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and liberal sciences, expanded its influence over a wider compass. It reflected its action thence into the yet barbarous Latium. It created the civilization of Rome; Romo carried that civilization abroad among the nations of the earth, and enstamped her image wherever she set down the foot of her power. Barbarism came to receive the teachings of this civilization, at length christianized, and to open a sphere of action for the physical sciences and useful arts in the nether masses. Then came the era for deepening as well as widening the action of this law, by the aid of physical discovery and invention. Fire arms resolved the feudal system into a community of nations. The press inspired that community with a common soul. The compass revealed this western world, and pioneered to these shores the select mind and choicest institutions of Europe. It still urged on its discoveries; it has nearly completed the exploration of the globe. And now comes this invention of Watt to perfect what these discoveries have begun, and then to penetrate into every part of the world, and to carry a Christian civilization wherever it penetrates. Sprung, armed for its mission, from the head of the progressive humanity, it cometh forth the genuine offspring of that one Eternal Reason which hath ruled through all ages past. It embraceth within itself, struggling for utterance, the history of millenniums to come. It standeth before the portals of the future, but as no veiled Isis, as no mute and motionless Harpocrates. It hath a language its own; and as it moveth to its task, it talketh freely of its mission. Thou unambiguous prophet! what a voice forthe future speaketh from the expanding volume of thy force! What a tale to the future is foretokened in the movements of thy demon strength ! Great fashioner of the destinies of nations! Thou hast hardly commenced thy career of victory; but when it is finished, all lands and all seas shall lie beneath thy feet, at once conquered and glorified by thy conquest !
And now, gentlemen, if such be the law of human progress, if it must thus ever operate from the past into the present, and through the present to the future, and as by a sort of logical process, what becomes of those doctrines of social and political reform, with which our land is now so rife, and with which the public ear is so incessantly abused? What becomes of those ideas of a natural, absolute, unlimited and uncontrollable popular sovereignty, which is at once to bring humanity to perfection by establishing a natural liberty and a natural equality in social and political life? There may be a dire clashing among some of the ideas that are thus brought forcibly together ; but the wise advocates of these doctrines see it not, feel it not. They have sundry naked abstractions, which they have created for themselves, or others for them, upon which, by their own unassisted wisdom they hope to build up society anew, on an improved plan. They would cut clear from the past; they would establish a new theory of human nature, and base a human progress upon ideas and laws their own. Well! let them do it; but let them do it, as they must, with material their own.
Let them create their world, and their man and woman, after their own image, and then, on their principles, run their course of events in rivalry with that of Divine Providence. But let them not lay their hands on those whom God has created after his image, and who are moving on to their high destiny under his divine guidance. Let them not undertake to substitute their will for His, their laws for His, over any except their own, and we shall then know what that progress is about which they are now so abundantly eloquent.
In their estimation, all social and political institutions can be removed, by their sovereign wills, with the same ease that you take the glove from your hand, and any of their own imaginings substituted in their place. Their abstractions have no reference to the influence of the past on the present; no reference to the existing social or political organizations which have grown out of by-gone centuries, and it is not strange that they are utterly astonished to find, when they attempt to carry them into effect, that they are entering into conflict with all that the past has done for us. And then it is very natural for them to proceed, from lauding their own principles, to the abuse of the past; to the abuse of all our ancestral institutions and social and political ideas, as antiquated, and as obstructions to human progress.
Gentlemen, the present state of human progress is a child, of which the hoary past is the venerable father. And the child bears the image and feels the pulsating blood, and enjoys the patrimony of its sepulchred parent. There is not an institution, or science, or art, of any practical value, nothing of the good or true, in social or political life, that has not come down to us as a creation, or as a result of the labors and achievements of the venerated dead; the dead, not of modern times merely, but of far distant antiquity. The blood of Thermopylæ, of Marathon, and Platea, flowed not in vain for us. Homer sung, Plato mused, and Socrates moralized, for our benefit. For us Rome went forth in her invincible legion to conquer and humanize; for us Roman wisdom planned and Roman valor fought, and laid broad and deep the foundations of christendom. Aye, something even of our nearer selves appears in the action of the distant past. That blood, which now circulates warm through the Anglo-American
heart, may be traced through centuries of light and shadow, of triumph and trial, in the Anglo-Saxon line. For us it struggled under the Norman rule, and created our idea of liberty and law; for us it struck the harp of heaven in Milton, of nature in Shakspeare, and proclaimed the laws of the universe in the philosophy of Newton. 0! let us build monuments to the past. Let them tower on mound and mountain ; let them rise from the corners of our streets, and in our public squares, that childhood may sport its marbles at their basements, and lisp the names of the commemorated dead, as it lisps the letters of its alphabet. Thus shall the past be made to stand out in a monumental history, that may be seen by the
and touched by the hand. Thus shall it be made to subsist to the senses, as it still lives in the organization of the social mind; an organization from which its errors have died out, or are dying, and in which nothing but its Herculean labors do, or are to endure. Yes, let us sanctify the past, and let no hand, with sacrilegious violence, dare mar its venerable aspect. Change indeed must come,
but then let it come by force of the necessary law of progress. So shall the present still ever build and improve on a patrimony formed by the deeds of heroic virtue, and the labors of exalted intellect. So shall the great and glorious be added to the great and glorious, and the labors of the illustrious dead still be made fruitful by the labors of illustrious living, time without end.
Such is the nature of that inheritance which has come down to us from the past, worthy to be honored by every philanthropic feeling for the present, and cherished by every hope for the future. And now do these theorists expect us to renounce this patrimony, and go and build on their barren abstractions ?—commence a new progress on their empty speculations? And shall we do it? No, never, never, whilst humanity, through her grand organization of nations, yields a necessary obedience to the laws of the Supreme Reason, or Nature, through her universal frame of worlds, stands fast in the laws of her God!
AN OMNIPRESENT REASON
THE CREATIVE AND SUSTAINING
And I have felt A presence that disturbs mo with the joy of elevated thought; a sense sublime, Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean, and the living air, And the blue sky; and, in the mind of man, A motion and a spirit, that impels All thinking things
all objects of all thought, And rolls through all things.