Homo, Alias Rev. A. Welton
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That "there is a way, which seemeth right unto a man," but whose end is death, is no more clearly declared in God's word, than it is evident from observation, when directed to modern orthodoxy, as traced in its bearings and results upon the moral and spiritual life of any community. Nothing will be hazarded in saying, that the whole fruit of its pernicious and deceptive errors, is "evil and only evil continually." Nor shall we hazard more in challenging the world to show one instance where endless misery has practically influenced any man, before selfish and vicious, to become a true and sincere Christian. The reverse is invariably the case. They become more sordid, selfish, hypocritical. And when the sentiment has been adopted, that the wicked will not be punished in this world, and that all future consequences of sin may be easily escaped, it has emboldened in crime.
It would not be difficult to show many instances where men, having been discarded the society of liberal Christians, have immediately become clamorous advocates of Partialism. And many of those claimed to be men of charily (if men of charity they have among them) have generally more liberal views, and are attached to their system only through the love of popularity. In fact, few men can at once, bring their minds to a belief of this "primitive doctrine of Satan, as preached to Eve in the garden," that in the day of transgression they shall not surely die, without a long course of training in childhood, and a special and systematic effort to convert them, at last.
It will not be denied that there are some sober, moral, reputable men who believe this error, but it is seriously questioned, whether it had any influence in the formation of their character; the probability is, that with a better faith, they had been better men. For there is nothing in this, grateful or salutary to the growth of Christian piety, or the vital life of godliness in the soul. It has no note of harmony in common with the fundamental principles of the gospel, or with the best desires and feelings of the Christian's heart; but tends to make its believers, like their Ishmaelitish brethren, raise their hand against every man.
If the reader will reverse the application of the foregoing remarks, with such variation as shall make them becoming the opposers of Universalism, he will have the major portion of "an introductory address by Homo," accompanying a pamphlet claiming to be "a faithful representation" of the Southold discussion. The writer of this charitable and truly evangelical address, is undoubtedly the Rev. Alonzo Welton, of Southold, the counsellor and approver of Mr. Henson in his wicked and cowardly assault upon our faith and character. With this latter gentleman, and his aspersions, no ink or paper need be wasted; but the countenance that is given Mr. Welton, as an orthodox clergyman, requires that this address be alluded to. After giving vent to the ebullition already noticed, he continues, "To the exposure of the dangers of this way .... our brother Henson has nobly and ably, interposed his youthful strength. With what success the reader of the following discussion will judge." Truly the reader of that pamphlet will judge how ably and nobly this was done; if not with what success. But; he intended to deceive the reader, and make him believe that that was a true statement of the matter.
The paragraph that follows, presents the climax of piety, (?) and charity, (?) and truth, (?); with which this address abounds; "That he drew out his opponent, and discovered to the audience clearly many of the infidel sentiments of Universalists, embracing the most flagrant and open Materialism, with a mixed motley of semi-Atheism, combined with a tincture of almost every absurdity as held by their standard authors, was but too evident, not only from the numerous extracts quoted, but from the violence, tumult, and profane,language that were used by some choice believers in this moralizing doctrine, proof beyond doubt, that the Southold Society felt responsible for the sentiments, and hence, like 'the wounded bird, fluttered,' or like 'the galled jade, winced.'"
The "numerous extracts" by which our Atheism and Materialism were proved, consist in four garbled sentences and parts of sentences, neither of which occupies two lines in the pamphlet before me. Materialism is proved by the question of father Ballou—"What had God but his own eternal nature to create his creatures from:?" backed by a falsehood of Mr. Henson's, that when he asked me whether I believed in a personal God, I said it was a difficult question. Mr. H. never asked me any such question. I never gave him any answer in reference to any such subject! This is all I need say on this point.
The writer of this introduction, intends to be understood, that the Southold Society employed "violence, tumult, and profane language," although he did not dare to say it expressly. But he knew that no violence was used but by Mr. H. He knew there was no tumult but what "our [his] brother," and his friends commenced. He knew, also, that no profane language, if any was used at all, came from any member of the Universalist Society. If Mr. Welton desires it, we will enter into an investigation of the profanity in Southold, and will pledge ourselves to find as many in his Church who are guilty of this sin, as he shall find in our "Society;" and to find five in his congregation to every one that he shall find in ours. The classical reference at the end of this paragraph is truly indicative of the source whence it emanated, but like most of the author's vulgar stories, and low witticisms, it is borrowed.
He thinks our defeat further proved by the selection of remedies applied to heal the "gaping wounds," and by the "affected flourish of names and numbers" heralded forth "for the purpose of hiding" our "almost complete discomfiture."
Undoubtedly, the flourish of names and numbers is sufficiently trying to one so fond of popularity as Mr. Welton, who, from the first, objected to the discussion—that it would "call away public attention" from himself; and who had resorted to the lowest trickery to secure a "popular" audience. But, I doubt, whether even this would have called forth these bitter, unchristian reflections against his neighbors, had he not felt that there was a moral power in our faith, which had made better those who had been led to embrace it; and had he not also been convinced that there was no other way of sustaining a sinking cause but by misrepresenting and slandering those opposed.
He concludes by saying, "The following pages will show the reader that the cause of truth has not suffered in the contest," etc. That the truth did not suffer in the contest is probably true; but that it did suffer in those "pages," all will admit who peruse them.
That this introduction was written by the individual referred to, we presume his friends will not deny. No attempt to shrink from the responsibility will avail him, for the sentiments and language have often been expressed by him, both in public and in private, and the style is known to be his. And I will hope that, rather than aggravate his fault by denial, he will repent of his sins and seek to be forgiven of God and man.
I have only now to say, that we are perfectly satisfied with the discussion and its results. The course pursued and the feelings evinced by our Methodist and orthodox friends, show that they are not. If, therefore, they think "our brother Henson" too "youthful" a champion, let them select their mightiest "man of valor," and if they deem "a boy" unworthy of his prowess, they shall be accommodated with an opponent of whatever "calibre" they choose.
J. K. Ingalls.
Southold, L. I, June, 1848.
|Source: Joshua King Ingalls, “Homo, Alias Rev. A. Welton,” Universalist Union 7, no. 30 (June 11, 1842): 366-368.|
- We take no pleasure in alluding to the follies and moral delinquencies of our fellow men, and more especially when those delinquencies are exhibited in the clerical profession; for every thing of this kind is directly calculated to undermine confidence in the ministry, and lead lo a latent, if not openly avowed skepticism. If we may not look for purity of motive and integrity of conduct, at the holy altar, where in the wide world shall we seek it.
- Our readers will bear witness that we have seldom seized upon the gross moral defections, which have been but too common in the clerical ranks for some years past, and blazoned them to the world. As a general thing we regard it unwise. A constant detail of iniquity—a familiarity with crime, is not conducive to the moral purity of any community, much less when it is a detail of "spiritual wickedness in high places." These delinquencies may all be found in the ranks of those opposed to us as a religions denomination; still they are calculated to degrade the ministerial office, and will of necessity excite distrust in our own ministry, to a greater or less degree. And just so far as this distrust prevails, will their usefulness be impaired.
- But when mere pretenders to spirituality, under the ministerial garb, go entirely out of their way to assail their belters—to vilify and traduce those whose moral character and standing would be a pattern for them to copy, it is well to remind them of their own frail condition and standing—to hold the mirror up to their view, at least so far as to remind them of the excellent admonition—'Physician, heal thyself.'
- These and similar considerations must be our apology for admitting the following note of "Inquirer." It is proper for us to say that it comes from one whom we know, and knowing, in whom we have confidence. If Mr. Welton of Sourhold, is identical with the one of our correspondent, he needs to blush for his course, and is a very suitable person to indite such an article as "Homo," and preface such a work as Mr. Benson's.
- We speak plainly, because the circumstances are aggravating. If we are doing Mr. Welton the least injustice, we shall be prompt in rectifying it, when satisfied thereof. But he has stepped entirely out of the path of his duty to vent his feelings against Universalism and Universalists, and must abide the consequences.
Br. Price—In reading an article in your last paper, headed "Homo alias Rev. A. Welton," I am led to inquire whether this is the same reverend gentleman that figured so conspicuously at different times in Poughkeepsie during the last 10 or 15 years. Is this the man that came there from the South with great pretensions to wealth and family connections, being related to no less a personage than the immortal Washington himself, &c. &c? By these and such like representations, the good people of that place were induced to build for him a church and parsonage, and thus he commenced operations in swelling style! But his race was short. His adherents, one after another, dropped off from him, and before a long time he was left almost "alone in his glory." In consequence of alledged improprieties, the members of the society felt constrained, much lo their mortification, to call an ecclesiastical council to pass upon several trifling charges. The result was, he left the congregation, and left Poughkeepsie. Where he went to I know not.
The next we hear from him, he is in Albany; remains there a short lime, then leaves, much the same success having attended his labors, as at Poughkeepsie.
Again I lose track of him for a season; but "in the course of human events," this man comes back to Poughkeepsie, and on entering, published his card, boasting that he had come among them once more, with the intention to live down the bad impressions of the people of that beautiful village! By great efforts a subscription was set in motion, and after much exertion another church erected; and also a dwelling. In this new edifice meetings were kept up by him for a time, but not long. And to make short of a long story, the reverend gentleman left the town—his society having become divided—part uniting with the former society, another portion formed themselves into a Congregational Society, and the remainder are scattered to the four winds. The church was sold by execution to satisfy the claims of the builders; and if I am correctly informed, the dwelling shared much the same fate.
It is but just lo add, that in dividing and scattering the society, he was much indebted to the labors of the renowned Jedediah Burchard!
From Poughkeepsie this man was next heard from in New Jersey. He was remarkably fond of a good horse ; and it has been said, with how much truth I know not, that he is quite at home when traveling in company with those jovial souls that are fond of the "good creature," especially if he thinks himself incog.
|Source: Inquirer, “‘Homo,’ Again,” Universalist Union 7, no. 32 (June 25, 1842): 505.|