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heavens, and this desolate period became is to shoot him without mercy. The the epoch of nearly all the modern en enormous infidelity of the latter part of terprises of Protestantism. Methodism, the last century could be denounced withCalvinistic and Arminian, had their birth out courtesy. It could not comprehend in it. The Bible Society sprung up from the courtesies which pertain to all other it. Tract Societies, with their continually intellectual combats. Its very dialect was multiplying machinery; Sunday schools, made up of ribaldry and blasphemy. the most capable auxiliary of modern It reveled in immorality; but it is otherChristianity; missions even, for they had wise with the skepticism of our day, as we hardly become a distinct feature of the have said. The latter, among its repreProtestant Church before; and, chief per- sentatives at least, is comparatively pure; haps among them all, a lay ministry, it attempts to retain the morals, and not that great experiment which we have only the morals but something of the ideal, recently discussed—date from these de- the spirit of Christianity, while it casts spondent times.
away its doctrines and authority. We go Let us not fear, then. These contrasts further, and venture even the remark (not of opinion seem to be oscillations of the acceptable, we know, to many) that this is moral world, which, overruled by the done with sincerity—that it is not an divine hand, have their law of reaction ; artifice. We doubt not even that in some the hands of the clock of destiny move on, ingenuous minds the infidelity of the times the hour of sun-rise comes inevitably, is adopted with a sense of self-denialthough it may be “darkest just before the with even an anguish of regret that the dawn.”
vision of Christianity, with its blessed Christianity is a necessity of man's hopes, fades away before the gaze of the nature. His moral instincts, amid what. disturbed, and, in many cases, as ever perversion, recognize it, and, sooner think, the morbid mind. Such certainly or later, silence his fallacious reasonings. was the case of Sterling and Marguerite There is none of the dictates of natural Fuller. This opinion does not vindicate conscience which does not coincide with them from personal responsibility; it it; there is none of the natural affections leaves open the question how far such or charities of human life that is not minds may have occasioned their inkindred to it; no national virtue or honor ability to believe—but it vindicates the that does not borrow dignity from it; no treatment we ask for them. Denunciation, interest of the public welfare that does not crimination is not the speech of religion find support in it. These are its grand for such cases, if indeed it is for any. argumentation. These guarantee its We must not only meet them with the safety. The changing winds may ruffle language of courtesy, but even with tenthe surface of the waters; but they cannot derness and sympathy. That state of reverse the tides, for these come of doubt, which at some time or other almost universal and inviolable laws.
every earnest mind encounters—through casional outbreaks of erroneous opinions, which, indeed, almost every Christian under the agency of anomalous minds, mind struggled at first into the light-has, cannot disturb permanently the aggregate in fact, received in our present infidelity mind of a people; the excitement of open expression, a definite form. novelty, however violent at first, sooner This is its characteristic peculiarity, and or later exhausts itself, and the common it calls for a peculiar treatment-a treatmind, regulated by its old common sense, ment not unlike that which we would exsubsides into its old channels, and moves tend to a mind which, awakened with on steadily as aforetime. And here is religious concern, is nevertheless bethe inevitable safety of the truth ; the clouded with religious doubts. inevitable despair of error.
We trust we shall not be misunderstood With such views, we can afford to take here. We speak of infidelity as now repanother item of advice which the present resented in our literature, in the persons phase of infidelity justifies, viz. :-that of its leading characters above named, it should be treated with more amenity than and in the intelligent circles of social life, has been usual in former conflicts with it. where all of us so ordinarily meet it. The best way to treat an offensive or a Its tendency must inevitably be downferocious animal - a skunk or a hyena – | ward; it cannot but become, sooner or
later, virulent and blasphemous; it has to give it. It is afraid to do so, lest it already such examples, and its popular should compromise itself with public effect, especially among our foreign popu- prejudices. This would doubtless be the lation, is already openly demoralizing ; result, but it should struggle through that but this is not yet its general character. result, until it could reach its legitimate
Again, the most important means of position, and compel the public mind fully defeating the infidelity of the day is, we to concede it. Nothing, we believe, think, to meet fairly its challenge of com- would be more practicable to it, and nothpetition in the practical reforms of the age. ing could secure it, at last, more public It has taken a route in this respect which respect and moral power. We are mais quite in contrast if not with the theory, king progress in this direction ; let us at least with the practical endeavors of hope for the future. the infidelity of any other age. It would Meanwhile we have no hope for the not only imitate the spirit of Christianity, reformatory efforts of infidelity. It may but it would imitate and even transcend its be sincere, but it is neither wise nor practical philanthropy. Its most formid-efficaeious. It perverts and defeats what. able reproach against the Church is, that ever it attempts. We have recommended the latter is behind the reforms of the age. in this article a courteous treatment toThe charge is fallacious, as we believe, ward it, and feel that at this point we need and yet there is truth enough in it to give to remind ourselves of the fact; for it is it plausibility and effect. It could be difficult to speak of what is farcical and easily shown that nearly every important contemptible without contemptuous lanreformatory movement of the day has guage. What has been more preposteroriginated, directly or indirectly, in the ous, and, were it not for the serious coninfluence of the Christian Church; but it sequences, more ridiculous, than the recan, at the same time, be too easily shown formatory movements of the infidels of that not a tithe of her energy is yet put this country? The anti-Bible, the Woforth in these reforms—that most flagitious men's Rights, the anti-Slavery, and antiwrongs, public and social, prevail within Gallows Conventions, which by their the shadow of her temples, wrongs which extravagant proceedings, their eccentric ought to be annihilated by her very glance; characters—bearded men and “ Bloomer” —that especially in the higher places of women — their exhibition of all anomaher power, her verdict on public questions, lous minds and anomalous opinions, have involving moral wrong, is not as unam- kept the scoffers of the land in a roar biguous and emphatic as it ought to be. for the last ten years. What have they Let her reform in these respects. She done except to bring contempt upon great will incur new hostilities by so doing ; | truths, and to retard the genuine men, but she will also redouble her energies, who, under the formidable burden of this she will concentrate all generous sym- contempt, have been laboring for the pathies and heroic souls around her, and needed reforms of the day? What has confound and silence her gainsayers. We even the most serious experiment of these have discussed this subject quite in detail pseudo reformers accomplished-Socialin one of our former articles, and need not ism-what but a series of failures ? And here enlarge upon it; but we would em- then look at the humiliating scientific prephasize it as the great condition of the tensions which characterize most of them, safety of the Church, especially in a the gospel of the " great Harmonia," country like this, where the voluntary Mesmerism, Phrenology, Communism, patronage of the people must sustain it. Spirit Rapping, &c.,-some of them gera We believe the Christianity of the times minal truths, it may be, but abused with is shorn of its rightful power-of the fantastic applications, which fill our hosvery locks of its strength-by its lack of pitals with the insane, fill the pockets of courage to take its rightful position on charlatans with ill-gotten gains, and, worse public questions, especially in this country. than all-worse than anything else that It is competent, as we once before said, they could perpetrate---render ridiculous to give a verdict, which shall be decisive before the public mind great questions to the popular opinion, on nearly every which relate to the most urgent wants, question involving moral relations that the deepest sufferings of humanity. comes up in the public mind.
“ Better such efforts, with even such
before all eyes.
results, than indifference,” is often re- religion, and the true were now, for the plied ; and this reply the Church is to first time, revealed, the latter could not meet—there is too much edge upon it to possibly be better than the former, were turn it aside by an evasion. We must take the Church fully up to the conditions menthe standard of reform from the hands of tioned. What is this but a virtual concesthose who abuse it, and bear it onward sion, that Christianity is the true religion ourselves, so much in the van as to leave itself? The fact is hypothetically granted, them out of sight. There is no great then ; what need we further but to give it evil in Christendom for which the Church practical reality in the actual life of the should not feel itself, in a sense, responsi- Church ? ble—there is none that it should not attack This, we repeat, is the needed demonbravely. Let it break the restrictions stration of our faith. It would operate that a false public opinion, and a weak two ways: first, the increase of spiritual concession from itself, has imposed upon purity and energy in the Church would it; let it stand forth upon the sublime stimulate all its practical movements, and platform of its divine constitution and thus give it that predominance in the universal moral authority, and here let reforms of the day, which we have urged; open its batteries against all wrong, secondly, it would demonstrate the divine whether in high places or in low places. virtue, that is, the truth of Christianity, by There only should it stand—there infal- exemplifying it. libly would it be invincible and sublime This, then, should be the great move
ment of modern Christianity—the resusAgain, and in order to this, the spiritual citation of its original, its spiritual life. life of the Church must be more fully Its pulpits and all its other organs should restored. We have said, in another ar subordinate every other question to this. ticle, that the ideal—the moral code even Questions of ecclesiastical economy, secof Christianity-would be impracticable tarian tenets, even the reformatory duties without the special doctrines of grace above discussed, all should be surmounted which distinguish the system; that the by the more momentous aim of the unimorality of the Sermon on the Mount versal resuscitation of the Church. We would be a mockery of human infirmity, are already tending to it, and have been, were it not for the doctrine of Regenera- since the great reaction above described ; tion. The real power and safety of the but the idea needs to be brought out more Church must come from its inward life. definitely: it should rise so ostensibly Less of sectarian zeal, less even of dog- before the contemplation of Protestant matic rigor, and more of personal relig. Christendom, that—like the sun, when, ious life, is what we need. Personal after hours of but partial distinctness, it piety-personal sanctity-fervent in the emerges from the mists—its light shall pew, the vestry meeting and the closet, break upon and cover all surrounding yet not there alone—but going about, as sights. in the person of Christ,“ doing good ;" A difficulty besets us just here, of which hearing around its brow the halo of divine we are painfully conscious, a very simple light, undimmed amid the moral miasma and yet very formidable one, viz.: that the and mists of the world—into the work- obvious truthfulness of these last views shop, the mart, the exchange, the social will impair if not destroy their importance. assembly—this is the most needed, and, They are truisms, and therefore, alas, bealas! the most rare demonstration of come powerless common-places! Were Christianity.
you to propose some elaborately contrived One overwhelming and conclusive proof and expensive mode of counteracting the of our faith infidelity has to concede. infidelity of the times, it would probably No thoughtful unbeliever will hesitate to be studied and discussed, and if it were admit that if Christendom lived fully up evident that it must be successful, it could to the morality of the Decalogue, the hardly fail to be adopted. But here is an piety of the Sermon on the Mount, and the obvious, all-comprehensive remedy; yet devotion of the Lord's Prayer, it would how far is it heeded ? reach all practicable moral perfection—that We are the more urgent with the above (admitting the paradox, for illustration,) opinions, from the conviction that the if the Christian Church had not the true usual defences of Christianity are some
BY ALICE CAREY.
what irrelevant because not needed in the
(For the National Magazine.] present controversy. We need not, in
WORK. this age, “ Apologies” for Christianity so much as exemplifications of it. Besides the fact that infidelity is now more a VINCE Adam and Eve went from Parasentiment than an opinion-more in the dise, our lot has been to work; and in heart than in the headwe believe that a proper receiving of that doom it has been more erudite and powerful defences of most benevolently ordained that we shall revealed religion than those already ex- find our greatest good. Right through tant cannot well be expected. Learning the curse shines the blessing the flower has something yet to do, doubtless, for that grows bright under our culture, gives religious truth ; it will still afford new
us more pleasure than the wide garden of illustrations and analogies in Natural
our neighbor. “I have done this thing Theology, new developments of Biblical myself,” is at the bottom of true dignity. criticism, new reconcilements of revelation I have planted a vine where there were with science, as in Geology; but the great dry stones, and the shadow and the fruit standards on the Christian Evidences, the that are mine are not more grateful than . works of Butler, Lardner, Faber, Leland, the knowledge that I have beautified the Warburton, Bishop Watson, Macknight, landscape, given food to the hungry, given Paley, Chalmers, and others as great, example to the unthrifty, done a good can never be superseded, any more than thing. The reward that follows labor they can be overthrown. The citadel of could not have been but for labor—the our faith stands within a Gibraltar of such burden makes grateful the rest. It is in learning and strength. Its defence, here- vain we disdain the work after which, as after, must be moral, not so much as here- God has willed, rest cometh; it is in vain tofore intellectual, and we believe that we
we pray for blessings, neglecting the nahave indicated above the career of its tural means that bless us. If we put our future triumphs.
hand in the fire and call an angel to bring
us water, we shall call without answer; ON THE CLIFF-TOP.
and if we cry ever so earnestly for manna,
we shall be likely to call in vain, so long as Face upward to the sky,
we refuse to sow and to plant. " We have Quiet I lie; Quiet as if the finger of God's will
a brave world to sin and suffer in,” says Jlad made this human mechanism still,
some one, and it seems to me that we have And the intangible essence, this strange “I,” also a brave world to labor and to rest in. Went wondering forth to his eternity.
The gold-headed wheat field aslanting, Below—the sea's sound, faint
The vine and the tree; As dying saint
The sweet-smelling earth at the plantingTelling of long-spent sorrows, all at rest;
How pleasant they be! Above-the unscared sea-gull's shimmering breast,
And God has given us the great bountiPainted a moment on the dark-blue skies- ful earth to cultivate and beautify, and are A hovering joy, that, while I watch it, flies.
we not rich enough? What more could Alike unheeded now,
our good Father do for us than he has Thou grief; and thou,
done? Any one of us by a little thrifty Quick-wing'd joy, that like wild bird at play
industry can make some small portion of Pleasest thyself to flit round me to-day; On the cliff-top-earth dim, and heaven clear, the soil our own; and what a sense of My soul rests calmly, above hope-or fear. satisfaction it imparts to us to feel that But not, (thou God, forbid !
we are treading upon our own ground, or By Him whose lid
[down building our house upon a sure foundation ! Stainless look'd up to thee, then tear-stain'd
How luxuriantly the earth teems for our On Lazarus' grave and Solyma's doom'd town,) 0! not above that human love divine
little pains-yellow wheat fields and red Which-thee loved first—in thee loves all of orchard boughs, and green meadows. thine.
Broad-bladed corn stalks, with their pale Is 't sunset? Keener breeze
tassels and afterward golden ears; purple Blows from the seas;
plums, pink peaches, and the various And close beside me, vision-like, one stands With her brown eyes and kind extended hands, vegetable store—the sweet-scented beanLove ! we'll go down together, without pain,
vines and hop-vines—more and better From the cliff-top to the busy world again. things than I can number, the brown soil
gives to the diligent. No costliest dyes eyes of others and not to do well, to seem, can rival the coloring of the commonest and not to be, is what we are almost all flower, no king's canopy is half so glorious of us striving for. And of all delusions as the drooping boughs of my apple-tree, that ever came into our deceitful hearts, nor his wine better than the juice I that which says labor is an ignominy and a squeeze from my own grapes ; nor can thing to be despised, is the falsest. All his carpet of wool be so grateful as the the great things that we so long to have cool soft moss to my feet. Why then do about us, are reduced to this—the brickI envy him? Why do I sigh for his makers and the carpenters go before the palace, when the little home I have shel- fine house, and the sheep-shearer and the ters me as well.
loom before the brightly-dyed garment. If the king's gardener is a wiser and The author's book, if it is worth reading, happier man than the king, it were better was not made in a minute, it cost a good for us to be gardeners than kings. The deal of plowing in the field of thought, moss bed is brighter than the sack of down, those word-flowers did not grow without and what is it a king can have that I can planting and tending—those smooth lines not have? Fictitiously much, absolutely did not fall together without measurement. nothing. He has cares that I have not, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever," and do not desire; he has a crown, but I and by labor is the beautiful created : how can make one of the flowers of the wood then shall work be despised ? Surely not that will rival it in splendor; he has a gild- by any but the despicable. ed carriage, I have feet and can run past This false idea, that it is disreputable to him; he has made the earth barren with work, is doing a vast deal of harm in the useless masonry, I have made it fruitful world. Moth will fret away the garment with a garden ; he has the adulation of a faster than useful wear; use keeps the crowd, I the respect of myself, which is iron polished that rusts when it is laid by ; worth more than even the respect of and if we seek only our own individual another; for we must first feel worthy to good, we cannot do so well as to work. obtain our own respect. I am a king's Without labor, rest itself becomes the gardener, and in my labor I am blest. hardest of all labors; we cannot escape Singing every day as I keep and dress the laws of our being. Every moment my vines,
of rest beyond a certain point is fatigue ; Hilda is a lofty lady,
every neglected labor is a neglected blessVery proud is she
ing; every opportunity of gaining knowlI am but a simple herdsman,
edge, wasted, is a fountain sealed up; Dwelling by the sea.
to be sure we can sit idle if we choose, but Hilda hath a thousand forests,
we do so at our peril. Yet the doom we Thousand meadow lands;
bring on ourselves is full of mercy, for at She hath maids and men for service,
any time we can cast it off. I have but my hands.
Even those things which we call evil, Hilda hath a chain of diamonds,
and which are hardest to endure, are alNot a groat have I;
leviated by labor, and by trust in Him who And her smile, my dun-brown oxen Are too poor to buy.
has made it our lot. The heart is light
ened more by carrying green sods to the She is clad in robes of splendor, She is follow'd-fear'd;
grave, than by the folding of the hands Queens have paled to see her beauty
beside the bare, heaped earth; and the I have but my beard.
vacant chair is noticed less when we go Hilda from her palace window
out and bring some poor houseless wayLooketh down on me,
farer to fill it. But it is not ourself Keeping with my dun-brown oxen only that we harm by idleness or help by By the sounding sea.
work—things are so interblent and inShe may scorn me from her palace,
terfused that one cannot cease to move, She may pass me by,
and the others go on as well. Moreover, With my free heart and my manhood Hilda's peer am I.
cessation is stagnation — the tree that
grows not, decays; the water that flows I am sorry the world has gone mad not, is dead: and the man who works not, about things which, after all, are but the is worse than dead: for out of death springs semblances of things. To look well in the a new form of life; but out of idleness