JUDSON’S LETTERS

(From the Baptist Register.)

“BROTHER JUDSON notices in the following note to brother Allen the sentence in his letter on retrenchment, which gave rise to many injudicious strictures, and in a manner that we hope will put to silence those who have too readily impugned him:

EXTRACTS FROM CORRESPONDENCE.

MAULMEIN, July 28, 1833.

‘DEAR BROTHER ALLEN: - I have received yours of June 15, 1833, and the valuable donation of tracts, almost all of which I have disposed of to excellent advantage. If you should please to remember us again, permit me to say that there is a great call for ‘Pengilly,’ ‘Wisdom's Voice,’ and other Temperance tracts, the letter on female dress, and the memoir of Mee Shway-ee.

Please to tell your friend who objects to the “heterodox” sentiment contained in the sentence: “Some, yea many, precious souls might have been redeemed from the quenchless fire of hell,” &c., that he must take it in a popular, not strictly theological sense, and not make a man an offender for a word. Pray remember that I was writing a letter to the ladies, and not a supplement to ‘Calvin’s Institutes.’

I rejoice to hear of your increasing prosperity, but have only time to say so, and remain

Your affectionate brother,
A. JUDSON.

Rev. Ira M. Allen.’”

REMARKS.

WHEN we exposed the fallacy and, as we conceive, blasphemy of Mr. Judson’s Letter to the American Laides, it was not our design to make a man an offender for a word, nor to impugn him unjustly. But a solemn sense of duty to God and to our brethren, drew from us an honest expression of the abhorrence in which we hold his doctrines; not because we thought them unpopular, but because they were radically and theologically wrong, hostile to the word of God, and calculated to supercede and treat with contempt the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ, by attributing to his new plan more efficiency and worth than to the blood of Christ. We could not view this as a single-handed stroke, causually given by a slip of Mr. Judson’s unruly pen, but we viewed it as the language of the idolized oracle for the East Indies, and coming to us endorsed by the missionary fraternity of the United States, and eulogized by nearly all the editors of religious periodicals in our country. The particular passage in Mr. J.’s letter, for which the above note is intended to serve either as an apology or a justification, is expressed in the following words:

“Some, yea many, precious souls might have been redeemed from the quenchless fires of hell, where now they must lie and suffer to all eternity, had you not been afraid of being thought unfashionable, and not like other folks.”

Mr. J.’s new plan of redemption is that the ladies strip off their ornamental and costly apparel, and hang these upon the cross; and thus fully substitute them in the place of him “who came from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah,” and who, when hanging on the cross, cried, “It is finished!” and gave up the ghost.

By reference to the fourth number of our first volume, a more copious view of Mr. Judson’s doctrine and our objections. to it will be found.

For the present we will examine and see how far the above extract from his letter to Mr. Allen will obviate our objections.

And first, he acknowledges the sentiment to be heterodox. Now this acknowledgment would do if accompanied with suitable penitence and reformation; but this we do not discover, for he immediately attempts to palliate his wickedness· by the most flimsy and trifling excuses imaginable, and by throwing censure on those ‘who have objected to his blasphemy, by representing them so very censorious as to attempt to make him an offender for a word, which if true, would be contrary to the divine rule.

Second. He says “that it must be taken in a popular, not strictly theological sense.” By this expression, if we understand him, he appeals from the word of God, which is the standard of truth, to the standard of popularity. This appeal may indeed answer his purpose, for his abominable doctrines have never been objected to as being unpopular, but as being untrue and blasphemous; so that this appeal, so far from extenuating his guilt, only goes to show that he has divers weights in his bag - a great and a small. But the scriptures assure us that these things are abomination in the sight of the Lord.

But last, he would excuse himself because he was not writing a supplement to “Calvin’s Institutes.” But does it then follow that he has a right to utter falsehood in the name of the Lord, and professing to be a messenger of the Lord merely because he is not writing a supplement to another man’s writings? Who can bid him God’s speed I Can you, reader? We cannot - we dare not.

If we could persuade ourself that these errors were at the first a slip of the pen, certainly his apology shows that upon mature deliberation he chooses to justify himself; and. still contend for them in a popular sense, notwithstanding his tacit acknowledgment that they are theologically heterodox and wrong. What latitude Mr. Judson is entitled to when writing to the ladies, we shall leave others to judge; for our own part, we have ever believed that it was as necessary to preach and to write the truth when addressing the ladies as when addressing any other part of the human family.

NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
July 2, 1834

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorial Volume 1
Pages 138 - 141