to their in-
tellectual manhood and their erudite pretensions, as well as to
their consistency and moral honesty. In fact, we, who know
them, know that they are either infidels, or that, with no
more faith than they, all their religious pretension is only
contemptible, even as " a religion fit for gentlemen and schol-
ars." If a man desires, on the whole, to have a religion that
he can carry to ruin and despair along with him, let him pre-
tend to take that of God, in some strange way, and then
change it, and change it, in some other way, till it about suits
the heart, that is deceitful above all things, and desperately
icicked. And if, on the wisdom and the safety of such a
course, " for gentlemen and scholars," he cares to read an
inspired commentary, he may easily find one in the New Test-
ament ; he may be specially commended to 1 Cor. 1 : 18-31.
But if he reads, and honestly digests, especially if he believes
what God says to him in that luminous passage rebuking
then and there the heathenistic rationalism of the arrogant
Greeks, it may be to him not only an amusing novelty, but
the means of the Spirit, used and blessed to his salvation.
He will then find the Bible a new book, only because he be-
comes a new man ; and many a firmament of glories, in the
universe of the new creation, will it open to his wonder, his
adoration, and his joy.

Another powerful element of evil, by which many of our
contemporaries are ruined for eternity, is found in religious
ignorance or vacuity, mingled with civic and social assump-
tion, co-working with pride, in a land where we are all
" born equal," and where the illiterate may strut, as well as
vote, on the same platform, with intelligence, good-breeding,
and piety. Such men are too consequential ever to own, if
indeed they know, their want of knowledge, or to learn the
value of the learning that others have. They are all for lev-
eling downward ; and consider the glorious " aristocracy" of


true religion as an odious monopoly, offensive to their ideas
of republican equality. Instead of making themselves like
God, they make a God that is like themselves. Hence they
hate and discredit the man of Christian piety, not relishing
to think that the righteous is more excellent than his neigh-
bor. And in this connection, there is often seen a reckless
vulgarity of sinning, that justly offends God, as well as his
people ; and for which, if the sinners that perpetrate and prac-

Online LibrarySamuel H. (Samuel Hanson) CoxInterviews: memorable and useful; → online text (page 1 of 26)