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duty for the clergy to labor for the melioration of society. And this view is not without some show of truth. It is true that we can in this world obtain only a part of the good promised us by our nature, and it is true that we gain nothing without effort, and that all effort is followed by fatigue. All this is true. But, if we cannot obtain all the good our nature promises, we may obtain a part of it; if we cannot achieve our destiny here, we may cornmence it and march towards our end.
If we can obtain nothing without effort, it is in effort that we grow, in effort that the soul is developed and becomes strong and healthy. Repose after toil is sweet, but endless repose were endless death. Give to the soul perfect rest, and you
annihilate it. Action is its life. And for action this world is fitted. It has its pains and its pleasures, its joys and its sorrows, its hopes and its fears, its struggles and its rests, its alternations of light and darkness, every thing needed to touch the soul on every side, to quicken and exert all its faculties. It is then rather a state of trial than of endurance,- of discipline, and not of punishment. It need not be contemned. It is useful to the soul. It is God's world, and to slight it were to fail in reverence to God.
The New Testament also in some places seems to favor this view of the mystics. But it is only in appearance. It condemns worldly-mindedness, but worldly-mindedness can hardly be confounded with the philanthropic desire to inake the world the abode of peace and love. It forbids us to expect happiness from the world, but not to hope and labor for it in the world ; it assures us the earth cannot yield us a supply, but not that no supply can be obtained while we are on the earth. It requires us to mortify the body; yet it does not mean that the body has not its place, its rights, and its uses, but that we should not be governed by its propensities, that we should yield ourselves servants only to our higher, our spiritual nature. It teaches us that our main effort should be to gain heaven, but heaven may be here, in a degree, as well as hereafter; that our only good is in God, but God is on this
* We refer our readers for a fuller developement of the views offered in this and the two preceding paragraphs, to Professor Jouffroy's “ Cours [for 1833 and 1834,] de Droit Naturel. Cinquième Leçon. Système Mystique.”
side the grave as well as on the other. He is in every good man's heart. He is found only in being good and in doing good. We may be good in this world and for this world, and do good for this world, without in the least unfitting ourselves for another. Man has a destiny on earth, in time as well as in eternity, and the path that leads to his destiny here is the true road to that hereafter, for both are but one and the same destiny. If he has a destiny here, he has duties here, and if duties here, the world is not beneath his notice.
While, however, the notion prevailed that this world is but a place of punishment, while it was considered an enemy, life a wearisome load, and heaven after death the only thing worth laboring for, the clergy could not preach and act much otherwise than they did. There was then no place for the social element. If they had brought it out, it would have been unheeded. The state of society itself, during the centuries which immediately succeeded the introduction of Christianity, was such as must almost inevitably turn men's minds in the direction of mysticism. Every thing was unsettled. There was nowhere any security. All was fleeting. The earth seemed abandoned by its Maker to the merciless hordes of barbarians that overrun it. There was no faith in it, no heart to labor for its improvement, and no cause to wonder at the thousands of monks and anchorites who filled the deserts and monasteries.
But this state of things is now changed, and the clergy must change with it, or lose their influence, and be themselves numbered with the things that were. The clergy, no more than governments, can have any authority without attaching themselves to the dominant sentiment or idea of the people. The secret of their influence is in their being the best representatives, impersonations, of the sentiments of their age and country, or of those on whom they are to act. The dominant spirit of their epoch is their point d'appui, which must cover and support all their operations. The history of the clergy since the Reformation, affords lamentable proof of the truth of this assertion. Before the Reformation, the church was hardly called to preach social progress. The spiritual order then was every thing, the material order nothing, except as it served the church. Man was something, but society was not, Individual progress might then be preached, but not social progress. The time had not yet come.
changed the face of things. It was in many respects the installation of society. It brought up the state, and prepared the way for the social element to become operative. This was a new state of things. The clergy should have accepted and conformed to it. As men, some of them did; but, as clergymen, the greater part rejected it and continued to pray, sing, and preach, in the spirit of the church before the change had been effected.
And what has been the consequence? Its consequences have been, in the first place, to lessen the influence of the clergy, till in those countries in which social progress has been the greatest, it is now almost too trivial to be named ; and, in the next place, to throw the direction of the social progress into the hands of those whose enmity the Church had aroused, and whose minds were imbittered against religion itself from its supposed hostility to social reform. It is therefore, that infidelity is so prominent a feature in modern civilization. The social element, being refused by the clergy, was taken up by unbelievers; and, in proportion as the social element gained upon the individual element, unbelievers gained upon the clergy. And their gain has been great. In literature, perhaps we do not hazard too much in saying the infidel sentiment reigns. Scarcely a writer who takes a wide and deep hold upon
public mind, but seems to owe his success to his sympathy with doctrines generally disavowed by the clergy. Religion and society are at war. To a great extent the clergy adhere to the progress of humanity alone, while the opponents of the clergy are clamorous for the progress of society. Exceptions we know there are, but we are speaking merely of dominant tendencies; and what we say of these was, perhaps, much truer at the close of the last century than now. Since then the influence of ministers of religion may have been on the increase. But their increased influence must be traced to the fact, that since then they have labored much more for society than they ever did before. We
say to the fact, and we say it designedly, for we do not perceive that there has been any material change of theory. The principle contended for is the same as it was.
Social melioration, except in a theological sense, as it is to be effected by proselyting and converting, does not seem to be yet allowed by the clergy generally to be a Christian object, any more than it was before the Reformation.
which would have been directed to the improvement of society properly so called, has been beguiled into an apparently social channel, but it will soon discover that it is not yet in the right channel, and then, if the clergy do not accept it, they are prostrate. The real dominant sentiment of our epoch is that of social progress. It is in vain to war against it. The clergy, during their centuries of labor for individual progress, have prepared the way for it. It has come. It will have its day. It will reign till the progress of society equals that which has been made by individuals. It should be accepted. To accept this is what we are urging upon the clergy. We believe it their duty to accept it, and we are confident that to accept it is the only means they have left to recover their influence and save the world from infidelity.
We say the dominant sentiment of our epoch is that of social progress.
progress. We think we cannot be mistaken in this. If the developement and growth of the social element be not the dominant sentiment of the age, we would ask, what mean these demands for social reform which come to our ears on every breeze, from every land ? What mean these movements among the people, these combinations of even workingmen to meliorate society? What mean these shakings of thrones, these fears, which penetrate the hearts of kings, fill courts with consternation, and make those who live by existing abuses turn pale? There is no mistaking the spirit of the times. We see it everywhere, we see it in new sects, in the abortive attempts of the Saint-Simonians, in the new French Catholic Church, insignificant as it may be. We saw it in the deep sensation produced by the whimsical Owen, when he first announced his new social system; we felt it in the thrill which ran through our hearts, and heard it in the loud burst of sympathy which broke from the whole civilized world, at the news of the French Revolution of July, 1830. We see it in the influence of such writers as Jeremy Bentham, Byron, and Bulwer. We see it, and not the least plainly, in the humble but powerful ministry to the poor in this city as well as in some others. All these and a thousand other circumstances, we could mention, had we room, are proofs to us, that men's minds and hearts are busy with the social state, and that the real sentiment of our epoch is the sentiment of social progress, To this sentiment the clergy must attach themselves. The time for star-gazing has gone by. They must look on the
earth, and exert themselves to make it the abode of peace and love. This is the only way in which they can recover a permanent influence, and be widely and lastingly useful. They neglected to accept the social element, when they might have done it to better advantage. That element is now mainly in the hands of laymen, and to a great extent in the hands of men who either disavow or do not love religion. In their hands it is abused, it takes a tinge of infidelity, receives a character and a direction foreign to its nature.
The clergy should now be instant to redeem their past neglect, to recover and accept the rejected element, to cultivate it and give it a religious direction. By so doing they will recover their influence, so far as they ought to recover it, and be again in men's minds and hearts, with power to lead them up to God.
But, in contending that the clergy should take up the social element, we would by no means have them neglect the individual element of religion. Both are elements of Christianity, and both are responded to in the deep sympathies of human nature. They should be united, carried along together, as mutual friends constantly assisting each other.
We believe in no social progress, that is not demanded and sustained by individual progress. But the latter cannot reach perfection without the coöperation of the former. Therefore we advocate the progress both of humanity and of society. Nor would we have a heaven after death neglected. That is our everlasting home; it is only then that we shall be able to finish our destiny; and, in thinking more of that portion of our destiny which may be accomplished here, we would by no means think less of that which will always remain to be accomplished hereafter.
0. A. B.
Art. III.-1. The Morning and Evening Sacrifice; or,
Prayers for Private Persons and Families. Seventh
Edition. Edinburgh and London : 1831. 2. The Last Supper, or Christ's Death kept in Remembrance. Edinburgh and London : 1828. 30 s. VOL. II. NO. II.