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with men whose constituents are either dead, or have passed on in the progress of society, to a point far in their advance.
The idea of the present has not been echoed in the Capitol; the spirit of the age is nowhere truly embodied ; conservative forms, a paper constitution, the reverence of the people for the past, and, above all, the balancing power of hope in the future realization of the great idea of our government, is all which has given any centre or union to our republic. We rejoice, however, that the reign of yesterday is over, that neither its watchwords nor its livery will suit the men of to-morrow. We are grateful that there are spirits sufficient for to-day's exigencies, and the progressive duties which, like “coming events, cast their shadows before.” We hail the promise everywhere given, by the restless, panting, prospective, and resolving genius of the present age, simultaneously breaking forth with electric movement and prophetic power throughout our land, of a firm union, a manly struggle, a majestic achievement in the cause of American truth, religion, government, life. Amid the gloom of political strife, commercial embarrassments, and monetary revolutions, we are comforted with the rise and progress of a movement party, as yet perhaps ungathered, certainly unmarshalled as a distinct body, yet none the less but rather the more powerful on that account, from the very fact of the diffusion of its members, and the peace and silence, but strong moral force which secretly unites them. This party we may denominate the brotherhood of universal Man. Its field is the world; its bond love; its aim the perfection and happiness of entire Humanity. It embraces all those spirits in every clime and of every name, who have been regenerated by the new birth of righteousness, duty, progress. It comprises all ages, both sexes, and all nations, who acknowledge the legitimate supremacy of the soul; who feel strongly the inward workings of the Divinity enshrined within them; who have seized the true idea of Christianity, and separated all that is powerful, practical, and holy, in the religion of Jesus, from all that was local, temporary, and incidental; who have passed beyond all symbols to the spirit and truth breathing and embodied in the living Christ; who regard the salvation of the gospel as character; and whose highest ideal of Divine worship is to become like the Father.
Christianity, rightly understood, has a mission to fulfil for Humanity, as yet but faintly conceived, certainly never systematically developed. It has great political objects to achieve, a heavenly kingdom to establish on earth, such a kingdom as philosophers, philanthropists, and statesmen have delighted to contemplate as a beautiful vision of Utopian fancy, but too beautiful ever to be realized. Essentially progressive in itself, it is the sure engine of progress to society. Deeply rooted in the constitution of man, its indisputable office is his entire perfection, an office which it proceeds calmly indeed, but surely and successfully, to accomplish. An important and indestructible element of spiritual being, it is the spontaneous system by which all spirits in the universe are, love, and grow; the omnipotent law which the Deity himself fulfils. If we will receive it, there is no other law of mind than Christianity, no higher constitution of government, bill of rights, magna charta of Humanity. For what is Christianity, in its last analysis, but God? What is the gospel revelation, but a transcript of the Divine mind? and what was Christ but the visible image of the character of the Infinite, God manifest in the flesh, God-Man with us?
From the earliest Fetichism to the most perfect Monotheism, by all religious forms, by every theological symbol, from prostration before an image to the worship of a Christian Father by imitation of his holiness, this great idea has been embodied. Religion and government rightly understood are one; the craving for a power to adore is the yearning after a mind to obey; the hungering and thirsting after a righteousness to rule, the desire of a perfect system of legislation— life. The inward struggle to attain God is the profound longing after a model, guide, and governor for our salvation. Therefore it is that throughout all systems of religion we find, clearly marked, a uniformity of character between the people worshipping, and the Being worshipped. The dominant idea of the Divinity in any age, is always the ruling feature of the religion, character, and legislation of that age. Men, whose objects of adoration are heroes, are warlike; men, who worship the divinities which their vices and passions enshrine, are vicious; men whose ideas of the Deity, like those of the Jews, are merely ritual, are formal. True Christians are spiritual. Describe to me the Deity a man worships, and I will portray the man. Show me the nation's God, and I will define its laws and character. It is precisely as natural for a good man to worship God, as for the savage to deify demons. Divinities mark epochs in the world's history, as well in individual virtue as in jurisprudence. The early sacrifices of men and beasts mark a cruel age; the worship of Venus and Bacchus marks a sensual one. And thus we might settle every period in the progress of man, morally or politically considered, by the data furnished by his religious symbols.
The same is true with regard to Christianity. In proportion as it has been rightly understood, in proportion as it has clearly and truly instructed mankind in the knowledge of God, in that same proportion individuals and nations have advanced in their characters and government; and in proportion as it becomes better understood, and as it more fully instructs them, shall they continue to advance. Every advancement made in the science of the Divine mind is a step taken in perfect Humanity. Every advance gained in the true wisdom of Man is, in its turn, an advance gained in the interpretation of the Deity:
The tendency of all enlightened Christian education then must be the establishment of a perfect theocracy; not a theocracy like that of the Jews, but the theocracy of Jesus; not a theocracy wherein priests have power, but that in which God shall reign in the spirit of his children, that of the great human brotherhood.* The tendency of all growth in religion will be a centring of all spirits in their great First Cause. There will be union in opinion, for the one truth alone will be worshipped; union in thought, and heart, and hope, for the soul [the universal reason] will be reverenced, as the light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. There will be union in government, for there will be only one law, of the one Lawgiver, even God. Forms may grow old, altars decay, and prophets die, creeds change, and dynasties crumble in the dust, but man shall always be priest and king, so long as he shall be true to the Urim and Thummim stamped on his heart; so long as he shall obey the oracle of his own spirit, and fulfil the inwritten commandment of his Godlike nature. As we learn to reason justly, and record our experience wisely, we shall change our religious views, so as to permit the reception of more perfect, because personal, revelations. Whatever may become of systems, principalities, and powers, Truth changes not, but remains the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. We should remember that we have the nature and capacities of God-sons to account for. We should toil, even to the baptism of blood, for the establishment of our Father's kingdom, and for its establishment on the earth, ever remembering the apostolic promise, that “ speaking the truth in love, we may grow up into him in all things, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
* This would be rather an anthropocracy, if we may coin a word, or a democracy, than a theocracy. Yet it makes no difference; for that which is highest in man is one with God; and it is only that which is highest in man that has a right to rule. True democracy and theocracy, as above defined, are one and the same thing. We do not object therefore to the idea of the writer, though we own that we dislike the term theocracy. - Ed.
Art. V. - The Boston Association of the Friends of
the Rights of Man. Very few of our readers, we presume, have ever heard of this new Association, and most of them, on reading its name, will probably be somewhat puzzled to make out who may be its members, or what can be its object. Are its members abolitionists, infidels, fanatics? or are they philosophers? What propose they to do? Why do they associate in defence of the rights of man, especially in this free country, where the rights of man are acknowledged and secured ? Perhaps the following, which they have put forth as their confession of faith, may throw some light on these questions.
“Principles. - Ist. The rights of man are not grants or privileges; they are derived from no compacts; but are founded on the simple fact that man is man. They cannot be alienated by the individual, given nor taken away by civil authority.
“2d. Every man, by virtue of the fact that he is a man, has the right to develope freely, and to perfect all his faculties, his whole nature, as a moral, intellectual, and physical being.
“ 3d. Every man has a right to freedom of industry, freedom of thought, and freedom of conscience.
“4th. The rights of society can never be in opposition to the rights of the individual. If they could be, right would be able to change its nature, and become wrong, and there would be the foundation of a perpetual war between the individual and society, in which both parties would be, at the same time and in relation to the same proposition, in the right and in the wrong.
“ 5th. That social state, therefore, which does not respect all and every one of the rights of its members, is by virtue of that fact wrong, and needs to be revolutionized, reformed, or ameliorated.
“6th. Government is the creature of society, and is restricted in its functions to the mission of maintaining, from all encroachments, the rights of the individual and of society.
“ Objects. — Our Objects are to ascertain in detail and to determine with precision what are the rights of man and of society; to ascertain and fix the boundaries of the legitimate