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One very important result of the proceedings thus sketched, was Mr. Hale's purchase of the Broadway Tabernacle, and the formation therein of a pure and flourishing Congregational church. This transaction is thus described by Mr. Hallock.
“ This purchase was made in the year 1840. Property and credit were at the lowest ebb. Money was worth two per cent. a month. Rich men felt poor, and the poor men felt like beggars. In such a state of things it was announced that the Tabernacle was about to be sold under a foreclosure. It had been occupied as a Presbyterian church, and a pure Gospel had been preached there. It was now liable to fall into the hands of errorists, of one kind or another, and in that case, instead of being what it had been, and was intended to be, it would become a grand center of mischief. Various efforts were made among the good people of the Presbyterian denomination to raise the necessary funds, but without success. At length David Hale came to me, and inquired if I had any objection to his buying the Tabernacle. I was astounded at the suggestion, knowing that he really had no money to spare, and that all the receipts of the firm would be required for a considerable time for the payment of debts; yet I gave my consent. I however remarked to him that his motives would be misconstrued, -that it would be said he was speculating in churches, and all that,--and I would advise him, on the spot, to place the matter in such a shape that under no circumstances could he realize more than seven per cent. on the money invested. He approved of my suggestion, and governed himself accordingly. He might have made $15,000 or $20,000 out of the transaction, and he fully believed so at the time; but instead of this, he raised money wherever he could obtain it, either from his own resources, the good will of personal friends, or friends of the cause, and then loaned it to the society at seven per cent. Such was the effect of the operation, though in form he was the purchaser and owner of the property. But this is not all. For several years after the purchase, he had the sole management of the building, renting it from day to day, and evening to evening, as he had opportunity, for public purposes, receiving pay for the same, and in various ways expending time and labor about it,—tor no part of which has he ever received or desired to receive a single cent for his own benefit. Every dollar realized from such meetings, or from the building in any way, has been applied toward the extinction of indebtedness upon the property, the payment of interest, &c. The result of the matter is, that a considerable portion of the cost of the edifice has been extinguished by its own earnings. It is now the property of the society worshiping in it, at a cost not equal to half its value; and the only pecuniary advantage that Mr. Hale has ever derived from it, is, that he has been largely out of pocket on account of the purchase, and still is, to the extent of $4000 or $5000, which, however, we understand, is about to be paid to his heirs.
“ Take it all in all, the purchase of the Tabernacle ought to be regarded as the crowning act of his life. For not only was it one of the most liberal acts (considering the pecuniary circumstances of the purchaser at the time) to be found in the annals of benevolence, but it was a parent act, of which the offspring have already risen, in goodly numbers, both in this city and Brooklyn. Since the purchase of the Tabernacle, and by a process easily traced back to that event, not less than ten or eleven Congregational churches have been organized in the two cities, most of which are large and fiourishing, and provided with pastors of distinguished talents and piety.”—pp. 140, 141.
The liberality of Mr. Hale is worthy of special mention. His partner testifies, that, when he had money, he freely laid it on the altar of Christ; and that he often said that the most he wanted money for was to give it away. On this point, we quote the following statement from the memoir.
“ From the beginning of his Christian life, Mr. Hale was distinguished for liberality. In Boston, when his means were limited, he gave hundreds of dollars to benevolent objects, and when afterwards in this city his income increased, his contributions increased, as they should, in a higher ratio, until he gave away thousands annually, and in the aggregate tens of thousands, to promote various objects of Christian benevolence.
* Of late years Mr. Hale's contributions were turned very much into the channel of Congregational enterprises. This was not owing to mere sectarian feeling. As we have seen, Congregationalism was with him a matter of principle. He did not value it as an ism, but as an embodiment of the free Spirit of the Gospel, as the best system of church organization for all the practical ends of such organization. Therefore he contributed his money most freely where the principles of the Puritans would be honored. But besides this, he was of opinion that Christians who had the means of doing good on a large sale should have specific objects under their care, as for instance that one should sustain a college, another a church, a third a missionary, &c., and so he looked after interests which others were apt to overlook. I can not ascertain how much he contributed towards Congregational objects. He gave thousands of dollars to individual churches in this city and in Brooklyn, and sometimes assumed very heavy responsibilities for a new church enterprise. He gave large sums of money to feeble churches or new organizations in Western New York, and in regions farther west. He usually supported from his own purse one or more missionaries at the West ; at one time three, at an average salary of $500. The establishment of a Congregational church in Detroit would not have been attempted but for him. When the brethren who contemplated forming that church felt that they were too few and feeble for such an undertaking, Mr. Hale pledged himself to pay the salary of the pastor ($600 per annun) for two years, while at the same time he supported a missionary evangelist anong the feeble churches of Michigan. Says the late pastor of the church in Detroit, • Two thousand dollars came from him to me and through my hands to sustain the cause in Michigan.”—pp. 118, 119, 120.
Did our limits permit, we would gladly transfer to our pages the description which his biographer has given, with clearness and fidelity, and we doubt not with impartiality and truth, of the prominent features of Mr. Hale's character. We must content ourselves with a single paragraph ; which we select, because it sets forth an example worthy of imitation by all who have any thing to do in ecclesiastical affairs. After describing Mr. Hale's devotion to the idea of duty-a devotion, which, if occasion offered, would have made him an unflinching martyr-his frankness, his integrity, his aversion to stratagem and trick and maneuvering, his firmness and decision, Mr. Thompson observes :
** Mr. Hale's conclusions upon moral subjects seemed at times to be formed intuitively. Especially was this true where great principles were involved. There were certain principles of moral science, ecclesiastical polity, and political economny, which he had weighed and settled. Some of these were original in the sense of having been thought out by and for himself; all of them had been made his own by being subjected to the rigid analysis of his own mind. His principles were fixed, and he usually made up his mind promptly and decidedly; and when his mind was made up in view of truth and duty, who or what could change him? Opposition could not turn him ; neither obloquy nor entreaty could induce him to retract. And yet with all this decision and firmness, which, in the view of some, amounted even to obstinacy, there was one principle to which, as a Congregationalist, he faithfully
adhered ; and that was, always to yield to the decision of the majority. This he invariably did with good grace. He never attempted to form a party in the church, or to make others uncomfortable by constant irritation. I have seen him laugh heartily at being conquered in a fair debate. He could not be driven from his principles, but he would cease to drive them, when he found that the case was fairly decided against him. Hence he made no difficulty in the church. In the present Tabernacle Church, he had no occasion to contend for the right of speech, and he respected the rights of others. In debate he was always calm and cheerful. The perfect self-control which enabled him when assaulted in the Exchange to refrain from blows or anger, and when spit upon by an excited politician, on board a steamboat, calmly to wipe his face with his handkerchief, remarking only that it was “a dirty trick,”-that complete self-possession to which he had attained, made him at once a formidable and an agreeable opponent in an argument. He would not betray anger in debate even under strong provocation, but would endeavor to allay excitement in others; and even when he found that his own views were likely to prevail, if the minority was large, and the proposed measure likely to produce ill feeling, he would not press it to a decision, but would ask a postponement for the sake of friendly conference, or would endeavor to hartnonize the parties on some common basis. His influence on the church in this respect was eminently happy."-pp. 122, 123, 124.
A very pleasing view is given in this memoir of Mr. Hale in his domestic relations, as a Christian father, son and husband. We will give a single illustration. In 1846, he received a severe blow by the death of a daughter, Mrs. Lydia Devan, whom he tenderly loved, and whom two years before he had given up, with a joyful resignation, and a grateful sense of the honor thus conferred by Christ upon him, to the missionary work in China. The intelligence of this event reached New York on the day of the weekly prayer-meeting of the Tabernacle Church. At that meeting, Mr. Hale was in his place, the object of regard and sympathy to all present. His bereavement, though not formally mentioned, affected the selection of the hymn, and gave direction to the remarks of the pastor.
“Scarcely were these remarks finished when Mr. Hale rose and said, 'I suppose you hardly expect me to speak to-night, and yet I know not why I should not speak to-night if ever. I can not mourn for my daughter (and here his utterance choked) I bless God that He gave ine such a daughter, and that He inclined her to go and serve Him among the heathen; and now that He has taken her to Himself, shall I mourn? How different are my feelings from those of a parent whose son has fallen on a Mexican battle-field! I might have reason to mourn if a child of mine had died in such a war as that in which we are engaged against a weak, half-civilized, sister nation. But now I have no tears to shed. Much as I love my children, I can not expect always to have them around me-to dandle them always upon my knee; nor do I desire to; I have something else to do, and I trust they have also. I have consecrated them to God, and have endeavored to train them for usefulness, and now if Christ honors one of them with a call to serve Him any where in His kingdom, shall I object and complain? No; I will rejoice at it. We ouglit not to talk of such things as a sacrifice, and make an ado about parting with our children for Christ. I say to these young converts (it was a season of revival) if any of you shall go to serve Him among the heathen, I'll help you with my prayers, I'll help you with my money, but I won't shed a tear ; I'll rejoice over it.' "--pp. 110, 111.
Mr. Hale's active usefulness was terminated very suddenly and unexpectedly on the 11th of June, 1848, by an attack of paralysis. His strong constitution soon rallied for a time, and he was able to journey for his health ; but after a few months another disease supervened, and terminated his life on the 20th of January, 1849. He died, not only resigned to the Divine will which dictated his disease, but desirous to depart, commending his soul to his Savior, and his children to that faith in Jesus by which he had been ruled in life and was supported in death.
A large part of the volume before us, 376 pages ont of 520, is occupied by "Selections from the Miscellaneous Writings" of Mr. Hale. These are characterized by profound thought, and directness and vigor of language; and, being for the most part on subjects of deep and lasting interest, are well worthy of being taken from the neglected aud almost forgotten files of daily and weekly journals, in which the chief portion of them were published, and put forth in this accessible and permanent form. In making these selections from Mr. Hale's writings, the editor informs us that he has excluded political subjects, on which, espepecially that of free trade, Mr. Hale wrote much, and with great ability, and has limited himself mainly to topics of a moral and religious nature. The most important subjects treated in the selections which have been made, are the theater, permanent funds, colonization and abolition, church polity and ecclesiastical matters, Romanism and collateral topics, and the Mexican war.
His "letters on the theater," first published in Boston in 1826, are a judicious and forcible argument against that school of corruption. His articles on permanent funds for religious, literary and charitable associations and institutions, contain many important principles, most of which have come to be generally adopted, and manifest much profound, and some crude, thinking. A specimen of the latter may be seen in the following paragraph. "What reason is there in endowing a college, beyond the mere purchase of an establishment ? Men in the ordinary pursuits of life must furnish themselves with shops and tools. If a company of educated men, with a shop and tools furnished to them withont cost, can not earn their own living, they ought to starve.” (p. 172.) If Mr. Hale had known as much about the operations of a college as he did about the management of the Journal of Commerce, he would have known that a college, thorough in all the departments of academical discipline and learning, without endowments" beyond the mere purchase of an establishment,” beyond “a shop and tools,” can not be sustained, except by raising the price of tuition beyond the ability of all but the sons of the rich; he would have known, that such an education as a good college gives, can not be afforded at a price which can be paid by
the great body of those who now send their sons to college, and whose sons are our best graduates, and the most useful men in professional life, except by a college well endowed with funds; he would have known, that his plan would have made colleges -what he would most cordially have hated, and justly-aristocratic institutions.
The collection and publication of Mr. Hale's articles on "Colo'nization and Abolition,” prove the impartiality of the compiler, but reflect no honor upon Mr. Hale. We ought to except, however, those which advocate and defend, in a truly philanthropic spirit, the wise and benevolent plan of African colonizationa plan which has been brought (by whose fault we do not say) into an unnecessary and unnatural conflict with anti-slavery and abolitionism. But those which treat of anti-slavery, of its men and its measures, we can not approve, but feel bound to censure. Indeed, how a man, who loved justice and human freedom as Mr. Hale did, could have had so little sympathy as he had with the ardent opposers of slavery and the advocates of emancipation; how a man, who was so strenuous and uncompromising an advocate of free discussion as he was, could have frowned and sneered as he did at the discussion of the subject of emancipation, and at liberty of speech in the American Board respecting its relations to slavery; we do not understand. We must insist that his heart was not right on that subject. However, it ought to be borne in miud, that in this matter Mr. Hale was not alone, but was one arnong many good men, whom various causes conspired to place in a false position on this subject of anti-slaverya position, of which they will be more and more ashamed, we doubt not, in the light of future time, and especially of the future world.
On the church, its nature, its polity and its relations, Mr. Hale wrote much, and, in the main, very profoundly, justly, scripturally and forcibly. This part of the volume deserves high commendation. We would gladly quote freely from it, but can not. We advise our readers to get the book. We would direct their attention particularly to an article on “ The true church of Christ ; and to one on “the distinctive principles of Congregational Church polity." We give the following specimens of his mode of dealing with such subjects as apostolical succession, and Christian union.
“When the venerable Lyman Beecher was a young man, returning on a certain occasion to his native town in Connecticut, he fell into conversation by the roadside with an old neighbor, an Episcopalian, who had been mowing. Mr. Beecher,' said the farmer, I should like to ask you a question. Our clergy say that you are not ordained, and have no right to preach. I should be glad to know what you think about it.' 'Suppose,' replied Dr. Beecher,
you had in the neighborhood a blacksmith, who said he could prove that he belonged to a regular line of blacksmiths which had come down all the way