and wind of a thundergust without tearing. To the top of the upright stick of the cross is to be fixed a very sharp-pointed wire, rising a foot or more above the wood. To the end of the twine, next the hand, is to be tied a silk ribbon, and where the silk and twine join, a key may be fastened. This kite is to be raised when a thundergust appears to be coming on, and the person who holds the string must stand within a door or window, or under some cover, so that the silk ribbon may not be wet; and care must be taken that the twine does not touch the frame of the door or window. As soon as any of the thunder-clouds come over the kite, the pointed wire will draw the electric fire from them, and the kite, with all the twine, will be electrified, and the loose filaments of the twine will stand out every way, and be attracted by an approaching finger. And when the rain has wetted the kite and twine, so that it can conduct the electric fire freely, you will find it stream out plentifully from the key on the approach of your knuckle. At this key the phial may be charged; and all the other electric experiments be performed, which are usually done by the help of a rubbed glass globe or tube, and thereby the sameness of the electric matter with that of lightning be completely demonstrated.
* * * * *
=_15._= MOTION FOR PRAYERS IN THE CONVENTION.
The small progress we have made, after four or five weeks close attendance and continual reasonings with each other, our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many _Noes_ as _Ayes_, is, methinks, a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understanding. We indeed seem to _feel_ our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running all about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those republics, which, having been originally formed with the seeds of their own dissolution, now no longer exist; and we have viewed modern States all round Europe, but find none of their constitutions suitable to our circumstances.
In this situation of this assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard; and they were graciously answered. All of us, who were engaged in the struggle, must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, _that God governs in the affairs of men_. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe, that without his concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little, partial, local interests, our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a by-word down to future ages. And, what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing government by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move,
That henceforth, prayers, imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business; and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.
* * * * *
From his “Essays.”
=_16._= THE EPHEMERON. AN EMBLEM.
“It was,” said he, “the opinion of learned philosophers of our race, who lived and flourished long before my time, that this vast world, the Moulin Joly, could not itself subsist more than eighteen hours; and I think there was some foundation for that opinion, since, by the apparent motion of the great luminary that gives life to all nature, and which in my time has evidently declined considerably towards the ocean at the end of our earth, it must then finish its course, be extinguished in the waters that surround us, and leave the world in cold and darkness, necessarily producing universal death and destruction. I have lived seven of those hours–a great age, being no less than four hundred and twenty minutes of time. How very few of us continue so long! I have seen generations born, flourish, and expire … And I must soon follow them; for, by the course of nature, though still in health, I cannot expect to live above seven or eight minutes longer. What now avail all my toil and labor in amassing honey-dew on this leaf, which I cannot live to enjoy!–what the political struggles I have been engaged in for the good of my compatriot inhabitants of this bush, or my philosophical studies for the benefit of our race in general! for in politics what can laws do without morals? Our present race of ephemera will, in a course of minutes, become corrupt, like those of other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched. And in philosophy how small our progress! Alas! art is long, and life is short. My friends would comfort me with the idea of a name they say I shall leave behind me…. But what will fame be to an ephemeron who no longer exists? and what will become of all history, in the eighteenth hour, when the world itself, even the whole Moulin Joly, shall come to its end, and be buried in universal ruin?”
* * * * *
LATER RELIGIOUS WRITERS AND DIVINES.
=_John Woolman, 1720-1772._=
From his “Life and Travels.”
=_17._= REMARKS ON SLAVERY AND LABOR.
A people used to labor moderately for their living, training up their children in frugality and business, have a happier life than those who live on the labor of slaves. Freemen find satisfaction in improving and providing for their families; but negroes, laboring to support others who claim them as their property, and expecting nothing but slavery during life, have not the like inducement to be industrious…. Men having power, too often misapply it: though we make slaves of the negroes, and the Turks make slaves of the Christians, liberty is the natural right of all men equally…. The slaves look to me like a burdensome stone to such who burden themselves with them. The burden will grow heavier and heavier, till times change in a way disagreeable to us…. I was troubled to perceive the darkness of their imaginations, and, in some pressure of spirits, said the love of ease and gain are the motives, in general, of keeping slaves; and men are wont to take hold of weak arguments to support a cause which is unreasonable….
I was silent during the meeting for worship, and, when business came on, my mind was exercised concerning the poor slaves, but did not feel my way clear to speak. In this condition I was bowed in spirit before the Lord, and, with tears and inward supplication, besought him so to open my understanding that I might know his will concerning me; and at length my mind was settled in silence.
At times when I have felt true love open my heart towards my fellow-creatures, and have been engaged in weighty conversation in the cause of righteousness, the instructions I have received under these exercises in regard to the true use of the outward gifts of God, have made deep and lasting impressions on my mind. I have beheld how the desire to provide wealth and to uphold a delicate life has grievously entangled many, and has been like a snare to their offspring, and though some have been affected with a sense of their difficulties, and have appeared desirous at times to be helped out of them, yet for want of abiding under the humbling power of truth, they have continued in these entanglements; expensive living in parents and children hath called for a large supply, and in answering this call, the faces of the poor have been ground away, and made thin through hard dealing….
… In the uneasiness of body which I have many times felt by too much labor, not as a forced but a voluntary oppression, I have often been excited to think on the original cause of that oppression which is imposed on many in the world. The latter part of the time wherein I labored on our plantation, my heart, through the fresh visitations of heavenly love, being often tender, and my leisure time being frequently spent in reading the life and doctrines of our blessed Redeemer, the account of the sufferings of martyrs, and the history of the first rise of our Society, a belief was gradually settled in my mind, that if such as had great estates, generally lived in that humility and plainness which belong to a Christian life, and laid much easier rents and interests on their lands and moneys, and thus led the way to a right use of things, so great a number of people might be employed in things useful, that labor both for men and other creatures would need to be no more than an agreeable employ, and divers branches of business, which serve chiefly to please the natural inclinations of our minds, and which at present seem necessary to circulate that wealth which some gather, might, in this way of pure wisdom, be discontinued.
[Footnote 5: A Quaker preacher, a native of New Jersey, whose Travels and Autobiography have been much admired abroad, notably by Charles Lamb.]
* * * * *
=_John M. Mason, 1770-1829._=
From the Address in behalf of the Bible Society.
=_18._= GRANDEUR OF THE ENTERPRISE.
If there be a single measure which can overrule objection, subdue opposition, and command exertion, this is the measure. That all our voices, all our affections, all our hands, should be joined in the grand design of promoting “peace on earth and good will toward man”–that they should resist the advance of misery–should carry the light of instruction into the dominions of ignorance, and the balm of joy to the soul of anguish; and all this by diffusing the oracles of God–addresses to the understanding an argument which cannot be encountered; and to the heart an appeal which its holiest emotions rise up to second….
_People of the United States_; Have you ever been invited to an enterprise of such grandeur and glory? Do you not value the Holy Scriptures? Value them as containing your sweetest hope; your most thrilling joy? Can you submit to the thought that _you_ should be torpid in your endeavors to disperse them, while the rest of Christendom is awake and alert? Shall _you_ hang back in heartless indifference, when princes come down from their thrones, to bless the cottage of the poor with the gospel of peace; and imperial sovereigns are gathering their fairest honors from spreading abroad the oracles of the Lord your God. Is it possible that _you_ should not see, in this state of human things, a mighty motion of Divine providence? The most heavenly charity treads close upon the march of conflict and blood! The world is at peace! Scarce has the soldier time to unbind his helmet, and to wipe away the sweat from his brow, ere the voice of mercy succeeds to the clarion of battle, and calls the nations from enmity to love! Crowned heads bow to the head which is to wear “many crowns,” and, for the first time since the promulgation of Christianity, appear to act in unison for the recognition of its gracious principles, as being fraught alike with happiness to man, and honor to God.
What has created so strange, so beneficent an alteration. This is no doubt the doing of the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes. But what instrument has he thought fit chiefly to use. That which contributes in all latitudes and climes to make Christians feel their unity, to rebuke the spirit of strife, and to open upon them the day of brotherly concord–the Bible!–the Bible!–through Bible Societies!
[Footnote 6: A Presbyterian clergyman of great distinction, long settled in New York; rarely surpassed in controversial acuteness, and in religious eloquence.]
* * * * *
=_19._= THE RIGHT OF THE STATE TO EDUCATE.
No sagacity can foretell what characters shall be developed, or what parts performed, by these boys and girls who throng our streets, and sport in our fields. In their tender breasts are concealed the germs, in their little hands are lodged the weapons, of a nation’s overthrow or glory. Would it not, then, be madness, would it not be a sort of political suicide, for the commonwealth to be unconcerned what direction their infant powers shall take, or into what habits their budding affections shall ripen? or will it be disputed that the civil authority has a _right_ to take care, by a paternal interference on behalf of the children, that the next generation shall not prostrate in an hour, whatever has been consecrated to truth, to virtue, and to happiness by the generations that are past?
* * * * *
=_Timothy Dwight, 1752-1817._= (Manual, pp. 479, 504.)
From “Travels in New England,” &c.
=_20._= THE WILDERNESS RECLAIMED.
In these countries _lands are universally held in fee simple_. Every farmer, with too few exceptions to deserve notice, labors on his own ground, and for the benefit of himself and his family merely. This, also, if I am not deceived, is a novelty; and its influence is seen to be remarkably happy in the industry, sobriety, cheerfulness, personal independence, and universal prosperity of the people at large…. A succession of New England villages, composed of neat houses, surrounding neat schoolhouses and churches, adorned with gardens, meadows, and orchards, and exhibiting the universal easy circumstances of the inhabitants, is, at least in my own opinion, one of the most delightful prospects which this world can afford.
_The conversion of a wilderness into a desirable residence for man_, is an object which no intelligent spectator can behold, without being strongly interested in such a combination of enterprise, patience, and perseverance. Few of those human efforts which have excited the applause of mankind, have demanded equal energy, or merited equal approbation. A forest changed within a short period into fruitful fields covered with houses, schools, and churches, and filled with inhabitants possessing not only the necessaries and comforts, but also the conveniences of life, and devoted to the worship of Jehovah, when seen only in prophetic vision, enraptured the mind even of Isaiah; and when realized, can hardly fail to delight that of a spectator. At least, it may compensate the want of ancient castles, ruined abbeys, and fine pictures.
* * * * *
From the Theology.
=_21._= THE GLORY OF NATURE, FROM GOD.
There is another and very important view in which this subject demands our consideration. _Theology spreads its influence over the creation and providence of God, and gives to both almost all their beauty and sublimity._ Creation and providence, seen by the eye of theology, and elucidated by the glorious commentary on both furnished in the Scriptures, become new objects to the mind; immeasurably more noble, rich, and delightful, than they can appear to a worldly, sensual mind. The heavens and the earth, and the great as well as numberless events which result from the divine administration, are in themselves vast, wonderful, frequently awful, in many instances solemn, in many exquisitely beautiful, and in a great number eminently sublime. All these attributes, however, they possess, if considered only in the abstract, in degrees very humble and diminutive, compared with the appearance which they make, when beheld as the works of Jehovah. Mountains, the ocean, and the heavens, are majestic and sublime. Hills and valleys, soft landscapes, trees, fruits, and flowers, and many objects in the animal and mineral kingdoms, are beautiful. But what is this beauty, what is this grandeur, compared with that agency of God, to which they owe their being? Think what it is for the Almighty hand to spread the plains, to heave the mountains, and to pour the ocean. Look at the verdure, flowers, and fruits which in the mild season adorn the surface of the earth; the uncreated hand fashions their fine forms, paints their exquisite colors, and exhales their delightful perfumes. In the spring, his life re-animates the world; in the summer and autumn, his bounty is poured out upon the hills and valleys; in the winter, “his way is in the whirlwind, and in the storm; and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” His hand “hung the earth upon nothing,” lighted up the sun in the heavens, and rolls the planets, and the comets through the immeasurable fields of ether. His breath kindled the stars; his voice called into existence worlds innumerable, and filled the expanse with animated being. To all he is present, over all he rules, for all he provides. The mind, attempered to divine contemplation, finds him in every solitude, meets him in every walk, and in all places, and at all times, sees itself surrounded by God.
* * * * *
=_John Henry Hobart, 1775-1830._=
From a “Sermon.”
=_22._= THE DIVINE GLORY IN REDEMPTION.
At the display of the divine power and glory that created the world, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Surely not less universal, not less ardent the exultation in those pure and perfect spirits that continually surround the Divine Majesty at the view of the infinite wisdom, love, and power which planned the redemption of a fallen world–which thus devised the mode by which pardon could be extended to the sinner without sanctioning his sin, and favor to the offending rebel against the divine government, without weakening its authority, impeaching its holiness, or subverting its justice. In the nature of the divine Persons thus counselling for man’s redemption, it is not for him, blind, and erring, and impotent, it is not for angels, it is not for cherubim or seraphim, for a moment to look. The inner glory of the divine nature burns with a blaze, if I may so with reverence speak, too intense, too radiant, for finite vision. But in its manifestations, in its outer, its more distant rays, shining on the plan of man’s redemption, all is mildness, and softness, and peace. Holiness, and justice, and mercy are seen blending their sacred influences, and conveying light and joy in that truth which the counsels of the Godhead alone could render possible. God can be just, and yet justify the sinner.
… Let us not, then, neglect this wonderful counsel of God for our salvation; let us not be unaffected by this most stupendous display of divine power, love, and mercy; let us not reject the offers of peace and salvation from the God whom we have offended, and the Sovereign who is finally to judge us. But, on the contrary, let us gratefully adore the mercy and the grace of the Godhead in the plan of redemption, effected in the incarnation, the obedience, the sufferings, the death, and the triumphant resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Let it be our great object to be conformed to the likeness of his death, in mortifying all our corrupt affections, and to experience the power of his resurrection in living a new and holy life, that we may enjoy the new and lively hopes of everlasting glory, which his resurrection assures to all true believers.
[Footnote 7: An eminent divine and bishop of the Episcopal church; a native of Pennsylvania.]
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=_Lyman Beecher, 1775-1803._=
From the “Lectures on Political Atheism.”
=_23._= THE BEING OF A GOD.
It is a thing eminently to be desired that there should be a supreme benevolent Intelligence, who is the creator and moral governor of the universe, whose subjects and kingdom shall endure for ever. Such a one the nature of man demands, and his whole soul pants after.
We feel our littleness in presence of the majestic elements of nature, our weakness compared with their power, and our loneliness in the vast universe, unenlightened, unguided, and unblessed, by any intelligence superior to our own. We behold the flight of time, the passing fashion of the world, and the gulf of annihilation curtained with the darkness of an eternal night.
At the side of this vortex, which covers with deep oblivion the past, and impenetrable darkness the future, nature shudders and draws back, and the soul, with sinking heart, looks mournfully around upon this fair creation, and up to these beautiful heavens, and in plaintive accents demands, “Is there, then, no deliverance from this falling back into nothing? Must this conscious being cease–this reasoning, thinking power, and these warm affections, their delightful movements? Must this eye close in an endless night, and this heart fall back upon everlasting insensibility? O, thou cloudless sun, and ye far-distant stars, in all your journeyings in light, have ye discovered no blessed intelligence who called you into being, lit up your fires, marked your orbits, wheels you in your courses, around whom ye roll, and whose praises ye silently celebrate? Are ye empty worlds, and desolate, the sport of chance? or, like our sad earth, are ye peopled with inhabitants, waked up to a brief existence, and hurried reluctantly, from an almost untested being, back to nothing? O that there were a God, who made you greater than ye all, whose being in yours we might see, whose intelligence we might admire, whose will we might obey, and whose goodness we might adore!” Such, except where guilt seeks annihilation as the choice of evils, is the unperverted, universal longing after God and immortality.
[Footnote 8: A Congregational clergyman, prominent, in the early part of this century, for his zeal and piety, and for the eloquence and originality of his sermons: father of a numerous family distinguished in theology and literature.]
* * * * *
=_William Ellery Channing, 1780-1842._= (Manual, p. 480.)
From the Essay on Napoleon Bonaparte.
=_24._= CHARACTER OF NAPOLEON.
With powers which might have made him a glorious representative and minister of the beneficent Divinity, and with natural sensibilities which might have been exalted into sublime virtues, he chose to separate himself from his kind, to forego their love, esteem, and gratitude, that he might become their gaze, their fear, their wonder; and for this selfish, solitary good, parted with peace and imperishable renown.
His insolent exaltation of himself above the race to which he belonged, broke out in the beginning of his career. His first success in Italy gave him the tone of a master, and he never laid it aside to his last hour. One can hardly help being struck with the _natural air_ with which he arrogates supremacy in his conversation and proclamations. We never feel as if he were putting on a lordly air. In his proudest claims, he speaks from his own mind, and in native language. His style is swollen, but never strained, as if he were conscious of playing a part above his real claims. Even when he was foolish and impious enough to arrogate miraculous powers and a mission from God, his language showed that he thought there was something in his character and exploits to give a color to his–blasphemous pretensions. The empire of the world seemed to him to be in a measure his due, for nothing short of it corresponded with his conceptions of himself; and he did not use mere verbiage, but spoke a language to which he gave some credit, when he called his successive conquests “the fulfilment of his destiny.” This spirit of self-exaggeration wrought its own misery, and drew down upon him terrible punishments; and this it did by vitiating and perverting his high powers. First, it diseased his fine intellect, gave imagination the ascendency over judgment, turned the inventiveness and fruitfulness of his mind into rash, impatient, restless energies, and thus precipitated him into projects, which, as the wisdom of his counsellors pronounced, were fraught with ruin. To a man, whose vanity took him out of the rank of human beings, no foundation for reasoning was left. All things seemed possible. His genius and his fortune were not to be bounded by the barriers which experience had assigned to human powers. Ordinary rules did not apply to him. He even found excitement and motives in obstacles before which other men would have wavered; for these would enhance the glory of triumph, and give a new thrill to the admiration of the world.
To us there is something radically and increasingly shocking in the thought of one man’s will becoming a law to his race; in the thought of multitudes, of vast communities, surrendering conscience, intellect, their affections, their rights, their interests, to the stern mandate of a fellow-creature. When we see one word of a frail man on the throne of France, tearing a hundred thousand sons from their homes, breaking asunder the sacred ties of domestic life, sentencing myriads of the young to make murder their calling, and rapacity their means of support, and extorting from nations their treasures to extend this ruinous sway, we are ready to ask ourselves, Is not this a dream? and, when the sad reality comes home to us, we blush for a race which can stoop to such an abject lot. At length, indeed, we see the tyrant humbled, stripped of power, but stripped by those who, in the main, are not unwilling to play the despot on a narrower scale, and to break down the spirit of nations under the same iron sway.
* * * * *
From a Discourse upon Immortality.
=_25._= GRANDEUR OF THE PROSPECT.
To me there is but one objection against immortality, if objection it may be called, and this arises from the very greatness of the truth. My mind sometimes sinks under its weight, is lost in its immensity; I scarcely dare believe that such a good is placed within my reach. When I think of myself, as existing through all future ages, as surviving this earth and that sky, as exempted from every imperfection and error of my present being, as clothed with an angel’s glory, as comprehending with my intellect and embracing in my affections, an extent of creation compared with which the earth is a point; when I think of myself as looking on the outward universe with an organ of vision that will reveal to me a beauty and harmony and order not now imagined, and as having an access to the minds of the wise and good, which will make them in a sense my own; when I think of myself as forming friendships with innumerable beings of rich and various intellect and of the noblest virtue, as introduced to the society of heaven, as meeting there the great and excellent, of whom I have read in history, as joined with “the just made perfect” in an ever-enlarging ministry of benevolence, as conversing with Jesus Christ with the familiarity of friendship, and especially as having an immediate intercourse with God, such as the closest intimacies of earth dimly shadow forth;–when this thought of my future being comes to me, whilst I hope, I also fear; the blessedness seems too great; the consciousness of present weakness and unworthiness is almost too strong for hope. But when, in this frame of mind, I look round on the creation, and see there the marks of an omnipotent goodness, to which nothing is impossible, and from which every thing may be Loped; when I see around me the proofs of an Infinite Father, who must desire the perpetual progress of his intellectual offspring; when I look next at the human mind, and see what powers a few years have unfolded, and discern in it the capacity of everlasting improvement: and especially when I look at Jesus, the conqueror of death, the heir of immortality, who has gone as the forerunner of mankind into the mansions of light and purity, I can and do admit the almost overpowering thought of the everlasting life, growth, felicity, of the human soul.
* * * * *
From Remarks on the case of the Ship Creole.
=_26._= THE DUTY OF THE FREE STATES.
I have now finished my task. I have considered the Duties of the Free States in relation to Slavery, and to other subjects of great and immediate concern. In this discussion I have constantly spoken of Duties as more important than Interests; but these in the end will be found to agree. The energy by which men prosper is fortified by nothing so much as by the lofty spirit which scorns to prosper through abandonment of duty.
I have been called by the subjects here discussed to speak much of the evils of the times, and the dangers of the country; and in treating of these a writer is almost necessarily betrayed into what may seem a tone of despondence. His anxiety to save his country from crime or calamity, leads him to use unconsciously a language of alarm which may excite the apprehension of inevitable misery. But I would not infuse such fears. I do not sympathize with the desponding tone of the day. It may be that there are fearful woes in store for this people; but there are many promises of good to give spring to hope and effort; and it is not wise to open our eyes and ears to ill omens alone. It is to be lamented that men who boast of courage in other trials, should shrink so weakly from public difficulties and dangers, and should spend in unmanly reproaches, or complaints, the strength which they ought to give to their country’s safety. But this ought not to surprise us in the present case: for our lot, until of late, has been singularly prosperous, and great prosperity enfeebles men’s spirits, and prepares them to despond when it shall have passed away. The country, we are told, is “ruined.” What! the country ruined, when the mass of the population have hardly retrenched a luxury! We are indeed paying, and we ought to pay, the penalty of reckless extravagance, of wild and criminal speculation, of general abandonment to the passion for sudden and enormous gains. But how are we ruined? Is the kind, nourishing earth about to become a cruel step-mother? Or is the teeming soil of this magnificent country sinking beneath our feet? Is the ocean dried up? Are our cities and villages, our schools and churches, in ruins? Are the stout muscles which have conquered sea and land, palsied? Are the earnings of past years dissipated, and the skill which gathered them forgotten? I open my eyes on this ruined country, and I see around me fields fresh with verdure, and behold on all sides the intelligent countenance, the sinewy limb, the kindly look, the free and manly bearing, which indicate any thing but a fallen people. Undoubtedly we have much cause to humble ourselves for the vices which our recent prosperity warmed into being, or rather brought out from the depths of men’s souls. But in the reprobation which these vices awaken, have we no proof that the fountain of moral life in the nation’s heart is not exhausted. In the progress of temperance, of education, and of religious sensibility, in our land, have we no proof that there is among us an impulse towards improvement, which no temporary crime or calamity can overpower.
After all, there is a growing intelligence in this community; there is much domestic virtue, there is a deep working of Christianity; there is going on a struggle of higher truths with narrow traditions, and of a wider benevolence with social evils; there is a spirit of freedom, a recognition of the equal rights of men; there are profound impulses received from our history, from the virtues of our fathers, and especially from our revolutionary conflict; and there is an indomitable energy, which, after rearing an empire in the wilderness, is fresh for new achievements.
There is one Duty of the Free States of which I have not spoken; it is the duty of Faith in the intellectual and moral energies of the country, in its high destiny, and in the good Providence which has guided it through so many trials and perils to its present greatness. We indeed suffer much, and deserve to suffer more. Many dark pages are to be written in our history. But generous seed is still sown in this nation’s mind. Noble impulses are working here. We are called to be witnesses to the world, of a freer, more equal, more humane, more enlightened social existence, than has yet been known. May God raise us to a more thorough comprehension of our work! May he give us faith in the good which we are summoned to achieve! May he strengthen us to build up a prosperity not tainted by slavery, selfishness, or any wrong; but pure, innocent, righteous, and overflowing, through a just and generous intercourse, on all the nations of the earth!
* * * * *
=_Edward Payson, 1733-1827,_= (Manual, p. 480.)
From the “Selections.”
=_27._= NATURAL RELIGION.
I know that those who hate and despise the religion of Jesus because it condemns their evil deeds, have endeavored to deprive him of the honor of communicating to mankind the glad tidings of life and immortality. I know that they have dragged the mouldering carcass of paganism from the grave, animated her lifeless form with a spark stolen from the sacred altar, arrayed her in the spoils of Christianity, re-lighted her extinguished taper at the torch of revelation, dignified her with the name of natural religion, and exalted her in the temple of reason, as a goddess, able, without divine assistance, to guide mankind to truth and happiness. But we also know, that all her boasted pretensions are vain, the offspring of ignorance, wickedness, and pride. We know that she is indebted to that revelation which she presumes to ridicule, and contemn, for every semblance of truth or energy which she displays. We know that the most she can do, is to find men blind and leave them so; and to lead them still farther astray, in a labyrinth of vice, delusion, and wretchedness. This is incontrovertibly evident, both from past and present experience; and we may defy her most eloquent advocates to produce a single instance in which she has enlightened or reformed mankind. If, as is often asserted, she is able to guide us in the path of truth and happiness, why has she ever suffered her votaries to remain a prey to vice and ignorance. Why did she not teach the learned Egyptians to abstain from worshiping their leeks and onions? Why not instruct the polished Greeks to renounce their sixty thousand gods? Why not persuade the enlightened Romans to abstain from adoring their deified murderers? Why not prevail on the wealthy Phoenicians to refrain from sacrificing their infants to Saturn? Or, if it was a task beyond her power to enlighten the ignorant multitude, reform their barbarous and abominable superstitions, and teach them that they were immortal beings, why did she not, at least, instruct their philosophers in the great doctrine of the immortality of the soul, which they so earnestly labored in vain to discover? They enjoyed the light of reason and natural religion, in its fullest extent, yet so far were they from ascertaining the nature of our future and eternal existence, that they–could not determine whether we should exist at all Bevon the grave; nor could all their advantages preserve them from the grossest errors, and the most unnatural crimes.
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=_Joseph S. Buckminster, 1784-1812._= (Manual, p. 480.)
From the “Sermons.”
=_28._= NECESSITY OF REGENERATION.
Look back, my hearers, upon your lives, and observe the numerous opinions that you have adopted and discarded, the numerous attachments you have formed and forgotten, and recollect how imperceptible were the revolutions of your sentiments, how quiet the changes of your affections. Perhaps, even now, your minds may be passing through some interesting processes, your pursuits may be taking some new direction, and your character may soon exhibit to the world some unexpected transformation. Compare with this the spiritual regeneration of the heart. So is every one that is born of the Spirit. Perhaps the following may not be an imperfect description of the process that takes place in a mind which is the subject of a radical conversion. The motion of the wind is unseen, its effects are visible; the trees bend and fields are laid waste; though the altering sentiments and affections are unnoticed, the altered character obtrudes itself upon our observation. Truths before contemplated without concern, now seize the mind with a grasp too firm to be shaken. The world which is to succeed the present is no longer a subject of accidental thought, of wavering belief, or lifeless speculation; a region to which no tie binds us, and which no curiosity leads us to explore. To the regenerated mind, the character and condition of man appears in a new, and interesting light. To a being whose existence has but just commenced, death is only a boundary, a line, that marks off the first, the smallest portion of existence. Earth with her retinue of allurements, her band of fascinating syrens, exclaims, “We have lost our hold on this man! He is no longer ours!” Religion welcomes her new adherent; she beckons him to turn his steps into a new,–a pleasanter path; and God himself looks down from heaven with complacency and love, illuminating his track by the light of his countenance, marking the first step he takes in religion, and supporting him by the staff of his grace,–the aid of his Holy Spirit.
The first objects that engage the dawning mind of the child are objects of sense. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. It is a selfish, sensual creature, ignorant of its Creator, of its destination; uninclined to the purity, the spirituality, the power of religion; alienated from the life of God, the life of the soul. Unrenewed by the influence of religious truth, undirected by the guiding hand of an Almighty Father, how shall such a creature reach the regions of immortal bliss? Is it enthusiasm, is it folly, is it hypocrisy, to say to such, a creature, “You must be born again before you can see the kingdom of God?” Is that Redeemer to be disclaimed who offers you his divine aid to form anew your character, to exalt your affections, to enlighten your dreary and desolate understanding?
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=_Nathaniel W. Taylor 1781-1871._=
From the “Lectures on the Moral Government of God.”
=_29._= PROOF OF IMMORTALITY FROM THE MORAL NATURE OF MAN.
The argument from _the moral nature_ of man is made still more impressive by the superiority of its design and object. If there is no existence for man beyond the present state, what can we suppose to be the design of his Creator in forming him a moral being? What powers, what capacities are involved in his nature! What capacity to enjoy, and what power to impart happiness to others! Who can reflect on the nature of such a creature, his intelligence, his susceptibility, his will, his conscience, the dignity, the excellence of which he is capable, the moral victories and triumphs he may win, his fitness to hold on his way with archangels, strong in advancing all that good which infinite wisdom could devise, and infinite benevolence could love, the graces with which he may be adorned, and the beatitudes with which he may be blessed, and not believe that he is made to be one with the God who has created him–a partaker of his blessedness, a companion of his eternity.
If we consider what an almost total failure there is, even on the part of every good man, to attain in any respect the great end of his creation; how weak in resolution and feeble in heart–how little success in subduing his passions and governing his temper–how much of life is spent before he even begins to live in obedience to the demands of duty and of conscience–how remote he is from the uniform and settled tranquility of perfect virtue–what dissatisfaction he feels with, the present, unappeased by all the world can offer–what an Impatience and disgust with the littleness of all he finds–what an ever-restless aspiration after nobler and higher things–what anticipations and hopes from futurity never realized, here on earth–how does our spirit labor under a sense of the incongruity between his attainments and his powers! and, unless there is a future state, what an insignificance is imparted to all that can be called virtue here on earth, and also to man himself!
[Footnote 9: An eminent Congregational divine, long professor of theology in Tale College, and distinguished by the vigor and originality of his thinking.]
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=_Edward Hitchcock, 1793-1804._= (Manual, p. 532.)
From “The Religion of Geology.”
=_30._= GEOLOGICAL PROOF OF DIVINE BENEVOLENCE.
My second argument in proof of the divine benevolence is derived from the disturbed, broken, and overturned condition of the earth’s crust.
To the casual observer the rocks have the appearance of being lifted up, shattered, and overturned; but it is only the geologist who knows the vast extent of this disturbance. He never finds crystalline, non-fossiliferous rocks which have not been more or less removed from their original position. The older fossiliferous strata exhibit almost equal evidence of the operation of a powerful disturbing force, though sometimes found in their original horizontal position. The newer rocks have experienced less of this agency, though but few of them have not been elevated or dislocated.
If these strata had remained horizontal, as they were originally deposited, it is obvious that all the valuable ores, minerals, and rocks, which man could not have discovered by direct excavation, must have remained forever unknown to him. Now, man has very seldom penetrated the rocks below the depth of half a mile, and rarely so deep as that; whereas, by the elevations, dislocations, and overturnings that have been described, he obtains access to all deposits of useful substances that lie within fifteen or twenty miles of the surface; and many are thus probably brought to light from a greater depth. He is indebted, then, to this disturbing agency for nearly all the useful metals, coal, rock salt, marble, gypsum, and other useful minerals; and when we consider how necessary these substances are to civilized society, who will doubt that it was a striking act of benevolence which thus introduced disturbance, dislocation, and apparent ruin into the earth’s crust?
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=_John P. Durbin, 1800._=
From “Observations in the East.”
=_31._= FIRST SIGHT OF MOUNT SINAI.
For two hours we ascended this wild, narrow pass, enclosed between stupendous granite cliffs, whose debris encumbered the defile, often rendering the passage difficult and dangerous. Escaping from the pass, we crossed the head of a basin-like plain, which declined to the south-west, and ascending gradually, gloomy, precipitous, mountain masses rose to view on either hand, with detached snow-beds lying in their clefts. The caravan moved slowly, and apparently with a more solemn, measured tread. The Bedouins became serious and silent, and looked steadily before them, as if to catch the first glimpse of some revered object. The space before us gradually expanded, when suddenly Tualeb, pointing to a black, perpendicular cliff, whose two riven and rugged summits rose some twelve or fifteen hundred feet directly in front of us, exclaimed, _”Gebel Mousa!”_ How shall I describe the effect of that announcement? Not a word was spoken by Moslem or Christian, but slowly and silently we advanced into the still expanding plain, our eyes immovably fixed on the frowning precipices of the stern and desolate mountain. We were doubtless on the plain where Israel encamped at the giving of the law, and that grand and gloomy height before us was Sinai, on which God descended in fire, and the whole mountain was enveloped In smoke, and shook under the tread of the Almighty, while his presence was proclaimed by the long, loud peals of repeated thunder, above which the blast of the trumpet was heard waxing loader and louder, and reverberating amid the stern and gloomy mountain heights around; and then God spoke with Moses.
[Footnote 10: A native of Kentucky; is deemed one of the most eloquent divines in the Methodist church.]
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=_Leonard Bacon, 1802._= (Manual, p, 480.)
From a “Missionary Sermon.”
=_32._= THE DAY APPROACHING.
The time is to come when the world will be filled with the knowledge, the fear, and the praise of God Not always will war deluge the earth with fire and blood. Not always will idolatry offend the heavens with its abominations. Not always will despotism, political and spiritual, national and domestic, degrade and corrupt the masses of mankind. Not always will superstition, on the one hand, and infidelity, on the other, reject and despise the blessed revelation of forgiveness for sinners through Jesus, the Lamb of God. Not always will cold philosophy, and erratic enthusiasm, and fanaticism fierce and malignant, conspire to corrupt and pervert the gospel itself, turning even the streams from the fountain of life into waters of bitterness and poison. No, no; the time will come when the sun, in his daily journey round the renovated world, shall waken with his morning beam in every human dwelling the voice of joyful, thankful, spiritual worship. Then shall the boundless soul of Immanuel, who once travailed in the agony of the world’s redemption, “be satisfied” with his victories over death and sin. The ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs, and with garlands of everlasting joy; and from the earth, no longer accursed for the sake of man, sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
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From the New Englander.
=_33._= THE BENEFITS OF CAPITAL.
What wealth can be created without capital? Robinson Crusoe, on his lonely island, was a capitalist as well as a laborer and a land-holder. Put him down there without any capital–simply a naked, featherless, two-legged and two-handed, animal, without clothes, without a gun or a fish-hook, without hoe, or hatchet, or knife, or rusty nail, without a particle of food to keep him from fainting, and what will become of him? He gathers perhaps some wild fruits from the bushes; he picks up perhaps some shell-fish from the water’s edge; he surprises a fawn or a kid, and throttles it and tears it to pieces with his fingers; he kindles a fire perhaps by rubbing two dry sticks together till they ignite with the friction; and so he keeps himself alive for a few days; but how little progress does he make! But let him by any means have a little to begin with in the shape of implements and materials; give him an axe or a spade, a jack-knife, or only a fragment of an iron hoop, give him a gill of seed wheat, or a single potato, or no more than a grain of maize, for planting; and how soon will his condition be changed! He has begun to be, even in this small way, a capitalist; and his labor, drawing something from the past, begins to reach into the future. Instead of spending all his time and strength in a constant scratching for the food of to-day, how soon will he have a blanket of skins, and a hut, and a garden in which he is preparing to-day the food of future months. Give him now a little more capital; let him have the means of stocking his farm with some sort of domestic animals; give him only a steer and a heifer, or even a pair of goats, and how soon will he begin to be rich.
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=_James W. Alexander, 1804-1859._= (Manual, p. 480.)
From his “Discourses on Christian Faith and Practice.”
=_34._= THE CHURCH A TEMPLE.
In surveying the past, we observe a beautiful fitness and an enchanting variety in the materials which have been already built into that part of the edifice which has thus far been reared. How unlike the corps of prophets to the corps of apostles; and how unlike the several individuals of each. We have Scripture authority for placing these among the most honorable and sustaining parts of the fabric, near the corner-stone: for we are “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.” Isaiah with his evangelic clarion. Jeremiah with his pastoral reed of sorrows, and David with his many-voiced harp, sometimes loud in notes of triumph, and sometimes subdued to the voice of weeping, stand out with a marked individuality which becomes the more surprising, the more nearly we examine the distinctive features. They may be likened to those immense but goodly stones, carried up in courses, along the precipitous side of the valley, to form the basis for the temple of Solomon. The twelve apostles, including the last, and humanly speaking, the greatest, though brethren, how unlike. Who for an instant, could mistake Paul for Peter, or either of them for John. They occupy salient angles of the great foundation, and lie nearest to the corner-stone, elect and precious. Some of their brethren, though not visible in the front which meets the eye, may have done equal service in the bearing up of the mass. Martyrs and confessors found their place, in succeeding ages, as the wall advanced; some as glorious for ornament as strong for use. When love needed a signal display, amidst the blood of martyrdom, we see it immortalized in an Ignatius and a Polycarp. When stalking heresy needed a front of steel to stand unmoved against all its columns, we find an “Athanasius against the world.” When the language of Greece is to be elevated to new dignity by conveying the wonders of Christianity, we hear the golden eloquence of a Basil and a Chrysostom. When Roman philosophy had died out of the world, we behold it revived in an Augustine, the father of the fathers. Later down in ages, we catch glimpses even amidst Romish corruptions of a Bernard and a Kempis. The note of alarm is given to a sleeping carnal church, first by Wicliff, Huss, and Jerome, then by Zwingle, Luther, Calvin, and Knox.
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=_Martin John Spaulding, 1810-1872._=
From “Sketches of the Early Catholic Missions in Kentucky.”
=_35._= LIFE IN THE NEW SETTLEMENTS.
The early Catholic emigrants to Kentucky, in common with their brethren of other denominations, had to endure many privations and hardships. As we may well conceive, there were few luxuries to be found in the wilderness, in the midst of which they had fixed their new habitations. They often suffered even for the most indispensable necessaries of life. To obtain salt, they had to travel many miles to the licks, through a country infested with savages; and they were often obliged to remain there for several days, until they could procure a supply.
There were then no regular roads in Kentucky. The forests were filled with a luxuriant undergrowth, thickly interspersed with the cane, and the whole closely interlaced with the wild pea-vine. These circumstances rendered them nearly impassable; and almost the only chance of effecting a passage through this vegetable wilderness, was by following the paths or traces made by the herds of buffalo and other wild beasts. Luckily these traces were numerous, especially in the vicinity of the licks, which the buffalo were in the habit of frequenting, to drink the salt water, or lick the earth impregnated with salt.
The new colonists resided in log-cabins, rudely constructed, with no glass in the windows, with floors of dirt, or, in the better sort of dwellings, of puncheons of split timber, roughly hewed with the axe. After they had worn out the clothing brought with them from the old settlements, both men and women were under the necessity of wearing buckskin or homespun apparel. Such a thing as a store was not known in Kentucky for many years: and the names of broadcloth, ginghams and calicoes, were never even so much as breathed. Moccasins made of buckskin, supplied the place of our modern shoes, blankets thrown over the shoulder, answered the purpose of our present fashionable coats and cloaks; and handkerchiefs tied around the head served instead of hats and bonnets. A modern fashionable bonnet would have been a matter of real wonderment in those days of unaffected simplicity.
The furniture of the cabins was of the same primitive character. Stools were used instead of chairs: the table was made of slabs of timber, rudely put together. Wooden vessels and platters supplied the place of our modern plates and china-ware; and a “tin cup was an article of delicate furniture, almost as rare as an iron-fork,” The beds were either placed on the floor, or on bedsteads of puncheons, supported by forked pieces of timber, driven into the ground, or resting on pins let into auger-holes in the sides of the cabin. Blankets, and bear and buffalo-skins, constituted often the principal bed-covering.
One of the chief resources for food was the chase. All kinds of game were then very abundant; and when the hunter chanced, to have a goodly supply of ammunition, his fortune was made for the year. The game was plainly dressed, and served up on wooden platters, with corn-bread, and the Indian dish-the well known _hominy_. The corn was ground with great difficulty, on the laborious hand-mills; for mills of other descriptions were then, and for many years afterwards, unknown in Kentucky.
Such was the simple manner of life led by our “pilgrim fathers.” They had fewer luxuries, but perhaps were, withal, more happy than their more fastidious descendants. Hospitality was not then an empty name; every log-cabin was freely thrown open to all who chose to share in the best cheer its inmates could afford. The early settlers of Kentucky were bound together by the strong ties of common hardships and dangers–to say nothing of other bonds of union–and they clung together with great tenacity. On the slightest alarm of Indian invasion, they all made common cause, and flew together to the rescue. There was less selfishness, and more generous chivalry; less bickering, and more cordial charity, then, than at present; notwithstanding all our boasted refinement.
[Footnote 11: Born in Kentucky, and long eminent as a controversial writer and a Prelate of the Roman Catholic church. His “sketches” give much interesting information respecting the early history of that church at the West.]
[Footnote 12: Marshall–History of Kentucky.]
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=_James Henry Thornwell, 1811-1862._=
From the “Discourses on Truth.”
=_36._= EVIL TENDENCIES OF AN ACT OF SIN.
There is a double tendency in every voluntary determination, one to propagate itself, the other to weaken or support, according to its own moral quality, the general principle of virtue. Every sin, therefore, imparts a proclivity to other acts of the same sort, and disturbs and deranges, at the same time, the whole moral constitution, it tends to the formation of special habits, and to the superinducing of a general debility of principle, which lays a man open to defeat from every species of temptation. The extent to which a single act shall produce this double effect, depends upon its intensity, its intensity depends upon the fullness and energy of will which will enter into it, and the energy of will depends upon the strength of the motives resisted. An act, therefore, which concludes an earnest and protracted conflict, which has not been reached without a stormy debate in the soul, which marks the victory of evil over the love of character, sensibility to shame, the authority of conscience and the fear of God, an act of this sort concentrates in itself the essence of all the single determinations which preceded it, and possesses power to generate a habit and to derange the constitution, equal to that which the whole series of resistances to duty, considered as so many individual instances of transgression, is fitted to impart. By one such act a man is impelled with an amazing momentum in the path of evil. He lives years of sin in a day or an hour. It is always a solemn crisis when the first step is to be taken in a career of guilt, against which nature and education, or any other strong influences protest. The results are unspeakably perilous when a man has to fight his way into crime. The victory creates an epoch in his life. He is from that hour, without a miracle of grace, a lost man. The earth is strewed with wrecks of character which were occasioned by one fatal determination at a critical point in life, when the will stood face to face with duty, and had to make its decision deliberately and intensely for evil.
[Footnote 13: A Presbyterian divine, and professor of Theology, in South Carolina, his native state: a distinguished theological writer of the South.]
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=_Charles P. McIlvaine, 1799-1873._=
From a Sermon on the Resurrection of Christ.
=_37._=. ATTESTATIONS OF THE RESURRECTION.
Here we remark, in general, that his resurrection was the great sign and crowning miracle to which our Lord, all the way of his ministry, to the day of his crucifixion, referred both friends and opposers, for the final confirmation of all his claims and doctrines. He staked all on the promise that he would rise from death. The Jews asked of him a sign, that they might believe. He answered, “There shall no sign be given, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. For as Jonas was three days and nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Thus on that single; event, the resurrection of Christ, the whole of Christianity, as it all centres in, and depends on him, was made to hinge. Redemption waited the evidence of resurrection. Nothing was to be accounted as sealed and finally certified, till Jesus should deliver himself from the power of death. All of the gospel, all the hopes it brings to us, all the promises with which it comforts us, were taken for their final verdict, as true or false, sufficient or worthless, to the door of that jealously-guarded and stone-sealed sepulchre, waiting the settlement of the question, _will he rise?_
But an event so momentous was not left to but one class of evidences. There was a way by which thousands at once were made to receive as powerful assurance that Christ was risen, as if they had seen him in his risen body. Jesus, before his death, had made a great promise to his disciples, to be fulfilled by him only after his death and resurrection; a promise impossible to be fulfilled if his resurrection failed; because then, not only would he be under the power of death, but all his claim to divine power would be brought to nought. It was the promise of the Holy Ghost. “When the Comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me, he shall glorify me.”
It was after he had “shown himself alive after his passion, by many infallible proofs, being seen of his disciples forty days, and speaking to them of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God,” that the day for the accomplishment of that promise came. The day was that which commemorated the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. It was now to witness the going forth of the gospel from Jerusalem. I need not relate to you the wonderful events of that day of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Ghost with the “sound as of a rushing mighty wind” that “filled all the house;” the cloven tongues “like as of fire,” which sat on each of the disciples; the evidence that it was the Spirit of God which had then come, given in the sudden and astonishing change which immediately came over the apostles, transforming them from weak and timid men to the boldest and strongest; in the change which suddenly came upon the power of their ministry, converting it from the weak agent it had previously been in contact with all the unbelief and wickedness of men into an instrument so mighty that out of a congregation of Jews of all nations, many of whom had probably partaken in the crucifixion of Christ, three thousand that day were bowed down to repentance and subdued to his obedience.
Thus was the day of Pentecost, a great day of testimony to the life and divine power, and consequently the resurrection of Christ. Each of those who heard the divers tongues of the ministry of that day, each of the three thousand, was a witness of the same.
[Footnote 14: A native of New Jersey; in early life Chaplain and Professor of Moral Philosophy in the Military Academy at West Point and long time Bishop of Ohio in the Protestant Episcopal Church. His Treatise on the Evidences of Christianity has great merit, and his theological and controversial writings are in high esteem: greatly venerated for his truly evangelical character.]
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=_George W. Bethune, 1805-1862._= (Manual, p. 487.)
From the “Expository Lectures on the Heidelberg Catechism.”
=_38._= ASPIRATIONS TOWARDS HEAVEN.
Our Christian life is a course through, this world, which we are to run looking unto Jesus, at the right hand of the throne of God. The mark of the prize of the high calling is in heaven. Nay, it is the hope of heaven which keeps our souls surely and steadfastly. No matter what other proofs of his being a Christian, a man may think that he has–what moral virtue, what present zeal, what reverence for God and sacred things, what kindness and faithfulness to his fellow-men,–if he have not this longing thirst for heaven, he should doubt his Christianity. The regenerate soul can be satisfied with nothing short of awaking with the divine likeness. We cannot pray aright without hoping for heaven, for there only will the askings of a pious heart be fully granted. We cannot give thanks aright without hoping for heaven, for there are the consummate blessings of the Redeemer’s purchase. We cannot serve God aright without hoping for heaven, for there only is our faithfulness to be acknowledged, and our wages paid. Our hopes should be submissive, and our longing patient; we should be willing to remain so long as God has work for us here, but ever with a yearning sense that to depart and be with Christ is far better. Grace in the heart is an ascensive power, ever lifting its desires upward and upward, and so above the temptations of time and earth. We can never drive this world out of our hearts, but by bringing heaven into them. And heaven meets our affections when they ascend, as it met Jesus; and he who so walks, climbing the arduous way from the Valley of Baca to the temple on the mount (for we must walk until we get our wings of angelic strength), will so approach the heavenly threshold, as, like holy Enoch, he can cross it at a step.
Oh, dear friends, what an advantage have they whose Jesus is in heaven, over those first disciples when they had him with them personally on earth. They were for building tabernacles on Tabor, looking for a temporal kingdom, walking by sight and not by faith; but our Lord now above, draws up to a better, higher, holier home, our aims, our desires, and our love.
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From “A Lecture:” Philadelphia, 1840.
=_39._= THE PROSPECTS OF ART IN THE UNITED STATES.
It is well for those who have sufficient wealth, to bring among us good works of foreign or ancient masters, especially if they allow free access to them for students and copyists. The true gems are, however, rare, and very costly. A single masterpiece would swallow up the whole sum which even the richest of our countrymen would be willing to devote in the way of paintings. I hope, however, soon to see the day when there shall be a fondness for making collections of works by _American artists_, or those resident among us. Such collections, judiciously made, would supply the best history of the rise and progress of the arts in the United States. They would, more than any other means, stimulate artists to a generous emulation. They would reflect high honor upon their possessors, as men who love Art for its own sake, and are willing to serve and encourage it. They would highly gratify the foreigner of taste who comes curious to observe the working of our institutions and our habits of life. He does not cross the sea to find Vandykes and Murillos. He can enjoy them at home; but he wishes to discover what the children of the West can do in following or excelling European example. The expense of such a collection could not be very great. A few thousands of dollars, less than is often lavished upon the French plate glass and lustres, damask hangings, and Turkey carpets of a pair of parlors (more than which few of our houses can boast), would cover their walls with good specimens of American art, and do far more credit to the taste and heart of the owner.
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=_William R. Williams, 1804._= (Manual, p. 480.)
From “The Lectures on the Lord’s Prayer.”
=_40._= LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION.
We are warranted in praying to be brought through, temptation, when it is not of our own seeking, but of _God’s sending_. If we walk without care and without vigilance, if we acknowledge not God in our ways, and take counsel at Ekron, and not at Zion,–leaving the Bible unread, and the closet unvisited,–if the sanctuary and the Sabbath lose their ancient hold upon us, and we then go on frowardly in the way of our own eyes, and after the counsel of our own heart, we have reason to tremble. A conscience quick and sensitive, under the presence of the indwelling Spirit, is like the safety-lamp of the miner, a ready witness and a mysterious guardian against the deathful damps, that unseen, but fatal, cluster around our darkling way. To neglect prayer and watching, is to lay aside that lamp, and then, though the eye see no danger and the ear hear no warning, spiritual death may be gathering around us her invisible vapors, stored with ruin, and rife for a sudden explosion. We are _tempting God_, and shall _we_ be delivered?
And if this be so with, the negligent professor of religion, is it not applicable also to the openly careless, who never acknowledged Christ’s claims to the heart and the life?
With an evil nature, and a mortal body, and a brittle and brief tenure of earth, you are traversing perilous paths. Had you God for your friend, your case would be far other than it is. Peril and snare might still beset you; but you would confront and traverse them, as the Hebrews of old did the weedy bed of the Red Sea, its watery walls guarding their dread way, the pillar of light the vanguard, and the pillar of cloud the rearguard of their mysterious progress, the ark and the God of the ark piloting and defending them…. You are like a presumptuous and unskilful traveller, passing under the arch of the waters of Niagara. The falling cataract thundering above you; a slippery, slimy rock beneath your gliding feet; the smoking, roaring abyss yawning beside you; the imprisoned winds beating back your breath; the struggling daylight coming but mistily to the bewildered eyes,–what is the terror of your condition if your guide, in whose grasp your fingers tremble, be malignant, and treacherous, and suicidal, determined on destroying your life at the sacrifice of his own? He assures you that he will bring you safely through upon the other side of the fall. And SUCH is SATAN. Lost himself, and desperate, he is set on swelling the number of his compeers in shame, and woe, and ruin.
[Footnote 15: A Baptist divine, born in New York city, where he has long been settled over a church; eminent for general scholarship and literary ability.]
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=_George B. Cheever, 1807-_=(Manual, pp. 480, 490.)
From “The Wanderings of a Pilgrim.”
=_41._= MONT BLANC.
It is like those heights of ambition so much coveted in the world, and so glittering in the distance, where, if men live to reach them, they cannot live upon them. They may have all the appliances and means of life, as these French _savants_ carried their tents to pitch upon the summit of Mont Blanc; but the peak that looked so warm and glittering in the sunshine, and of such a rosy hue in the evening rays, was too deadly cold, and swept by blasts too fierce and cutting; they were glad to relinquish the attempt, and come down. The view of the party a few hours below the summit, was a sight of deep interest. So was the spectacle of the immeasurable ridges and fields, gulfs and avalanches, heights and depths, unfathomable chasms and impassable precipices, of ice and snow, of such dazzling whiteness, of such endless extent, in such gigantic masses.
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From “Lectures on the Pilgrim’s Progress.”
=_42._=. SIN DISTORTS THE JUDGMENT.
On the other hand, those who do not love God, cannot expect to find in his Word a system of truth that will please their own hearts. A sinful heart can have no right views of God, and of course will have defective views of his Word: for sin distorts the judgment, and overturns the balance of the mind on all moral subjects, far more than even the best of men are aware of. There is, there can be, no true reflection of God or of his Word, from the bosom darkened with guilt, from the heart at enmity with him. That man will always look at God through the medium of his own selfishness, and at God’s Word through the coloring of his own wishes, prejudices, and fears.
A heart that loves the Saviour, and rejoices in God as its Sovereign, reflects back in calmness the perfect view of his character, which it finds in his Word. Behold on the borders of a mountain lake, the reflection of the scene above, received into the bosom of the lake below! See that crag projecting, the wild flowers that, hang out from it, and bend as if to gaze at their own forms in the water beneath. Observe that plot of green grass above, that tree springing from the cleft, and over all, the quiet sky reflected in all its softness and depth from the lake’s steady surface. Does it not seem as if there were two heavens. How perfect the reflection! And just as perfect and clear, and free from confusion and perplexity, is the reflection of God’s character, and of the truths of his Word, from the quietness of the heart that loves the Saviour, and rejoices in his supreme and sovereign glory.
Now look again. The wind is on the lake, and drives forward its waters in crested and impetuous waves, angry and turbulent. Where is that sweet image? There is no change above: the sky is as clear, the crag projects as boldly, the flowers look just as sweet in their unconscious simplicity; but below, banks, trees, and skies are all mingled in confusion. There is just as much confusion in every unholy mind’s idea of God and his blessed Word. God and his truth are always clear, always the same, but the passions of men fill their own hearts with obscurity and turbulence; their depravity is itself obscurity; and through all this perplexity and wilful ignorance, they contend that God is just such a being as they behold him, and that they are very good beings in his sight. We have heard of a defect in the bodily vision, that represents all objects upside down; that man would certainly be called insane, who, under the influence of this misfortune, should so blind his understanding, as to believe and assert that men walked on their heads, and that the trees grew downwards. Now, is it not a much greater insanity for men who in their hearts do not love God, and in their lives perhaps insult and disobey him, to give credit to their own perverted misrepresentations of him and of his Word? As long as men will continue to look at God’s truth through the medium of their own pride and prejudice, so long will they have mistaken views of God and eternity, so long will their own self righteousness look better to them for a resting place, than the glorious righteousness of Him, who of God is made unto us our Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption.
* * * * *
=_Horace Bushnell, 1804-_= (Manual, p, 480.)
From the “Sermons for the New Life.”
=_43._= UNCONSCIOUS INFLUENCE.
The Bible calls the good man’s life a light, and it is the nature of light to flow out spontaneously in all directions, and fill the world unconsciously with its beams. So the Christian shines, it would say, not so much because he will, as because he is a luminous object. Not that the active influence of Christians is made of no account in the figure, but only that this symbol of light has its propriety in the fact that their unconscious influence is the chief influence, end has the precedence in its power over the world. And yet there are many who will be ready to think that light is a very tame and feeble instrument, because it is noiseless. An earthquake for example, is to them a much more vigorous, and effective agency. Hear how it comes thundering through the solid foundations of nature. It rocks a whole continent. The noblest works of man–cities, monuments, and temples–are in a moment levelled to the ground or swallowed down the opening gulfs of fire…. But lot the light of the morning cease, and return no more: let the hour of morning come, and bring with it no dawn; the outcries of a horror-stricken world fill the air, and make, as it were, the darkness audible. The beasts go wild and frantic at the loss of the sun. The vegetable growths turn pale and die. A. chill creeps on, and frosty winds begin to howl across the freezing earth. Colder and yet colder is the night. The vital blood, at length, of all creatures stops, congealed. Down goes the frost toward the earth’s centre. The heart of the sea is frozen; nay, the earthquakes are themselves frozen in, under their fiery caverns. The very globe itself, too, and all the fellow-planets that have lost their sun, are become mere balls of ice, swinging silent in the darkness. Such is the light which revisits us in the silence of the morning. It make no shock or scar. It would not wake an infant in his cradle. And yet it perpetually new creates the world, rescuing it each morning as a prey from night and chaos. So the Christian is a light, even “the light of the world;” and we must not think that, because he shines insensibly or silently, as a mere luminous object, he is therefore powerless. The greatest powers are ever those which lie back of the little stirs and commotions of nature: and I verily believe that the insensible influences of good men are as much more potent than what I have called their voluntary or active, as the great silent powers of nature are of greater consequence than her little disturbances and tumults. The law of human influence is deeper than many suspect, and they lose sight of it altogether. The outward endeavors made by good men or bad, to sway others, they call their influence; whereas it is, in fact, but a fraction, and in most cases, but a very small fraction, of the good or evil that flows out of their lives.
* * * * *
From “Christ and His Salvation.”
=_44._= THE TRUE REST OF THE CHRISTIAN.
Once more the analogies of the sleep of Jesus suggest the Christian right, and even duty, of those relaxations, which are necessary, at times, to loosen the strain of life and restore the freshness of its powers. Christ, as we have seen, actually tore himself away from multitudes waiting to be healed, that he might refit himself by sleep. He had a way, too, of retiring often to mountain solitudes and by-places on the sea, partly for the resting of his exhausted energies. Sometimes also he called his disciples off in this manner, saying, “come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest awhile.” Not that every disciple is, of course, to retire into solitudes and desert places, when he wants recreation. Jesus was obliged to seek such places to escape the continual press of the crowd. In our day, a waking rest of travel, change of scene, new society, is permitted, and when it is a privilege assumed by faithful men, to recruit them for their works of duty they have it by God’s sanction, and even as a part of the sound economy of life. Going after a turn of gaiety, or dissipation, not after Christian rest, or going after rest only because you are wearied and worried by selfish overdoings, troubled and spent by toils that serve an idol, is a very different matter. The true blessing of rest is on you, only when you carry a good mind with you, able to look back on works of industry and faithfulness, suspended for a time, that you may do them more effectually. Going in such a frame, you shall rest awhile, as none but such can rest. Nature will dress herself in beauty to your eye, calm thoughts will fan you with their cooling breath, and the joy of the Lord will be strength to your wasted brain and body. Ah, there is no luxury of indulgence to be compared with this true Christian rest! Money will not buy it, shows and pleasures can not woo its approach, no conjuration of art, or contrived gaiety, will compass it even for an hour: but it settles, like dew, unsought, upon the faithful servant of duty, bathing his weariness and recruiting his powers for a new engagement in his calling. Go ye thus apart and rest awhile if God permits.
* * * * *
=_Albert Taylor Bledsoe, about 1809-_=
From “The Theodicy.”
=_45._= MORAL EVIL CONSISTENT WITH THE HOLINESS OF GOD.
The argument of the atheist assumes, as we have seen, that a Being of infinite power could easily prevent sin, and cause holiness to exist. It assumes that it is possible, that it implies no contradiction, to create an intelligent moral agent, and place It beyond all liability to sin. But this is a mistake. Almighty power itself, we may say with, the most profound reverence, cannot create such a being, and place it beyond the possibility of sinning. If it could not sin, there would be no merit, no virtue, in its obedience. That is to say, it would not be a moral agent at all, but a machine merely. The power to do wrong, as well as to do right, is included in the very idea of a moral and accountable agent, and no such agent can possibly exist without being invested with such a power. To suppose such an agent to be created, and placed beyond all liability to sin, is to suppose it to be what it is, and not what it is, at one and the same time; it is to suppose a creature to be endowed with a power to do wrong, and yet destitute of such a power, which is a plain contradiction. Hence Omnipotence cannot create such a being, and deny to it a power to do evil, or secure it against the possibility of sinning.
[Footnote 16: The most prominent among the living philosophical writers of the South: at present editor of the Southern Review.]
* * * * *
=_Richard Fuller, 1808-_=
From a Sermon.
=_46._= THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS SHALL COME. _Haggai_ ii. 7.
Follow the adorable Jesus from scene to scene of ever deepening insult and sorrow, tracked everywhere by spies hunting for the precious blood. Behold his sacred face swollen with tears and stripes; and, last of all, ascend Mount Calvary, and view there the amazing spectacle: earth and hell gloating on the gashed form of the Lord of Glory; men and devils glutting their malice in the agony of the Prince of Life; and all the scattered rays of vengeance which would have consumed our guilty race, converging and beating in focal intensity upon Him of whom the Eternal twice exclaimed, in a voice from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” After this, what are our emotions? Can we ever be cold or faithless? No, my brethren, it is impossible, unless we forget this Saviour, and lose sight of that cross on which he poured out his soul for us.
That is an affecting passage in Roman history which records the death of Manlius. At night, and on the Capitol, fighting hand to hand, had he repelled the Gauls, and saved the city, when all seemed lost. Afterwards he was accused; but the Capitol towered in sight of the forum where he was tried, and, as he was about to be condemned, he stretched out his hands, and pointed, weeping, to that arena of his triumph. At this the people burst into tears, and the judges could not pronounce sentence. Again the trial proceeded, but was again defeated; nor could he be convicted until they had removed him to a low spot, from which the Capitol was invisible. And behold my brethren, what I am saying. While the cross is in view, vainly will earth and sin seek to shake the Christian’s loyalty and devotion; one look at that purple monument of a love which alone, and when all was dark and lost, interposed for our rescue, and their efforts will be baffled. Low must we sink, and blotted from our hearts must be the memory of that deed, before we can become faithless to the Redeemer’s cause, and perfidious to his glory.
[Footnote 17: A Baptist divine of much distinction: a native of South Carolina but long settled in Baltimore.]
* * * * *
=_Henry Ward Beecher, 1813-_= (Manual, p. 480.)
From the “Star Papers.”
=_47._= A PICTURE IN A COLLEGE AT OXFORD.
I was much affected by a head of Christ. Not that it met my ideal of that sacred front, but because it took me in a mood that clothed it with life and reality. For one blessed moment I was with the Lord. I know him. I loved him. My eyes I could not close for tears. My poor tongue kept silence; but my heart spoke, and I loved and adored. The amazing circuit of one’s thoughts in so short a period is wonderful. They circle round through all the past, and up through the whole future; and both the past and future are the present, and are one. For one moment there arose a keen anguish, like a shooting pang, for that which I was; and I thought my heart would break that I could bring but only such a nature to my Lord; but in a moment, as quick as the flash of sunlight which follows the shadow of summer clouds across the fields, there seemed to spring out upon me from my Master a certainty of love so great and noble as utterly to consume my unworth, and leave me shining bright, as if it were impossible for Christ to love a heart without making it pure and beautiful by the resting on it of that illuming affection, just as the sun bathes into beauty the homeliest object when he looks full upon it.
* * * * *
=_48._= FROST ON THE WINDOW.
But the indefatigable night repairs the desolation. New pictures supply the waste ones. New cathedrals there are, new forests, fringed and blossoming, new sceneries, and new races of extinct animals. We are rich every morning, and poor every noon. One day with us measures the space of two hundred years in kingdoms–a hundred years to build up, and a hundred years to decay and destroy; twelve hours to overspread the evanescent pane with glorious beauty, and twelve to extract and dissipate the pictures…. Shall we not reverently and rejoicingly behold in these morning pictures, wrought without color, and kissed upon the window by the cold lips of Winter, another instance of that Divine Beneficence of beauty which suffuses the heavens?
* * * * *
From “Lectures to Young Men.”
=_49._= NATURE, DESIGNED FOR OUR ENJOYMENT.
The _necessity_ of amusement is admitted on all hands. There is an appetite of the eye, of the ear, and of every sense, for which God has provided the material. Gaiety of every degree, this side of puerile levity, is wholesome to the body, to the mind, and to the morals. Nature is a vast repository of manly enjoyments. The magnitude of God’s works is not less admirable than its exhilarating beauty. The rudest forms have something of beauty; the ruggedest strength is graced with some charm; the very pins, and rivets, and clasps of nature, are attractive by qualities of beauty, more than is necessary for mere utility. The sun could go down without gorgeous clouds; evening could advance without its evanescent brilliance; trees might have flourished without symmetry; flowers have existed without odor, and fruit without flavor. When I have journeyed through forests, where ten thousand shrubs and vines exist without apparent use; through prairies, whose undulations exhibit sheets of flowers innumerable, and absolutely dazzling the eye with their prodigality of beauty–beauty, not a tithe of which is ever seen by man–I have said, it is plain that God is himself passionately fond of beauty, and the _earth_ is his garden, as an _acre_ is man’s. God has made us like Himself, to be pleased by the universal beauty of the world. He has made provision in nature, in society, and in the family, for amusement and exhilaration enough to fill the heart with the perpetual sunshine of delight.
Upon this broad earth, purfled with flowers, scented with odors, brilliant in colors, vocal with echoing and re-echoing melody, I take my stand against all demoralizing pleasure. Is it not enough that our Father’s house is so full of dear delights, that we must wander prodigal to the swine-herd for husks, and to the slough for drink?–when the trees of God’s heritage bend over our head and solicit our hand to pluck the golden fruitage, must we still go in search of the apples of Sodom, outside fair and inside ashes.
Men shall crowd to the circus to hear clowns, and see rare feats of horsemanship; but a bird may poise beneath the very sun, or flying downward, swoop from the high heaven; then flit with graceful ease hither and thither, pouring liquid song as if it were a perennial fountain of sound–no man cares for that.
Upon the stage of life, the vastest tragedies are performing in every act; nations pitching headlong to their final catastrophe; others, raising their youthful forms to begin the drama of existence. The world of society is as full of exciting interest, as nature is full of beauty. The great dramatic throng of life is bustling along–the wise, the fool, the clown, the miser, the bereaved, the broken-hearted. Life mingles before us smiles and tears, sighs and laughter, joy and gloom, as the spring mingles the winter-storm and summer-sunshine. To this vast Theatre which God hath builded, where stranger plays are seen than ever author writ, man seldom cares to come. When God dramatizes, when nations act, or all the human kind conspire to educe the vast catastrophe, men sleep and snore, and let the busy scene go on, unlocked, unthought upon…. It is my object then, not to withdraw the young from pleasure, but from unworthy pleasures; not to lessen their enjoyments, but to increase them, by rejecting the counterfeit and the vile.
* * * * *
=_50._= LIFE IN THE COUNTRY.
It was this union of seclusion and publicity that made Norwood a place of favorite resort, through the summer, of artists, of languid scholars, and of persons of quiet tastes. There was company for all that shunned solitude, and solitude for all that were weary of company. Each house was secluded from its neighbor. Yards and gardens full of trees and shrubbery, the streets lined with venerable trees, gave the town at a little distance the appearance of having been built in an orchard or a forest-park. A few steps and you could be alone–a few steps too would bring you among crowds. Where else could one watch the gentle conflict between sounds and silence with such dreamy joy?–or make idleness seem so nearly like meditation?–or more nimbly chase the dreams of night with even brighter day-dreams, wondering every day what has become of the day before, and each week where the week has gone, and in autumn what has become of the summer, that trod so noiselessly that none knew how swift were its footsteps! The town filled by July, and was not empty again till late October.
There are but two perfect months in our year–June and October. People from the city usually arrange to miss both. June is the month of gorgeous greens; October, the month of all colors. June has the full beauty of youth; October has the splendor of ripeness. Both of them are out-of-door months. If the year has anything to tell you, listen now! If these months teach the heart nothing, one may well shut up the book of the year.
* * * * *
From “The Life of Jesus the Christ.”
=_51._= THE CONCEPTION OF ANGELS, SUPERHUMAN.
The angels of the oldest records are like the angels of the latest. The Hebrew thought had moved through a vast arc of the infinite cycle of truth, between the days when Abraham came from Ur of Chaldea, and the times of our Lord’s stay on earth. But there is no development in angels of later over those of an earlier date. They were as beautiful, as spiritual, as pure and noble, at the beginning as at the close of the old dispensation. Can such creatures, transcending earthly experience, and far out-running any thing in the life of man, be creations of the rude ages of the human understanding? We could not imagine the Advent stripped of its angelic lore. The dawn without a twilight, the sun without clouds of silver and gold, the morning on the fields without dew-diamonds,–but not the Saviour without his angels? They shine within the Temple, they bear to the matchless mother a message which would have been a disgrace from mortal lips, but which from theirs fell upon her as pure as dew-drops upon the lilies of the plain of Esdraelon. They communed with the Saviour in his glory of transfiguration, sustained him in the anguish of the garden, watched at the tomb; and as they had thronged the earth at his coming, so they seem to have hovered in the air in multitudes at the hour of his ascension. Beautiful as they seem, they are never mere poetic adornments. The occasions of their appearing are grand. The reasons are weighty. Their demeanor suggests and befits the highest conception of superior beings. These are the very elements that a rude age could not fashion. Could a sensuous age invent an order of beings, which, touching the earth from a heavenly height on its most momentous occasions, could still, after ages of culture had refined the human taste and moral appreciation, remain ineffably superior in delicacy, in pure spirituality, to the demands of criticism? Their very coming and going is not with earthly movement. They suddenly are seen in the air as one sees white clouds round out from the blue sky, in a summer’s day, that melt back even while one looks upon them. They vibrate between the visible and the invisible. They come without motion. They go without flight. They dawn and disappear. Their words are few, but the Advent Chorus yet is sounding its music through the world.
* * * * *
=_John McClintock, 1814-1870._=
From a Sermon on “The Ground of Man’s Love to God.”
=_52._= THE CHRISTIAN THE ONLY TRUE LOVER OF NATURE.
It is not too much to say that the only _true_ lover of nature, is he that loves God in Christ. It is as with one standing in one of those caves of unknown beauty of which travellers tell us. While it is dark, nothing can be seen but the abyss, or at most, a faint glimmer of ill-defined forms. But flash into it the light of a single torch, and myriad splendors crowd upon the gaze of the beholder. He sees long-drawn colonnades, sparkling with gems; chambers of beauty and glory open on every hand, flashing back the light a thousand fold increased, and in countless varied hues. So the sense of God’s love in the heart gives an eye for nature, and supplies the torch to illuminate its recesses of beauty. For the ear that can hear them, ten thousand voices speak, and all in harmony, the name of God! The sun, rolling in his majesty,–
“And with his tread, of thunder force, Fulfilling his appointed course,”–
is but a faint and feeble image of the great central Light of the universe. The spheres of heaven, in the perpetual harmony of their unsleeping motion, swell the praise of God; the earth, radiant with beauty, and smiling in joy, proclaims its Maker’s love; and the ocean,–that
“Glorious mirror, where the Almighty’s form Glasses itself in tempests,”–
as it murmurs on the shore, or foams with its broad billows over the deep, declares its God; and even the tempests, that, in their “rising wrath, sweep sea and sky,” still utter the name of Him who rides upon the whirlwind and directs the storm. In a word, the whole universe is but a temple, with God for its deity, and the redeemed _man_ for its worshipper.
[Footnote 18: Distinguished among the Methodist clergy for eloquence and learning; a native of Pennsylvania.]
* * * * *
=_Noah Porter, 1811-_=
From “The Science of Nature versus the Science of Man.”
=_53._= SCIENCE MAGNIFIES GOD.
We contend at present only for the position that we cannot have a science of nature which does not regard the spirit of man as a part of nature. But is this all? Do man and nature exhaust the possibilities of being? We cannot answer this question here. But we find suggestions from the spectrum and the spectroscope which may be worth our heeding. The materials with which we have to do in their most brilliant scientific theories seem at first to overwhelm us with their vastness and complexity. The hulks are so enormous, the forces are so mighty, the laws are so wide-sweeping, and at times so pitiless, the distances are so over-mastering, even the uses and beauties are so bewildering, that we bow in mute and almost abject submission to the incomprehensible all; of which we hesitate to affirm aught, except what has been manifest to our observant senses and connected by our inseparable associations. We forget what our overmastering thought has done in subjecting this universe to its interpretations. Its vast distances have been annihilated, for we have connected the distant with the near by the one pervading force which Newton divined. We have analyzed the flame that burns in our lamp, and the flame that burns in the sun, by the same instrument,–connecting by a common affinity, at the same instant and under the same eye, two agents, the farthest removed in place and the most subtle in essence. As we have overcome distances, so we have conquered time, reading the story of antecedent cycles with a confidence equal to that with which we forecast the future ages. The philosopher who penetrates the distant portions of the universe by the _omnipresence_ of his scientific generalizations, who reads the secret of the sun by the glance of his penetrating eye, has little occasion to deny that all its forces may be mastered by a single all-knowing and _omnipresent_ Spirit, and that its secrets can be read by one all-seeing eye. The scientist who evolves the past in his confident thought, under a few grand titles of generalized forces and relations, and who develops and almost gives law to the future by his faith in the persistence of force, has little reason to question the existence of an intellect capable of deeper insight and larger foresight than his own, which can grasp all the past and the future by an all-comprehending intelligence, and can control its wants by a personal energy that is softened to personal tenderness and love.
[Footnote 19: A Congregational divine, born in Connecticut, long Professor of Metaphysics in Yale College, and writer of many critical Essays and Reviews. His treatise on “The Human Intellect,” is the most elaborate American work upon Psychology.]
* * * * *
=_William Henry Milburn, 1823-_=
=_54._= THE PIONEER PREACHERS OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY.
The spoken eloquence of New England is for the most part from manuscript. Her first settlers brought old-world forms, and fashions from the old world, with them. Their preachers were set an appalling distance from their congregations. Between the pulpit, perched far up toward the ceiling, and the seats, was an awful abysmal depth. Above the lofty desk was dimly seen the white cravat, and above that the head of the preacher. His eye was averted and fastened downward upon his manuscript, and his discourse, or exercitation, or whatever it might be, was delivered in a monotonous, regular cadence, probably relieved from time to time by some quaint blunder, the result of indistinct penmanship, or dim religious light. It was not this preacher’s business to arouse his audience. The theory of worship of the period was opposed to that. This people did not wish excitement, or stimulus, or astonishment, or agitation. They simply desired information; they wished to be instructed; to have their judgment informed, or their reason enlightened. Thus the preacher might safely remain perched up in his far distant unimpassioned eyrie.
But how would such a style of eloquence–if, indeed, truth will permit the name of eloquence to be applied to the reading of matter from a preconcerted manuscript–how would such a style of delivery be received out in the wild West? Place your textual speaker out in the backwoods, on the stump, where a surging tide of humanity streams strongly around him, where the people press up toward him on every side, their keen eyes intently perusing his to see if he be in real earnest,–“dead in earnest”–and where, as with a thousand darts, their contemptuous scorn would pierce him through if he were found playing a false game, trying to pump up tears by mere acting, or arousing an excitement without feeling it. Would such a style of oratory succeed there? By no means. The place is different; the hearers are different; the time, the thing required, all the circumstances, are totally different. Here, in the vast unwalled church of nature, with the leafy tree-tops for a ceiling, their massy stems for columns; with the endless mysterious cadences of the forest for a choir; with the distant or nearer music and murmur of streams, and the ever-returning voice of birds, sounding in their ears for the made-up music of a picked band of exclusive singers: here stand men whose ears are trained to catch the faintest foot-fall of the distant deer, or the rustle of their antlers against branch or bough of the forest track–whose eyes are skilled to discern the trail of savages who leave scarce a track behind them; and who will follow upon that trail–utterly invisible to the untrained eye–as surely as a blood-hound follows the scent, ten or twenty, or a hundred miles, whose eye and hand are so well practised that they can drive a nail, or snuff a candle, with the long, heavy western rifle. Such men, educated for years, or even generations, in that hard school of necessity, where every one’s hand and wood-man’s skill must keep his head; where incessant pressing necessities required ever a prompt and sufficient answer in deeds; and where words needed to be but few, and those the plainest and directest, required no delay nor preparation, nor oratorical coquetting, nor elaborate preliminary scribble; no hesitation nor doubts in deeds; no circumlocution in words. To restrain, influence, direct, govern, such a surging sea of life as this, required something very different from a written address.
[Footnote 20: Born in Philadelphia; a Methodist divine, long afflicted with blindness; but widely popular as a preacher and lecturer.]
* * * * *
ORATORS, AND LEGAL AND POLITICAL WRITERS, OF THE ERA OF THE REVOLUTION.
=_John Dickinson, 1732-1808._= (Manual, p. 486.)
From “The Address of Congress to the States.” May 26, 1779.
=_55._= THE ASPECT OF THE WAR.
To our constituents we submit the propriety and purity of our intentions, well knowing they will not forget that we lay no burdens upon them but those in which we participate with them–a happy sympathy, that pervades societies formed on the basis of equal liberty. Many cares, many labors, and may we not add, reproaches, are peculiar to us. These are the emoluments of our unsolicited stations; and with these we are content, if YOU approve our conduct. If you do not, we shall return to our private condition, with no other regret than that which will arise from our not having served you as acceptably and essentially as we wished and strove to do, though as cheerfully and faithfully as we could.
Think not we despair of the commonwealth, or endeavor to shrink from opposing difficulties. No! Your cause is too good, your objects too sacred, to be relinquished. We tell you truths because you are freemen, who can bear to hear them, and may profit by them; and when they reach your enemies, we fear not the consequences, because we are not ignorant of their resources or our own. Let your good sense decide upon the comparison….
We well remember what you said at the commencement of this war. You saw the immense difference between your circumstances and those of your enemies, and you knew the quarrel must decide on no less than your lives, liberties, and estates. All these you greatly put to every hazard, resolving rather to die freemen than to live slaves; and justice will oblige the impartial world to confess you have uniformly acted on the same generous principle. Persevere, and you insure peace, freedom, safety, glory, sovereignty, and felicity to yourselves, your children, and your children’s children.
Encouraged by favors already received from Infinite Goodness, gratefully acknowledging them, earnestly imploring their continuance, constantly endeavoring to draw them down on your heads by an amendment of your lives, and a conformity to the Divine will, humbly confiding in the protection so often and wonderfully experienced, vigorously employ the means placed by Providence in your hands for completing your labors.
Fill up your battalions–be prepared in every part to repel the incursions of your enemies–place your several quotas in the continental treasury–lend money for public uses–sink the emissions of your respective States–provide effectually for expediting the conveyance of supplies for your armies and fleets, and for your allies–prevent the produce of the country from being monopolized–effectually superintend the behavior of public officers–diligently promote piety, virtue, brotherly love, learning, frugality, and moderation–and may you be approved before Almighty God, worthy of those blessings we devoutly wish you to enjoy.
* * * * *
=_John Adams, 1735-1826._= (Manual, p. 486.)
From his “Life and Works.”
=_56._= CHARACTER OF JAMES OTIS.
JAMES OTIS, of Boston, sprang from families among the earliest of the planters of the Colonies, and the most respectable in rank, while the word _rank_, and the idea annexed to it, were tolerated in America. He was a gentleman of general science and extensive literature. He had been an indefatigable student during the whole course of his education in college and at the bar. He was well versed in Greek and Roman history, philosophy, oratory, poetry, and mythology. His classical studies had been unusually ardent, and his acquisitions uncommonly great…. It was a maxim which he inculcated on his pupils, as his patron in the profession, Mr. Gridley, had done before him, “_that a lawyer ought never to be without a volume of natural or public law, or moral philosophy, on his table or in his pocket_.” In the history, the common law, and statute laws, of England, he had no superior, at least in Boston.
Thus qualified to resist the system of usurpation and despotism, meditated by the British ministry, under the auspices of the Earl of Bute, Mr. Otis resigned his commission from the crown, as Advocate-General,–an office very lucrative at that time, and a sure road to the highest favors of government in America,–and engaged in the cause of his country without fee or reward. His argument, speech, discourse, oration, harangue,–call it by which name you will, was the most impressive upon his crowded audience of any that I ever heard before or since, excepting only many speeches by himself in Faneuil Hall, and in the House of Representatives, which he made from time to time for ten years afterwards. There were no stenographers in those days. Speeches were not printed; and all that was not remembered, like the harangues of Indian orators, was lost in air. Who, at the distance of fifty-seven years, would attempt, upon memory, to give even a sketch of it? Some of the heads are remembered, out of which Livy or Sallust would not scruple to compose an oration for history. I shall not essay an analysis or a sketch of it at present. I shall only say, and I do say in the most solemn manner, that Mr. Otis’s oration against “_writs of assistance_” breathed into this nation the breath of life.
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From the “Thoughts on Government.”
=_57._= REQUISITES OF A GOOD GOVERNMENT.
The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society, depend so much upon an upright and skilful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, as both should be checks upon that.
… Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially of the lower class of people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant…. You and I, my dear friend, have been sent into life at a time when the greatest lawgivers of antiquity would have wished to live. How few of the human race have ever enjoyed an opportunity of making an election of government, more than of air, soil, or climate, for themselves or their children! When, before the present epocha, had three millions of people full power and a fair opportunity, to form and establish the wisest and happiest government that human wisdom can contrive?
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=_Patrick Henry, 1736-1799._= (Manual, p. 484.)
From “Speech in the Convention of Virginia,” 1775.
=_58._= THE NECESSITY OF THE WAR.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what has been the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the house. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received. Trust it not, Sir, it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war, and subjugation–the last arguments to which kings resort. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free, if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending, if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest is obtained, we must fight, I repeat it, sir, we must fight. An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us.
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?
Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God, who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery. Our chains are forged. Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston. The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!
It is vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace,