« EdellinenJatka »
The question, therefore, gentlemen, is correctly what I just have stated it to be. Could Mr. Hastings have been condemned to infamy for writing this book? Gentlemen, I tremble with indignation to be driven to put such a question in England. Shall it be endured, that a subject of this country may be impeached by the Commons for the transactions of twenty years; that the accusation shall spread as wide as the region of letters; that the accused shall stand day after day, and year after year, as a spectacle before the pub. lic, which shall be kept in a perpetual state of inflammation against him, yet that HE shall not, without the severest penalties, be permitted to submit any thing to the judgment of mankind in his defence? If this be law, (which it is for you this day to decide,) such a man HAS NO TRIAL: this great hall, built by our fathers for English justice, is no longer a court, but an altar; and an Englishman, instead of being judged in it by GOD AND HIS COUNTRY, IS A VICțim and a
XIII. THE EFFECTS OF PROTESTANTISM.
Extract from an Oration before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Dartmouth College, N. H., Aug. 18, 1826, by N. A. Haven.
It has been remarked, my friends, by those who have reasoned most profoundly upon the constitution of society, that the human mind has never, in modern times, attained its full and perfect maturity, but among the Protestant nations of Christendom. In reviewing the splendid career of human intelligence, during the three last centuries, it is impossible not to ascribe much of its progress to the reformation of Luther, That great man gave an impulse to society which it has ever since preserved. He taught men to examine, to reason, to inquire. He unfolded to their wondering gaze, a form of moral beauty, which had been too long shrouded from their eyes by the timid dogmatism of the papal church. It is to Protestant Christianity, gentlemen, that you are indebted for the noblest exercise of your rational powers. It is to Protestant Christianity that you owe the vigor of your intellectual exertions, and the purity of your moral sentiments. I could
easily show you how much the manliness of English literature, and the fearless intrepidity of German speculation, and how much even of the accurate science of France, may be ascribed to the spirit of Protestant Christianity. It is from the influence of this spirit, that the sublime astronomy of La Place has not been, like that of Galileo, condemned as heretical. It is to Protestant Christianity that you owe the English Bible; a volume, that has done more to correct and refine the taste, to elevate the imagination, to fill the mind with splendid and glowing images, than all the literature which the stream of time has brought down to the present age. I hope I am not laying an unhallowed hand upon the ark of God, if I presume to recommend the Bible to you as an object of literary enthusiasm. The Bible !-Where in the compass of human literature, can the fancy be so elevated by sublime description, can the heart be so warmed by simple, unaffected tenderness? Men of genius! who delight in bold and magnificent speculation, in the Bible you have a new world of ideas opened to your range. Votaries of eloquence! in the Bible you find the grandest thoughts clothed in a simple majesty, worthy of the subject and the Author.-Servants of God! I need not tell you that the glories of immortality are revealed in language, which mortal lips had never before employed! But I forbear. The Bible is in your hands; and even now, while I am speaking its praise, "it is silently fulfilling its destined course;" it is raising many a heart to the throne of God.
XIV. THE EFFECTS OF ATHEISM UPON SOCIETY.
Extract from a Sermon of Rev. W. E. Channing.
FEW men, my friends, suspect, perhaps no man compre. hends, the extent of the support given by religion to every virtue. No man, perhaps, is aware, how much our moral and social sentiments are fed from this fountain; how powerless conscience would become, without the belief of a God; how palsied would be human benevolence, where there not the sense of a higher benevolence to quicken and sustain it; how sud
denly the whole social fabric would quake, and with what a fearful crash it would sink into a hopeless ruin, were the ideas of a Supreme Being, of accountableness, and of a future life, to be utterly erased from every mind. Once let men thoroughly believe that they are the work and sport of chance; that no superior intelligence concerns itself with human affairs : that all their improvements perish for ever at death; that the weak have no guardian, and the injured no avenger; that there is no recompense for sacrifices to uprightness and the public good; that an oath is unheard in heaven; that secret crimes have no witness but the perpetrator; that human existence has no purpose, and human virtue no unfailing friend; that this brief life is every thing to us, and that death is total, everlasting extinction; once let men thoroughly abandon religion; and who can conceive or describe the extent of the desolation which would follow! We hope, perhaps, that human laws and natural sympathy would hold society together. As reasonably might we believe, that were the sun quenched in the heavens, our torches would illuminate, and our fires quicken and fertilize the creation. What is there in human nature to awaken respect and tenderness, if man be the unprotected insect of a day? And what is he more, if atheism be true? Erase all thought and fear of God from a community, and selfishness and sensuality would absorb the whole man. Appetite, knowing no restraint, and poverty and suffering, having no solace or hope, would trample in scorn on the restraints of human laws. Virtue, duty, principle, would be mocked and spurned as unmeaning sounds. A sordid self-interest would supplant every other feeling; and man would become, in fact, what the theory of atheism declares him to be a companion for brutes.
XV.-PARAPHRASE OF THE NINETEENTH PSALM.
THE spacious firmament on high,
The unwearied sun, from day to day,
Soon as the evening shades prevail,
What though, in solemn silence, all
XVI.—THE AGGRESSIONS OF FRANCE IN 1797.
Extract from Robert Goodloe Harper's Address to his Constituents, upon the Dispute between the United States and France, May, 1797.
THE haughty language of the French Republic, my fellow citizens, towards this country, has been in effect neither more nor less than this :-"You Americans, whom we redeemed from slavery, when you were about to sink under the yoke of your former masters, and who, for that reason, ought to become in all things subservient to us, have instituted a government which has presumed to judge for itself, and refused to be guided by our directions. As a friendly admonition of our just displeasure, we take your vessels, confiscate your property, and throw your citizens into dungeons and prison ships, for we are terrible to our enemies.' But as soon as you shall
reclaim your government from its errors, and teach it to conform to our will, you shall again be received into favor."-Yes, this is the plain language of their conduct; this, the true interpretation of their words. And is America, fellow citizens, so low, so fallen, that she must tamely and submissively kiss this rod? Has that spirit which, twenty years ago, when she had not half her present population, not a tenth part of her wealth, no government, no bond of union among her different parts, no experience of her strength, no establishments of national defence, no name, no existence as a people, has that spirit which then impelled her to resist the haughty pretensions and tyrannical encroachments of Britain, in the zenith of her power, and elated by her recent triumph over the arms of France; has that spirit become so totally extinguished, that she must crouch at the feet of this haughty, this ambitious republic, and, by abject submission, purchase a precarious, a dishonorable quiet? Americans of seventy-six! ye who fought at Bennington, at Saratoga, at Monmouth; companions of Warren, of Montgomery, of Gates, of Greene, and of Washington, where have ye retired? Has your courage rusted with your swords, or is the soil which gave you birth no longer capable of nourishing patriots and heroes? Shall your country, that country which, notwithstanding the insulting taunts of this proud republic, your arms rescued from the oppressions of a tyrannical parent, shall it reap no further fruit from your toils and your blood, than to be reduced under the obedience of an unjust and ambitious neighbor, who now claims a surrender of our interests and our rights, and the direction of our affairs? No-Americans-I hear you with one voice answer-) -No, if our country call for us, we will again beat our ploughshares into swords, and convince the proud and insolent aggressor, that the spirit of seventy-six, the spirit which roused and sustained us in the Revolution, is not yet extinct.