페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

it plenty of free and plenty of cheap seats. Not in a corner of the gallery, but in every part of the house a certain portion, as every fifth or sixth. The pastor of that church says to his people, and they seem to be in sympathy with him, if ever you make this church exclusive, if ever you cease to open wide its doors to all of every class, and to make its pews a home for all who would hear the Gospel, may it fall, and from turret to foundation not one stone be left upon another! Long may such a structure stand to bless the eyes and cheer the hearts, and bow the souls of men ! We commend the example to others.

We are very sure of this, there should be church sittings in all Christian communities for all the people who can be attracted to public worship, and such arrangements for seats as shall attract the largest possible numbers. We have no doubt the Great Master holds all his churches to a most solemn obligation to give a free Gospel to all. The church lives to manifest God. God is known in the fulness of his perfections only through the church. “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.” The church lives for the salvation of all her individual members. She lives for the regeneration of the world. The work and victory will not be complete till every child of Adam is brought under her loving influences. Every local church has a special field, and that field is commensurate with the territory from which all her members are gathered. She is bound to make her influence felt over every soul within that territory. The field is here. She is put there to sow the seed, and gather the harvest, and let none of it perish. If any thing is not done which she might do to save any soul, she must give account to her Lord. A fearful responsibility is on her. She is bound to make the doors of the earthly church as wide open as the gates of the kingdom are to all the sinful children of men. Woe be to those who neglect this obligation !

We think there are great advantages in bringing all classes, not actually degraded and filthy, into the same congregation. If there is refinement, and mental and moral elevation in wealth, let the toilers feel the influence on their day of rest. Surely the rich may be benefitted by constant communion, in their holiest hours, with the great truths of human

38

VOL. VI.-NO. XXXIV.

brotherhood, and the duties they owe to those of the same family who may have heavier burdens and less advantages than themselves. The house of God is not the place to foster pride and exclusiveness. Its air should be vital with that sympathy with human burdens which breathed in every word and act of the God-man. The prayers of the poor sanctify any place where they ascend. In answer to them the blessing comes down.

Nothing can be more absurd than the idea that wealth weighs any thing in the worship of the Infinite One. Souls shine in his sight in garments that gold can not purchase, and many a poor disciple, clad in garments of poorest texture, shines to the all pure eye with a glory like that which fell on the mount of transfiguration. How much that glitters in earthly sanctuaries will burn in fires of everlasting death!

We need a more thorough recognition in the church of the doctrine of stewardship. They who wear the mark of Christ, who are heirs with him of an eternal inheritance, have nothing which they may use to foster ambition, pride, vanity, or covetousness. The private meinber of the church is as much bound to use his wealth for the salvation of men, as the most eloquent preacher his gift of speech. Every thing we have, eloquence, moral influence, social position, money, is a sacred trust, has the baptism of a holy consecration upon it. It was given up in that act of faith which brought heavenly hope into the soul. It must be used for Christ. When this obligation is felt there will be no want of money to do all that needs to be done to bring men under Gospel influences. In many of our churches there are single men who are wasting more every year in hurtful luxuries than would be needed to put the ministry above want, and to open the doors of the sanctuary to all

When will such men feel the force of Christ's demands? Waiting that day, we believe no question of means lies nearer the heart of the great problems of the church in our time, than this which we have placed at the head of this article. We are thoroughly convinced that the practice of selling all the pews in our churches to the highest bidder; without any provision for the poor, is shutting multitudes out of the sanctuary, if not out of the kingdom of heaven.

1

the poor.

ARTICLE VII.

POLITICAL WRITINGS OF JOHN STUART MILL.

Dissertations and Discussions: Political, Philosophical

and Historical. Three Volumes. By JOHN STUART

Mill. Small 8vo. Boston: William V. Spencer. 1864. On Liberty. By JOHN STUART Mill. 16mo.

Boston : Ticknor & Fields, 1863. Considerations on Representative Government. By JOHN

STUART MILL. 12mo. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1862.

OUR former article on Mr. Mill was particularly concerned with his philosophical writings, in which we endeavored to show that his philosophy of utility and expediency was a shallow system, which he himself forsook whenever he was driven to great straits, and thus that his teachings were inconsistent in their various parts; and we sought, further, to show that his position was entirely negative with respect to Christianity, not ignoring it, but expressing no hearty sympathy with its doctrines. Hence we were unable to bestow high praise upon his philosophical writings. They are deficient in their explanation of all the faculties of the human mind, and they are entirely devoid of any divine inspiration. Their chief use is this : they organize and shape the collective teachings of human experience ; they methodize thought; they are an effective discipline to the understanding ; they have the same use as his excellent “System of Logic,” which has found its way at the present day into all logical systems. First cause Mr. Mill has no relish for ; but in the sphere of secondary causes he is peculiarly at home. Mr. James Martineau very aptly states Mr. Mill's position : “The great mass of Mr. Mill's labor has been devoted to what may be termed the middle ground of human thought, below the primary data which reason must assume, and short of the applied science which has practice for its end.”

What thus interferes with his success as an original philo sophical teacher is an advantage to him as a political writer,

[ocr errors]

Essays, Philosophical and Theological. By James Martineau, p. 70.

because all questions of government are usually treated from this medium point of view. They are the applications of already received abstract principles to the exigencies of human experience; and the point of the discussion is their adaptation to this and that sphere of political life. In this department Mr. Mill is deservedly eminent. He is the clearest political thinker of the age. He is an admirable specimen of the type of men which representative institutions should foster, men who are conservative because they have embodied the teachings of the past, but who are radical in adapting the past results of political wisdom to our own times, men who nourish and teach, as solitary thinkers, the great lessons of statesmanship, men who devote their lives with a natural bias to the speculations of political philosophy, that they may guide and control their age. This Mr. Mill has always done. Forty years ago, he was the promise of the Liberal party in England, and now his early genius has not only given us the ripe fruits of his meditations, but he has an opportunity as a leader in the House of Commons, to bring all his wisdom to bear practically upon

the questions of the day. In this, too, he excels. He is a practical thinker. He has, in the highest degree, the peculiar qualifications of the best British talent. He is at once speculative and practical, and this will appear distinctly in the further portions of this article. And he has gained, at last, popularity. Says Professor Masson : "It is Mill that our young thinkers at the Universities, our young legislators in Parliament, our young critics in journals, and our young shepherds on the mountains, consult, quote, and swear by.” But he is more popular in our own country than in England. His noble defence of the North against a strong public opinion, at a critical moment in the late rebellion, has turned the attention of all American thinkers anew to him, and we owe him a debt of gratitude for thus raising his voice in our defence. Then all his writings have been republished here, and both his political and philosophical studies have been digested by our own thoughtful young men. There is no foreign thinker whose words are more frequently on our lips than his. He has taken the position in political philosophy, which many of us in other days fancied was to be taken by Thomas Carlyle in general literature.

1 Recent British Philosophy, p. 17.

His political writings are not numerous. They are all contained in two treatises, his “Liberty” and “Considerations on Representative Government.” The papers in his “Dissertations and Discussions" are essentially embodied in these two treatises, though they exhibit in greater detail the formation of his opinions. They all need to be studied in the same connection. They develop special thoughts at greater length. The sixth book of his “Logic” and “Political Economy' are studies in the same direction, but they are sufficiently separate not to be discussed in this article; and, indeed, they could not be, without occupying a larger space than is at our command. N

Nor can we give even a passing glance at his inany separate articles on general topics in literature. They are not his best.

They are not his best. He does not excel except in his specialties. And even in his best essays there is a dead level of common sense above which he never rises. He is not a forcible writer, nor are his papers easy reading. He does not so construct his sentences that you are held by them. In very few cases does he rise to enthusiasm or stir the reader profoundly. There are few passages, too, which you remember as containing a new idea happily put. He differs from almost all political writers in never culminating. But apart from the absence of these qualities of style, he is the thinker, above all others, who has thoroughly digested modern politics and gone to the bottom of the subject.

We have thought, therefore, that we could not do a better service than to give, with such observations as may suggest themselves, an abstract of these compactly written books. That which precedes, and lays the foundation for all his opinions, is the treatise on “Liberty,” in which he discusses the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual.” He strikes at once to the heart of his subject when he says that the question powerfully influences the age and is likely soon to make itself recognized as the vital question of the future.” He then traces the change which has gradually come over society, so that now instead of the tyranny of the magistrate over the individual, we have to quarrel against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feel

« 이전계속 »