Imágenes de páginas

given quality will be much cheaper than they are at present.' “ But suppose the same sects should


further (and who can doubt that they will ?) and form a tea, a tobacco, or a sugar society, and monopolize the whole trade in those articles, would public opinion tolerate it? Yet we cannot doubt that those articles would be cheaper, if not of better quality, than they now are.

Yet we quietly permit the American Bible Society to monopolize the sale of Bibles; and when this shall be effected, what is to hinder them from extending the monopoly to other books, to tea, sugar, and every things else in the market? « Now who does not see that all power

would thus eventually be thrown into the hands of those sects, and individuals of this country, who now monopolize to themselves the name of orthodox ? The depositories for every thing will then be in the hands of such men as their leaders shall choose to appoint; that is, of some one of their favored sects, or perhaps, finally, the members exclusively of some of their favorite churches. In those days, wo be to him who does not become orthodox, and join an orthodox church. Happy may he consider himself in obtaining a place, as a hewer of stones or a drawer of water to those in authority and power.

" If this would not be a union of church and state—and with a vengeance too-I beg to know what would. The charge is supposed to be repelled by asserting that no sect in the land aims thus at usurping the throne of public sentiment. This is true ; no one sect does. But a union of the strongest and most numerous sects can do it, and will do it too, unless the world awake from their lethargy. But are the free people of United America prepared to submit their rights to ecclesiastical tyranny without a struggle ? Though already shorn of some of the locks of their power, will they not make one mighty effort ; and if they cannot shake off the chains which already begin to bind them, will they not at least,-like Samson among the Philistines--die an honorable death?

6 Almost all the benevolent societies with which this country abounds, are so connected at present, as to constitute parts for uniting this great system of church and state. Such is the fact at least in relation to the Conference and Revival system, the Foreign and Domestic Missionary Associations, Sabbath School Unions, Temperance Societies, &c.; and there is very little doubt that the Lyceum system is going the same way. Not that all the individuals who are members of these associations have in view this union of civil

and ecclesiastical affairs, but their leaders undoubtedly have.”

This harangue so nearly fell in with Mr. H.'s views that he was not a little gratified to listen to a discourse of half an hour's length. My object in presenting it to the reader is to show him, if he is not already familiar with the fact, what sort of views—however destitute of argument or truth they may be—are studiously, industriously, and successfully propagated in our country. I say successfully too, for I never yet failed to secure the attention, and seldom, to win the hearts of a certain class of the community, when I presented them. It is true their specious appearance was often seen through by men of as much intelligence as Mr. H. : and yet some of even such persons will listen.

The worst difficulty the apostles of these sentiments have to encounter is, that their disciples, when actually obtained, are good for nothing. They cannot be relied on. They are easily driven about by every wind of doctrine that prevails. The bias of their hearts being wrong, they drink in with greediness all manner of revolutionary opinions; and, perhaps, were a mob ready to pull down or burn some meeting house,

under cover of midnight darkness, they would join them against “church and state.

But only let half a dozen of the sun's rays break in upon them, and they shrink to their quarters, and cower to public opinion.

When I used to have a gaping crowd, -perhaps at some tippling house—hearing my suggestions, as if for their lives, I sometimes caught the spirit of an “apostle of free inquiry," and thought for the moment I would go forth a missionary in the cause.

And I have no doubt that such missionaries would be successful in gathering hearers from lanes, hedges, and ditches. But suppose you collect an army of these people to join in a crusade against church and state ; what then? True, you get here and there a man of some force-perhaps about enough for ringleaders, not more—but the mass, what are they? Alas ! I know too well. I have spent too much of my breath on such “ dry bones,” not to know that one disciple of common sense and real principle will chase an army of a thousand of them and two put to flight ten thousand.

same. The great stumbling block in the way of my progress abroad as well as at home, was, the character of those who composed the audience where I held forth. There were often too many red faces and bottle noses to please a friend of total abstinence from extra stimulants.

The first Unitarian preacher whom I had the pleasure of hearing—and who, by the way, was a most excellent man in point of mere common morality, and a would-be philanthropist-appeared to me to be involved in a contradiction.

He took advantage of the usual orthodox concession, that Christ was a man ; and then, in another part of his discourse, attempted to show, by way of defence against the charge of Humanitarianism, that he was more than man. What he was considered to be besides a man, I did not learn; and do not know to this day. To say that he was divinely commissioned, explains nothing; for Moses and Paul, without being any thing but men, were divinely commissioned. Besides, to suppose

the human nature united to some other created nature, requires, as it appears to me, stronger faith and greater credence in mystery than the doctrine of a peculiar, though mysterious, Divine nature, and the union of this nature for a short time with the human.

« AnteriorContinuar »