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obstructions arising from any quarter, than are allowed to come in to direct the investigations of the works of God. And as the utmost freedom is allowed them, and ever will be allowed them, so we claim that the science of theology should be allowed to avail itself of all the light which can be thrown on its doctrines, from an investigation of God's works, and from the advanced positions which are now occupied in the study of languages, and in the knowledge of the human mind.
Our institutions are all based on the right of free discussion. It is assumed in this country that all things may be examined and discussed. We have no liberty which does not suppose this ; we know of none which does not admit and defend it. Herein is our warfare with the kings and tyrants of the old world ; herein is our contest with those thrones of despotism which have so long tyrannized over man ; herein is the reason why monarchs turn pale in their palaces and tremble on their seats of power ; herein is the contest of the protestant religion with the papacy ; herein the struggle between freedom and arbitrary power.
We owe our present elevation to this freedom of discussion, more than to any thing else. It is because mind has met mind, and thought has conflicted with thought, and because there has been a healthful agitation of public opinion an agitation, compared with the leaden slumbers of other nations, like the healthful motion of the waters of the mighty deep compared with the stillness of the stagnant pool — that we owe all that is great and valuable in our nation. It is because it has been hitherto a maxim in the Republic that there was no topic which might not be subjected to the most free inquiry ; no point in politics, morals, science, or religion which might not be canvassed most freely by any press or by any man; in any primary assembly, or in any legislative hall, that we are now a nation of freemen. And our countrymen have had no other idea of liberty. No matter from what quarter, or by what man any sentiment is advanced, every American has believed that he has a perfect right to examine it, and to embrace or reject it as he pleases, or to express his sentiments in regard to it in any place, or to any class of men. And it is the right on which all our institutions depend. The extraordinary doctrine which has been recently advanced that there are some points which may not be subjected to free discussion; and the little sensibility which has been felt in regard to the claim, has done more to alarm the true friends of liberty in this land than all that has Vou. IX. No. 26.
ever happened from the threatenings of foreigners, or all the dangers that have ever assailed us from abroad. We need not fear foreign armies. We have measured strength with them, and our swords have mingled with theirs in deadly strife ; and we know that our liberties are safe from any foreign invasion. We need not dread their fleets, for we can build a navy like theirs, and can, if necessary, meet the mistress of the ocean on the “mountain wave." But how shall we meet this subtle enemy? How, if Austria seeks to destroy us, not by armies, but by a religion which forbids us to examine all things ? How, if one half of the nation shall refuse to their brethren the right of the fullest inquiry in all that pertains to the national morals, character, liberty, welfare? The pulse of freedom beats languid when this right is denied ; it sends vigorous tides of life and health only where it it is conceded that every thing may be investigated freely. The most ominous feature, we repeat, in these times is, that this right has been called in question, and that it has been met with so much yielding, and so much compromise by those who should bleed and die rather than for one moment surrender this elementary principle of liberty. - We do not know that this state of things has any immediate connection with the papacy, or that it is an indication that that false and ruinous system has yet extensively seized upon the public mind here. But one thing we know. There is not any thing that could occur in this age, in all the wide world, that would create deeper joy at the Vatican, or produce there the emotions of a jubilee so certainly as the assurance that the principle had gone forth in this nation that there was one subject, no matter what it was, that was not to be discussed or examined. This is the elementary idea of that system of despotism. To produce this no one can doubt that all that art and wealth can do will be accomplished. This done, the dominion of the mother of abominations over us is secure. We care not to what subject the point relates. We care not whether it be a point connected with science, with morals, with slavery, with government, with theology. The moment the principle is admitted with tameness by the people of this nation, that moment our liberty ceases. We become a different people from those who landed on the rock at Plymouth; a different people from those who planned, and those who achieved our liberty. That moment the dark shade of papal power rests on our land. The shadow of death will streich itself over our hills and vales; and the
whole world may be destined to sink in the horrors of a second night of ages. Our liberty consists in resisting this; our knell is tolled when this is once conceded.
Our only other argument in defence of this right is derived from the Bible. We allege that the Bible is the friend of free discussion ; that it allows it to the utmost limit; and that it is favorable to the independent investigations which the mind may be desirous of pursuing on any subject. It is by no means our intention to go into a formal examination of its pages on this point, or to adduce a formidable array of Scripture texts. An attempt to adduce all the arguments which could be derived from it on the subject, would lead us altogether beyond any reasonable limits in this Article. There are some facts, however, which will conduct us to the same conclusion by another, and a shorter route, in regard to the point which we are now defending
One is, that where there is a design to suppress the right of free discussion, there is an effort to keep the Bible out of view. If there is an attempt to establish a fabric of iniquity which will not bear the light ; or to bind the human mind or body in chains; or to rear the dark and frightful forms of superstition, the attempt is always introduced by a process of removing the Bible from those who are to be affected. This was eminently the case in the dark ages of Europe ; and in the establishment of all the forms of error and sin in the ascendency of the papacy. Every step which was taken to prepare the world for the establishment of the Inquisition was a step removing the Bible from the hands of the people ; and all the progress of the formidable ascendency of the papacy over the human mind can be traced in successive measures which were adopted to withhold the sacred volume from the mass of mankind. It is so now. There is no freedom of inquiry in lands where the Bible is unknown; or where it is withheld from the mass of the people. We might refer here to a series of laws in our own country by which the Bible is withheld from multitudes of immortal' beings-laws prohibiting them under heavy penalties to be taught to read; and to the avowed purpose in connection with those laws to hold them, and their children in perpetual bondage. It is felt, and known that if the Bible is allowed to circulate there; if the human mind, now bound there with manacles more formidable than those which bind their limbs, should ever be roused into the consciousness of its high powers, and a conviction of its
freedom by contact with the word of God; if thought should be allowed to meet thought, and mind conflict with mind, there are no laws or fetters which could long bind such a mass of mind in ignoble servitude. And we do not know any where, in the history of man, except on the records of the papacy, a more striking involuntary tribute paid to the fact which we are urging, than in these laws in our own country. Well did all those concerned in rearing the stupendous fabric of the papacy, and well did those who were concerned in the enactment of these laws know, that it was impossible to paralyze, and subdue the human mind to the accomplishment of their purposes so long as the Bible had a free and unlimited circulation among those whom they hoped to reduce either to the servitude of the soul only, or to servitude of body and soul together. - We might here, also, advert to another fact in illustration of the remark which we are now making. It is, that when there is any design to impose any doctrines on men; to perpetuate any system of opinion from age to age; to restrict the right of free discussion in the church, the plan always is, to substitute a creed, or a system of philosophy or divinity where the Bible should be ; and while there is a professed deference to the Scriptures, the real controlling power is the creed. Men, whose leading aim is to secure fixedness and perpetuity of any form of opinion, appeal to such sources; men, whose aim it is to enlarge the faculties of the mind, and prompt to generous and noble freedom, appeal at once to the Bible, and submit their opinions to the most ample investigation.
Another fact is, that where the Bible is suppressed there is no mental freedom; no large and liberal thought ; nothing which can be substituted for it to waken up the energies of the mind. We might appeal here to all the lands where the Bible has been withheld from the mass of men. Who is ignorant of the state of things in Spain, in Portugal, in Italy ? Perhaps the latter country furnishes now the most striking illustration that could be desired of our position. It was once the land of freedom, where there was no dark and debasing superstition designed to cramp and fetter the human mind. It might have been still, had the Bible been freely given to the people. But it is a land where freedom of thought has not been encouraged or allowed for fifteen centuries. It is a land where all attempts to emancipate the human mind, would be repressed alike by the government, and by religion. It is a land where the Bible is abstracted from
the hands of men; and where the mind is fettered. It is the land where Galileo was imprisoned for the first bursting forth of free and manly thought in regard to science. It is a land of luxury, and ease, and pampered vice. And how can mind be employed there? It may be by arts congenial with luxury and effeminacy. The marble may be chiseled into all the forms which luxury, or sensuality may demand; the walls of the palace may be covered with the decorations of art, and the canvass may be made to present exquisite forms and attractive beauties. The temples of religion may be decorated with statuary, and with the finest productions of the pencil. The soft sky, and the blue air ; the clime, the habits, the arts, nay the religion may all combine to aid each other in all that is soft, effeminate, luxurious, sensual. But liberty is dead. There is no manly thought. There is no spirit of enterprise. There is no freedom. There is no bold, and liberal discussion. But place the Bible in all the habitations of Italy; make it in this respect like what our own land is, and who could doubt that the noble spirit of the ancient Romans would revive ; that Rome might yet be in respect to the conversion of all nations to God what Rome once was in the subjugation of the world, when the earth trembled beneath the tread of its legions ?
These facts demonstrate that the Bible is the friend and the promoter of freedom of thought. And we appeal to that Bible as giving to all men the right to form and express their opinions. God has made all men the children of the same Father, endowed them with an immortal nature alike, and made them responsible to him, and to him alone for the formation of their opinions. He has created no aristocracy; no nobility, who have the right to think for their fellow-men; and to impose their opinions on the world. Just so long as the Bible is given freely and fully into the hands of men, so long the mind will be conscious of its energies, and will be free. - On these grounds we claim that all men have the most perfect right to discuss all subjects to which they may turn their minds. They are not to be intimidated by threats; they are not to be appalled by the charge of heresy; they are not to be restrained by the force of alleged compacts, or by laws. They are not to be frightened by the notion that they may hazard their souls salvation by broaching some doctrine unknown to the fathers. No one class of men is to be held up to reproach for the simple fact that they differ in opinion from any other class, however numerous or