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humanity to every household and every individual. As the eye ranges downward over the ages between, it catches here and there the word republic, and is deluded. It sees but a mirage. The word designated only the rule of a brilliant aristocracy. At the time when Demosthenes was uttering his words of fire to one hundred thousand freemen of Athens, those men were holding in chains four hundred thousand of their fellow beings; and Sparta was still worse. The freemen of the Roman republic were vastly outnumbered by the unprivileged classes, and both together by the slaves. The republics of the middle ages were a set of mere oligarchies. Florence, Venice, Genoa, and Pisa were not in reality free; they were dynasties in which a few individuals had usurped the rights and disposed of the fortunes of the great bulk of their fellow citizens. The citizens of Venice were but twenty-five hundred. During the most flourishing period of their history the citizens of all the Italian republics did not amount to twenty thousand; and these privileged classes held in subjection as many millions. Indeed in Florence the privileges of these privileged classes were at length usurped by the great merchant princes, the Medici ; and when Savonarola urged Lorenzo the Magnificent on his deathbed to restore these lost privileges to his townsmen, the dying man turned his face to the wall and held his peace.
The free towns of Flanders confined their freedom to the burghers. Among our own Saxon ancestors, not half the population could assert the right to freedom ; they often sold their kindred into slavery on the continent, and “the price of a man was but four times the price of an ox."
For all this heathenism had no remedy. It offered none. The most brilliant minds, like Aristotle, defended even slavery on the ground of national inferiority - a plea that is, always and everywhere, a heathen plea. The first voice, the only voice, and the oftuplifted voice during the middle ages in behalf of the poor crushed creature of God was the voice of religion pleading for a brother man, made of one blood with us, the soul for whom Christ died, the fellow traveler to the judgment seat and the kingdom of heaven. That voice unceasingly declared that in Christ Jesus “there is neither bond nor free.” Among the earliest records of the primitive Church are found tokens of freedom for the bondmen, and from the time of Constantine manumission was most commonly performed in church at religious festivals. The popes repeatedly uttered themselves against slavery. Charters of freedom were granted “for the love of God,” “for the relief of the soul.” The clergy broke up the slave-markets at Bristol, Hamburg, Lyons, and Rome. It was confessedly the felt antagonism of the gospel, chiefly, which swept the institution out of Europe. In our own country, one hundred and fifty years ago, so deep was the conviction from New England to Carolina that “to be baptized was inconsistent with being a slave" that South Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia had to negative the notion by special enactment; and it was the same underlying inextinguishable antagonism which at last brought the final deadlock and overthrow. And for the general freedom of governmental institutions the world is indebted to the same agency. The Teutonic tribes did not bring it; they brought barbaric license. Chivalry did not bring it; that brought aristocracy and vassalage. Increasing wealth did not bring it ; that brought servility. Religious principle originated it, cultivated it, matured it, suffered for it, fought for it, and secured it. Throughout the middle ages it had been the function of Christianity to resist the tyranny of force. But the time came when a purer and deeper experience of its power was to renovate the state. He who is called “the morning star of the Reformation brought also the dawning light of liberty; under a religious form he asserted freedom of mind for the people. Wycliffe's Bible was branded as a germ of sedition, and a Lollard was a dangerous man. From that day the seed of civil liberty germinated in the soil of Christian principle. To Puritanism, say Hume and Hallam alike, is England chiefly indebted for her liberties; and all the earlier and much of the later stages of the progress were by struggles, not for civil, but for religious freedom. The one, be it remembered, but followed in the train of the other. So Calvinism, in its early history, was dreaded by the monarchs of Europe as no better than republicanism. “ It was able,” says Froude, “to inspire and sustain the bravest efforts ever made by man to break the yoke of unjust authority.” Freedom lay in it as a living germ. And the force which developed that germ into the massive trunk of New
England freedom was religious principle. It took such men as Latimer and Ridley and Rogers and Bilney to walk to the stake rather than yield the rights of conscience; such a man as Hampden to brave a monarch's writ, single-handed ; such men as the Ironsides to shiver that monarch's power on the battlefield ; such men as Brewster, Carver, and Bradford to forsake home and fatherland and press through a thousand sorrows to plant the choice vine in the fruitful land.
From time to time the statesman and the legislator also have come to the front, but only to formulate the unwritten law of the gospel and the Church behind them. Occasionally the excited skeptic has fumed against oppression and oppressors, often with a recklessness that meant anarchy and bloodshed, and at its best estate only floated like the foam and the bubbles on the deep, mighty current of Christian sentiment rolling resistlessly to the consummation. And whosoever shall gather up the names that actually mark that onflow will not find there the names of the world's politicians, but such names as those of Wycliffe, Luther, Tyndale, Calvin, Knox, Robinson, Roger Williams, Wilberforce, and Shaftesbury.
IV. Religious principle is needed to give vitality to free institutions when attained. The same influence that produced must preserve. If it took the living spirit to build up the body, when the living spirit departs the body is dead. The outward forms of republicanism are but a mechanism at best. We boast of constitution, laws, jury, ballot-box, habeas-corpus act, and courts of justice. But the value of jury trial is just the value of the jurymen. The jury was, as one has said, the paralysis of justice under the Plantagenets, and under Charles II a blind and cruel system ; in the Reign of Terror the jury was the feeder of the guillotine; and many a lawyer in this country has seen it, at certain times and places, a mockery and a farce. Some of us have seen the habeas-corpus act become the attempted means of capturing a slave; we have not forgotten the obiter dictumı of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case; and we can never forget how the bonds of the best of constitutions were snapped by a cyclone of reckless passion. The significance of the ballot is that of the balloter. Eighteen out of every nineteen votes made the first Napoleon consul for life; the third Napoleon was chosen president by a majority of six millions and his coup d'etat sanctioned by an overwhelming popular vote.
One of the most instructive scenes of human history was when, in the spring of 1794, Robespierre, the terrible man of blood, wearied with executions, mounted the tribune to plead with the atheistic assembly for the religion which he and they had blotted out. And as he stood and urged the restoration of religion as the only basis of republicanism and of freedom, and by his strange eloquence carried the assembly in loud acclamations and unanimous vote, “never," says Lamartine, ,'had his attitude displayed such a tension of will or his voice such a tone of moral authority. He seemed to speak as a messenger of truth to men.” For with