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all other respects is truly transcen. respect to Christ than a pagan em. dental. Pardon me, Mr. A., but I peror of Rome was willing to pay must ask
if you are serious in him.-give him a temple in comthis?
mon with a thousand other deities. Mr. A. You infer too much. I Certain parts of the Bible you are did not design to consider the wri- ready to pronounce of heavenly or. ters of the Dial on a par with Christ. igin, in the same sense in which I only mean that they have uttered you think the writings of many the truest things which are uttered other men were divinely inspired. among us,-many things truly in. The only moral law ever given, spired,—though in their earnest zeal your writers assert, is the voice of they have said much that I would not God in the heart. Your belief is say. They do not deserve the con- this: Plato had his system of relitempt in which they are held by ma- gious philosophy, Mohammed his, ny. Every inspired teacher has been Confucius his, Kant his, and Christ deemed by his formal age either a his; and all these, so far as we permadman, a fool or a knave. It is ceive their truth by the light of reathe fate of genius to be persecuted. son, and no farther, are to us the or. The Pharisee, wrapped in his forms, acles of God. Some of your sect saw nothing true or good in the are willing, but others are not, to teachings of the divine Jesus ; Soc. give Christianity the preference. rates was persecuted to death; Kant You use the language of Christians, was sneered at as a deluded dream. with the addition of some buck. er, and Carlyle, after years of true ram phraseology of your own, but spiritual endeavor, hardly begins to with a meaning entirely different be appreciated at home, though we from its usual signification. I can deem him one of the brightest stars not believe this honest. The Uniin the constellation of genius. But versalist, the Unitarian, the infidel, such men count the cost of their de. the atheist, frankly state what they votion to truth. The world's teach- believe, in plain terms. I have no ers have had little cause to be pleas. desire to class you with them, though ed with the world, yet they have it is evident your whole system of loved and sought to bless their race. religious philosophy may be found Truth, omnipotent truth, is their sup. in the writings of these various port. It is enough for them that they schools. You throw around your are right. They look to the distant transcendentalism such a devotional future, when many will rise up and air, and so much of the language of call them blessed.
evangelical piety, that your real Mr. B. But you must be aware meaning is not perceived.
. The obthat your views undermine the foun. scurity of your system would vanish dation of all that is peculiar in Chris. instantly if you expressed yourselves tianity. Here, you profess to be a in plain language. Not to refer to Christian, and weep strange tears points already discussed, take the over the unbelief and idolatry of the published opinions of your school age. You appear, at times, reve- respecting miracles. You are aware rently to worship“ God, manifest in that all this has been advanced a the flesh ;" but the very next act of thousand times. You only hit the your devotion is to kneel at the thing differently. You take the shrine of a favorite philosopher or same course upon miracles as upon poet, pagan or Christian. These inspiration. As you inspire all men you call as truly divine, as really in rather than deny the inspiration of spired, and in every way as worthy the sacred penmen, so instead of deof religious reverence, as Jesus, only nying' miracles you make every in a less degree.
You pay no more thing miraculous.
Mr. A. Carlyle has placed this the endless debate upon such ques. subject in its true light in the chap- tions in the Christian system. It ter on “ Natural Supernaturalism,” tends only to doubt and denial. in his Sartor, which I would com- The whole forensic discussion from mend to your special attention. the first century to this, upon the
Mr. B. I have read it, and will proofs of Christianity, have been give all the credit you can ask for fruitful in nothing but infidelity. the genius there displayed. Per. A religion-any part of a relihaps we could not take a better il. gion-which needs the logic of the lustration of your method of treat- understanding for its support, is not ing subjects connected with religion. worth the argument. If men have Instead of direct denial, backed with not an eye to see and a soul to feel the usual arguments, you virtually religious truth, argument will avail deny the miracles of the Bible, by nothing. Religious men should take making all things so marvelous, and the high ground that religion is a by clothing your expressions in such native germ in the heart of man, imagery, that one thing appears to and is to be cultivated by other be as miraculous as another. The means than disputes about the forms rising of the sun would be a stupen- which Christianity has assumed. Let dous miracle to a man who should us leave the questions of plenary insee it for the first time. The rising spiration, miracles, trinity and unity, of a dead man would not appear to the humanity and divinity of the Sa. be a miracle if we should see dead vior, the sabbath and the church, men rise every day. The chemist all which are entirely foreign to recould work miracles in the eyes of ligion itself, and retire within our. ignorant heathen. That is, all is selves, to listen to God's voice in miraculous to men which they are the soul, and be religious. not familiar with.
Mr. B. Ah! but there is a ques. eye to see a little farther into the tion to be answered-yes or nom operation of natural laws, every mi. upon which very much depends. racle recorded in the Bible or any If at the word of Christ the dead where else would appear a natural awoke to life, and the eyes of the rather than a super-natural event. blind were opened, did he not exTherefore, whether any thing shall ercise a power superior to that of be miraculous or not, depends not the chemist or man of genius ; and upon the thing itself, but upon our so much superior that none can degree of insight into the laws of doubt it to be supernatural. And nature. This is the leading idea of you need not be told that if the Carlyle's chapter on Natural Super works attributed to Christ could be naturalism, and the substance of all shown not to have been wrought your writers have to say upon the by him, instead of being an inspired subject of miracles. Granting that teacher sent from heaven, as you there is truth in this view of the sub- often term him, he was an imposject, yet the most favorable con- tor. One can hardly give you struction I can put upon the argu. credit for sincerity, when you eulo. ment is, to call it an evasion of the gize Christ and his religion, and real point at issue. True, you ex. upon the same page say, what, hort us with earnestness to think fairly interpreted into intelligible deeper, that we may see more of the language, stigmatizes him as a de. miraculous with which we are con- ceiver. These inconsistencies need stantly surrounded. But, believe in to be explained. You are ready a miracle, in any proper sense of enough to discuss other questions the word, you do not.
of history; why not those connected Mr. A. We are heartily weary of with the Christian religion?
Mr. A. It is one of the first les. Mr. B. And I would request you sons of our religion not to use the to preach your doctrine from any sensual logic with men, but to turn text in your numerous Bibles, to their attention to the great truths any uninitiated audience you can that are written upon the tables of find, that you may be convinced of the heart. We expect like the great the impracticability of making man. Master, to be reviled, but we shall kind understand such a sublimated not return reviling for reviling. You religion. You extol earnest, rapt will yet see, and I hope in this life, emotions, whether in the Mussul. that there is enough which is mi. man at the tomb of his prophet, raculous without going back eigh- or in the worshiper of the sun, teen hundred years. But at pres. the river, the star, or any other ent I must leave you to gaze at created object. Try your trans. God's world, without seeing any cendentalism then, and see if the thing wonderful in the thousand eye moistens, and the fire of devo. forms of beauty and goodness which tion burns in the heart under its lie in every direction ; but only a influence ? You call attention to little chemical matter to be analy. your new philosophy, and as hear. zed, explained, and scientificallyers we have a claim on you to arranged. But it is painful to see speak in a known tongue the very man, standing in the midst of wone thing you mean. You attack almost ders, like the stupid ass, with his every article of our belief, and we whole attention upon food for his have a right to know just what you stomach; or like an ambitious boy, would have substituted in its place. beating his drum to arrest the eyes Our views of God, of Christ, of the of the world, as if he were the only Bible, of Christianity, of worship, real prodigy to be admired. The of man-his nature, his duties, and secret of the universe is open, but his destiny-our system of moral only to those who have an eye to science, our literature, and even
Men must retire into the our civil institutions, are in your holy of holies, their own souls, and opinion defective. You call for a then the Shekinah will appear, and radical change. One of your wrifrom the altar of the heart accepta• ters says, “It is not to be denied ble incense will ascend. Be silent, that the principles of this system my brother, as you stand in this are those of reform in church, state, star-domed temple of God, and his and society, and for this cause they presence shall overshadow you ; are unpopular.” Thus we find our. and you shall feel that man-all selves attacked in a new and pecu• that is in him and around him-is liar manner. We are exhorted in a miracle! Man is the high-priest the phraseology of Christianity, to of Nature beautifully emblemed in throw off all its present forms of the priest of Jewry; he is the eye belief and practice, and go on unto of the earth which should be turned perfection! But before we strip towards heaven. He is the highest naked in this style, we wish to form of the godlike. "Be still and know whether you have better gar.
: know that I am God,” is a text I ments for our covering. beg of you to consider.
In all that we say concerning freedom brings with it already cer. those great evils that grow out oftain mischiefs, and threatens greathuman nature under the conditions er. It can not be won nor kept of society, we would not so far without a price; “ with a great sum disparage our country nor ourselves, obtained we this freedom.” And as to charge them upon our political among the evils that have the most institutions, as if they were exclu- room and encouragement under sively American; and if any of such institutions as ours, must be them appear more rank and nox. reckoned the one we have named ious here than elsewhere, we would at the head of this article. It is not exaggerate their relative im. generally acknowledged to be a portance, by forgetting that other chief source of harm and insecurity and greater evils abound under in to our country, and has become a stitutions of a contrary nature. We common topic of declamation. We are persuaded that on the whole, if should not think it worth while to an impartial hand could hold the descant upon it in that general way, scales between this nation and any saying only what is admitted to be other, as to the good and evil, the true, and may be repeated again weal and woe, of their respective with no effect; but there are some conditions, they would turn in our things concerning it not so generally favor. It is the fault of alarmists borne in mind, that we choose to and cynics to think only of existing have understood and considered by evils, and to rail at their external all good citizens. And if our readcondition as if it were alone respon- ers would come to a just conclusion sible, and therefore the worst pos- as to their individual duties on this sible. And on the other hand, it, subject, let them not only take it is a narrow provincial presumption, for granted that party spirit proa sort of diffusive vanity, in some duces various mischiefs, but recur other men, that blinds them to the distinctly to some of its effects, more dangerous tendencies peculiar and in order to revive the just imto their own condition. The latter pression of them, we shall speak are too boastful to be vigilant; the of them with some particularity. former too distrustful to be active. There is now, as there has been For Americans to croak over even of late, in political affairs, a pause the evils that are peculiar to re- of fatigue and uncertain expectapublican institutions, instead of ex. tion, while yet some vague prepa. pounding and applying a remedy, ration is going on for new strife. is at best an unwise discontent; and The time is more favorable therefore to crow over their advantages, in- . than those tumultuous seasons, when stead of securing and enhancing calm words can not be heard, for them, is only a more amiable folly. gaining candid attention to such subAs long as human character retains jects. And here, once for all, though its radical imperfections, not only we speak chiefly of partisanship in must social evils be looked for un- political affairs, yet we request our der every kind of government, but readers to observe for themselves every kind of government will be how far the same spirit works similar found to foster one class of evils mischiefs in the affairs of religion, rather than another, a republic as and how far it calls for the same well as a monarchy having its own severe amendment in the action of pernicious tendencies. Our rare all that call themselves Christians.
We reckon it among the most opinions and feelings and course serious mischiefs of party spirit, of conduct, when he might ennoble though the fact is generally over. himself by maintaining them in conlooked, that it occasions the sacri- scientious and manly independence. fice of individual dignity. He who It is injurious to the public interhas become a partisan, has in one ests : for if it is important that he sense ceased to be a man. Instead should be entitled to give a vote, of standing by himself, filling his it is because he is supposed to be own sphere of thought and action, capable of knowing how to bestow and making a corresponding im- it, and ready to bestow it, for the pression by what he is and what he advantage of his country; yet he does, he has given up his individ- follows the dictates of another withuality, and become like every other oụt the use of his own independent man who belongs to the same fac. capacity, which is thus lost, whattion. He is melted into the mass, ever it may be worth. It is a sad and contributes to its successful thing for one who boasts that he movement by swelling its bulk. If commands a vote which will he would be himself alone, he would far as any other man's, to take his receive and give an individual im- place as unintelligently as the bal. pression in his political as in his lot-box itself; to be as little moved social relations; but now he is noth. by wise and patriotic considerations ing more than one item, like every on his own part, as the bit of paper other item, in this or that column prepared to his hand.* Yet is not of political calculations. That is
That is this the picture of a man who has all there is of him. Instead of ex- no opinion, no choice, no vote, but ercising the privileges of a freeman, with a party to which he has athe is put to the use of voting. tached himself? When he might be a thinking, ac. Another evil is, that it commits tive man, whose opinions and wishes men to action in matters of which give at least some impulse to po- they are not qualified to judge. litical operations, he is not even a
The mere fact that a man has the whole political machine, but rather opportunity of putting forth some a wheel among wheels, or a cog, influence on public affairs, by his by which one drives another. Par. vote or otherwise, is not alone a tisanship in civil affairs has the reason why he should avail himself servility, without the honor, of miliof it. He ought to act, if at all, tary obedience; for the man who either from his own convictions of only votes with a party and not oth- what is conducive to the public good, erwise, has no more to do with the or from his reasonable confidence science of government, than a sol. in the convictions of those whom dier who builds his section of a he believes competent to guide him breastwork or fires his shot, with on such subjects. Now a partisan the evolutions of a battle or the does not seek out those persons on plan of a campaign ; and he only whose authority he thinks he may follows a leader where there is no most properly rely, and follow them danger to be encountered, and there. for that reason, but in fact, though fore no glory to be won. Now all without acknowledging it, rather this is unworthy of one who calls commits himself to the leaders of himself a freeman. He only takes his faction for some accidental rea. his choice of masters, or he is the servant of many masters rather than * We could wish the printed ballot It is injurious to himself,
were still declared invalid, as a device so far as he is affected by his po. unduly answerable to others, as in vive
of party convenience, often making men litical rights : for he surrenders his voce voting.