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right to stand among capitalists, and have the advantage of the best financial institutions. Whilst speaking of financial reform, we will only say that the workmen of America ought to vote a leather medal to the sages of an assembly of persons self-styled the National Industrial Congress, who lately, from Chicago, published their decrees upon almost every subject in the world, and demanded, among other things, the abolition of all banking, and all laws for the collection of debt. These theorizing Jack Cades had better at their next meeting abolish all wholesale trade in wheat and wool as well as in money, and vote all law to be tyranny. We have read many of the reports of the conventions of practical mechanics, and have found no extravagances equal to those of the Chicago Congress.
We have now glanced at the main features of American Socialism, and seen what important principles are involved in its discussions. It is matter of congratulation that the excesses of French theorists have so few advocates among our people; that Communism like that of Cabet is as far from our popular creed as it was before its leader found a home at Nauvoo, in our West; and that some of the most prominent followers of Fourier profess to repudiate certain immoralities of his system, whilst they regard him as the most gifted expounder of the general laws of associate action. Strange man he was indeed,-a romancer in mathematical formulas,dreaming of reducing the complex facts of society to abstract principles,-applying the rules of calculus to the caprices, the sympathies aud antipathies of men, even as physicists do to the ebb and flow of tides,-nay, estimating the fancies and coquetries of women by a mathematical scale as positive as that which optical science applies to the shades of the prismatic spectrum. Every philosophy has its peculiar madness, and his was in the mathematical line. He was at any time ready to prove, by plain figures, that he could pay the national debt of England in six months by the product of hens' eggs, or that if a certain moderate sum of money were advanced him he would directly establish a Phalanstery that would solve for ever the problem of labor and capital, and strike a death-blow at pauperism, crime, and every form of misery. A strange man indeed, but not without his use. Of him, as of the Bacons and the Newtons, we may learn valuable truth, without endorsing his follies. The Novum Organum we may honor without believing in astrology; the Principia we may accept without endorsing the author's apocalyptic theories. The French analyst of social laws and institutions
is winning respect for many of his views from men who abhor his theology and laugh at his cosmogony.
In regard to the whole Socialist movement, we have no wish to play the part of the prophet or cherish the spirit of the cynic. For ages society has been in progress, and each age brings with it new adaptations and harmonies. The end is not yet. The office of the Christian moralist is at once conciliatory, hopeful, and wary.
He should favor every movement that can remove prevalent discords and harmonize the various interests of mankind. He should be well acquainted with the lessons of history, and bring their hope and their warning to bear upon the thought and action of society. He should understand well how complex a thing our civilization is, how dearly purchased are our common blessings, and that the lot of man is to be estimated quite as much from what he has gained over barbarian rudeness as by what he dreams of gaining by realizing his ideal of perfection. He should appreciate the difference between social science and other sciences: for in the one the experiments may cost life and happiness, whilst in material science the experiments may be tried on the unconscious elements, or at best upon brute beasts. Very tenderly should reformers experiment upon the body politic or social, well knowing that sad though the disease may be now, it has been and may be far worse.
Above all, the Christian moralist is to insist upon the good old-fashioned doctrine of the vast power of principle in forming character, and of character in deciding destiny and shaping society. The Bible is and has always been the true basis of social reform, and men have been every way the strongest and most prosperous where its precepts have been best known and applied. No Socialist theories of themselves ever have produced or ever will produce a community equal to our best Christian villages, -where not a single individual is found who eats the bread of idleness or who will accept the pauper's pittance,—where stinted means are the spur to energy instead of the occasion of despondency,—where the home, the school, the church exercise their offices of mutual blessing, and the nation gathers from them tribute in a form more precious than that of flocks or gold.
The great future of American society rests with the youths who are now under training in our schools and colleges. With them lies the practical determination of the important questions between capital and labor that agitate public opinion. With them all should be hope and resolution. We must confess that such is by no means the case with multitudes, especially in our great cities, who find themselves, with an imperfect education and improvident habits, burdened with large families and sadly stinted in means of living. For the youth who are every year leaving our public schools, the mechanical trades hold out encouraging inducements. Let them use every opportunity of carrying on their work of education, and learn to apply science to their various arts, and with energy and frugality they may secure positions on an average as promising as are opened in any business or profession. Let them, on the contrary, pass their first years idly or prodigally, and entail upon themselves the burdens of improvident marriage, and they will find themselves increasing the great multitude of those who live from hand to mouth, and whose lives are cursed from having each day burdened by the cares and debts of yesterday.
In this country education, without lowering its high classical and scientific standard, should ever become more practical. All the enterprising youth of the nation should in some measure share in the privileges of the improved industrial culture which are now dispensed in our best colleges and scientific schools. We honor industry in all its legitimate forms, and always feel like taking off our hat to every man who holds the implements of honest labor in his hand. Industry will have its true dignity, when better culture guides and elevates its votaries,—when the vast developments of science and achievements of art shall become the property of energetic and enlightened workmen, by virtue of their individual and associate enterprise.
More than we were prepared to believe, industrial interests are to govern the world. Merchants and manufacturers are the princes of our civilization, and can outbid the time-honored professions in their offers of emolument and sometimes of honor. The displays of mechanical skill and invention are eclipsing military parades and naval pageants. The great festival of our age is to be in honor of industry, and England invites the world, not to a tournament or the jubilee of a victory, or the anniversary of a Magna Charta, but to an exhibition of the perfection of her peaceful arts in friendly co-operation with the arts of all nations, freely welcomed to her shores. In this festival we rejoice, both for what it will be and what it will promise. The better ages of peaceful co-operation will come,--the ages when the beautiful and sublime inventions of art will be, as never before, bonds of friendly union and agencies of benignant power. The mighty engines already constructed are teachers of associate order,
and call men to combine judiciously and efficiently, that they may thus wield forces too vast and costly for the use of the isolated individual. There is power in ideas, but not much power until they arm themselves with appropriate weapons. Christianity needed the Greek language, the Roman roads, and in fine the printing press, to achieve its best triumphs. Liberty languished until printed books carried thought on every wind, and cannon balls levelled the pride of feudal lords. The sciences and arts developed within a century, are the appropriate armament of a peaceful humanity. Enough of true progress has already been made to give a character of sobriety to the most earnest hope. If in fifty years more a great industrial pageant is celebrated on our globe, we believe that our country will be the scene, and that the proofs of industry in agriculture, mechanics and manufactures, will surpass all the wonders that England now can gather; whilst the trophies of invention and energy will be also triumphs of humanity, cheering marks of the progress of our race in fraternal sentiment and co-operative order. Whatever developments, however the future may have in store, our faith and experience forbid us to expect the rise of any power that shall dispense with the virtues of self-denial and self-control, or with the affections which bind man to the home and family, or with the graces which Heaven opens through the gospel of Christ. No new science of statics will give man a better stand-point than the Rock of Ages,-no new dynamics can supersede the power of faith and the Divine Spirit. In welcoming the new age we cannot part with the old gospel.
GENTLEMEN OF THE KNOWLES RHETORICAL SOCIETY :Without attempting to secure your favorable regard, by apologetic preliminaries of any kind, a custom, in our humble judgment, more honored in the breach than the observance, suffer me to call your attention, at once, to the subject of Spirit and Form, which I propose to consider with reference to an æsthetic and practical, rather than a metaphysical, or theological use.
* Published by request of “The Knowles Rhetorical Society," before whom it was delivered, at Newton, Mass., 27th August, 1850.
All are familiar with the common distinction between mind and matter, soul and body, thought and expression. It is much the same as that between spirit and form. The distinction is real, is universal. It is found in all times, and in all languages. It pervades the universe. Indeed we may say, without affecting philosophical precision, that spirit and form are the only two things in existence; and while distinct, are generally found conjoined, the one being the symbol, analogon, or expression of the other. At any rate, it will be admitted that all beings and all modes of being, all thought and all embodiment of thought, range themselves under these two heads.
Even if we allow to each finite spirit a distinct personality; nay more, if we allow to matter a real, though not independent existence, we have in the universe only God and his creation, man, or angel, and his creation ; in other words, infinite spirit, with its appropriate form or expression, and finite spirit, with its appropriate form or expression. Matter, however substantial it may be deemed, after all is only a more perfect and striking form. It is fluent, it is infinitely divisible, it changes, and passes away. Hence it is difficult to conceive of body, except as the shadow or reflection of mind. If separate from spirit, after all it comes from spirit. The material creation itself is but the garment of the Almighty. We do not indeed mean to say, that the whole is simply ideal ; far from it. The external universe exists, exists for us, and has the qualities which we ascribe to it. But it does not exist per se. It is dependent, dependent upon spirit. It began with time, it exists by sufferance, exists as a form, and as a form it may vanish away:
If this be so, the import of matter is not to be sought in itself, but in mind. The whole visible creation is a symbol, or hieroglyph, or, if you please, a system of symbols or hieroglyphs. Thought, immaterial and eternal, is the key to reveal its secrets.
There was a time when form (as known to us) did not exist,—when the universe was all spirit-all God.' Selfsubsistent and self-satisfying, the absolute Truth, the uncreated Beauty, Goodness, and Power, was a single spiritual Essence. Active as spirit, conscious too and ever-blessed, God was simply and absolutely The All. Form he had none. For, a pure spirit, boundless and eternal, has no shape nor dimen