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But, as I said of the religion of the intellect, so I say of the religion of the sensibilities, let us not despise it. Faulty as it is when not combined with the other elements of Christianity, it has yet done a noble work for the race. Many are the souls, lulled in the arms of sensualism or dead in sin, which it has aroused to some juster ideas of life, and to some keener sense of their responsibilities. One of the greatest religious movements of modern times, indeed, was set in operation by it. I refer to the movement begun by Wesley, Whitefield, and a few others, when the whole Protestant world seemed utterly given over to cant and formalism; a movement which, however much of its original force and spirit it may have lost, is not yet, and will not be for a long time to come, extinct.
And this brings me to speak finally of the religion of the hand, or of practical life. This, unlike the religion of the intellect, but like that of the sensibilities, has little regard for abstract theories or logical arguments. Nay, for any thing and every thing akin to dogmas or dogmatical teaching, it has neither sympathy nor toleration; for these things, and the importance which men attach to them, it reckons among the most unmitigated evils that have ever afflicted the world. According to it, had it not been for creeds and dogmas, all sectarian strife and bitterness would have been avoided, men would have lived together in sweetest fellowship, and the whole world have become an Eden. Judging by the affirmations of its disciples, indeed, one would suppose that the New Testament was composed of either catalogues of vices to be shunned and virtues to be practised, or of certain specific rules for the guidance of man's moral conduct in regard to which there could be no mistake, and that such a thing as a principle was hardly announced therein. But while herein it agrees with the religion of the heart, it disagrees therewith, and accords with the religion of the head, in its neglect of the feelings. For any thing bordering upon enthusiasm, it has no affinity, but a decided aversion. In regard to all religious exercises, its favorite passage of Scripture is, "Let your moderation be known to all men." Very calm, very sedate, very decorous in all their devotions are its disciples. With them true prayer and praise are not offered with the lips or the heart, but the hand, and con
sist in active endeavor to lessen the misery and augment the happiness of the world. Their continual cry is, "Cease prating about mere belief or tender sympathies, and give us good deeds. Show us these, and you show the best,-aye, you show the only evidence that is really worth regarding, of the Christian spirit."
The best illustration of this form of religion is found, I think, in Unitarianism; certainly in Unitarianism as held and administered by some of its disciples and teachers. A favorite topic of declamation with them, therefore, has been the uselessness and harmfulness of dogmas. What are their exact opinions,-whether they have any very well-defined ones upon some of the most momentous of all topics that can engage human attention,-it is not a little difficult to determine. Of every thing like a creed or a formula of faith, they have a profound horror; seemingly not remembering that a creed is nothing more nor less than one's belief, that one's belief is the result of his best thought, and that whoso is not wholly innocent of thinking must, in the nature of things, have some sort of a creed. Coupled with this aversion for dogmas is an almost equal dislike of every thing approximating remarkable fervor of feeling. The zeal and enthusiasm displayed by some of their neighbors they can characterize by no milder epithet than fanaticism. Cold, passionless, preceptive, addressed to the ear of highly-cultured and refined men and women is their teaching, but alas! almost impotent to take hold of the popular heart. "Bring the conduct into harmony with Christ's law," say such; "let the hand be active in deeds of beneficence, in clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, and redeeming the slaves of passion and sin, and the intellect and the sensibilities cannot go far or remain long out of the way." As though it were not very possible for one to give all his goods to the poor and his body to the flame, and yet be so destitute of real devotion to God and love to man as to be but sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.
Still by no means worthless is the religion of the hand. That its proclamation has done no little good, and is now needed, is manifest when we consider how liable men are to rest satisfied with mere dogmas or with the experience of some wonderful excitement of the sensibilities. More
than this, any dispensation of religion which does not result in earnest and persistent endeavors for the relief of the suffering, the enlightenment of the ignorant, and the salvation of the sinful, is unworthy a moment's thought. "Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit."
Thus much for the religion of the head, the heart, and the hand. I have written not as I desired, but as time and ability have enabled me. How faulty is each of these when separated from the others, must be apparent to every reflecting mind, as each can touch but a segment of our complex and many-sided nature. The truth is-a
truth which so many are ready to acknowledge, but which so few practically heed-they are mutually complementary. Each and all belong to, and harmoniously co-exist in, the religion of him who spake as never man spake; and never shall we behold any adequate expression of that religion, either in theory or life, till men are lifted to a perception and realization of the fact. What the world now imperatively demands is an interpretation of Christianity in which these three elements shall melt into one; a religion whose foundation will endure the closest scrutiny of the intellect, and whose structure no assaults of logic can shake or harm; a religion which the affections of the best hearts instinctively welcome as from heaven, and in whose sweet light and profound peace they are conscious of no unsatisfied want; and a religion which braces the conscience against every attack of temptation, makes the will resolute, and the hand strong for the discharge of every duty. But where, alas! shall we look for such an interpretation of Christianity? Has any church or sect been so fortunate as to discover and announce it? Though holding denominational relations, and shrinking from no responsibilities which those relations legitimately involve, I am constrained to say I think not. Yet having faith in a paternal Providence and in human progress, I am confident the time is coming when Christianity shall assume to the apprehensions of men such a form as I have indicated. The time is coming when it shall be seen and felt to be able to touch every side and thrill every fibre of the soul; when men, loving Jesus, will keep his words, and the Father and the Son will come unto them,1 illumining
1 John xiv. 23.
all the recesses of their understandings-will take up their abode with them, transforming law into love, service into freedom, and sorrow into joy.
Authorship, its Importance and its Rewards.
LOOKING, as from an eminence, upon men in the midst of their employments, on their farms, in the busy cities, or on the sea, we behold a number by no means inconsiderable, working silently and quietly in the laboratories of thought. In the same survey, too, we see the results of their labors, and those of their fellow-workmen in former ages, strewn over the length and breadth of the civilized world. In rolls of parchment rescued from the ruins of architectural splendor, in the more compact tomes of a later date, but still dusty and tawny with age, and in the ever multiplying books of the present, bearing in the freshness of their faces an evidence of the newer and fresher life within-in all these, treasured in the libraries of the old world and the new, or scattered through the homes of both, we see the achievements of their noiseless toils, and the works which they have wrought in secret.
And, seeing, we ask with a commendable utilitarianism, Of what use are all these? or, as Longfellow says to himself, at the close of his Outre Mer, "To what end is all this toil? Of what avail these midnight vigils?" The farmer knows that while supporting himself, he is benefitting others. Can such be the consciousness of the author, or is his profession merely an easy way of gaining a livelihood? Are his works such as will "perish in the using?" Have books only a temporary influence, serving but to while away a leisure hour? To consider these questions is to consider the influence of literature upon mankind.
Literature has the privilege and the responsibility of
influencing the mind of man. It is the repository of what has been thought in all times and upon all subjects, and as such is the proper means of imparting knowledge and awakening thought. It collects the discoveries and experiences of all other minds for the benefit of each individual mind. And it has to do not with the intellect alone, but operates also, both directly and indirectly upon our moral and religious natures.. The symmetrical development of the whole soul requires a great variety of means. Truths of all kinds, and from all sources, harmonize and mutually illustrate each other. Even that which is seemingly insignificant has its part to perform. "God gave a different gift to each,
To charm, to strengthen and to teach."
No one, probably, would deny that literature being thus the vehicle of instruction and discipline, is highly valua ble. But its relative bearing upon life-the proportionate part which it has to perform in moulding our characters, may not be quite so obvious. Aside from the knowledge that we gain from our observations on ourselves, on society and on nature, our whole store of wisdom is drawn from books. That is, the two ways in which God instructs us is through our own experience on the one hand, and on the other, through the records of his manifestations to others. The exception to this may be made that the teachings of others are not always in writing. Truth is often imparted and precepts delivered verbally, by father to child, or teacher to pupil. But notwithstanding the advantages of familiar and oral communication, important truths are usually more thoroughly and effectually presented in the written form. In this way the investiga tion is more careful and complete, and the conclusion derived may be more clearly and persuasively set forth in the exact phraseology of composition. From the greater caution of composing, we can retain and revolve a thought until it acquires definiteness, and delay on the expres sion until it will adequately convey our meaning. Says Channing, "We doubt whether a man ever brings his faculties to bear with their whole force on a subject, till he writes upon it for the instruction or gratification of others." We should now, perhaps, be possessed of a