deceive him as to tlic quantity and quality of the various articles which were offered in the way of exchange. " Yet," continued he, " I do not doubt their piety."

This same gentleman, a moment before, had expressed a doubt whether it was possible for Mr. Touro to have been a pious man, because he was a Jew. I replied, that it was true, he was born, reared, and had lived, and died in the Hebrew faith. It was the faith of his father, who was a learned and most esteemed rabbi. It was the faith that had been handed down to him by a long line of illustrious ancestors, reaching back to the patriarchal ages of the world. It was the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom those glorious promises were first given, which embrace the final, complete, and everlasting exaltation of all mankind. It was the faith of Jesus himself, who was a Jew, and who declared that the religion of the Old Testament contains all that is requisite to guide us to eternal joy; that he came into the world not to destroy that faith, but to free it from corruptions, and send it forth in its divine, original, unimpaired vigor and freshness. " Besides," I added, " all admit that the moral character of Mr. Touro was spotless. He was one who was never guilty of prevarication, falsehood, libertinism, or the bartering of his conscience for filthy lucre." " All this," answered the deacon, " amounts to nothing, so far as the question of his piety is concerned. He may be perfectly just, good, true, and lovely, as to his moral conduct; yet he cannot be saved without faith in the Son of God." What a delusion ! Faith

in the Son of God is nothing more nor less than goodness of heart and life.

Dr. Chalmers once said, " All right-hearted persons are pious in the sight of God, whether Hebrew, Christian, Pagan, or Deistical in regard to mere creed or abstract opinions." A man who thinks himself more wise, more enlightened, more pleasing to God, or possessed of a fairer prospect of being admitted finally to the kingdom of heaven than his neighbors, because his creed is sounder than theirs, is not only guilty of a narrow, mean, exclusive bigotry, but deliberately tramples on that precept of the gospel which says, we " must by no means condemn a neighbor on account of his peculiar religious principles." " Who art thou that condemnest thy brother," &c. ? " To his own Master he shall give an account of himself, and be judged accordingly." If is awful to think of this violation of the law of charity among the various denominations in the United States. Multitudes of noble, high-minded men are kept from joining any particular church, from the conviction that such a step would expose them to the hatred and persecution of antagonistic sects. I have often heard Mr. Touro say, that, though an Israelite to the bottom of his soul, it would give him the sin-cerest pleasure to see all the churches flourishing in their respective ways, and that he was heartily sorry that they did not more genernlly fraternize with, love, and help each other.

This gentleman was the humblest man whom I have ever been acquainted with. A person over-modest is very seldom found, or rather is to be looked 9

upon as an anomaly in this proud, selfish world of ours. But Mr. Touro was too sensitive on this subject. The most delicate, deserved, and timely expressions of esteem from particular, intimate friends and acquaintances, seemed to give him pain instead of pleasure. I remember being in his company once, when a friend proposed to read to him a paragraph from a Boston newspaper, which spoke of his character in terms of eulogy. He refused to listen to the perusal, and remarked, with apparently excited feelings, that " he would thank them to change the subject of conversation." Several times, when alone, I asked him some questions about the battle of New Orleans, in which he received such a dreadful wound. He declined making any particular remarks about it, further than to express his deep sense of the kindness of his friend, R. D. Shephard, Esq., who carried him from the field of conflict and saved his life. He is the only one of the veterans under General Jackson, on the plains of Chalmette, with whom I have conversed, who seemed to take no pleasure in describing the part which he acted on the ever-memorable 8th of January, 1815. Mr. Touro once said, in my hearing, that he would have revoked the donation given for completing the Bunker Hill Monument, on account of their publishing his name in the newspapers, contrary to his wishes, had it not been for the apprehension that his real motives would have been misunderstood and mis-rci>rescnted. And most assuredly the fear was well grounded.

I wish here to record a few lines as to the charac-

ter of Judah Touro's philaiitliropy. The name of Jolm Wesley, founder of that large, respectaljlo denomination, the Methodists, is enrolled on the list of eminent British philanthropists. For what reasons ? Because, among other virtues, we are told that, by a life of the most unexampled economy, he saA'ed, in the space of fifty years, one hundred and fifty thousand dollars out of his income, to be devoted to the cause of charity. J\idah Touro, by habits of frugality not less strict and admirable than those of the eminent Christian just named, during a half century accumulated five hundred thousand dollars, to be used in promoting the same sublime purpose. Mr. Wesley is praised because he was so generous in his donations to the church that was nearest to his heart, and of which he was the principal originator. Mr. Touro gave to the church which he most loved not less tlian the great Wesley did to the Methodists — two hundred and twenty thousand dollars. I have never heard of but one religionist in the United States who can be compared with Mr. Touro, as regards the liberality cf his benefactions to his own church ; and he bestowed nothing on other denominations.

But Mr. Touro gave more to strangers than to his brethren. On the former he conferred three hundred thousand dollars; on the latter, but two hundred thousand. With a generous profusion, he scattered his favors broadcast over the wide field of humanity. He knew well that many of the recipients of his bounty hated the Hebrews, and would, if possible, sweep them into annihilation. In this

respect, did he not recognize the principle upon wliicli God himself distributes his bounties among men ? For Jesus declares that the Fatlier loves and blesses his enemies as much as he does his friends. So the person I am speaking of consulted not the ill-desert, meanness, prejudice, or sin, of those whom he was pleased to help, but only how they might be best raised from debasement and destitution. If God were to pour out on his foes vengeance instead of love, his throne would crumble, and the universe be reduced to chaos. Indeed, this feature of Mr. Touro's beneficence is so exalted, noble, and godlike, that I should but mar and obscure the bright ideal by the most impressive description that language could give. He once saw, when standing at the door of his counting room, a poor, lost inebriate, in the hands of the sheriff, passing on his way to prison for debt. Mr. Touro stopped him, and spoke kindly to him, as he had known him in better days. Ascertaining the sum for which he had been apprehended, he immediately paid it, and effected his release. It amounted, with costs, to nine hundred dollars. He said, " I do not much expect that it will be of any benefit to the individual himself, but I have performed the act for the sake of his family."

It was a time of great business depression in New Orleans, when Mr. Touro became the proprietor of the church edifice and grounds. Many of the society fell in the preceding epidemic. Some who were most prominent in settling Mr. Larned had just compounded with their creditors. Tlie friends of the institution were few, feeble, impoverished, bank-

rupt, and pushed to the very brink of ruin. A noble Israelite snatched them from the jaws of destruction. From that day down to its destruction by fire, he held it for their use, and incurred an additional expense of several thousand dollars for keeping it in repair. For myself he professed the strongest personal regard, and showed it by giving me almost the entire income of the church — the pew rents — for about twenty-eight years. He might have torn the building down at the beginning, and reared on its site a block of stores, whose revenue by this time would have amounted to half a million of dollars at least. He was urged to do so on several occasions, and once replied to a gentleman who made a very liberal offer for the property, that " there was not money enough in the world to buy it, and that if he could have his way, there should be a church on the spot to the end of time."

This man was a Jew. Is there a Christian society in New Orleans that has ever offered the Unitarians the slightest assistance, or even courtesy ? Is there one that would put forth a hand to help them to-day, if they were in danger of perishing? Is there one that would not rejoice in their complete, absolute destruction ? The Unitarians have aided materially towards the erection of all the orthodox Protestant churches in the Crescent City. But when they were burned out, and asked for one of the orthodox churches to hold meetings in occasionally, the fiivor was denied on the alleged ground that by showing such a kindness, they might indirectly encourage the dreadful heresies which we were labor-9*

ing to promulgate. It was this spirit that burned Servetus, that kindled the fires of the auto defe, and has "condemned to the wheel, rack, gibbet, or cross, the noblest benefactors of our race. But in this emergency, the aforesaid Hebrew came to our relief. He purchased a small Baptist chapel for us to worship in, free of charge, till he could put up a larger building for the use of the congregation.

The question is often asked, whether Mr. Touro was as liberal in the matter of private donations as in his public charities. We cannot give an arithmetical answer to this question, for he followed most scrupulously the injunction of our Lord, " Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." It has come incidentally to my knowledge, that since my settlement in New Orleans, the amount of his private benefactions has not been less than thirty thousand dollars. It no doubt far exceeded this statement. Touching this matter, did space allow, I could give many interesting anecdotes. Though Mr. Touro was exact, rigid, and methodical in his business transactions, this trait of character had not its origin in covetousness. When his impulses led the way, he poured forth his money freely as water. I was in his counting room one morning, when he told me, weeping, that he had just signed a document resigning his legal title to the entire estate of an only sister, recently deceased. It was worth, if I remember aright, about eighty thousand dollars. Ho refused to take the smallest fraction of it, and requested his friends at the north to distribute it for charitable purposes, in the manner which they

thought would be most agreeable to her, were she still living. Had avarice been his ruling passion, would he have allowed such a windfall to escape his grasp ?

It has often been said by persons in New Orleans, that Mr. Touro did not do for myself particularly, as much, all things considered, as I had a right to expect. But do they know the principles which governed and directed his acts of kindness to me and mine ? He often said, " Mr. Clapp, you are altogether too profuse and indiscriminate in your charities. I admit that you are economical in your habits and mode of living ; but were you to come into the possession of a fortune, you would give it all away in a year or two, unless you had an overseer appointed." I might have done so then, but I am sure that I should not do so now, if I had the chance. It was his honest conviction that I ought not to have access to much money at a time. But most of my friends are not aware of the magnitude of the benefits which he was actually pleased to confer on me. Besides allowing me to take nearly the whole income of the pew rent, he gave me in small sums, from time to time, not less than twenty thousand dollars. "Whenever I told him that I was out of money, he always supplied me, saying, " that was the last he could let me have, for the church ought certainly to yield me enough." Indeed, it was entirely owing to the unwise profusion of my cliari-ties, that I did not leave New Orleans with an ample competence for life.

The title "Philanthropist" is the most honorable

surname on earth. It has been most justly bestowed on Judah Touro, and he will wear it till time is no more; it will be inscribed in light immortal on the diadem of his everlasting reward. I thank God for my acquaintance with this man; I thank God that he was my friend; above all, I would be thankful for the hope of meeting him in that brighter existence, where those who love each other will be separated no more.

Daniel Webster once said in an address before the Hebrew Benevolent Association of New York city, " We are indebted to the Jewish nation for revealed religion, for the most important blessings and refinements of civilized life, and for all well-grounded hopes of immortal bliss beyond the grave." It is a trite and commonplace remark, that charitable institvitions have never been known to exist, except in those lands illuminated by the light of revelation. When we look along the shores of the old pagan world, we behold the relics of mouldering cities, pyramids, palaces, temples, villas, obelisks, military columns, spacious ampliitheatres, and statues erected to immortalize heroes, poets, and scholars ; but nowhere in those regions do we meet the remains of free public schools, orphan asylums, hospitals, retreats for the destitute and unfortunate, nor monuments intended to perpetuate the memory of those who consecrated their lives to the melioration of humanity. They are found only in those lands which have derived their ideas of glory from the Hebrew Scriptures, and from the life and teachings of Him who uttered the parable of the good Samaritan.

What a striking evidence of the divine origin and necessity of the Bible! This sacred volume has taught the world, that for man there is no heritage on earth Avorth the seeking, worth the asking, worth the having, but an upright and beneficent life. This is that building spoken of by our Saviour, that rests upon an immovable basis. When the rains descend and the floods rage, and the winds blow and beat thereon, it cannot be overthrown, for it is founded upon a rock.

The names of those who built the Egyptian pyramids are lost in oblivion. But if, instead of rearing piles of magnificence for self-aggrandizement, they had employed the same means in founding institutions for the deaf and dumb, hospitals, and other philanthropic establishments, their memories would have been preserved green and flourishing by grateful millions; they would have floated down on a gathering tide of glory to the last syllable of recorded time.

I staid in New Orleans this year, 1822, till the middle of May. The congregations were constantly as large as the house would hold. My extemporaneous style of preaching seemed to be generally acceptable. Some, however, did not like me at all. One gentleman of strong mind and great reading, and a confirmed Deist, stopping me in the street one day, spoke thus : " Since my settlement in New Orleans, I never went inside of a church till Mr. Larned came here. I attended his meetings every Sabbath, not because I believed in his ideas of rehgion, — they were revolting to me, — but to enjoy the indescribable

charms of his natural eloquence. I heard you preach yesterday. As a didactic performance, your sermon was respectable, perhaps equal to an ordinary discourse of Mr. Larned ; but your delivery is far less interesting. He seemed to speak because he could not help it; you speak in a labored manner, as if it was a very unwelcome task. There is nothing to interest me in your manner, and your doctrines I repudiate ; but when you come across poor, sick, and suflfering people, call on me; it will always give me pleasure to aid in relieving them."

He was as good as his word. I cannot tell how many hundreds he gave me, in times of public distress, to be distributed according to my best judgment. I offered to give — but he never would receive — vouchers for the faithful manner in which the funds intrusted to my hands were disposed of. Tor aught he knew to the contrary, the moneys given Avere used for my personal emolument.

Another gentleman, a Calvinist, communicant, and a constant attendant on church, urged upon me, every time I saw him, the importance of getting up in the Crescent City such revivals of religion as were flourishing at the north. " It makes me weep in secret," he said, " wlien I think of the number of unregenerate souls here that are hurrying to the regions of eternal woe." Yet this man, though he was wealthy, never could be persuaded to give me ten dollars to relieve a sick, indigent, dying family. But his creed was the very type of evangelical purity. He knew the Westminster Catechism by heart, and was eternally talking about justification by faith

alone, man's utter inability to do any thing good, the glories of electing grace, and the certainty that eternal damnation must be the portion of all those who die in their sins. I have often revolved in my mind the question, which of these characters was most acceptable to God, the Deist, whose heart and life were full of goodness and mercy, or the Calvin-ist, whose belief and worship were in exact accordance with prescribed, accredited formulas, but whose daily walk yielded no fruits of purity or disinterestedness.

In general, I found the state of society in New Orleans more agreeable than I had imagined. Most of the gentlemen whom I became acquainted with were distinguished for superior refinement and wide knowledge of the world. Their frank, easy, open, and generous hospitality was truly delightful. Most of the families that I visited received me without ceremony, as a friend whom they loved and confided in ; not as a person preeminently holy, so purified from the attachments of earth as to have no taste for the scenes and enjoyments of society. One day I was invited to take tea in a family of our congregation, and pass the evening with a small number of friends. Being called to attend a wedding, I did not reach tlie house till near ten o'clock. Instead of a few persons convened simply for an hour's conversation, there was a large, gay company, whose movements had resolved themselves into a dance, and were directed by a band of musicians. Now, if I had followed the advice of one of my venerable instructors at Andover, I should have instantly retired, that I

might not, even in appearance, have sanctioned, for a moment, a species of recreation so inconsistent with the dignity and seriousness of a Christian Hfe. But as I was pohtely conducted to a chair in the midst of a circle of ladies, who preferred looking on to an active participation in the festivity going forward, I determined to make myself at home, and commit what I had been taught to regard as a heinous, unjustifiable indulgence, by witnessing an entertainment pronounced, among Presbyterian clergymen generally, to be sinful and injurious. Tliere was, however, in my heart, no sense of violated duty, no feeling of guilt. I realized then my accountability to God, and that were I to die instantly, my future interests would be just as safe as if called to draw my last breath in the pulpit, at a funeral, by the bed of the dying, or in the sacred seclusion of the closet.

I spent an hour or more in this cheerful circle, where all things to the eye and ear were refined, orderly, and decorous. The hearts of that company were visible only to the Omniscient One. I shall refer to the impressions made on my mind by their external appearance. Before me stood the young and happy, upon whose fates and fortunes the sombre shadows of adversity had not yet gathered ; their minds were bright and buoyant, their steps elastic, their ears opened to the melodies of sound, their eyes radiant with pleasure. As I was meditating upon those comely brows, flushed with the bloom of early life ; the fair forms of feminine grace and loveliness; the dignified, accomplished manners of

those more advanced in years ; the music ; sprightly conversation, wit, love, gayety, and joyousness which characterized the whole scene, — a sweet, profound, unwonted perception of God's goodness captivated my soul. Such intense feelings of piety I had never before experienced. I said to myself" It has, indeed, pleased God, ' to make man but a little lower than the angels, and to crown him with glory and honor.' If he is so beautiful here, what will he not become in that future state, where our loftiest ideals and actual attainments both will regularly advance in a progression that is infinite! " I was rapt in delightful visions of a spiritual world. This thought took complete possession of my mind. God is too good not to provide for us something nobler, better, greater, more permanent, and more satisfying than the transitory possessions and pleasures of time. Can he present to us the chalice of existence, and then dash it from our lips just as wc begin to taste its joys ? Is not his infinite love a pledge that he will never treat us so cruelly ? "Would a kind parent promise his children favors which he never intended to bestow on them ? Can God awaken irrepressible desires of continued, unending happiness, only to be crushed out and disappointed forever ? Nothing in mathematics is more certain than the doctrine that the inherent, essential desires of our moral nature will be completely gratified. Can they be, if deatli is an eternal sleep ?

If the Holy Spirit ever breathed on my heart, it was on that occasion, amid the music, thoughtlessness, levity, ceremonials, and sensuous attractions of 10

an evening party. There, if ever, the inspirations of God touched and ennobled my soul. Said a lady who was sitting next to me, " Mr. Clapp, you seem to be in a brown study. Are you thinking out a


9 „

" No, madam ; but a glorious subject for a sermon has just entered my thoughts. We are cheated, we are deceived, by the very constitution of our nature, if the pleasures of this evening are not a preli-bation and foreshadowing of purer and ever-increasing joy beyond the grave. If a bird or a beast could cherish a conscious desire of happiness, this fact would prove its title to an endless life."

" Indeed," continued the lady, " you have made a notable discovery — the seeking of happiness even in amusements demonstrates our immortality. Had you not better preach on the subject next Sabbath ? "

Her suggestion, though made facetiously, was followed. I took for my text Isaiah xxviii. 20 : " For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it, and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.^^ I began by saying, " 0, the misery, depression of spirits, gloom, ennui, and despair of those who live below their highest capabilities and aspirations ; who live in a merely physical and sensual existence — a world of the bodily and animal senses ; who never soar to feel their divinity, by expatiating over the immortal regions of truth, knowledge, beauty, and virtue ! Whatever may be the good purposes for which the animal appetites and passions were given us, they are a source of continual sorrow and unhappiness to the pure and spiritual mind —

a mind that longs to rise to God, and live above the plane of animal sensation only, which is so fatal to honor, glory, and happiness, yet so inspiring and invigorating to vice. The unrestrained indulgence of a single natural desire, or passion of the physical man, is enough to darken, prostrate, and destroy the soul. This habitual neglecting to subject appetite to a sense of duty is the real source of all the sin and degradation on earth.

" Moreover, as intimated in the text, the person who gives himself up to self-indulgence is never satisfied. He chases a rainbow that is painted on a cloud, and . retreats before him as he advances, till finally it vanishes forever from his view. Not one of all the irreligious millions who have lived, ever sat down for one moment contented with present attainments, without longing after some remote and inaccessible good. They spent their days only to be Joroken by toil, to be wasted by sickness, to be racked with pain, to be desolated by one surge of sorrow after another, till called to enter ' that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns.' Yes, my friends, like a pendidum, they were constantly vacillating between the ecstasy of hope and the lifelessness of possession — struggling, striving, and wearying themselves out, till the curtain of mortality fell, and their busy, restless, disappointed hearts, crowded with plans, cares, and anticipations, forgot to beat, and all their fluttering anxieties were hushed forever in the cold silence of the tomb. Without timely repentance, in like manner shall we all perish.

" What signifies this solemn fact, testified to by universal experience, that our material bed and covering are too small for iis ? What mean these immeasurable longings, which no eartiily forms of beauty and bliss can satiate ? They teach us, my friends, that at death we shall not be turned into cold clay or dry dust, lifeless, senseless, and thoughtless, forevermore ; that the soul of man will last as long as the throne of God ; that it will live through more years, ages, centuries, and cycles than there are drops of water in the ocean ; and even then the morning of an endless existence will scarcely have dawned around us ; that we have been created .to tread the broad and boundless pathways of a destination that has no limits. Solemn, sublime, inconceivable, transporting thought! If we realized it, all the material possessions and glories around would seem to u^ but as worthless spangles in the dust we tread on — but as the baubles and playthings which little children use in the sports of a summer's afternoon. The pressure of sin would be removed from our bosoms; free, elastic, and joyous, we should stand upon the lofty eminence of Christian faith, and look out upon a perspective of loveliness, rising and spreading, in all the glories of immortality, beyond the dark ruins of earth and time."

Such, in substance, was the sermon suggested to my mind by witnessing the profusion, splendor, and beauty of a social entertainment. Tlie lady above mentioned remarked to me tlie next day, that last Sunday's sermon was the best I had yet preached, in the judgment of all the congregation. " We had

better make a party for you once every week." Incidents similar to the one just narrated, liavc given birth to most of tlie discourses which I have delivered in New Orleans. A settled minister cannot adapt his homilies to the wants of his parishioners, unless they are all embraced in his parochial visits ; unless he is on terms of the most familiar, unreserved, and intimate intercourse with them, so that they are induced lionestly to communicate to him the thoughts, feelings, doubts, fears, hopes, and secrets of their inmost souls. Never until I went to New Orleans had I any just conception of the best mode of preaching, nor the class of subjects which should be generally introduced into the pulpit.

On the 20th of May, 1822, indispensable business called me to leave the south on a jaunt to New England. I returned to my post of labor before the epidemic of that year had terminated. On my way up the river, I made a pause at Louisville, to take upon myself the vows of wedlock. I was married the 31st of May, 1822, to Miss Adeline Hawes, a beautiful and interesting young lady, originally from Boston, Massachusetts, but at that time a resident of Kentucky. For thirty-tive years we have been sharers of each other's joys, consolers of each other's sorrows, and helpers together amid the allotments and vicissitudes which were ordained for us by a wise and merciful Providence. We have had six children ; three of them — one son and two daughters — are in the spirit land ; three sons survive. The eldest is settled in the Crescent City; the second is in 10*

Chicago ; the third and youngest is with his parents in Louisville.

We have reason to bless God for the degree of health and prosperity which have been bestowed upon us in perilous times gone by; that we still live in peace and competence ; and above all, that we are permitted, through Christ, to cherish the glorious hope, that after having finished the eventful journey of human life, we shall meet in those eternal scenes of beauty and of bliss which await the children of God in a brighter and better world.





There have been twenty very sickly seasons during my residence in New Orleans. The yellow fever raged violently in 1822, '24, '27, '28, '29, and '30. The epidemics that prevailed in '27, '28, '29, and '30 were extremely fatal. In 1829, more than nine hundred persons died from yellow fever alone ; yet no report of these awful visitations was published in the medical journals of the day.

In the excessively warm summer of 1832, my strength was so much reduced, that a change of climate was prescribed by friends and physicians. I started with my family in a steamboat, bound for Cincinnati, intending to spend the remainder of the season at Niagara, Montreal, and Saratoga Springs. But when I reached Ohio, news came that the cholera had made its appearance at Quebec and other places.

It was travelling with great rapidity. In one short month this terrific pestilence walked unseen from the capital of Lower Canada westward to Detroit, and in a southern direction to Lake Champlain, Albany, and New York. It seemed to prefer follow-

ing the courses of great rivers, like the St. Lawrence, Ohio, and Mississippi.

Dr. Drake, of Cincinnati, expressed the opinion that within a few weeks the disease would break out in all our principal cities. Fearing that New Orleans miglit be attacked during my absence, I immediately abandoned a journey which held out such an attractive prospect, and retraced my course down the river. I could not get rid of the presentiment that a period of imprecedented calamity impended over the Crescent City. The previous summer, in the month of August, a frightful tornado had swept over and inundated New Orleans. The Creoles said that this was the forerunner of some friglitful pestilence. I proposed to leave Mrs. Clapp and the children with her aunt in Kentucky, till the overflowing scourge should pass through the land. But she declined acceding to the proposition, and quoted these memorable words of Scripture: " Whither thou goest, I will go ; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge ; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried : the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me."

We arrived at New Orleans, on our return home, about the 1st of September. The weather was most sultry and oppressive. To most of my friends our conduct appeared so unwise, that they hardly gave us a cordial welcome back. I said to them, " ' Though neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet,' I see a dark cloud suspended over us, which will soon discharge a tempest of unparalleled violence

and destruction." That very week, several cases of yellow fever occurred in the Charity Hospital and boarding houses along the levee. It soon grew into an epidemic, and carried off hundreds during this and tiie succeeding month.

On the morning of the 25th of October, 1832, as I was walking home from market, before sunrise, I saw two men lying on the levee in a dying condition. They had been landed from a steamboat which arrived the night before. Some of the watchmen had gone after a handbarrow or cart, on which they might be removed to the hospital. At first there was quite a crowd assembled on the spot. But an eminent physician rode up in his gig, and gazing a moment, exclaimed in a loud voice, " Those men have the Asiatic cliolera." The crowd dispersed in a moment, and ran as if for their lives in every direction. I was left almost alone with the sufferers. They could speak, and were in full possession of their reason. They had what I afterwards found were the usual symptoms of cholera — cramps, convulsions, &c. The hands and feet were cold and blue ; an icy perspiration flowed in streams ; and they complained of a great pressure upon their chests. One of them said it seemed as if a bar of iron was lying across him. Their thirst was intense, which caused an insufferable agony in the mouth and throat. They entreated me to procure some water. I attempted to go on board the steamboat which had put them on shore. But the staging had been drawn in to prevent all intercourse with people on the levee. Thence I returned, intending to go to the

nearest dwelling to get some relief for the unhappy men, whom all but God had apparently deserted.

At that instant the watchmen arrived with a dray. Happily, (because, perhaps, they spoke only the French language,) they had no suspicion that these strangers were suffering from the cholera. If I had pronounced that terrific word in their hearing, they too might have fled, and left the sick men to perish on the cold ground. I saw them placed on the vehicle, and subsequently learned that they were corpses before eleven o'clock A. M. the same day.

I walked home, attempting to be calm and resigned, determined to do my duty, and leave the consequences with God. I said nothing to my family about the sick men whom I had met, though they thought it strange that I had taken so much more time than usual in going to and from the market, and observed that I looked uncommonly thoughtful and serious. I felt that the hour of peril had come. I said in silent, inward prayer, " 0 God, thou art my refuge and fortress ; in thee do I trust. 0, help me, and strengthen me, for vain is the help of man. His breath goeth forth; he returneth to the dust; in that very day his purposes perish. 0, happy is the man that hath the living God for his help, whose hope is in Jehovah his God." I felt a delightful sense of my dependence ; that Providence was my shield and buckler, and that nothing could befall me or my family, which, if we did our duty, would not work out results great and glorious beyond all thought and imagination. It seemed to me that,

trusting in the Most High, I could trample under foot pain, sickness, death, and every other evil.

The weather, this morning, was very peculiar. The heavens were covered with thick, heavy, damp, lowering clouds, that seemed like one black ceiling, spread over the whole horizon. To the eye, it almost touched the tops of the houses. Every one felt a strange difficulty of respiration. I never looked upon such a gloomy, appalling sky before or since. Not a breath of wind stirred. It was so dark, that in some of the banks, offices, and private houses, candles or lamps were lighted that day.

Immediately after breakfast I walked down to the post office. At every corner, and around the principal hotels, were groups of anxious faces. As soon as they saw me, the question was put by several persons at a time, " Is it a fact that the cholera is in the city ?" I replied by describing what I had seen but two hours before. Observing that many of them appeared panic-struck, I remarked, " Gentlemen, do not be alarmed. These may prove merely what the doctors call sporadic cases. "We do not yet know that it will prevail to an alarming extent. Let us trust in God, and wait patiently the developments of another morning."

That day as many persons left the city as could find the means of transmigration. On my way home from the post office, I walked along the levee, where the two cholera patients had been disembarked but three or four hours before. Several families in the neighborhood were making preparations to move, but in vain. They could not obtain the requisite

vehicles. The same afternoon the pestilence entered their houses, and before dark spread through several squares opposite to the point where the steamer landed the first cases.

On the evening of the 27th of October, it had made its way through every part of the city. During the ten succeeding days, reckoning from October 27 to the 6th of November, all the physicians judged that, at the lowest computation, there were five thousand deaths — an average of five hundred every day. Many died of whom no account was rendered. A great number of bodies, with bricks and stones tied to the feet, were thrown into the river. Many were privately interred in gardens and enclosures, on the grounds where they expired, whose names were not recorded in the bills of mortality. Often I was kept in the burying ground for hours in succession, by the incessant, unintermitting arrival of corpses, over whom I was requested to perform a short service. One day, I did not leave the cemetery till nine o'clock at night; the last interments were made by candle light. Reaching my house faint, exhausted, horror-stricken, I found my family all sobbing and weeping, for they had concluded, from my long absence, that I was certainly dead. I never went abroad without kissing and blessing them all, with • the conviction that we should never meet again on earth. After bathing and taking some refreshment, I started out to visit the sick. My door was thronged with servants, waiting to conduct me to the rooms of dying sufferers. In this kind of labor I spent most of the night. At three o'clock A. M., I returned

home, threw myself down on a sofa, with directions not to bo called till half past five. I was engaged to attend a funeral at six o'clock A. M., 28th October.

In the progress of my round on this occasion, I met with a case of cholera whose symptoms were unlike any thing that I had before witnessed. The patient was perfectly free from pain, with mental powers unimpaired, and suffering only from debility and moral apprehensions. From his looks, I should have supposed that he was sinking under some kind of consumption, such as prevails at the north. He was an educated man, whose parents, when living, were members of the Presbyterian church. His will had just been made, and he believed himself to be dying, which was actually the case. I have said that his mind was uninjured; more, it was quickened to preternatural strength and activity.

When I took his hand in mine, he said, " The physicians assure me that I must soon die; I am unprepared; I look back with many painful regrets upon the past; I look forward to the future with doubts, fears, and misgivings. What will become of me?" I replied, "What, sir, is your strongest wish ? " He answered, " That it may please God to forgive and save me, for Christ's sake." I added, " If this is the real wish of your heart, it will be gratified, no matter how wicked or unworthy you may be. Is your father living ? " I inquired. He said, " No, sir ; I saw him breathe his last in my native home. He died happy, for he was good. Nev6r shall I forget that last prayer which he uttered in behalf of his 11

surviving children." " Suppose," I continued, " you were absolutely certain that death Avould introduce you into the presence of that beloved parent, and that he would be empowered by the Infinite One to make you as happy as he pleased, and to receive you to his bosom and embrace forever ; would you not most willingly, joyfully, and with perfect confidence, commit your fate for eternity to the decision of such a pure, kind, aifectionate father? " He answered in the affirmative. I said, " Is it possible that you have so much confidence in an earthly parent, and at the same time can hesitate to commend your spirit into the hands of that heavenly Father, who loves you as much as he does himself, — whose love is transcendent, boundless, infinite, everlasting,—who cannot allow you to perish, any more than he could destroy himself? "

" I see I am in an error," he exclaimed. " 0 God, help me and strengthen me." I then made a short prayer. " Can you repeat with all your heart, as in the presence of God," I asked, " the words which I am about to utter ? If you can, say them aloud, along with me. ' My Father, who art in heaven, thou hast promised that thou wilt evermore draw nigh to those who draw near to thee in true and earnest prayer ; that thou wilt hear their cry, fulfil their desires, and help them, and save them. Have pity upon me, 0 God, according to thy loving kindness; according to tlie multitude of thy tender mercies, hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create vvitliin me, a clean heart, 0 God ; renew within me a faithful spirit; cast me not away from thy pres-

ence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Carry me in thine almighty arms, and finally receive me into glory. Thongh my flesh and my heart fail, be thou, 0 God, the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. These blessings I humbly implore in the worthy name of Jesus Christ our Saviour; and unto Thee, the only wise God, the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, be ascribed praise and thanksgiving, glory and dominion, now and forevermore. Amen.'"

Every word of this prayer he repeated after me in a distinct and audible voice. At the close, he ex> claimed, " It is finished ; " then gazing with a fixed eye, as upon some object on the ceiling over him, he said, " God be praised, I see my father." Doubting as to what he meant to say precisely, I asked," What father do you see, your heavenly or your earthly father ? " He answered, " My earthly father. Can you not see him ? There he is, (pointing upwards,) smiling down upon me, arrayed in splendid garments, and beckoning me to follow him to the skies. He is going — he is gone." On the utterance of these words, his arm, which had been raised heavenward, fell lifeless, and he breathed not again. There was a smile, and expression of rapture on his face which lingered there for hours. It was the only good-looking corpse which I saw in that epidemic. His form was magnificent, his breast large and arched, his whole appearance that of statue-like repose. There he lay before me, as beautiful as life itself. His countenance wore such a smile of ecstasy, I could hardly realize that his immortal spirit had fled. I laid my hand on his heart. It moved not.

This incident mado a lasting impression on my mind. It deepened, it strengtliened, immeasurably, my belief that the soul survives the body. " Who knows," said I to myself, " but every one of these hundreds that are dying around me, when they draw their last breath, are greeted by the disembodied spirits of those whom they knew and loved on earth, and who have come to convoy them to the scenes of a higher and nobler existence ?"

Shortly after this, I was standing by the bed of a young lady in her last moments, when she called to me and her mother, saying, " Do you not see my sister (who had died of yellow fever a few weeks before) there ? " pointing upwards. " There are angels with her. She has come to take me to heaven." Perhaps these facts are in harmony with the doctrines of modern spiritualists. One thing I know. There is not a more delightful, sanctifying faith than this — that as soon as we die, glorified spirits will hover about us, as guardian angels, to breathe on our souls their own refinement, and to point our way to the heavenly mansions.

The morning after the death scene which I have just described, at six o'clock, I stepped into a carriage to accompany a funeral procession to the cemetery. On my arrival, I found at the graveyard a large pile of corpses without coffins, in horizontal layers, one above the other, like corded wood. I was told that there were more than one hundred bodies deposited there. They had been brought by unknown persons, at different hours since nine o'clock the evening previous. Large trenches were dug, into which

these uncoffiiied corpses Avere thrown indiscriminately. The same day, a private hospital was found deserted ; the physicians, nurses, and attendants were all dead, or had run away. Not a living person was in it. The wards were filled with putrid bodies, which, by order of the mayor, were piled in an adjacent yard, and burned, and their ashes scattered to the winds-.- Could a wiser disposition have been made of them ?

Many persons, even of fortune and popularity, died in their beds without aid, unnoticed and unknown, and lay there for days unburied. In almost every house might be seen the sick, the dying, and the dead, in the same room. All the stores, banks, and places of business were closed. There were no means, no instruments for carrying on the ordinary affairs of business ; for all the drays, carts, carriages, hand and common wheelbarrows, as well as hearses, were employed in the transportation of corpses, instead of cotton, sugar, and passengers. Words cannot describe my sensations when I first beheld the awful sight of carts driven to the graveyard, and there upturned, and their contents discharged as so many loads of lumber or offal, without a single mark of mourning or respect, because the exigency rendered it impossible.

The Sabbath came, and I ordered the sexton to ring tlie bell for church at eleven o'clock A. M., as ■usual. I did not expect to meet a half a dozen persons ; but there was actually a congregation of two or three hundred, and all gentlemen. The ladies were engaged in taking care of the sick. There was 11*

no singing. I made a very short prayer, and preached a discourse not more than fifteen minutes in length. It made such an impression that several of the hearers met me at the door, and requested me to write it down for their perusal and meditation. I complied with the request. Here it is. My text was the passage found in Isaiah xxvi. 3 : " Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee."

I began by rehearsing the closing lines of Bryant's " Thanatopsis : " —

" ' So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan, which moves To that mj-sterious realm, where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him and lies down to pleasant dreams.'

" My friends, death is a dispensation of love. Reflect that as many persons die every hour as there are tickings of the clock in the same time. All die. Not only the idiot, the fool, and the reprobate, but also the best, wisest, and noblest, are laid in the grave. That law which sweeps over all, irrespective of moral character, cannot be a punitive infliction. Man would die if he were as spotless as an angel. Were it not for the grave, how soon would this globe be filled to absolute repletion ! We die simply that we may awake to a new and nobler existence. We cease to live as men, that we may begin to live as angels. There is a certain animal that

exists first iii the shape of a worm. Its appropriate element is water. At length it sinks in insensibility and death. After a while, its grave opens ; it comes forth from the grovelling dust a new being, an inhabitant of the air, with beauteous wings and plumage, to bask in the sunbeams, to sip the aroma of the flowery world; to move through the atmosphere, a creature of ethereal endowment and loveliness. In the same manner, the soul of man must drop its " mortal coil," that, disengaged from earth, sense, and sin, it may be transformed into a being adapted to the scenes of a higher and incorruptible existence. Reflect upon the declaration of Jesus, that all who die shall be made immortal. He also teaches that in the immortal state they will sin no more, hunger no more, thirst no more, weep no more, die no more, but be like the angels of God in heaven. There is no difference between the good and the bad, as to the eternity of their duration. This is admitted by all orthodox divines of every school and denomination. Tliere is nothing frightful in death, except to the unenlightened imagination. It is the slightest evil that crosses the path of human life. Na}'', rather, it is not an evil; it is the greatest blessing. It is dust only that descends to dust. The grave is the place where we shall be permitted to lay down our mortality, weakness, diseases, sorrows, and sins, to enter upon a higher existence, with angels, and the spirits of the just made perfect. We are taught by the apostle Paul that it is impossible for either sin or pain to go along with us into the unseen world. "There the weary are at rest." Glorious prospect!

In the eternal state, there are no bodies, no sickness, no wants, no groans, no injustice, no forms of depravity.

" Yes, my friends, if we looked at the subject aright, we should rejoice in the thought, that before another setting sun, before we reach our homes today, death may come to release us from these burdened, tempted, frail, failing, corruptible bodies, that we may enter upon the wonders of a life immortal, whose progressions will constantly increase, in the freshness, extent, beauty, and plenitude of divine, unfading, and unimaginable cliarms. Do not be alarmed, my friends; death cannot hurt you. ' But,' you may ask, ' is there nothing for us to do, that we may die in peace ?' Yes, in the language of Scripture, ' you must cease to do evil, and learn to do well.' If you are conscious of living in the commission of any sin, however dear, you must resolve, before you rise from jowr seats, to renounce it forever, and cast yourselves on that boundless mercy, revealed by Him who is the conqueror over Death, and saith to us all, ' He that trusteth in me shall


" Our eternal existence and bliss depend upon laws which we can neither create, cancel, nor modify. They will be brought about in God's own time and way ; by influences just as resistless as those that produce day and night, the descent of rivers, the tides of the ocean, or the succession of the seasons. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, tlie love of God, and the fellowship of their Holy Spirit, be with you all, to-day and forever. Amen."

In the above homily, I stated what I sincerely believed to be sound, scriptural views of death. Any doctrines calculated to inspire men with a dread of the grave are false, heathenish, and atheistical. The next day, a gentleman said to me, " I verily believe that your sermon, yesterday, saved my life. I went into church frightened, weak, in utter despair; I came out calm, resigned, full of hope, and able to tread cholera, death, and all other ills under my feet."

For several days after this Sabbath, the plague raged with unabated violence. But the events, toils, trials, and gloom of one day, in this terrific visitation, were a facsimile of those that characterized the whole scene. A fatal yellow fever had been spreading destruction in the city six weeks before the cholera commenced. Thousands had left it to escape this scourge. So that, at the time of the first cholera, it was estimated that the population of the city did not exceed thirty-five thousand inhabitants. During the entire epidemic, at least six thousand persons perished ; showing the frightful loss of one sixth of the people in about twelve days. This is the most appalling instance of mortality known to have ha]> pened in any part of the world, ancient or modern. Yet, in all the accounts of the ravages of this enemy, in 1832, published in the northern cities and Europe, its desolations in New Orleans are not even noticed — a fact which reqiiires no comment. The same ratio of mortality in Boston, the next twelve days, would call for more than twenty-three thousand victims. Who can realize this truth ? The same epidemic

broke out again tlio following summer, in June, 1833. In September of the same year, the yellow fever came back again. So, within the space of twelve months, we had two Asiatic choleras, and two epidemic yellow fevers, which carried off ten thousand persons that were known, and many more that were not reported.

Multitudes began the day in apparently good health, and were corpses before sunset. One morning, as I was going out, I spoke to a gentleman who resided in the very next house to mine. He was standing at his door, and remarked that he felt very well; " but I wonder," he added, " that you are alive." On my return, only two hours afterwards, he was a corpse. A baker died in his cart directly before my door. Near me there was a brick house going up; two of the workmen died on a carpenter's bencli, but a short time after they had commenced their labors for the day. Often did it happen that a person engaged a coffin for some friend, who himself died before it could be finished. On a certain evening, about dark, a gentleman called on me to say a short service over the body of a particular friend, just deceased : the next morning I performed the same service for him. I went, one Wednesday night, to solemnize the contract of matrimony between a couple of very genteel appearance. The bride was young, and possessed of the most extraordinary beauty. A few hours only had elapsed before I was summoned to perform the last offices over her coffin. She had on her bridal dress, and was very little changed hi the appearance of her face.

Three unmarried gentlemen, belonging to my congregation, lived together and kept bachelor's hall, as it is termed with us. I was called to visit one of them at ten o'clock P. M. He lived but a few moments after I entered the room. Whilst I was conversing witli the survivors, a second brother was taken with cramps. There was nobody in the house but the servants. They were especially dear to me because of their intrinsic character, and because they were regular attendants at church. We instantly applied the usual remedies, but without success. At one o'clock in the morning he breathed his last. The only surviving brother immediately fell beside the couch of the lifeless ones, and at daylight he died. We laid the three corpses side by side.

One family, of nine persons, supped together in perfect health ; at the expiration of the next twenty-four hours, eight out of the nine were dead. A boarding house, tliat contained thirteen inmates, was absolutely emptied ; not one was left to mourn.

Persons were found dead all along the streets, particularly early in the mornings. For myself, I expected that the city would be depopulated. I have no doubt, that if the truth could be ascertained, it would api^ear that those persons who died so suddenly were affected with what are called the premonitory symptoms hours, perhaps a day, or a night, before they considered themselves unwell. In this early stage, the disease is easily arrested; but when the cramps and collapse set in, death is, in most cases, inevitable. Indeed^ that is death. Then, nothing was known of the cholera, and its antecedent

stages were unnoticed and uncared for. Hence, in a great measure, the suddenness as well as the extent of the mortality.

Nature seemed to sympathize in the dreadful spectacle of human woe. A thick, dark atmosphere, as I said before, hung over us like a mighty funereal shroud. All was still. Neither sun, nor moon, nor stars shed their blessed light. Not a breath of air moved. A hunter, who lived on the Bayou St. John, assured me that during the cholera he killed no game. Not a bird was seen winging the sky. Artificial causes of terror were superadded to the gloom which covered the heavens. The burning of tar and pitch at every corner ; the firing of cannon, by order of the city authorities, along all the streets ; and the frequent conflagrations which actually occurred at that dreadful period, — all these conspired to add a sublimity and horror to the tremendous scene. Our wise men hoped, by the combustion of tar and gunpowder, to purify the atmosphere. We have no doubt that hundreds perished from mere fright produced by artificial noise, the constant sight of funerals, darkness, and various other causes.

It was an awful spectacle to see night ushered in by the firing of artillery in different parts of the city, making as much noise as arises from the engagement of two powerful armies. The sight was one of the most tremendous which was ever presented to the eye, or even exliibited to the imagination, in description. Often, walking my nightly rounds, the flames from the burning tar so illuminated the city streets and river, that I could see every

thing almost as distinctly as in the daytime. And through many a window into which was flung the sickly, flickering light of- these conflagrations, could be seen persons struggling in death, and rigid, blackened corpses, awaiting the arrival of some cart or hearse, as soon as dawn appeared, to transport them to their final resting place.

During these ineffable, inconceivable horrors, I was enabled to maintain my post for fourteen days, without a moment's serious illness. I often sank down upon the floor, sofa, or pavement, faint and exhausted from over-exertion, sleeplessness, and want of food ; but a short nap would partially restore me, and send me out afresh to renew my perilous labors. For a whole fortnight, I did not attempt to undress except to bathe and put on clean apparel. I was like a soldier, who is not allowed, by the constant presence of an enemy, to throw off* his armor, and lay down his weapons for a single moment. Morning, noon, and midnight, I was engaged in the sick room, and in performing services over the dead. Tlie tliouglit that I myself should be exempted from the scourge — how could it be cherished for a moment ? I expected that every day would be my last. Yet, as I said before, I did not have the slightest symptom of the cholera. Two things render this fact very remarkable.

First, I took no regular meals during all this time, and really suffered a great deal from hunger. People stopped sending to market, and cooking, in a great measure. They were afraid to eat any substantial food. One day, passing by the house of a 12

Spanish gentleman, a total stranger, I smelt something savory, and took the liberty to go in. He, with two or three others, was dining. On the board there were shrimps, eabbage, and bacon, with a good supply of garlic. I told them who I was, and begged for something to eat. They treated me very kindly. I sat down, and gratified my appetite with fish, vegetables, boiled ham, garlic, and a glass of gin, and then went on my way refreshed. Meeting a physician at the next square, I told him what 1 had done. He exclaimed, " You arc a dead man; you will be attacked with the cholera in one hour."

But I felt not the least inconvenience from the dinner I had eaten. I am satisfied that in cholera times, one may partake of any diet that he likes, in. moderation, with perfect impunity. I have always acted on this belief. More are killed by medicine, starving, and fright, than from eating improper food. A mistaken opinion as to this subject has arisen from the fact tliat multitudes have been seized with cholera directly after receiving a breakfast, dinner, or supper, and have immediately ejected their food as it was taken. Hence they have fancied that what they ate brought on sickness. No. One of the in-varialjle effects of the cholera is to suspend the process of digestion; and of course one of the peculiar consequences of the disease is falsely ascribed to the deleterious influence of some species of food. To be sure, gluttony and intemperance may bring on this epidemic; but they are hurtful at all times.

Secondly, my escape was wonderful, considered in another respect. For fifteen days in succession, the

atmosphere was loaded with the most deadly malaria, and every species of noxious imi)urity. I had to encounter not only the general insalubrity Avhich always infects the air when cholera prevails, but to this were superadded the constant inhalations of the sick-bed effluvium which emanates from corpses in every stage of decomposition, in which life had been extinct for days, perhaps, and the offensive smells of the cemetery. Most of the bodies laid in the ground had a covering of earth but a few inches in depth, and through the porous dust there was an unimpeded emission of all the gases evolved from animal matter, when undergoing the process of putrefaction. The sick poor were often crowded together in low, narrow, damp, basement, unventilated rooms.

Many times, on entering these apartments, and putting my head under the mosquito bar, I became deadly sick in a moment, and was taken with vomiting, which, however, passed off without producing serious effects in a single instance. Let the reader imagine a close room, in which are lying half a dozen bodies in the process of decay, and he may form a faint conception of the physical horrors in which I lived, moved, and had my being continually for two entire weeks. My preservation has always seemed to me like a miracle. It is true, some constitutions are not susceptible of the cholera. Some can never take the yellow fever or small pox. It is not improbable that my safety ought to be ascribed to some peculiar idiosyncrasy, Avhich enabled me to breathe the air of this plague with impunity.

In 1822, I knew an unacclimated gentleman who slept on the same bed with an intimate friend, wliilst he was sick of the yellow fever: on the morning of his death, he himself, his clothes, and the sheets, were absolutely inundated by a copious discliarge of the vomito. After the funeral, he continued to occupy the same room, and had the best health all that summer and autumn. During the next tliirty years, he never left the city for a day, and was never sick. I have known numerous instances of the kind. Such phenomena doubtless result from natural causes ; yet they do not happen without the appointment and providence of our heavenly Father.

An atheist, in the midst of the first cholera, spoke to me, one day, the following words, in substance : " Mr, Clapp, you are laboring very hard among the sick and dying; I admire your benevolent and self-sacrificing spirit; you aid in imparting to the wretched victims medicine, nursing, &c. By these material agencies, I believe you have already saved some lives. All this is achieved in harmony with the philosophical relation of cause and effect. But do you really imagine that your prayers can accomplish any good whatever ? The cholera has a certain mission to fulfil. It will march forward to its destined goal, regardless of the cliants of choirs, or the prayers of saints. Its movements arc determined by blind, un-discriminating, and resistless laws.

" When you ask God for favors in behalf of a sick man, which will be conferred upon him sooner or later by the operation of inevitable, necessary laws, your petitions are of course entirely useless. It is

equally apparent, that when you implore that assistance of Heaven which cannot be granted consistently with the ordinances of nature, your prayers are utterly nugatory. They cannot avert the cholera, nor any of the innumerable ills to which we are liable, any more than by a word you could stay the cataract of Niagara, or arrest the planets in their course."

This gentleman was apparently as moral a man as I have ever met with. Just, sincere, self-denying, kind, exemplary in all his life and conduct, I respected his character and motives, and felt that I was bound to answer his interrogatories honestly. " In the first place," I replied, " we pray because we cannot help it, any more than we can help breathing. It is an irrepressible tendency of our nature. I have not seen a person die in this epidemic, in possession of his reason, who did not wish to have me pray for him. You cannot, by reasoning, prevent men from eating when they are hungry, or seeking the refreshment of nightly repose after the fatigues of the day. So neither can you dissuade them from praying in scenes of sickness, trouble, and death. They want prayer just as much as they want the light and air of heaven. Now, suppose it to be in point of fact, philosophically considered, inefficacious ; still, it gives the sufferer, at least, temporary consolation. It makes him feel as if he were in the hands of a Supreme Being, who will take care of him, tlie ever-blessed and only potentate — potentate over the laws of nature, over the events of time, sickness, death, and the grave. Call it a delusion, if you please; yet it 12 *

inspires the dying man with a soothing and unfaltering trust, which enables him to meet a final hour with composure, feeling the triumphant assurance that though death must destroy his body, it cannot separate his immortal soul from God, from the society of spiritual beings, nor from eternal communion with a beauty and grandeur infinitely surpassing those of the visible, material creation.

" Besides, I must say, that to me your reasoning is inconclusive. Your assertion is, that the universe is so organized, that the efficacy of prayer is an absolute impossibility. Now, prove it. Assertion is not proof. You take the ground that the laws of nature, forsooth, will not permit the Supreme to answer the jnst, sincere, devout, and reasonable petitions of his children. He is prevented from doing so by difficulties of his own creating. Allow me to ask,' How do you know that such is the case ? Have you seen every thing? Have you travelled quite through the regions of immensity ? Have you visited all these worlds upon worlds that revolve in space ? Can you tell what " varied being peoples every star " ? Is your reason capable of receiving all truth ? Is your knowledge the measure of all that is possible in a boundless universe ? Can you stretch your inch of line across the theatre of our Creator's works ? ' Why, sir, you cannot prove it to be absurd for God to work miracles in ansAver to prayer. Yes, for the accomplishment of special purposes, and with reference to particular persons and exigencies. He may consistently, for aught we can show to the contrary, actually suspend the laws of nature, cause

heat to lower instead of raising the mercurj of the thermometer, rivers to ascend on an inclined plain, water not to drown, poison not to kill, fire not to consume, and cold not to freeze.

" But, waiving this point, to me it is plain, that without the aid of miracles the Almiglity could answer prayer by the mere arrangement or instrumentality of nature's eternal and unchanging laws, as you call them. The power of arrangement simply may produce results to us vast and immeasurable. Take as an example what in the scientific world is called galvanism. This, as you know, is in nature identical with lightning. You are familiar with the effects of this tremendous agent. You also are aware that it is a power awakened by the mere using of certain arrangements of various substances. If a finite being can achieve so much by wielding nature's laws in a particular direction, what cannot the Infinite One accomplish by similar means ? Remember that the cholera, or any other epidemic, is an effect. What is its cause ? Some substance, poison or malaria, (call it what you please,) imperceptible to the senses, of whose nature and properties we are consequently ignorant. It is admitted that for every poison in nature there is an antidote : that is, some substance, which, if brought to bear upon it, can destroy or neutralize its deleterious tendencies. It is perfectly easy, then, for the ever-present, omnipotent Fatlier, by the mere order or juxtaposition of different substances, to turn away disease, in answer to prayer from individuals, families, or cities. By the use of natural laws, it may please God to pre-

serve me in this pestilence, which is now destroying hnnclrecls on every side. Suppose that, with your limited intelHgence, you had the power to arrange and direct the laws of nature throughout the State of Louisiana. In the exercise of such a commission, what could you not achieve ? You might raise its inhabitants to heaven, or sink them to perdition. How easy, then, would it be for the infinite mind, by similar means, to answer the prayers of his children, from the angel who bends before the glories of the unveiled throne, down to the humblest believer that treads these low vales of sin and sorrow ! Depend upon it, nothing is more reasonable than the doctrine that God hears and answers prayer. On this topic nothing is more absurd than scepticism. The largest faith, as to this point, is nearest the truth."

This argument against my unbelieving friend was strikingly illustrated and confirmed by what actually occurred in the city, a few days after our interview. The cholera had been raging with unabated fury for fourteen days. It seemed as if the city was destined to be emptied of its inhabitants. During this time, as before stated, a thick, dark, sultry atmosphere filled our city. Every one complained of a difficulty in breathing, which he never before experienced. The heavens were as stagnant as the mantled pool of death. There were no breezes. At the close of tlie fourteenth day, about eight o'clock in the evening, a smart storm, something like a tornado, came from the nortli-west, accompanied with heavy peals of thunder and terrific liglitnings. The deadly

air was displaced immediately, by that wliicli was new, fresh, salubrious, and life-giving. The next morning shone forth all bright and beautiful. The jDlaguc was stayed. In the opinion of all the medical gentlemen who were on the spot, that change of weather terminated the epidemic. At any rate, it took its departure from us that very hour. No new cases occurred after that storm. It is certainly, then, in the power of God, not only by wind and electricity, but also by other means innumerable beyond our powers of discernment, to deliver a city from pestilence, in answer to the prayers of his children. Some one has said that " a little philosophy may make one an unbeliever, but that a great deal will make him a Christian."

I think it very wrong to apply disparaging epithets to any person on account of his honest opinions on religious matters. A minister should never denounce, but he may discuss, and entreat with all long-suffering and forbearance. I said to this gentleman, as he was leaving me, " Your philosophy may be right and mine wrong. You are a highly gifted man. I bow to the superiority of your genius. You are wise, prudent, and sagacious, as to all matters appertaining to the present world. You are noble and upright in your secular plans and enterprises. Yet allow me to assure you that, by neglecting communion with God in habitual prayer, you suffer a loss, a diminution of happiness, that no words of mine can depict. There is a higher wisdom in heaven and earth ' than is dreamt of in your philosophy.' Prayer would make you a happier being.

Prayer would impart to you, amid tlic mournful vicissitudes and trials of earth, a deep, calm, and immovable peace — a prelibation of that which is enjoyed in the spirit-land of the blessed and immortal."

The young man with whom I had the above colloquy was the son of a Presbyterian clergyman. He manifested great respect and love for his father, but complained that he would never allow him to reason about religion. He actually supposed that all the follies and absurdities of Calvinism were taught in the Bible. " I cannot believe in such a book," he said. I replied, " Neither could I, if your supposition were correct. But I cannot find a distinguishing doctrine of the Calvinistic system in the Scriptures."

It is a curious fact, that though this man died in unbelief, yet he sent for me to visit him on his death bed. He fell a victim of the second cholera, which occurred in June, 1833. Entering his room I found him in perfect possession of his faculties. He said, " I am about to die. My belief is unchanged. I hold that man is nothing after death. Yet I look upon my decease with no apprehension. I have no solicitude and no regrets. I am in peace with all the world. To me existence has been a great blessing. But I am willing to take my exit from the stage of life, to afford room for a successor. I shall soon close my eyes, never again to open them ; never again to gaze on this beautiful and magnificent universe. I have sent for you because I love and respect you. I also wanted to have you see with what calm, conscious serenity I can submit to my fate.

' Like bubbles on a sea of matter borne, "\Ve rise and break, and to that sea return.' "

" Do you indeed love my society ? " I inquired. " Now, suppose it was optional with you, when you die, either to be anniliilated, or, leaving behind your lifeless dust, to pass off to a world destined to enjoy forever the highest means of both physical and mental happiness, where sin, pain, want, sorrow, and trouble cannot enter, where you would meet all the lost and loved ones of earth, to be separated from them no more, and where you would rise from one scene of knowledge, refinement, and bliss to another without ever reaching the ultimate boundary of improvement. You like to see me here — would you not like to see me hereafter ? "

" I confess," he replied, " that a conscious, intelligent, continued, ever-progressive existence is the most glorious destiny which we can conceive of. It is a captivating ideal. It is so lovely that men cling to it in defiance of reason and argument. I conceive that we are so organized that we cannot help loving and longing for immortality."

" Do you not remember," I continued, " the lines of Addison,—

' 'Tis the di^•^nity that stirs within us ; 'Tis heaven itself, that points out an hereafter, And intimates eternity to man.'

Again allow me to recall to your recollection the words of the poet, whom you just now quoted, —

' He sees why nature plants in man alone Hope of known bliss, and faith in bliss unknown; Nature, whose dictates to no other kind Are given in vain, but what they seek they find.'"

" Yes," he went on to say, "poets and preachers agree in their charming descriptions of a higher and heavenly Hie beyond this vale of tears. But every grave which is dug refutes their imfounded theories." I then suggested this thought. " You hold that there is no God ; that some blind, unintelligent, resistless law caused you to be born, to grow up, to go through the mingled allotments of the past, and will, in a few moments, command you back to mix again with the elements whence you were taken. Now, what evidence have you that this same stern, unrelenting influence may not cause you, after death, (according to the metempsychosis taught by Pythagoras,) to enter the body of some brute, or to sink to lower and lower degrees of wretchedness throughout eternity ? If we are not in the hands of a Father whose attributes are infinite love, wisdom, and power, then we have nothing to hope for, and the worst to fear, then the doctrine of endless misery, whicli your good, venerable parent believed in, may turn out to be true at last."

As I perceived that he was fast declining, T stopped the conversation at this point, and requested the favor of bidding him farewell, as I did all my dying friends, by rehearsing a few texts of Scripture, and offering a prayer. I opened the Bible, and pronounced some sentences from different chapters, giving what I believed to be the true sense of the original, in my own words. " Jesus Christ has abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light in the gospel. For we know that when our earthly tabernacles shall be dissolved, we shall enter a building of God, an

houso not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. As the children of Adam must all descend to the tomb, so they must all one day bo made alive m Christ. The fature state will be the complete antithesis of the present.

" This side the grave all men are mortal; beyond it, they will all be immortal. Here, all are corruptible ; there, all will be incorruptible. Here, all are in a greater or less degree sinful; there, all will be holy. Here, all are weak ; there, all will be strong, incapable of fatigue or infirmity. Here, all are debased ; there, all will be made glorious. All who die, both good and bad, just and unjust, shall be raised up again, and admitted to a resurrection state. And in that resurrection state, they shall hunger no more, thirst no more, weep no more, sin no more, die no more, but be as the angels of God in heaven. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and the Lamb shall triumph over all evil."

This reading was followed by a prayer, in nearly the following words: " My Fatlier, who art in heaven, I commend this beloved friend, from whom I am soon to be separated for a short time, to thy infinite love and mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. I thank thee for the assurance that he cannot be crushed nor hurt by the forces of time, nature, death, or the grave. I bless thee for the revelation of the gospel, that his soul is a germ of thine own infinite, eternal, uncreated, and unchanging life; that therefore it must live, and advance in knowledge, worth, brightness, and beatitude, long as thy ever-blessed throne shall endure. Amen." At the 13

conclusion, lie exclaimed, with a feeble but distinct voice, " So mote it be. I fear nothing." He spoke not again. Fifteen minutes afterwards, his pulse ceased to beat.

I cannot believe that this man was insincere in the views which he expressed concerning the soul's everlasting extinction. He gave every evidence of an undoubting assurance in the reality of those opinions which he avowed. He led a most moral, upright, and charitable life. He did not disbelieve on account of his great wickedness, nor because he was afraid of punishment in a future state, according to the usual representations of the pulpit. He was altogether too intelligent and noble to be actuated by a principle so debasing. His was a mind singularly earnest, honest, and conscientious. He met the final scene in this brief drama of existence with an unshaken equanimity, and expired as calmly as an infant falls to sleep in its mother's arms. I go so far as to say, that he left the world in the exercise of a humble and Christian spirit. As he was breathing his last, the image conveyed in the following stanza was forcibly impressed on my mind: —

" How sweet the scene when good men die,

When noble souls retire to rest! How mildly beams the closing ej'e,

How calmly heaves th' expiring breast! So fades a summer cloud away;

So sinks a gale, when storms are o'er ; So gently shuts the eye of day;

So dies a wave along the shore."

In all my experiences, I never saw an unbeliever die in fear. I have seen them expire, of course,

without any hopes or expectations, but never in agitation from dread, or misgivings as to what might befall them hereafter. I know that clergymen generally assert that this final event passes with some dreadful visitation of unknown, inconceivable agony, over the soul of the departing sinner. It is imagined that in his case the pangs of dissolution are dreadfully aggravated by the upbraidings of a guilty conscience, and by the unwillingness, the reluctance of the spirit to be torn with ruthless violence from its mortal tenement, and hnrried by furies into the presence of an avenging Judge. But this is all a picture of superstitious fancy. It is probable that I have seen a greater number of those called irreligious persons breathe their last, than any clergyman in the United States. Before they get sick, the unaccli-mated are often greatly alarmed; but when the enemy seizes them, and their case is hopeless, they invariably either lose their reason, or become calm, composed, fearless, and happy. This fact is a striking illustration of the benevolence of our Creator. If men's minds were not disturbed by false and miserable teachings, they would not suffer in death any more than they do when they fall asleep at night. Death is called a sleep in Scripture. " Death is the sleep of the weary. It is repose — the body's repose, after the busy and toilsome day of life is over." Even the convulsive struggles of the dying are not attended with pain, any more than the sobs and groans with which we sometimes sink into the slumbers of nightly rest. This is proved by the testimony of those who have been resuscitated after they

became cold and pulseless, and restored again to life and breath. Their agonies were all seeming, not real, they tell us.

Persons without religion often die uttering words whicli indicate what are their strongest earthly loves or attachments, their " ruling passion." A young man of my acquaintance was once in that stage of the yellow fever superinduced by the beginning of mortification. Then the patient is free from pain, sometimes joyous, and very talkative. The individual I am speaking of was perfectly enamoured of novel reading. One of Walter Scott's romances was daily expected in New Orleans. Not many minutes before his death, it was brought to his bed by a friend whom he had sent to procure it. It was placed in his hands, but he was no longer able to see printing. The pages of the book, and the faces of his friends, were growing dim around him. He exclaimed, " I am blind ; I cannot see; I must be dying; must I leave this new production of immortal genius unread ? " His last tliought was dictated by his favorite pursuit and passion. Men must carry into the other world the character which they possess at the moment of death.

I knew another gentleman, whose admiration for the Emperor Napoleon amounted to a monomania. He had collected all the biographies, histories, and other works tending to illustrate his life and character. This one theme had taken such exclusive possession of his mind, that he could neither think nor converse on any other subject. He was taken with the yellow fever. I went to see him when he was

near his end. I took him by the hand, and hardly had time to speak, before he asked me what I thought of the moral character of Napoleon. The gentlemen standing by could not suppress a smile. I replied, that according to the representations of Las Casas, and others most intimately acquainted with him, Bonaj^arte was a firm believer in God, a divine providence, Jesus Christ, and immortality; and that it gave me great pleasure to believe in the correctness of their statements. He was of course delighted with the answer given. I read from the Bible. I then asked him if there were any particular subjects or favors which he would have embraced in my prayer. He answered, " There is but one blessing which I crave of Infinite Goodness — that after death, I may be conducted to those celestial regions where I can enjoy the sight and society of the greatest and best man who has lived — the late Emperor of France." Poor man ! He could think of no higher, no nobler destiny.

It would be well were all to remember that great, glorious thoughts, habitually cherished, spontaneously fill the mind in a dying hour, to bear it aloft and buoyant over the dark gulf.

In all my experiences in New Orleans, I have met with no dying persons who were terrified, except church members who had been brought up in the Trinitarian faith. Let me not be misunderstood. I do not mean to insinuate that these individuals were not good Christians. They were perfectly sincere, and this very sincerity was the cause of their fear and apprehensions. One, to whom I allude, em-13*

braced the Calvinistic doctrine of election. He was a just, conscientious, most excellent man. I knew him intimately. His last words were, " I have no hope ; all is dark. There is a bare possibility that I may be saved." This was the language of honesty. For he held that salvation would be conferred upon only a part of mankind, elected to this destiny by a decree of God — eternal, immutable, and altogether irrespective of character and works, and all the remainder would be doomed to eternal woe, without any regard to their merit or demerit. No honest man, with such a creed, could die without the greatest dread and anxiety. For if God has inflexibly determined to destroy a portion of his children, however pure and good they may be, no one can know absolutely, from his character, that he is among the saved ; no one can feel certain of enjoying final, everlasting happiness.

When I first entered the clerical profession, I was struck with the utter insufficiency of most forms of Cliristianity to afford consolation in a dying hour. Paul says, the revelation of Jesus was given " to deliver those, who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Ancient pagan literature invariably represents death as the greatest calamity of human existence ; it was denominated the stern, terrible, insatiate, cold, bitter, merciless " foe." It was the avenue to an eternal night; where the fair, the venerated, and the loved would be lost beyond recovery. If all this were true, we might justly say, " Speak not to us of consolation; there is no consolation; there is no support for such a lot as

ours ; nothing but dulness can bear it; nothing but stupidity can tolei-ate it; and nothing but idiocy could be indifferent to it." Jesus came into the world to announce the sublime doctrine that no one ever was, or ever will be, injured by death; that death is not so much as the interruption of existence ; that death, indeed, is only death in appearance, while in reality the spirit's life is progressive, ever continued, and immortal.

Whoever, then, advocates those views of death, the belief of which tends to make its recipients afraid to die, ignores the messages of the gospel on this momentous theme. The great prominent truth of the Bible is, that, in every instance, " the day of one's death is better than the day of his birth." All these efforts to make death a scarecrow, to frighten men into the church, are as low and debasing as they are irrational and anti-Christian. Death is not the enemy, but the friend, of man.

Not the blue sky, not the richest landscape, not the flowers of spring, not all the charms of music, poetry, eloquence, art, or literature, present to our contemplation any thing so lovely and magnificent as death and its consequences, viewed through the telescope of the New Testament. Yet almost all the clergy, for fifteen hundred years, have employed their utmost genius, learning, and oratory to portray, in colors so appalling, that nobody who believes them can think upon the grave but with the deepest dread, dejection, and horror. It would be quite as wise to bring up our children atheists, as to corrupt their mhids with the apprehension that the dissolution of

the body may conduct them to everlasting evil. It would be better, safer every way, for our children to believe in annihilation, than in endless misery.

In the cholera of June, 1833, the disease first invaded our own family circle. Two daughters, the eldest four, and the youngest two years of age, died about the same time. I was so fortunate as to procure a carriage, in which their bodies were conveyed to a family vault, in the Girod cemetery, wliich had been constructed and presented to me, some years before, by the trustees of Christ Church, Canal Street — a church characterized for large, generous, and noble sympathies. I rode in the carriage alone with the two coffins. There was not a soul present but myself, to aid in performing the last sad offices. Most desolate and heavy was my heart, at the thought that they had left us to come back no more,—

" No more would run to lisp their sire's return, Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share."

The chastening hand of the great Ordainer was so heavy upon me, that, chilled and discouraged, I should have sunk into the gulf of utter scepticism, without the supporting hope of meeting the lost and loved ones again, in a brighter and better world.





It is a truism among all the learned of the present day, that religious faith is produced by influences which we can neither create nor destroy. An honest man is no more accountable for his belief than he is for the movements of his heart and lungs, the features of his face, color of his hair. In general, it may be said that faith is the result of evidence. In some cases, it is brought about through those exercises of the mind which are by nature unavoidable. Thus faith in a great First Cause, in the existence of the soul, in justice, and immortality, is inseparable from human nature. It is not less essential to man, than to possess the prerogatives of perception, speech, memory, hope, fear, and desire. But many forms of faith are created by one's voluntary efforts. For example: faith in the Bible, in phrenology, mesmerism, homoeopathy, democratic institutions, the Copernican system, geology, &c., is acquired by observation, study, and research.

In examining and weighing the facts and evidence appertaining to these subjects, one may be fair or unfair, just or unjust, impartial or prejudiced. If a

man investigate Christianity itself, with no other motive than an earnest and sincere desire to obtain the truth, and honestly comes to the conclusion that it is false, he is not to blame for such a conclusion. He cannot help it any more than he can avoid the belief that two are less than eight.

When I entered the ministry, many of my opinions, though sincerely held, rested only on the principle of implied faith, or authority. In New Orleans, I had to encounter just, wise, and noble men, belonging to each of the different denominations in Christendom. For some years after my settlement, I was invited, almost every Sabbath, to preach on some particular subject. This fact imposed upon me the necessity of looking into the foundation of many doctrines, whose truth I had always before taken for granted. Hence I became a very hard student. When not engaged in out-door vocations, I was constantly occupied with my books and studies, in order to prepare myself for a wide and almost boundless range of pulpit discussion.

One day, it was incumbent to prove that Samson actually lived, and performed the extraordinary feats recorded in the book of Judges. The next Sunday, I was called to explain the cherubim and the four wheels, in the first chapter of Ezekiel, or the deluge, or the destruction of the Canaanites, or Jonah and the fisli, or the case of Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego, who came out unhurt from the midst of the burning, fiery furnace. Every biblical difficulty was brought to me for solution, and it was my especial province to elucidate all the dogmas which

have been professedly derived from the sacred volume since the days of TertuUian. I noticed, indeed, no invitations but those which had the stamp of respectable names, and such as I had reason to believe were dictated by a worthy desire to obtain knowledge, and promote the advaaicement of Christian truth. These efforts to meet the wants of those who had a right to call on me for spiritual information enlarged my views, changed and rectified many of the opinions which had been imbibed from venerable teachers, and opened to me wonders and beauties which I never should have seen, had my life been passed in the regular, quiet, prescribed routine of ministerial duties in a New England parish.

I will illustrate this remark by relating an incident. The only university in Louisiana, at the time of my settlement there, was located in New Orleans. From the beginning, all the presidents, professors, and officers of the institution, had been of French extraction, either Creoles or foreigners. One of the most popular and efficient members of the board of administrators was an English gentleman, of splendid talents and acquirements. It was his wish to place some northern man at the head of this college, " in order," as he said, " to Americanize its usages, studies, and course of discipline."

The pastor of the Presbyterian church was recommended to him as a person qualified to fill the office. This was done without my knowledge or consent. It happened in the spring of 1824, Judge W. — the gentleman above mentioned — came to church one

Sunday morning to hear me preach, not (as he afterwards said) because he felt any interest about my religious tenets, but to form a general estimate of my abilities as an orator and scholar. The subject of the sermon on that occasion was the horrid dogma of endless punishment. It was taken up at the particular request of a lady, whose husband undisguis-edly and strongly repudiated the doctrine. She said that he was a model of every virtue that coiild adorn home or society at large, but all this would be of no avail, unless he became a disciple of Clirist. To become a Christian, and to embrace the Calvin-istic creed, were things, in her judgment, perfectly coincident. For myself, I then thought that the doctrine of eternal suffering was true, and that a belief of it exerted a most salutary influence on the heart and life of its recipient. " Most happy," said the good lady, " shall I be, if you succeed in reconciling my husband to this solemn, sublime article of the Christian faith."

At the outset, I told the hearers that this doctrine was inexplicable to human reason ; that it was based entirely on the authority of revelation. So I confined myself simply to a rehearsal of those texts, which, as I imagined, taught the eternity of future woe. After the audience had dispersed. Judge W. remained, and was introduced to me. We walked home tojjether. I found him learned, liberal, polished, and courtly in his manners. In the course of our conversation he remarked that he had once studied the subject on which I had been preachmg,

with special attention. It happened thus: After leaving the university, he endeavored to prepare himself for taking holy orders in the Episcopal church. But it was out of his power to find the doctrines of the Trinity, the vicarious atonement, endless punishment, plenary inspiration, and some other articles in the Bible. He therefore abandoned the idea of obtaining ordination, and became a student in one of the Inns of Court, London. Judge W. was a superior linguist, and well versed in the original Scriptures.

When parting with me that morning, he said, " Mr. Clapp, I have a particular favor to ask. You told us in the sermon just delivered that there are hundreds of texts in the Bible which affirm, in the most unqualified terms, that all those who die in their sins will remain impenitent and unholy through the ages of eternity. I will thank you to make me out a list of those texts in the original Hebrew and Greek. That some of such an import occur in our English version is undeniable; but I think they are mistranslations. I do not wish to put you to the trouble of multiplying Scripture proofs touching this point. Two, five, or ten will be amply sufficient." I replied, " Judge, it will give me great pleasure to grant your request. I can furnish you with scores of them before next Sunday." He smiled, saying, " I do not deny it," and politely bade me good morning. I was perfectly confident that the judge would be con-vhiced that he had most egregiously misunderstood and misinterpreted the word of God. I rejoiced in the thought of his speedy discomfiture. 14

" For fools rush in where angels fear to tread; Distrustful sense with modest caution speaks ; It still looks home, and short excursions makes; But rattling nonsense in full volleys breaks, And never shocked, and never turned aside, Bursts out, resistless, with a thundering tide."

The very next day, Monday, before going out, I made, as I thought, the best arrangements for collecting the proof texts which had been solicited. A table was set in one corner of my study, well furnished with the appropriate books — lexicons, Hebrew and Greek, concordances, commentaries, English, Latin, and German, with standard works on the Pentateuch, the history and antiquities of the Jewish nation. I had no authorities in my library but those which were of the highest repute among Trinitarians of every denomination. With the help of Gaston's Collections and the references in tlie Larger Catechism of the Presbyterian Church, the access was easy to all the passages of Scripture which are relied on to prove the doctrine of endless sin and sorrow.

I began with the Old Testament in Hebrew, comparing it as I went along with the Septuagint and English version. I hardly ever devoted less than an hour each day to this branch of my studies, and often I gave a whole morning to it. Having been elected to tlie presidency of the New Orleans college, I was in the enjoyment of constant intercourse with Judge W. Almost every week lie inquired, " Have you discovered yet the proof texts which you promised to give me ? " I replied, " No, judge, I am doing my best to find them, and will accommo-

date you at as early a period as possible." During that and the succeeding year I read critically every chapter and verse of the Hebrew Scriptures, from Genesis to Malachi. My investigations were as thorough and complete as I could possibly make them. Yet I was unable to find therein so much as an allusion to any suffering at all after death. In the dictionary of the Hebrew language I could not discover a word signifying liell, or a place of punishment for the wicked in a future state. In the Old Testament Scriptures there is not, as I believe, a single text, in any form of phraseology, which holds out to the finally impenitent threats of retribution beyond the grave. To my utter astonishment, it turned out that orthodox critics of the greatest celebrity were perfectly familiar with these facts. I was compelled to confess to my friend that I could not adduce any Hebrew exegesis in support of the sentiment that evil is eternal.

Still, I was sanguine in my expectations that the New Testament would furnish me with the arguments which I had sought for without success in the writings of Moses and the prophets. I scrutinized, time and again, whatever in the Gospels, the Acts, and the Epistles, are supposed to have any bearings upon the topic, for the space of eight years. The result was, that I could not name a portion of New Testament Scripture, from the first verse of Matthew to the last of the Apocalypse, which, fairly interpreted, affirms that a part of mankind will be eternally miserable. But the opposite doctrine, that all men will be ultimately saved, is taught in scores

of texts, which no art of disingenuous interpretation can explain away. Here I should say that at the time above mentioned I had never seen or read any of the writings of the Unitarian or Universahst divines, not even those of Dr. Channing, with the exception, perhaps, of one or two occasional discourses that had been sent to me through the post office. During the whole ten years my studies were confined to the original Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, and the various subsidiary works which are required for their elucidation. My simple, only object was to ascertain what '■^ saith the Lord'''' concerning the final destination of the wicked. It is an important, most instructive fact, that I was brouglit into my present state of mind by the instrumentality of the Bible only — a state of mind running counter to all the prejudices of early life, of parental precept, of school, college, theological seminary, and professional caste.

My circumstances at the time furnish conclusive proof that I could not have been actuated by any selfish, mercenary, or improper motives whatever. I was well aware how much was hazarded by venturing to interpret the Bible for myself; that the public proclamation of the results which had been forced upon me would call down the severest anathemas of the church; that, naked and almost alone, I should encounter the bristling spears of that large army, which, though it repudiates the use of the wheel, the rack, and gibbet, still employs, for the purpose of preventing free inquiry, the more cruel engines of scorn, contempt, obloquy, and misrepre-

sentation. It is sad to tliiuk that if in this land of boasted freedom a clergyman feels bound, in conscience, to interpret the Scriptures differently from the majority of the denomination to whicli he belongs, it is impossible to follow his private judgment without imperilling his good name, his standing in the ministry, and even his Christian character^ without being driven like chaff before the storm of popular prejudice and persecuting clamor.

From this account the reader will perceive my meaning, in the remark that faith is, in a great measure, produced by causes which are entirely above and beyond human control. In March, 1824, it became my duty in the pulpit to avow a faith which ten years afterwards I was compelled by the providence of Almighty God to repudiate. I say Divine Providence constrained me to adopt this course ; for my introduction to Judge W., his coming to hear me preach, the particular theme discussed on that occasion, the request which led to a new and thorough examination of the Scriptures, and to a decided revolution in my theological views, were the appointments of the Infinite Intelligence. As a parent takes his feeble, tottering child by the hand, when treading a rough, difficult path, so Heaven was pleased to guide me through the mazes of error and superstition, in which I had wandered from childhood, into the broad, beautiful fields of evangelical truth.

On the first Sabbath of July, 1834, I proclaimed distinctly from the pulpit, for the first time, my firm, conviction that the Bible does not teach the doctrine 14*

of eternal puiiislimeiit. It was the happiest day that I had ever experienced. I felt that now I could vindicate the ways of God to man. I felt that revealed religion, like the stars of the firmament, reflected the glories of our Creator. I kept repeating to myself for weeks the following Unes : —

" And darkness and doubt are flying away;

No longer I roam in conjecture forlorn ; So breaks on the traveller, faint and astray,

The bright and the balmy effulgence of morn. See Truth, Love, and Mercy in triumph descending,

And nature all glowing in Eden's first bloom; On the cold cheek of death smiles and roses are blending,

And beauty immortal awakes from the tomb."

Some of my friends wonder that I should be so much attached to New Orleans. One reason is, that it is endeared by those sacred associations which assure me that my origin is divine, and my destination eternal life. It is natural that I should love a place where I was permitted, for the first time, to catch glimpses and revelations of the infinitely Beautiful — where, amid perplexities, discouragement, and despair, the Holy Spirit came to my relief, and enabled me to gaze upon the outspreading glories of an everlasting, universal Father, the unchanging, almighty Friend of man, however low, fallen, dark, or depraved; the place wliere, in the twinkling of an eye, I became a new man, was born again, and with indescribable rapture looked out upon another and more glorious universe than that which addresses the senses.

Yes, it was in the Crescent City, (and I can never forget it,) not in my native place, not in New Ha-

veil, Boston, or Andover, but in New Orleans, where I learned to take shelter from all the ills with which earth can assail us, under the brooding wings of Ineffable Goodness. Yes, there, amid " the pestilence that walketh in darkness and the destruction that wasteth at noonday," it was my privilege to feel the heart of Infinite Love beating close to my heart, and to be assured that it will throb forever through all the pulses of my mental and deathless being. Can I ever forget the place or time when I actually felt the arms of everlasting Power, Wisdom, and Beneficence clasping me about as the fond mother hugs the babe to her bosom to soothe its grief and hush its sighs ? To me the mysterious problem of life was solved on the banks of the Mississippi. There I was first led to repose on the bosom of my God, and to say, " Thou wilt guide me with thy counsel, and at last receive me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee, and whom on earth do I love in comparison with thee ? Though my flesh and my heart fail, God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. My soul thirsts, longs, lives, prays, and toils to become one with thee, for assimilation to thee, for the constant unfolding and enlarging of those mental powers which constitute thy glorious image."

As it is natural to be thrilled at sight of the widely extended prairie, the firmament of heaven, or the boundless expanse of the ocean, so the heart remembers the spot wliere it was first warmed and lifted up by those unfailing hopes, which, crossing the gulf, of death, the line of time, and the boundaries of the visible creation, connect our fates and fortunes with

the wide, boundless scenes of an imperishable hereafter. I can recall a single day, in New Orleans, during which I received an amount of happiness more than sufficient to counterbalance all the sufferings of my life ; nay, more, which enabled me to regard these very sufferings as instruments by which Heaven is working out for me kinds and degrees of good inconceivably great and glorious. But this spiritual enjoyment to which 1 allude never entered my soul until I had been brought to see that God is incapable of destroying his own children, or, which is the same thing, allowing them to be destroyed. One of an opposite faith may be a very sincere Christian, but he can no more taste the peculiar delight which I am now speaking of, than a blind man can perceive the beauties of the rainbow.

In conjunction with a more thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, the peculiar events of my professional career had an extensive influence in modifying and changing the theological opinions which had been imbibed in New England. It was among the sick, prostrate, and suffering that the true interpretation of the Bible began to dawn upon my mind. I felt that the teachings of nature, providence, and grace must be harmonious. I had been reading books from a child, but as yet had not studied profoundly the mysteries of human life. Upon the principles of faith acquired at Andover, I saw the crowds around me hurried, by an unseen, resistless power, through the ordinances and appointments ; the sudden alternations of health, sickness, prosperity, and adversity ; the scenes of endurance, priva-

tion, and disappointment; the painful sunderings of the ties of friendship, affinity, and affection ; and* the other indescribable vicissitudes, fates, fortunes, and trials, which are condensed into the short span of this momentous existence between the cradle and the tomb, only as preparatory to a final residence in the dark regions of inconceivable, unbounded, and hopeless ruin. The more I thought upon the subject, the more deeply was the idea impressed, that such a destiny was utterly irreconcilable with infinite love. I used often to say, " If God be our Father, could he expose us to an evil that has no limits, and which no finite power can avert ? " It was conceded on all sides that we could not save ourselves.

The very best arc more or less sinful and unworthy at the moment of death. No degree of virtue, then, attainable on earth, can prepare us for immortal blessedness. True, I had heard, all my life, that the only basis of salvation spoken of in the gospel was the grace of God through Christ. But the doctrine had been uniformly presented to my mind in such a shape, and with such surroundings, that I had never discerned its genuine character and bearings. Constantly was I reminded that we could do nothing towards saving ourselves, and yet, at the same time that fiiith, repentance, and holiness before death, were the indispensable prerequisites to eternal life. Upon this ground, it appeared to me self-evident that the vast majority of my fellow-beings must perish everlastingly. No hopes could be rationally entertained for the final deliverance even of those who die idiots, or those who sink into the grave during the period of infancy.

"Whilst ill this state of perplexity and distress, I 'was called one afternoon to visit a remarkably interesting young man, sick of the yellow fever. I had often met him in company, and enjoyed his conversation. Every body admired him for his extraordinary talents, and the moral charms of his life and character. One of the deacons of the church happened to be in my study when I was sent for, and being an intimate acquaintance of the afflicted family, he accompanied me to the sick room. The usual services were performed. Within five minutes afterwards, he expired. The mother uttered shrieks of grief and despair, enough to melt a heart of adamant. I tried to make some soothing remarks, but she refused to be comforted. As she was a communicant of the church, and beyond all question a very pious lady, I referred her to the inexhaustible riches of a Saviour's mercy.

" But the mercy of God," she replied, " is limited. Our beloved James is now, I fear, in a world where the blessings of a Creator's love will never be known. He was noble, kind-hearted, faithful, true, and good, but he was not religious. A few days ago he told me that he did not believe in the Trinity ; that in his opinion the Son of God was inferior, subordinate to, and dependent on the Father. Dying with such sentiments, how can I entertain the faintest hope of ever meeting him in a better world ? "

I replied very promptly, and perhaps with too much warmth, " Madam, in the unseen world, the catechism of our church is not the criterion by which persons will be acquitted or condemned. You say your son

was honest, and most exemplary in the discharge of all his duties. What more could he have done ? If he is lost, who then can be saved ? "

" Do you mean to intimate," she inquired, " that one who expires disbelieving the supreme divinity of Christ, will ever be admitted to the kingdom of heaven ?"

" 1 hope so," was the answer; " nor do I read any thing in the New Testament which forbids such a hope." But this thought was more shocking than consolatory to her. In a few weeks she left our society, and went to another church. A purer, more affectionate, or conscientious woman I have never known ; but the sentiment " had grown with her growth and strengthened with her strength," that the gospel holds out no promise of forgiveness and restoration to those who leave the world in error and unbelief. The reflection arose in my mind, " Can that be true religion, which represents death as a calamity so great and terrible, that it excludes, of necessity, a great part of mankind from entertaining even the hope of a better and blessed life beyond the grave ? "

As we were returning home, my friend the elder remarked that it seemed to him quite unaccountable that infinite mercy should be limited by any thing whatever — by time, nature, space, death, human folly, or corruption. " Can Infinite Mercy be gratified if a single child be left to wander forever in sin and unhappiness ? Has this young man gone to a world where he will have no further opportunities of acquiring truth and becoming holy ? Was such a doctrine really taught by Jesus Christ ? How dark and

desolate, then, the prospects of that future state! But I suppose it must be so. The clergy ought to understand this subject." These questions opened for me the way to another field of inquiry, analogous, indeed, to the one I had been exploring so long, but of a somewhat different phase.

Reachhig my study, I took down Cruden's Concordance to the Holy Scriptures, and turned to the word probation. To my great surprise, I found that there was no such word in the Bible. Yet the following phrase is contained in almost every sermon : " P/"o/;a^io/z will end with the present life." I had hoard Dr. Woods assert that if a man's accountable existence on earth was not more than twelve months, in this short space of time he must establish a good character, or he would be eternally ruined. No opportunity will be afforded a person after death to qualify himself for a happy immortality. It struck, me that nothing could be more absurd than the sentiment that Infinite Wisdom had endued us with the capacity of an endless being, in which there could be no progression after the dissolution of the body. I had already prepared a complete list of the passages adduced in support of the doctrine of everlasting woe. They were constantly spread out on my table, like a map or chart which a ship master consults in navigating his vessel through difficult and dangerous waters. I looked them over and over most carefully, through the winter of 1833 and 1834, to see if they contained the affirmation, or any thing which in the remotest degree savored of it, that the state of man in the present life is probationary — a

season of moral trial, upon the proper improvement or abuse of which depends our eternal weal. I found not a Bible argument in support of this dogma. On the contrary, I read therein that " God doth not punish forever, neither is his displeasure eternal. For as high as heaven is above earth, so great is his mercy. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. He will not deal with us according to our sins, nor reward us according to our iniquities. Even as a father pitieth his children, so doth the Lord pity the sons of men. For he knoweth our frame, he re-membereth that we are dnst. As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourish-eth. The wind passeth over it, and it is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, and his goodness to children's children. God is rich in mercy, plenteous in mercy, delights in mercy. Mercy shall triumph over justice. He will not afflict forever, because he delighteth in mercy. He is gracious and full of compassion, infinite, immutable, and everlasting in his benevolence. Mortality shall be swallowed up of life ; " and so on to an indefinite extent.

How large, how cheering, how magnificent are these views of man's iiltimate destiny ! In the theory of theologians, the grace of God is jejune, narrow, circumscribed, inefficient, conditional, contingent, liable to be frustrated by the obstinacy, blindness, follies, whims, and caprice of feeble, fallible, erring, and unhappy mortals. Li the Bible, it is an impar-15

tial, universal, almighty, ever-living, ever-present tenderness; a sea of compassion, in which all the guilt, sin, and unworthiness of our race will be lost and absorbed as a drop of rain is lost, when it falls into the ocean, and is seen no more.

Having reached what seemed to me an important crisis in my theological career, I could not reconcile it with the principles of honor to conceal from the church tlie new phases of my spiritual position. For ten years I had been employed in revising my faith. 1 had searched the Scriptures anew, unbiased by fear or hope, in regard to the final results. All this was done in the sacred seclusion of my heart and study, alone with God, and the enrapturing beauties of divine, eternal truth. There was no clerical nor lay friend witli whom I could converse with respect to the new direction of my researches, and their effect in enlarging my intellectual and moral horizon.

Besides, it appeared to me wrong to communicate to others the change of sentiments towards which I was drifting, until they had assumed the shape of clear, full, and undoubting convictions. No doubt a sagacious, observing, regular attendant on my ministry might have detected the fact that I was not standing still, — that I was passing through a mental revolution of some kind or other. An intelligent Presb^^terian — a noble, generous, constant hearer — said to me one day, " There has been of late a great alteration in your style of preaching ; I cannot divine the cause." In reply, I said, " I am not conscious of any such cliango. Will you be so good as to describe your impressions touching the matter ? "

He answered me thus : " In your addresses to sinners, your tone is more mild, gentle, and persuasive than formerly. It seems as if you do not look upon their guilt as quite so awfid and aggravated as it is represented to be in the Bible. I want to have you speak to these godless, desperate men in your old-fashioned way. You should lighten, anathematize, and pour out upon them the denunciations of an offended Heaven. You should speak to them oftener of the horrors of that future world, ivhere the fire is not quenched, and the ivorm never dies.''

During this transition, I had no books to aid me, written by liberal divines. And really I did not require them. Among all the Unitarian and Univer-salist writings which I have seen, no work, as to expansion or liberality of spirit and sentiment, is comparable with the New Testament, especially the Sermon on the Mount, the Acts, and the Epistles. Finding myself firmly fixed in the new views to which I have alluded, I determined to state them explicitly from the pulpit. Accordingly, on the first Sabbath of July, 1834, I arose in my place after prayer, and remarked, " that I could no longer believe in, avow, teach, or defend, the peculiar doctrines of the Presbyterian church." These doctrines were specified as follows: particular election, the vicarious atonement, original sin, physical inabililr/, and endless punishment.

It was said that I was unable to find these sentiments in the Bible ; that my reason ignored them; and that hereafter I should deem it my duty to wage against them, both in and out of the pulpit, a war

of utter extermination. I then selected tlie subject of future punishment as the theme of my homily at that particular time. My discourse was unwritten, though I had before me copious notes of Scripture references. In conclusion, I gave them my new creed, in plain, simple, unambiguous terms.

I will here transcribe it. " There are not three persons in the Godhead; there is but one Being in the universe, of infinite, uncreated power, wisdom, and love — the Father of all mankind, the Father of a boundless majesty. Jesus Clirist was not merely a teacher, exemplar, martyr, for the truth, but he was literally and verily God manifest in the Jiesh — officially, not actually a God. He came to enlighten, forgive, and sanctify all men; to immortalize the race ; to carry them buoyant over death to the fellowship of saints and angels in glory. He knows all hearts, and in the redemption of mankind, performs actions which require divine attributes ; so that we are certain that God was in Christ Jesus, (as there is a finite spirit in my body, now speaking to you,) ' reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing to men their trespasses.'

" All mankind are brethren, equally dear in the sight of God, and will eventually be saved by the renewal of their hearts through faith, repentance, holiness, and the forgiving grace of which Jesus Christ is the channel and dispenser. In this life, men are under a system of perfectly just and equitable rewards and punishments. No sin can ever be forgiven, until he wlio committed it has suffered a deserved retribution, and heartily repented of the same.

" Pure religion and undefiled consists in loving God with all tlie heart, and our neighbor as ourselves. It is happily expressed by the three terms piety, purily, and disinterestedness —proper feelings towards God, holiness of life, love, and kindness, and brotherly affection for all.

" The Holy Scriptures are the record of a divine inspiration. By inspiration, I mean a supernatural influence, which quahfies its recipient to set forth moral and religious truths, free from material, fatal, or essential errors. Tliese articles constitute the platform on which I now stand, and hope to maintain so long as I live.

* He who these duties shall perform, Faithful, and with an honest heart. Shall safely ride through every storm. And find, indeed, that better part.''

The principles embraced in the above creed are my faith to-day, essentially, and have been for the last twenty-two years.

When I came out of church, my friends gathered round me, especially the trustees and elders of the society. They were all astonished; some were pleased; many were alarmed; but none were offended. One of the most influential members present remarked, " Mr. Clapp, I cannot subscribe to the declaration which you have made this morning, but I think you have taken the only right, honorable course. You have sliown your colors; you have frankly avowed your real sentiments ; we know who you are, and on what to depend, and what you mean 15*

to teach in future. But I am afraid that, if the truth be on your side, you are at least fifty years in advance of the age. Christians in general will struggle desperately, and a long time, before they will part with the doctrines which you have openly rejected. Consequently, those of us who adhere to you will be branded, all over the United States, as errorists and dangerous heretics." Others addressed me in terms equally kind, noble, and forbearing. Nothing of a bigoted, scornful, censorious, or self-righteous spirit was manifested. Indeed, New Orleans is the most tolerant place in Christendom. All the misrepresentations abroad touching my character and opinions have been set afloat by strangers and non-residents.

Before this out-door assembly dispersed, it was proposed to postpone all action on the subject till I had delivered a course of sermons on this new gospel, as it was called. To this I joyfully acceded. I commenced the very next Sabbath, and kept on im-interruptedly till Christmas. My congregation gave me a fair, candid hearing, and said repeatedly that they would support me if convinced that I was right, however much it might subject them to public odium and unpopularity. The members of my society were singularly independent. With them, the authority of great names did not amount to much — " names which serve to guide the multitude as the bellwether guides his willing, faithful sheep, all of which will jump just as high as he does, even after he has knocked tlie fence flat on the ground." To pursue calmly, honestly, the investigation of truth in its

most retired, latent recesses ; to confess it when it is in disgrace ; to endure contempt and ridicule in its behalf; to suffer for it with a martyr's unflinching constancy, require a firmness, a greatness of soul, a superiority to all selfish considerations, which is the very essence of moral heroism.

My friends supported me with an undaunted, unshaken, unwearied resolution. Most of them are now gone. Forever fresh and sacred will be their memories in my heart. They have their reward. Only a small number at that time — I think not more than half a dozen — left me ; but a great many more joined the society on account of the stand which I had taken. It is natural for free men to love a free church, whose spirit is as wide and expansive as the heavens over us. And the seceders, too, were good men, true and conscientious. Those of them who are living at this day are my warm, steady, faithful friends. Indeed, I did not make an enemy by my Declaration of Religious Independence. Those who most dissented from me in opinion respected my candor and fairness. Here, as in every other department, it holds true that " honesty is the best policy." Those clergymen make a fatal mistake who suppose that an honest avowal of their opinions, however latitudinarian they may be, will detract a particle from their good standing in the public estimation — will lessen in any considerable degree their influence and usefulness, or diminish the number of tlieir friends and patrons.

Many persons have thouglit that the doings of the Mississippi presbytery towards me in the emergency

just spoken of were cruel, bitter, and vindictive. Tliis opinion I could not indorse without many qualifications and apologies for my opponents. With one exception, I believe that all the members of that body, in their measures with respect to myself, and the church over which I presided, were actuated by pure and worthy motives. The relations between us had been most cordial and friendly. They felt no hostility to me personally, but were alarmed at what appeared to them the shocking errors into which I had fallen, and was endeavoring, by all means in my power, to propagate. Had I been in one of their places, I should have acted just as they did. I concede to others the same rights which I claim for myself.

A clergyman of great celebrity passed through New Orleans in the autumn of 1834. He called to see me, and spent several hours in my study. In the course of our conversation, he said, " Depend upon it, the doctrine of Goers infinite, eternal wrath is a main pillar in the gospel of our Lord. What is there in the Bible, as you interpret it, which is fitted to restrain, alarm, arouse, and convert the base, ignorant, hardened sinner ?"

I replied, " The doctrine of endless woe, as I believe, since its first promulgation, has never prevented a single sin, a single species of crime, nor reformed a single sinner. On the contrary, it has operated, immeasurably, to multiply and increase the very mischiefs it was intended to suppress. To pure, conscientious persons it has been a rack of torture, a source of unutterable anxiety, gloom, and despair.

Instead of reclaiming the "wicked from the paths of turpitude, it has made them more reckless, desperate, and depraved. The unfounded tenet that the Creator is capable of frowning upon his children forever, and following them with his curse and displeasure through interminable ages, for the sins committed in this frail^ erring, imperfect state of existence, has contributed, more than all the other corruptions of Christianity combined, to swell that tide of vice, crime, and immoralities, which for ages has rolled its dark and troubled billows, foul as the recesses of the Stygian pit, across this footstool of Jehovah.

" To me it seems more corrupting than any other idea that has ever afflicted our Aveak, sinful, unhappy, and misguided race. It represents the Father of all as inexorable, a boundless fountain of cruelty itself, gives him a character darker than Erebus, and presents him in that light which must, of necessity, prevent the believers thereof from cherishing one sentiment of cordial affection for their Creator. And whoever does not love God will be sure to sin against him. The very thought of almiglity vengeance is enough to cover earth with sackcloth, and spread over the face of heaven the gloom of absolute despair. We cannot be more perfect than the God whom we adore. Whatever we look upon as superior, we assimilate to. If we embrace a sentiment which represents the Creator as cruel, partial, or revengeful, this belief, in spite of ourselves, will tend to harden and destroy all the finer feelings and sensibilities of our nature; make us, though ever so

sincere, sour, morose, exclusive, and bigoted ; and impart to our characters the most harsh, stern, and rc]nilsivc features. As the stream cannot rise higher than its fountain, so no one can surpass, in moral excellence, the Divinity at whose shrine he makes the continual offerings of supreme homage and adoration."

The clergyman continued, " By what arguments, motives, or inducements, then, do you expect to reclaim the erring, sinful, and incorrigible ? "

I answered, " They can be subdued by nothing but the power of gentleness, the melting influence of compassion, the omnipotence of love, the control of the mild over the turbulent and boisterous, the commanding majesty of that exalted character which mingles with disapprobation of the offence the sin-cerest pity for the offender. A depraved heart will yield to nothing but love." Let me illustrate my idea by relating a couple of anecdotes.

Some time ago, I was called to visit a man confined in the calaboose of this city for murder. He had been tried, and was condemned to be hanged. The sheriff of this parish was a very humane person, and always procured a priest or minister to repair to the cells of those who were about to suffer the death penalty. The individual I am speaking of had been reared in the Protestant faith ; so the duty devolved upon me to administer to him the consolations of religion. I found him intelligent, shrewd, but most fearfully hardened and reckless. I asked him if he entertained any expectation of being pardoned by the governor. I found that he had no hopes of this kind. When I urged upon him the importance

of making some preparation for the great change he was to pass through so soon, I was met with the assertion tliat he wanted not the prayers, the instructions, or tlie counsels of any clergyman. " I know as much about the future world," said he, " as you do, and am qualified to do my own praying." I had the New Testament in my hands, but he refused to hear me read a word of it. He said that he had solicited the sheriff, as an especial favor, not to allow him to be annoyed by the intrusion of ministers of any denomination. He was a native of Europe, an educated, well-informed man, and a confirmed, scoffing atheist. Seeing that my presence was not agreeable to him, I rose to depart.

When I took him by the hand, he said, " I perceive that you are a sociable man. I feel very lonely, and should be most glad to see you often, if you will not obtrude upon me the subject of religion, which I utterly abhor." I promised to call every morning at ten o'clock, till the day fixed for his execution. Walking home, I said to myself, " There must be some good tiling which this poor man loves. I will try to find out what it is, and make it the subject of some moralizing which will be agreeable to him, and perhaps may indirectly reach and soften his heart." When I visited him the next morning, I told him that I had not called as a clergyman, but as ?i friend, and should indeed be happy to say something that he could listen to with gratification and profit. I began the conversation by making some inquiries about his family. His mind at once reverted to his childhood, youth, and early home; his parents,

brothers, and sisters ; his first warm loves, and first bright hopes, ere he had wandered from innocence into the dark regions of sin and ruin. In a few moments he sobbed and wept like a child. I wept with him ; it was impossible to refrain from it. The prisoner was a young man, not over twenty-five years of age. He had ardently loved a yourg lady of his native place, who was married to a rival, and he ascribed his fall to this disappointment.

When I left him that morning, he seemed to be a new being. His countenance had lost its haggard and ferocious aspect, and become humanized, mild, and gentle in expression. " Pray," said he, " bring to-morrow some book to read, which may help to divert me from the terrible thoughts that prey upon my heart." On the third day, I took along with me Campbell's Pleasures of Hope and Thomson's Seasons. In the space of twenty-four hours, his mind was so changed, that he said, " Sir, I am sorry for the manner in which I treated you during our first interview. I recant the declarations which I then made, and hope you will forget them. Last night I dreamed that I was in my native place and home. The rapture I enjoyed aroused me from my sleep to consciousness, and the bitter certainty that I shall never see that home again. 0 that I could cherish that hope of meeting my beloved relatives and friends once more ! 0, I shall lose my reason before the hour of punishment arrives ! 0, pray for me ! O, teach me ! Are there no powers above to pity and bless me ? " I knelt down and offered a prayer, to which he heartily responded amen.

From that day forward, he gave himself up implicitly to my guidance and direction, and became, I believe, a sincere penitent. Yet not one word was ever said to him about the anger of God, or future punishment. The very morning that he was doomed to suffer the sentence of the law, I passed a good deal of time in his cell, besides witnessing the awful catastrophe. Among other things, he said, " If I had known from early life that God was my Father, that he truly loved me, as a devoted mother does the babe of her bosom, and desired only my present and everlasting welfare, I should have been saved from a sinful life, and from this shocking and ignominious fate."

I will mention another incident to illustrate the point, that genuine repentance chiefly springs not from fear, but from the thought of the horrible ingratitude towards Supreme Love which the commission of sin evinces. Several years ago there was a lady — a mother — residing in one of the Northern States, distinguished for her wealth, social position, and her religious character. She had a favorite son, for whose advancement in life great efforts had been made. But notwithstanding, he became a profligate and vagabond. I had known him in our school-boy days. The mother addressed to me a letter concerning her lost child. From the latest information, she believed that he was wandering in the Southern States, and besought me, if I should meet the hapless fugitive, to acquaint her with the facts, and extend to him such offices of kindness as I might judge expedient.


A few days after the receipt of this letter, the young prodigal made his appearance in New Orleans, and found his way to my study. He was in a most Avoful plight, both physically and morally. In manners he was rude, audacious, and grossly profane. He wanted money. " Money will do you no good," said I, " unless you reform your life." " Reform! " replied he ; " 'tis impossible ; it is entirely too late. I have no hopes; I can never retrieve my steps. I have nothing to live for. I am the execration of all who know me. I have not a friend left in the wide world." On his saying this, I went to my desk, and took out the above-named letter from his mother. Showing him the superscription, I asked him if he knew the handwriting. He replied, with a changed, thoughtful air, " It is my dear mother's." I opened and read to him one paragraph only. In a moment he seemed as if struck by some unseen, resistless power. He sank down upon his chair, burst into tears, sobbed aloud, and convulsively exclaimed, " 0 God, forgive my base ingratitude to that beloved mother! "

Yes, the thought of that fond parent in a far distant and dishonored home, wlio cherished for him an undying affection, who overlooked all his baseness, who never failed to mingle his outcast name with her morning and evening prayers, saying, (and this was the sentence 1 read to him,) " 0 my heavenly Father, I beseech thee to preserve, forgive, and redeem my poor lost cliild; in thy infinite mercy be pleased to restore him to my embrace, and to the joys of sincere repentance ; " — the thought of such tenderness

broke his obdurate heart, and tlie waters of penitence gushed forth. To make a long narrative brief, from that liour lie was a reformed man, and is now an inhabitant of his native place, shedding around him the blessed influences of a sober, useful, and exemplary life.

Now, I ask, what, probably, would have been the effect upon that young man's destiny if a letter from his mother had been read to him couched in a style directly the reverse — a letter which breathed only of scorn, indignation, wrath, hatred, and menace ; which uttered only the harsh tones of bitter upbraid-ings, reproach, and denunciations ? Would it not have operated to harden his heart still more ? to have given increased vigor and intensity to his desperate passions, and to have plunged him hopelessly into the abyss of ruin and degradation ?

If all sinners could be brought to see that the Father in heaven actually cherishes for them a tenderness infinitely greater than that of this mother, for her son, that he truly pities them, and pleads with them to return, by all the wonders of Calvary and all the sufferings of Jesus, and that he wills nothing but their highest good,—however contemptuous, proud, haughty, selfish, and nnfeehng they might be, they could never again lift the puny arm of rebellion and disobedience against a love so amazing, so boundless, and ineffable.

Love only can overcome evil. A man is not truly penitent in the highest degree till he can say, in the words of Paul, " For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor

powers, nor things present, nor things to come" — no being, no event, no created thing, no enemy, not even my fearful guilt and unworthiness — shall be able finally and forever to separate me " from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus my Lord." Every thing else may fail; friends may die; the earth, with all that it contains, be dissolved ; but the throne of Divine Love will remain unmoved. The waves of eternity may beat thereon; they have no power to weaken, overthrow, or sweep it away. The above scene has been described in words as like those which were actually uttered as my memory is able to recall. I can vouch only for the substantial truth of what is recorded in this chapter.




It is not necessary for the purpose of the present work that a detailed account, in chronological order, of the epidemics which I have witnessed in New Orleans should be spread before my readers. I have dwelt with some particularity on the great cholera of 1832. I have virtually passed through the same scenes of toil, anxiety, and suffering, at least twenty times. To describe my experiences minutely, during each of these periods of trial and hardship, would lead me into useless repetitions. I should only be exhibiting to spectators a succession of pictures of one uniform, unvaried, heart-sickening, and depressing gloom. Tliere is a wonderful sameness in the sombre realities of the sick room, the death struggle, the corpse, the shroud, the coffin, the funeral, and the tomb.

Let me ask the reader to pause here a moment, whilst I attempt to suggest a general but very inadequate idea of my labors and sufferings in each of the campaigns above referred to. The term of a sickly season in New Orleans has never been less than six weeks. In a majority of cases it has ex-16*

tended from eight weeks to ten. In 1824 it began early in June, and did not entirely disappear till the November following. On an average, it is within bounds to say that the duration of each epidemic spoken of in these pages was at least eight weeks. Multiply eight by twenty, and the product is one liundred and sixty. Hence it follows that since my settlement in Louisiana I have spent over three entire years in battling, with all my might, against those invisible enemies, the cholera and yellow fever. In those three years I scarcely enjoyed a night of undisturbed repose. When I did sleep, it was upon my post, in the midst of the dead and wounded, with my armor on, and ready at the first summons to meet the deadly assault.

A gentleman of New Orleans, who was in the battle, of the 8th January, 1815, on the plains of Chal-mette, by which General Jackson became immortalized, was one of my neighbors during the first cholera. He stood his ground manfully one day. The next morning I saw him making all possible despatch to cross Lake Pontchartrain into Florida. As I was passing by to attend a funeral, he spoke to me thus: "I consider it no sign of cowardice, but common prudence, to run away from the enemy that is now desolating our city. On the battle ground, under Old Hickory, we could see the enemy, and measure him, and cope with and resist him, with visible, sure, and tangible means. But here is a foe that we cannot see, with his fatal scythe mowing down hundreds in-a day. When contending against the British, also, we had this advantage ; every night there was a com-