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pulation, is now wasted on newspapers and conversations, which inflame the passions, which unscrupulously distort the truth, which denounce moral independence as treachery to one's party, which agitate the country for no higher end than a triumph over opponents; and thus multitudes are degraded into men-worshippers or men-haters, into the dupes of the ambitious, or the slaves of a faction. To rise, the people must substitute reflection for passion. There is no other way. By these remarks, I do not mean to charge on the labouring class all the passionateness of the country. All classes partake of the madness, and all are debased by it. The fiery spirits are not confined to one portion of the community. The men, whose ravings resound through the hall of Congress, and are then circulated through the country as eloquence, are not taken from among those who toil. Party prejudices break out as fiercely on the exchange, and even in the saloon, as in the workshop. The disease has spread everywhere...Yet it does not dishearten me, for I see that it admits of mitigation, if not of cure. I trust, that these lectures and other sources of intellectual enjoyment now opening to the public, will abate the fever of political excitement, by giving better occupation to the mind. . Much, too, may be hoped from the growing self-respect of the people, which will make them shrink indignantly from the disgrace of being used as blinded partisans and unreflecting tools. Much also is to be hoped from the discovery, which must sooner or later be made, that the importance of government is enormously overrated, that it does not deserve all this stir, that there are vastly more effectual means of human happiness. Political institutions are to be less and less deified, and to shrink into a narrower space; and just in proportion as a wiser estimate of government prevails, the present phrenzy of political excitement will be discovered and put to shame.
I have now said, what I do not mean by the elevation of the labouring classes. It is not an outward change of condition. It is not release from labour. It is not struggling for another rank. It is not political power. I understand something deeper. I know but one elevation of a human being, and that is Elevation of Soul. Without this, it matters nothing where a man stands or what he possesses; and with it, he towers, he is one of God's nobility, no matter what place he holds in the social scale. There is but one elevation for a labourer, and for all other men. There are not different kinds of dignity for different orders of men, but one and the same to all. The only elevation of a human being, consists in the exercise, growth, energy, of the higher principles and powers of his soul. A bird may be shot upwards to the skies by a foreign force; but it rises, in the true sense of the word, only when it spreads its own wings and soars by its own living power. So a man may be thrust upward into a conspicuous place by outward accidents; but he rises, only in so far as he exerts himself, and expands his best faculties, and ascends by a free effort to a nobler region of thought and action. Such is the elevation I desire for the labourer, and I desire no other. This elevation is indeed to be aided by an improvement of his outward condition, and in turn it greatly improves his outward lot; and thus connected, outward good is real and great; but supposing it to exist in separation from inward growth and life, it would be nothing worth, nor would I raise a finger to promote it.
I know it will be said, that such elevation as I have spoken of, is not
and cannot be within the reach of the labouring multitude, and of consequence they ought not to be tantalised with dreams of its attainment. It will be said, that the principal part of men are plainly designed to work on matter for the acquisition of material and corporeal good, and that, in such, the spirit is of necessity too wedded to matter to rise above it. This objection will be considered by-and-by; but I would just observe in passing, that the objector must have studied very carelessly the material world, if he o: that it is meant to be the grave of the minds of most of those who occupy it. Matter was made for spirit, body for mind. The mind, the spirit, is the end of this living organization of flesh and bones, of nerves and muscles; and the end of this vast system of sea and land, and air and skies. This unbounded creation of sun, and moon, and stars, and clouds, and seasons, was not ordained merely to feed and clothe the body, but first and supremely to awaken, nourish, and expand the soul, to be the school of the intellect, the nurse of thought and imagination, the field for the active powers, a revelation of the Creator, and a bond of social union. We were placed in the material creation, not to be its slaves, but to master it, and to make it a minister to our highest powers. It is interesting to observe, how much the material world does for the mind. Most of the sciences, arts, professions, and occupations of life, grow out of our connection with matter. The natural philosopher, the physician, the lawyer, the artist, and the legislator, find the objects or occasions of their researches in matter. The poet borrows his beautiful imagery from matter. The sculptor and painter express their noble conceptions through matter. Material wants rouse the world to activity. The material organs of sense, especially the eye, wake up infinite thoughts in the mind. To maintain, then, that the mass of men are and must be so immersed in matter, that their souls cannot rise, is to contradict the great end of their connection with matter. I maintain, that the philosophy which does not see, in the laws and phenomena of outward nature, the means of awakening Mind, is lamentably short-sighted; and that a state of society, which leaves the mass of men to be crushed and famished in soul by excessive toils on matter, is at war with God's designs, and turns into means of bondage what was meant to be free and expand the soul. Elevation of soul, this is to be desired for the labourer as for every human being, and what does this mean? The phrase, I am aware, is vague, and often serves for mere declamation. Let me strive to conve some precise ideas of it; and in doing this I can use no language § will save the hearer from the necessity of thought. The subject is a spiritual one. It carries us into the depths of our own nature, and I can say nothing about it worth saying, without tasking your powers of attention, without demanding some mental toil. I know that these lectures are meant for entertainment rather than mental labour; but as I have told you, I have great faith in labour, and I feel that I cannot be more useful than in exciting the hearer to some vigorous action of mind. Elevation of soul, in what does this consist? Without aiming at philosophical exactness, I shall convoy a sufficiently precise idea of it, by saying that it consists, first, in Force of Thought exerted for the acquisition of Truth; secondly, in Force of Pure and Generous Feeling; thirdly, in Force of Moral Purpose. . Each of these topics needs a lecture for its developement. I must confine myself to the first; from which, however, you may learn in a measure my views of the other two.—Before entering on this topic, let me offer one preliminary remark. To every man who would rise in dignity as a man, be he rich or poor, ignorant or instructed, there is one essential condition, one effort, one purpose, without which not a step can be taken. He must resolutely purpose and labour to free himself from whatever he knows to be wrong in his motives and life. He who habitually allows himself to indulge in any known crime or wrong-doing, effectually bars his progress towards a higher intellectual and moral life. On this point every man should deal honestly with himself. If he will not listen to his conscience, rebuking him forwidlations of plain o let him not dream of self-elevation. The foundation is wanting. e will build, if at all, on sand. I now proceed to my main subject. I have said that the elevation of man is to be sought, or rather consists, first, in Force of Thought exerted for the acquisition of truth; and to this I ask your serious attention. Thought, thought, is the fundamental distinction of mind, and the great work of life. All that a man does outwardly, is but the expression and too of his inward thought. To work effectually, he must think clearly. To act nobly, he must think nobly. Intellectual force is a principal element of the soul's life, and should be proposed by every man as a principal end of his being. It is common to distinguish between the intellect and the conscience, between the power of thought and virtue, and to say that virtuous action is worth more than strong thinking. But we mutilate our nature by thus drawing lines between actions or energies of the soul, which are intimately, indissolubly bound together. The head and the heart are not more vitally connected than thought and virtue. Does not conscience include, as a part of itself, the noblest action of the intellect or reason? Do we not degrade it by making it a mere feeling? Is it not something more? Is it not a wise discernment of the right, the holy, the good? Take away thought from virtue, and what remains worthy of a man? Is not high virtue more than blind instinct? Is it not founded on, and does it not include clear, bright perceptions of what is lovely and grand in character and action? Without power of thought, what we call conscientiousness, or a desire to do right, shoots out into illusion, exaggeration, pernicious excess. The most cruel deeds on earth have been perpetrated in the name of conscience. Men have hated and murdered one another from a sense of duty. The worst frauds have taken the name of pious. Thought, intelligence, is the dignity of a man, and no man is rising but in proportion as he is learning to think clearly and forcibly, or directing the energy of his mind to the acquisition of truth. Every man, in whatsoever condition, is to be a student. No matter what other vocation he may have, his chief vocation is to Think. I say every man is to be a student, a thinker. This does not mean, that he is to shut himself within four walls and bend body and mind over books. Men thought before books were written, and some of the greatest thinkers never entered what we call a study. Nature, Scripture, society, and life, present perpetual subjects for thought; and the man who collects, concentrates, employs his faculties on any of these subjects for the purpose of getting the truth, is so far a student, a thinker, a philosopher, and is rising to the dignity of a man. It is time that we should cease to limit to professed scholars, the titles of thinkers, philosophers. Whoever seeks truth with an earnest mind, no matter when or how, belongs to the school of intellectual men. In a loose sense of the word, all men may be said to think; that is, a succession of ideas, notions, passes through their minds from morning to night; but in as far as this succession is passive, undirected, or governed only by accident and outward impulse, it has little more claim to dignity than the experience of the brute, who receives, with like passiveness, sensations from abroad through his waking hours. Such thought, if thought it may be called, having no aim, is as useless as the vision of an eye which rests on nothing, which flies without pause over earth and sky, and of consequence receives no distinct image. Thought, in its true sense, is an energy of intellect. In thought, the mind not only receives impressions or suggestions from without or within, but re-acts upon them, collects its attention, concentrates its forces upon them, breaks them up and analyses them like a living laboratory, and then combines them anew, traces their connections, and thus impresses itself on all the objects which engage it. The universe in which we live, was plainly meant by God to stir up such thought as has now been described. It is full of difficulty and mystery, and can only be penetrated and unravelled by the concentration of the intellect. Every object, even the simplest in nature and society, every event of life, is made up of various elements subtly bound together; so that to understand anything, we must reduce it from its complexity to its parts and principles, and examine their relations to one another. Nor is this all. Everything which enters the mind, not only contains a depth of mystery in itself, but is connected by a thousand ties with all other things. The universe is not a disorderly, disconnected heap, but a beautiful whole stamped throughout with unity, so as to be an image of the One Infinite Spirit. Nothing stands alone. All things are knit together, each existing for all and all for each. The humblest object has infinite connections. The vegetable, which you saw on your table to-day, came to you from the first plant which God made to grow on the earth, and was the product of the rains and sunshine of six thousand years. Such a universe demands thought to be understood; and we are placed in it to think, to put forth the power within, to look beneath the surface of things, to look beyond particular facts and events to their causes and effects, to their reasons and ends, their mutual influences, their diversities and resemblances, their proportions and harmonies, and the general laws which bind them together. This is what I mean by thinking; and by such thought the mind rises to a dignity, which humbly represents the greatness of the Divine intel: lect; that is, it rises more and more to consistency of views, to broad general principles, to universal truths, to glimpses of the order and harmony and infinity of the Divine system, and thus to a deep, enlightened veneration of the Infinite Father. Do not be startled, as if I were holding out an elevation of mind utterly to be despaired of; for all thinking, which aims honestly and earnestly to see things as they are, to see them in their connections, and to bring the loose, conflicting ideas of the mind into consistency and harmony, all such thinking, no matter in what sphere, is an . to the dignity of which I speak. You are all capable of the thinking which I recommend. You have all practised it in a degree. The child, who casts an inquiring eye on a new toy, and breaks it to pieces that he may discover the mysterious cause of its movements, has begun the work of which I speak, has begun to be a philosopher, has begun to penetrate the unknown, to seek consistency and harmony of thought; and let him go on as he has begun, and make it one great business of life to inquire into the elements, connections, and reasons of whatever he witnesses in his own breast, or in society, or in outward nature, and, be his condition what it may, he will rise by degrees to a freedom and force of thought, to a breadth and unity of views, which will be to him an inward revelation and promise of the intellectual greatness for which he was created. You will observe, that in speaking of force of thought as the elevation of the labourer and of every human being, I have continually supposed this force to be exerted for the purpose of acquiring Truth. I beg you never to lose sight of this motive, for it is essential to intellectual dignity. Force of thought may be put forth for other purposes, to amass wealth for selfish gratification, to give the individual power over others, to blind others, to weave a web of sophistry, to cast a deceitful lustre on vice, to make the worse appear the better cause. But energy of thought, so employed, is .# The intellect, in becoming a pander to vice, a ...? of the passions, an advocate of lies, becomes not only degraded, but diseased. It loses the capacity of distinguishing truth from falsehood, good from evil, right from wrong; it becomes as worthless as an eye which cannot distinguish between colours or forms. Woe to that mind which wants the love of truth! For want of this, genius has become a scourge to the world, its breath a poisonous exhalation, its brightness a seducer into paths of pestilence and death. Truth is the light of the Infinite Mind, and the image of God in his creatures. Nothing endures but truth. The dreams, fictions, theories, which men would substitute for it, soon die. Without its guidance effort is vain, and hope baseless. Accordingly, the love of truth, a deep thirst for it, a deliberate purpose to seek it and hold it fast, may be considered as the very foundation of human culture and dignity. Precious as thought is, the love of truth is still more precious; for without it, thought wanders and wastes itself, and precipitates men into guilt and misery. There is no greater defect in education and the pulpit, than that they inculcate so little, an impartial, earnest, reverential love of truth, a readiness to toil, to live and die for it. , Let the labouring man be imbued in a measure with this spirit; let him learn to regard himself as endowed with the power of thought, for the very end of acquiring truth; let him learn to regard truth as more precious than his daily bread; and the spring of true and perpetual elevation is touched within him. He has begun to be a man; he becomes one of the elect of his race. Nor do I despair of this elevation of the labourer. Unhappily, little, almost nothing has been done as yet, to inspire either rich or poor with the love of truth for its own sake, or for the life, and inspiration, and dignity it gives to the soul. The prosperous have as little of this principle as the labouring mass. I think, indeed, that the spirit of luxurious, fashionable life, is more hostile to it than the hardships of the poor. Under a wise culture, .#. may be awakened in all classes, and wherever awakened, it will form philosophers, successful and noble thinkers. These remarks seem to me particularly important, as showing how intimate a union subsists between the moral and intellectual nature, and how both must