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‘ [267] eternal welfare of their children, to send them where they can obtain instruction on the Sabbath.’ ‘If thou wert blotted out, our moral sun,’ he says in a sonnet to the1 day,2 earth would ‘resemble hell.’ With the Puritan respect for Sabbath eve he notices what he believes to be the first instance of opening a ball in Boston on Saturday evening, hopes it will be the last, and calls it an 3 ‘outrage . . . upon the moral sense of this community.’ In April, he remarks with gratification on the prevailing ‘extraordinary excitement on the subject of religion,’4 and the unusual solemnity and increased attendance in Boston; defends revivals against the charge of being ‘the wildness of fanaticism,’ but holds religious conversions to be rational occurrences, not requiring ‘special grace or a miraculous interposition of the spirit’; looks to ‘extensive revivals of pure religion’ to save the country from great plagues and sudden destruction; asserts that emancipation of the slaves must be the work of Christianity and of the churches; hopes the present revival may prove to be animated by the Holy Spirit, and bids the mourning slaves take courage, ‘for your redemption is at hand’!5 The May anniversaries

1 Lib. 1.64.

2 ‘What a most conscientious and devout “legalist” I was when I wrote it,’ he writes to Oliver Johnson, May 25, 1874. ‘In my blindness I adopted Dr. Beecher's preposterous figure of speech, as applied to the first day of the week, that “the Sabbath is the moral sun of the universe,” and so logically predicted that chaos would come again if it were blotted out—i.e., not observed in an orthodox fashion—a fashion, however, not according to Luther, Melanchthon, Calvin, or any of the great lights of the Reformation, of which fact I was then ignorant.’ Dr. Beecher's use of this figure, however, at Pittsburgh, in the summer of 1836, called forth a protest from Mr. Garrison against such ‘extravagant and preposterous language’ (Lib. 6.118).

3 Lib. 1.47.

4 Lib. 1.57.

5 To a multitude, indeed, both before and behind the scenes, who connected this deep excitement with the revolutionary upheavals of the Old World, the millennial day of judgment seemed very near. An extract from the Rev. Lyman Beecher's discourse on the preservation of the Sabbath, copied into the Liberator (1.172) for its characteristic ‘glowing eloquence and startling solemnity,’ reads like a fragment of Millerite oratory, and shows how the way was paved for the Second-Adventist delusion of the next decade. (Compare Goodell's “Slavery and Anti-slavery,” p.387, and the prospectus of the Liberator printed on the cover of the “Thoughts on Colonization,” June, 1832.)

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