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Recent events, especially in the New England States, considering the large number of clergymen elected to the Legislatures, and the fanaticism which has characterized their legislation, seem fully to confirm the wisdom and propriety of our revolutionary statesmen who inserted such a provision into their primary Constitutions, and to justify the States which will still hold on to their example. "A sagacions patriot will con. fess to a little trepidation as to the result," says the Rev. Dr. Lord, in a late publication, "when, in sweeping so many political demagogues out of the places they have so long filled, it has swept in so many Protestant, clerical politicians, who, in exchanging the pulpit and their appropriate duties, for noisy debate in legislative halls at various capitals of the States, may yet, mournfully and disastrously for the country, if not for themselves, verify the Scripture which teaches the comparative folly, in their generation, of the children of light.”
The views expressed, in the following article of the Presbyterian Herald, on this subject, are sound and just, and deserve the careful consideration of all :
We know that it is plead, that the temporal and eternal interests of men are so blended and bound up together that the one deeply affects the other, and that by promoting the one we advance the other also. This is true, but it is just as true of all man's other temporal interests as it is of politics. If it be a good reason for the clergy embarking on the stormy sea of politics, it is as good for their leaving their chosen work and engaging in any and every other scheme which will promote the temporal welfare of men. There are thousands of good things which a clergyman may not do. The great Head of the church, in assigning to his people their respective work, has gone on the principle of the division of labor. The work of every man must be a good work, but he is not at liberty to quit it and undertake to perform another's task, simply because he sees that, by so doing, he may promote the welfare of men. His field has been assigned him, and that is the place for him to glorify God. The minister of the Gospel has his duties laid off and defined at length, in his commission, and no layman has any right to intrude himself into any of the functions of the sacred office. The laity have their duties defined, also; and the minister may not quit his station of influence, and come down into their province, any more than they may go up into his. Every man is useful and to be respected in his proper place, but when he gets out of it he is not only shorn of his usefulness, but he soon loses the respect of the community. He who sturaps it all the week in favor of his own claims to a particular civil office, will not be likely to be listened to with great respect by his opponents on the Sabbath, when he arises to plead the claims of Christ to their hearts' affections. The politician and the preacher will be so completely identified, in their associations, that they will not, even if they could, separate them. How much towards the salvation of a world in ruins would Paul have accomplished, if, instead of determining to know nothing save Christ and him crucified, at Rome, he had taken the stump against Nero, and proved, to a perfect demonstration, that he was the greatest tyrant that ever sat upon a throne, and that his reign was a grand obstacle in the way of the success of the Gospel through his vast empire ? He might have proved this with perfect ease, and set the whole empire. in a hlaze ; he might possibly have brought about a great and valuable revolution ; but
that was not his work, Christ had commissioned him, not to put down Nero, but to set up his own kingdom in the hearts of men. He has given the same commission to every other true minister of the Gospel. Their work is a high and holy one; let them not neglect it to do one that is infinitely inferior to it. Let their answer to all men, who attempt to seduce them from it, be: We are doing a great work for our Master, and we cannot come down;' or, if they have gotten tired of that work, and lost their conception of its vast and unspeakable importance, let them throw off the office altogether, and give it to those who will devote themselves wholly to its sacred functions.".
The habit, now becoming so general among Americans, of entrusting the education of their ebildren to foreigners, is another matter deserving no favor, and the practice would be more honored in the breach than the observance. James K. Paulding, in his Letters from the South, vol. ii., p. 200, condemns it as follows:
“ Thus, if there should happen to be a competition between a native and foreigner for à professorship, or the direction of a grammar school, three to one this disposition to wonder at people from abroad occasions the latter to be preferred, partly because the trustees by whom he is to be chosen, are, for the most part, compounded of materials exceedingly well qualified to be led astray ; but principally on account of the old colonial leaven, which is continually rising. The learned Governor
who was, ex-officio, a regent of the University, voted for a Professor of Languages, for no other reason than because he spoke with a foreign accent, which his excellency considered an infallible proof of his being a great scholar. If I wanted a dancing-master, I would certainly prefer a native of France ; if a musician, a German or Italiano; if a groom, an Englishman; but, with reverence be it spoken, if I wanted a child brought up to love his countrymen above all others; to cherish his country above all other countries ; in short, to be an American, I would give him an American for his teacher.
" It is to the want of a salutary preference for such teachers that we may mainly ascribe the tenacity of the ignorant disposition to wonder at everything from Europe, or from Great Britain. The professors and teachers naturally bring with them all the prejudices and attachments of their youth. They naturally and inevitably instill into the minds of their pupils an inordinate and inflated idea of the learning, science, and insti: tutions of the country where their first impressions were received, and where their last attachments centre.
They feel no attachment to this country, and, of course, they can implant none; and their pupils are much more likely to imbibe discouraging notions of the superiority
of others, than be taught to emulate their science and learning. At the same time that · this preference, so mortifying to the neglected scholars of our country, is thus dis
played, we find continual complaints made of the want of these professors and teachers among ourselves, forgetting that it is only the hope of fame and reward that inspires the humble scholar to destroy the healthful vivacity of his body in nightly studies. When he finds that others are preferred to him, even the consciousness of superiority is but a feeble support against the neglect of mankind; and the force of example operates upon many others in a similar situation. Genius will thrive amidst ridicule, abuse, and even persecution ; but the soil of neglect, like the sands of the desert, neither produces nor brings any thing to maturity. There genius and science wander about, like poor Riley and his companions in the hot desert, drinking their own tears and withering into skeletonsi under the influence of a fruitless soil, and a sky forever neglecting to rain”
Here is the testimony of one of the most distinguished Democrats in the United States, that "foreigners bring with them all the prejudices and attachments of their youth ;” that they never shake off the influence and effects of “first impressions,” and that their “last attachments centre” in the land of their birth. If foreigners should not be entrusted as instructors of youth, still less should they be entrusted to make and administer the laws of a free country. If American citizens should always be selected as instructors of youth, by a still stronger reason should they be chosen to explain and make our laws, protect our constitutional liberty, and carry into effect the spirit of our institutions.
But it is not alone in relation to the Bible, religion and education that the views of European revolutionists, who now fill our country, contrast so strangely and startlingly with those of the patriots of our revolution, We may with profit recur to the principles and precepts of the latter on other subjects, and find the contrast equally as great and startling. Read what Washington says, in his Farewell Address, in relation to the spirit of innovation that has been evoked by those who, failing to reform their own governments, have now graciously undertaken to improve ours :
Towards the preservation of your government and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you speedily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be incited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments, as of other human institutions; that experience is the súrest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a coun. try; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that, for the efficient management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty, is indispensable. Liberty itself will find, in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each other of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to inaintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.
Thus the subject might be pursued, and quotations ad infinitum made from the speeches and addresses of the great and good men whose memo
ries are revered, and whose precepts it is the aim of the American people to follow, to show that the radical and social notions now sought to be
engrafted upon our institutions by men of foreign birth do not accord with the principles of those who framed and best understood the character of our government-of men, as has been truly and beautifully remarked by the Rev. Dr. Boardman, in a Thanksgiving Sermon on the Union, of Pennsylvania ; "and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. Let men be good and the government cannot be bad. If it be evil, they will cure it.”
In the language of Sir William Jones, men, high-minded men, constitute a State:
« Not high rais'd battlements or labored mound,
Not cities proud, with spires and turrets crown'd:
Where, laughing at the storm, rich navies ride;
Where low-brow'd baseness wafts perfume to pride.
Men who their duties know,
But know their rights, and knowing dare maintain.".
Race, kin and kindred, training and tradition, devotion to country, knowledge of its institutions, history, trials, progress and achievements, an aggregation of men that have a country and love it, feel that they bave a nationality and place a value upon it, have ancestral graves and ancestral toils to look and dwell upon, an ancestral spirit to be inspired with, precepts to respect, examples to imitate, and an inheritance to glory in, as well as a present blessing to be enjoyed—all these are requisites to make an American and constitute an American nationality. As has been beautifully observed by Robert T. Conrad, in a brilliant address, delivered before the Literary Societies of Pennsylvania College, in 1852, “the dull devotion of enforced allegiance or unfelt duty may shed a cold, lunar light over a land, but it is the heat of the solar heart alone that can vivify and invigorate, can render feebleness invincible, and make, what would else be a polar desolation, a scene of beauty—a glory and a joy."
It is the American, who feels that he has a name which “exalts the just pride of patriotism,” that yields the first fruits of his genius and his heart to his country. “He loves her," continues Judge Conrad, in the admirable address already quoted, " with the gushing fulness and unselfish devotion of the heart's first and purest love. How could he otherwise ? Her soil claims a parent's right to that love; and were it churlish as winter, could he love it less than the Switzer loves his cliffs? Were it torrid. as Arabia, could he cherish it less than the Bedouin his sands? But the grandeur and beauty of the boon land of his birth, where lavish Nature seems to have gathered her wonders as for a race of free giants-the