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would not be sighing for another “man of destiny,” to arise, and hurl the revolutionary masses against the blood-cemented despotisms of Austria and Russia.
But what the illustrious captive learned too late, the Puritans well knew, and faithfully taught. The reign of Christ was what they longed for with irrepressible desire and zeal. setting up of Christ's kingdom” was their great errand to these shores. All that the meek ambition of the Pilgrims craved, was “ to serve as stepping-stones to others,” in this holy and magnificent enterprise.
“ Those daring men, these gentle wives, say, wherefore do they come!
Why rend they all the tender ties of kindred and of home?
It is curious to observe the manner in which the constitution of the State, as established by our forefathers, was affected by that of the Church. They held that the Church must be under the divine government of Christ ; administered according to the requirements of revelation, through officers freely chosen by the Church, and acting with the Church's free consent and support. This pious and magnanimous plan they also copied into the government of the commonwealth, where the people were to elect their own governors and magistrates ; and these officers were to govern themselves by the principles and instructions of the Bible. God, speaking through his Word, was to be owned as chief law-giver, and supreme Head of their community. The free and democratic town-meeting was patterned upon the free and democratic Church meeting. The system of the civil state was based upon a system of independent Churches. And so long as that system of independent Churches shall predominate among us, so long will it be impossible to subvert the civil and religious liberties of the people who dwell in this holy land. preserved in the Church,” said John Cotton, “will preserve well-ordered liberty in the people, and both of them establish well-balanced authority in the magistrates. God is the author of all these three," — the Church, the commonwealth, and the magistracy.
“Purity Our fathers were brought by divine providence into the best condition for striking out the right path of ecclesiastical government. They saw hard times ; times of cruel oppression. But, as John Norton said, “ the best of the servants of God have lived in the worst of times." God permitted the scourge of persecution to drive them out into this wilderness, that here they might reëstablish the kingly power of Christ over themselves and their posterity. When they landed on these shores, they had no definite views as to the details of Church polity. They were agreed in little more than the determination, that every thing should be squared and regulated by the teachings of the Bible. In a very few years, they settled down into the system of usages, which, for almost two centuries, has contributed so efficiently to the growth, peace and piety of our Churches. Here no antiquated rubbish, no venerated establishments, stood in our fathers' way. There was nothing to be destroyed, plucked down, or cleared off, before they could " rise and build.” No frowning cathedral, with its resistless associations ; no ancient hierarchy with the habit of undisputed dictation, interfered with their researches. They had no time-honored prejudices and long-standing customs, to cramp the inquiring mind. Amid the pillared forest, and under the dome of heaven, they gave ear to the oracles of God. It was in the wilderness, that the Lord prescribed to the wandering Moses the pattern of the tabernacle. It was in a desolate part of Chaldea, that the true plan of the temple was revealed to the exile Ezekiel. It was in the desert isle of Patmos, that the banished apostle saw the glorious vision of the City of God. And it was amid the primeval solitudes of these hills, that God manifested to the Pilgrims the exact frame and model of a pure and primitive Church.
In this view, it becomes easy to trace the effects of their attachment to Christ's kingship and royalty upon their character and conduct. This invincible attachment gave them an elevation of soul over which no priestly arts, nor despotic violence, could ever gain the ascendency. While they cheerfully rendered unto Cæsar, the things that were Cæsar's, they carefully reserved unto God, the things that were God's. It was impossible to enslave a race of men, who, as Dr. Manton said, would hear no voice but God's in the conscience, and no doctrine in the Church but Christ's !” Their loyalty to “ King Jesus," as a principle of
action, gave them that sternness of purpose, and iron tenacity of will, which enabled them to endure such overwhelming afflictions, and to prevail over such tremendous obstacles. Their faithful allegiance to the Mediatorial throne afforded a strength to their piety, and a support to their virtues, which must keep alive their memory to “the last syllable of recorded time."
This fundamental principle of Puritanism is the foundation principle of the kingdom of God on earth, — that kingdom for which the world was made. As Coleridge has eloquently said: “ The whole march of nature, from the first impregnation of chaos by the Spirit, converges toward this Kingdom as the final cause of the world.” All the interests of morality and religion, all the hopes of human regeneration and salvation, depend upon its prosperity. Jesus is King! To him every knee must bend, and every tongue render homage, ere the world shall be renewed in the beauty of holiness, and its lost paradise be restored.
NOVELTY IN RELIGION,
age in which we live has been frequently and justly called an age of progress; and from the rapid advance that has been made in all those sciences which relate to our outward life, the most extravagant expectations are entertained by many, of a corresponding progress in the science and practice of religion. Perhaps there is hardly anything by which our times and our community are more distinctly characterized, than by a passionate craving for new views in religion, and a readiness to welcome any theory respecting God, or man's relations to the universe, which have the stamp of novelty to recommend them. We do not think that this desire to bring the doctrines of the Bible into harmony with the restless and searching spirit of the age, arises from a sincere love of truth, and a willingness to receive and obey the laws of God, however and wherever made known; but rather from a disposition to get rid of the Bible, and to lose sight of the old paths in which the saints of God have walked from the beginning. It is desired that human reason may have the merit of discovering a religion for itself, and the liberty to change its gods as often as passion or caprice may require. And this thirst for novelty, not truth, -- this desire of freedom from old obligations, not of progress in holiness and divine knowledge, - is met by a host of teachers ever ready to prophecy smooth things to them whose itching ears cannot endure sound doctrine. The pulpit, the press, and the lyceum, are continually announcing some new discovery in religion, in morals, or in the philosophy of life ; and the young, especially, are in imminent danger of being fatally misled by the confident tone in which the old religion of their fathers is condemned and ridiculed.
We wish, however, at the very outset, to discriminate clearly between that craving for novelty referred to above, and that natural thirst for knowledge which excites men to investigate every subject of interest to them as natural and immortal creatures, and to use all means and opportunities of increasing their stock of true knowledge. “ Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant
. thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.” The mind was made to inquire for, and to find pleasure in, the discovery of truth. It is not the aim of religion to extinguish this thirst for knowledge, or to make the soul indolently satisfied with any present attainment. It fears no kind or degree of mental activity which is directed to legitimate objects of investigation, and seeks by proper means to enlarge the boundaries of science. On the contrary, it rejoices in every victory which the mind obtains over the dark powers of ignorance and superstition. It accepts and blesses every discovery of the astronomer, the geologist, the chemist, and the philosopher; and standing in the chief places of concourse, exhorts all men to incline their ear unto wisdom, to cry after knowledge, to lift up their voice for understanding, to seek for wisdom as for silver, and to search for it as for hid treasures. God himself, through the intellectual and moral powers he has given us, and through his providence, which every day furnishes new means of investigation, is continually inviting us to the diligent study of those magnificent volumes of revelation and nature which he has opened before us. And all these great subjects which appeal so powerfully to our curiosity, and our sense of ignorance, when studied in a right frame of mind, and with reference to the practical duties which demand our chief care, will reward our labors with fresh views of truth, and with everincreasing fruit for the mind and the heart.
But the state of mind which we speak of in this article, is entirely different from a common and innocent desire for knowledge, in its nature, in its origin, and in its influence upon the character and life. It is not the love of truth and duty. It is not an earnest wish to discover that which is essential to the proper development of the affections. It is not the delight of an inquiring soul holding fellowship with nature and with God. It is a restless passion, ever clamorous for that which is new, merely because it is new; and weary of everything old, merely because it is old. These lovers of novelty find gratification, not in discovery, but in change, -- not in the addition of a useful planet to our system, but in the wonder which its fresh light awakens; and for every new luminary thus discovered, they would have an old one quenched. They have no taste for the pleasure which results from the quiet performance of known duty, from the thorough study and application of useful science, from the contemplation of their own mysterious nature and immortal destiny, and from an earnest and effectual preparation for the tribunal before which they must soon stand. Weary of the old world of thought, with its familiar sun, and ever-varying landscapes, and exhaustless beauty, they desire a new one to awaken feeling in their torpid hearts. Tired of hearing perpetually of that God, who of old laid the foundations of the earth, and hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness; they long to hear some “setter forth of strange gods."
” Disgusted with the Bible and the gospel of yesterday, they demand a gospel of to-day, and a revelation that shall be made through perverted and unsanctified mind in successive instalments till the end of time. They are never happier than when agitated by some unprecedented absurdity, which they have neither the patience to examine, nor the ability to comprehend. They live in a scene of useless agitation, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. They ask for novelty as the drunkard for intoxicating drink, that they may forget themselves, the truth, and God, in the dreams of a heated imagination.
Their notion of progress consists in renouncing all that has been obtained by laborious investigation, to seize upon some questionable invention. According to this we are ever to be new beginners, raw and green. The scientific idea of progress is to adhere to the established basis of ascertained truth, and to be