Imatges de pàgina



Having become sufficiently established in my doubts of the truth and utility of the universalian doctrine, as a system, I now think it my duty to lay my dissent before the publick.

That this important change in my sentiments and feetings may be the better understood, I shall give a partial or brief history of the operations of my mind. Passing over the reflections of early life, suffice it to say, that I became a preacher of universal salvation ; and was ordained as such in Fairfield, Herkimer co. N. Y. about eight years ago.* I believed the doctrine true, and though“, that in proportion as it was propagated, mankind would become good and happy. I preached in different parts far and near; and itinerated over an extensive region of country, suffering the excesses of heat and cold, and the pitiless peltings of stormy skies, and muddy roads. No danger or effort did I consider too great that was possible; for I believe, for a nuinber of years, I should often have rejoiced in the martyr's privilege of attesting my faith. Some years since, however, I occasionally reflected that, although the doctrine

* The universalist paper of New-York, as well as Rev. S. R. Smith, universalist preacher of Clinton, (N. Y.) interpret this to mean, that I commenced preaching only eight years ago, when in fact, I commenced preaching in the very region where the Remunciation was made, more than twelve years ago. For years, I preached universal salvation, without asking for any ecclesiastical connexion with universalists; but my meaning was as I said in the Renunciation, that I became a preacher of the doctrine ; (but I conceived it of no importance when) and was ordained as such about eight years ago. Mr. Smith was at the ordination ; and I should have supposed he might have understood me as I said.ordained, and not commenced preaching: The little hungry Fish, which tried to nibble something from the Renunciation at Jamestown, immediately after its appearance, did not so much as biie ai that point, although it knew that I had preached in that place more than twelve years ago.

had spread much faster than I had anticipated, it did not seem to produce the effects I had expected. This gradually cooled my ardour and diminished my zeal, so that for some years I cared but little whether I preached or not. In this state of mind, believing universalism to be the true sense of the Bible when rightly construed; and being unable to see any considerable good resulting from the system, I was much inclined to doubt divine revelation.* I could not go entirely into infidelity, nor feel much confidence in revelation. At length I heard of the bewitching fascinations of the infidelity of New-York; and read most of the cloquent effusions of that woman, who prostituted the splendid gifts, which heaven gave to honour and adorn her sex, to the execrable business of sapping the foundations of social order, and overturning the fair fabrick of female honour and happiness, and pouring corruption deep and boundless over all the sacred demarcations that distinguish mankind from brutes.

At first, my mind was awfully contaminated with her sweeping and ruinous principles. But upon more deliberate reflection, I saw the vortex into which such principles must inevitably draw mankind. I saw it would be in the moral world like putting out the sun and moon and every star in the natural, barely because men bad eyes of their own to see with. Such was my state of mind two years ago. I saw the necessity of religion, but still had only a cold,

* Editors, &c. thought they had a great advantage of me, because I was honest enough to owii, that I had been, at times, inclined to doubt divine revelation. Such inclination to doubt was not wil. Jingly cherished and entertained Now if the editors will risk their reputation with their brethren, and their interest with their subscribers, by declaring, upon their honour, that they were never inclincd to doubt divine revelation in the common acceptation of the phrase; and if they will take as much pains in their papers, and devote as much room, to expose the faults of infidels, to impeach their motives, vilify and burlesque their actions, &c. as they have those of professed friends of christianity, for one year, I shall doubt not “the evident change in the moral complexion of their paper :" but more than thrce-fourths of their subscribers would discontinue !

dark, and inefficient faith in any. At times I was extremely unhappy, so much so as almost to wish for death.* The conversion of Dr. Stedman, of Mayville, has been a subject with me of much reflection. I knew his former business

Universalist editors have attempted to prove from this paragraph, that I was an atheist for two years or more previous to my Renunciation. They wish to make this out, because they have always pretended that no universalist ever changed his views. Although hundreds who were once considered universalists—who professed to be, and were as much so to all appearance as any body, have been known to renounce the scheme, yet it is at once declared that they never were universalists. There can be no doubt, if Hozea Ballou, the very father of modern universalism, were to renounce his sentiments on this point, the whole phalanx of universalist editors would make it out clearly that he never was a universalist. Many there are, who have been heard to say “Mr. Todd is the best universalist preacher I ever heard. He proves his doctrine by such clear and convincing arguments. He does not blackguard so much as some of them. And he preaches so much practice as well as doctrine, that nobody can find any fault with many of his discourses. And now the same persons have been heard to say, “Mr. Todd never was a real universalist. He never understood the doctrine. I always knew he was dishonest, though I used to stand up for him," &c. Others say, "he was so destitate of the true principles of universalism, it is no wonder his writings and preaching should do no good.” The same persons say again, “his writings stand as a bulwark around universalism which he can never overthrow." Dr. Danforth of Laona, wrote me thus, “the universalists of this county have long flattered themselves, that they had one, who was able to defend their cause against all opposition! But now how fallen! How has the inighty fallen!" &c. It is a great pity any body should fall; but from the account universalists give of themselves, I should think them the last people in the world to trample upon one because he had been so unfortunate as to fall. Many other wild, contradictory, and absurd things have been said; and all in consequence of one man's opinion on one question! I had no idea before of the vast importance that could be attached to my ideas! I find my words are watched; and my most trifling expressions—even some that I never make, are reported to universalist editors for publication.Nay, if I happen to spit, it is published ! (See note page 74.)

I did not say in the Renunciation that I had been an atheist. The infidels of New-York were atheists or nearly 80 ; but the question whether there be a God was not the principal question discussed in their writings. They generally wrote on political and philosophical principles; and their discussions were such as tended to draw the mind from the religion of the Bible-to weaken our faith, and embitter our feelings toward the teachers of piety. So far, my mind was contaminated with her ruinous principles, but I never got so far as to be an atheist. One would suppose, by their being so sure that I was an atheist, that they considered athe

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