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“The two doctrines which contributed most to producing the extinction of slavery were the doctrine of salvation and the doctrine of the equality of all men before the Deity."1 These two doctrines are the key-notes of Congregationalism. Massachusetts abolished slavery in 1780 in her Constitution. Pennsylvania and Connecticut made a partial abolition in 1784. De Tocqueville prophesied that slavery could not long exist in America in contact with American thought, and it did not. Judge Samuel Sewall, in 1700, printed a tract against slavery. He said:
“These Ethiopians, as black as they are, seeing that they are the sons and daughters of the first Adam, the brethren and sisters of the last Adam, and the offspring of God, they ought to be treated with a respect agreeable."
The family which did the most in America towards creating public opinion against slavery was the Beecher family,
Congregationalists. “Uncle Tom's Cabin," one of the greatest novels of history, was on every tongue, and Plymouth pulpit was protected by the police. Phillips Brooks was asked to name the three greatest Americans, and he said: Daniel Webster, Henry Ward Beecher, and Abraham Lincoln. They were all great and famous, because they were wedded to those Congregational ideas, liberty and equality. Dean Stanley and Canon Farrar both admitted that the church polity which the apostles acted upon was the Congregational.
The founders of American institutions believed in that orderly development of national life, evolution and not revolution, except as the latter was necessary to right wrongs which could be righted in no other way. First the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. First the individual, then the family, then the church, then the state, and finally a nation. The doctrine of the sovereignty of the people thus unfolded. It was nurtured in the township, it then took possession of the state, and finally of the nation. They never dreamed of a democratic Republic as being free, desirable, or
1 Social Evolution, p. 168.
safe except as it was founded on religion, morality, and education; and except as the right of franchise was in the hands of integral units who were themselves lovers of God and man. Person and property were to them safe so far as they were held to be sacred.
And when it came to the individual, they had scientific notions of his orderly development. They believed that religion strengthened the will, clarified the intellect, and softened the sensibilities. It was not simply the “sweetness and light” of an æsthetic dreamer nor an emotion; but it was will renewed, strengthened, and healed from the impotency caused by sin; it was conscience awakened, educated, and ever operative, giving the only true conception of good-will; it was thought, broad in its sweep and comprehensive in its grasp, but none the less synthetic and analytic. It gave generalizations from an absolute knowledge of detail.
As Dr. Poole said:
"From that prolific stock has sprung a race of men and women, who, by character, energy, and ideas, have largely controlled the tier of Northern States from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”1
Since these men landed on American shores, great advancement has been made in notions of religious toleration, of democracy, and of political liberty; but a loftier faith and heroism; a greater fortitude and self-denial; a keener insight into principles giving wisdom and political sagacity will never be found in the American people than that which characterized the Founders of this Republic.
1 Dial, Jan. 1891.
RELIGION AND WEALTH.
BY THE REV, WASHINGTON GLADDEN, D. D.
RELIGION and Wealth are two great interests of human life. Are they hostile or friendly? Are they mutually exclusive, or can they dwell together in unity? In a perfect social state what would be their relations?
What is Religion? Essentially it is the devout recognition of a Supreme Power. It is belief in a Creator, a Sovereign, a Father of men, with some sense of dependence upon him and obligation to him.
Such a belief and such a sense of dependence are elements of human nature. “Religious ideas of one kind or other," says Mr. Herbert Spencer, "are almost universal. ... The universality of religious ideas, their independent evolution among different primitive races, and their great vitality, unite in showing that their source must be deep seated instead of superficial.”] “Of Religion, then, we must always remember, that amid its many errors and corruptions it has asserted and diffused a supreme verity. From the first, the recognition of this supreme verity, in however imperfect a manner, has been its vital element; and its various defects, once extreme but gradually diminishing, have been so many failures to recognize in full that which it recognizes in part. The truly religious element of Religion has always been good; that which has proved untenable in doctrine and vicious in practice has been its irreligious element; and from this it has been ever undergoing purification.”? This testimony of the chief of the agnostics to the uni1 First Principles, p. 13.
Ibid., p. 101,
versality of religious ideas and sentiments will not need confirmation.
These ideas have found many grotesque expressions, with which we need not concern ourselves at this time; it is with their most perfect expression that we have to deal. In its most perfect expression Religion conceives of the Supreme Being as infinite in power and wisdom and perfect in goodness, and represents him as holding communication with his children and seeking to make them partakers of his perfection and his blessedness. The religious life is the life according to God, the life whose key-note is harmony with the divine nature, and conformity to the divine will.
What will the man who is living this kind of life think about wealth ? How will his religion affect his thoughts about wealth? If all men were, in this highest sense of the word, religious, should we have wealth among us?
To answer this question intelligently we must first define wealth. The economists have had much disputation over the word, but for our purposes we may safely define wealth as consisting in exchangeable goods. All products, commodities, rights, which men desire, and which, in this commercial age, can be exchanged for money, we may include under this term. Under this definition, the poor man's hoe and rake, the homespun garments he is wearing, and the potatoes in his bin are wealth; and they do belong in this category;they are certainly part of the national wealth. ular use of the word is hardly covered by the economic definition; some measure of abundance is generally connoted. The poor man's little all may be part of the national wealth, but we should hardly call that a wealthy nation in which none had more than he. The question before us has in view the abundance, the profusion of economic goods, now existing in all civilized nations. There is vastly more in the hands of the men of Europe and America to-day than suffices to supply their immediate physical necessities. Vast stores of food, of fuel, of clothing and ornament, of luxuries of all
But the pop
sorts; millions of costly homes, filled with all manner of comforts and adornments; enormous aggregations of machinery for the production and transportation of exchangeable goods, —these are a few of the signs of that abundance toward which our thought is now directed. Our question is, whether, if all men lived according to God, in perfect harmony with his thought, in perfect conformity to his will, the world would contain such an abundance of exchangeable goods as that which we now contemplate.
This is a question which the devout have long debated. Through long periods and over wide areas the prevalent conception of religion has involved the renunciation of riches. The life of the pious Brahman culminates in mendicancy; he reaches perfection only when he rids himself of all the goods of this world. “When the householder is advanced in years," says Professor Eggeling, "he should disengage himself from all family ties--except that his wife may accompany him if she chooses—and repair to a lonely wood, taking with him his sacred fires and the implements required for the daily and periodical offerings. Clad in a deer's skin, with his hair and nails uncut, the hermit is to subsist exclusively on foods growing wild in the forest, such as roots, fruit, green herbs, and wild rice and grain. He must not accept gifts from any one, except of what may be absolutely necessary to maintain him; but with his own little hoard he should, on the contrary, honour, to the best of his ability, those who visit his hermitage." Finally, as the end draws near, "taking up his abode at the foot of a tree in total solitude, ... clad in a coarse garment, he should carefully avoid injuring any creature or giving offence to any human being that may happen to come near him. Once a day, in the evening,
he should go near the habitations of men, in order to beg what little food may suffice to sustain his feeble frame.
of mind he should thus bide his time, ... wishing neither for death nor life, until at last his soul is freed from his fetters and