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the universe, and the primal intuitions of humanity, as the being of God. A God and a future life are necessities of human nature. And there is, without us, a supply for every want within us. As soon will you find a race of beings with appetites for food, for whom no food is provided, as a race with longings for God and desires for immortality, while no God and immortality exist to meet those longings, to satisfy those desires." "But if there be a God to answer to our longings, and a blessed immortality to satisfy our desires, why not a devil to answer to our fears, and a hell to answer to our guilty terrors? And would a God leave us without a revelation of his will." "The instincts of our nature are the revelation of God's will. To obey our instincts is to obey the law of God." "Then is the law of God as various as men's natural tendencies? Does the murderer, whose tendency is to kill, obey the law of God, as well as the victim who struggles to escape his doom? And does the eagle obey the law of God in pouncing on the dove, and the dove in seeking to evade its talons? Is every tendency the law of God? If it be the will of God that the powerful tendencies of some should neutralize the feebler tendencies of others, is not might, right? And if might be right, why murmur at anything that is? For everything that is, exists by virtue of its might: and every thing that perishes, perishes in virtue of its weakness. Are you not sanctioning the doctrine of the Optimist, and saying with Pope,
ALL THINGS UPSIDE DOWN.
"In spite of sense, in erring reason's spite,
"Whatever is, is right," says another. "It is the result of eternal wisdom, of almighty power, and infinite love. God is all perfect, and He is all in all. A perfect God could have nothing short of a perfect object in all His works, a perfect motive prompting Him, a perfect rule to guide Him; and, as the author of all existence, a perfect material out of which to make the creatures of His love. All is perfect. It is men's own imperfection that makes them think otherwise." "All is perfect," you say, "yet man is imperfect; and his imperfection makes him think other things imperfect.
All is perfect, yet something is imperfect; and that something is the most perfect or the least imperfect creature in existence.' "Imperfection itself is a part of perfection,' says the Optimist. "As discords are necessary to the highest musical compositions; so imperfection is necessary to the highest perfection."
"The most difficult point of all," says a philosophical Unitarian, "is that of necessity. Every thing must have a cause. Man's actions are the result of physical causes ; yet man is consciously free.” "Man is no more free than the planets," says an Atheist. "He acts freely, as the planets do, that is, he acts in harmony with his tendencies,-in harmony with the causes of his actions,-the causes of his actions cause them by causing him to will them, by inclining him to do them; and the causes of planetary action produce that action in the same way: but the freedom and the necessity are the same in the one case as in the other. All is free, and all is bound. The chain is infinite, eternal, and almighty. The difference between man and a planet is, that man is conscious of his acts, and the planet is not." "Then duty is a dream," said a third, "and conscience a delusion; and responsibility a fiction; and virtue and vice are alike unworthy of either praise or blame, reward or punishment." "A tree is not responsible," said the Necessitarian, "yet we cut it down, if it bears no fruit; and we cut off the natural branches, and insert new scions, if its fruit is not to our liking. A musquito is irresponsible, yet we kill it when it gives us pain. A horse is irresponsible, yet we caress it when it gives us pleasure.' "So man is no more than a tree, a musquito, or a horse! And selfishness is the measure of our duty! We caress or kill as we are pleased or pained." And so the conversation ran on in one party.
In another the Bible is the subject of conversation. But here all are agreed on the principal point. No one regards it as of supernatural origin, or of Divine authority. The question is, whether the Anti-Slavery Society shall acknowledge that the clergy are right in saying that the Bible sanctions Slavery. "That it does sanction Slavery is certain," says one.. "Abraham was a slave-holder, a slave-trader, and a slave-breeder. Isaac inherited his slave property.
Jacob had slaves, and had offspring by two of them. Moses allows the Jews to buy up the nations round about them, and to hold them as slaves, as a possession, and to transmit them as an inheritance to their children for ever. The Decalogue recognizes slaves as property. Jesus never condemns slave-holding, and Paul returns a fugitive. to his master. Take the clergy at their word. Acknowledge that their sacred book does sanction Slavery. Acknowledge that it allows a master to flog his slave to death, on the ground that the slave is his money. Acknowledge too that it allows the slave-holder to make his female slaves his concubines. Acknowledge every thing. Take the preachers' side in the matter, and you will shock the preachers, and you will shock the public, and cause them to give up the defence of Slavery. "The slave-holders are not governed by the Bible," says another. "Their appeal to it is only a pretence, an argumentum ad hominem. They favor Slavery because it is profitable, and because they like it. Make it unprofitable, and they will soon find a different interpretation for the Bible." "Show that the Bible is no authority,—that it is merely a human book,and you take away their argument for Slavery," said one. "Their argument is force," said another, "and you will never abolish Slavery till you take up arms and crush the tyrants." "But the Bible is the question," says a third. "Call a Convention to discuss the Bible," said I, and the Convention was accordingly called.
And thus the conversation ran in private circles, during the intervals of the public meetings.
MAN A TREMENDOUS CREATURE.
I had supposed, that as the people of America had got a Democratic form of government, no further reforms were necessary, except the Abolition of Slavery. I now found however that there were more Reformers, and a greater variety of Reformers, in the circle into which I had fallen, than in England. There was nothing right,—nothing as it ought to be. The family, the church, the school, the government, religion, morals, and even nature were all wrong. The world was full of prejudice. We were heirs of all the mistakes of our forefathers for a thousand generations. "Every thing wants destroying," said one, "that every thing may be created anew.' The oracle
of the universe cries, "Behold, I make all things new; and that oracle we ought to echo; and on that oracle we ought to act. 'When I was a child, I thought as a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child; but when Í became a man, I put away childish things.' Such was the language of the great Reformer of antiquity. The human race should adopt the same language, and follow the great example. The race should say, 'When I was a child, I thought as a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child; but now, having become a man, I will put away childish things.' I will put away my childish thoughts on religion, on science, on morals, on government, on education, on marriage, on slavery, on war, on every thing. The fact that they are old, is a proof they are wrong. The clothes which fit a child cannot fit a man. The notions, the institutions, the laws, which were good for the world's infancy, cannot be good for its manhood." "And they shall be put away, so far as I am concerned,' said a lady. "And they shall be put away, so far as I am concerned," answered another. "Ye are born again,” says a third. "That noble declaration proves you new creatures. Old things are passed away; behold, all things
are become new."
A thousand wild sentiments were uttered; a thousand extravagant things were said; and many unwise things were done. It was plain that a license of thought was preparing the way, had already prepared the way, for a license of deed. This license produced a fearful amount of mischief before long. It had produced no little then. Many a domestic schism,-many a disgraceful alliance,many a broken heart,-were the result of those lawless, wanton speculations.
And some came to see their folly and repented in part. Lucy Stone declared she would never marry according to law; but she married according to law in the end, contenting herself with recording a vain and foolish protest. Harriet K. Hunt would never pay any more taxes till she was allowed to vote, and was eligible to the Presidency of the United States. Whether she has paid her tax or not we do not know; but she has not yet got a vote, and is certainly not yet the President of the United States. Mrs. C.
L. made a declaration, the publication of which covered her hard-working and excellent husband with shame; but she too has since seen her error, and endeavored to make all things right.
It was rather amusing, but somewhat startling,-it was very bewildering, yet very instructive, to listen to all the projects and theories of a multitude of thoughtful people, suddenly emancipated from religion and moral obligation, and from law and custom, and to speculate on what might be the result of so much extravagance. It put humanity. before one in a new light. It was a new revelation. And all those people were educated up to the American standard. And they were all in tolerable circumstances. Some were rich, and most were owners of the lands on which they lived. Several of them had been ministers of the Gospel. Many of them were authors. And their appearance and manners were often equal to those of the best. And some of them could hardly be excelled as public speakers. Some of the lady speakers were the best I ever heard. After mingling in such society, and witnessing such a strange breaking up of "the fountains of the great deep of thought, and fancy, and animal passion, it is hard to say what might not take place in the world, if the spirit of infidel reform which is pervading the nations should become general.
I returned to my home neither a better nor a wiser man. But I was full of thought. I had been afraid that in the excitement of controversy, and under the smart of persecution, I had gone too far. But here were people who had gone immeasurably farther. I was afraid I had been too rash. But here were pleasant looking and educated people, compared with whom I was the perfection of sobriety. And the sense of my comparative moderation quieted my fears, prevented salutary investigation, and prepared me to go still farther in the way of doubt. New books were placed in my hands, all favorable to anti-christian views. I got new friends and acquaintances, and all were of the doubting, unbelieving class. Several of them were atheists, and insinuated doubts with regard to the foundation of all religious belief. Till my settlement in America I had continued to believe, not only in God, and