Joseph C. (Joseph Cammet) Lovejoy.

Memoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy; who was murdered in defence of the liberty of the press, at Alton, Illinois, Nov. 7, 1837 online

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Online LibraryJoseph C. (Joseph Cammet) LovejoyMemoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy; who was murdered in defence of the liberty of the press, at Alton, Illinois, Nov. 7, 1837 → online text (page 5 of 28)
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in Christ, for fear that the separation which has now
taken place between you and your father, shall be eter-
nal. You will no longer share in his prayers — the last
prayer of your father for your soul has gone up to heaven,
and yet you are not converted. My brother, I tremble
for the fate of your immortal soul. Oh, hear the voice
of our dear father, as it cries to you from the ground,
" Behold, now is the accepted time, behold, now is the
day of salvation." If I have not forgotten, you may read
these words on the toinb stone of our dear grandfather.
He was buried the day you were a year old. There lie


father, son, and how soon another grandson, ev^en you,
my brother, may sleep by their side, God only knows.
Be ready, I entreat you.

I commend you, my dear sisters and brother, to God,
and to his grace, who can do for you all that you need
in your present ^afflictions. Write to me, all of you, as
soon as you receive this.

Your affectionate brother,


New York, August 26th, 1833.


I had intended to write you sooner, but circum-
stances have prevented. Nor do I now know where to
direct my letter, but shall, at a venture, send it to China.

It was indeed, my dear brother, sad news that awaited
you on your return home. How little did we anticipate
such an event when we parted. The ways of Provi-
dence are, truly, most inscrutable, but they are, neverthe-
less, all wrought in infinite wisdom. It is well, my dear
brother, for God doeth all things well. And what we
know not now, we shall know hereafter.

The day is soon coming, when we shall stand, along
with our dear, departed father, at the judgment seat of
Christ ; and then shall we learn why we have been thus
dealt with, in this afflictive dispensation of Providence.

But my dear brother, there is one improvement we
ought to make of it, that must appear obvious to us all.
And that is, to consider it as a loud call to each one of
us, to be ready. Our work must be finished — our souls
must be saved — since the night soon cometh when no
man can work. Our dear father has finished his, and
gone to his rest. One brother — nay three, and one of
them by the name of Owen — went before him ; and now.


brother, can you tell when you and I shall be called to
follow him ?

My dear brother, permit me most earnestly and affec-
tionately, to exhort you to give good heed to the warn-
ing voice, which now calls to you from your father's
grave. Hear it saying to you, " My prayers, which have
been constantly ascending for you since you was born,
are now forever ceased — I cannot any more advise, in-
struct, exhort, or warn you, to flee from the wrath to
come — I gave you to God, in covenant, according to his
commands ; these vows, and these obligations I have left
resting upon your head. My cares, my watchings, and
my labours for your soul's salvation, are now ended, and
while I go to the bar of God to render up my account, I
leave you unconverted." Oh, my brother, though our
dear father's life failed to convert you, shall not his death
accomplish it ? Will you not hear him now, though you
have hitherto neglected to hear him ? Could I now be
with you, my brother, I would take you to the tomb of
our father, and there kneeling on the green sod that
covers his dear remains, I would entreat you to make
haste and be at peace with God, through faith and re-
pentance, and a belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith
in him, can look beyond the tomb, can pierce the dark-
ness that rests upon the grave, and behold the soul, dart-
ing upward, with the speed of light, to the throne of God,
there to hear its doom, and enter upon its destined abode
for eternity. Oh, my brother, my brother, prepare to
meet thy God.

I greatly long to hear from my dear mother, and my
sisters. I hope and pray that they have found grace
equal to their day. Joseph informed me that mother was
wonderfully supported ; for which I thank God. Grace
can accomplish any thing. Even out of this most trying


affliction to the family, it can create cause for thankful-
ness to us all, throughout eternity,

I wish that it was in my power, consistently with
duty, to come down and see " home" once more, but I
think the indications of Providence are such as forbid it.
They are impatiently calling me to the West, and to the
West I must go. I have some hopes that Joseph will
come on here, so that I can see him, before long. I am
tolerably well — am doing good, I hope. Give my love
to dear mother and sisters, and to brother John. Finally,
my dear brother, farewell ; and may the grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Your affectionate brother,



As intimated in the close of the letter inserted in the
last chapter, our brother set his face again to the West.
He had been requested, and strongly urged, by a circle
of Christian friends at St. Louis, to return there and be-
come the editor of a religious, weekly paper. The friends
©f the object at that place furnished a capital of twelve
hundred dollars for press, type, &c. From the instru-
ment now before us, executed by the parties, the editor
was to have the entire control of the establishment, with
the right to mortgage the same, for the purpose, if neces-
sary, of enlarging the " materials for printing." If,
moreover, the nett income of the establishment should
exceed five hundred dollars a year, the editor was to pay
the surplus to the proprietors.

In pursuance of this arrangement, on the 22nd of No-
vember, 1833, the first number of the " St. Louis Obser-
ver" was issued.

The first editorial article is here inserted.

St. Louis, Nov. 22d, 1833.
" The first number of the Observer appears to day.
We send it forth with our most cordial greetings to all
its expecting friends, and with the hope that it will suc-
ceed in obtaining the good will of all before whom it
may appear. It comes with no sinister motive, it ap-
peals to no bad passion ; and it asks a welcome in every
home that in a spirit of meekness it may plead the
cause of Him who came from heaven to proclaim ' peace


on earth, and good will toward men.' Where it cannot
be admitted on these terms, it will pass quietly by, nei-
ther feeling nor expressing aught of unkindness or re-
proach. And, however often, or with whatever words
of contumely, it may be rejected from the door of any
dwelling, it will still be ready to return upon the first ap-
pearance of more hospitable feelings, on the part of its in-
mates. For it will ever be ready to practice on the maxim
it will unceasingly inculcate upon others ; to forgive one
another as our Heavenly Father has also forgiven us.

But while the Observer will thus seek to win its way
to the hearts and consciences of men, by the kindness of
the sentiments it breathes, it will not teinporize as it goes.
Truth is its object — divine truth in all its severity, as well
as loveliness. To ascertain this, to free it from the gloss-
es of men, and then press it home to the bosoms of its
readers, as of practical and infinite importance, will al-
ways make a part of its weekly labours. It will seek
no controversy, and it will decline none, when by so do-
ing it might compromise the purity of that ' faith once
delivered to the saints.' It will hold itself aloof from
all angry discussions which may arise between brethren
of the same sect, or of different sects, who can yet unite
in glorying in the cross of Christ, other than to counsel
peace and forbearance. But though actuated with the
best feelings towards all, of whatsoever name, who love
the Lord Jesus Christ, the Observer will, nevertheless,
have a course of its own — a system of religious doc-
trines to which it will inflexibly adhere. What that is,
will soon more plainly appear, in the course of its week-
ly visits. But we may here say, in brief, that it will be
the same as that which Paul preached — the same, in sub-
stance, as that which Luther and Calvin rescued from
the corruptions of men — the same as Edwards explain-


ed and defended — the same as now obtains, in all its dis-
tinctive features, among the great body of orthodox Chris-
tians in our land.

While, therefore, the Observer proffers the most cordi-
al salutations to, and claims Christian fellowship with,
all who can adopt the sentiment of its motto, as constitu-
ting their religion, and the whole of their religion, it will
studiously avoid giving occasion of offence to any. Peace
will be its aim, as far as that is consistent with the defence
of the Truth. Yet it will never shrink from the post of
duty ; nor fear to speak out lest some over sensitive ears
should be pained. Opinions honestly entertained will be
fearlessly declared ; and but little regard will be felt or
expressed for any systen of faith or practice, which rests
mainly for its support upon the traditions of men, or upon
the equally equivocal authority of long prescription.

One leading object of the Observer will be to diffuse
information concerning the religious operations of the day,
among Christians and other citzens of the West. In the
Christian world it is a time of movement. The messen-
ger of the Lord of Hosts has been heard as he passed
along through the borders of the Church, calling upon her
to come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty.
Nor has the call passed unheeded. In all ranks the
Church is in motion. She is mustering her hosts for the
conquest, not of this or that petty kingdom or province,
but of the World. Her heralds precede her, and even
now they are running to and fro over all the earth, to pro-
claim the acceptable year of the Lord. W^herever she
comes it is to set the bondman free, to break the chains
of the oppressor, and to open the prison doors of the cap-
tive. She comes to dissipate the glooms of superstition,
which have, for so many ages, rested upon the fairest por-
tions of the globe, to pour in light upon the ' dark places


of the earth which are full of the habitations of cruel-
ty,' to rescue a lost race from the ruins of the fall, and
restore it to the favour of its God. In this godlike enter-
prise the Church is now engaged — for this her prayers are
ascending — to this her energies are directed, and in this
she will assuredly triumph. Already her standard floats
triumphantly over many a strong hold conquered from the
enemies of her God. On the Isles of the Pacific — on
the shores of Greenland — on the coasts of China and
Siam — on the shores of Hither India, and far up into her
broad interior — on the plains of Africa, the sun»y isles
of Greece, and the snows of Lapland and Caucasus,
she has planted the Cross of her Redeemer, the sign and
the instrument of salvation to the sin stricken nations.
That cross, loherever thus erected, shall never fall. The
Church is pledged to sustain it ; and in fulfilling that
pledge, she takes hold of the arm of her omnipotent Sa-

We shall here give large extracts from the successive
numbers, that the American public, and all the world
may know, what were the sentiments, and what the man-
ner in which they were expressed, for which our brother
was, in the process of lime, cruelly persecuted ; and, for
conscientiously holding fast to which, he was finally mur-
dered. If, in these sentiments, or in the manner of
expressing them, there is aught worthy of death, as he
did not refuse to die, so we will not ask that his name and
character be saved from reproach, or his memory from
oblivion. If, on the other hand, these are the truths on
which society is based, which God has published to the
world, and which Christ has sanctioned with his own
blood ; if there is much of the spirit of him, " who,
when he was reviled, reviled not again," in the manner


in which these truths are expressed ; then we ask you
not to believe, in some cases his misinformed, and in
others his malicious slanderers. Still farther, — we ask
you not to cease calling {ox justice, till she return in her
strength, majesty, and purity, with her robes w^ashed from
the stains of innocent blood shed at iVlton.

Miscellaneous Editorial Articles from the
St. Louis Observer.


" It is strange that what, more than all things else, it
concerns mankind to know, what was expressly design-
ed for their benefit, and what by their all wise Creator
they were expressly fitted to receive, should yet be the
very thing with which they are the least acquainted.
Truth, though professedly the object of search to all,
is confessedly apprehended by but few. And even these
do but catch distant and uncertain views of its light ; as
when a star is seen through the fitful changes of the
intervening cloud. Even as they behold they tremble
lest it shall vanish from their sight, and be lost in the
gathering gloom.

The reason of this must be, either that we have not
the faculties for perceiving truth, or that having, we have
perverted them. The first, as it would be a reflection
upon either the goodness or wisdom of God or both,
cannot for a moment be admitted, and there remains the
only alternative, that we have carelessly or willfully gone
wrong in our search for the truth. And this is just the
ground on which the Bible places it, ' Seeing, men see
not, and hearing they do not understand.'


Sometimes we make up for ourselves a system of me-
taphysics — we arrange to our taste or our caprice, the
faculties of the mind, and the modes of its action, and
whatever of divine truth does not suit our scheme —
which, as it has cost much labour of thought, is, of course,
a cherished bantling — we reject, or at best, those sharp
points, that interfere with the organized movements of
our moral machinery, we carefully cover up. We have
been sitting at the feet of Berkeley or Locke or Hume,
and thence we bring our standard, by which to measure
the doctrines of the Cross, and the revealed will of God.
How often has Plato gotten into the sacred desk and
crowded out Paul, or at most, permitted the Apostle a
Avord of exhortation after the Metaphysician had sermon-
ized his full hour, — Which exhortation, indeed, was
about as consonant to the sermon, as the new piece of
cloth sewed upon the ragged garment — in both cases the
whole was made a piece of parti-colored patch-w^ork.

Sometimes, having been educated in great reverence
for the names and opinions of certain men, and an ab-
horrence for those of others ; at every step we take in
our search for truth, we tremble lest we shall have part-
ed company from those we love and reverence, and have
entered upon the premises of those we both fear and dis-
like. When in such a mood, it is wonderful what a magic
there is in the mere sound of a name. To be told that
if we go on, w^e shall soon cease to have a right to be
distinguished by this or that appellation, will bring us
to a halt at once. Then it is, too, that we apply the
same concise and conclusive argument to others. You
area * Calvinist,' an ' Arminian,' or a 'Pelagian,' as the
case may be ; and those whom such an argument fails to
convince, are indeed incorrigible — we give them over to
blindness of mind.


Somefimes — and it is the last case we shall put — we
are so tremblingly alive lest others may fall into error
that we have no time to search out the truth for ourselves.
We get up on the watch tower, and spend the whole day
in casting our nervous, feverish glance around, in the
eager expectation of seeing some one, whom we may
warn of his fate, about to fall into the hands of the enemy ;
and, of course, have no time to examine whether they
may not be nearer us than them, and even undermining
the very pillars on which we stand. At such a time we
are almost sure to see multiplied danger, either real or
apparent. Either our wishes become the father to our
thoughts, or as in the natural, so in the moral, our eye
sight is strained till we see double ; mole hills swelling
into mountains, and men looking like trees walking,

' Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane.'

Or, at best, as we are a voluntary watcher, even though
we succeed in descrying no approaching evil, we shall
still have a strong temptation to lift up our voices and cry
aloud, lest those within the walls suspect us of sleeping
at our post, or as wanting in alacrity and zeal.

Such is but a specimen of the difficulties that attend
us in our search after truth. But, for these and all others
we know of but one and the same remedy — a determi-
nation to think independently, untrammelled, by the dog-
mas of Philosophy or the logic of the Schools, and then
an humble, diligent, prayerful perusal of the Word of





January 2d, 1834.

" Another year has gone. Another of those periods,
thirty of which mark the duration of a generation of
mankind, has passed, bearing with it into eternity and
to the bar of God, 30,000,000 of the human family.
Could we read the private history of these thirty mil-
lions just removed to be here no more forever, what
an instructive lesson would it teach. Some just open-
ed their eyes upon the light, and then closed them
forever. Some had just learned to return the maternal
embrace, and to look, in their playful moods, into the
mother's beaming eyes for approval, when Death came
and took them to the grave. Others, for the first time,
had gone out into the world, and with all the emo-
tions that unbounded surprise and delight can give, were
gazing upon the scene before them. There Hope was
weaving her gayest tissues, and hanging garlands of joy
on every object ; there Beauty wore her brightest robes,
and as she moved in conscious pride, turned often to be-
stow her sweetest smiles upon Love that followed in her
train. Alas ! 'twas but a dream, and even as he stands,
the film is gathering upon his eye, that will shut the
scene from his sight forever. In the greenness of his
years and the first freshness of his hopes he fell, and
these scenes of delight are exchanged for a vision of the
charnel house and the tomb !

And even the man of middle age, whose hopes had
been sobered and his anticipations chastened by urmum-
bered disappointments, even his path to the grave was
strewed with the wrecks of many a cherished scheme of
self-aggrandizement, which yet he had fondly thought


would have secured to him the end of his toil. On yon-
der hill he sleeps, buried beneath the ruins of the tem-
ple he had erected to Pride, to Avarice, or to Vanity.
And yet his posterity approve his sayings and are walk-
ing in his footsteps.

He, too, whom the weight of years had bowed to the
earth, whose strength had so far departed that the bur-
den of life could scarcely be supported, he was surprised
in the midst of plans that looked for their accomplish-
ment far into the future. Though the wheel had long
moved slowly at the cistern, he had not thought it would
stop so soon.

Yet not such is the history of all whom the year
through which we have just passed, has removed from
this world. Some there were who had long waited to
be gone, knowing that for them to live was Christ, but to
die was gain. To some the year has brought a blessed
relief from long continued sickness, from poverty, from
unmerited obloquy, from oppression, and especially from
their warfare with sin — the garb of poverty has been
exchanged for garments of light, the ' world's dread
laugh, ' for the approving smile of their Redeemer, and
the darkness and doubt of earth for the full tide of
light and truth that flows from the Throne of God and
of the Lamb. For them Death had no terrors, the grave
no gloom. They entered its gates with smiling counte-
nances, and as they laid themselves down in Death's em-
brace sang with assured joy the triumphant song, '
death, where is thy sting, O grave, where is thy vic-
tory !' There let them rest. Their tomb is not dark !
No ; Like the Vestals of old, Faith has lit her lamp
from heaven, and gone down to watch over their sleep-
ing dust. Her light irradiates even the darkness of the
tomb. Nor will she leave her post till He who once


slept in the grave shall come to waken them from their
repose and take them to that heaven whither he has as-
cended. They died the death of the righteous, and they
will rise to the resurrection of the just.

Such is the lesson which the last year affords, and
which we, who have lived through it, are permitted to
read. It is a lesson full of instruction and practical wis-
dom. And how sad the reflection that few, comparative-
ly, will profit by it — that, as in the past, so in the com-
ing year, the multitude will still continue to pervert the
right ways of the Lord, till, tired with the pursuits of
shadows, the year now begun shall witness many of
them end without hope, a life employed to no pur-

Let us all, then, who would avoid a catastrophe so de-
plorable, adopt the prayer which the pious man of old ad-
dressed to his Maker : ' So teach us to number our
days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.'"


" How beautiful and how striking the expression, of the
apostle, ' We walk by faith.' He is writing to the Corin-
thian Christians, an.d in order that he may persuade them
not to be cast down in the midst of their trials and
afflictions, he directs their attention to their ' house not
made with hands eternal in the heavens.' ' Therefore,'
he adds, ' We are always confident, knowing that whilst
we are at home (or more properly, sojourning) in the
body, we are absent from the Lord: for we walk by
faith, not by sight.' This last clause is added as the
reason of the confidence which the apostle professed — •
he walked by faith.

Had he, on the contrary, walked by sight — had he


judged the Lord ' by feeble sense,' and regulated his
conduct according to the maxims of worldly wisdom, how
different would have been his course, and how different
the result. He would have escaped ' persecutions,' the
'cruel scourgings and mockings,' the 'perils' by land
and sea which he so frequently endured; he would have
trimmed his sails to catch the popular breeze, and with
his talents, his acquirements, and the advantages of his
introduction into society, he would doubtless have lived
admired and courted by the wise and the learned of the
age — the Jewish scribe and the Greek philosopher.
But what would the end have been ? He might have
died with the uncertain and unreasonable composure of
a Socrates, with the brutal heroism of a Cato, or the
mountebank vanity of an Augustus ; but we should never
have heard the triumphant exclamation of a soul longing
'to depart and be with Christ.' 'O death, where is
thy sting ? O grave, where is thy victory V Like Ha-
drian or Hume, he might have uttered fool-hardy jests at
the approach of death ; but there would have been no
record in heaven or on earth of a man, who, after a life
of unparalleled exertion and unequalled suffering, went in
calm serenity to the block, uttering the memorable
words — ' I have fought a good fight, I have finished my
course, I have kept the faith ; henceforth there is laid
up in heaven for me a crown of righteousness, which the
Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day : and
not to me only, but unto all them also that love his ap-

In view of such an exit from the world as this, who
does not exclaim, ' Let me die the death of the righteous,
and let my last end be like his V — ' We walk by faith.'
Thus did Paul. In the midst of a wicked and perverse
generation, in the midst of temptations and trials ; with


every thing that could tempt or allure him to turn aside,
he ' walked by faith.' By faith he traced the footsteps
of his ascended Lord and followed them with undeviating
course. By faith he looked beyond the heavens and
there beheld 'Jesus the Forerunner' entered into rest
and waiting to welcome all his faithful followers. Upon
this object as upon the guiding and illuminating star of
his path through earth's wilderness, he fixed his stead-
fast eye ' looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of
his faith.' It was this confidence in things unseen that
enabled him to endure unto the end. And how much
more good might Christians effect, how many more tri-

Online LibraryJoseph C. (Joseph Cammet) LovejoyMemoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy; who was murdered in defence of the liberty of the press, at Alton, Illinois, Nov. 7, 1837 → online text (page 5 of 28)