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Mr. Choate on Dr. Adams's Sermons.

the Essex Street Church, in the city of Boston, enjoys the pastoral supervision of the Rev. Nehemiah Adams, D. D., and the distinguished confraternization of the Honorable Rufus Choate — a combination of felicities which hardly any ecclesiastical body of this age or of any country can boast. The twenty-fifth anniversary of the settlement of Dr. Adams was held last Monday evening, and Mr. Choate made a beautiful speech upon the occasion, in which he principally advised the congregation to study the Greek and Roman languages, and by no means to abstain from the perusal of Shakespeare. Passing to a consideration of the ministry of Dr. Adams, Mr. Choate declared that its chief charm for him had been, that the Doctor had never preached anything but pure [59] and undefiled religion, and had never hurt the feelings of the Honorable Mr. Choate, who said:

Never in an introductory prayer, never in a hymn, occasionally, or in the ordinary course of public worship, never by an illustration in any sermon, by any train of association, right or wrong, have I been carried back into the world that I had left.

From this it will be seen how exceedingly Mr. Choate has enjoyed his religion, and how much the church must have enjoyed him, and how perfectly serene everything must have been in Essex Street. This is why the Rev. Nehemiah Adams has been presented by his congregation with a piano-forte, valued at $400; and with $2,000 in hard cash and “other valuable articles.” In truth, Mr. Choate argues the matter with great profundity. Hear him!

“ The great concrete of practical politics, the workings of our special confederated system, the laws and conditions of our very artificial nationality, will he — the clergyman — permit me to enquire whether or not his deep studies, aliunde et diverso intuitu, have enabled him, to know anything of them?” That is to say, a clergyman may understand Shakespeare and should understand Greek and Latin, but politics he cannot understand. “He will” ) said Mr. Choate, “have learned from his Bible that the race of man is of kindred blood; but hie cannot know how far these glorious generalities are modified by civil society.”

Mr. Choate is clearly advancing. Some years ago he discovered that the “generalities” of the Declaration [60] of Independence were glittering. And now he has discovered that the generalities of the Holy Bible are glorious. In fact if we understand him at all, he would cut off the clergyman from all interest in human affairs, from all observation of a government, without which there could be no churches and no religion, from a judicious direction of the political sympathies and emotions of his parishioners, from all attempt to save them from passion and selfishness in their politics, and from a bad conscience in their political relations. Now Mr. Choate has read more than most men in history, as is evident enough from the countless historical allusions which crowd his orations; and he knows that in no age at all remarkable for spiritual progress and the development of religions liberty, have piety and politics submitted to the divorce which he proposes. If we would have our religion worth anything — if we would secure for it a practical influence and a computable value — we can no more separate it from our politics than we can separate it from our domestic relations. If there be in this question of Slavery no moral element — if it be perfectly indifferent in the sight of God, whether we are humane and brotherly and benevolent, or the opposite, so we do but join the church of the Rev. Dr. Adams--then Mr. Choate is right and his pastor is right. But this is substantially suggesting that in politics a man cannot go morally wrong. We have hardly reached that point; but we cannot, of course, keep pace with Mr. Choate. For it seems to us, that if politics have invaded the pulpits of New England, [61] the invasion has been strictly limited to matters of common morals. By the discussion of these, we should be very sorry to have Mr. Choate disturbed.

April 2, 1859.

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