Friday, December 30, 2011

Hylden on Hart on Christian Nationalism:

Jordan Hylden reviews, for First Things, D. G. Hart's "From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin: Evangelicals and the Betrayal of American Conservatism."

The passage that the title to this blog post describes:

And as Hart shows, their tendency to replace the Church with America led many evangelicals, like best-selling writer Peter Marshall Jr., to embark on a quixotic historical quest for America’s origins as a “Christian nation.” Evangelicals began to churn out an endless stream of books purporting to set forth “God’s plan for America” and a blueprint for “biblical” politics, with precious little attention to the finer points of the American experience or to political theory in general. Their historic optimism and impatience led them to embrace various ill-considered political ventures, like the Moral Majority, that tended to function better as target practice for liberals than as viable political movements.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Smithsonian Video on the Jefferson Bible:

Below I've embedded an outstanding video from the Smithsonian on the Jefferson Bible:

David Barton adds to history and the Bible at the same time:

From Warren Throckmorton here.
God, Government and Roger Williams' Big Idea:

Not just religious liberty, but separation of church and state. Check it this latest article on Williams here.

Monday, December 26, 2011

GW, Not Whig Enough For Murray Rothbard:

I agree more with the tenor of Brian's post than Murray's. However, it does help to have both sides to put things into critical perspective. By the way, during the Founding era, the criticism against Washington was primarily directed by the Tories. For Murray Rothbard, on the other hand, Washington seemed to be not Whig enough.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Unitarian Christmas:

The last few Christmas holidays I posted Merry Unitarian Christmas to some raised eyebrows. Well, here is one today from a Unitarian-Universalist minister.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Do The Three Abrahamic Faiths Worship The Same God?

Interesting article here.
Was Christmas in Revolutionary America a Drunken Bash?

Fun article from Thomas Kidd here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Economist on the Christian Nation Controversy:

Here. Hat Tip Ben Abbott. A taste:

IN THE year of our Lord 1816 two grand old men of the American Revolution corresponded eagerly about the work they had recently done, in their rural retirement, on the Bible. Ex-President Thomas Jefferson thanked his old friend Charles Thomson, a co-sponsor of the Declaration of Independence, for sending a copy of his newly completed synopsis of the Gospels.

At a time when many modern Americans are arguing feverishly over the real significance of the nation’s religious and political beginnings, such letters can be dynamite. So let the contents of this exchange be noted carefully. Thomson, like most members of the first American Congress, which he had served as secretary, was a committed member of a church—in his case Presbyterian—but he still felt that there might be things in the Bible that organised Christianity hadn’t grasped. So he spent years re-translating the scriptures; the ex-president approved.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monotheism & Slavery:

As I prepare to make a deadline for submitting the grades of 18 credits worth of classes (and beginning a new online Winter Session class that started Dec. 19), I don't have time to blog about or discuss this very interesting post from Volokh on how the monotheistic traditions deal with slavery. Check out the comments too.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christopher Hitchens RIP:

I wrote a post at American Creation on him and posted a bunch of videos at Facebook.

See also this post at the Volokh Conspiracy where I involved myself in the comment section.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Is This a Modified Form of Universalism?:

I've heard it claimed by some folks who critizes this theory that it is; but Rod Dreher balks. [Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan.]

I believe Orthodox Christianity is the fullest expression of the true path to salvation, liberation or paradise. But I don’t agree that only Orthodox Christians will find their way to salvation. My view is that God may save anyone, but that if anyone is saved, it is through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and through the mercy of God the Father, who, in his infinite wisdom and compassion, may choose to extend it to those who confessed Christ imperfectly, or who didn’t confess him at all. That, by the way, is the official teaching of the Catholic Church. It’s not the same thing as universalism, which holds that everyone will be saved, no matter what.

Dreher is a convert from Roman Catholicism to capital O Orthodox Christianity. It always helps to clarify terms. Note also that there are Trinitarian Universalists (like Benjamin Rush) who believed, indeed, everyone will be saved (eventually) no matter what, but it will be through Christ's universal (as opposed to limited) atonement.

Finally, Dreher's link interestingly shows a strong majority of folks in America and internationally disagree with the idea that salvation is found ONLY in their religion.

....“My faith or religion is the only true path to salvation, liberation or paradise.” Of people in all the countries polled, the only people who poll over 50 percent agreement are Saudis and Indonesians — and in Saudi Arabia, a stunning 25 percent disagree. In the US, only 32 percent agree with this statement.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The New England Milton:

I haven't yet read this book but it seems worthwhile. The Founders were influenced by a great many minds and Milton was certainly one. John Locke, Isaac Newton, Samuel Clarke, John Milton -- those are, in my opinion, the "rational Christians" of the early British Whig era who most influenced the Founders. All were also, likely, not religiously correct on matters of orthodoxy or Trinity. But were also closeted about that, giving more orthodox figures, like Timothy Dwight, grounds for "claiming" them. That's one thing I got from gleaning this book -- Milton was one of those figures both sides wanted to claim.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Paul Gottfried's New Book on Leo Strauss:

Paul Gottfried has long been a cantankerous critic of Leo Strauss'. He has a new book coming out, published by Cambridge, on Strauss and his disciples. Though a bit crankish in his opinions, Dr. Gottfried has solid academic bona fides, and, in my opinion, always something interesting to say.

You can read him write about his new book here.
Kersch on “Goldilocks” Originalism:

From Ken Kersch at Balkinization here:

One of the most influential of these is what I will call “Goldilocks Originalism.” Conservative “Goldilocks” originalists do not orient themselves (in the first instance) in opposition to “living constitutionalists,” but rather in opposition to secularist, positivist, relativist, liberals and progressives. To these movement originalists, the fatal flaw of their antagonists is not that their constitutional theory leaves judges, in ruling in cases, unrestrained in imposing their politics rather than following the law (though Goldilocks originalists certainly believe that to be the case, and often say so), but rather that that the constitutional theory of their opponents severs the tie between our perpetually besieged nation and the only anchor that will truly hold -- the belief in (a Christian, or Judeo-Christian) God. In this, as they see it, the Founders, and the Founders’ Constitution, are squarely on their side.

The axis of opposition constructed by the conservative movement between those who revere the Founder’s (God-anchored) Constitution, and the secular, relativist, progressives is omnipresent on the contemporary political Right -- at the grassroots, to be sure, but also in a scholarly literature, not written, for the most part, by law professors, but rather by theologians and political theorists. There are three wellsprings of this vein of conservative originalist scholarship: 1) Evangelical Christianity; 2) Catholic Natural Law; and 3) Straussianism. Indeed, a highly ideological originalism that girds itself for battle against Godless secularism and relativism is what holds these three groups – which, historically, had long often been at each other’s throats – together, as compatriots in an effective political coalition.

The orientating axis I have described is evident everywhere in the constitutional thought of influential evangelical conservatives – but I will focus here mainly on the other two wellsprings. Straussian political philosophers – students of the √©migr√© University of Chicago philosopher Leo Strauss (1899-1973) (and students of students, and, now students of students of students) are often taken to be atheists – it is hard to tell, in many cases, for, even if you ask them, given their beliefs about esotericism in philosophy (the threat posed by true philosophers the extant political order), you can’t trust their answers. For our purposes, I will note that one of their animating tropes is the indispensability of reconciling “Athens and Jerusalem” (or, put otherwise, “Reason and Revelation”) in the construction of a just and good political order. In Straussian Harry Jaffa’s highly influential account in Crisis of the House Divided (1959), Abraham Lincoln’s world-historical accomplishment was in doing just that, by incorporating the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence into the U.S. Constitution – thereby redeeming the American Founding, which was all but fatally compromised by its acceptance of chattel slavery. ...

I think Kersch needs to keep in mind that most "Straussians" are not Jaffaite "West Coast Straussians" but rather "East Coast Straussians." They have their own way of articulating "Goldilocks' originalism," but without the Declaration of Independence and its God; they view the DOI's God as certainly not the Christian God or even the Judeo-Christian God, God of the Bible, or what have you. Strauss himself didn't think Athens and Jerusalem could be reconciled. That throws a bit of a monkey wrench into Kersch's narrative.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Did President Obama Redeem Himself?

With his explicitly Christian Christmas message. I note this after his more secular, godless recent Thanksgiving message that ticked some folks off.

President Obama, as I see it, operates in the political theological tradition of the religious left, Christian-Left ala Cornel West (though as an elected politician, Obama is far more conservative in his policy decisions than they want him to be). They are arguably the heirs to Martin Luther King's political theology. (I won't go there with Bonhoeffer; at least not yet.) In addition to being generously ecumenical, the Christian-Left types, like Obama, seem to flirt with unitarian and universalistic theologies making them like the Jonathan Mayhews of the Founding era.

Is Obama a Christian? Was Jonathan Mayhew a Christian? Are Mormon's Christian? These are all related questions.
Catherine the Great Rumor:

I heard this growing up and just saw the actress who used to be Blossom repeat it on "The Big Bang Theory." It's not true.
A Christian Gives Thanks That America Is Not A Christian Nation

From Parker J. Palmer here.

A taste:

These foundation stones of American democracy were laid a century too late to save Mary Dyer's life. Dyer, a middle-aged mother of six, was hanged in 1660 for defying a Puritan law that banned Quakers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Christians who cruelly deprived this woman of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness were dead certain (so to speak) that they were on a mission from God, protecting their "divinely ordained" civic order against Mary Dyer's seditious belief in the Inner Light.

As a spiritual descendant of Mary Dyer, I'm profoundly grateful that America is not a Christian nation. If it were, my Quaker convictions might get me into very deep oatmeal. And as a Christian who does his best to take reason as seriously as I take faith, I find it impossible to understand America as a "Christian nation" -- and I believe that there are vibrant possibilities in the fact that it is not.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Theology is Freaky:

And arguing about it is freakier.

Sometimes I think I'm a freak when I delve into the deep theological waters and try to wrap my mind around these concepts. But when I read the works of great theologians I see they were even freakier. Jonathan Mayhew, the great unitarian heretic who so monumentally influenced America's Founding, for instance.

This is a LONG excerpt of his where he tries to explain his views on the atonement.

If I ever engage in a formal controversy with any person, it shall be with one who appears to me to have both a better head and honester heart than you have discovered in this specimen of your abilities, and your zeal for what you call orthodoxy. Yet I do not think it proper to be entirely silent. Though my sermons need no elaborate, argumentative defence against your impertinent criticisms, yet so much rudeness and insolence, so much misrepresentation and slander, falsehood and forgery, as your libel contains, should not, methinks, be passed over without some animadversions; especially, as it is probable many will read your essay, who never perused my sermons: and it is chiefly for this reason, that I give you and myself the present trouble: my principal aim being not to dispute with, but to chastize and admonish you, for your good, and to make you an example and warning to others. If, in doing this, I shall transiently touch upon the merits of the case, theologically considered, you are not to flatter yourself that I mean to controvert such points with you, whom I consider unworthy to be reasoned with about them, any farther than is requisite to show your dishonesty and wickedness with regard to them.

'If I had really published any materials in point of doctrine, let me tell you, Mr. Cleaveland, that you are a most unsuitable person to undertake a confutation of them, or to set yourself up for an author: though you say you have an undoubted right to do so. I am sensible that British subjects have an undoubted legal right to expose themselves in print, on politics, divinity, or any other subject; and if this is what you insist upon as a privilege, I would not, by any means, have your liberty or that of the press restrained. You speak of divines of indisputable ability, for such an undertaking as that of vindicating the truth against me. Can you, then, possibly think it became you, an obscure .person, lately from another province, and one so unlettered as you are; an outcast from a college to which you were a disgrace; for some time a rambling itinerant, and promoter of disorders and confusion among us, so raw and unstudied in divinity; and one hardly ever heard of among us, but in the frequent reports of your follies, and extravagances; can you possibly think it became you to turn author on this occasion, and take this necessary work out of the hands of able divines, of defending the most important principles of the protestant religion against me? What an unaccountable vanity and infatuation was this! And you have passed an implicit censure on those divines, also, by saying, 'I marvel that some of our divines of great ability, have not attempted to vindicate the truth against him.' Is not this proof that none of our able divines thought there was any occasion for opposition to me?

'If it were my intention to write to you as a scholar, logician, or divine, I would take some notice of the confusion and want of method, so apparent throughout your libel. But it is as much beneath me to play the critic on such a performance, as it would be particularly to expose the vanity of your criticisms on my sermons. Let me here just observe, that if I agree with you in so many things, as you say I do, this is better presumptive evidence that I am under some mistakes, than any which you have produced. For I can hardly suppose it possible for any one to be of your opinion in many points of doctrine, without being in the wrong as to some.

'But I will proceed to the main business of this letter, which is to set your falsehoods and evil surmises respecting my sermons, in some order before your eyes; and to administer the reproof and correction which you deserve; or rather a part of it; for it is only they who hold the sword of public justice can punish wickedness to the extent of its demerits. Your wickedness, in this affair, appears written, as one may say, on your forehead—I mean in your title-page; in which you represent me to the world, as an enemy to ' the most important principles of the protestant religion;' particularly the doctrine of Christ's atonement; and on which you say I cast 'injurious aspersions.' After the word atonement, you indeed insert these clauses, viz., 'as being absolutely necessary to the pardon of sin, consistently with God's infinite rectitude,' that you might have an hole to creep out at But this will not serve your turn. You know in your conscience that I did not deny any necessity of atonement, arising from wisdom, fitness, the ends of government, or the moral character of God; but rather said what implies it, as will appear to your confusion, unless you are past all shame. How then could you have the confidence, because my expressions concerning atonement do not exactly agree with yours, to represent me to the world as casting injurious aspersions on it ?—by which you doubtles intended something beyond a simple denial of it. Indeed, nothing is more manifest, than that it was your intention to asperse me, as an enemy to some of the most important doctrines of the gospel; which you, accordingly, attempt to defend against the supposed 'injurious aspersions' cast on them in my sermons. You must be sensible that this is a high charge to be brought against one, who is, by his station and profession at least, a minister of the gospel. But I have the less reason to be uneasy at your dislike of my sermons, because I think it pretty evident you do not well like the text itself, in its plain and obvious sense; or, in other words, that you do not really believe, 'The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies over all his works.' Had you believed this to be strictly true, I do not think you would have made such an outcry against those sermons.

'You are pleased to say, that my design evidently was to represent the divine goodness in such a light as to show there was no absolute necessity for the sacrifice of Christ, to make atonement, or to satisfy divine justice, in order to God's forgiving the sins of men consistently with his moral goodness.* ["* The scriptures make use of no such language as Christ's satisfying divine justice. But I am not disposed to dispute about words. If they who use the phrase, mean no more by the satisfaction of Christ, than is implied in his sacrifice or atonement, I make no objection to it: but I have asserted the doctrine in my sermons, which have been so outrageously attacked.']

'I might remark, on this charge, that if I had asserted the non-necessity of atonement, or satisfaction, in order to the forgiveness of sins, this would have been no more than some eminent divines have done; even calvinistic divines, whom I suppose you account the most reformed of any. I will refer to only one, the famous Dr. Twisse, who was prolocutor of the assembly of divines at Westminster. And his opinion ought, perhaps, to have almost as much weight as that of Mr. Cleaveland, of Ipswich. In his defence of the doctrines of grace, he says, that 'God can forgive sins by his absolute power, even without satisfaction.' And again, 'That God can forgive sins, without satisfaction, by his absolute power, appears so manifest to me, that I should think it a point beyond all controversy.' And still further, 'If God cannot forgive sin without satisfaction, it is either because he cannot as it respects his power, or as respects justice; but neither of these can be affirmed.'

'It is here manifest, that this eminent calvinistic divine ,was full and positive in his opinion that sin might have been forgiven without any satisfaction; and particularly that the justice of God did not indispensably require it. If I had asserted the same thing, did it become you, I say you, Mr. Cleaveland, to inveigh against me for it, and to load me with so much obloquy? Could you not differ from me in opinion, and yet observe some sort of decency and modesty in your opposition? But let me remind you, that I did not assert the possibility of forgiveness without atonement. So far from it, that the manner in which I expressed myself on the subject, rather implied a moral necessity thereof in order to forgiveness. And surely you will not assert any other kind of necessity; or a natural one, as contradistinguished from moral. At least, I am persuaded that no man who understands what he says, supposes any other. That I denied not such a necessity, but rather supposed it, will fully appear, together with your wilful falsehood and iniquity with reference to it.

'I must notice the method you take to prove that I had the design which you charge on me. You infer this from what I said of divine justice, as a branch of goodness: which opinion you suppose, but without reason, to be inconsistent with the doctrine of atonement. But what an iniquitous method of proceeding is this! On supposition I was mistaken about divine justice, (which I believe no one can show,) is this a sufficient ground to charge me with such a design as you speak of? This is the same kind of dishonesty that it would be in any one to accuse you of atheism, because he supposed some of your principles, pursued to their just consequences, would terminate in it; which probably may be the case. Yet I should think it injurious to charge you with a design to propagate atheism, while you profess the contrary, even though you have shown so little regard to truth and integrity, as you have done in many parts of your libel. One instance of this I must refer to.

'You insinuate that I hold every act of punitive justice in God to be intended for the good of the individual, on whom it terminates. Now would not any one, who never read my sermons, (on the divine goodness,) and took you for an honest man, conclude that I supposed it would be unjust for God to punish a sinner more than would be for his own good? Indeed, you say expressly, that, according to my principles, 'God would not be perfectly good, but cruel, if he should punish sinners any farther than could be for their good, or happiness.'

'Now, are you not ashamed, Mr. Cleaveland, of such prevarication as this? I did, indeed, compare God's acts of punitive justice to those of a wise and good earthly parent, or sovereign, who has always some good or benevolent design in punishing. But I expressly guarded, as you well know, against the supposition that all acts of punitive justice, whether in God or man, are acts of kindness to the suffering individuals. I said, in my sermons, (when speaking of the motive from which a wise and good parent punishes his children,) 'Is it not to reform and do them good; or, at least, with a view to the benefit of his other children, or those of his household, that they may be under due subjection? &c.—So that, in a good parent, there is no such quality as justice, really distinct from goodness; not even in punishing; for it is goodness which gives the blow.' This last clause you dishonestly introduce, as if I had not only used it expressly concerning God, but had thereby intended to assert that he never punishes a sinner but for his own good, in distinction from the public or common. And is not this a wicked, wilful perversion of my evident meaning?

'Speaking, just after, of a wise and good earthly sovereign, I said, 'he does not inflict punishments, but such as he considers needful for the support of his government; if not for the particular good of those who suffer, as in capital cases, yet for the good of his people in general, by way of example and terror, that good order may be preserved. So that, even in this case of capital punishment, the justice of the sovereign is not a quality distinct from goodness. It is goodness, or a regard to the common good, that takes off the head of the traitor,' &c.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Unitarians and Atonement:

Even in the 19th Century, Unitarians believed in the "Atonement." Again, it's not unlike with Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnessism; in a broad sense they believe in many of the same things as the "orthodox." But when specifically defining terms, they mean irreconcilably different things. The Unitarians did NOT believe Christ as 2nd Person in the Trinity made an infinite Atonement as necessary satisfaction for the infinite penalty cosmic justice demands because man sinned against an infinite God. Rather something else:


§ 40. Unitarians believe that atonement and reconciliation are the same thing. Both mean a state of union and peace between man and God; the harmony between the Divine justice and Divine mercy; and the substitution of trust toward God and dependence on him, for fear and the dread of his displeasure.

§ 41. Unitarians do not believe that Christ came to reconcile God to man, but to reconcile man to God; not to make God love us, but to reveal his love; not to harmonize his justice and mercy, but to show that they are always in harmony. Christ's death was not a sacrifice made to appease the Divine anger, but it was an expression of the Divine love. Paul says (Rom. viii. 32), "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"

Hopefully one can now understand how Arians like Jonathan Mayhew, Samuel West and many others from the Founding era could disbelieve in Original Sin, Trinity, and Incarnation but hold to an unorthodox view of the Atonement. Likewise they believed in the Resurrection and even Christ's "divine" nature. Christ was "divine" but created and subordinate to the Father. Lower than God but higher than the highest arch-angel. (So quotations that refer to Christ as "divine" are NOT smoking gun proofs of orthodoxy; rather one must prove the speaker believed Christ God the Son, 2nd Person in the Trinity.)

Update: I probably should have included a Founding era as opposed to a late 19th Century era quotation on unitarians and the atonement. My reasoning was this: Unitarianism seemed to (?) become even more "liberal" as time passed. Therefore IF during the mid-late 19th Cen. they still believed in something they called atonement, it's no stretch to say that many unitarians in the 18th Cen. believed it. Indeed, Jonathan Mayhew, the militant Arian he, went on at great length explaining how he believed in what he understood as the "atonement." You can read him arguing with an orthodox figure who accuses him of denying the atonement. As I understand it, 1. Mayhew clearly says he believes in (and preached) the "atonement," 2. but when explaining just how he understands the doctrine, intimates an "unorthodox" understanding of the "atonement."

I chose the 19th Cen. quotation because it reads clearer than Mayhew's.
Samuel West Arminian Unitarian:

Key patriotic preacher Samuel West was, according to those who knew him best, an Arminian-Unitarian. As this source notes:

With reference to Dr. West's position on the doctrine of the Trinity, his granddaughter, Mary C. West, of Tiverton, (recently deceased,) wrote in a communication printed in the Evening Standard of this city in March, 1883, as follows: "If his children were competent witnesses (my father and aunt) I can say that they have often told me that their father was an Arminian Unitarian. * * * I have heard my aunt many times tell this story. When she was a little girl her teacher set her to learning a catechism, — I think it was the Westminster, but at any rate it had the Trinitarian formula in it: 'The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.' She was at home studying her lesson in a loud voice, and her father heard her repeating the above formula and called her to him and held up three of his fingers (as she always did when she told the story), and asked her how three could be one, took the book from her and put it in his pocket, and told her to tell her teacher that he would get her another catechism, which he did. I think the one he got her was called 'The Franklin Catechism,' or 'The Franklin Primer."

I've heard it noted that because Rev. West believed Christ as redeemer who made an atonement, that means he was orthodox. Wrong. That's a logical error called a "non-sequitur" -- a conclusion that does not follow from the facts presented. Some unitarians did believe in the resurrected Christ who made an atonement for man. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses believe this. They just hold an unconventional view of these doctrines. This fits perfectly with West's Arianism.

As the same above linked to source notes:

In theology, Dr. West was progressive and liberal. His sympathies with humanity were too quick to make him a good Calvinist. Judged by to-day's standards, much of his writing would seem antiquated. His sermons were largely of the old Biblical and textual type. But judged by his own time he was an Arminian, which was the transition passage to Unitarianism. That is, he asserted free will for man in opposition to Calvin's doctrine of fore-ordination and irreparable election, and man's ability of moral choice in opposition to the doctrine of "total depravity." With regard to Christ his views were more Arian than Athanasian....
William Livingston's Ecumenical Letter:

Livingston's letter, Sept. 22, 1744, to Rev. Mr. James Sprout, anticipates Thomas Jefferson's 1819 "Apriarians" remark AND Benjamin Rush's 1808 remark on how his faith is "a compound of the orthodoxy and heterodoxy of most of our Christian churches."

Finally, the letter anticipates the notion found in all of the "key Founders'" theological meanderings (Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Franklin) that the test of "true religion" is good works (not necessarily faith in doctrine).

"My dear Sir,

# # # # #'# # #

"I am sorry to hear you are so divided among yourselves with respect to religion, which is plain and simple, and to the meanest capacity intelligible. Every man has a right to think for himself, as he shall answer for himself, and it is unreasonable for me to be angry with any one for being of different principles, as he has the same pretence to quarrel with me. And when we consider that truth is comprised in a small compass, but that error is infinite, we shall not be so positive and dogmatical, to set up for infallibility, and anathematize those of a contrary opinion. There is no sect that come under the denomination of Christians but what pretend to ground their principles on the Holy Scriptures, and consequently all have an equal right to think themselves the best; and if they are heretical in some tenets, in others they are confessedly orthodox. Let us then resemble the bee, that collects the purest nectar out of a diversity of flowers, that we may not quake, but exult, at the second sound of the trumpet, when we shall not be asked of what sect we have been, but be judged according to our works.

I am, &c.

"Wm. Livingston."