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But the lawyer should not only consider himself a public teacher, the Professor of Political and Social Science in our great University, he should also realize that he is a public officer in his most private professional acts. He is a member of our Courts; he is a sworn officer of the nation or State; and in every act of pettifogging, of selfish maneuvering, of even concealment for selfish ends, is, as it seems to me, guilty not only of a want of patriotism, but of faithfulness to his oath. The lawyer is not to serve his client and gain his client's ends; he is to serve Justice, and obtain justice for his client; and, for myself, I should hold the man, who by any arts gains his client's end at the expense of justice, a perjured man.
I fear we do not estimate highly enough the moral power of the members of our bar; I do not believe they know their own power. But if we think for a moment of the number of persons who, as jurymen, witnesses, clients, and spectators, come within the reach of the lawyer's voice and influence, we shall perceive how great a work he may do either for good or evil; and as he labors for good or for evil, so is he the freest or the most enslaved of men, among the highest or the lowest of public actors. No profession is more noble, when used aright, than that of the Law; and, as is true of all noble things, when misused no calling to which man descends is more ignoble and dishonorable. Into the details of legal morality this is not the time to enter, though, allow me to say in passing, that no branch of morality appears to me to deserve a more full and explicit examination. But I may, without going into particulars, call your attention to the duties of the lawyer towards his client, towards the public, towards the witnesses, and towards his fellows. I may ask you to consider, at your leisure, how these various duties may be reconciled to one another, and all of them to the will of our Infinite Father.
One other point of the lawyer's duty I will refer to and leave him. I is his duty as a practical politician. From the bar comes the mass of our legislators, and of course it is of the utmost importance that they should be adapted, both as men and law-makers, to raise the people who call them forth. Let no man then adopt the common sentiment that a political position disgraces a man: the man may disgrace, or honor his position, as he is not, or is, a Freeman; but no position, my friends, can disgrace him if he be but a freeman through the power of the spirit of God.
I now come to the last of the four Liberal Professions, that of he Ministry; and in speaking of it I feel that great care is
necessary to avoid misconception of my meaning. Around the Clergy, even in this Protestant land, hangs something of the sacred awe which clothed the Priests of old. To criticise the Clergy is by many thought equivalent to an attack on Religion, though no one would think a censure of the bar an attack on Justice, nor ridicule of Physicians an attempt to overthrow the science of Medicine. In private no class of men is dealt with more freely than Clergymen; even in the time of Cervantes, and in a Catholic country, we are told that he must have been a most excellent priest whose parishioners spoke well of him; but in public, men dread to speak even what they deeply believe. This cannot last long; the license of our day will lead, I fear, to an excessive freedom of discussion on this and on similar points, unless those who are truly religious in purpose, deal with them without dread.
I shall therefore, though not qualified by age or otherwise to speak with authority, speak freely what I think respecting the duties of a Protestant Christian Clergyman in our day and land; asking you to listen to what is said as something to meditate upon, if it seem worthy,-not as something to be received as true.
In the first place, I cannot think the Clergyman should limit his labors chiefly to his own congregation. If he were a mediator between his people and their God, he might properly confine his labors to them; but such is not the view of Protestant Christendom. Neither can I think he should narrow himself to the limits of his own sect, or discourage those who think with him from mingling with those who are opposed to him in theology. All such exclusiveness is Jewish rather than Christian to my mind; it marks the absence of perfect freedom, and illiberalizes the clerical profession. It would seem to me that the Clergyman, in as far as his powers and time will permit, should be interested in all subjects and all men, and should be forward in all enterprises of benevolence, of education, of social progress. Not only from his pulpit should he speak to the hearts and consciences of men, but from every desk within his reach, in the School-house, at the Lyceum, in the poor man's hovel, in the rich man's hall,-he should speak by word and by act in favor of that Truth which has made him free.
The Physician may bring us near to nature; and the Lawyer may reveal to us the mysteries of Society; but to the Clergyman it belongs to exhibit man's moral powers and relations. Nay, the labors of the Physician and Lawyer are incomplete without his aid. Nature is a riddle till we know
the soul; and Society a chaos, till Faith, the dove of God, stills it into order. The Clergyman should be, then, no mere theologian, but, as many an one among the English Clergy is, a naturalist and political philosopher. Neither should he be a closet student, a mere sermon writer; while so many thousands are unvisited by any ray of Christian truth and hope, how can any minister of Christ be content to keep his room, and pore over his books the whole week long? The best study for the Pastor is in acts of kindness, in visits of sympathy, in a knowledge of men, and the wants of men, and the temptations of men. One sermon drawn from life is worth twenty drawn from books. It is, indeed, questionable whether age and experience be not indispensable to a clergyman: whether the truths which he should communicate can be gained in all their fullness and power by any other process than Life.
To the Clergy, then, we are entitled, I think, to look for popular instruction in the philosophy of man's nature, his du ties and relations to God and his brother: to them we are entitled to look for such views as may rescue Natural Science from Death, and make it a grand opening to the knowledge of the Living Creator, and for such inquiries as may relieve men from the terror that comes upon the stoutest heart when it considers the sickness of Society, the dreadful phenomena of Slavery, Intemperance, and Pauperism. To the Clergy also I think we may look for active exertions in favor of the spread of learning. Should not they visit our Schools, attend our College examinations, lead in our Societies, speak at our Institutes? Is there a subject which interests the best nature of man which should not interest them? Is there a labor of love to which they are not called? Should not their hearts be as open and free as the ocean? Should not their labors be as unbought, their smiles as universal, their influences as kindly, as those of the unwearied sun?
The Protestant Clergyman is not St. Peter's successor, but he is, or should be, the earthly echo of the Word of God, his Master, and Saviour.
Gentlemen of the Phi Delta Sigma Society: Some of you have received, and others are receiving, in this College, such an education as becomes a freeman. Some of you at once, and others in a little while, will pass from these halls into that Forum, the dome of which is infinite space; planets and suns floating in it, as the dust-atoms are floating now about our heads. There you will be called upon to plead for perfect liberty, not before a world or a generation merely, but before
your own undying conscience, your own eternal Creator. And your pleading must be not with cunning and well-chosen words, but with true acts, pure feelings, Christian principles.
I have hinted (for I could no more than hint,) at the duties of Professional men in our day and land as they appear to me. In doing this I have wished nothing more than to lead your own thoughts to a most important and interesting subject, and to ask you to weigh it seriously. If my views respecting the duties of Professional men are true you will perceive that a hard life is before such of you as may choose the Professions. You have a fearful battle to fight; a Holy Land to win from the great Infidel, Satan; and like the knights of old, you must bind the cross upon your shoulders, and go forth to meet sorrow, defeat, and death, in your Master's cause.
One of you said, last evening, that all experience proved religion to be perfectly consistent with freedom. I believe it true; and I believe, further, that freedom and irreligion are inconsistent. In your Crusade for spiritual liberty, then, let Religion be to you all, and more than all, that his lady-love was to the Knight. Keep her ever before you; in the hour of trial turn your eyes to her, and she will indeed strengthen you. I do not mean that Religion which would drive men to Heaven with scorpion-whips; nor that which would tempt them thither with selfish gain. I mean that Divine Spirit which the dim-seeing Greek strove to embody in marble; that heavenly beauty which Raphael looked on, in his better hours, and shadowed to us in his Madonnas; that lovely and kindly Religion which the devout Catholic worships in the person of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Let this holy being rule in your heart, and when wounded in the contest, she will support you and wipe the drops of agony from your brow; and when victorious she will rejoice with you, and in that hour of victory over Evil, will become yours for
That He, to whom we look for all strength, may enable you live as freemen, and to make whatever profession you may choose truly Liberal, is my sincere wish and earnest prayer.
ABOLITION IN MOBILE.
Most of our readers are probably aware that our brother Geo. F. Simmons, after preaching two sermons in Mobile on the subject of slavery, was compelled to leave that city to avoid the consequences. We heard this news ourselves with surprise and regret. We knew that he had been eminently successful in building up the Unitarian Society there, and was remarkably popular with the whole community. We had just been told of his preaching in New Orleans, being received with great satisfaction. We were therefore sorry to learn that he had taken a step which would certainly put a stop to all further usefulness in that region, and shut this open door against himself.
But when we hear of any such remarkable action, out of the common course of conduct, we hold it unwise to be satisfied with lamenting it, complaining of it, or calling it folly or madness. We always wish in the first place to penetrate the mind of the man who has done it, and if possible discover what motives seemed to him sufficient to determine him to it. It is not a sufficient explanation to say that he is crazy, to call him an enthusiast or fanatic. If he has always been considered as a sensible and prudent man, the true question is: What reasons are there, which might lead a sensible and prudent man to this step, which appears to us so extraordinary? Having placed ourselves in his situation, and discovered these motives, we are then, and not before, prepared to ask, whether these motives were sufficient, whether his conduct was on the whole wise or injudicious, right or wrong? We are not qualified to pronounce judgment on a man for any action till we learn what led him to it; and as long as we can suggest no motive but folly or perversity, we may be pretty sure that we misunderstand it altogether.
In examining the course of brother Simmons in this matter, we are not entering on a question of merely temporary, local or personal interest, but one of the most profound importance, not merely to the South, but to Christianity and the whole country. We are asking the question: What are the duties of conscientious ministers of the gospel at the South, who are opposed to slavery, believing it a great evil? Is it their duty to come out and preach against it, or is it not? Brother Simmons has answered this question in the affirmative. The great body of Christian preachers has, thus far,