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degraded peasantry and the corrupt aristocracy. The strong holds of the party were in the great commercial towns, and especially among the merchants and tradesmen of the metropolis. There were doubtless some hypocrites among them, and some men of unsettled opinions, and some of loose morals, and some actuated by no higher sentiment than party spirit; but the party as a whole was characterized by a devoted love of country, by strict and stern morality, by hearty, fervent piety, and by the strongest attachment to sound, evangelical doctrines. There were ignorant men among them, and weak men; but comparing the two parties as masses, theirs was the intelligent and thinking party. There were among them some men of low ambition, some of a restless, envious, levelling temper, some of narrow views; but the party as a whole was the patriotic party, it stood for popular rights, for the liberties of England, for law against prerogative, for the doctrine that kings and magistrates were made for the people, and not the people for kings-ministers for the Church, and not the Church for ministers.
Who were the Puritans? Enemies of learning did you say? You have heard of Lightfoot, second in scholarship to no other man, whose researches into all sorts of lore are even at this day the great storehouse from which the most learned and renowned commentators, not of England and America only, but of Germany, derive no insignificant portion of their learning. Lightfoot was a Puritan. You may have heard of Theophilus Gale, whose works have never yet been surpassed for minute and laborious investigation into the sources of all the wisdom of the Gentiles. Gale was a Puritan. You may have heard of Ower, the fame of whose learning, not less than of his genius and his skill, filled all Europe, and constrained the most determined enemies of him, and of his party, to pay him the profoundest deference. Owen was, among divines, the very head and captain of the Puritans. You may have heard of Selden, the jurist, the universal scholar, whose learning was in his day, and is even at this day, the "glory of the English nation." Selden was a Puritan. Strange that such men should have been identified with the enemies of learning.
The Puritans triumphed for a while. They beat down not only the prelacy, but the peerage, and the throne. And what did they do with the universities? The universities were indeed revolutionized by commissioners from the Puritan Parliament; and all who were enemies to the Commonwealth of England, as then established, were turned out of the seats of instruction and government. But were the revenues of the universities confiscated?—their halls given up to pillage?—their libraries scattered and destroyed? Never were the universities of England better regulated, never did they better answer the legitimate ends of such institutions, than when they were under the control of the Puritans.
Who were the Puritans? Enemies, did you say, of literature and refinement? What is the most resplendent name in the literature of England? Name that most illustrious of poets, who for magnificence of imagination, for grandeur of thought, for purity, beauty, and tenderness of sentiment, for harmony of numbers, for power and felicity of language, stands without a rival. Milton was a Puritan.
Who were the low-bred fanatics, the crop-eared rebels, the rabble of roundheads? Name that purest patriot whose name stands brightest and most honored in the history of English liberty, and whose example is ever the star of guidance and of hope, to all who resist usurped authority. Hampden was a Puritan,-associate with Pym in the eloquence that swayed the Parliament and "fulmin'd" over England, comrade in arms with Cromwell, and shedding his blood upon the battlefield.
But their preachers were cobblers and tinkers! Were they indeed? Well, and what were Christ's apostles? One tinker I remember, among the preachers of that age, and of that great party-though not, in the most proper meaning of the word, a Puritan; and what name is more worthy of a place among the names of the elected fishermen of Galilee, than the name of Bunyan? That tinker, shut up in Bedford jail for the crime of preaching, saw there with the eye of faith and genius visions only less divine than those which were revealed to his namesake in Patmos. His "Pilgrim's Progress" lives in all the languages of Christendom, among the most immortal of the works of human genius. Would that all preachers were gifted like that tinker Bunyan!
But the Puritan preachers cannot be characterized as illiterate, or as men who had been trained to mechanical employments. They were men from the universities, skilled in the learning of the age, and well equipped for the work of preaching. Never has England seen a more illustrious company of preachers than when Baxter, Owen, Bates, Charnock, Howe, and two thousand others of inferior attainments indeed, but of kindred spirit, labored in the pulpits of the establishment. Never has any ministry in the Church of England done more, in the same time, and under similar disadvantages, for the advancement of the people in the knowledge of Christian truth, and in the practice of Christian piety, than was done by the ministry of the Puritans. Whence came the best and most famous of those books of devotion, and of experimental and practical piety, which have so enriched our language, and by which the authors preach to all generations. The "Saint's Rest," the "Call to the Unconverted," the "Blessedness of the Righteous," the "Living Temple," these, and other works like these, which have been the means of leading thousands to God the eternal fountain, are the works of Puritan preachers.
Let me not be considered as maintaining that the Puritans were fault
less or infallible. I know they had faults, great faults. I know they fell into serious errors. By their errors and faults, the great cause which their virtue so earnestly espoused, and their valor so strongly defended, was wrecked and almost ruined. But dearly did they pay, in disappointment, in persecution, in many sufferings, in the contempt which was heaped upon them by the infatuated people they had vainly struggled to emancipate, the penalty of their faults and errors. And richly have their posterity, inhabiting both hemispheres, enjoyed, in well-ordered liberty, in the diffusion of knowledge, and in the saving influences of pure Christianity, the purchase of their sufferings, the reward of their virtues and their valor.
BORN in Northumberland, N. Y., 1802. DIED at Schenectady, N. Y., 1877.
THE MARCH OF THEORY.
[The Six Days of Creation. 1855.]
|CIENCE has indeed enlarged our field of thought, and for this we will be thankful to God and to scientific men. But what is it, after all, that she has given us, or can give us, but a knowledge of phenomena -of appearances? What are her boasted laws but generalizations of such phenomena ever resolving themselves into some one great fact, that seems to be an original energy, whilst evermore the application of a stronger lens to our analytical telescope resolves such seeming primal force into an appearance, a manifestation of something still more remote, which, in this way, and in this way alone, reveals its presence to our Thus the course of human science has ever been the substitution of one set of conceptions for another. Firmaments have given place to concentric spheres, spheres to empyreans, empyreans to cycles and epicycles, epicycles to vortices, vortices to gravities and fluids ever demanding for the theoretic imagination other fluids as the only conditions on which their action could be made conceivable.
And this process is still going on. In the primitive times the sun appeared, and was understood, perhaps, to revolve round the earth. Very early we know not how early-came the oriental theory which was afterwards held by Pythagoras. This, like the modern Copernican, put the sun in the centre, although it did not maintain itself against the more common hypothesis that claimed to be grounded on observation and induction. Later astronomy, however, reversed the decision.
placed the sun again in the centre; and now it was thought we had at last reached a fixed fact in the universe. But alas for the doctrine that would maintain that "anything stands" and that all things are not eternally moving, a science still more modern is displacing this once immovable centre for some other and immensely more remote pivot of revolution. There is no end to this-no end in theory-and the present scientific view of some great millennial or millio-millennial period will only stand because the shortness of human observation, even continued during the age of the race, can get no visible data for anything beyond it.
There has been a similar process in the department of pneumatology. Common air was at first supposed to be the most subtile of all material substances-if material substance it was-and was therefore taken as the best representative of spirit or immateriality. It furnished that conception-not the idea or notion, which is a very different thing-but that conception of soul or spirit which is to be found in the roots of almost every language. Next came the æther, the quintessence, or fifth element. In more modern times, electricity and magnetism are the great words of ignorance as well as of science; and these, in turn, are yielding to that unknown fluid in which it is supposed will be found the elemental unity of all force. By a like process the old element, fire, became transmuted into phlogiston, and phlogiston into the modern caloric. But we are still no nearer the remote primal fact or facts, although a vast amount of useful knowledge has been obtained in the process. Each of these conceptions may embrace phenomena not conceived before, and thus each may seem comparatively interior; but they are all yet upon the outside, and we may say, equally upon the outside, in respect to the great truth or truths they represent. They are all phenomenal, or conceptional. They are all alike the outward signs of the things unseen (Ta vooúμεva) of hidden powers or truths which we may receive by reason and by revelation, but which eye cannot see, nor any sense perceive, neither can it enter into the imagination, or imaging faculty, of man ever to conceive.
If, then, absolute correctness of representation is aimed at, a revelation of God's creative acts could no more endorse one scientific theory than another. What would now have been the credit of the Scriptures had they been written in the style of the Aristotelian or Ptolemaic science, which in its day, perhaps, was thought to be the ne plus ultra of astronomical truth?-a system so far complete that if it did not contain all the facts, it was supposed, at least, to furnish the best language, and the best method, through which they could be represented. And yet this grand old Book of God still stands, and will continue to stand, though science and philosophy are ever changing their countenances and pass
ing away. It is one of the few things in our world that never become obsolete. It speaks the language of all ages, and is adapted to all climes. Ever clear and ever young, it has the same power for the later as for the early mind; it is as much the religious vernacular of the occidental as of the oriental races. Instead, then, of being its defect, it is its great, its divine wisdom, that it commits itself to no scientific system or scientific language, whilst yet it brings before the mind those primal facts which no science can ever reach, and for this purpose uses those first vivid conceptions which no changes in science and no obsoleteness in language can ever wholly impair.
BORN in New Preston, Conn., 1802. DIED in Hartford, Conn., 1876.
NATIVE QUALITY ESSENTIAL TO THE GREATNESS OF A PEOPLE. [The True Wealth or Weal of Nations.—Oration before the §. B. K., Yale College, 1837.]
THE personal value of a people is the only safe measure of their honor and felicity. Economy holds the same place in their polity which it holds in the life of a wise and great man-a subordinate place, and when subordinate, honorable. But their highest treasures as a state they behold in capable and manly bodies, just principles, high sentiments, intelligence, and genius. To cherish these in a people, to provide a noble succession of poets, philosophers, law-givers, and commanders, who shall be the directing head, and the nerves of action; to compact all into one energetic and stately body inspirited by public love this is the noble study of true philosophic statesmanship. "Alas, sir!" exclaimed Milton, suddenly grasping this whole subject as with divine force, "a commonwealth ought to be but as one huge Christian personage, one mighty growth and stature of an honest man, as big and compact in virtue as in body; for look, what the grounds and causes are of single happiness to one man, the same ye shall find them to a whole state." Here, in a single sentence, he declares the true idea of a state, and of all just administration.
But however correct in theory, such views, it will be suspected, are, after all, remote and impracticable. How, especially, can we hope to bring our intractable democracy upon so high a ground of principle? I cannot entirely sympathize with such impressions. History clearly indicates the fact that republics are more ductile than any other form of government, and more favorable to the admission of high-toned prin