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VOICE OF WARNING,
If a manly attempt to avert national ruin, by exposing a favorite error, should excite no resentment, nor draw any obloquy upon its author, there would certainly be a new thing under the sun. Men can seldom bear contradiction. They bear it least when they are most demonstrably wrong; because, having surrendered their judgment to prejudice, or their conscience to design, they must take refuge in obstinacy from the attacks of reason. The bad, dreading nothing so much as the prevalence of pure principle and virtuous habit, will ever be industrious in counteracting it, and the more candid, rational, and convincing the means employed in its behalf, the louder will be their clamor, and the fiercer their opposition. On the other hand, good men are often led insensibly astray, and their very honesty becomes the guaranty of their delusion. Unaware, at first, of their inconsistency, they afterwards shrink from the test of their own profession. Startled by remonstrance, but unprepared to recede; checked by the misgivings of their own minds, yet urged on by their previous purpose and connection, the conflict renders them irritable, and they mark as their enemy whoever tells them the truth. From the coincidence of such a bias with the views of the profligate and daring, results incalculable mischief. The sympathy of a common cause unites the persons engaged in it; the shades of exterior character gradually disappear; virtue sinks from her glory; vice emerges from her infamy; the best and the basest appear nearly on a level; while the most atrocious principles either lose their horror or have a veil thrown over them; and the man who endeavors to arrest their course is singled out as a victim to revenge
and madness. Such, from the beginning, has been the course of the world. None of its benefactors have escaped its calumnies and persecutions; not prophets, not apostles, not the Son of God himself. To this treatment, therefore, must every one be reconciled, who labors to promote the best interests of his country. He must stake his popularity against his integrity; he must encounter a policy which will be contented with nothing short of his, ruin; and if it may not spill his blood, will strive to overwhelm him with public execration. That this is the spirit which has pursued a writer, the purity of whose views is equalled only by their importance-I mean the author of “ Serious Considerations on the Election of a President,”—I need not inform any who inspect the gazettes. To lay before the people of the United States proofs that a candidate for the office of their first magistrate is an unbeliever in the Scriptures, and that to confer such a distinction upon an open enemy to their religion, their Redeemer, and their hope, would be mischief to themselves and sin against God, is a crime never to be forgiven by a class of men too numerous for our peace or prosperity. The infidels have risen en masse, and it is not through their moderation that he retains any portion of his respectability or his usefulness. But in their wrath there is nothing to deprecate; nor does he deserve the name of a Christian, who, in order to avoid it, would deviate a hair's breadth from his duty. For them I write not. Impenetrable by serious principle, they are not objects of expostulation, but of compassion; nor shall I stoop to any solicitude about their censure or applause.
But do I represent as infidels all who befriend Mr. Jefferson's election? God forbid that I should so “ lie against the truth.” If I thought so, I should mourn in silence; my pen should slumber for ever. That a majority of them profess, and that multitudes of them really love, the religion of Jesus, while it is my terror, is also my hope. Terror, because I believe them to be under a fatal mistake; hope, because they, if any, are within the reach of conviction. I address myself to them. The latter, especially, are my brothers, by dearer ties and higher interests than can be created or destroyed by any political connection. And if it be asked, Why mingle religion with questions of policy? Why irritate by opposition? Why risk the excitement of passions which may dissever but cannot aid, the common Christianity? Why not maintain a prudent reserve, and permit matters of state to take their own course ? I answer, because Christians are deeply engaged already; because the principles of the gospel are to regulate their political as well as their other conduct; because their Christian character, profession, and prosperity, are involved in the issue. This is no hour to temporise. I abhor that coward spirit which vaunts when gliding down the tide of opinion, but shrinks from the returning current, and calls the treason prudence. It is the voice of God's providence not less than of his own word, “ Cry aloud, spare not; lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” With Christians, therefore, I must expostulate; and may not refrain. However they may be displeased, or threaten, I will say with the Athenian chief, “ Strike, but hear me."
Fellow Christians,—A crisis of no common magnitude awaits our country. The approaching election of a President, is to decide a question not merely of preference to an eminent individual, or particular views of policy, but, what is infinitely more, of national regard or disregard to the religion of Jesus Christ. Had the choice been between two infidels, or two professed Christians, the point of politics would be untouched by me. Nor, though opposed to Mr. Jefferson, am I to be regarded as a partisan; since the principle which I am about to develope, will be equally unacceptable to many on both sides of the question. I dread the election of Mr. Jefferson, because I believe him to be a confirmed infidel: you desire it, because, while he is politically acceptable, you either doubt this fact, or do not consider it essential. Let us, like brethren, reason this matter.
The general opinion rarely if ever mistakes a character which private pursuits and public functions have placed in different attitudes; yet it is frequently formed upon circumstances which elude
argument, even while they make a powerful and just impression. Notwithstanding, therefore, the belief of Mr. Jefferson's infidelity, which has for years been uniform and strong, wherever his character has been a subject of speculation ; although that infidelity has been boasted by some, lamented by many, and undisputed by all, yet as it is now denied by his friends, the