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THE APPARITION.

I say the pulpit, in the sober use
Of its legitimate, peculiar powers,
Must stand acknowledged, while the world shall stand
The most important and effectual guard
Support and ornament of virtue's cause.

COW PER

About fifty miles from Albany, in the proud state of New-York, there is a pleasantly situated little village, which we call Harmony. Some events which occurred there a few years since, may perhaps interest those readers who have the good taste to prefer exhibitions of our national and republican peculiarities of character to descriptions of European manners, and the good nature to concede, that the efforts of those American writers who are attempting to awaken the love and the pride of national literature among their countrymen, deserve, at least, to be tolerated. The southeastern line of Harmony is bounded by a high, rugged mountain, that seems to look frowningly down on the neat, thriving farms stretching along the borders of a small river, which winds silently through copse and plain at its base. The meanderings of this quiet stream are marked

on the western border by a narrow strip of rich meadow land, displaying alternately patches of mowing, fields of corn, or of that vegetable which an European might with propriety term a republican root, as its discovery and use have more perhaps than any other resource, contributed to support an increase of population among the laboring classes in the old world. The broad harvest moon had just risen above the rugged mountain, and there trembled over the landscape that soft silvery lustre which so frequently tempts the poet to write and the maniac to rove. But neither poet or maniac had ever been known to exist within the precincts of Harmony, and it seemed quite improbable Luna should there find a worshipper. Yet one there was, and a fair one too, regarding that bright moon with an attention as absorbing, if not a devotion as sincere, as ever a devotee of Ephesus paid at the shrine of Diana. Lois Lawton was the last surviving child of the clergyman who presided over the only church which had then been organized in Harmony. He was a Presbyterian, a good preacher and a strictly conscientious. man, and but for two reasons might have been very popular among his parishioners. In the first place he did not sufficiently regard the feelings of the minority who were from principle or prejudice (it is sometimes very difficult to determine which predominates in the human mind) opposed to his settlement; and in the second place he strenuously insisted on the fulfilment of a promise which the majority had made him, namely,

that at the expiration of five years from the time of his installation, there should be a convenient and handsome house for divine worship erected in the town. No one disputed the need of such a building, as the congregation were obliged to assemble alternately at a schoolhouse and a hall. The unchurchlike character of the hall, where the Fourth-of-July revels, and New Year balls, were held as regularly as the summer and winter came round, was, in the opinion of all the good women, quite a scandal to their religious services. The men were not quite so scrupulous. They wisely considered that the building of a church would involve the payment of taxes, and that inconvenience came more home to the sensibilities of many rich men than the recollection that where the fiddle had resounded, prayers and holy hymns were to be fervently breathed, or devoutly sung. But finally Mr. Lawton, by dint of private expostulations with his church members, and public reproofs from the pulpit, succeeded so far that a town meeting was warned to be held, to see what steps should be taken to provide ways and means for building a meeting-house.

There is no record of a nation on earth whose origin, progress, character and institutions were, or are, in their predominating features, similar to ours. Democracies have been, and governments called, free; but the spirit of independence and the consciousness of unalienable rights, were never before transfused into the minds of a whole people. The trammels of rank have always been, since the

days of Nimrod, worn in the old world; and there men, even when attempting to throw off the yoke of despotism, will be found stooping to established customs, and wearing the fardels' of fashion as if still in the harness. But in these United States no idol of nobility was ever set up; and consequently, the people have never been degraded by cringing at the nod of a fellow mortal. Our citizens walk the earth with a consciousness of moral dignity which places them on a level with the king upon his throne.

The feeling of equality which they proudly cherish does not proceed from an ignorance of their station, but from the knowledge of their rights; and it is this knowledge which will render it so exceedingly difficult for any tyrant ever to triumph over the liberties of our country. However, to know the rights of man is but half the benefit imparted by our free institutions—they teach also to know his duties. Persons accustomed only to those establishments where the interests of church and state are inseparably blended, and where some particular form of devotion is enforced and supported by authority, can hardly believe that were religious worship left wholly to the free choice and voluntary support of the people, it would be adequately maintained Yet our history will conclusively prove that piety of heart and freedom of mind are not only perfectly compatible, but that the cxercise of the understanding in the examination of creeds, and the volition of the will in the admission of truth, are favorable to the cause

of religion and the Bible. Is this doubted ? then let the caviller point to the christian nation in which are so few infidels as here ; here, where freedom of inquiry, and conscience, and belief, and worship, are not only enjoyed, but exercised without the least shadow of civil control.

These remarks are not foreign to my subject, though they may seem misplaced, and actually be uninteresting or dull. It was only the conscientious feeling of duty, which freedom of inquiry and conduct brings home with a sense of awful responsibility to those who profess to be Christians and know themselves free, that would have induced the frugal, painstaking, unostentatious citizens of Harmony to tax themselves with the expense of erecting a handsome house for religious worship, when they were many of them still dwelling in their small, inconvenient log tenements. The town patent had been originally granted to a Dutchman belonging to Albany, and the first settlers were descendants from the Dutch colonists; but about the year 1790 the unoccupied parts of the patent were purchased by a Yankee speculator, and most of the later emigrants had been from New-England. The inhabitants, however, lived harmoniously together. Not that they agreed exactly in sentiment on every subject, but they seemed for some time to cherish a spirit of mutual forbearance. The Dutchman suffered his Yankee visiter to talk without interruption and argue without contradiction, and in return for this politeness the

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