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there not danger that leaders in of avarice. The cry is, with all thy religion, will in some way make as getting, get money. many as they can, commit them- Another evil kindred to this, is, selves to certain movements, so that that inasmuch as men have changed pride of character will do for them their condition in many respects for what conscience would not. If the the better, they have come to feel politician is in the habit of show. that change is the same as improveing forth his patriotism by talking, ment; that what is old, is bad; that rather than by doing the duties of a what is new, is good. On this good citizen, is there not danger ground, they are ready to exchange that the religionist will endeavor to their old political opinions, their old show forth his piety by talking, modes of education, their old forms rather than by doing the duties of a of worship, their old religion, for good Christian. In short, is there new political principles, new modes not danger from superficial views of education, new forms of worship, of Christianity, that the religion of and a new religion ; just as they our country will assume the char. would exchange an old garment for acter, and the defects, of our polit- a new one. They plume themical institutions ?
selves upon being up with the Again, the present age is charac- times; but they forget, perhaps they terized by improvements in physical never knew, that old errors are comforts and the arts of life. This raked up from the rubbish of cenis the natural consequence of the turies, and embraced with rapture application of knowledge. A large under new names. If you join a
a amount of labor that used to be political party, they will change employed in making the necessaries their principles and shoot you as of life, can now, by the use of a deserter," if you do not change machinery, be employed in im. with them, even though you joined provements. Every man knows, them on account of the principles that there is fair chance for better which they have deserted. ing his condition. Reverses there Moreover, the age in which we have indeed been during the last live is characterized by a spirit of six years.
the coun- active benevolence. A vast number try now with what it was twenty of Christians acting on the princifive years since, and
you will ple, that they are not their own, have no doubt that great progress being bought with a price by Him has been made in these improve. who went about doing good, regard ments,
the spirit of benevolence as at once One evil growing out of this good, the test and the fruit of discipleship; is that of discontent. The chance as at once the pledge and the earnof bettering their condition, will not est of heaven. let men rest satisfied with their con- While we rejoice over the good, dition, though theirs is a good one. let us as before, look at the corres
They can not let well alone, while ponding evils. One evil is, that they know there is a better. They we are exposed to have a bustling must engage in some promising en- and ostentatious religion. There terprise, even if it is hazardous, or is a certain kind of honor connected they envy those who have been with patronizing the various objects more successful than themselves. of benevolence, whether by money And then too, as money answereth or influence. For the sake of gain. all things in gaining these physical ing this honor, men may be tempted comforts, they have learned to sa- away from the modest and retired crifice the virtues and charities of modes of duty, to a violation of the social and domestic life at the shrine injunction : “ Take heed that ye
do not your alms before men to be ground, in dim perspective, as of seen of them.” This spirit of be much less importance. nevolence, so excellent in its na. But besides thus presenting a disture, has created a vast number of torted view of the gospel, which ex. offices to which ambition can as. poses the Christian under its influpire, by means of the various or. ence to the danger of losing the ganizations which it has originated. symmetry of a perfect man in Christ These offices may not offer as large for a monstrous development, there is an emolument, to tempt avarice; another evil. By the presentation of but they confer as much respecta- thrilling description, high-wrought bility and influence, as some of the statement, impassioned appeals to higher offices of prelacy, and they the public mind, it is taught to lose may be coveted as much.
its relish for simple truth, just as the Another evil is, that by yielding drunkard loses his relish for pure the mind habitually to reasons ad- water. Something more exciting is dressed to benevolent feelings, the needed. The simple truths of na. moral character of an action comes ture and revelation must be distilled to be measured by the good which in the alembic of a heated imagina. it produces. “Such an action pro- tion, to furnish a moral alcohol for duced a great amount of good ; it the public taste. must therefore be right.” Just as Besides, by multiplying organizaif a man may perpetrate any enor- tions of this kind, there is danger mities, and call them virtuous, pro- that large classes of the most active vided they appear to produce good. and efficient Christians, in their atJust as if the end being good, will tachment to some particular associasanctify the means ! Just as if truth tions, will decline from the higher may be violated, and promises bro- and more spiritual doctrines and du. ken, and justice outraged, if good ties, into narrow views and intolerant appears to be produced by so do- feelings; that, in this way, some of ing!
these associations will become ar. Another evil to which we are ex. rayed against each other, like two posed is, that in the subdivision of hostile armies; that there will be the objects of benevolence, certain challenge and defiance, crimination associations, through the activity of and recrimination, bitter words and their agents, will teach the commu- bitter feelings, until, in the rage nity to attach a disproportionate im- of contention, the great doctrines portance to the objects which they and duties of the gospel will be lost were organized to promote. Some sight of on both sides. And what of these objects, more exciting in aggravates the evil of this war is, themselves than other objects equally that it is carried into the very heart important, when presented by some of the church. Formerly there were eloquent agent who has his speech standing controversies between the perfectly committed, make a strong religious denominations. These conimpression on the public mind ; troversies appear in some degree to while the other objects are over. have subsided, so that now, in the looked. These men, in their zeal' opinion of some, there is more of a to form public sentiment, deal in tendency than formerly to union. high-wrought descriptions and start. But, unfortunately, while there has ling statements in favor of their been a gain, so far as the external
They place in the fore. relations of some of these denomina. ground of the picture their own ob- tions are concerned, there has been ject
, in bright colors and in strong a loss, in some degree, of internal relief; while other objects, if noti- peace. ced at all, are placed far in the back. As the last general topic, we shall
notice the great susceptibility of the these proposed agencies and measpublic mind. The fact that such This recipe never fails. a susceptibility exists, is too well Having been under this treatment, known to require any proof. The they will burn down a convent at time has gone by, when subjects one place, and a hall at another; deemed important were treated with hang up men without judge or jury; indifference. Hardly a subject con- move in mobs, especially at elecnected with politics, morals, educa- tions; assault private houses and the · tion, or religion, can now be pre- mansion of the president of the nasented, without its awakening emo- tion; while in a thousand minor tions either of dislike or approbation. ways they will
outrage the proprie. Without dwelling on the obvious ties of life. They will violate the good connected with this suscepti- majesty of the law and the shrine of bility of the public mind, we will be justice, and even the sacred rights stow a glance on the comparative of our common nature; and all for evils. There is danger that the pub- what? They have been told that lic generally will acquire an habitual some great interest is thereby prolove of excitement. This is permoted. Fixing their thoughts upon fectly evident from the nature of a narrow range of objects, they are the human constitution. Excite. hurried on by their excited feelings, ment, through the passions of the first to decide important questions mind, can become habitual, as well without evidence, and then to act as through the appetites of the body; regardless of consequences. How the excitement of anger as well as their understanding is warped by the excitement of alcohol. There their passions ! “All is fair in pol. is an intoxication from the passions, itics,” is a practical rule with them. as well as the intoxication from ar. Why? Because success in their dent spirits; and what is remarka- eyes is more valuable than the truth ble, they agree in their immediate and honor sacrificed for its sake. and their remote effects. The one “ Any measures that will accomis equally seductive as the other. plish the conversion of a sinner,” is Now it has been found that by using a maxim sometimes adopted; just as the appropriate means, it is perfectly if his happiness is of more value easy, on any important subject, to than the rectitude of his spiritual get up an excitement in the commu- guide. nity. By means of the press and But such excitements in some the eloquent tongue, especially if cases embitter as well as corrupt the there is a combination of effort, it public mind. They injure the temhas been found that public opinion per of the subject of them, as evi. can be manufactured in any quantity, dently as the excitement of alcohol. and public fceling excited to any de. He shows it in his unsocial and mo. gree. This is the approved recipe rose conduct towards those who differ for doing it. First, get up an alarm from him, in his censorious words, in respect to some important inter and even in the tones of voice est. Then agitate the public mind and in the harsh expression of his with terror for a time. Next, pre. countenance. Thus it is that they pare and recommend certain agen- plant many a root of bitterness in cies and measures as certain reme. the community, which springing up, dies, for the treatment of the case. troubles it. For some years the pubThen declare that we shall all be lic mind has been in a chafed and ruined if we reject these proposed excited state ; and just in proportion agencies and measures. Lastly, de. to the degree of excitement, whether nounce, as the enemies of God and on politics, morals or religion, has man, those who refuse to employ there been a repulsion between the
elementary parts that compose it, them. Nor was it our intention to just as bodies charged with electri- illustrate them by moral painting, city repel each other. A fierce and though this can so easily be done. fiery spirit has been awakened in Our aim has been simply to present large masses of the people, which a connected view of certain advan. ever and anon blazes out with de- tages which our country enjoys at structive energy, in different parts the present time, with their attend. of the country, threatening to lay ant evils, in order that we may not waste our fair heritage.
only be grateful to the Giver of all In the above remarks it has not good for these advantages, but likebeen our intention to sustain the po- wise having a distinct knowledge of sitions we have taken by an induc. these evils, we may successfully tion of facts; since the memory of guard ourselves against the dangers the intelligent reader can furnish to which they expose us.
A PLAIN DISCUSSION WITH A TRANSCENDENTALIST.
Mr. B. Is there any prospect and comprehensive, scarcely a gleam that the community will ever under- of which enters the brain of one in stand your new system of philoso- twenty of your hearers! How litphy and faith? For years the in- tle original thinking is there among quiry has been “ What is Transcen- that numerous class of our citizens dentalism?” and no intelligible an- who are called educated. Most of swer has been given. The terms them dare not trust themselves with you use to express your ideas are an idea which did not come from new and hard to be understood. If their text-books. If the guardian you will drop your strange termi- angel, genius, should suggest a new nology and give your thoughts in thought to their minds, they would plain, common sense language, you crush it in the birth lest it should will do me a favor as an honest grow into an heresy. Look at the searcher after truth. If you have books which fly from the press like new things as well as new words autumn leaves from the tree, withnd names, why can not you in a out one new thought.
out one new thought. An original familiar way, communicate them ? mind, a genius, rarely appears, and
Mr. A. You can readily see that is as rarely appreciated by his own a person may have ideas which can age. The prophet is not in honor not be conveyed with precision to in his own country. This has been those who have had neither the ideas true in all time; it always will be nor the words by which they are true, for to be a genius is to be in expressed. It is so in all the scien- advance of one's own age. Hu. ces, and particularly in the sci- man pride and self-sufficiency preence of thought. But the principal dispose men to be ungrateful for reason why we are not understood teachings more inspired than their is, men think so superficially. Most « Dost thou teach us?” is minds skim over the surface of a their contemptuous reply to those thousand subjects, but few dive deep who now attempt to open the eyes of into the sea of thought, remain long the blind; and “they cast them out." enough for distinct vision, and seize Mr. B. Well, granting that to and bring up the precious pearls. your mind there is an extent and How often do you throw out thoughts depth of meaning in the terms of which, to your own mind, are great your philosophy which I do not see, yet is it not possible to convey to Schelling, Hegel, had each his own my mind some true and definite idea system, though they have been called of the thing called Transcendental transcendentalists. What, in loose ism? Dropping its scientific terms language, is termed transcendental. and all technicalities, can we notism, is variously modified in dif. talk upon the real thing in plain ferent countries by different indi. English?
viduals, who have embraced that Mr. A. I trust we may, to some system of metaphysics which, leave extent at least; for the thing, as you ing the field of sensual knowledge, call it, is more generally felt than soars into the regions of pure you suppose. It has been said that thought. The transcendentalists of every one is, in a sense, a poet; no our country, influenced to a great one can read a poem well if not in extent by the writings of Carlyle, a poetic mood. So I would say, have made great advances upon the every one is, in sense, a transcen. Kantean philosophy; we have not dentalist; that is, all who allow their, only gone farther in our search for minds any latitude of thought, at spiritual truth, but we have applied times have thoughts and feelings our philosophy to different subjects, which are properly called transcen- and made it bear more directly updental. Hence we have aimed to on the duties and relations of life. establish schools, that the mind even Mr. B. We will leave, as far as in childhood, before it becomes possible, names and systems, as well cramped by forms, and before the as technicalities, out of view. I wish inner light of the soul becomes to talk with you upon your transcen. dimmed or totally extinguished by dentalism, and know whether it is the senses, may receive a right die possible for us to understand each rection ; be made to think for itself, other. and be led to see-not the forms of Mr. A. I will comply with your things, but things themselves. All request upon one condition. You men, though in different degrees and shall not reproach me with nonsense varied forms, would be transcenden- and fog if you fail to apprehend my talists if they received a spiritual meaning. Your sensual school of rather than a sensual culture. philosophy
Mr. B. Let us here come di. Mr. B. Stop, lest we raise bad rectly to the point. I have long sus- blood in settling the preliminaries. pected myself of transcendentalism, I accept the condition, and propose and would gladly gather from you that we commence with man. You some clear idea of it, that I may claim that your views of man's spi. know whether I am within or withritual nature are altogether truer and out the pale of discipleship. nobler than those which generally
Mr. A. But you must remember prevail. that this is a very extensive subject. Mr. A. Instead of considering It would lead us a long way back, to man a mere creature of sense and Kant and even to Plato. The writings intellect, but little superior to animal of many in Germany, of some in instinct, we view him a free, spiritEngland and France, and a few in ual existence, of unlimited capaciour own country, must be discussed, ties, possessed of a soul truly godin order to get a clear view of the like, and in every way qualified for whole. And then there are all va. knowing truth and duty. Locke has rieties and degrees of transcenden- entirely misled the world in some of talism. Those in Germany who fol. the most vital points. Making the lowed Kant and adopted much of soul a blank leaf, upon which, with his philosophy, differed from him in the pen of the five senses, external many important particulars. Fichte, objects wrote whatsoever they listed,