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learning, ingenuity, wit, eloquence. Imagine to yourself a small band of fishermen from Genesareth, going into the cities of Greece, reasoning with their wise men, confuting their arguments, and drawing after them multitudes of followers, adherents to a cause, which was held in universal contempt, and which subjected every person, who embraced it, to privations, reproach, and sufferings. Imagine these men in the synagogues of the Jews, reasoning with the learned doctors on the most difficult points of the law, and proving the truth of their doctrines from the very arguments brought to confute them. Imagine St Paul, who tells us he was rude in speech, and weak in bodily presence, imagine this man standing before a powerful king, and uttering his sentiments in a strain of bold, nervous, manly eloquence, which made the heathen monarch himself exclaim, 'Paul, almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.' Imagine him in the enlightened city of Athens, boldly chiding the Athenians for their idolatry, and their superstition, preaching Jesus and the resurrection, and making known the existence, attributes, and glory of the one true God. By what power did Paul and Barnabas preach and teach in Lystra, till the people exclaimed, 'The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men? By what magic did these Apostles, uninformed and unpractised in the arts of the world, impress with conviction and fill with astonishment the minds not only of the ignorant and simple, but of the learned, the wise, the powerful? What sufferings did they not endure? Imprisoned, scourged, and stoned; reviled and mocked; persecuted and despised, what influence could we expect they would have, in preaching the unwelcome doctrines of the cross, convincing the world of error, conquering the omnipotence of opinion, subduing the pride of knowledge and wisdom, destroying the dominion of prejudice, and in severing the unhallowed union of religion and vice, of unprincipled ambition and morals, of devotion and debasing ceremonies?
But they succeeded; prejudice and pride yielded before them; the ignorant were enlightened, and the obstinate convinced; and the religion of Jesus rapidly spread itself throughout the whole civilised world. The Apostles themselves travelled over many parts of Asia and Africa, and to the remote regions of Europe. One generation had not VOL. XX.-No. 47.
passed away, before churches were established in all the land of the patriarchs, in Greece, Italy, Egypt, and the far distant countries of Ethiopia; and this, by the means we have been considering. The spirit of persecution breathed its venom; the arm of tyranny was raised in anger, and the followers of Jesus were led to martyrdom. They triumphed in their fate, and gloriously tested the strength of their faith, the firmness of their principles, and the joyful hopes of their religion, by a sacrifice of their lives. And notwithstanding these appalling obstacles, this religion advanced with a celerity altogether beyond any anticipations, which could have been warranted by the most fortunate circumstances. Had it been sanctioned by the belief, and supported by the edicts of princes and governors; had it been promulgated by preachers of the highest worldly wisdom and attainments; had it flattered the vanity and encouraged the vices of men; had it appealed to their passions, their interests, their feelings; even then, the broadest latitude of human probability could never have encouraged the hope, that its success would be so rapid, extensive, and permanent.
What then shall we say, when we compare the obstacles, the means, and the results? Is nothing but the power of man here? Since the foundation of the world, when has the power of man been adequate to such effects? It was a remark of one of the ancient fathers, who lived fifteen hundred years ago, to the unbelievers of his time; If ye will not believe the miracles of the Apostles, ye must at least believe this miracle, that the world was by such instruments, without miracles, converted.' In his opinion it was not a less wonderful, and in itself, a less incredible fact, that the Gospel should succeed as it did, than that the Apostles should work the miracles recorded in their writings. Without referring to a supernatural agency, one is comparatively as unaccountable as the other. But the fact of the success of the Gospel is before our eyes. It is confirmed by authentic historical records. The experience of every age has given additional proof; and one simple question remains. How is it to be accounted for? To this question there is but one answer, and it is short. What the Evangelists wrote was true; Christ was the power of God and the wisdom of God;' his religion was from Heaven, and the Apostles published it
to the world as they were instructed by him, and assisted by the Holy Spirit of the Most High. The religion of Jesus has gone forth to every quarter of the globe, taking up its abode especially in the most enlightened and civilised countries, where its claims could be examined, and its excellence estimated. It has made reason its champion, and enlisted the affections on its side. It has become triumphant by the mild and persuasive influence of its doctrines; its support is in the convictions and consciences of men. Where has it prevailed, and has not carried light to the ignorant, consolation to the afflicted, and hope to the desponding? If such a religion be not true, well may we exclaim, with the astonished and inquiring Roman, What is truth?
ART. VI.—Pulaski Vindicated from an Unsupported Charge, inconsiderately or malignantly introduced in Judge Johnson's Sketches of the Life and Correspondence of Major General Nathaniel Greene. 8vo. pp. 37. Baltimore,
THE dismemberment of Poland, effected by the perfidy and ambition of three despotic powers, has ever been regarded, by the friends of liberty and justice, with the utmost indignation and abhorrence. It was a deed of infamy, which can find no parallel in history, and which, under any of the forms of civil society, would be looked upon as a crime, that could only be expiated by the severest penalties of violated law. The government of Poland, it is true, had grown weak by factions, and was sunk under the burthen of its ill organised constitution. It had once been the pride of the Poles to rally round the standard of what was called, and what in reality was in some of its features, a republican system. The privilege of election, that great palladium of political right, was enjoyed to a considerable extent, and for a time afforded a salutary check to absolute tyranny in the rulers. In the best periods of its administration, however, the Polish government was composed of strangely mixed and discordant elements. The King was elected, but the authority conferred by the crown was almost nothing; the Diet, or legislative
assembly, was elected, but this assembly was always a theatre of anarchy and faction; it was composed of nobles, who looked only to their own interest, and who were encouraged by each other's example to practise any enormity without shame, to gain their ends. The mass of the people were serfs, degraded by slavery and ignorance. In short, the government of Poland was of a most anomalous character, exhibiting the singular union of a corrupt and factious aristocracy, a monarchy without power, and a democracy without freedom.
Such a system must necessarily decay and go to ruin; the nobles perpetually encroached on the royal prerogatives, few and contracted as they were; they controlled the elections; and at length they took the government effectually into their hands, by introducing into the Diet the liberum veto, or the privilege of any member by his single voice to dissolve the assembly, and stop further proceedings. This was usurping a power, which the king did not possess, and which was plainly destructive of all the good purposes to be effected by a deliberative body. The responsibility of public officers was destroyed, for none could fail to find a friend in the Diet, who would stop any investigation into his conduct, if occasion required.
It was at the time when these evils in the government had grown to their greatest height, and its vital energies were paralysed, that the cabinets of Russia, Austria, and Prussia, formed the insidious design of taking advantage of the weakness of Poland to crush its political existence, and, in the true spirit of freebooters, to divide among themselves the plunder of the country, which they had conspired to dismember and ruin. This scheme of infamy was carried into effect, and has fixed a stigma on the character of its projectors, which will forever remain as one of the deepest stains in the history of the civilised world.
That the Poles should be roused by so flagrant an act of indignity and oppression, was not surprising. Civil wars broke out; the despots procured partisans by the influence of money and intrigue, and by the force of arms; they spared no pains to kindle the flame of civil discord, that they might the more easily conquer and divide. The spirit of freedom is natural to man, and it was not yet extinct in the
breasts of many of the Poles, notwithstanding the degraded state to which they were reduced as a nation. The crisis called out some men of high and noble minds, genuine patriots, in whom the love of country and of freedom overcame every other passion, and incited them to deeds of heroism and valor, that have seldom been surpassed. To many
distinguished Poles, who signalised themselves at that time, and during the succeeding struggles, might the words of the poet be applied with scarcely less force, than to the renowned hero, whose fame they celebrate;
'But should we wish to warm us on our way
Might scatter fire through ice, like Hecla's flame.'
Among those, who stood in the foremost ranks of patriotism and valor, at the beginning of the contest, who were the first to resist oppression and raise the standard of freedom and right, was Count Pulaski. He fought to restore the falling liberties of his country, with an ardor which nothing could repress, and with a perseverance which no obstacles could diminish, while a gleam of hope remained, that Poland could be saved from the destiny threatened by its enemies. The combined power of three empires drove him from his country, and he arrived in America in time to fight for our own cause of independence, and to die on a foreign shore in defending those principles of justice and liberty, whose growth a wicked conspiracy of despots had blasted on his native soil. As Americans, it is our duty to cherish the fame of Pulaski; he came to us in the midst of our wants and our perils, when we needed the aid of soldiers like himself, ardent in our cause for its own sake, and tried by the severest discipline of experience; he died in assisting to procure the freedom, which we now enjoy, and which every American deems the first of his earthly privileges. We care not to look farther; to these claims alone we are willing to yield up our hearts. In a case like this, we should revolt at the thought of removing the veil, and searching for personal motives; these no doubt he had, for without them he could not have been a man ; but it is not by his private personal views, whatever they may have been, that his character is to be weighed; nor by the cold cant that he was a soldier of for