Introduction to The Sea Lions (1849)
Introductions to novels by her father, with significant biographic and literary information, were written by Susan Fenimore Cooper as prefaces to excerpts from 25 Cooper novels in Pages and Pictures from the Writings of James Fenimore Cooper, with Notes by Susan Fenimore Cooper (New York: W.A. Townsend and Co., 1861). She also wrote introductions to 15 (not all the same) novels published between 1876-1884 as the Household Edition of the Works of J. Fenimore Cooper (New York and Cambridge: Houghton, Mifflin and Co. [Hurd and Mifflin]).
These introductions are collected for the first time on the Cooper Society website. Lengthy quotations have been reproduced in indented form, but retaining the quotation marks of the original, and their sources have been indicated in [square brackets].
I: From Pages and Pictures Review of Cooper’s imaginary fleet of ships and boats; as a young man, Cooper had visited Shelter Island off Long Island; The Sea Lionsthoroughly American; portraits of the grasping Deacon Pratt and his pious niece Mary, and the religious hubris of Roswell Gardiner that is only changed by the rigors of the Antarctic; Cooper’s life-long religious beliefs, ultimately leading him to join the church he had so long served; his firm belief in the divinity of Christ; influence on book of ill-fated Sir John Franklin expedition.
II: From Household Edition Review of Cooper’s imaginary fleet of ships and boats; as a young man, Cooper had visited Shelter Island off Long Island; Shelter Island; history of Long Island whaling; the “Bull Smiths” and the “Tangier Smiths”; whalers during the Revolution; Cooper’s part ownership of the whaler Union; origins of names of Long Island counties; opening of The Sea Lions; origin of name Martha’s Vineyardfrom Dutch explorer Martin Wyngaardt; Cooper’s life-long religious beliefs; his firm belief in the divinity of Christ; his interest in Biblical prophecy.
Contents: THE SEA LIONS. — Latest tale of the sea — Shelter Island — The deacon — Mary — The writer’s views of a great religious doctrine — The Antarctic seas — Extract, Sealer’s Land.
 FROM the day when the little Ariel first sailed into view, and dropped her anchor in that gloomy bay of the German Ocean, where, at a later hour, Long Tom and herself were to close their career together, many a noble ship had been launched and sailed by the same master hand. Who, indeed, shall call over the names of all the vessels bearing his flag? Never admiral of the Ocean Sea held so great a fleet under command! Proud men-of-war are here, from the lofty three-decker to the light gun-boat, fighting his battles; merchantmen of every rig — brig, bark, schooner, and yacht — come and go, amid storm and tempest, with swift and skilful manoeuvre, at his will; the light felucca flies wing-and-wing over the blue Mediterranean; the bark canoe glides over the lake, steals along the shadowy forest stream, or the reedy shore, doing his bidding. And how many brave and generous hearts, how many gallant spirits, are moving about those decks! What deeds of high adventure are wrought among them! What an atmosphere of picture and poetry lights up eye and arm, sail, and spar, and flag! Could he have gathered his full fleet together, and sailed at their head into port, that would have been, indeed, a gallant nautical gala, filling the proudest harbor in the land. And his ships are all from the best yards, well commanded, skilfully piloted. The poetical light which lingers about them is warm with reality; their iron anchors hold as firm a grasp of the bottom as those of the heaviest hulk that can be found in the harbor to-day.
During thirty long years his ships were coming and going over the high seas, good people ashore still following their movements with more or less of interest. But now we behold the last of that numerous fleet. His nautical pictures began  with that craft especially American, the schooner; and in this, the latest of his marine writings, the interest is also thrown about two schooners, each bearing the name of “The Sea Lion,” and both sailing from home waters on a voyage of daring adventure, into far distant seas toward the southern pole.
In his early married life, Mr. Cooper had paid repeated visits, during the summer months, to a relative of Mrs. Cooper, living on one of the islands off the eastern shore of Long Island. This gentleman led a sort of semi-aquatic life, which had great attractions for a young man still a seaman at heart. His estate covered an island of some size, inhabited by his own family and dependents only, and bearing the pleasant name of Shelter Island; and all communications with the main land were carried on by boats of different kinds. Here, cruising, fishing, shooting — and your true Long Islander of the old school was almost invariably a sportsman, and a good shot — Mr. Cooper had passed many a pleasant hour, remembered with pleasure through life. Familiarity with that part of the country now induced him to send abroad his two sealers from those waters.
The nautical plot of the book is peculiar, and is followed by the reader with much interest, the two rival schooners sailing in search of a very valuable but mysterious sealing-ground in the Antarctic Ocean. The whole spirit of the book, the history of the schooners, the course of their daring commanders, and, indeed, all the characters appearing in the narrative, are thoroughly American. The old, hard-fisted miser and religious formalist, Deacon Pratt, an important figure in the book, will be found well drawn throughout. Mary, his niece, the heroine of the story — though one dislikes that ambitious word when applied to a sweet, natural person like herself — is very pleasing; we readily love her, and we respect her truthful purity, and the enduring strength of her affections. While the outer movement of the plot is connected with the two schooners, there is a secret and a deeper spirit at work at the heart of the narrative. That gentle Mary, so sweetly pretty, so simply good, is overshadowed by a sorrow deep and true; she moves sadly beneath the low porch, about the great orchard, the thrifty garden, of the Long Island farm. Roswell Gardiner, the captain of “The Sea Lion,” owned by the miserly deacon, loves Mary; the girl has given him her whole heart with that fulness and that fidelity of affection belonging to simple, truthful, unworldly natures like hers. But his wife she cannot be; there is a chasm between them. The religious education of young Gardiner has given him opinions directly at variance — as Mary, by her simple good sense, knows but too well — with the spirit of true Christianity. Where the young girl worships, with child-like piety — where the vast majority of the Christian world has worshipped, in devout and lowly adoration, and in living faith, for nineteen centuries — there the young man stands  coldly erect, with covered head, scanning, doubting, debating; attempting, with the wretched inconsistency of human pride, to extinguish, with one hand, the light he upholds with the other — a light acknowledged by himself as a revealed gift from on high; daring, as it were, with his feeble, puny, sinful arm, to hold the Heavens in a balance! But this cold, soulless creed of Gardiner’s is his by luckless birthright only. Too honest to disavow it, even for the sake of his love, he is yet willing to be convinced of error, if error he can be made to see. Mary, though sad, still prays; and Mary hopes. The young men sails on his daring voyage; he reaches his mysterious bourne; and here, in those distant icy regions, comparatively alone with his maker, amid shipwreck, and disaster, and suffering, his mind is enlightened by the fulness of truth.
Through life the religious convictions of the author of “The Pathfinder” had been clear and sincere. He not unfrequently spoke on sacred subjects, and always with reverence. He ever yielded a full and honest assent to the great doctrines of Christianity. Doubt and scepticism would seem never, for a moment, to have darkened that clear mind, that frank spirit, that upright heart. But, while through life he had never doubted, while he had ever acknowledged, ever revered, he had not until a comparatively late day fully submitted to those sacred influences. In the little parish church, however, which he had taken so much pleasure in improving; whose interests he had so faithfully and liberally upheld; in whose behalf he served at intervals as vestryman or warden for nearly forty years, and from whose sacred worship, when under his own roof, he was so rarely absent; here he had been gradually learning lessons the most precious while reverently joining in those devotions which he ever felt and acknowledged to be beautiful, sublime, holy. Eternal truths rose more clearly before him — filled a larger space in his heart and mind. The sorrows and disappointments of this life assumed their real character; he learned to look above them, beyond them. It was in this frame of mind that, in the year 1849, “The Sea Lions” was written. The point of religions doctrine connected with the narrative was one on which Mr. Cooper was frequently heard to speak with reverence, and the utmost fulness of conviction. To his clear mind, the positive denial of that one holy doctrine must inevitably be followed by the essential rejection of the whole system of Christianity; he considered that absolute infidelity was to a degree more capable of defence, less entirely inconsistent with itself, less at variance with its own assertions, than the doctrine which, in “The Sea Lions,” he leads the young sailor to reject.
The book was written in the winter season, at a moment when the severe frosts of the Highlands may have given greater strength to his descriptions of the ice-berg and the snowdrift. Had the many deeply interesting volumes relating to the arctic seas that we have all lately read been written at that day, the author’s descriptions would no doubt have received many an additional detail. Very possibly the departure of Sir John Franklin on his ill-fated expedition — a recent event at the date of “The Sea Lions” — may have induced the writer to turn his attention to similar scenes, and led him to launch the last of his own imaginary fleet into the waters of those mysterious polar seas.
Excerpt: “Sealer’s Land” [James Fenimore Cooper, The Sea Lions  (New York: W.A. Townsend and Co., 1860), Chapter 14, pp. 217-231].
[xi] FROM the day when the little Ariel first sailed into view and dropped her anchor in that gloomy bay of the German Ocean, where, at a later hour, Long Tom Coffin and herself were to close their career together, many a noble ship had been launched and sailed by the same master hand. Who, indeed, shall call over the names of all the vessels bearing his flag? Never admiral of the ocean sea held so great a fleet under command! Proud men-of-war are here, from the lofty three-decker to the light gun-boat, fighting his battles; merchantmen of every rig — brig, bark, schooner, and yacht — come and go, amid storm and tempest, with swift and skillful manoeuvre, at his will; the light felucca flies wing-and-wing over the blue Mediterranean; the bark canoe glides over the lake, steals along the shadowy forest stream, or the reedy shore, doing his bidding. And how many brave and generous hearts, how many gallant spirits, are moving about those decks! What deeds of high adventure are wrought among them! What an atmosphere of picture and poetry lights up eye and arm, sail, and spar, and flag! Could he have gathered his full fleet together and sailed at their head into port, that would have been, indeed, a gallant nautical gala, filling the proudest harbor in the land. And his ships are all from the best yards, well commanded, skillfully piloted. The poetical light which lingers about them is warm with reality; their anchors hold as firm a grasp of the bottom as those of the heaviest hulk that can be found in the harbor to-day.
[xxi] During thirty long years his ships were coming and going over the high seas, good people ashore still following their movements with more or less of interest. But now we behold the last of that numerous fleet. His nautical pictures began with that craft especially American, the schooner; and in this, the latest of his marine writings, the interest is also gathered about two schooners, each bearing the name of The Sea Lion, and both sailing from home waters on a voyage of daring adventure into far distant seas toward the southern pole.
In his early married life, Mr. Cooper had paid repeated visits, during the summer and autumn months, to a near relative of Mrs. Cooper, living on one of the islands off the northeastern shore of Long Island. This gentleman led a sort of semi-aquatic life, which had great attraction for a young man who was still a seaman at heart. All communication with the main-land — or rather with Long Island — was necessarily carried on by water, a channel a mile in width dividing the two islands at the nearest point northward, and one of half a mile to the southward. The estate was a large one, originally half the island which bore the pleasant name of Shelter Island, and was six miles long, though very irregular in outline. The Indian name was Manhansack, correctly descriptive, as many of their names were, meaning an island sheltered by other islands. There were still a few Indians on the estate, where an old Indian Queen, as she was called, lived in a wigwam and reigned over a handful of followers. The island lay at the mouth of Great Peconic Bay, and as a matter of course the fishing was excellent. There was a little fleet of fishing smacks, sail-boats, and row-boats, with a trading sloop or two, belonging to the island, which had several wharves of its own. Fishing parties were a constant amusement: blue-fish, black-fish, sheepshead, and others of the choicer kinds were, each in their season, brought in daily; lobsters, crabs, oysters, clams, both soft and hard, never failed. Shooting, at the right season, was also a great resource, your regular Long [xiii] Islander of that day being almost always a good shot. A gun-rack was found in the hall of most houses of any importance, as a matter of course. Half a century since deer and foxes were still to be found in the wooded parts of the island, and occasionally a regular hunt enlivened the young men. But fowling was the chief sport. Wild geese and ducks hovered over the shores of the island, and in its ponds, in flocks almost as large as those of the wild pigeons with which the visitor from Otsego had been familiar from childhood; quails abounded, woodcock were common, snipe and all shore birds were numerous. In these fishing and shooting parties Mr. Cooper took his place with great zest.
The boats from Shelter Island were of course in constant communication with Sag Harbor, then perhaps the most important whaling port of the country. Mr. Cooper was much interested in visiting the different ships, making acquaintance with their captains and mates, and hearing the details of their adventures. Whaling came naturally to the Long Islanders; very early in the settlement of the country the colonists were successful in taking the whale, and turning the oil to good account. Whales seem to have been abundant in the waters surrounding the island, not only in the ocean, eastward, but also in the Sound. There must have been very large numbers of these enormous creatures on the coast of America at the time of the discovery. A whale was actually stranded as far inland as the island at the mouth of the Mohawk in March, 1647, having come spouting the whole length of the Hudson River to that point. The Long Islanders, as we have remarked, became whalemen very early. Boats adapted to this fishery were kept for the purpose on all the principal shore farms, the good-man wielding the scythe at one season, the harpoon at another. Even the Indians became expert whalers in this sort of coast fishery, and were employed by the colonists for this purpose. The record of an agreement between certain Montauk Indians and a Dutch trader to this effect has been preserved: “April 2ⁿᵈ, 1668. Know all men by these [xiv] presents yt wee, being Indians of Montauket, doe engage ourselves in a bond of ten pounds sterling for to goe to sea uppon ye account of killing of whales this next ensuing season, beginning at ye 1ˢᵗ day of November next, ending ye first day of Aprill ensuing, and that for ye account of Jacobus Skallinger and his partners of Easthampton; and engage to attend diligently with all opportunitie for ye killing of whales, or other fish, for ye summe of three shillings a day for every Indian; ye said Jacobus Skallinger and partners to furnish all necessarie craft and convenient tackling for ye designe.” This boat’s crew would seem to have been sent off without any whites to direct them. A few years later “twelve very stout whales” were killed in the spring months on the south coast of the island. So important was this fishery considered at the time, that in some of the settlements every able-bodied man on the shore farms was obliged to take his turn in watching for whales, from a public look-out, and one being seen to summon the good people from their work ashore to the chase.
The Smiths were a numerous and highly respectable clan on Long Island. Two of the more prominent families were known by the local titles of “Bull Smiths,” and “Tangier Smiths,” both dating from early colonial days. Bull Smith, whose Christian name was Richard, settled near Stoney Brook, on a tract of land known afterwards as Smithtown, and which he eventually held by patent, “upon condition of yielding every year, as quitt-rent, to His Royal Highness” (the Duke of York), “one fatt lamb.” Long Island tradition says that a portion of this land was originally granted to Richard Smith by the Indians, under peculiar circumstances. He was the happy owner of a large bull, a favorite animal, so docile that his master frequently used him for riding. With this feat the Indians were greatly delighted, and, as Mr. Smith was a favorite with their sachems, they agreed to make him a free gift of as much land as he could ride over, seated on his bull, between sunrise and sunset. The offer was accepted. The colonist [xv] mounted the bull, and, followed by a numerous escort of Indians, rode to such good effect that he made a circuit containing a large tract of land, and also obtained for himself and his posterity the name of “Bull Smith.” His descendants, highly respectable people, are still found at Smithtown, and still bear in common parlance the distinctive name of “Bull Smiths.”
“Tangier Smith” derived his name from the office he had held. Colonel William Smith of the British army had been governor of Tangier in Africa, when that town was ceded to England by the King of Portugal, as part of the marriage portion of the Infanta Catherine, when she married Charles II. Colonel Smith afterwards came to America and purchased, partly from the colonists, and partly from the Indians, a large tract of land for which he obtained a patent under the name of St. George’s Manor. The Long Island colonists, to their credit let it be said, very generally made a payment of some kind to the Indians before taking possession of their lands. It is true their payments usually consisted of a few kettles, and knives, and coats, and sometimes needles, and were much below the real value of the lands purchased, but they were satisfactory to the red man. Colonel Smith, however, paid the Indian sachems for his lands on the Mastic thirty-five pounds, coin of the realm. There are descendants of Tangier Smith still living at St. George’s Manor to-day. In the last century many were the whales caught by the boats of both Bull Smith and Tangier Smith. After the death of Colonel Smith, his widow “Madame Martha Smith,” who was a woman of energy, amid many other cares, still looked after the whales. This good lady, a great-great-grandmother of the author’s wife, was in the habit of keeping a memorandum book, still in good preservation, and which the writer of these notes has seen; among other records occur the following: —
“Jan. ye 16, 1707, my company killed a yearling whale made 27 barrels. Feb. ye 4 Indian Harry with his boat, struck a stunt whale and could not kill it — called for my [xvi] boat to help him. I had but a third, which was 4 barrels. Feb. 22, my two boats, and my son’s, and Floyd’s boats, killed a yearling whale, of which I had half — made 36, my share 18 barrels. Feb. 24, my company killed a school whale, which made 35 barrels. March 13, my company killed a small yearling, made 30 barrels. March 17, my company killed two yearlings in one day; one made 27, the other 11 barrels.”
How abundant the whales must have been on the American coast at that period! Madame Martha Smith, sitting comfortably in her house at St. George’s Manor, could see them spouting and tumbling about in the Sound, and, as she sat at her spinning-wheel or tambour-frame, received reports from her boats.
There was a duty paid to the provincial government by this fishery, as appears from a receipt to the Lady of St. George’s Manor: —
“New-York, this 5ᵗʰ June, 1707, received of Nathan Simpson, ye summe of fifteen pounds, fifteen shillings, per acct. of Made. Martha Smith it being ye 20ᵗʰ part of her eyle, by virtue of a warrant from My. Ld. Cornbury, dated March 25ᵗʰ, last past, 1707.
“Per me, Elias Boudinot.”
A considerable sum this, £315, from one whaling farm, in the course of three months. Seven whales were captured in that time.
The whale-boat differed from the ordinary boats of merchant vessels. It was sharp at both ends, in order that it might “back off,” as well as “pull on”; it steered with an oar, instead of a rudder, on order that the bows might be thrown round to avoid danger, when not in motion; it was buoyant, and made to withstand the shock of waves at both ends; and it was light and shallow, though strong, that it might be pulled with facility.
The whale-boats of the Sound rendered active guerilla service in the war of the Revolution. They were a sort of privateersmen, on a small scale, and with all the daring of [xvii] that class had also their loose ideas of property. Many were their bold feats; their skill with the oar, the excellence of the boats, and the small size of their craft gliding stealthily along the shores, gave them many advantages for a sudden descent upon any given point. They were greatly dreaded by the Tories, and actually forced many of the English officers to withdraw from different outlying stations on Long Island, to Brooklyn or New York. They came singly at times, but occasionally in little fleets of eight or ten boats, and repeatedly captured sloops and schooners of some size.
It was in the closing years of the last century, after the war of the Revolution, that the first whaling vessels were sent, as an experiment, to far southern latitudes, and the results were so successful that the Long Islanders entered largely into this adventurous pursuit, From whaling on boats on the shores of the island, they sailed in large ships on long voyages. Indians were still found among their crews. The fishery for sperm whales in the Pacific and Indian oceans was not developed until after the war of 1812. In the course of years the whaling-fleet from Sag Harbor alone amounted to nearly fifty ships, valued with their outfit at nearly a million of dollars, and employing more than a thousand seamen. The whole number of whaling craft, when the fishery was at its height, numbered about six hundred vessels from different ports of the country. This fishery has been greatly diminished of late years. The whales have been all but exterminated in many of their former haunts.
During his visits to Shelter Island the young man from Otsego, still a sailor at heart, and not dreaming of ever becoming a writer, was much interested in hearing the details of those whaling voyages, and much amused with the whaling spirit pervading the whole community at Sag Harbor. Some few years later, after he had written “The Spy,” he purchased a whaling ship, the Union, in connection with a kinsman, Mr. Charles Dering, and sent her from Sag Har[xviii]bor around Cape Horn. She made several voyages, and the results were satisfactory. But as he became more occupied with his pen, and was looking forward to visiting Europe, he sold his share in the whaler. His connection with Long Island always brought pleasant recollections with it; and it was not only at Shelter Island that he had been welcomed, but also at Fort Neck, where he was on intimate terms with other relatives. And now in his old age, in 1849, while sitting in the library of his paternal home on Lake Otsego, he planned and wrote another sea tale, — the last of a long series, — the scenes of which, so far at least as they are connected with the land, are laid in sight of Shelter Island. It is a thoroughly Suffolk County narrative.
Long Island, as the reader will remember, is divided into three counties, Kings, Queens, and Suffolk. These were all legally named in 1683. Kings was an act of homage to that very witty but worthless sovereign Charles II., who “never said a foolish thing, and never did a wise one.” Queens was a compliment to the gentle, harmless Catherine of Braganza, the very opposite of her husband, in most particulars. The origin of the name of Suffolk is a puzzle not easy to unravel. There was no prominent individual in England at that date bearing the title of Suffolk — no courtier, no politician, not even an illegitimate son of the King, as in the case of Richmond County. Probably the name is due to the influence of some prominent man born in Suffolk County, in the mother country.
Is the reader aware, by the by, that Nassau may be considered the legal name of Long Island to-day? Oddly enough it was the Dutch who, from the first discoveries, always called it Long Island, and the English who gave it the name of Nassau. The change was made with all due legal forms in 1693, out of compliment, of course, to King William; but strange to say, though William and Mary were popular sovereigns, their loving subjects on the island never seem to have paid the least attention to this act of the government, which is believed to have been never repealed, and has merely become obsolete by disuse.
[xix] Suffolk County covers a much larger portion of the island than the other two counties. Until recently the eastern extremity had a strongly marked and peculiar character of its own, a sequestered, rustic region, with a pleasant atmosphere of homely simplicity lingering about it. And it is here, at Oyster Ponds, that the narrative of “The Sea Lions” opens. “We write,” observes the author, “of a remote period in the galloping history of the State” [The Sea Lions, Chapter 1, p. 18] — the year 1819, when the whaling commerce was at its height, and successful whalers were coming and going by the score through the waters of Peconic Bay, and when even the name of a railroad was all but unknown to the good people on its shores. Since that day great changes have been made throughout Suffolk County, by the railway which now has its eastern terminus on the very ground described in “The Sea Lions” — and Oyster Ponds has been metamorphosed into Orient. Two rival schooners sail on a mysterious voyage to the Antarctic Ocean. One belongs to Oyster Ponds, the other to Martha’s Vineyard. Both bear the name of The Sea Lion. A newly discovered sealing ground of great value has become accidentally known to a certain close-fisted old deacon, whose farm lies at Oyster Ponds, a dying sailor having revealed the fact to him. But this dying sailor has near relatives at Martha’s Vineyard, who have received some vague hints of the existence of these Antarctic islands and have reason to believe that the old deacon holds the key to the secret. When the deacon’s Sea Lion sails from Oyster Ponds, the Sea Lion of Martha’s Vineyard goes to sea also. There is an amusing contrast, by the by, between the names of these two small ports; between the blunt homeliness of Oyster Ponds and the rather romantic sound of Martha’s Vineyard. Vineyard, on the rocky and somewhat barren island, there is none, nor every has been; the only Marthas connected with the ground are those living in its rustic homes. There was once upon a time an old Dutchman, a companion of Skipper Block, whose name was Martin Wyngaardt, and Block gave his name to the [xx] island which he discovered. Ere long the English converted the Dutch name into Vineyard, and the substantial old Dutchman himself into a mythical Martha. The adventures of the two schooners, from the “Ponds” and the “Vineyard,” make up the incidents of the narrative. The craft, their captains, and crews, are rivals in fair weather, but staunch comrades in the grave perils which befall them.
There is a strong religious under-current in this book. Mr. Cooper had always been a sincere believer in the Holy Christian Faith. He believed in the necessity of a revelation from the Supreme Being to a race whose intellect is grievously clouded by error and sinful passion. He had always yielded a full and honest assent to the great doctrines of Christianity. He considered them entirely consistent with reason. The mere negations of skepticism could never have satisfied his healthful, vigorous mind. He took no pleasure in mere subtleties. Clear, strong truths were what he craved. He not unfrequently spoke on sacred subjects, and always with reverence. In the later years of his life his religious convictions had been steadily increasing in force and in clearness. Experience gave them additional power. He had made the Holy Scriptures a daily, prayerful study for several years. In the holy services of the church to which he belonged he found a form of worship most sublime in reverence, most noble in its freedom from superstition, and those services he followed regularly from the heart. There were several points connected with the Christian faith on which he frequently spoke in the family circle with the clearest conviction.
The idea of refusing to worship any deity but one he could fully comprehend, he held to be a gross inconsistency; “A deity I could fully comprehend would be no God to me,” are words put in the mouth of one of his fictitious characters. They are words frequently used by himself, as an expression of his own feeling and opinion. To reject every point of religion which could not be wholly explained by human reason, he held to be puerile to a degree that might be almost called absurd.
[xxi] In the divinity of the Saviour he believed with unwavering faith. This article of the ancient creeds he held to be of absolutely vital importance; the corner-stone without which the whole fabric must eventually fall. To assume the Christian name and reject this tenet he held to be a most lamentable intellectual inconsistency. The Lord declared Himself to be the Son of God; the Apostles preached faith in Him as the Son of God; He was crucified for blasphemy “because He made Himself the Son of God.” With these facts clearly recorded in the Holy Scriptures consistency requires we should yield them implicit faith; or assume the fearful responsibility of entirely rejecting the Scriptures themselves as an imposture.
The fulfillment of prophecy was a subject in which he felt a deep interest. The different prophetical predictions relating to the Jews as a nation, or those connected with our Lord’s person and life on earth, running through the Scriptures from Genesis to the last passages in the New Testament, were in his opinion the most grand of all miracles. Where, in books called sacred by other races, could he find a prophetical sequence — harmonious, sublime, yet often minute in detail, — already partially fulfilled, — and covering a period of thousands of years!