« PreviousContinue »
yielded to ridiculous substitutes, the jest and laughing-stock of criminals.
Human nature is made up of all the grades of virtue and vice, from the natural ruffian to the pure saint, from man made in the intellectual image of God down to the brute.
They must therefore be treated as they are found ; and any management not adapted to this assortment of character is wholly useless.
All intelligent men agree that an efficient compact for their security is essential to the existence of organized communities. And as incident to this contract, it is as necessary that the helpless should be protected as that the strong and predatory should be restrained. The first cannot be sustained without keeping off the other.
There can be no useful education without religion. We fear not each other or ourselves, but we fear God. And, if the mind, when tender, is deeply and solemnly imbued with religion, the worth of moral subjugation is begun.
Impressions of right and wrong are then made upon the unpolluted soul of a child, which no temptation can overcome. They enter into, and are engrafted upon, his nature.
It is very seldom that a child who has had a proper domestic, moral, and religious education, who has been to church and tenderly trained, carefully watched, and kept out of wicked company, and away from evil examples, turns out bad.
He is not seen drinking and smoking about corners, swearing and shouting at theatres, running and fighting with fire companies, in riots, watch-houses or prisons.
Everything connected with religion seems to prosper and flourish.
Much sin has been committed in the name of religion.
Jews, Pagans and Christians, each in their turn, have drenched the earth with blood in the name of religion. But this does not militate against true religion ; it only exposes the wickedness of those who profane religion.
In the United States, where all religious persuasions are tolerated, there has been no opportunity to use it for political purposes; and there have ceased to be any public abuses under its sanction. Its prosperity has been unexampled.
The different sects have forms, governments, and ceremonies suited for every prejudice and taste, and at every corner and turn throughout the land, there is a temple for public worship. The eagerness for religious instruction exceeds the supply of teachers; and there are more preachers of the Gospel, wholly dependent upon the people for patronage and support, than there ever has been in any other country.
They have no earthly incentive but the approbation of their hearers.
Their labor and devotion are extraordinary.
Instances of improper conduct or lack of zeal are few, and religion unaided by law is more pure, more universal, and more fashionable, than where it is forced upon the people.
There is nowhere so much valuable pulpit teaching and pure piety as there is with the people and their clergy in the United States.
The doctrine of legal religion has been by this toleration triumphantly refuted. Religion is too pure to be touched or used by human laws or their functionaries.
Religion has been less helped, and done more good in the United States than in any country.
The Methodists have retrieved and saved millions of abandoned wretches, and raised them from the lowest depths of infamy to honest and honorable reformation.
All acrimony has been subdued, and conventions and associations of different persuasions are extensively formed for the universal diffusion of Gospel knowledge.
To those who have witnessed the state of the churches in Europe, and compared them with this country, it would seem that here the Millennium had really begun.
The freedom of the churches removes all occasion for disputes upon doctrinal questions, which are never listened to with complacency, and leaves open for their ministers the broad field of repentance and faith.
Sermons most diligently prepared, profound and learned, by men of great talents and genius, are most eloquently preached, with extemporaneous devout and fervent prayers in every part of the country.
All the denominations have theological schools and colleges, and vie with each other in the competent education of their ministers.
No one can spend his Sabbath-day to more profit and advantage than by listening to the splendid and eloquent productions of these accomplished orators and profound scholars.
There never has been a people favored with so much light and learning from the pulpit.
The man who can hear these sublime lessons without feeling devout homage, who can listen to these beautiful and precious elucidations, and scoff at religion, is indeed a fool.
Throughout this free and glorious country, every Sabbath throngs the churches numerously with men, and with all the women and children, clean, healthy, cheerful and respectable in all their appointments.
The morning dawns upon the prayers and songs of millions of these blessed babes, early from their slumbers, leaping to the Sunday schools, where the first elements of learning and the Holy Scriptures are zealously inculcated till the hour for worship.
Who has witnessed the beautiful exercises and the long and interesting processions of these innocent children, from their school-rooms to the church, without a fervent prayer in holy faith that they may be preserved from the pollutions of this sinful world? And who has seen that hope blighted ?
Scoff at Religion !!! It is
Ask these intelligent Sabbath-school children what is the meaning of religion, and they will calmly and rationally tell you that to love God and hate sin is to secure peace bere and hope hereafter.
Follow them to maturity, and mark their settled habits of patient and honest industry, their thrifty gains, their temperate and peaceful lives, and their reasonable expectation of a blessed immortality beyond the grave.
Pure and undefiled religion is the source and fountain of all knowledge and virtue, the corner-stone of every government.
No man can justly claim the respect and confidence of his family and his fellow men, unless his religious conversation and deportment demonstrate to the world that he is worthy of the countenance and confidence of his Maker.
There can be no morality, private worth, or public safety without religion; and the man who derides the Bible, the holy Sabbath and religion, is worse than a heathen. He banishes the fears of the sinner and encourages wickedness. He strikes away the foundations of the hopes of the true believers, and blurs and blights all that restrains crime and rewards virtue.
Not always index of the heart— Intimacies-Strangers-Deportment-Con
fidence-Singularity of speech or manners-May choose our own company-John Randolph-Jefferson—The art is simple, It is to be unaf. fected-Sexes-Marriage-Some covet society above them-True standard, learning and virtue- All talk too much-Friends should be fewProper restraint-Good for all-Matrimony best society-Should be general-Distinctions-Orders—Bad motives-Idleness-To buy and sell on credit–Tolive extravagantly-Large houses-Insolvency-Public stock of supply not enough-Productive labor certain source of riches - Wrong to speculate in trade, or live on it- No law can excuse from paying debts without explanation-Or force creditors to allow debtors tools, furniture, and $300 worth of property-If this should be so, let the public do it, and not creditors-It opens doors to defraud creditors out of $300 as often as it is spent, and that amount can be obtained again—Travelers—Ignorance and neglect-Skill in science, &c.—Morality-Taxes on churches, colleges, graves, &c.-Taxes of England-Tariff protection to labor, &c.--Religion, &c.
THE habits and manners are not always an index of the heart.
Some are judged proud because they are naturally timid, quiet, and reserved; others as haughty, because they are watchful, cautious, and shy amongst strangers, when they may be as liberal and benevolent as those of polished speech and ready intercourse.
Nor is the use of singular words, or pronunciation, or apparent awkwardness of behavior, evidence of ignorance, vulgarity, or carelessness towards the feelings of others. Such persons, in their own circles, may hold a consistent position, have appropriate caste, and be distinguished for hospitality and benevolence, while the conventional manners of others, according to their prejudices of education, might appear to be frigid and ridiculous affectations of kindness and good breeding.
Every one has an unquestionable right to choose his own
company. No one is at liberty to be dissatisfied because his society is not desired; the rule is reciprocal; if this was not so, we might force ourselves upon others against their will, and be obliged to submit to the same obnoxious annoyance from them.
The occasions for business, accidental meetings, and introductions of mere ceremony, supply impromptu all the requirements for casual intercourse, and leave the parties to their option for future recognition without any breach of good taste.
Hasty intimacies are unnecessary and indiscreet. They place the parties in false positions, and expose them to censure and suspicion. All proper decorums and courtesies may be consistently maintained without the reciprocations of personal disclosures.
A departure from this simple rule of discretion comes from the irrestrainable propensity that some have to talk incessantly about themselves; a practice that betrays great egotism, ignorance, and vulgar breeding
It is said that John Randolph knew more men than any man living, and gave to all a free and cordial greeting, according to their sphere and condition, but that there was but one person on earth who ever had his confidence, and that was his mother. This ready and singular expert in the natural philosophy of human nature was never known, in his personal intercourse, to trifle with the prejudices or sensibilities of any one, and yet his apparent manner was somewhat severe.
“It was this readiness which made John Randolph so terrible in retort. He was the Thersites of Congress—a tongue-stabber. No hyperbole of contempt or scorn could be launched against him, but he could overtop it with something more scornful and contemptuous. Opposition only maddened him into more brilliant bitterness. Isn't it a shame, Mr. President,' said he one day in the Senate, that the noble bull-dogs of the administration should be wasting their precious time in worrying the rats of the opposition ? Immediately the Senate was in an uproar, and he was clamorously called to order. The presiding officer, however, sustained him; and pointing his long, skinny finger at his opponents, Randolph screamed outRats, did I say? mice, mice.'”—E. P. Whipple.
This was the result of great firmness, independence, and maturity of thought; for, although he would not contradictor debate in private conversation, he maintained a resolute, but