« PreviousContinue »
fathers, and revolutionary patriots; the upper, the inconsistency of many modern men, times, and practices.
The man who studies the laws and operations of unerring nature, and drinks freely at her crystal fountain, enjoys a happiness, purer and nobler, than that drawn from many of the highly varnished schools of the present luminous era. In the days of Penn, Franklin, and Rittenhouse ; industry, a clear head, a matured judgment, and a good heart; with a good share of what the modern literati are pleased to term, a common education, were the best recommendations and surest passports, to public esteem and promotion. Now, in view of very many, a liberal education forms the legitimate stepping stone to the pulpit, the legislative hall, and the temple of fame. The primary landmarks of common knowledge and common sense, are, in view of many, lost, in the blaze of light, shed upon our country, by the luminaries of newly invented systems of science. The under current of practical intelligence, fit for every day use, is sinking deeper and lower, beneath the foaming torrent of the upper current, formed of fashionable and polite literature. A sermon, or a public speech, to be acceptable to some modern ears, not hearts, must be trimmed, like a Parisian bonnet, with all the ribbons of a brilliant fancy, and flowers of rhetoric; good sense and sound logic being a secondary matter. A few roses, culled from the dead, or foreign living languages, render it still more palatable. The waters of theology have become so deep, and so filled with snags and brush wood, that common fishermen can no longer labor with success. A man is no longer fit for the legislative hall, for the bar, or any of the learned professions, unless he has
mastered the classics and all the sciences, except the science of common business, and common sense, without which, he is a splendid ship without a helm.
I mean no disrespect to high seminaries of learning, or to the literati, but congratulate our country, and them, that we enjoy the shining lights of the classics, and the highest branches of science. I only aim to
. I correct a mistaken idea that has gained credence with many, that, when a man has graduated at college, he is raised above the Heaven-born principle of equality, and is privileged to ride through life on the shoulders of commercial, mechanical, and agricultural men; called, by some high-toned, aristocratic professors, the common herd; but who are the bone and sinew of our country. Primary schools, where a thorough English education can be acquired, are of the first importance, and should never be overwhelmed by the upper current of incorporated colleges.
When the mechanic shop, the counting house, the plough, the distaff, and the kitchen; fall into disrepute, and are submerged by the upper current of fashionable accomplishments, vain show, pomp, and parade; the sun of our country's glory will set in gloom. When the republican simplicity of Greece and Rome receded before high classical literature, imported luxuries, and rules of etiquette—when they ceased to call men from the plough, to the cabinet and the field; when the women exchanged the kitchen for the drawing room; corruption supplanted virtue; the genius of LIBERTY veiled its face, and fled; dissolution followed-ruin closed the scene.
Fashion contributes largely to swell the upper current, now rolling its towering waves over our land.
Care, fatigue, vexation, envy, jealousy, loss of health, and a waste of wealth; are the bitter fruits she gives to her devotees; often producing the consumption of poverty, and the pleurisy of blue ruin. She is the Ignis Fatuus of fancy; the farther she is pursued, the deeper the mire in her path.
Idleness is an ingredient in the upper current, which was scarcely known, and never countenanced, in the good old linsey woolsey, tow and linen, mush and milk, pork and potatoe times of the pilgrim fathers, and revolutionary patriots. We now have those among us, who had rather go hungry and be clad in rags, than to work. We also have a numerous train of
gentlenen idlers, who pass down the stream of life at the expense of their fellow passengers. They live well, and dress well, as long as possible, by borrowing and spunging, and then take to gambling, swindling, stealing, robbing ; and often pass on for years, before justice overtakes them. So long as these persons can keep up fashionable appearances, and elude the police, they are received into the company of the upper ten thousand. Many an idle knave, by means of a fine coat, a lily hand, and a graceful bow; has been received into the polite circles of society with eclat, and walked, rough shod, over a worthy young mechanic or farmer, who had too much good sense to make a dash, or imitate the monkey shines of an itinerant dandy. A fine dress, in the eyes of some, covers more sins than charity.
Among the wealthy, there are many who ride high in the upper-current, preferring pleasure to business, bringing up their children in idleness and extravagance, instead of teaching them frugality and economy; and
finally leave the world with their estates insolvent. Their sons and daughters, being ignorant of business, cannot provide for themselves by honest industry, and are often led into the purlieus of vice, and are quickly lost in the maelstrom of iniquity.
Vanity, self conceit, and self ignorance, contribute to swell the upper current. Lying and deceit are ever rolling their frightful surges over the under current of truth, creating a dense fog that is impenetrable, and has proved disastrous to many fine vessels, which had credulity for a pilot, and neglected to cast out the anchor of investigation, and lay to, until the fog was dispelled.
The politics of the present day form the foam of the upper current, and rush on, with a maddening fury, that constantly casts up mire and dirt. Formerly, the political car was moved by the motive power of reason, patriotism, and love of country-now, it is rushed forward by the locomotive of party spirit—and no one can tell how soon we shall be run off the track, and be dashed in pieces.
Aristocracy is also contributing largely to swell the upper current, and is doing much to destroy the republican simplicity of '76.
Sectarianism, in matters of religion, has contributed to swell the upper current, and has often covered charity, humility, and forgiveness, with the waves of persecution and revenge, wounding the blessed Redeemer, in the house of his professed friends.
In short, vice and immorality, in all their deceptive forms, are combined to swell the upper current, and would gladly sink the under current of wisdom and virtue, below the reach of mind; and waft the family of inan, on the fiery billows of sin and corruption, beyond the reach of hope, happiness, and peace. Let us
. all, in matters of domestic, political, moral, and religious economy; beware of the upper current. Let us fasten the lead of reason, and buoy of Revelation to the line of consistency, and let our soundings be deep and often.
Death is the crown of life.
The thought of meeting this king of terrors, is made unwelcome by most of the human family. Even the Christian is prone to treat the subject unkindly, until he is compelled to approach this grim monster, and, as the acquaintance increases, the insatiate devourer of the body loses his deformity, and, in the end, proves himself a genuine friend. We should all make the acquaintance of this, our final deliverer, voluntarily and at once. Treat death as an enemiy, and unkindly leave him to force himself upon us at the last hour! How cruel. Treat death as an enemy! How ungrateful, unwise, and imprudent. Is he an enemy, who delivers us from pains, follies, disappointments, miseries and wo? Is he an enemy, who transfers us from delusive dreams, from the region of bubbles and corroding cares; to a region where all is pure, substana
, tial, enduring joy and endless felicity? It is a libel on DEATH to call him our foe, a king of terrors, an enemy.
Frail man comes into the world crying, cries on through life, and is always seeking after some desired thing which he imagines is labelled HAPPINESS, or is