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NEXT YEAR OF THE DEMOCRATIC REVIEW, VOLUMES XIII. AND XIV.
THE Thirteenth Volume will commence with the next Number-being the co commencement of the third year of the New Series. It is sufficient to say that there will be no remission of the same punctuality and efficiency which have heretofore characterized the arrangements of its publication.
The approaching great struggle of parties, in a Presidential canvass, together with the assembling of a Democratic Congress, will reawaken a new interest and excitement in the political elements, in which there has been for the past year a compara. tive stagnation. Every indication portends that the contest is to be as stern and severe, as its consequences will be momentous to "the Good Old Cause." That department of the Review will of course experience and reflect this stimulating influence. It is hoped that the friends of the work and of its principles will see the peculiar necessity created by the occasion, of giving it a support, not only continued, but extended, for the promotion of that vigorous efficiency which it is fully intended shall not be wanting on its part. Of its merits or claims, whatever they may be, it is not deemed proper here to speak. But if the numerous letters received from all parts of the country, expressive of approbation, encouragement, and of the sense of its value and importance entertained by the writers-(added to the testimonials of the press, including not a few liberal journals even of opposite political sentiments)-afford any just indication of the disposition generally entertained toward this work by its subscribers, the request may certainly be advanced, with confidence of a friendly reception, that they would adopt the easy and simple mode of promoting its prosperity and securing its successful permanence, by procuring for it additional subscribers. If each would thus procure one-while many could without difficulty procure a considerable number-a very important benefit would be rendered to the Review, and some service, it is hoped, to higher objects than its welfare.
The Editor will be assisted by not a few of the finest and ablest pens that our country can boast.
Among the engravings with which is intended to embellish the Numbers of the ensuing year, will be portraits of Mr. RITCHIE, of Virginia, Col. JOHNSON, Mr. BENTON, Governor Cass, Mr. STEPHENS, the traveller, Col. YOUNG, of New York, and others. Other embellishments are also in contemplation, which will speak for themselves. A new font of type will be used in the printing. For further particulars of the business arrangement of the publication, see the Prospectus on the cover of the present Number.
THIS is indeed a glorious age we live in!-glorious, that is to say, in certain aspects and to certain orders of minds; though a sad one in some points of view; and a most uncomfortable one, it must be confessed, to many very worthy and decent people. The present actually around us is in itself sad enough, in the frightful spectacle everywhere visible of wrong and wo; and yet glorious indeed in the manifestation equally visible, of a Spirit at work, under the whole and through the whole, actively and powerfully busy in the mission for which it was sent from God, to regenerate and redeem. We have reached a point, in the development of our civilisation, in the progress of the race, at which its best and highest minds are beginning to perceive, to realize (to use a very good Americanism), the impossibility of getting along much further in the old way, and the absolute necessity of setting earnestly about the task of solving this vast and world-old problem of Human Society-of finding out the true principle of its organization, and of applying it to a fundamental reconstruction of the old fabric now worn out and out-grown. This spirit is that of the
Christian Gospel-working sometimes most powerfully through many of those who are the most unconscious of the source from which their inspiration and stimulus have been derived. A vague idea of this truth is beginning, too, to descend and diffuse itself, fast and wide, among other minds, than those which stand in the midst of society like the high mountain-tops, commissioned to receive and reflect to the rest of the earth the first rays of the coming light. The reaction of the age back from that state of doubt and infidelity, which was the leading characteristic of the one immediately preceding-or rather we should say, its forward progress and passage out of that state-is too manifest to every eye, to need more than an allusion to it as an understood fact. The general revival of Christianity, apparent throughout all Christendom, is the most interesting moral phenomenon of the century. At no period since that of its promulgation to the world, has it exhibited a higher, warmer, or more vigorous life, than is now beginning to show itself, in various degrees and modes, throughout all the denominations into which the common body of the Church
* A Statement of the Principles of the Christian Union. New York: Press of Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, George W. Wood & Co., Printers. 1843.
VOL. VIL -NO. LX.
is divided. And in the midst of all this new activity, of all the many sounds and voices in which it is every where working and crying aloud, there is one voice which makes itself heard high and clear above them all, as though the utterance of a silver trumpet, held by an unseen hand, and breathed forth upon the air by other than human lip. It is the solemn rebuke of Christianity against that awful state of misery and evil, moral and material, in which in this, our grand Civilisation of Selfishness, even in the communities seemingly freest and happiest, the great mass of mankind is kept chained and grovelling. And this rebuke is also a command, to which it must be impossible much longer to withhold attention and obedience, that this practical denial and mockery of Christianity must not be suffered to continue, that some mode must be discovered by which it may be practicable to apply the principles of the Gospel to the constitution and government of society; and for individuals to do that which is
now an utter impossibility to the best and purest, namely, to conform the regulation of their private daily walk of life to the standard of those principles. In every direction do we see individuals starting up under the power of this rebuke, earnest to do what may in them lie, each in his little sphere and on his particular point of action, in obedience to this command. How they preach, and toil, and strive, and devote themselves, in their respective and manifold ways, to that which they feel to be to them the highest and holiest of duties, for that is their mission, their allotted field of labor, their appointed post in the advancing move ment of the great army of the race. Each has his particular good to be done-evil to be removed-truth to be taught error to be corrected. Each is full of his own idea; and perhaps in nine cases in ten, its proximity to his eye may shut out the view of all others, and his enthusiasm may pass into a fanaticism. What then? Paul's words, "It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing." These fanaticisms never get strength to do any great harm. They exhaust themselves, and counteract each other. They can never singly get such hold upon the general mind as to be danger. ous, even if the sluggish vis inertia
of society, which makes it so difficult to rouse and move it at all, presented a less heavy resistance than it does to all their passionate impulses. And what though all these various elasses of reformers-each at work on his own stone, in that huge pyramid of Evil which is destined, however slowly, to disappear under the eventual influence of their common efforts?—what though they misunderstand, and abuse, and persecute each other? In Hawthorne's beautiful apologue of "The Procession of Life," published in our Number of April last, he thus finely expresses that pervading harmony which is made up out of the very conflict of all their discords:
"But let good men push and elbow one another as they may, during their earthly march, all will be peace among them when the honorable array of their procession shall tread on heavenly ground. There they will doubtless find that they have and that every well-delivered stroke, which, with an honest purpose, any mortal
been working each for the other's cause,
struck, even for a narrow object, was indeed stricken for the universal cause of good. Their own view may be bounded by country, creed, profession, the diversities of individual character-but above them all is the breadth of Providence. How many, who have deemed themselves antagonists, will smile hereafter, when they look back upon the world's wide harvest-field, and perceive that, in unconscious brotherhood, they were helping to bind the self-same sheaf!"
To our view and our sympathies, one of the most interesting of all the thousand indications in every direction visible, of the presence and working of this spirit, is the formation of the Society whose name constitutes the title to this Article, and whose principles and objects are set forth with equal eloquence and condensation in the pamphlet above referred to. It is from the pen of William H. Channing, a worthy nephew of the great and good man who has given that name its consecrated celebrity. We quote from it the following statement of its view of that condition of society out of which has grown the movement of which it is the first expression:
"The spirit of reform which is animating the hearts of men in this generation,
of every class, radical and conservative, the privileges of life. The resistless ten-
"1. The contrasts in condition, intelli-
cise of its nowers and its inst share in
2. The confusion of existing opinions, upon all subjects, religious, moral, praetical, is seen to be as unnatural as it is harmful. Fundamental truths, established principles, clear views of divine order, are nowhere expressed in forms that command universal assent; and in their place we have perplexity and doubt. Time justly due to useful labor, to friendship, self-culture, and enjoyment, is wasted in fruitless speculation; powers best developed in fervent action pine for want of ends steadfastly believed in, strongly comprehended, and worthy of devotedness; feeling is chilled by indecision; conscience blinded by sophistry; theories withdraw regard from natural laws; servile attachment to systems takes the place of convictions, widening with experience and growth; and the dogmas of past ages usurp the reverence which man owes to God's ever present glory. Hence, endless controversies, wasting the means, paralyzing the enthusiasm which should be consecrated to the universal good; and the church designed to be a living body, with one heart and will of love, is sundered into disputing sects. But a great change is spreading over men's spirits. Disgust is becoming general at this jargon of barren polemics. The multiplicity of opinions which first drove men into an extreme freedom of inquiry, has resulted at length in mutual deference and respect for the combined judgments of the race. It is seen that no man, that no age can know the whole of truth, but only such of its phases as their peculiar character fits them to perceive; and that in the constantly unfolding wisdom of mankind alone is there any approximation to infallibility. The era of denial and scoffing has passed; we long for affirmations; there is a new confidence in the universal presence of the Spirit of Truth. We begin to perceive that through all varieties of creeds, through the thousand-fold forms of mythology and theology, through the systems of philosophers and the visions of poets, has spoken more or less audibly one Eternal Word. Sublime analogies present themselves between the spiritual and natural worlds. Christianity comes to be recognized as the pure outshining, through a soul made transparent by inspiration, of those heavenly laws which have more or less brightly illumined all sages and saints; the various modes of Christian belief, formed by the partial comprehension of different eras, appear as refracted rays from one central sun; and long severed dissenters at length are reconciled as fellow seekers of the Unity of Faith.
66.2 The tome of malicious froline in
ciety and individuals—the habitual modes of devout expression-above all, the prevailing forms of worship-fail to embody the ideal of good, which impels all denominations to seek a deeper revival of holiness. Many of the most devout have withdrawn from our churches, and are watching in secret for the Day Spring. It is felt that rituals have too commonly been substituted for rectitude; that consecrated places have too often been considered as fitter temples for the Omnipresent, than humble hearts and societies sanctified by love; that the ministry of truth, the offices of kindness, the expressions of reverence, which God gives in commission to every sincere soul, have been too much delegated to the select few. Unnatural mystery has been thrown around the most vital and universal experience of life; forms have choked the spontaneous aspiration after that peace which comes in wills made one with God; asceticism sacrificing natural feeling, and longing for futurity, has been thought more spiritual than thankful joy in present blessings; fear has cast gloom over the confidence which a creature should repose in divine benignity, until the very influence most fitted to purify and expand affection, and set free every power, has been turned to an instrument of constraint; and character has been dwarfed when it should have been perfected. But the Spirit of Christ, animating the hearts of his true followers and friends in all ages of the church, makes it self more and more distinctly known. The divinity which filled and transfigured Jesus, till it made him "the brightness of God's glory, and the express image of his person," reveals itself as that inspiration of goodness which visits all who are pure in heart. He was one with Him whose name is Love, through his own devoted love. And his disinterestedness, by the sympathy it awakens, brings ever nearer the fulfilment of his prayer, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, may they be one in us." Throughout the church and society is working a sublime hope of an era near at hand, when men shall receive and diffuse in healthy bodies, warm affections, simple thoughts, glad tempers, and efficient deeds, a heavenly life; and when justice, guided by eternal models, shall build a beautiful temple of order, where the whole of life may be worship.
ous reality to bloom and bear fruit in the
"This three-fold movement of reform, which all thoughtful men are observing with awe, is the spirit of prophecy, the present wisdom and power of God, announcing to this generation his purposes of good. Our highest anticipations shall be more than fulfilled. Our conceptions of beauty, our longings for blessedness, our visions of perfection, are not given to tantalise. They are the germs of a glori
Of the other objects of this society, as a religious one, it is not proper for us here to speak-further than to state that they do not recognize any regularly constituted and paid priesthood; that while one of their weekly meetings (that of Sunday morning) is given to worship, under the guidance of one individual invited for that purpose-a ty, but much as in other religious asworship conducted with great simplicisemblages, consisting of prayer, scripture readings, singing and a discoursethere are two other meetings, one on Sunday evening and the other on Thursday evening, at which any individual is free to speak, and at which (especially at the latter) questions of spiritual progress, and of the application of the principles of religion to the great practical object of the melioration and ele vation of society, are the subjects of consideration. The Rev. Mr. Channing, already referred to above, was the originator of this society, and has filled the part of the leader in its services, with an eloquence of a singular beauty and fervor. As a society, it has no distinctive sectarian creed, its members consisting of all denominations, with no particular obligations or responsibilities incident to membership, and meeting on one open platform of unrestricted moral freedom, a common equality, and a pervading spirit of that the name selected as their designation. mutual respect and love appropriate to With all these features in their organi zation, we repeat, we have nothing here to do. The suggesting motive of our notice of it, and interest in it, is found in that idea which is its animating life
namely, the grand tendency and mission of Christianity to reform and reorganize the present woful chaos of