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chanic arts, and to honest though ill requited labor, whether called heretics, perfectionists, loco focos, transcendentalists, colonizationists, abolitionists, temperance reformers, or moral reformers, are affected by the Christian Movement, and do show forth more or less of the Christ dwelling within them.
In order to be Christians, we must take a deep interest in whatever concerns man, as man, and each in his own sphere, according to his light and strength, must do his best to elevate the human soul and enlarge its sum of good. What can be done, and what ought to be done, each must determine for himself. It may be the mission of one, the mother, to attend solely to household affairs, to develope in the soul of her son the principles of the Gospel, to quicken his mind, and form his heart to virtue, to fit him for the love and achievement of grand and lofty deeds. It may be the duty of another, merely to prepare her own mind and heart for the duties which may await her as a wife and a mother. This one may be called merely to provide for the little ones committed to his care; that one will confine himself to the proper education of the young immortals confided to his wisdom and guardianship; this one may call out in a loud and thrilling voice to the masses, and seek to awaken the many to self-respect, to their rights, and to efforts for their melioration; that one may be commanded to thunder rebuke in the ears of a corrupt and indolent priesthood, to demand a reformed theology, a higher philosophy, a broader and more thorough education, a more equal, and therefore a more just, state of society; and another may have it in charge, to bring out the beautiful, to improve the fine arts, and adorn the world. There is a diversity of gifts, and of occupations, but the same spirit. Let each be true to the mission God has given; and dare neither live nor die without contributing something to make the world the wiser, the better, or the happier. We should all so live and so act that, when the moment comes in which we must leave these scenes which now know us and which shall know us no more, we can say in truth, man is the better for our having lived. Then shall we follow or be carried along by the Christian Movement, and be able to die with the comfortable assurance that we are true Christians, and that we do but leave the society of our fellow men on earth to mingle with the spirits of the just made perfect in heaven.
Art. II. — An Oration delivered before the Inhabitants
of the Town of Newburyport, at their request, on the Sixty-first Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1837. By JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.
An old statesman is likely to be a moral hack. There is something in the strifes of party, through which he has passed, so destructive to the moral sensibilities; something in the habits of office so uncongenial to the more generous developments of character; something in the exercise of power in government, so opposite to that quality of mind, which seeks for the justification of authority, in principle, and not in established law, that he is a moral wonder, who has come out of politics at the age of seventy, unchanged from the confiding spirit with which youth enters the arena of political life. He has en accustomed to use his fellow men for his purposes, and to direct them in masses. They have become to him instruments to work with, and to be worked upon. He has forgotten to reverence the image of God in every human being, and to comfort himself in the brotherhood of Humanity. He looks upon the past and the present, but rarely to the future. The Now is his all important period in the line of time, and the “all hail hereafter,” little else than nothing. He regarsd man as a political animal. He defines him to
be “ an animal created to be governed.” To speculate upon his destiny as a moral, a religious, a progressive, an immortal being; to delight himself in the prospect of his ultimate attainment to a more perfect condition, does not belong to his matter-of-fact province. He is apt to scout all this as theoretical and utopian, to set his face, as flint, against it, and rejoice in calling himself a practical man. He is one who says, “all this may do well enough for the contemplations of the student, and the dreams of the philanthropist ; but I must take men as they are. This world is not Paradise. Men are not angels." You would not look for reformers among statesmen.
But you find no such practical hack in the veteran statesman, whose name stands at the head of this article. A fresher enthusiasm, a more cordial trust in man, a more glowing and intense sympathy in his prospective attainments, are not to be found in the compositions of a young optimist, just bursting from the visions of the closet upon the theatre of active life, than you read in the last dozen pages of Mr. Adams's Oration at Newburyport. They are resplendent with hope and promise. They are full both of unction and eloquence, and burn with all the fiery inspiration of a prophet; and you drop the book, at its close, to sit for hours, rejoicing in the future, into which the venerable orator has borne you from the present, delighted away.
He anticipates the time, he believes in the time, as yet to come, when wars are to cease, and be known no longer throughout all the civilized world. He does not, with the poets, go back to the past for the golden age; but with the prophets and the wise men, he seeks it in the future. There religion places it. There philosophy teaches it must be, if anywhere. The race is progressive. There never was a time, since the creation, when the fabled poetical perfection of the human state could have existed upon the earth. It never has been. It is historically false to believe it has been. It is intrinsically impossible that VOL. I. NO. II.
it ever could have been. History shows man advancing. Originally, he is a savage; and by arts and letters and the heaven-born influences of religion, from age to age, he rises from the savage, step by step, to the civilized state; and thence, onward through every stage of improvement, to the last attainable bourne of his nature, where he emerges from the Human, (as the past has defined that word,) and passes into the earthly resemblance of the Divine. The golden age is not past, - it is to come,- it is in the future. We run back to the origin of the race; we trace man's constant advancement, from the beginning, upwards; we deduce thence the law of progress, and wait patiently, undoubtingly, the result of that law upon every evil institution. Men are mortal, but this law is immortal. Generations may die in the midst of evil; but the law survives, for the redemption of the race. It shall never die. While the world stands, it shall govern the course of God's intelligent creatures ; and when this earth shall be stricken from its sphere, and time shall be no longer, this law of progress shall still regulate our spiritual being. In the triumphal march of this law, wars shall end, and the world yet be blessed with universal peace.
A master trait in the philosophy of our age, is its thorough confidence in the advancement of our race. There is nothing in its view of human nature, low, or narrow, or grovelling; but everything in it is expansive and soaring. In the true Christian spirit, it hopes too much to doubt; it loves too much to fear. It does not, by a false standard of admeasurement, limit the capacity of mankind for progression to what they have already done, but wisely refrains from computing the infinite, by the rules of a narrow experience. It sits at the feet of the Past, to gather lessons of wisdom, and then turns its back upon its instructer, to apply his lessons to the direction of the present, in full view of the future. It does not blindly worship antiquity, but reverences its own destiny. In the records of that desting the total extinction of war in Christendom is written, not more legibly to the eye of faith than to that of reason. Who is there, understanding the spirit of the Christian system, who does not believe that it shall fulfil the proclamation of its advent, — “ peace on earth, and good will to men”? And who is there, versed in the history of the world, who can stand on the vantage ground of the nineteenth century, and looking back over the line of two thousand years, and say that the prevalence of universal peace within the next five centuries, is not more probable to the judgment, than the advancement of the nations, which has actually taken place since the commencement of our era ?
It has always given us the deepest regret to find that the great name of Professor Cousin could be quoted as authority against the possibility of so glorious a prospect. In his “Introduction to the History of Philosophy," he contends for the necessity of war.
This doctrine is there stated and illustrated by him with his usual eloquent expansion. The point of the argument, by which he sustains his views, is as follows: " The root of war is inherent in the very nature of the ideas on which the existence of different nations is founded, for these ideas, being necessarily partial, bounded, and exclusive, are necessarily hostile, aggressive, and tyrannical.” Hence war is necessary; that is, it must always exist. This argument we propose to examine, to see if there be in it a strength proportioned to the boldness of its statement.
War is not necessary for the reason assigned. The argument proves too much. If it be necessary among nations, then it is so among communities, towns, villages, individuals; for the ideas on which the existence of these is founded, are necessarily partial, bounded, and exclusive, and there is an end of all civil government, and social order. Every nation must be made up by the harmonious union of these