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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 1


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The following sermon is a sequel to that on "True Patriotism." In both, the author believes he gives utterance to sentiments which are in accordance with Holy Scripture. To fair criticism, he has no objection. Candid, sober enquiry is entitled to respect. But the idle conceits of the stage actor and the contemptible effusions of the anonymous scribbler are beneath his condescension. Paltry insinuations have no effect upon the writer. He has no sympathy with that squeamish timidity which shrinks from the expression of right views lest offence be taken. He has no fear of offending those whose esteem is of any value. Lewdness, infidelity, and bigotry may combine against the truth. But still truth Is truth! Some reverend "Civis" failing to extract a single passage for critical display, may discover "a conscious party purpose." Though a man pretend to be a "discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," it does not follow that he is so. There have been many tirades against the sermon already published. Are they sustained by proof? From eighteen closely printed pages exception has been taken to only one passage, viz.—"What is commonly called a radical, either in religion or politics, is a dangerous character." This sentence has been wrested from the context, submitted to a forced construction, and made to say what it does not express. Of "radical reformers" not a word is spoken throughout the sermon: nor did the preacher know that any party in this town had assumed that title until, on the page 4 following day, he was so informed by a letter which contained an "impertinent" request for the manuscript notes of the sermon. Whether that designation is appropriate to those who boast of it, it is not for him to determine. Nor is he at all concerned to meet the objection of his unworthy accusers. It is for the sake of others, who are not accustomed to examine into the meaning of words, he feels it right to make the following explanation. The word radical, as every scholar knows, is derived from the Latin word radix, the root, and signifies primitive or original. Such is its grammatical meaning. In political language it is an ultra democrat. This is the signification of the word as a noun absolute. When, as an adjective, it serves to qualify some other noun, it may convey another meaning, as modified by the noun itself. That it is employed in its naked sense, as an anarchist, an uprooter, a leveller, in the sermon in question, must he evident to every impartial reader. If men will attach a meaning to a word which it does not bear, and then make an application of it to themselves, the preacher cannot help it. He is responsible only for his own utterances—not for the perverseness or ignorance of other men. "I am a Radical," said an honest man, the other day. "And pray, friend, what is a Radical?" was the rejoinder. Listen to the reply! "A radical is one who is straightforward, who pays his way, who maintains his rights!" Well would it be if all men were such radicals as this supposes I Were this the object of the so-called "Radical Reform," it would find no more "determined advocate" than

The Writer. Wellington, December 1, 1857.