Page images

the expression of the great principles upon which government depends, and in which religion consists? For these you will look' in vain. Hence despotism and superstition continue unchecked; because the only power which can struggle with them successfully is wanting. It is not in physical force nor in physical science to pluck asunder the fetters of government and of religion. Every human interest may be sacrificed upon the altars of paganism. Every green field may be drenched with the blood of the victims of tyranny. Yet there is no one to rebuke the outrage. Moral truth alone is adapted to such a work. To its heavenborn principles we owe our prosperity. Socrates, and Plato, and Cicero, and the philosophers of a later day, and more than all, the early teachers of Christian science, have scattered the seed for such fruits as the Magna Charta of England, the Reformation of Germany, and our own Declaration of Independence. We are mistaken if we suppose that these precious principles have sprung up spontaneously, or have been introduced into the world by accident, or even by Providence without human co-operation. You may call them a part of our nature, if you please; but the loftiest minds that have appeared among men for six thousand years, have bent all their energies to remove the rubbish and bring to light the beautiful forms which exist in the chambers of the soul.

These great truths, given to the world by such labors, have made society what it is; and these, by the aid of such labors continued, will carry us on to the millenium. The monster vices, War, Slavery, and Intemperance, which have 80 long preyed upon society, and devoured the hopes of men

-how they quail before such powers! The weakest mortal, wielding the bolts of moral truth, may meet and overcome the mightiest foes of God and man.

Such an inheritance has the past conferred upon us. Such an inheritance must we transmit to the future. Heir to such a birthright, the modern laborer pursues his gladsome way, protected in his rights and encouraged in his efforts; and as he stands by his cherished altar, with the broad shield of just law over him, and the strong hope of immortality within him, next after his duty to God, let him mention with grateful reverence the names of those who have laid the foundation of his beautiful temple.

The inference from these considerations is too obvious to need a statement. The man who devotes himself intelligently

to any department of science is a benefactor of the race; and in no respect is the result more clearly seen than in the advancement of man's physical well being. The laborer is just as dependent upon the man of science for the food he eats and the clothes he wears, as the man of science is upon the laborer; so that “the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you."

Certain Fundamental Principles, together with

their Applications.


It not unfrequently happens, that thoughts systematically arranged, thoughts too which we regard as of great importance, lie in the mind, exciting there a strong desire to give expression to them for the benefit of others, while we may be at a total loss to assign to the whole discourse embodying these conceptions a particular name. We were for some time in precisely this condition in regard to the subject of the present article. To us the thoughts contained therein appeared important. They seemed also to have a systematic arrangement, and to be so connected and blended together, that each had its proper place, and its expression was necessary to the completeness of the whole discourse. Yet no one leading thought, to which a particular name has been assigned, permeated the entire train, and thus laid claim to the prerogative of giving to it a particular title. We were therefore compelled, either to keep these ideas within our own breast, a thing not so easy, when we have the opportunity to give them utterance, and they lie in our minds “as fire shut up in our bones," or to present them under a title from which no conception whatever can be drawn in respect to their nature or particular applications. We have chosen the latter alternative. All that the reader can divine from the title of the present article in respect to what it contains is this:—He will find therein certain fundamental principles which the writer regards as of no little concernment, together with certain of their applications deemed of no less importance. What we ask of our readers is, that, having attentively read what is written, they will "consider it, and then speak their minds."


1. Every subject of great concernment to man has its basis in some fundamental idea or principle. To understand that subject we must find the principle, and take our stand upon it, as the point of observation from which the whole subject shall be contemplated. An individual from some foreign nation, we will suppose, visited this country during the era of the revolution. In a state of total or even partial ignorance of the

character of our fathers, of their ideas of the rights of man, of the end and design of government, and of the true and proper relations of the ruler and subject to each other, he acquaints himself with the names and general character of the leading minds in this great movement, with the conduct of our army, with the battles lost and won, in short, with everything of interest aside from the great idea referred to, the idea shadowed forth in the memorable declaration of seventy six, the idea which was then the all-pervading all-controling spirit within the soul of the entire nation. What would he know of that movement? He would not only not understand, but totally misunderstand the whole of it. The same remark is equally applicable to every other kindred subject. Every individual, for example, wholly misapprehends the anti-slavery movement, one of the great leading movements of the age, who does not contemplate it in the light of the eternal and immutable distinction between a person and a thing,

This one idea or principle is the animating spirit and soul of this whole movement. An individual might with equal propriety attempt to determine and fathom the laws of the immortal mind, in the dissection of a dead body, as to understand that movement, without a fundamental reference to that one idea.

2. No subject or movement pertaining to the permanent rights and interests of mankind, can have its basis in any temporary or accidental relations existing between any one man, community, or nation, and another, but must rest exclusively upon the permanent and changeless laws of human nature itself, upon the elements of humanity common to all individuals of the race. The great command, for example, " thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” cannot rest upon any merely accidental relations existing between any one man and another. It must have its basis in those elements of humanity which belong to man as man. If we ask for the reason why this precept is binding upon us, the only true answer is this Our neighbor is made in the same image and after the same likeness as ourselves. With us he has a common nature, and a common destiny, and consequently common interests, rights, and responsibilities. The man who asserts a right to freedom of speech and of conscience, to the fruits of his own labor, to “ life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, can not properly vindicate those rights on the ground of any fact pertaining to the color of his skin, to his parentage, or the place of his nativity, but upon that of the great fact that he is a man possessed of the common elements of universal bumanity.

[ocr errors]

3. All subjects, however diffuse in their nature, subjects which permanently concern the rights and interests of man, must have a common basis--the permanent and changeless elements and laws of universal humanity. This thought we regard as too self-evident to need particular elucidation.

4. The next thought we would express has reference to a fixed law of universal mind. It is this. If any object of great and permanent interest presents itself to our minds, and we do not esteem and treat it according to its intrinsic worth, that object reacts upon us, producing in us the deepest mental imbecility and degradation. Under such circume stances mental growth and expansion are possibilities in but one direction, that of the object presented. The same mental weakness and degradation results, when an object of trifling, temporary concernment is treated as of great permanent interest. The deepest descent in mental degradation occurs, when, in the presence of objects of vast and permanent concern on the one hand, and of trilling accidental interest on the other, we disesteem the former and surrender our god-like powers to the influence of the latter.

5. No individual esteems an object for what it is in itself, whose interest in it takes its rise in any mere accidental circumstances connected with it. This statement may perhaps appear to some as a mere truism. It is a truism, however, of which we need to be often reminded. How often do we meet with individuals whose interest in subjects which permanently concern the highest well being of universal humanity, takes its rise in mcre accidental relations which they may chance to sustain to such subjects. Such individuals can never respect man as man, nor themselves for what they are in and of tbemselves.

6. There are but two objects of permanent concern to us. The first is the Infinite and Eternal, the conception of whom overshadows all other ideas in the human mind. The second is like unto it, namely, that " which is made in the image and after the likeness” of the Infinite—that which represents the Infinite in the finite-humanity, its permanent interests, its rights, its responsibilities and eternal destiny. All other objects and interests are accidents, and demand of us only a corresponding regard.

7. Finally, if, on the ground of accidental circumstances and relations, we consent to a sacrifice of the rights and interests of a solitary individual of our race-rights and interests based upon the immutable laws of our common

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »