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Professor Wines' Lectures

Mr. Wines brought his lectures on the Civil Government of the Hebrews to a close on the evening of the 4th ult., [April 4, 1843] after our notice of the earlier part of his course had been put to press. He was listened to throughout with undivided attention, and his audience was composed of such materials as must have convinced him that to receive their approbation was praise indeed. He fully carried out his original proposition to prove that both as a moral and political system, the Mosaic dispensation merits the profoundest respect of the philanthropist and philosopher, and that as far as legislation is concerned no new features had since been discovered which are superior in their applicability to civil society. We took no notes of these lectures, as we learned that Mr. Wines intended to repeat them in other cities, and we were unwilling to forestall him in imparting the information which he had collected with so much labour; knowing that many of our readers would avail themselves of the occasion, when the opportunity should offer, to give their personal attendance at the learned professor's oral instruction. We say candidly that he advanced a few propositions which we did not approve of; but as a whole we would be unfaithful to truth were we to say otherwise than that we were fully satisfied.

When Mr. Wines had concluded, the Rev. Dr. Bethune, the eloquent minister of one of the Dutch Reformed churches of this city, requested that the class, which was about to disperse, should form itself into a meeting for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the lectures which had just closed. Thomas P. Cope, Esq., a name universally known in this city, was called to the chair, and A. Hart, Esq., the president of our congregation, was appointed secretary. Dr. Bethune then addressed the meeting in a few happy though brief remarks, on the nature and tendency of the course which had just been completed; he stated that Professor Wines ought to be encouraged to continue his inquiries in the subject, to which he had but lately turned his attention, and proposed that a committee be appointed by the chair to draw up resolutions in correspondence with these views. We were unexpectedly called upon to second the motion, and in doing so, we adverted to the necessity of liberal feelings that ought to exist between the persons of different opinions which compose the American republic, which could be best promoted by the progress of that enlightened toleration of each other's ideas which is unknown in many monarchical countries and some republics, where the opinions of the rulers are of necessity the professed opinions of all the inhabitants, or at best the dissenting portion is allowed merely to exist on sufferance of the dominant party; and that we thought that the proper understanding of the best parts of each other's religious ideas would be a powerful instrument to effect this desirable end; that consequently Professor Wines is entitled to the thanks of the community for having contributed by his excellent instruction to place the legation of Moses in the favourable light which it amply deserves, which would necessarily conduce to make its followers more respected than they could be, if their peculiar opinions were misunderstood or not properly appreciated.

As both Dr. Bethune and we spoke without any preparation, it is impossible to give more than a faint outline of our remarks; but we think that we have embodied the main features thereof. The chair appointed a committee consisting of the mover and seconder, Dr. William Darrach, J. J. Vanderkemp, Esq., and Mr. Isaac Barton, who withdrew a short time and then reported through the Rev. Dr. Bethune, chairman, the following preamble and resolutions, which were unanimously adopted by the meeting:

Professor Wines having brought to a close his brief course of lectures, it becomes us, and is due to him, that we, who have had the pleasure and profit of listening to his elaborate and most interesting disquisitions on the Laws and Government of the Hebrews, should express to him and the public our strong sense of their value. Therefore

Resolved, That Professor Wines has in the estimation of the class most ably accomplished his proposed exhibition of the wise and philanthropic character of the Jewish polity.

Resolved, also, That the class have been highly gratified by the liberal enlightened views and sentiments manifested throughout by the lecturer, and mingled with evidences of his faith in, and attachment to, the free principles of our own land.

Resolved, also, That the class in separating from Professor Wines, do so with the most sincere respect for his talents and acquirements, and beg him to accept their best wishes for his happiness and success.

In taking leave of this interesting subject we express the hope that our friends in other cities may induce Mr. Wines to read his lectures before them, and give him such encouragement that he may never have cause to regret having devoted so much time to elucidate the legislation of Moses, the lawgiver of our people, the benefactor of mankind.

Course Programme