« السابقةمتابعة »
When lowly down my body lies,
piness of man,” has controverted this position; And fell disease my frame commands, and contended, that all the blessings which bave I drink the draughts which lucre buys
been attributed to this occurrence, would have From cold and heartless hands.
been enjoyed by the operation of other causes No "ladye-love” is there to soothe
less objectionable in their character and results. The anguish nature's laws impose,
In his ardor to establish his theory, he depicts Nor make the bed of sickness smooth,
the licentiousness and the corruption of public Nor sympathy disclose.
morals as the legitimate fruits of an unrestrained
press-of unbridled thought, and freedom of opiA mote upon the stream of life,
nion—and of a mere intellectual improvement. I've floated down its ebbing tide,
An impartial tribunal will always acknowledge, Unheeded in the raging strife
that many evils flowed from the operation of the Of passion and of pride.
principles which were established by the refor: My “head is silvered o'er with age;"
mation, and which were also interwoven with its My veins are filled with sluggish gore; very destiny. We have nerer imagined that the I totter now upon the stage,
revolution of the sixteenth century would ever To fall! and rise no more.
be compared to that great reformation of the reliSad relíc of departed days,
gious institutions of the world, which, for ages Still left awhile to linger hera,
before it occurred, had been the song of the proAnd watch the hour that seeming stays
phet and the hope of man. That reformation To keep me from my bier.
was entirely in the hands of him who called all
things out of nothing. At his command, the August, 1939.
raging ocean and the stormy winds are still. The other reformation was in the hands of poor, feeble, frail man. But, because it is not within the com
pass of human power to bring heavenly beauty BENEFITS OF THE REFORMATION and order out of moral chaos, and to control the ON THE HAPPINESS OF MAN.
boisterous passions of mankind, like him, who, in
opening the sacred fountain of happiness from By a Native of Godchland, Va.
which all the springs and joys of life were to flow
forevermore, when he was smitten, smole not There are some epochs in the history of our again ; are we, therefore, never to struggle in the race, to which we look back with admiration and cause of virtue and knowledge? Man's works gratitude. They are associated with the remem. will ever be imperfect. This imperfection is the brance of every blessing. Their records form great destroyer of his institutions. It is a rolbright pages in the dreary annals of the world, cano continually breaking out beneath the monuupon which the eye of the philanthropist lingers ments of his most splendid achievements. But it with delight. Amidst changes, they will stand is not for the philanthropist
, on this account, to as landmarks to guide the patriot of all future despair of the great cause of human improvement time; as a rock in the tumultuous ocean of human and happiness. On the contrary, he ought to passions, remaining unmored and uninjured by buckle on his whole armor, and rush onward to the floods of licentiousness; upon whose top, like the hottest of the fight. Ararat of old, the ark of human hope can rest. No one can doubt of the necessity there was for The sons of old England will hold in proudest a correction of the abuses which existed at the recollection the 19th day of June, 1215, as long as beginning of the revolution of the sixteenth cen, the principles of Magna Charta, the foundation tury. The Catholic church had usurped temporal and bulwark of English liberty, are known and and spiritual power. The sound of freedom, once appreciated. And the pious Israelite never re- echoed amidst the classic hills of Italy and Greece, membered, with more devotion, the cloud by day had died away. The bright beams of knowledge, and the pillar of fire by night, which led his kin which bad been reflected from Greece to Rome, dred from a land of bondage to one of promise, had been lost amidst the clouds which enveloped than have the friends of civil and religious freedom the dark ages, save bere and there a few scatterbeen accustomed to recollect the reformation of the ing rays were collected by some cloistered monk
, sixteenth century. The voice of this day and less ambitious of temporal power than his bregeneration has pronounced that event to have been thren. The delightful strains which had been the greatest and noblest triumph ever achieved harped upon the banks of the Nile and Ilissus were by virtue and knowledge over ignorance and vice. forgotten, and the lyre was unstrung. The pure
A writer in the March, and in a subsequent fountain of morals was corrupted; and every number of the Messenger, in ably and eloquently stream that issued from it, carried disease and discussing " the influence of morals on the hap- Ideath through the world. The religion of Rome
had become the prolific source of licentiousness ; ( mission and dependence, trammelled the energies of that foul frailty of man, which has marred the of his intellect, and forced a union between the beauty and symmetry of his nature; stamped the brightest aspirations of his soul and the greatest indelible mark of vice upon his character; and immoralities. which not only invoked the fire from heaven that Was it not time for the friends of humanity to burned up the cities of the plain, but has left every- strike a blow for the liberties of the world? Or where impressed upon the face of the world, last- was there any plan by which the objects of the ing memorials of its desolation. The streams of reformers could have been obtained other than intellectual and moral corruption gushed through that which they adopted ? Revolutions are alarmthe land, poisoning all the fountains of life. Leo ing events. They often sweep, even from rememX, by his worse than infidel mockery, the selling brance, the fairest and best monuments of human of indulgences, wounded the moral sensibility of greatness and goodness. But where, in the the world to the very quick. Superstition had dreadful and bloody rolls of revolutions, can be everywhere overwhelmed the people with the found anything so injurious to the social institumost enormous load of absurdity. And the very tions of man, as that deadly apathy which leads champions of popery, with Henry VIII of Eng- whole nations to forget that virtue and knowledge land at their head, disgusted the people with their have any charms, or that vice and ignorance have open and avowed contempt of the most sacred any frightful horrors. Better ride upon the obligations of virtue and morality. Nor would mountain wave than perish in a breathless calm. the Catholics yield in the most insignificant trifle, It is better to brave the whirlwind than to breathe or acknowledge a single fault; but they perse- the still and putrid air. Yet the reformation cuted, with the utmost cruelty, all whose opinions was not the result of a momentary excitement, or were not agreeable to their own standard of faith. of a sudden explosion of the passions. Prior to
Amidst such circumstances, originated this the invention of the art of printing, and in the latgreat moral and intellectual revolution. It was ter end of Edward II, John Wickliffe began to an expiring effort of knowledge, responding to the spread the doctrines of reformation. And though call of virtue. Printing had given an impetus to strong symptoms appeared, of a desire to shake the human intellect. Events had occurred, which off the bondage of the Roman hierarchy, its power aroused into action all the energies of humanity. was too strong to be resisted. The world was The long and the distant past called loudly on the not yet prepared for such an event. The art of future. The voice of patriotism, long ago hushed, printing was yet to be discovered, to prepare a and silent as the mouldering relics of gratitude, more appropriate period for the finishing blow to which marked the tombs of the patriots, was ecclesiastical power. Numberless causes were in again heard, calling to the rescue. The wave active operation, to rekindle into a flame those was in motion, and its course must have been on- sparks of virtue and morality which remained ward or backward. There was no hope in retreat. unsmothered amidst the ruins of their own temVirtue, with her thousand smiles, chanting the ples, and unquenched amidst the thousand muddy song of joy, beckoned onward, whilst the wild and streams of corruption and vice which Aowed from frightful revelry of licentiousness was the only the Pontifical See, and swept from existence all inducement to remain. Before was heard the the vestiges of moral greatness or of intellectual organ choir of nature, tuned to the song of rational worth. And the fitful fame of knowledge which and free devotion ; and the spacious temple of the the more benevolent and virtuous of the clerical world, erected for the children of men, whose order watched with all the devotion of the early architect is God, echoed the delightful strains : vestals, cast its fickering light into the deep behind was seen the bloody trophies of desolation, labyrinths of error and superstition, where nations and the cries of persecution and the howlings of had been wandering for centuries; and in its last fanaticism drowned every note of grateful praise. struggles to overcome a total extinguishment, it Man, ruined by the perversity of his own will, blazed up in a splendor that expelled the darkness was still more injured and debased by oppression which surrounded those paths which led down to He has ever been prone to wander; prone to for- that grand cemetery of nations, where the hopes of get the high destiny to which he has been called. millions had been buried forever. Then truth Still he might have retraced his steps; he might commenced its conflicts with error, and knowledge bare been warned by the light of experience, its struggles with ignorance. The resilient enwhich was continually flickering up around him, crgy of the mind threw off the shackles that had that truth and virtue were the only pillars, in the so long and so fatally bound up its powers. Relipath of his pilgrimage, which pointed to happi- gion, which, in the hands of fallen man, had ness; he might have returned from his wanderings become the scourge of the world, displayed its in the arid and sandy deserts of ignorance, and powers in breaking the sceptre of despotism, the tasted of living waters; had not the sceptre of wand of ignorance, the fascination of licentiousunbridled power reduced him to unqualified sub- | ness, and in elevating the moral and intellectual
condition of man,
and in mouldering into the dust when prejudice does not prevent. Thus so long all the splendid monuments of oppression. The as the hierarchy corrupted the principles of moreformation progressed, dispensing blessings every rality and virtue, the patriot could entertain no where to social man; triumphing, not over kings hope of correcting political abuses. What was and priests, but over the worst enemies of the object of the contest? It was the establishhumanity-fanaticism, superstition and tyranny- ment of freedom of thought and opinion, and and, contending for no ambitious chieftain, its sup- to gain exemption from the tyrannical abuses of porters rallied under the banners of knowledge the hierarchy. And this was necessary to the and virtue.
organization of the institutions of political freedom. The imagination cannot conceive any other All free and liberal institutions have their foundacauses which could have possibly produced the tions in an enlightened and unprejudiced public benefits which flowed from this great revolution sentiment. Without this, nations, which blossom in the moral and intellectual conditions of our as the gardens of Jericho once did, will become as species. The voice of religion, of virtue, of hu- desolate as the ruins of Babylon. manity, of literature, had remonstrated in vain, But this question is not lest to the decision of against the establishment of institutions, the sole our poor, feeble reasonings. Happy for mankind, objects of which were to degrade their characters it has been decided by a tribunal whose judgment and conditions. Remonstrances, long and often can never be reversed, though the besom of derepeated, had been entirely disregarded. The struction should now sweep away every institufaggot and the stake of persecution, were the only tion of man, and the fragments of the mouldering responses to the cries and the sufferings of the columns of his greatness should overshadow the generous and the brave. There then was no tomb of his last hope. History, with her instrucrelief, except opposition to the power which autho- tive pen, bas recorded the proof. Go back in rized and sanctioned these abuses. This was remembrance to those intellectual and moral the sentiment of the age, and must be the decision giants, who succeeded the outbreakings of the of posterity.
spirit of reformation, and who were its creatures. The Augustine friar acted in obedience to the Forget not their struggles for freedom. Recolspirit of the age in which he lived. Man had lect the development and progress of free princibecome restless under his multiplied sufferings. ples, until finally the great work of the reformaAnd all of his energies were prepared to be tion was accomplished, by the patriots of the directed against the very fountain of his eyils. In American Revolution. Then was a political systhe conflict, ancient institutions might perish, tem organized upon the great principles of human social and political establishments might be blotted right: a system, too, of political liberty, as free out of existence. But why should there have from impurities as anything buman can be. It been any longing after their immortality? Did stands as a mighty memorial of !he blessings of they elevate one human feeling, or soothe one the reformation. The pillars of Hercules stood as human sorrow? The philanthropist must rejoice the boundaries of his labors. The pyramids of that they are gone, now that we have such blessed Egypt are lasting monuments of the power and and excellent ones, established upon the sacred tyranny of her king. Triumphal arches arose in principles of the reformation. May these be im- honor of the mighty conqueror. But the gratimortal, and safely float upon the stormy billows tude of the human heart for the reformers
, of the human passions, down to the last moment of throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity, only time, when the funeral knell of all earthly things shall limit their praise. shall be sounded!
The benefits which were achieved for social It was fortunate for mankind that the reformers man, during the progress of the religious revoludirected their first attacks against the religious tion, were felt al every step of our revolution for establishment of their oppressors. The chains of political independence. The American patriot
, political slavery had been rivetted by the per- did not have to contend with the dominion of the verled religious principle. Civil abuses had been priesthood, or with perverted religious feelings. sanctioned by ecclesiastical ones. The expediency The heart responded with a tide of emotions to of a political measure addresses itself to the rea- the conclusions of the mind. Had there not been son. Religion appeals to the warmest emotions freedom of religious opinion, no green laurel of the heart. And when the heart is prejudiced, would now be waving over the tombs of Washand biased and warped, the reason must succumbington, and Henry, Hancock and Lee. The dark Thus the only mode of effecting any purpose spirit of intolerance would have crushed liberty in which the judgment approves, and the affections its germ, and torn from the brow of the hero the censures, is to fre the heart from all improper never fading wreath of imperishable fame. influences. Light and knowledge cannot control In the freedom of religious opinions, the "Nathe feelings when our eyes are shut against them, tive of Petersburg” thinks he beholds not only the notwithstanding their power of refining the heart, shadowy monster infidelity, but the decay of every
valuable blessing. His imagination pictures it as been permitted, is now to be seen the thraldom of the deadly upas, which is to wither up every thing vice. The people are depraved and corrupt; valuable in our social condition. To us it has no without morals; without literature; without any such horrors. It is the anchor of our hope. And thing that can interest them in the perpetuity of if the blessing of our social fabric can survive the the institutions of their country. And where do ruins of others, we shall be wholly indebted to this you find the greatest happiness and prosperity ? principle.
In no community but where emancipated mind History does not show that liberty of thought has extended its dominion and carried its blesand action have been the parent of all the woes sings. No where do you find morals so pure as in which have afflicted the human family; nor that it free communities: and no where else is there such is the most prolific source of licentiousness, and of great exemption from the evil effects of licentious all the dreadful consequences which have resulted principles. In such a society there is always a from it. Man, under all forms of government, and public opinion, which has an inconceivably greater in every condition of society, has been liable to effect upon the conduct and character of its memexcesses of profligacy. And the annals of the bers, than government restraints upon the conworld, as a faithful monitor, points to those periods science ever can have. It is confessed, that when when the intellect was harnessed, and the con- the principles we are advocating were first conscience inured to slavery, as the springtime of sidered as being established, many ran into the infidelity and licentiousness. Despotism can and opposite extreme of infidelity. Men who had does conceal acts of atrocity. There is no mirror been forced to acknowledge the authority of a in which we can behold a true picture of her deeds. false religion, very naturally, when the restraint Men are restrained by the strong arm of power was thrown off, denied all religion. They only from publishing to the world a history of their judged by the demoralizing influence which had lewdness. But this is all that government can do. brutalized them. As soon as the human intellect Its power cannot extend to the motives of the had collected its energies, their error was exposed; heart. It cannot reform the evil disposition. And and no work, advocating infidel principles, has that single declaration of our Saviour,“My king- appeared within the last fifty years, that did not dom is not of this world,” was of itself, and alone fall dead from the press. At the most turbulent sufficient to attest his claims to infinite wisdom. period of intellectual freedom, infidelity never Every state that ever attempted to control the exerted half the power which it did when clothed thoughts and opinions of its subjects, chained in the garb of popery. virtue to the car of bigotry, and blotted out from Improvement of the moral feelings is the first its national institutions whatever was calculated duty of every people. When this is not directly to elevate the condition of society. What was done, the improvement of the mental powers will the history of many of the centuries which pre- exert a salutary influence over the moral faculty. ceded the reformation? The powers of the human We believe that every intellectual research will mind were fettered—and man seemed to be in a call the mind off from the pursuit of animal gratiwild and frightful delirium. He was tossed upon fications, in a measure, and tend to call the attena boisterous sea, without compass or rudder, and tion of man to his own origin and destiny. No finally shipwrecked. Virtue and morality were one can explore with the chemist the mysteries forgotten as national honors and badges of na- of nature, or soar with the philosopher from star to tional worth. And if an heroic achievement now star, and return with a presumptuous understandand then immortalized the actor, it resulted from ing. We see the image and goodness of God the spontaneous emotions of the heart, in spite of impressed everywhere upon his handy works. the demoralizing tendency of the government. In this age of the world, men, generally, if freedom The fairest temples of intellectual greatness and of inquiry is permitted, will direct the exercise of splendor mouldered in the dust, covering in their their intellectual powers to the investigation of ruins the unmourned and unhonored champions of their moral duties and obligations. But where virtue. There could be but few incentives to this freedom is not allowed, the officers of the intellectual excellence, whilst the only standard of state take upon themselves the guardianship of the morals which the government would allow was public morals. And those who contend for this corrupt. It is not to be denied, that licentious state of things, seem to take it for granted, that a ness has ruined kingdoms that were once free and proper direction will be given to public sentiments enlightened. But the philosophical inquirer will and morals. Is not this a delusion? Has not trace the licentiousness to other causes than to every system of morals or religion, which has intellectual freedom. The monuments of the been forced upon a deluded and enslaved people, power of the lust of the passions are to be seen proven to be degrading and corrupting? thickly scattered over those parts of the world Wherever the powers and privileges of the where the empire of the goddess of liberty has people have been abridged, and their mental enernever extended. Where free inquiry has never gies paralized, rulers have succeeded in perpetuating their institutions for a long time. But sta- | lishments of the age. The traces of its progress bility is not the first thing needful. The cause of are to be seen on every page of recorded thought. humanity is but little aided by any system of And the literature of the past, and of the present principles, which, in their tendency, are not calcu-generation, has woren a green and never fading lated to give a right direction to a single human garland, to hang over the tombs of the reformers thought, no matter if they possess the durability forever. It had been injured and degraded; but of the eternal bills.
when the power of the pontiff was broken, like a We agree, with the “Native of Petersburg,” | flower beaten to the ground by a past storm, it that corrupt morals are destructive of the tran- raised up its head amongst its ruined beauties, quillity and happiness of any nation. And it is and twined a green laurel around the brow of its the duty of every citizen to oppose whatever will preserver. He must remember coldly, indeed, promote licentiousness. This is one of the grounds the delightful and pathetic strains of Milton, Cowon which we rest our opposition to the abuses of per, Campbell, Burns and of a host of other bards, popery, and our support of the reformers. We who can see nothing exalted in the triumph of had entertained the hope that the old popish doc- free and enlightened principles. The harp that trine, of the immoral and licentious tendency of was tuned to their immortal songs, would have knowledge, had been exploded. Alas! how mis- forever hung upon the willow if the wand of taken. Because man has, Prometheus like, stolen popery had not lost its enchantment. Our own the living fire from heaven, the advocates of the delightful land would be a barren and waste wil. church of Rome would tie bim, as the father of derness. No flower of literature would bud and the gods did the son of Japetus, to a rock upon blossom here. For those rapturous notes of joy Mount Caucasus, where a vulture was to feed which are wafted from our seashore to the mounupon his liver, which was never diminished, tains, and echoed back again, we should have though continually devoured. They represent nothing but the mournful hoot of the bird of desothe fruit of the tree of knowledge as containing the lation. And this glorious union of free and indepoison which brought crime and death into the pendent states would become a dark and dreadful garden of Eden, and warn us of the danger of despotism, withering up the sources of happiness, eating thereof. This is a libel upon the goodness and tattering the star spangled banner. of God. “Man's first disobedience brought death into the world, and all our wo.” The evil resulted from a violation of the command of the Creator. In that morning of time when the stars sang
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES together, and all 'nature shouted with joy, if the
OF LIVING AMERICAN POETS AND NOVELISTS. Creator had said “Worship me not with your face turned towards the rising of the sun,” disobedience would have been attended with the same
No. IV. dreadful consequences. Why was the fruit of the tree which stood in the midst of the garden the
WILLIAM GILMORE SIMMS, ESQ. forbidden fruit? Because if man erred, if he did The land of the pilgrims not only is the cradle go astray, he might then have some light to cheer of American liberty, but also of American literahis tiresome and hopeless way; and in his wander- ture. Boston, styling herself “The Literary ings through an evil world he might have his eyes Emporium," has, for more than a century, boastopened to choose between good and evil. Know- ed, not only her Fanueil Hall and her stern patriledge was not the cause of the fall, but was given ots, but her halls of science and men of learning
. to bless man's fallen condition. Blessed provision Among the band of refugees, who landed on the for man's lost estate! Without it he never would rock of Plymouth, were men of profound erudihave tasted of “Siloa’s brook, that flowed fast by tion, as well as unaffected piety; divines, not only the oracle of God."
deeply read in the fathers, but scholars, whose What else we have to say in defence of the sta- minds were stored and enriched with classic fore. bility of free political institutions, and of their side by side, with their first humble temple of tendency to promute correct morals, we must re-worship, rose the walls of the still humbler schoolserve for some future time, when we shall answer house ; and, nourished by intelligence and piety, the attack made upon the political resolution of religion and science, like twin sisters, grew up tothe eighteenth century.
gether in the land. Upon the foundation laid by It seems to us to be strange how any man, in the wisdom and foresight of the early settlers of this happy country, can question the benefits of the Plymouth colony, through the industry and the reformation. Its trophies are scattered thick taste of succeeding generations, a strong and beauaround us. The human intellect has reared last- tiful temple has been erected, which, like the teming monuments of its blessings everywhere. Its ple of the Ephesian Diana in its influence, has, proud triumphs are to be seen in the social estab-Tuntil recently,
claimed and received the homage