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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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umphs over the world, the flesh and the Devil might they
achieve, would they cultivate more the grace of faith in
their hearts. Not a dead faith, a faith speculatively cor-
rect, empty, vain, inoperative ; but that true and living
faith which works by love, and so purifies the heart, and
by purifying the heart informs the head, and thus leads
to holy, beneficial and well-sustained action.

When, oh ! when will Christians learn to ' walk by
faith' — to live confessing themselves ' strangers and
pilgrims here' — by the exercise of faith to forsake the
world and its vanities, and daily and hourly go up and
hold sweet converse with saints and angels in light, who
dwell in those heavenly mansions which are soon to be
their own eternal home ?"



CONVERSION OF THE WORLD.

"We said last week that this was the most glorious en-
terprise in which human beings had ever been engaged.
It is so,

1. Because of the extent of the enterprise. Too often
it is the case that the schemes of man, even when de-



REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. 79

signed for good, are limited in their operation, either
from some defect in the plan, or, what indeed is pretty-
nearly the same thing, want of enlarged views of duty in
the designer. Thus, most or all of the benevolent efforts
of the human mind have been confined to one's own kin-
dred, or neighbourhood, or city, or at most his country.
But in carrying on the work of missions, the Church
soars at once far above the influence of all such feelings.

o

Attached as the Christian is, and as he ought to be, to
his own countrymen, and his kindred according to the
flesh ; in this work he moves in a far higher sphere of
action. All men are his brethren, in each he sees a soul
for which Christ died ; and looking to the immortal des-
tinies of that soul, all earthly distinctions vanish. Here
is neither rich nor poor, nor bond nor free, nor black nor
white, but all are one in his view. When the Church
commissions her missionary, it is in the words of her
great Head, ' Go ye into all the world and preach the
gospel to every creature.' And with his life in his hand,
and the unextinguishable love of souls in his heart, he
goes. He pierces the gloomy forests of America, he
treads the burning sands of Africa ; his voice is heard on
the mountains of Asia, and among the isles of the sea ;
the eternal snows of. Iceland, and the burning heat of
the line cannot deter him ; he will not rest until to every
kindred, and tribe, and people, under the whole earth he
preaches a crucified Redeemer. So also at home ; in all
plans that are laid, and all the deliberations that are held,
this is the end kept in view, the regeneration of every
son and daughter of Adam. Alexander, and Caesar, and
Napoleon, conquered provinces and kingdoms ; but-the
soldier of the Cross is engaged in conquering the whole

WORLD.

2. The enterprise of converting the world is grand,



80 MEMOIR OF THE

because of the simplicity of the means employed. There
is no mysterious, complex systemof operations, constantly
varying in its application, with which the church pro-
poses to carry on this work. All is simple, sublime, effi-
cacious. The doctrine of the Cross, ' Jesus Christ and
him crucified,' is the only weapon she has, the only one
she needs. With this she assaults the strong holds of
infidelity, strikes down the pride of human learning, and
humbles the conceit of vain philosophy ; with this she
enters the cottage of the poor, and the palace of the
king, in spite of all that ignorance or sensuality can
oppose to her progress ; by this she makes her way
through the prisons of superstition, and cruelty, and
bigotry, setting free the captives and giving liberty to
them that are bound,

3. In the dignity of the actors is seen the grandeur of
the enterprise. For though apparently it is achieved by
weak and erring man, yet in reality it is not so. To
commence the work the Son of God came down to earth
and died; to carry it on the Spirit of God is ever em-
ployed with its omnipotent energies, while God the Fa-
ther directs the operations of his earthly providences to
the same great end. The seat of influence lies not on
earth, but in heaven. Thence come down supplies of
grace and wisdom and strength for those engaged in this
holy war ; there was the plan conceived, the scheme de-
vised, and there will its operations terminate. For,

4. The glory of this enterprise is seen in its grand re-
sults. And these are none other than to qualify men for
heaven, and then carry them up thither. It proposes to
elevate the whole human race to their original dignity,
and thus qualify them for a seat at the right hand of God.
Fallen and degraded as man now is, who but a God could
have conceived such a plan, and who but a God could



REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. 81

execute it ? The work indeed is the Lord's, but the church
is the instrument by which he executes it. And it is
hastening, too, to its termination. A thousand signs in-
dicate this.

Let the infidel scoff, let the bigot rave, let the multitude
deride and contemn ; but who that loves the Lord Jesus
Christ) at such a time as this, will stand idly by, and will
not rather take up his cross and march to the van.
Cheered on by so many tokens of victory, upheld by the
promises of an Almighty Redeemer, and looking forward
to a crown that already glitters in his view, before whose
brightness the stars of heaven are dim — where is the
Christian who does not pant for action, or who fears what
man can do unto him ?

Now is the time, oh ! Christian — Gird up your loins and
go forth — Go as David went, in the name of the Lord of
Hosts, and as surely as he triumphed so will you. And
as surely as your Redeemer liveth, so surely will he
with his own hands place the crown of victory upon
your head."



EUROPE.

March 21 th, 1834.
"The moral and political aspect of this quarter of the
globeis,atthe present time, peculiarly interesting. Though
the smallest of the four grand divisions of the globe, it is,
and for centuries has been, by far the most important.
The history of civilization, the annals of literature, the
record of important discoveries, the histories of the tri-
umphs of Art and Science, over ignorance and barbarism,
seldom extend beyond this favoured portion of the globe.
Strike from the annals of the human race the records of



82 MEMOIR OF THE

European mind, and the achievments of European intel-
lect, and History — all at least that has come down to
us — will be little else than the annals of barbarism. The
only exception to this remark is presented by our own
country ; whose influence is indeed pervadingly manifest
throughout the civilized world. Yet its existence is so
recent, that in calculating the elements of the world's
past history, it scarcely deserves to be taken into the
account.

Eight hundred years ago, the darkness of midnight
rested on Europe. Its inhabitants were slaves in the
broadest sense of that term. Every thing seemed com-
bined to rivet the chains upon the bodies and souls of
men. The feudal system every where prevailed accord-
ing to the tenor of which the cultivators of the soil, were
parcelled out the property of petty chiefs, as much as if
they had been mere fixtures on the land ; the&e smaller
chiefs were bound in fealty to nobles and barons of more
extended sway, who again did homage to their sovereign
King or Emperor, which

' Emperor, King, and Prince, and Peer,'

were alike ignominiously chained to the footstool of the
Pope, whom, to the fullest extent of passive obedience
they acknowledged as Lord of life and death, both in this
and the other world.

It is not in language to paint, nay it is not in imagina-
tion adequately to conceive, the picture of the moral, po-
litical, and social desolation which Europe at this time
presented. Over its whole extent the eye looks in vain
for one spot of verdure, on which for a moment it may
rest. All is blackness and ruin, varied only by the dif-
ferent features of rcpulsiveness and horror.

High on the throne of universal dominion which they



REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. 83

had audaciously usurped, sat the Popes surrounded by a
priesthood, venal, ignorant, and debauched in a degree
almost exceeding belief; themselves distinguished from
their spiritual vassals, only by that pre-eminence in all
manner of wickedness which their power enabled them
to commit ; issuing their arrogant and impious decrees
which were ' to bind kings with chains,' and ' nobles
with fetters of iron.' Monks, friars, and nuns, mendi-
cants without name and without degree, filled the mon-
asteries and nunneries that every where abounded, with
riots and debaucheries that cannot be described, or
swarmed over the land, like the lice of Egypt, eating up
all its fair fruits, and inspiring loathing and abhorrence by
their pestilential presence. From the Pope to the sov-
ereign, the noble, and thus down to the peasant and the
serf, Superstition extended her Sybaritic and brutalizing
influences. Beneath her benumbing grasp the palsied
wretch sank down unnerved, unmanned ; and worship-
ped as his gods and revered as his Saviour, images of
wood and stone, which his own hands did, or might
make ; or treasured in his bosom as the ' pearl of great
price,' relics of ' every name and hue,' a lock of hair, a
piece of dried skin, a thumb or a toe nail, palmed upon
him by hungry and mendicant piety, were venerated as
the means and the pledge of salvation. And — horresco
referens — this diabolical superstition assumed the name
and the offices of the Christian Religion".

Such was the state of Europe when the star of the
' Reformation' dawned upon it— that star of glorious
promise, the harbinger of the Sun of Righteousness,
whose beams are to irradiate and purify the whole earth.
From that epoch to the present, the conflict between the
powers of light and darkness, has continued without in-
terruption. To the mere worldly observer, success on



84 MEMOIR OF THE

the part of Truth and Freedom has at times appeared
more than doubtful ; but in all this long period there have
not been wanting, those whose vision, purified and
strengthened by their communion with the Word of God,
clearly saw, and whose pens have distinctly recorded,
the ultimate triumph that awaited the friends of God and
man. What they saw through a glass and by faith, we
behold with open vision. To any one who has taken even
the most superficial view of the past history and present
condition of Europe, not a doubt can remain of the speedy
and utter extinction of the Papal Authority, both tempo-
ral and spiritual. The spirit of slavery, the doctrine of
passive obedience, which are essential to its existence,
are becoming more and more circumscribed in their in-
fluence and operations, and will soon be scouted from
the earth, back to the regions of darkness, whence they
ascended to enslave the world.

We have not time nor room in this article, to trace the
gradual extension and progress of liberal opinions in
Europe, from the period of the Reformation to the pre-
sent time. Yet a single glance at the history of that era
will satisfy every one, that in proportion as Learning and
Science have made progress in any country, has the in-
fluence of Pope and Priest been made to give way.

In modern times, the chief ornament and support of
the Papal throne has been France. This country has
long occupied a commanding position in the world, no
less from her military prowess and skill, than from the
literary and scientific acquirements of her scholars. —
Though the mass of her inhabitants have been ignorant,
yet learning has exercised a most important influence in
elevating the sentiments and enlarging and liberalizing
the views of many of her nobles, her prelates, and her
statesmen. And the consequence has been just what



REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. 85

might have been expected. The Galilean church has
been exceedingly restive under the leaden influence of
Rome, and his Holiness has found it necessary to be ex-
ceedingly wary how he touched the fiery spirit of the
Gaul. The Galilean church has enjoyed immunities
granted to no other, and which fear alone extorted from
the Roman Pontiff. Yet enough was not conceded to
satisfy the demands of the rising spirit of freedom ; and
chains, forged in the darkness of the pit, were wound so
artfully around the giant limbs of France, that she lay a
victim at the footstool of tyranny temporal and spiritual,
until, at the epoch of the Revolution, with convulsive
energy she burst assunder her bands, and in the first mo-
ments of her gratified hate, inflicted such vengeance
upon her oppressors as made even humanity recoil with
horror from the spectacle. Yet when we consider the
nature of the long train of events that preceded the
French Revolution, the various causes tending to produce
it, and how long a high spirited and generous people had
been goaded and oppressed by a sottish, venal priesthood
and a debauched monarchy ; it seems to us that that ter-
rible catastrophe is rather to be deplored than wonder-
ed at.

As might have been expected, France, exulting in the
first moments of her recovered freedom, went to the other
extreme, and from having believed too much, refused to
believe any thing. She became a nation of infidels.
And such, to a great extent, she remains at the present
day. With her, priest is but another name for bigot, and
Christianity she confounds Avith Superstition. The mis-
take is a very natural one, yet it is not the less to be
deplored. Still there is hope for her, and hope which
promises fruition a thousand times sooner than if she
had remained a vassal of the Pope. If error is lament-
8



86 MEMOIR OF THE

ably prevalent there, yet truth is, in a good degree, free
to combat it. Public Sentiment is free, liberal opinions
put forth their claims unchallenged, the universal educa-
tion of all classes is becoming an object of paramount at-
tention, to accomplish which the Government is direct-
ing all its energies. Such is now the state of France.

We have been thus particular in our remarks upon this
country, because from her commanding position, the his-
tory of France is the hisiory of continental Europe. We
now proceed to show — and this was indeed the primary
object of these remarks — what the condition of Europe,
when considered in reference to its great political divi-
sions, is. And here we must of necessity be very brief.

Looking at Europe with this object in view, we shall
find the nations drawing together into two great divisions.
In the south the liberalizing influences of France are seen
at work in Spain and Portugal. In the latter they have
dri\^en Miguel, the sanguinary and bigoted favorite of
the Pope, from the throne ; and in the former banished
the heir by ' divine right,' Don Carlos, and restored the
Cortes and the Constitution. In both they are ferreting
out the lazy monks from their cells of idleness and crime,
and teaching them that ' they that will not work neither
shall they eat.' The natural consequence of all this is,
that these two nations should assimilate themselves in
their habits of thought and action to France. And as
this nation occupies a leading position, she may be con-
sidered at once as the irradiating and the attractive cen-
tre of liberal opinions on the continent. England, since
the days of her ' Reform,' is prepared to take ground
by her side, and thus there will be seen under the ban-
ners of freedom, civil and religious, England, France,
Spain, and Portugal, with some or most of the minor



REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. 87

States of Germany ; while on the side of despotism there
will rally Russia — the head and soul of the confed-
eracy — Austria, Prussia, and the Pope in his double
character of a temporal and a spiritual prince. We think
the movements in Europe indicate that this union of kin-
dred interests — which when it happens will necessa-
rily produce hostility — is even now taking place and
will soon be consummated. Then will come the war
of opinion, predicted by Napoleon — a war more dread-
ful, and more fierce than any which Europe has yet wit-
nessed. Yet the final result, though long suspended,
cannot be doubtful. Truth will triumph ; Freedom will
triumph ; Religion will triumph. Babylon will have
fallen, have fallen ; her incantations and her sorceries
will no longer delude or destroy the human mind ; and
she will no longer present an insurmountable barrier to
the progress of religion ' pure and imdefiled.'

Such, if we read the signs aright, such is the pre-
sent condition, such the future prospect of the European
nations. If in the future there is much to excite regret,
there is also much to animate and encourage the friends
of God. It is plain that the reign of misrule, and des-
potism, and anarchy, and superstitious bigotry are soon
to come to an end. True its down-fall will not probably
be accomplished, except at the expense of much blood
and great suflering. But though God permits the earth-
quake and the storm to desolate the earth, we know that
they are necessary to purify a corrupted atmosphere.
And as in the physical so in the moral world, though
commotions, war, and carnage are painful in their opera-
tions, they may be necessary'in their results. And in all
events, the Christian is assured that the peaceful reign
of the Redeemer is hastening onward, when there



88 MEMOIR OF THE

shall be no more war, nor ' rumours of wars,' but
when

' Peace like a river from his throne,
Shall flow to nations yet unknown.' "



May 1st, 1834
" After so long a time, we are again permitted, though
still with trembling hand, to hold the Editorial pen. The
interval during which our labours have been suspended,
has indeed been to us one of much pain and suffering.
But

* Sweet are the uses of adversity,'

when sanctified by the presence and teachings of the
Holy Spirit. We return to our work, with accumulated
motives, and, as we hope, a strengthened purpose, to be
' diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the
Lord.'

And most earnestly and affectionately would we ex-
hort our readers, that whatsoever their hand findeth to
do, they do with all their might. Especially do we en-
treat those who have not yet commenced the work of
their salvation, that they delay it no longer. A sick or
a dying bed, when the mind is distracted with pain, or
absorbed in the contemplation of the awful eternity that
is opening upon its view, is no time to seek a Saviour.
Seek him now then, ' while he may be found, call upon
him while he is near.' And remember that whether we
make haste, or not, to secure an interest in his salvation,
time is surely and swiftly hastening us to the grave and
the Judgment. How soon will all who read this para-
graph be sleeping in their tombs ! Some undoubtedly —
perhaps the writer among them — will be carried out in
season for the flowers of the coming summer to bloom



REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. 89,

upon their graves. How solemn the reflection, and yet
how little heeded."

VAIN PHILOSOPHY.

August 21 St, 1834.

" If there ever was a sincere inquirer after truth it was
Jonathan Edwards. And how few can hope to possess,
in an equal degree, the advantages for pursuing the in-
quiry which he possessed ?

Learned, pious, acute, and persevering, he was yet
humble and docile as a child. In him pride of opinion
was never stronger than love for the truth. And yet his
great work on the Freedom of the Will is, in one respect,
a signal failure. He has indeed abundantly proved that
man is a free agent, as also that all his actions are fore-
known and fore-determined by his Maker. But there
needed no long train of philosophical reasoning to prove
these doctrines — the Bible had already done it before
him. Yet in his attempt to reconcile these great truths
to each other he has entirely failed. And if he failed,
who shall succeed ? Nor is this failure to be wondered
at ; for this very question David had confessed himself
unequal to meet : — ' Such knowledge is too wonderful
for me ; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.'

Now here lies the great error of too many men. — In-
stead of being satisfied with ascertaining the existence
of a truth, they must needs determine the 7node of its ex-
istence. But this is an abuse of their powers of reason-
ing, and it is of such very persons that Paul speaks, when
he says, ' Professing themselves to be wise, they became
fools.' The great Apostle was as prompt to rebuke the
presumption of those who would have a God too luell
known, as he was to denounce the superstition of those
who built altars to the Unknown God.
8*



90 MEMOIR OF THE

The Being and attributes of God may be learned from
the Book of Nature, but of his purposes we can know-
nothing, except by revelation. And it is equally an
abuse of this revelation and our own faculties, if we seek
to know farther than the simple facts revealed. Here it
is that

'Men rush in where Angels fear to tread.'

It is not only vain but it is sinful, to attempt prying
into the counsels of the Infinite Mind. A few, a A^ery
few of the purposes of God have been revealed to us, but
beyond these few all is unknown. ' Clouds and dark-
ness are round about his throne.' We may weary our-
selves and offend God, in the attempt, but we can never
penetrate them. It is, therefore, an abuse of reason, to
endeavour to look into the counsels of the Most High.

But secondly, it is presumption in the highest degree,
because we cannot understand the reasons of a revealed
truth, therefore to reject it altogether. In very few in-
stances, indeed, has God condescended to explain the
reasons of his moral enactments, and in none have we a
right to require them. ' Thus saith the Lord,' should
at once put to rest the impertinent curiosity of man.

Eve could not see why she might not as well eat of
the forbidden tree as of others, since it was as fair to
look upon as they ; and because God had not explained
to her the reason <of his prohibition, she ventured to
pluck the fruit

' whose mortal taste,

Brought death into tlie world and all our wo.'

That her awful fate has not deterred her descendants
from following her example, is proof enough both of their
depravity and their folly.



REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. 91

Again. If we cannot reconcile two revealed truths,
so as to make them consistent with each other, we have
not, in consequence, any right to conclude that their
agreement is impossible. Yet how often has this been
done, to the shipwreck of faith as of souls. The doc-
trines of the Trinity, of Election, &c. are beyond our
reason, but what right have we to say, that they are
contrary to it 1 Who, of mortal man, or of created be-
ings, is authorized to pronounce upon the possible limita-
tions of the Uncreated One ? How can we tell that as
much Truth is not given as we can bear to know ? Who
shall say that if God had revealed to us more of his eter-
nal purposes and Godhead, the knowledge would not
have overwhelmed us ? the light have been too great for
our weak nerves to bear, and thus have made us alto-
gether blind ? Let these questions be satisfactorily an-
swered, before we venture to complain of obscurity in the
revelations of the Div'ine Mind. Let us cease, there-
fore, perplexing ourselves in vain attempts to ' find out
the Almighty.' We are finite, and how can we expect
to fathom and comprehend the questions of Freedom,
Necessity, and the Origin of Evil, which reach through
Infinitude, and take hold of the very Throne of God ?
How can we construct a problem which shall embrace
Avithin its terms all the elements of Eternity ?

Truth, as much of it as we need to know, is within
us. In our soul of souls, in that consecrated region of
the heart never disturbed by Argument or invaded by
Doubt, lies a deep fountain of Truth, whose waters are
continually welling up. Here let us drink and be re-
freshed, neither asking how it came there, since it comes
from that stream which flows ' fast by the Throne of
God,' nor seeking to fathom its depths. It is enough
that its waters are sweet, and that they are perennial.



92 MEMOIR OF THE

Beyond this we cannot know, and we must not seek to
know.

We were sent into this world not to dispute about the
next, but to prepare for it. Of the next world we can
know nothing but by revelation from Him who made it.
That revelation has been given us, and now let us not
seek to be wise above what is written. Let us seek
rather to resolve no questions which are not required of



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 6 of 28)