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National Greatness

                       Brownson's Quarterly Review January 1846

                             Reprinted by The Neumann Press, 1991


                                         By Francis Conklin

There are, according to Saint Augustine in his immortal City of God,
"two loves that have made two cities," and every person in this
world is a citizen of one or the other. To Saint Augustine, the great
axis upon which the world turned was love, human and divine love;
and, as each has a will to choose good or evil, so also each has the
capacity to love that which he chooses to love. Thus we have the City
of God, which is founded upon the Incarnation of the Word made
Flesh, fashioned by the Holy Ghost from the virginal flesh of our
Lady, the Mother of God; and the City of the world, which repre-
sents the religion of the Garden of Eden -heathenism. These two
cities are organized upon diametrically opposite principles and exist
for different ends. Between them there is an undying enmity, an
"irrepressible antagonism," as there is between the spirit and the
flesh. Peace can never exist between these two cities save by submis-
sion and subordination of the City of the world to the City of God.
There are those possessed of modernism of the head and heart who
hold erroneously that it is possible to reconcile service to the world
with service to God; that is, to be an adherent of neither yet a party
to both. Yet, our Lord, ever a stumbling block to those who would
deny Him and make an everlasting city of this world, has emphati-
cally said that it is impossible to serve two masters, "You cannot
serve God and Mammon." And, as "no man can serve two masters,"
so also no man can rejoice in both the world and in the Sacred Heart
of Jesus.

The City of the world, the "New World Order," commenced in the
Garden of Eden when the serpent said to the woman: "Why hath
God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of
paradise?" To which query our first parents succumbed in heart,
mind, and will to vain curiosity and pride which are the primary
causes of guilt and rebellion from the providential law. And thus to
minds excited by an appetite for the worldly and an understanding
darkened by a lure of the ephemeral, Satan said: "In what day soever
you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as
gods, knowing good and evil." To this lying promise of the powers of
divinity our first parents fell willing prey, and were thus the proximate
agents of sin and death entering creation. The frightful travail of
humanity from its very beginning has its cause in the transmitted doc-
trine of the Garden, the great seduction of the promise of divinity to
man, which is the foundational dogma of the City of the world. The
"New World Order," about which we hear so much these days, is but
an integral continuation of the religion of the pagan world. As men dis-
tance themselves from God, they distance themselves from Truth; not
only do they lose all sense of integrity, their words lose their soundness
and deliberately mask reality. And yet, nothing has changed from the
beginning of time: The great struggle that began with our first
parents, the war between the two cities, which continues so savagely in
our day, so manifestly proves that there can be no middle ground be-
tween Christ and Antichrist, God and Mammon, the spiritual order and
the temporal order, the City of God and the City of the world. We
must ever remember that it is the City of the world, the "New World
Order," which vehemently hated, and hates with a blackness, Jesus
Christ; it is the world which cannot receive the Holy Ghost; the world
which ever loves its own; the world which rejoices because Christ, our
God, has gone away; it is the world for which Christ would not pray;
it is the world which Christ overcame; it is the world of whose spirit
Christians were not to receive, nor partake of; it is the world that was,
and is, unworthy of the Saints; the world whose friendship was, is, and
always will be, an enmity with God; it is the world which ever passes
away with its paltry lusts; it is the world which those who are born
anew in the saving waters of Baptism overcome. Of this City, of this
"New World Order," and its loyal adherents, Saint John concluded:
"Whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world, becometh an
enemy of God."

The City of God, the New and Eternal Covenant, is the Catholic
Church, the very creation of God, in which he resides, wholly and sub-
stantially present in the Blessed Sacrament wherever the Holy Sacrifice of
the Mass is properly and validly celebrated, and in which He has promised
His abiding Presence until the end of time. The greatest event of his-
tory is the Incarnation of the "Word made Flesh," in which God physi-
cally entered time by the assumption of human nature, and by which
creation is completed, consummated, and glorified, in, through, and by
the Sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ. By means of the Incarnation, the
Catholic Church, the Ark of Salvation, originated, and humanity is
regenerated through divine grace which flows from the Sacrifice
of the Altar, in which God is made physically present, and through the
seven Sacraments, the "seven vases of the Precious Blood." "All things
are created and ordered in reference to the Incarnate Word, and it is only
in the Incarnation, the Word made Flesh that we have the key to the
meaning and significance of the facts and events of history, both sacred
and profane." Christ is the Lamb of God; He is the Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world; He is the Resurrection and the Life, and it is
only through Him, by Him, and in Him, that man is saved and the gates
of everlasting beatitude opened. He is the beginning and end of all
things; the Author of the world, and the Creator of the eyes which fall
upon these words. He was born humbly of a little Jewish Virgin, the
Blessed Mother; as a Baby, the City of the world, the "New World
Order" of the day, fearful of this divine Infant, as it would ever be till
the end of time, sent out its troopers to slaughter the Baby God and His
baby peers- the Holy Innocents. So vile and hateful are the spirit and
works of the City of the world, that purity, innocence, and chastity,
are ever hunted down as common criminals, from the beginning of the
world to this day, by the preternatural spirit of pride and hatred which
ever inform and give life to the temporal order, the world of

It is solely by means of the glorious mystery of the Incarnation that
mankind can claim title to nobility. Our Lord said to His disciples:
"Because I live, you also shall live." The life of the Catholic is the Life
which emanates from the Word made Flesh; certainly the belief in this
divine Reality, this true Presence, is the very source of the Christian life
of meekness and humility, for, truly, as our virgin Mother said, "he
that is mighty hath done great things unto me; and holy is His Name."
It is divine grace which ennobles man; whatever he possesses of emi-
nence or greatness is but a dim reflection of the eminence, greatness,
and glory of God Who has made man according to His image and like-
ness and "without Whom we can do nothing."

The Magnificat, the great canticle of thanksgiving of the Blessed Vir-
gin, inspired by the Holy Ghost upon Mary's visit to her cousin Eliza-
beth, is the great song of humility of the creature to the Creator:
"Magnificat anima mea Dominum, My soul doth magnify the Lord."
In this incomparable canticle, the Mother of God, our "Mother of Di-
vine Grace," gave glory to the Father Who had chosen her for His
spouse and had made her the Mother of His Eternal Son; she gave glory
to God the Son, Who had become her Baby, flesh, blood, and bone of
her very substance; and to the Holy Ghost, Who, with His light,
grace, and charity, effected the incomparable mystery of the Incarna-
tion, the central doctrine of the Catholic Church, the "groundwork of
creation, the salvation and redemption of sinners, the principle and end
of all things," and the very foundation of the City of God. If God, the
word made Flesh, had not assumed human nature, "and in assuming it
had elevated it to Himself, and imparted to it a luminous trace of His
nobility, it must be confessed that words could not begin to express the
extreme degradation of man."

The very moment the Incarnation, the Sacred Humanity, the Blessed
Sacrament is denied, the world finds itself inevitably lost in a spiritual
and moral vacuum which becomes the breeding ground of factions,
tumults, conspiracies, revolutions, and wars without end. The opposi-
tion of the City of the world to the Church is ever the same; the guise
changes with the age, the nation, and the continent, yet at the very
root the undying enmity resides in the self-sufficiency of man, "Ye shall
be as gods." The City of the world, the city of boasted "progress," is
still mired in the Garden, labouring under a lie, deluded in the belief
that man can stand alone. The basis of the City of the world is the
denial of the divine order, the "rejection of the law of life and the asser-
tion of the sufficienty of man." Alone, man is a nullity, a cipher, and a
very pawn in the hands of other men. All of the movements of the
twentieth century have been in defense of the City of the world. Com-
munism, Fascism, Socialism, Liberalism, and Capitalism, all hold, and
have held, that man has no inherent value, that he is a zero. He is simply
something to be used by the state, the party, the corporation, in the most
efficient manner, and discarded when he is of no further use. The City of
the world is the City of death, excluding from itself all that is good, no-
ble, true, and everlasting; it is the City made of dust, nothing more, and
one day, as history bears stark witness, "unto dust it shall return."

There is a most fitting timeliness to Dr. Orestes Brownson's essay
entitled "National Greatness," due to events which have most recently
transpired in our country. He well knew that "true greatness is, simply,
in that supernatural justice and sanctity in which man was originally
constituted, which he lost by sin, which is restored by grace, and by
means of which we are made heirs of the divine promises, and translated
into the number of those to whom our blessed Lord Himself will give a
crown of life." For Brownson, as for ourselves, the sole standard of
greatness lies in a child-like closeness and proximity to the divine order,
to our Lord in His Sacred Humanity. The destiny of the Christian, the
destiny of the City of God, is eternal life, and the means of achieving
everlasting beatitude are membership in the Catholic Church, confor-
mity to the will of God, and purity of life. We were created in order
that we might possess the fulness of grace, the light and life of the God-
Man, in and through the physical reception of the Body, Blood, Soul,
and Divinity of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, as truly present in
the saving Host as He was present upon earth for thirty-three years.

Orestes Brownson well knew that the history of the world resolves
itself into the history of the mutual hostility of the two Cities; the City
of God and the City of the world. The City of the world has, in the
modern world, deified corrupt human nature, and upon this flawed
premise follows inexorably the way of all depravity, commencing with
paganism, wherein all inherent integrity and nobility as a creature made i
in the likeness of God are stripped away, and eventually terminating in
utter savagery. Its most contemporary guise is. deceitfully called "the
New World Order," yet, call it what you will, it is the same heathen-
ism founded in the "non serviam" of the Garden of Eden, ever hateful
of God and His Catholic Church, full of pride and arrogance in its po-
litical atheism and the rule by prevarication. Proscribing God from the
councils of the republic, from the rule of civic life, and from the secular
schools, making straight the way of blasphemy in all spheres of modern
life, can anyone dare to wonder at the degradation and ruin of individ-
ual, family, and social life this virulent heathenism has wrought. Our
republic has institutionalized hatred of God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Godless education has been reduced to pagan idol worship, wherein
deification of the body has been imposed as a state religion, and the
young trained up in the adoration of promiscuity, vice, and lust. The
American landscape is fast becoming a graveyard for an infinite number
of innocent babies, created by God, torn violently from the womb, as
the "New World Order's" hateful and bloody sacrifice of propitiation
to the devil, Moloch. Civic life is overruled by men of the basest
character who openly blaspheme God by taking public oaths to uphold
the Constitution which none believes in simply because its principles and
tenets contradict the "New World Order." Mendacity is the prime req-
uisite for those who have pledged their hearts to this world-wide anti-
Church: these counterfeit individuals, the most contemptuous of the
Constitution and the American people in the history of our country,
have plundered our treasury; debased our currency; are in the process of
pauperizing the middle class; and have pledged our very substance, and
the substance of unborn generations, in support of every Christ-hating
country wherein the individual is shorn of inherent and inviolable worth
as a creature made in the image and likeness of God. To those apologists
who champion this heathenism, in the name of "progress," one glance at
the "near apocalyptic" destruction recently visited upon the people of
Iraq by an alliance united in gentilism, certainly leads one to conclude
that this "progress" is more truly an advance to barbarism."

The City of God is founded upon the supernatural order rooted in
the Sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ. Within this City, the Incarnate
Son of God, through the assumption of human nature, is profoundly
identified with the human race. Through His priesthood, His life, His
suffering and death in the sacrifice of the Cross, our Lord raised all
things to a divine order as He promised He would do. Through the
Precious Blood of Christ, God has entered into a New and Eternal
Covenant with Man. The City of the world, founded upon a lie, holds
out the sinful illusions of the flesh, the devil, and the world which all
terminate with the death and decay of the grave.

In the City of God, the Catholic Symbol is formed around the Per-
son, the Life, and the divine suffering and death of the God-Man. Here
lies the divine character, the ineffable greatness, and the eternal glory of
the Catholic Faith. .It is always around the divine Person of our Lord
that the persecution of the Faith ever rages. So it has been, so it will
always be until the last day. So it must be in our lives: the abiding law
of the Faith is suffering; "the law of the Incarnation is a law of suffer-
ing. Our Blessed Lord was the Man of sorrows, and by suffering He re-
deemed the world. His Passion was not a mystery detached from the
rest of His life, but only the fitting and congruous end of it.  This
same law of suffering, which belongs to Jesus, touches all who come
nigh Him, and in proportion to their holiness, envelopes them, and
claims them wholly for itself." We have our Lord's assurance that our
loyalty and fidelity to the sacred deposit of Faith will assuredly earn us
the contempt and wrath of the world: "You shall be hated by all men
for My Name's sake." The misbegotten popularity and favor of modern
Catholics, who have courted the friendship of the City of the world, is
indeed a frightful indictment of the disloyalty and treachery of Modern-
ism of which we will have no part. There is no salvation outside of our
Lord; "for there is no other name, under Heaven, whereby we must be
saved." Saint John has said the very last word that is capable of being
spoken upon the evil nature of Modernism: "Every spirit that dis-
solveth Jesus is not of God, and this is Antichrist, of whom you have
heard that he cometh, and is already in the world."

All alike are engaged in the great struggle between the City of God
and the City of the world. There are no exceptions or substitutes in this
great struggle for the soul of man; no man can claim immunity from
the conflict due to commerce, fatigue, age, or physical affliction. There
can never be neutrality in this world: we are enlisted in the cause of God
or the cause of Antichrist. Every word we utter, every association we
make, every fashion we wear, every entertainment we seek, betrays our
loyalty, and forcibly proclaims, implicitly or explicitly, either the glory
of the City of God or the triumph of the City of the world. No one can
be absolved from responsibility in this greatest of conflicts; there is no
shelter, no refuge, no hiding-place, no leeward position, for in this strug-
gle man is ever in peril, ever in the midst of battle. The great war for the
soul of man shall last until the end of time. Only in eternity, in the home
of the just, shall rest be found. There in the glory of the beatific vision
peace abounds, life's combat is no more. The gates of Heaven will not
open to receive any who cannot show that they have suffered in this con-
flict. These portals are closed against all those who, in this world, have
not bravely fought the battles of the Lord, and like Him, have borne the
Cross. As the Mother and her Son have so vividly shown us, the portal to
heaven is by way of Calvary. There is no other way.

Saint Robert Southwell, in his incomparable Epistle of Comfort,
writes of the unnatural reaction of Catholics, who, having ever before
their eyes, hearts, and minds, the terrible Passion and Death of their
Father, yet will not learn from the excessiveness of His divine love nor
consider how very much they ought to do and suffer for themselves,
who by their sins and misdeeds have been the cause of such intolerable
pain and suffering to the martyred God. Of the one soul, the one life,
the one chance, and the one end, each has been given, Saint Robert
Southwell would have us follow the example of Saint Paul:

"Far other was the effect of Christ's Passion on Saint Paul, who being in-
flamed with the force of so unusual an example labored himself to be a
perfect scholar in this doctrine, esteeming it the highest and most need-
ful point of Christian knowledge to understand the value, necessity and
manner of patient sufferance. He would have no other university butJe-
rusalem, no other school but Mount Calvary, no other pulpit but the
Cross, no other reader but the Crucifix, no other letters but His sacred
Wounds, no other commas but his lashes, no other periods but His
nails, no other book but His open Side, and finally no other lesson but
'to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified' (1 Cor. 2.2). In this school
should be our chiefest study. Here we should learn by Christ's nakedness
how to clothe ourselves; by His crown of thorns how to adorn
ourselves; by His vinegar and gall how to diet ourselves; by His hanging
on the Cross how to repose ourselves; and by His painful and bitter
death how to esteem the pleasures of this life.".

*Saint Robert Southwell, An Epistle of Comfort, p. 34.

                                             Francis Conklin, June 26, 1991

                                         National Greatness
                            by Orestes Brownson

NA'l'IONAL greatness is at all times and in all countries a
subject of very deep interest, and one on which it is highly
dangerous to entertaiu false or erroneous views. It is
especially so for the American people; because we have
founded a government which rests on popular opinion, and
must follow its direction; and because we entertain very
lofty notions of the greatness to which we have already
attained, and are disposed to indulge in no little patriotic
pride when contemplating what we have done since we be-
came an iudependeut nation, and looking forward to what
we are likely to do hereafter.

It is true, that now and then is heard a discordant note in
the general harmony of self-glorification; it is true, that
here and there a disappointed, discontented, perhaps ascetic
voice, is heard intimating that all is not gold that glisters,
that the sparkling eye and blooming cheek do not always
indicate sound health and promise long life, and that
beneath the festive robes and wreaths of flowers may often,
as at Egyptian feasts, be detected the ghastly and grinning
features of death; but, in geueral, the great mass of us,
from New England's loftiest statesman down to the pettiest
Fourth of July orator, loudly applaud ourselves for what
we have done, are sure that we have chosen the right path,
that we surpass in true wisdom all the nations which have
been or now are, and that nothing remains for us but to
keep on in the way we have thus far followed, and indulge
the most gIorious and thrilling anticipations of future great-
ness and renown.

And have we not the right to do so?  We are merely of
yesterday; and yet, what have we not done!  We have
felled the primitive forests, and planted the rose in the wil-
derness; we have erected the thronged city, the populous
town, the thriving village, where within the memory of the
middle-aged man prowled the beast of prey, or curled the
smoke of the wigwam. We have intersected a continent
with our canals and railways; we have whitened every
ocean with our sails, and filled every port with our ships;
and are rivalling, in the quality, variety, and extent of our
manufactures, the more renowned industrial nations of the
globe. Our whole population is employed. The hammer
of industry rings from morning till night, till far into the
night, and we seem to have the Midas gift of turning what-
ever we touch into gold. Nor have we stopped here. We
have dotted the land all over with meeting-houses, school-
houses, academies, colleges, and universities, and our whoIe
population goes to school. We have an active press, throw-
ing off daily its millions of sheets for our instruction or
amusement. We have hospitals, asylums, retreats for the
insane, the bIind, the deaf, the dumb; poor-houses for
vagrants and paupers; gaols and penitentiaries for the
vicious and criminal. Over all we have a free, pure,
economical, and effective government, admirably reconciling
the authority of the state with the freedoom of the subject;
and withal the priceless bIessings of religious liberty, per-
mitting sects the most opposed one to the other to meet as
brothers, leaving every man free to worship God,-or not
to worship him,-according to the dictates of his own con-
science. Have we not a right, then, to applaud ourselves?
Are we not, in fact, a great people ? And is not this a great
country ?

So most of us think, feel, say; and woe to him who should
dare think, feel, or say otherwise. And yet, it may be
worth our while to subject this estimate which we form of
ourselves to a more rigid examination than we seem to have
done. If it be well founded, the examination will confirm
it; if not well founded, the examination will do no harm,-
for few of us are prepared to adopt a conclusion unfavorable
to national pride and vanity.

That this is a great country, if we speak of the territory,
is very true, though not much greater than China, and far
less than Russia, and withal a great part of it as yet uncul-
tivated, and no little of it even untrodden by civilized man.
But whether we are a great people or not, or whether we
have any special ground of self-adulation, is another and a
different question; and a question which will be variously
answered, according to the views which are taken of what
constitutes true national greatness. Our judgments of the
comparative greatness of different nations depend entirely
on the standard of greatness we adopt, and by which we
judge them. We call a people great or small in proportion
as they do or do not conform to our standard of greatness.
Vary the standard, and we vary our judgment. The people
we called great, when indeed by one standard, we may call
not great, if judged by a different standard. All, therefore,
depends on the standard we adopt. Consequently, in order
to determine whether we are really a great people or not,
we must first determine what is the true standard of national

What, then, is true national greatness? We answer, that
nation is greatest in which man may most easily and effect-
ually fulfil the true and proper end of man. The nation,
under the point of view we here consider the subject, is in
the people. Its greatness must, then, be in the greatness of
the people. The people are a collection or aggregation of
individuals, and their greatuess taken collectively is simply
their greatness taken individually. Consequently the great-
ness of a nation is the greatness of the individuals that com-
pose it. The question of national greatness resolves itself,
therefore, into the question of individual greatness. The
greatness of the individual consists in his fulfilling the great
ends of his existence, the ends for which Almighty God
made him and placed him here. No man is truly great
who neglects life's great ends, nor can one be said in trnth
to approach greatness any further than he fulfils them.

In order, then, to determine in what true national great-
ness consists, we must determine in what consists true in-
dividual greatness; and in order to determine in what true
individual greatness consists, we must determine what is the
true end of man; that is, what is the end to which Almighty
God has appointed man, and which he is while here to labor
to secure. What, then, is the end of man?  For what has
our Maker placed us here? To what has he bidden us
aspire? Were we placed here merely to be born and to
die,-to live for a moment, continue our species, toil, suffer,
drop into the grave to rot, and be no more for ever? If
this be our end, true greatness will consist in living for this
life only, and in being great in that which pertains to this
life. The greatest man will be he who succeeds best in
amassing the goods of this world, in securing its honors and
luxuries, or simply in multiplying for himself the means of
sensual enjoyment. In a word, the greatest man will be he
who most abounds in wealth and luxury.

We mean not to say, that, in point of fact, wealth and
lnxury, worldly honors and sensual gratifications, are the
chief goods of even this life; but simply that they would
be, if this were our only life, if our destiny were a destiny
to be accomplished in this world. It is because this world
is not our home, because we are merely travellers through
it, and our destination is a world beyond it, that the life of
justice and sanctity yields us even here our truest and most
substantial pleasure. But confine man to this life, let it be
true that he has no destiny beyond it, and nothing could,
relatively to him, be called great or good, not included un-
der the heads of wealth and luxnry. Nothing could be
counted or conceived of as of the least value to him that
does not directly or indirectly minister to his sensual enjoy-
ment. No infidel moralist has ever been able, without
going out of his own system, or want of system, to conceive
of any thing higher, nobler, more valuable, than sensual

But this life is not our only life, and our destiny is not
accomplished here. The grave is not our final doom; this
world is not our home; we were not created for this world
alone; and there is for us a life beyond this life. But even
this, if we stop with it, does not answer our question. We
may conceive of a future life as the simple continuation of
our present natural life, and such the future life is con-
ceived to be by not a few among us, who nevertheless
flatter themselves that they are firm believers in the life
and immortality brought to light through the Gospel. Every
being may be said to have a natural destiny or end, which
its nature is fitted and intended to gain. The Creator, in
creating a being with a given nature, has given that being
a pledge of the means and conditions of fulfilling it, of at-
taining to its natural end.  Man has evidently been created
with a nature that does not and cannot find its complete ful-
filment in this life. He has a natural capacity for more
than is actually attainable here. In this capacity he has
the promise or pledge of his Maker that he shall live again.
The promises of God cannot fail. Man therefore must and
will live again. But this is only the pledge, so to speak, of
a natural immortality, and reveals to us only a natural
destiny. It is only a continuation of our natural life in
another world. The end we are to labor for, and the means
we are to adopt to gain it, must be precisely what they
would be in case our life were to terminate at the grave.
Our future life being still a natural life, what is wisest and
best for that portion we are now living would be wisest and
best for that portion we are hereafter to live. Hence, what
is wisest and best for time would be wisest and best for

Hence it is that we find so many who, though professing
belief in a future life, judge all things as if this life were
our only life. They look to the future life only as the con-
tinuation of the present, and expect from it only the com-
pletion of their natural destiny. They agree in all their
moral judgments, in all their estimates of the worth of
things or of actions, with those who believe in no future
life at all. They profess to hope for a future life, but live
only for time; because their future life is to be only a
continuation of time. Hence they say, as we ourselves
were for years accustomed to say, He who lives wisely for
time lives wisely for eternity; create a heaven here, and
you will have done your best to secure your title to a
heaven hereafter.

Hence it is that the morality of many who profess to be
Christians is the same which is adopted and defended by
infidels. This is so obviously the case, that we not unfre- ,
quently find men who call themselves Christians commend-
ing downright unbelievers in Christianity as good moral
men, and who see no reason why the morality of the infidel
should not be the same in kind as the morality of the Chris-
tian. Hence it is supposed that morality may be taught in
our schools, without teaching any peculiar or distinctive
doctrine of Christianity. Morality, we are told, is indepen-
dent of religion, and not a few regard it as sufficient with-
out religion. So common has this mode of thinking and
speaking become amongst us, that we heard the other day
a tolerably intelligent Catholic, who would by no means
admit himself to be deficient in the understanding or prac-
tice of his Catholic duties, say, that, if a man were only a
good moral man, he did not care what was his distinctive
religious belief. Many who go further, and contend that
religion is necessary to morality, contend for its necessIty
only as a sort of police establishment. It is necessary, be-
cause the natural sanctions of the moral law are not quite
sufficient to secure obedience, and religion must be called
in by its hopes and fears to strengthen them.

Now all this is perfectly consistent and right, if it be true
that man has only a natural destiny. We ought, in such a
case, to judge all things which concern us precisely as if this
were our only life. Religion could be of no value further
than it strengthened the police, kept people from picking
one another's pockets or cutting one another's throats. But
man's destiny is not natural, but supernatural. Almighty
God created him with a specific nature, but not for an end
in the order of that nature, or to be attained by its simple
fulfilment. He created him to his own image and likeness,
but appointed him to a supernatural destiny,-to an end
above what is attainable by the fulfilment of his nature,-
to an end not promised in his nature, and which is not be-
stowed as the reward of fulfilling it. This end is to know
and love God; but in a sense far higher than we can know
and love him by our natural powers, and as he is now be-
held through a glass, darkly, or seen dimly through the
medium of his works, as we see the cause in the effect. It
is to see him face to face, and to know and love him with a
knowledge and love the same in kind, though not in degree,
with which God knows and loves himself ;-this is the end
for which man was intended, and which it is made his duty
and his high privilege to seek. But this end surpasses the
utmost capacity of our nature, and requires not only a super- .
natural revelation of God, but the supernatural elevation of
our nature itself. It consists in our being made partakers
of the divine nature in an ineffable sense, and in a sense
above that in which we partake of it in being created after
the image and likeness of God. Hence, St. Peter says, "By
whom [Jesus Christ] he hath given us very great and pre-
cions promises, that by these you may be made partakers of
his divine nature." So also St. John :-" We are now the
sons of God, and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be.
We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him;
because we shall see him as he is."

This fact in these times is overlooked. Men have wished
to rationalize the Gospel, to find a philosophic basis for the
mysteries of faith. In attempting this, they have labored
to bring the whole of divine revelation ,within the domain
of reason, and have been led to exclude, as no part of it
whatever they found themselves unable to bring within that
domain. Reason is necessarily restricted to the order of
nature, and can in no instance, of itself, go out of that
order. Hence, revelation has come very widely to be re-
garded as only a republication of the natural law, as at best
'only a running commentary on it, designed simply to ex-
plain the natural order, and not to reveal any thing above it.
Men who claim to be Christians, and even ministers of the
Gospel, everywhere abound, who have no faith in the super-
natural order, scarcely a conception of it. We spent nearly
two hours the other day trying to enable a Protestant min-
ister, and him by no means a weak or ignorant one, even to
conceive of the supernatural; but in vain. So perverted
had his mind become by the false theologies of modern
times, that he could attach no meaning to the assertion,
"There is a supernatural order." He could use the word
supernatural, but it had no meaning for his mind not within
the order of nature. Thousands are in the same sad con-
dition. To them nature is all, and all is nature. Indeed,
the word nature itself has no definite meaning for them. If
a man by a word raise the dead, it is natural; if Moses smite
the rock and living waters gush forth, it is natural,-all by
a natural power, a natural law. Travelling in the same di-
rection, they lose themselves in a wilderness of absurdities.
Natural laws cease to be laws imposed on nature, laws she
must obey, and from which she cannot withdraw herself,
and become forces, agents, creators. It is not strange, then
that they lose sight of the supernatural destiny of man, and
look only for a natura1 destiny, to be obtained not as a re-
ward for obedience to grace, but as the natural consequence
of the cultivation or development of our natural powers.
Read the writings of the celebrated Dr. Channing, or of the
school which he founded or to which he was attached, and
you shall never find a single recognition of the supernatural
order, properly so called,-any allusion to a supernatural
destiny. The highest end you will find presented is that to
which we may attain by the unfolding of our higher nature,
of our natural sentiments of love and reverence.  The school
goes so far as to contend that our nature is susceptible of
an unbounded good, and that our natural sentiments of love
and reverence are capable of an infinite expansion. Yet
these are rational Christians, and they boast of their reason!
They talk of the absurdities of Catholic theology, and see
no absurdity in supposing that a finite nature may be infi-
nitely expanded, or that a nature can be something more
than it is without any thing super-natural.

But this by the way. The true end for which man is to
live is the supernatural end to which we are appointed, the
beatitude which God hath promised to all that love and
serve him here. His true end is not the fulfilment of nat-
ure, but what the sacred Scriptures term "eternal life";
and "This is life eternal, that they may know thee the only
true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." We can-
not know God, without loving him. Hence we say, the end
of man is to know and love God. But to know him iutui-
tively, as he knows himself; for we are to see him as he is,
-not as he appears through the medium of his works, but
as he is in himself. We cannot thus know him naturally,
for thus to know him exceeds the power of the highest pos-
sible created intelligence. We must be like him, before we
can see him as he is,-be made, in a supernatural sense, par-
takers of his divine nature. To know him intuitively as he
is in himself, is, however, the glorious destiny to which we
are appointed, and to which we may attain, if we will. A
more glorious destiny we cannot desire. In it we possess
God himself, who is the sovereign good. Even here we
find our highest good in knowing the truth and loving good-
ness, dim as is our view of the one, and feeble as is our hold
of the other. What must it be, then, when we come to be-
hold, by the light of glory, our God face to face, with no
cloud intervening to obscure his infinite beauty, no distance
between us and his ineffable love? Well may it be said,
"Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, nor hath it entered
into the heart of man to conceive what our God hath pre-
pared for them that love him." He will reward them with
no inferior, no created good; but will give them himself,
will himself be their portion for ever.

But this supernatural destiny, since it is supernatural, is
not naturally attainable. We may cultivate all our natural
powers, we may fill up the highest and broadest capacities
of our nature, realize the highest ideal, and yet be infinitely,
-we use the word in its strict sense,-infinitely below it.
It is not attained to by "self-culture," by the development
and exercise of our highest natural powers, including even
the boasted sentiments of love and reverence. It is nothing
that is due, or ever can be due, to our nature. It is a gift,
and can be obtained only as bestowed. But it will be be-
stowed only on the obedient, and is bestowed as the reward
of obedience. Our destiny is eternal life, and the condition
of obtaining it is obedience. Obedience is not, as some of
the sects teach, the end for which we were made. We were
made not that we might obey God, but that we might
possess God; and we obey him as the condition of possess-
ing him.

Obedience consists in fulfilling this law, "Thou shalt
love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy
whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind;
and thy neighbour as thyself." This law requires us to love
God supremely and exclusively. It is not enough that we
love God more than we love any thing else, but we must
love only him, and our neighbour and ourselves only in him
and for the sake of him; otherwise we do not love him with
the whole heart, soul, strength, and mind. But even this
is not all. No love of which we are naturally capable is the
fulfilling of this law, is that charity without which we are
as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. The end is super-
natural, and, if the end be supernatural, the means must be
supernatural; for there must be some proportion between
the means and the end, and between natural means and a
supernatural end there is no proportion. Man by his
natural strength, even if he had never sinned, could not
keep the law of charity in that sense in which obedience has
the promise of eternal life. The obedience itself must be
supernatural, and therefore is not possible, unless our nature
be elevated, supernaturalized, bv divine grace, by which
our acts have a supernatural character, and a supernatural

We may say, then, that Almighty God has appointed us
to a supernatural end, that he has made that end attainable
only by perfect obedience, and the obedience possible only
by means of supernatural grace. The end for which we are
intended and the means of obtaining it are both in the su-
pernatural order, in what is called the ORDER OF GRACE, not
in the order of nature. We must live not in and for the
order of nature, but in and for the order of grace. Then
our chief attention is to be directed to the means, influences,
ministries, disciplines by which we are lifted out of the
order of nature, and placed in the order of grace, on the
plane of our destiny. These are dispensed, exercised, en-
joined by our blessed Saviour through his holy church,
which he has established for the purpose, and which repre-
sents to us and for us the supernatural order. God through
the church does not merely reveal to us the end for which
he intended us, and the means of obtaining it, but also dis-
penses the helps we need in our weakness to lift us out of
the order of nature and to sustain us in the order of grace;
and it is only through her ministries and disciplines that,
in the ordinary course of his gracious providence, he does
or will grant them, or, if he in some sense grant them, that
they prove effectual. Then the indispensable conditions of
obedience by which we obtain the end for which we were
intended cannot be possessed but by submission to the
church, and observing whatever she proposes or commands.
When we do this, and freely cooperate with the grace given
to all men, we are just, and are placed in that state in which
obedience merits eternal life.

We can now answer the question we have asked, namely,
In what consists true greatness? We began by assuming
that true greatness consists in living for the end for which
our Maker intended us. This end we now see is supernatural,
and obtainable only by supernatural means. True greatness
must consist in living for this supernatural end, and in
yielding the supernatural obedience by which alone it is to
be obtained. It evidently, then, consists in nothing natural,
but in being lifted out of nature and placed in the order of
grace, as we have said, on the plane of our destiny. The
least in the order of grace is infinitely superior to the great-
est in the order of nature. True greatness is, simply, in
that supernatural justice and sanctity in which man was
originally constituted, which he lost by sin, which is restored
by grace, and by which we are made heirs of the promises,
and translated into the number of those to whom our bless-
ed Lord himself will give a crown of life.

This answer is not ours, but the answer which Almighty
God himself gives us in his revelation. Tried by the rule
implied in this answer, not a few of the world's judgments
must be reversed. At one stroke we must cut from the roll
of great men the immense majority of those the world de-
lights to honor, and holds np to the reverence and emulation
of our youth. Renowned princes, statesmen, heroes, poets,
philosophers, scholars, authors, must lose their rank, and
sink below that of ordinary men. Your Goethes, Byrons,
Shelleys, Scotts, Bulwers, Victor Hugos, Balzacs, Eugene
Sues, George Sands, Kants, Hegels, Cousins, shrink into in-
significance before the simplest Christian who has given his
heart to God.. What are .your Alexanders, Hannibals, Caesasrs,
Napoleons, before a St. Gregory, a St. Bernard, a St.
Francis, a St. Ignatius, a St. Xavier, a St. Charles? your
Dukes of Wellington before your St. Patricks, St. Ninians,
St. Columbas, or countless hosts of those whose names are
unheard on earth, and known only in the Lamb's book of
life?  Th saints are the only true nobility. No man is
great but as he is good, but as he lives in the order of grace,
and loves God above all things and with his whole heart
and soul, and his neighbour as himself in and for the sake of

We have now a standard of greatness by which we can
determine who is and who is not great, and by which we
may determine the real value of things and conditions. Am
I poor? What if I am? Does my poverty interfere with
my obedience?  Does it or can it debar me from obtaining
that justice and sanctity in which alone is true worth, true
greatness, all that it does not belittle me to crave? Am I
unknown, held in no repute, despised?  What of all this, I
if I am known and honored of God?  What is it to me that :
I am despised by men, if I am owned by the King immortal ;
and invisible, who with his own hand will bestow upon me
a crown of life incorruptible and eternal in heaven? Talk
of human respectability, of one's standing in society, of the
honors one receives from the state or the mob! What is
all this to him who is in the communion of the saints and
martyrs of all ages and climes, who listen to his prayers, and
bear them as sweet incense up before the throne of the liv-
ing God? Am I rich, am I honored, have I praise of men,
do the crowd run after me, the wise and venerable listen
when I speak? What of all this, if I am poor in the grace
of God, have no honor in heaven, no assurance of the re-
ward set before me,-if, when I die, I go to hell, while the
poor beggar that lay at my gate is borne by the convoy of
angels to Abraham's bosom?

As of the individual, so of the nation. In like manner as
justice and sanctity constitute the greatness of the individual,
so do they constitute the greatness of the nation. "Justice
exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."  The
great nation is the holy nation, rich in true obedience, and
carried away by a divine passion for God and all holy things.
Suppose your nation does increase in wealth, in luxury, in
refinement; suppose it does fell the primeval forest and
enlarge its borders, multiply its manufactures, extend its
commerce, and make all climes pour their riches into its lap;
what then?  Does it follow that such a nation is great, is
glorious, and has reason to applaud herself for her achieve-
ments and to exult over the poor and simple? "Blessed is
the nation whose God is the Lord." Where is it written,
Blessed is the nation whose God is Mammon, and whose
worship is thrift?  Where are the nations who forgot the
Lord, who put their trust in their ships, their traffic, their
wealth, and luxuries?  Where is that ancient Tyre, "whose
merchants were princes, and her traders the nobles of the
earth"? Where are all the nations of the old world, once
renowned for their extended commerce, the richness of their
stuffs, and the variety of their manufactures?  They have
passed away like the morning vapor, and a few solitary ruins.
alone remain to poiut the traveller to the seats of their
world-renowned idolatry.

Taking the principles we have established, we can easily
answer the question, whether we are or are not a great peo-
ple,-whether the path we are pursuing leads to true nation-
al greatness, or whether it leads from it. Are we as a
people intent on gaining the end for which our Maker de-
signed us? Are we remarkable for our humble observance
of the precepts of the Gospel? Are we diligent to yield
that obedience to which is promised eternal life?  Far, very
far, from it. We are a proud, loud-boasting and vain-boast-
ing people. Our god is mammon, and our righteousness is
thrift. Is it not so? To what do we point as proofs of our
greatness? Is it not to our industrial achievements, our
railroads, canals, steamboats, commerce, manufactures,-ma-
terial wealth and splendor?  But where are our moral
achievements, the monmnents of our enlighteped zeal for
God, and humble devotion to his will?  Religion we have
in name, in form, in many forms and many strange forms;
but where is the deep, all-pervading, all-active conviction
that this world is not our home, that it is but an inn in which
we may lodge for a night, but in which we may not, must
not, dwell? Alas! the dominant passion of our country is
worldly wealth and worldly distinction. We see it in the
general pursuits of the people; we hear it in the almost uni-
versal tone of conversation; and we see it distinctly in the
general scramble for wealth, in our demoralizing political
contentions, and the all-devouring greediness for place and

If we look at the great political questions which agitate
the public mind, we shall perceive that they are all ques-
tions concerning wealth, the means of facilitating its acqui-
sition, of making it pass, or preventing it from passing, from
the few to the many, or from the many to the few. Such
are your bank questions, your tariff questions, your land-
distribution questions. If you go beyond these, they are
questions of the honors and emoluments of office. Not a
pert upstart among us who has made his maiden caucus
speech, but regards himself as qualified for any office in the
gift of the people, from that of village constable up to that
of president of the United States, and feels that he suffers
great wrong, and adds another striking example of neglected
merit, if not rewarded for his disinterested and patriotic ex-
ertions by some snug place with a fat salary. Scarcely a
man seems contented to remain in private life, to live in
obscurity, unheeded by his countrymen, in all humility and
fidelity laboring to discharge his duty to his God, and to
win the prize of eternal glory. We love the praise of men
more than the praise of God; the low and transitory goods
of time more than the high and permanent goods of eternity.
If we are poor, we are discontented, we regard ourselves as
most miserable, and rail against Providence, who permits
inequalities to obtain among brethren. No one is contented
with his lot in life. We are all ill-at-ease. We would all
be what we are not,- and have what we have not. And yet,
with admirable simplicity, we ask, Are we not a great people?
Nearly all the action of the American people, collectively
or individually, has reference solely to the affairs of, time.
Government sinks with us into a joint-stock concern for the
practice of thrift. It has no divine authority, no high and
solemn moral mission. In education even, the same low
and earthly view obtains. We educate for time. We seek
to fit our children for getting on, as we call it, in the world,
-to make them sharp, bold, enterprising and successful
business men. We teach them, indeed, that knowledge is
power,-but power to outstrip their fellows in the pursuit of
worldly goods. We teach them, indeed, that sloth is a
mortal sin,-but sloth in the affairs of time and sense, not
sloth in regard to our spiritual duties. We teach them to
respect public opinion, to strive to be respectable, to be
honored among men; rarely, and almost always ineffectually,
to respect the law of God, to seek honor of God, and to
despise that of men. Hence, they grow up timid time-
servers, trimmers, moral cowards, afraid to say their souls
are their own, to a vow their honest convictions, if their con-
victions chance to be unpopular, or to follow God in the
faith and worship he has ordained, if not held in repute, or
if embraced only by the poor, the simple, of whom the
world makes no account. To make a sacrifice for Christ, to
give up all, houses, lands, wife, and children, for God, that
we may have treasure in heaven, strikes us as something
wholly uncalled for, as folly, as madness, worthy only of the
dark ages of monkish ignorance and barbarity. To a worldly
end conspire all our education, science, literature, and art.
Whatever cannot be pressed into the service of man as a
creature of time and sense is by the immense majority of us
condemned as useless and mischievous.

That we measure all things by the standard of this life
and this world is evinced by the judgments we pass on
other nations. In judging others, we always judge our-
selves. Tell us what nation you place highest in the scale
of nations, and you tell us what are your own views of what
constitutes true national greatness. We, as a people, very
generally count highest in the scale of contemporary nations
those in which the national energy displays itself most
exclusively in an industrial direction, and which are most
successful in multiplying wealth and luxury. Since the
great events in the sixteenth century, which out of courtesy
we must call the reformation, although it was any thing but
a reformation, there has sprung up a new social order, not
known in the middle ages, and not yet universally adopted
in Catholie countries. The whole tendency of this order is
in an industrial direction. It places this world before the
other, time before eternity, the body before the soul, the
praise of men before the praise of God. It esteems the
riches of this world more than the riches of divine grace,
and bids us strive to live, not in the order of grace, but in
the order of nature. Under this order the great aim is to
be rich, independent, well off in time; to be distinguished,
held in high repute one by another. We reverse the maxim
of the Gospel, and say, Be not anxious for the soul, take no
need to the worship of God, nor to obedience to his laws;
but seek first to get on well in this world, look to the main
chance, get rich,-honestly, of course, if you can, but get
rich,-be distinguished, and then the kingdom of God and
his justice will be added unto you; or if not,-it will be no
great matter.

Under this order, astonishing industrial triumphs have
been achieved. Man has made the sea and the land his
tributaries, the winds his messengers, and flames of fire his
ministers. Banking-houses, exchanges, cotton-mills, docks,
and wharfs supplant the old cathedral, the abbey, and the
way-side chapel. It is only such nations as stand highest in
this order that we call great. If, by an excess of mod-
esty, we place any nation above our own, it is Great Britain.
In our estimation, no nation has surpassed her in the wis-
dom of her policy, none equals her in true national greatness
and prosperity. In worldly power, in worldly wealth, in
vast industrial euterprises, in wonderful productive facilities
and energies, she unquestionably stands at this moment
unrivalled; but tried by the standard of greatness we have
adopted, there are few, if any, nations on the globe that
can rank far below her. ,What, in fact, are her national
characteristics? We grant her people have been brave, are
bold, enterprising, industrious, ingenious; but as a nation
she is proud, arrogant, worldly, hypocritical. Her church
establishment is a mockery, and her  coffers are filled with
the plunder of almost every people. The sun never sets
upon ber empire, and visits no people that does not curse
her dominion. She is gorged with spoils, and drunken with
the blood of the poor, the weak, the defenceless.

Nay, with all her wealth, with all her productive power,
with an her devotion to the interests of time and sense, the
condition of the great mass of her population, even in refer-
ence to this life alone, is far below what it was before she
started on her new career, and compares unfavorably with
that of the mass of the populations in most Catholic countries
even now. The lower orders in Spain and Italy, over
whose sad condition we shed so much-ink, are, even as to
their physical comforts, altogether superior to the lower
classes in Great Britain. An Italian or Spanish peasant
has a personal freedom. an elevation of mind, a dignity of
soul and of manners, that you shall in vain look for in an
English operative. He feels that he is a man, that there is
something of nobility attaching to every soul, since our
blessed Lord assumed human nature and died to redeem it.
He has at least the free use of his limbs, and free access to
the blessed light and air of heaven, and is not imprisoned
in a union workhouse. And say what you will of popish
ignorance and superstition, the worship of our Lady and the
saints is at least not more degrading than the worship of the
gin-shop. We have seen it recently stated, on what pur-
ports to be good authority, that in England every sixth
person is a pauper, and large masses of the people, it has
been proved by parliamentary commissions, grow up with-
out any religious instruction, and live in a manner as gross
and brutish as that of the South Sea Islanders,-many hav-
ing never heard even the name of their Maker, except when
blasphemed. There are immense estates, immense wealth,
boundless luxury for the few, and the niost squalid poverty
and frightfnl distress for the many. The soil of England,
which a hundred and fifty years back had at least some two
hundred and forty thousand proprietors, has now less than
thirty thousand. The increase of pauperism has kept pace
with this concentration of the soil in the hands of fewer and
fewer proprietors. Such is the tendency of your boasted
industrial order in Great Britain. But in Italy, poor
degraded Italy, which our Christian Alliances are about to
visit with their benign countenances, the highest statements
we have seen make the number of paupers, not one
out of every six, as in England, but only one out of every
twenty-five; and the provisions for education are so ample,
especially in the ecclesiastical states, that the poorest
father may give his son, free of expense, the best university
education in the world. Yet we weep over Italy and glorify
Great Britain.

If there be any truth in the principles we have laid down,
-principles which rest not on our authority, but on the
authority of God,-a nation is not to be accounted great in
proportion to its worldly wealth and splendor; and If there
be any truth in history or experience, a nation, in directing
its chief attention to these, to the growth of material wealth
and power, not only cannot attain to true greatness, but
must inevitably fail to secure even the temporal well-being,
for any great length of time, of the great mass of its popu-
lation. We are beginning ourselves to experience, and we
shall experience more and more, the truth of these asser-
tions. Here the people make the laws. But, in making
the laws, they of necessity follow their dominant passion.
The laws in a democracy are always true exponents of the
character, the tastes, habits, and passions of the people. The
dominant passion of our people at the present moment is
the acquisition of material wealth, either for its own sake, or
for the sake of the ease, independence, and distinction it is
supposed to be able to secure. Take any ten thousand men
at random, and ask them what they most desire of govern-
ment, and they will answer you, if they answer you honest-
ly,-Such laws as will facilitate the acquisition of wealth.
Tbe facilitating of the acquisition of wealth is at the bottom
of every question which has any bearing on our elections.
Let these men vote, and they will vote for such laws as they
believe will most effectually secure this end. But suppose
such laws to be enacted, how many out of the ten thousand
will be in a condition to take advantage of them? Certain
ly, not more than one in a hundred. There will be, then,
nine thousand and nine hundred men joining with one
hundred to enact laws which in their operation are for the
exclusive benefit of the one hundred. The whole action,
the inevitable action, of every popular government, where
wealth is the dominant passion of the people, is to foster
the continued growth of inequality of property. The ten-
dency of all laws passed, if passed by the many, will be to
concentrate the property iu the hands of the few, because
each one who aids in passing them hopes that his will be the
hands in which it is to be concentrated ;-at least, such will
be the tendency, till matters become so bad that the many
in their madness and desperation are driven to attempt the
insane remedy of agrarian laws. When, under our new
system of industry, which allows little personal intercourse
between landlord and tenant, proprietor and operative,
which connects the operative simply with the mill and the
overseer, the concentration of property in a few hands be-
comes general, it involves the most fatal results. We see
in England only half the evil it would produce with us; be
cause there, save in the manufacturing districts, some ele-
ments of the old feudal system still remain to mitigate it.
But here the evil would have no mitigation. We should
have an aristocracv indeed, but one without a single quality
that makes an aristocracy even endurable. An aristocracy
not based on high birth or on sanctity is always intolerable.
But the new order is at war with high birth, generous
breeding, and is plebeian in its spirit and tendency. It is
supported, commended, on the ground of its alleged popular
tendencies, and its hostility to whatever remains of the old
feudal order. Its direct and inevitable tendency is to sub-
stitute the cotton-mill for the old baronial castle, and your
"Plugsons of St. Dorothy of Undershot," as Carlyle calls
them, for the well-born, the well-bred, and the really noble,
-men who have risen from the gutter without a single
virtue or a single generous quality, solely by their success
in tasking the industry of others, and in getting by means
of their business operations a controlling influence in the
industrial world. These "Plugsons" become our chiefs,
our nobles, whose names head subscription papers, and who
are seen figuring as presidents of banks, and other moneyed
corporations, of lyceum and railroad meetings and conven-
tions. The great mass sink to mere machines, doomed to
tend on other machines. It is to this miserable result that
leads the path we have hitherto pursued, and are now pur-
suing. We have not yet reached the goal; we have not seen
the worst; but are driving on towards the worst with more
than Jehu speed. We have in full operation all the causes
which necessarily produce the state of degradation implied;
and which will produce it, with all its attendant evils, much
sooner, perhaps, than even the greatest croakers among us ap-

(Footnote *We say not that this is the necessary result of popular government as such; for it is not, save when and where the dominant passion of the people is for the goods of this life. Where the people are truly religious, where they live not for time but for eternity, and are bent on laying up treasures not on earth but in heaven, no such result from popular gov-
ernment would or could follow. But the popular tendency of modern
governments has been in nearly all cases the offspring, not of religion,
but of the want of it. The new order is the result of the decay of re-
ligious faith, of rebellion against the spiritual government Almighty
God has instituted, and of a growing devotion to the goods of time and
sense. The aim of all our modern popular movements has been to de-
press the spiritual order and to elevate the material. Men lose sight of
the end for which they were intended, cease to have reference in
their aspirations and conduct to the things which are invisible and eter-
nal, and come to place their affections wholly on this world and the
things which pertain to it. In no instance have they broken away from
the old social order for the sake of heaven; but in all instances for the
sake of earth. They have demanded a new and better social order, not
as more favorable to obtaining the end for which Almighty God intend-
ed them, but as likely to yield more earthly delight and satisfaction.
Hence, popular government, or the tendency to popular government,
wherever we see it, is an evidence of the worldly-mindedness of the
people, of their decaying faith and growing infidelity. Consequently as
a matter of fact, wherever we find a popular government, we may re-
gard the fatal results we have pointed out as inevitable, unless arrested
by the operation of some cause foreign to that operating in the people
and government.

Yet, if the people. or the great majority of them, were truly Chris-
tian, if the dominant spirit or passion of the nation were for heaven as
our true destiny, and to gain heaven in the way and by the means Al-
mighty God himself has ordained, we see no reason why popular gov-
ernment would not work well, and deserve all the eulogiums it has ever
received. Certainly we are not among those who would distrust it. It
is only the godless republic we fear; it is only where the people are wed-
ded to this world, where they do not own the Lord, do not believe, do
not feel in their souls, that this world is not their home, that we are here
only to prepare for another and a better world, that we are to walk here
by faith, not by sight, and live by promise and not by fruition, that we
doubt the democratic tendency. Democracy with the church would be
a good form of government, if not indeed the best of all possible forms;
without the church, it is the worst, as our own experience as a people,
if we continue as we have been going on, will soon demonstrate to all
who have eyes to see or hearts to understand.

If, then, we speak of the fatal results of popular government, it must
be understood of popular government not in itself considered, but where
the people are not Christian, where they have not the Christian faith
living and active, or, as we have said, where the dominant passion of
the people, as with us, is for worldly wealth and distinction. The fault
is not in the form of the government, but in the spirit of the people.
Were the people what they should be, the government would be all we
could wish. But no popular government can be wiser and better than
the people, rarely so wise and good as the general average. It is not
the government that needs changing or reforming, but the people from
whom it emanates. If our politicians would bear this in mind, and
seek to secure better governmental results by increasing the intelligence
and virtue of the people, instead of studying merely to ascertain and
conform to the popular will as it is, they would render us some service,
and would not deserve the very general reprobation which they now re-
ceive from the wise and good.)

But this is not all. In all the great industrial nations, so
called, or where the new order prevails, and especially with
us, the great mass of the people are ill-at-ease. They be-
long in more senses than one to the "movement party."
Rarely do you find one contented with his lot, or satisfied to
remain in the social position in which he was born. The ab-
surd notions of equality which have been propagated turn
all heads, and make everyone feel that he ought to occupy
the first rank. No one is willing to occupy a subordinate
station. We are all equal, and, therefore, all would be first.
The poor man cannot content himself in his poverty to
serve God where he is, and count himself as living well, if
living for God. No; he must be another; he must be
rich; he must stand as high socially as his neighbour. So he
puts off his spiritual duties, neglects the goods he might
obtain, and risks every thing in trying to be what he is not,
and in striving to win what when won would be worse than
useless. No one seems to remember, none seems to believe,
that "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the king-
dom of heaven"; that "Better is the poor man that walketh
in simplicity, than a rich man that is perverse in his lips
and unwise"; or that" Better is a dry morsel with joy, than
a house full of victims with strife." We look with pity
and contempt on those who show no ambition to rise in the
world. We regard it as a "lower deep" in the degrada-
tion of the Austrian or Italian peasant, that he is con-
tented to live and die a peasant. We regard him who
neglects an opportunity to rise in the world, to acquire
wealth or distinction, as wanting in the proper spirit of a
man. Hence, everywhere strife and contention; every-
where rivalry, competition, envy, jealousy, heart-burnings,
efforts to rise, pull down, keep down,-at all events, to be
ourselves at the top. And what avails all this uneasiness
and discontent? What avails all this struggle, uproar,
and confusion?  Does it make us happier here?  Does it
help us obtain the end for which our Maker intended us?
No, no. What, then, does it all prove, but that we make a
false estimate of life,-that we place greatness, whether na-
tional or individual, in that in which it is not, and in which
it cannot be.

It is sometimes asked, what is to be the fate of this re-
Public?  If we continue on as we are, it is easy to foresee
what it will be. We shall be what were Tyre, and Sidon,
and Carthage, and what they are now. It is written, that
"the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations
that forget God." And, say what we will, we as a people
do forget God. We have, it is true, our meeting-houses,
and places where we assemble on Sundays; and we call our-
selves by the name of Christ, to take away our reproach.
But the exchange is our temple, and mammon is our god.
We are an idolatrous people, and pay our devotion to the
meanest of all the spirits that "kept not their first estate."
For an idolatrons people there is no good, no hope; because
every people that forsaketh the living God shall sooner or
later be blotted out. The Lord God hath said it, and it is
not for us to reverse his decrees. We must put away our
idolatry, return from our groves and "high places" to the
temple we have deserted; for there is no good for nations,
any more than for individuals, but in loving God and keep-
ing his commandments.

This conclusion, doubtless, is not remarkable for its nov-
elty. It is, we own, but the old story which is con-
stantly repeated by those the world heeds not. But truth
is old, not new, and our good rarely comes from novelties.
We have followed after new things long enough. We
have sought out many inventions; we have followed the
suggestions of a lying spirit, and been deceived well-nigh
to our ruin. It is now the part of wisdom to retrace our
steps, to return to the old things we have left behind, from
which we have wandered so long and so far, seeking rest
and finding none. Nay, if we want novelty, we may find
it in the old paths so long deserted; for to the greater part
of us the old is newer than the new.

We mean not, in what we have said, to condemn industry,
nor even wealth, in their place, and when pursued with ref-
erence solely to God. We believe voluntary poverty, for the
sake of God, is highly meritorious; but a man may also be rich
without sin, although riches are a temptation and a snare,
and he who has them not is more blessed than he who has
them. What we have meant to condemn is the worldly
spirit, is the tendency to make wealth and luxury, or the
goods of this life, ends for which we may live and labor.
This is always sin, as it is always folly and madness. We
may make our industry and wealth meritorious, by pursu-
ing them for the sake of God, and using what we acquire
according to the law of charity. We are to seek first, as
the end of our exertions, the kingdom of God and his jus-
tice, and all else we need will be added unto us. But all
are not required to seek this in the same mode. There are
diversities of gifts and callings. Some are called to follow
the evangelical counsel to forsake houses and lands, wife and
children, for Christ's sake. These do nobly, and have the
promise of a hundred-fold in this world, and of eternal life
in the world to come. Others are called to serve God as
pastors and teachers by ruling the church, feeding the flock,
instructing the ignorant, strengthening the weak, reclaim-
ing the erring, comforting the sorrowing, and befriending
the friendless; others by exercising authority in the state,
watching over the public weal, executing the laws, and
maintaining justice between man and man; others, again,
by industrial efforts, by the production and exchange of the
necessaries and conveniences of life. Each to his calling;
and each in his calling may, if he will, serve God, and gain
the salvation of his own soul. But whatever the calling, it
must be pursued for the sake of God, in the spirit of hum-
ble obedience; and whatever the act performed, it must be
referred to God, who is our ultimate end, as he is our first

We have spoken freely, and not flatteringly, of our coun-
trymen; and yet we have not spoken without feeling an
American heart beating in our bosom. A great people in
the higher and truer sense we are not. That we have in the
industrial order achieved much, and that as to our simple
material condition we compare favorably with any other
people, we are far from questioning. That in education, so
far as it tends to prepare us for success in this world, we
have done much, we freely admit; and that, as a people, we
are by no means deficient in natural acuteness, strength, or
activity of mind, or wanting in the ordinary regard for the
general welfare of one another, we are far from asserting.
Compared with other nations, we have undoubtedly no
special cause for national mortification, though less cause
for pride and vanity than we commonly imagine. Yet we
know no reason why a man should blush before the native of
any other country to be called an American. It is not be-
tween us and other nations that we have been instituting a
comparison. We have compared our nation not with oth-
ers; but have sought to measure it by the standard of
greatness furnished us in our holy religion,-the only
standard by which it becomes us to try ourselves. Tried by
that standard, we are indeed most shamefully wanting, and
should blush and hang our heads.

In saying this, we do not feel that we forfeit the charac-
ter of a true patriot. We may be wrong, but we have al-
ways held that the worst citizen of a republic is he who
flatters the people, assures them they are wise and virtuous,
can do no wrong, and have the right, irrespective of the
laws of God, to do whatever they will. We have never be-
lieved that we must consult the will of the people as the rule
of our faith or of our practice. We have believed it the
duty of every citizen to do all in his power not to conform
to public opinion, but to set it right whenever he has good
authority for believing it wrong. We are not to do what
will please the people, but to do what we can to influence the
people to will what is pleasing to God. Such has been our
belief ever since we commenced addressing the public in
speech or in writing, and such is our belief now, and prob-
ably will be, as long as we live. It is too late for us now
to turn courtier or demagogue. If this is a fault in us, there
is no lack of aspirants to public favor to atone for it. We
love our country. We are resolved to do all we can to sus-
tain her institutions; but we are not of those who have
great facility in shouting democracy, and praising the dear
people. We see evil tendencies at work; we see the golden,
or rather paper, age of demagogues advancing, and we
tremble for our country. To us the direction things are
taking seems likely to prove disastrous. We raise our voice,
feeble though it be, and unheeded as we fear it will be, to
contribute our mite to stay the advancing tide of ruin. We
have raised it with a patriot's love, and with a patriot's
grief; but with the Christian's hope. Bad as appearances
are, a good God as well as a just God watches over us, and
we dare not distrust his mercy. It may be he will have
mercy on our nation; that he will yet make ours the chosen
land of his abode; that he will in very deed be our God
and we shall be his people. We would not see our experi-
ment in behalf of popular freedom fail; we would see it
succeed. It will not fail, it will succeed, if we return to
God, put our trust in him, and live for the end to which he
has appointed us.