Слике страница
PDF
ePub

from God, which it is his duty to preserve, which he dare not alienate; on the other, in order to his progress, God has revealed to him, first, by the fact of an experienced necessity, and, second, by the direct sanction of His word, that civil government, the more or less complete merging of individual freedom in public law, is also a divine ordinance. In the former of these it is implied, that every faculty which God has bestowed upon or committed to the individual perform its full and appropriate work, or reach its perfect and congenial development; that the intellectual powers have a fair sphere for their operation, that the conscience be untrammeled, that the will exercise its legitimate authority over thought and action, and that each capacity of enjoyment be duly gratified. All this we hold to be implied in the perfection of individual freedom; and all this Christianity guarantees in its declaration of the essential equality, the blood-unity, of all men, and its command that all work be done, that every faculty operate, with might. In the latter, in the ordinance of civil government, it is implied that every man perform not only his own primary and direct duty, but that he subserve the performance of all other duty; that he play, so to speak, into the hand of every other man; that he make way where he is himself superfluous, that he obey where his service is necessary to the performance of a duty which he is himself incompetent to effect; in one word, that he recognize as right all that graduation of rank according to work done, which nature tends to effect. This is the true theory of divine right : that the real, the natural power be obeyed. Let it not be imagined that this is a divine sanction of any particular form, or any particular depository of gov. erning power; Christianity does not change a living body into a mummy or petrifaction, and command men to obey it; it sanctions the power, and if the time has come for this power to be born, the giant child may hear its sanctioning voice in the womb of futurity, and tear its way, amid what throes soever, to life and inheritance. In the darkest and most barbarous times, this social theory of Christianity will be a guiding light; when civilization shall be completed, when freedom and law shall have become one, and not till then, it shall have been wrought out.

In the following pages we shall have occasion to trace a few of its gradual developments; and, first of all, we shall consider that defamed agency which yet Isaac Taylor scruples not to call the latest impersonation of the spirit of Christianity, Christian Philanthropy.

P A Ꭱ Ꭲ Ꭲ Ꮃ 0 .

EXPOSITION AND ILLUSTRATION.

BOOK ONE.

CHRISTIANITY THE BASIS OF SOCIAL LIFE.

CHAPTER I.

FIRST PRINCIPLES.

OF CHRISTIAN PHILANTHROPY, HERO-WORSHIP, AND THE ORIGIN

AND END OF LAW.

PROPOSING, in this book, to glance generally at a few of the characteristic social agencies of our time, it seems to us an orderly and perspicuous method to regard modern Christian philanthropy as a fitting representative of those agencies, and its consideration, for that reason, a meet introduction to their cursory survey. We shall not allege it to be a principal agency in our present and prospective social system. But we do think that, in its treatment, we are brought eye to eye with that problem on which the future of the free nations de pends; and that an inquiry into its fundamental principles, and a survey of its development, lead us by a natural path to the full statement and comprehension of that problem. With this statement we purpose concluding the present division of our subject. We consider, then, in the outset, the essential and fundamental ideas of Christian Philanthropy.

We do not affirm that there is any thing positively new in

« ПретходнаНастави »