« AnteriorContinuar »
his masters, his critics, his judges; and every time he preaches, he is virtually on trial, and the question is, whether his congregation shall acquit him or condemn him, continue him in his pulpit, or dismiss him, and send him forth to the world branded with their disapprobation. The evils of Congregationalism glare upon us from all sides, and deeply are they felt by not a few of our brethren ; and sorry are we to find Bishop Hopkins and his brother Evangelicals taking a ground, we were about to say, even below that of our old-fashioned Congregationalism. Practically, the Congregational minister ceases, in New England, to be the minister of Christ to the congregation. He is no longer a bishop, or overseer, placed by the Holy Ghost over the congregation. The congregation is his overseer; and in cases not a few, he becomes, is forced to become, or leave his charge, the mere tool of one or two ignorant, conceited, perhaps worldly-minded, but wealthy and influential members of his flock, or of some four or five good sisters, who indemnify themselves for their abstinence from the pleasures of the world, by getting up and managing all sorts of societies for the general and particular supervision of the affairs of their neighbours. Woe to the poor man, if he refuse to coöperate with the restless, the gossiping, the fanatical members of his congregation, ready to do any thing and every thing but lead “quiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and honesty." He must be foremost in their daily and nightly religious and philanthropic dissipation, or else, alas ! it will be instantly discovered that he is an unfaithful minister of Christ, unadapted to the wants of his congregation; and, broken in health, broken in spirit, poor and friendless, with a wife and children, it may be, to provide for, must be dismissed in disgrace, to make way for another, —a dapper little man, right from the seminary,
, and with just as little religion in his heart, as brains in his head.
No, we have had enough of Congregationalism. Not a few, if we may judge from the letters we receive, of our ablest and best Congregational divines are fully satisfied of the utter impracticability of the Congregational scheme. It has run itself out, and we are sorry to see the war that is raging against Episcopacy. We may not, indeed, be able to accept the Anglican Church, or her American daughter, as the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church; but she has departed less from the apostolic model than the other Protestant communions. The lay delegation admitted by the Protestant Episcopal Church of this country, led on by her Duers, already begins to show the evil one day to be expected from it; and the original cause of her separation from the rest of the Catholic Church, and the Protestant elements she originally accepted to conciliate the Protestant party, are now showing themselves, by destroying the simplicity of her speech, compelling her to speak with a double tongue, and rending her bosom with, we fear, an invincible dualism; but still she retains many of the essential features of the Catholic Church, and, if we are to unite on any ground out of the Roman communion, she must be the nucleus of union for all that
portion of Protestantdom which speaks the English tongue. She has it in her power, if she will but free herself from her Protestant elements, bring out her Catholic elements, - elements which have survived the Goths and Vandals,- in their truth and consistency, to perform no mean part in recalling us all to the unity of Christendom, to the unity of the Church, and enabling us of the Anglo-Saxon race to feel that the term of our banishment has expired, and that we may henceforth dwell in the home of our fathers.
ART. VII. The Presidential Nominations.
- Mr. Calhoun.
In our previous numbers, we have felt it our duty to say some things which could not but be unpleasant to many individuals in the party with which we are in the habit of acting ; but, happily, recent manifestations and the decisive action of the Democratic Convention, at Baltimore, for the nomination of candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency, relieve us from the necessity of repeating them, and go far to prove that we somewhat underrated the independence and patriotism of the party itself, and placed less confidence in its wisdom and civic virtue than we might have done. It gives us no little pleasure to find that we were partially mistaken, and that, contrary to our fears, the party has had sufficient energy, even under the most unfavorable circumstances, to break through the caucus system, to spurn the dictation of selfish managers, and to make its own honest sentiments heard and obeyed. Light breaks through the darkness which hung over the future; somewhat of our old confidence in the people revives, and once more can we hope and work.
We have nothing more to say of Mr. Van Buren. He is now a private citizen, and, as such, we wish him the peace and repose which belong to his time of life, and the full enjoyment of all the honors his public and private virtues have merited. His injudicious friends, such as the Washington Globe and Colonel Benton, who have wished to use him for their own questionable purposes, have received a lesson from which we trust they will profit. If they do not, it will be for a very obvious reason. Enough has been said.
Enough has been said. There has been enough of mutual recrimination, enough of ill temper, and we sincerely rejoice that all may now unite as brothers, and do our best to save our common country and her institutions.
We shall attempt no eulogy on the distinguished gentlemen the Convention has nominated. If they are not those we should have preferred, they at least meet our warm approbation, and will receive our earnest support. Mr. Polk is a man of considerable political experience, a gentleman in his manners, irreproachable in his morals, sound in his political views, and, if elected, will make an able and efficient executive officer, and administer the government in a manner alike creditable to
himself and honorable to his country. His external policy will be wise, firm, just, and patriotic; and his internal policy will tend to restore us to the old republican platform, and to promote the interests of the whole country, not merely of a favored section or class. With Polk and Dallas for our candidates, we can enter on the campaign with heart and hope, and feel, that, in elevating them to the first offices in the gift of the people, we are really doing a service to our country and republican freedom.
We do not permit ourselves, in this Journal, to enter far into mere party politics, but we cannot refrain from expressing our gratitude that there is now, to say the least, a reasonable hope of saving our country from the serious danger there would be in electing the Whig candidates. We do not adopt all the notions of our Democratic friends concerning the first principles of government; we do not, if we may so say, accept their political philosophy; but we rarely fail to approve their leading measures of policy, whether domestic or foreign, and we feel, at all times, that the government and the country are safer in their hands than in those of the Whigs, even when the Whigs place at the head of affairs their purest and ablest men. In many of the abstract principles of government, we coïncide much more nearly with the Whigs than we do with the Democrats; but the Whigs as a party are thoroughly, and without any mitigation, the party of modern Feudalism. The Demo
. cratic party fails to resist this growing Feudalism with the requisite energy and firmness ; – the Whigs do not resist it at all, but hasten its growth by all means in their power. If we cannot hope, even from the Democrats, all we wish for the true interests of all classes, we can hope nothing at all from the Whigs. There is not one of their distinctive measures but will tend directly and with fatal force to consolidate the power of the industrial lords, and to reduce the operative classes to a state of virtual serfage. This is the character of the Whigs in their best estate, under their best and most patriotic leaders. What, then, shall we say of them un
der the lead of such men as Henry Clay and Theodore Frelinghuysen? These two gentlemen represent the very worst and most dangerous elements of Whiggism, and, if they come into power, they bring with them Whiggism in all its unmitigated iniquity.
Messrs. Clay and Frelinghuysen represent what we may term ultra-Whiggism. Mr. Clay is unquestionably a man of ability. He is a splendid orator; he has great power over the men with whom he comes into immediate contact ; but he is no statesman. He is ambitious, but short-sighted ; bold, daring, but incapable of appreciating general principles, or of perceiving the relation between effects and their causes, when these causes are not near at hand. Yet he is abashed by no inconsistency, disturbed by no self-contradiction, and can defend with a firm countenance and without the least misgiving what every body but himself sees to be a political fallacy, or a logical absurdity. Refute him, demonstrate with mathematical certainty that his proposition is false, confront him with names, dates, figures, and he stands unmoved, unconscious of what you have done, reiterates his proposition in a bolder tone, reasserts it with growing confidence, and pours forth the full tide of his rich and suasive eloquence in its defence. You stand aghast. What can the man mean? His insensibility confounds you, and you almost begin to distrust your own demonstration against him, though as certain as the demonstration of a problem in Euclid. In regard to right and wrong, he manifests the same singular self-possession. He is no more disturbed by being convicted of moral insensibility than of intellectual absurdity. He sees no moral absurdity in determining right and wrong by parallels of latitude, and in declaring a thing to be right on one side of a given parallel and wrong on the other. A man of rare abilities, but apparently void of both moral and intellectual conscience, who finds no difficulty in withstanding, when necessary to his purposes, the eternal laws both of logic and morality, and therefore a man whom no power under that of the Almighty can restrain, he must needs