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and pressed down by disappointment, debt, despondence, and exhausting toils, are driven by an impulse dreadfully strong to the haunts of intemperance; and there they plunge into a misery sorer than all the tortures invented by man. They quench the light of reason, cast off the characteristics of humanity, blot out God's image as far as they have power, and take their place among the brutes. Terrible misery! And this, I beg you to remember, comes to them from the very civilization in which they live. They are victims to the progress of science and the arts; for these multiply the poison which destroys them. They are victims to the rich; for it is the capital of the rich, which erects the distillery, and surrounds them with temptations to self-murder.They are victims to a partial advancement of society, which multiplies gratifications and allurements, without awakening proportionate moral power to withstand them.
Such are the evils of poverty. It is a condition, which offers many and peculiar obstructions to the development of intellect and affection, of self-respect and self-control. T poor are peculiarly exposed to discouraging views of themselves, of human nature, of human life.The consciousness of their own intellectual and moral power, slumbers. Their faith in God's goodness, in virtue, in immortality, is obscured by the darkness of their present lot. Ignorant, desponding, and sorely tempted, have they not solemn claims on their more privileged brethren, for aids which they have never yet received?”
Religious culture is the only means by which the poor can be enabled to resist all these, and their other besetting evils. "The poor man needs an elevating power within, to resist the depressing tendencies of his outward lot. Spiritual culture is the only effectual service we can send him, and let his misery plead with us, to bestow it to the extent of our power. It is not therefore the Utopian scheme, of making the poor learned men, with cultivated tastes and refined manners, which is proposed to us. Moral and religious education alone is claimed for them; and it is justly reclaimed as a boon which we have no right to refuse. Nor is any thing else needed.The poor have not time nor taste for philosophy and scientific pursuits: and scientific lectures are not what they need. They have time and taste to be religious and moral, if a fair chance is given to them; and "I might show," says the Doctor, "had I time, that moral and religious principles, so far as they are strengthened in the breasts of the poor, meet all the wants and evils which have now been portrayed; that they give force to bear up against all the adverse circumstances of their lot, inspire them with self-respect, refine their manners, give impulse to their intellectual powers, open to them the springs of domestic peace, teach them to see without murmuring, the superior enjoyments of others, and rescue them from the excesses into which multitudes are driven by destitution
and despair." The truth of this representation we often see, in the honest, noble-minded poor man, who, without any education but that which comes from the Bible, is able to resist temptation, and cultivate inward purity, while he is struggling to provide for his outward wants. How far elevated is such an one above the worldly, narrow-minded man, who makes no effort to raise himself to Heaven but by climbing up on his money-bags!
The remaining part of the discourse is devoted to proving "that moral and religious culture is the highest cultivation which a human being can receive;" and is directed against the undue estimate which is placed upon intellectual education. This is one of Dr. Channing's great, choice subjects; and it is hard to prevent ourselves from quoting page after page, to the end. We give a few of the brightest gems.
"The truth is, that there is no cultivation of the human being worthy of the name, but that which begins and ends with the Moral and Religious nature. No other teaching can make a Man. We are striving, indeed, to develope the soul almost exclusively by intellectual stimulants and nutriment, by schools and colleges, by accomplishments and fine arts. We are hoping to form men and women by literature and science; but all in vain. We shall learn in time, that moral and religious culture is the foundation and strength of all true cultivation; that we are deforming human nature by the means relied on for its growth; and that the poor, who receive a care which awakens their consciences and moral sentiments, start under happier auspices than the prosperous, who place supreme dependence on the education of the intellect and the taste."
"The true cultivation of a human being, consists in the development of great moral ideas; that is, the Ideas of God, of Duty, of Right, of Justice, of Love, of Self-sacrifice, of Moral Perfection as manifested in Christ, of Happiness, of Immortality, of Heaven. The elements or germs of these Ideas, belong to every soul, constitute its essence, and are intended for endless expansion. These are the chief distinctions of our nature; they constitute our humanity. To unfold these, is the great work of our being. The Light in which these Ideas rise on the mind-the Love which they awaken-and the Force of Will, with which they are brought to sway the outward and inward life, here, and here only, are the measures of human cultivation."
"The great idea, on which human cultivation especially depends, is that of God. This is the contraction of all that is beaut ful, glorious, holy, blessed. It transcends immeasurably in worth and dignity all the science treasured up in Cyclopedias or libraries; and this may be unfolded in the poor, as truly as in the rich. It is not an idea to be elaborated by studies, which can be pursued only in leisure or by opulence. Its elements belong to every soul, and are especially to be found in our moral nature, in the idea of duty, in the feeling of reverence, in the approving sentence which we pass on virtue, in our disinterested affections, and in the wants and aspirations which carry us
towards the Infinite. There is but one way of unfolding these germs of the idea of God, and that is, faithfulness to the best convictions of duty and of the Divine Will, which we have hitherto gained. God is to be known by obedience, by likeness, by sympathy, that is, by moral means, which are open alike to rich and poor. Many a man of science has not known Him. The pride of science, like a thick cloud, has hidden from the philosopher the Spiritual Sun, the only true light, and for want of this quickening ray, he has fallen in culture far, very far, below the poor."
"My hearers, do not contemn the poor man for his ignorance. Has he seen the Right? Has he felt the binding force of the Everlasting Moral Law? Has the beauty of virtue, in any of its forms, been revealed to him! Then he has entered the highest school of wisdom.Then a light has dawned within him, worth all the physical knowledge of all worlds. It almost moves me to indignation, when I hear the student exalting his science, which at every step meets impenetrable darkness, above the idea of Duty, and above veneration for goodness and God. It is true, and ought to be understood, that outward nature, however tortured, probed, dissected, never reveals truths so sublime or precious, as are wrapt up in the consciousness of the meanest individual, and laid open to every eye in the word of Christ."
It is difficult to resist such appeals, so powerfully urged. No one can read this discourse without a deepened sense of the great injustice, which the poor of cities are suffering, from the hands of those who ought to rejoice in providing for their spiritual wants, but who do not even make an effort to bring them under the influence of religious instruction. Here is an immense body of men, every one with a soul, in our very midst, whom we see every day, who are living in comparatively heathen darkness. What is the Christian religion to the poor woman, who labors night and day, in a wretched hovel, to provide for the helpless family about her, and who hardly hears the name of Christ, except in the cursing of the profane? What is the hope of her children growing up with Christian principles? O! we hear much of distant lands, and heathen darkness, and it is well: let those "who are sent," go and carry light to them: but how can we answer for it to God, if we do not strive to call our own townsmen into the fold of the great Shepherd?-We rejoice that a beginning is made, and that such men as Dr. Channing have put their hands to the plough. Let them not look back! Let the Gospel, which was first given to the poor, now reach their ears and hearts, and our cities will be like the "new Jerusalem:" there will no longer be the sound of discord and strife, and the violence of the wicked shall cease.
W. G. E.
ART. IV.-PROSPECTS OF THE WEST.
WE hear daily of the Great West: in what is the West great? What do men mean by this phrase? Some mean that we have vast plains and prairies, and giant forests; lakes of sea extent, and rivers which an English tourist is said to have pointed to, as truly great-for a new country. Others mean that our soil grows much corn, cotton, hemp; many swine and oxen; and holds stores of coal, iron, lead, and salt. third calls the West great, because it will be the home of many men; will exert a vast influence over this land and the world; and may one day be the center of learning, and wealth, and might. But there is a sense in which the West will be, though it is not now, great; a sense little dwelt upon, and worthy, we think, of some thought and remark.-The West will be great, because it will be the seat of a new practical philosophysocial, moral, political, religious, and literary. In this broad vale, where society was born Republican and Christian, we may, with the eye of Faith, look to see a Christian Republicanism shaping and moulding all things.
And what is a Christian Republicanism? It is not in social life, a want of caste, and absence of rank; for as surely as one star differeth from another star in glory, so surely will those of varying tastes, powers, and habits, walk apart from one another. In the hour of turmoil, the great deep may be broken up, and society, storm-shaken and chaotic, be devoid of all order and beauty; but when stillness comes back, the laws of social, are as certain as those of mineral crystallization, and every layer, one above the other, will return to its place, silently but surely. It is not, in politics, the absence of place, power, patronage; it is not that democracy which would, by rotation in office, place in the chair any and every man; nor that which would bestow office as a reward. It would, on the contrary, forbid the mass to hold place; it would silence him that shouted aloud of his services, and asked to be paid in power.
The great Idea-as Coleridge would call it-the great informing idea of Republicanism, is not that distinctions, and ranks, and privileges are to be abolished; but that MERIT shall take the place of BIRTH, WEALTH, and PROWESS, and become the basis of an Aristocracy; and Christian Republicanism makes Christ the Judge of Merit.
What is merit? It is genius, learning, experience, and above all, character. It is whatever Christianity, and the good sense
of the time may make it. Merit was the basis of the European Aristocracy, at a time when might of arm was merit; the error, the fatal error was to make that, which can belong but to the man, descend, as an heir loom, to his sons; in that hour the true principle of rank was lost sight of.
We wish upon this point to be clear: we therefore again say that to us, Republicanism does not oppose differences of rank; it does not teach that men are born equal, or are ever equal; it does not level, for to level is ever to lower: No, it leaves those that are high, there, and seeks to raise others to them; it differs from other forms of government in this, and only this -that its standard of height, its principle of classification is wide of theirs.
The true Republican, then, will not seek to believe, or to make those about him believe, that he and they are as good as any; his desire and struggle will be to make himself and his fellows as good-not only as others, but as the oracle within tells him they should be. When a place is to be filled, he will vote, speak, write for the man best fitted for it. He will revere the wise, and good, and aged, as men of a rank above his own; he will look up to them; they will be, in his eyes, nobles. But you will say this is so already; we reply-to some extent it is; the mass feel, though they do not see, the Idea we have spoken of-they cry aloud, "all men are equal,” and bow to thousands; their acts mock their words daily-and why? Because, they do not think of inequality, unless in fortune, birth, and education; they mean to say, when they speak of all men being born equal, that no man, merely because of the condition of his fathers, is high; nor is, for any thing he may have himself done, entitled to other than the natural and certain results thereof: for instance, the son of Daniel Webster has not, because of his father's stand, a claim to any pre-eminence himself; nor, having equal merit with his father, can he claim to give more votes than others, or receive a support from the state; but he can and will claim to exert a greater moral and intellectual influence than others, to stand higher, and be more respected than others; and Nature guarantees his claim-for Republicanism is the order of Nature; the aristocracy of a Republic is the aristocracy of nature; it is an error to think a patriarchal government resembles a monarchy-the father rules on the ground of merit, not of birthhe rules on the true Republican ground; and so does the Sachem of the Indian tribe; and each of Nature's governors, each and all, rule on the score of merit-merit measured by the unenlightened sense, while with us, as we have before said,