« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
death such a person will infuse into the life's blood of society! --and all under the hallowed names of religion and reform!
2. Love, disjoined from light, has no reformatory power. Strictly speaking, there can be no love without light, any more than without life. But there is a busy, bustling spirit, misnamed love, which eschewing light as the root of all evil, tries its hand at doing good, and that too on no insignificant scale, and with no small pretensions. Indeed it claims to have found the more excellent way," and forsooth gets its charter from the word of God. Its bible is always open at the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. It writes its name-love, and many are deceived and misled by it. But what is it in reality? It consists in a morbid, highly wrought state of the sympathetic emotions; it is almost all feeling, or impulse, with perhaps a very little light, and the smallest possible modicum of love. Its name is enthusiasm. From its composition it may be conjectured that it is capable of making no small stir especially among weak, ignorant, and impulsive minds. Such is the fact. It is a true storm-king. It drives every thing before it, while its paroxyism is on. It is like a gale at sea. The small craft is driven headlong from its course, the larger vessel is dismantled, and the huge man-ofwar even is cast upon her beams' ends. Great results, indeed, but what good is accomplished? The howling blast sweeps hy, the man-of-war rights herself, the stately ship repairs its damage, and the small craft takes to its helm, compass and chart, and after loss of time and toil gets back again into its former course—and all mutter curses against the storm. It will require years, perhaps a century, to recover from the disastrous effects of one of these excitements, and it will be fortunate, if at last, the jostled machinery of the moral world can be brought back to its wonted regularity of movement. Incalculable evil is done, but where is the good?
3. One reason why some discard love, and others repudiate light, both in self-culture and benevolent effort, is that they judge of either by its effects when employed separately. One beholds the disastrous results of light, and at once concludes that nothing good can come out of it. He exclaims-away with light, love is the true gospel principle. Another sees that this self-styled love is mere blind impulse, driving hither and thither, fickle and furious as the winds, and leaving in its track more mischief to be mended than good to be gathered. “ Deliver me from such a principle!"-he exclaims, and forthwith betakes himself to light. “If both of these individuals
should pause long enough to look each at the other side, they would discover that the principles which they respectively adopted as their mottoes, were really no better than those which they severally repudiated. The man of all light would see what the man of all love sees, and vice versa; and thus peradventure they might both hit upon the true philosophy— light and love, one and inseparable. Nearly all the prejudices which have existed in regard to light on the one hand, and love on the other, prejudices which at some periods have been extensively prevalent, and which at the present moment we believe to be working great practical evils, sundering the professed friends of truth, multiplying with an alarming frequency, schisms in the church, ruptures in benevolent societies, and feuds in almost every neighborhood—these unhappy prejudices have for the most part arisen from the one-sided views which have been held up by one-sided teachers, themselves 66 blind leaders of the blind.),
When, oh when, shall these moral maladies, be healed.? Not till the banns are published throughout the world, and all christendom shall meet to celebrate the re-nuptials of sundered, bleeding, lacerated light and love. When in the sight of the christian world this union shall be solemnized, and in the hearing of all, with solemn emphasis, as from an angel's trump, it shall be announced “What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder"—then, and not before, will there be peace and prosperity in Zion-power in her prayers, and efficiency in her efforts to redeem the world. When shall we have a World's Convention in London to effect a Holy Alliance between light and love? We for one would rejoice to go, though we had to work our passage across the ocean by teaching the sailors in the forecastle to spell out l-i-g-h-t a-n-d l-o-v-e.
4. The moral power of these principles united, is by no means to be estimated by taking the sum of their individual powers. The mighty power of steam would be very inadequately estimated by adding together the forees of heat and water. The power in this case is not a mere aggregate, but an entirely new product, a distinct creation. So it is with the power of light and love. It is the product of their alliance. and must be computed by some other rule than that of simple addition,
5. The union of light and love should be understood to be an inviolable law in all moral movements. No crisis, no emergency should ever be deemed a justifiable occasion of
sacrificing the one to the other. The separation is itself a crime~no man, no society, no church has a right to perpetrate that crime-no considerations of policy or expediency, no promise of good to be obtained, no pressure of evils to be shunned, can for a moment sanctify the deed. God forbids it! Truth deprecates it! The greatest good, substantial success even in the enterprise itself, the promotion of a sound and healthy reform, all demand that this law of union be kept sacred.
6. It should also be a well-understood principle, that the evil done by violating the relations of light and love, is. ten-fold greater and far less remediable, than the evil reformed, what
that may be, by such an unwarrantable measure. Were it possible to eradicate slavery, for example, by the instrumentality of light, dissevered for that purpose from love, the good thus effected would be overbalanced by the untold evils flowing from the high sanction thus given to an act in itself wrong, and in its tendencies most calamitous.
The argument here is the same that is so effectually urged against war as a means of vindicating national honor or regaining wrested possessions, namely, it is not only a crime, but it causes greater evils than those which it is employed to rectify. On the ground of good policy, then, we contend that light and love should never be dissociated in the promotion of moral
A reform which begins with sundering light from love, which divorces light in order to ally itself with it, and proceeds by virtue of that alliance, is an adulterous reform steeped in adultery to the lips. It has perpetrated more wrong and more evil by the rupture it has effected between the heaven-united pair, than it can atone for by all the good it may accomplish.
The reformer who consecrates his prospective moral victories by a sacrificial offering of love upon the altar of light, may indeed clothe himself with zeal as with a garment, he may with giant energies roll desolation over the domain of vice, he may awe by his courage, or confound by his knowledge the boasted champions of error, he may grapple with the pillars of the temple of darkness till the misshapen fabric totters and crashes amid the shrieks of crushed worshippers, but he is himself doomed to perish in the downfall. And why should he escape? He has indeed battled manfully against external sin; but he can not build up virtue, for he began with the subversion of her foundation-cemented light and love.
We now come to the last division of our subject-the application of the principles above stated to religious and reformatory movements and their leaders. We commence with the leaders.
1. And first, of the gospel minister. An absolutely indispensable qualification for the man of God is the possession of well correlated light and love. He should be an eminent exemplification of the beauty and power of these blended graces. The apostolic commission originally delivered by the Divine Redeemer, enjoined this qualification in the words - Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves;" and we add, that so long as the commission itself is binding, so long as there is a gospel minister in the world, so long is this injunction solemnly binding. The serpent and the dove are the blended symbol of the christian preacher. Light and love compose the appropriate inscription for every evangelical pulpit in christendom. Some ministers deem themselves commissioned to preach the law only—others make the gospel, as distinguished from the law, their exclusive theme. But where did these preachers get their partial commissions ? Who said to the one " Be thou a serpent?" or to the other "Be thou a dove?” A minister should understand, that if he drops either light or love, whether in his experience or his preaching, he has broken his commission. Whether he be a pastor or an evangelist, he is totally disqualified for his duties by the exclusion of either of these principles. He may speak the truth, but if he do not “speak the truth in love," he is a recreant, he has forfeited his commission, he is no longer a minister of Christ, nor can he be till he has renewed his commission.
2. Of the christian controversialist it is pre-eminently required, that he possess in their due proportions, light and love. He is the combative advocate of truth, and he is peculiarly exposed to danger by the collisions of debate. It behooves him to know what manner of spirit he is of,” to remember that “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” How disastrous to the interests of truth have been the mass of religious controversies, whether doctrinal or ritual! But why may they not be beneficial? Let every controversialist be fully endowed with light and love, and religious debates, oral or written, would be most precious means of grace, and instead of adding fuel to the flames of sectarian strife, would bind the churches with cords of love and union. They would be conspicuous occasions of illustrating to chris
tians the practicability of differing in views without jarring in affection. When we witness the hot blood, the rancor and violence which attend most doctrinal controversies, we are forced to exclaim, who is qualified to be a controversialist? Mark the tone of our newspaper discussions; take up the most respectable papers of different denominations, or of different schools in the same denomination: what sparring and bickering, what hacking and hewing, what acrimony, what denunciation, what uncharitable imputations, what bitter vi. tuperation or taunting sarcasm, and alas, what unscrupulous impeachments of christian character! And are these our organs of religious controversy! O, when shall we see the embodiment of that ideal which every intelligent and godly mind forms of the christian controversialist! No personage is more wanted at the present day. Disputants, combatants, debaters, and intellectual duelists, we have enough, too many, for they make truth bleed and peace groan;* but the christian controversialist, who shall tower with a lofty heroism above the rancor of loveless wranglers, as Washington towered, in the singleness of his purpose and the majesty of his meckness, above all earthly warriors—such a controversialist when shall the world behold? When shall Zion lift up her voice at his coming, and exclaim “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him!”
3. We next come to speak of the qualifications of the Reformer. The spirit and exigencies of the present age have given rise to a distinct class, we had almost said a new profession, styled reformers. They are not generally ministers, nor always Christians by profession, but they profess to be philanthropists and friends of truth. They are as a body talented men, powerful speakers, nervous writers, fearless thinkers, laborious workers. Their sphere of labor lies among national vices; "organic sins," and social evils. Their modus operandi is well known. It consists in organizing societies hostile to specific forms of prevailing corruption, establishing presses, employing lecturers—in a word it is a mighty machinery of moral agitation. Never perhaps has the world witnessed more tremendous convulsions of the public mind
* We would be understood here to speak not so much of controversialists of a former age as of those of the present; and even of these it would be wrong not to admit that there are some noble exceptions to the above representation-some who know to poise their spirits, amid the collisions of debate, upon that charity which "is not easily proxoked."