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not the on-going and up-rising of the spiritual. The understanding has often been much cultivated, the judgment enlightened, and thus the sense, to which all has been referred, bas been at times highly refined; but yet in all this there has been only a sensualism made more splendid and imposing. The spirit has remained in its self-debasement, and only thrown a more gaudy robe over the slave to whom she has yielded in her prostitution. Whether in the herding of an African kraal, or the stratification of caste in an Asiatic despotism, or the refinement of a Grecian, and the valor of a Roman commonwealth, still in all has it been humanity upturning some face of its sensualism, in any of which it were impossible to catch another expression of the spiritual, than one of servility and debasement. If some Socrates or Aristides has
. appeared, in whom the spiritual has seemed to glow with some portion of the majesty of its recovered freedom, it has been intolerable to depraved humanity; and the age has had its hemlock ready, or its ostracism has driven the just into exile. If some apostle of a spiritual religion has stood upon their Areopagus, and preached the necessity of repentance, and return to a pure and spiritual worship, the message has been received by the most refined of their philosophers, with mockery, and the scoffing inquiry, “ What will this babbler
?" Revelation from heaven, also, confirms the testimony from the history of humanity upon the earth, that “the world by wisdom knew not God;" and that “there is none righteous, no not one.” Progress in anything, except as a rolling of sensualism from side to side, is a vain expectation from the unaided working of human nature. There may be frequent calms succeeding to the storms of passion ; a renunciation of practices found too destructive to be continued; the cowering from fear or the consenting from flattery; but the firm, free, unfaltering march of society, under the inner law of holiness, will not be effected from any action of its own inherent forces. Its repenting will be only regret for its imprudences; its reformations will be the changes which are only the reactions of its surfeiting; and its progressive improvement will be but the delusive bondage of the spirit within a more gilded sensuality, until in judgment, God shall lay upon the whole his hand of indignant but righteous retribution.
Unceasing gratitude is due to Heaven, that the race have not thus been left in the madness of their chosen degradation. A remedy has been found; and the nature of the remedy demanded was clearly indicated by the nature of the disease. Nothing could possibly help but some interposition which should rouse the spiritual to burst its bonds, and subject the sense again to its appropriate servitude, and should also make an adequate expiation for the deep guilt of humanity in having sold its spiritual birth-right. Only God, the absolute spirit, could so interpose; and in his great
mercy he has so interposed, and hence has come the Christian scheme for human redemption revealed in the Gospel. This completely meets every want of the spiritual for its recovery to holiness, and the satisfying by a full forgiveness, and thus opens the course to a free and interminable progression in blessedness. What the enslaved spirit needs is, a pungent conviction of its guilt, an offer of pardon consistent with its own clear apprehension of what is due to violated authority, a divine tenderness and compassion manifestly yearning to embrace the repenting and returning prodigal, and a divine agency which, in the secresy of spirit. ual communing with the rational in fallen man, may win the soul back from all its corrupt and debasing alliances, to its high-born intercourse again with the pure and holy. This is all in Christianity. Here is sufficient aid to restore the race, ultimately, to perfect holiness and perpetual blessedness. It can never become old for human nature, for its use is contemplated in the wants of the race through all their progress to ultimate perfection and complete restoration. It gives all that is wanted, and this will always be wanted. Its everlasting adaptations to the work of the spiritual regeneration of humanity, must keep the Gospel plan of salvation ever strong and ever new.
Standing on this high and safe position, a grand vista opens each way from behind and before us. The bright pathway of spiritual progress, so far as the human race has already advanced, may be traced all along down through the sensuality and idolatry of the nations. The faint pencilling of light begins in the first promise to fallen Adam, reaches dimly along down the old world, crosses over the flood with Noah in the ark, and thence widens and brightens along the track of the Patriarchs, grows clearer amid the symbols and sacrifices of the Mosaic Ritual, and onward still through the enlarging visions of Prophets and seers, until “ in the fulness of time” preparation is made for the revelation of “the great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh.” In its higher intensity as concentrated upon Calvary, the light hence flashes off from one hill-top to another, and down through successive generations, glances upon different shores, purifying and elevating the tribes and nations wherever it shines, to the present age. The triumphs of the spiritual have been neither few nor small, and yet not one half of the great work is accomplished. Visions too bright for us to bear, except in the distance, are before us. Not the golden age returned; not the delusive dreams of the modern reformists and credulous socialists which begin and end solely in the senses, but a spiritual age, with the rational over the animal, and holiness above happiness. This shall introduce the latter-day glory, when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and nations shall learn war no more—nothing shall hurt or destroy, and God shall dwell with men.
And now it is manifest that this progress of the race must take up and carry along in its march, all the great interests of mankind, and control them in the law of its own movement. The interests of humanity will be perfected in that which gives the consummation to humanity itself, the spiritual controlling the sensual. Here, then, is a broad field for the practical application of our idea, but we have little time left to us for effecting it. We shall merely sketch a brief outline, and leave it to be filled up by each ove in his own matured reflection. Let it be, however, emphatically noted, that the perpetual restlessness of society regarding these great interests, proves that the movement has not yet reached its point of balanced action; and that humanity can never attain its blissful tranquillity, until the spiritual has become regnant over the carnal.
Religion stands among the highest of human interests. It coyers the entire experience of all communion between the finite and the infinite spirit. It makes use of the sense, but only as the servant of the spirit, and with the design to bring it into complete subjection to the great law of holiness.
But in all the freshness and vigor of primitive Christianity, how soon did it lose its purity and its power! The Roman hierarchy submerged the spiritual beneath the sense, as completely as did paganism itself; and the great reformation, though a long stride in advance, is yet far back from the goal of all improvement. Sectarianism still shuts its door of Christian communion, not from spiritual disqualifications, but on account of mere modes of sacramental administration and sensible forms of canonical ordination. Puritanism stands out in its stern spirituality, and may have sometimes disregarded carnal ordinances too much; while Puseyism is fondly gathering up the long cast-off superstitious ceremonies of former centuries, and would begin the journey over again through the midnight of the Middle Ages. All our popular reforms and much vaunted measures of religious improvement seem merely to be a perpetual swinging from side to side, while the balance very slowly approximates to a perfect adjustment.
Civil government is another high interest of the race. Humanity must have a social existence, and inherent in society are the right and the duty of self-government. All anarchical theories are not merely miserable fallacies, but outrageous treason against human nature. And yet, in relation to the great interest of social government, we have the same restlessness and one-sided movements, manifesting that we have not yet attained the position where society may enjoy tranquillity.
At one time, the civil power intrudes itself within the province of Religion, and assumes in God's stead, to legislate over conscience; again, the reäction against spiritual tyranny crushes not merely the usurpations of religious despotism, but ejects all the
imperatives of the spiritual, and seeks to govern human nature by appeals to only man's animal being. Like some wild beast, man is to be tamed into civilization by mere appliances to his constitutional sensibilities; and kindness or severity is to be used as the animal temperament demands the discipline of flattery or of fear. The strong and stern imperatives of the spiritual, with their awakened convictions of desert, and pangs of remorse, and exposure to vindictive retributions, are now wholly out of date, as the mere relics of the ages of superstition and barbarisin. If some tiger will not be tamed, but will yet feed on blood, chain him, but not kill him. He may by and by relent and reform, and in the meantime society is safe, for the wild beast is shut up. Just as if, when you allow only what is animal to man, it were any more revolting to hang him than to confine him.
If indeed the spiritual, which stamps his Maker's image upon man, and which alone makes human life so sacred, be in him, then appeal to it and make use of it to govern him. Bring the force of obligation, and conscious demerit, and righteous exposure to penal infliction according to desert from the enormity of the crime, to bear upon the human conscience, and thus make both the criminal and the witnesses of his punishment, to feel that he suffers justly. This conviction of the desert of death, for having maliciously caused the death of a fellow-being, is in humanity, and so long as the spiritual abides in man, you cannot get it out of human nature. You cannot either destroy or repress it. Abolish capital punishment from the statute-book ; but not thus can you abolish the conviction of its desert from the human bosom; and not by this will you arrest its vindictive execution by some avenger of the crime. When the fresh blood of his victim is on the murderer, the sympathies of the sense as well as the claims of the spirit, go out for the murdered, and against the murderer; and if penal law is not about to answer to this demand, most assuredly the violent hand of public indignation will do the work, and appease the outraged feeling by crushing the guilty beneath it. Society will not move quietly on its course, except as it may use either the prison or the halter in legal execution for convicted crimes, in proportion to their guilt, until such crimes shall cease to call for such penal inflictions. No shallow philosophies, and meaningless prattle of cerebral developments and unfortunate morbid organisms, can have anything at all to do with these deep places and strong forces of the spiritual within us; nor at all prevent the death-penalty from being demanded, and in some way executed, wherever and whenever the strong public sentiment is awakened that the death-penalty is deserved. You must take God's image from man by taking away the spiritual from human nature, before you can possibly abolish the legislation, as indelibly written on the human heart as in the
Bible, that “whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made he man."
Philosophy is another interest, perpetual and enduring for man. The rational in man cannot cease to include facts and events in their causes, and combine these into systems according to their apprehended laws, and seek to comprehend the whole in an intelligent absolute Being, who originates all things from himself, and who has the final end of all his works within himself. While humanity shall possess Reason, man must have his philosophy.
But neither in this has the point of equilibrium been attained. Intellectual action begins in the perceptions through senses ; and our first thinking in judgment is the connecting together of the phenomena of the senses. Philosophy has thus long been detained within the region of sensible experience, and has rarely attained any safe position within the pure domain of the spiritual. Materialism and idealism have divided between themselves very nearly all the systematic thinking of the world; and little has yet been done to comprehend them both in a higher spiritual philosophy. Hence has philosophy come to be so often dreaded and vilified by good men, since its ultimate conclusions have so commonly terminated in either fatalism, atheism, or pantheism. A spiritual philosophy, determining an absolute, free, personal, and independent Deity, would be a welcome visitant to many.
This is abundantly disclosed in the example, ever before the world, in the life and death of our divine Redeemer. Aside from its adaptations as an atoning sacrifice to God, we may look at the light and influence which it sheds perpetually upon man. It meets every want of the sensory and of the spiritual, and fills out every adaptation for reclaiming the entire humanity. Hence, "he took not on him the nature of angels,” but of those who had sinned, and whom he would save. See, then, how perfect the sensory he assumes and rules. What refinement, tenderness, and delicacy is in it? How careful, not unnecessarily to wound the sensibilities of any! How grieved at others' sorrows, how patient
' under his own! How constant the overflowings of that kindness which was most happy in another's happiness! The agony in the garden; the torture upon the bloody cross; these are all endured that they may do others good! Humanity needs all this, that its sympathies may be melted, its gratitude enkindled; and the evidence may stand ever before it, that Jesus “can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” But needful as this is, it still is but the weaker influence of the divine example in a human pattern. It exhibits only the movings of a sensory, and this is not enough to rouse the human spirit to its great conflict. Were this all, we might as well have continued to look at the bleeding animal on Jewish altars, as at the mere animality of the victim upon Calvary. Something other than mere suffering for our good must be appre