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Church Unity and Social Amelioration

Brownson's Quarterly Review, July, 1844

ART. II. — Church Unity and Social Amelioration.

THE great majority of our wise and liberal politicians, and not a few of our equally wise and liberal clergy, whose god is what they call toleration, profess to regard the division of the Christian world into separate and hostile communions as a very great blessing, and altogether preferable to a state of unity and catholicity; because these hostile communions, these jarring and rival sects, tend, by their mutual ambition and jealousies, to check and restrain each other, and thus prevent any one from gaining the preponderance. In their view, all communions are sects, and one, perhaps, not more or less so than another. There is no true church communion, separation from which constitutes sectarianism, but all communions are alike sectarian; and the aim of every friend of liberty should be, to prevent any one of them from gaining the ascendency, and swallowing up or suppressing the rest.

Now, what is the secret thought of these friends of sectarianism ? Why, it is that the Christian church is a disease in the social body, which, since we cannot expel it altogether, we must study to break up, and scatter through the system as much as possible, so that it may not concentrate its virulence on any one point. This was avowed to us in just so many words, the other day, by the excellent conductor of one of our city religious newspapers, which bears the name of Christian, and makes more than ordinary pretensions to piety, spirituality, and Christian philanthropy.

Now, what can more completely demonstrate a total want of faith in the church of God ? If men believed that the church was founded by God himself, and that the Son of God, who is God, is its head, and always with it, — that it was founded by Infinite Wisdom and Love, and must needs be protected by the same Infinite Wisdom, and Love, for the express purpose of exercising authority over men, even over their very consciences, could they regard it as a disease, or fear that its power could ever be too great, or in any possible contingency become dangerous ? In plain terms, if they believed the church to be God's church, and its authority God's authority, could they possibly believe it necessary to guard against it, to interpose barriers to its progress, and to place restraints on its powers ? Of course not. They do, then, really believe the church to be of man, of human origin and growth, and, like all things human, liable to abuse, and therefore needing to be restrained. The age, we are aware, is bold in its blasphemies, and all but boundless in its impieties; but we doubt whether, in its sublime politics, it would dare contend that we should restrain within due bounds the power of the All-Wise and Merciful God, and that some safeguards against the tyranny of the Almighty should be sought out. Evidently, therefore, the age regards the church as purely human.

Then, again, if these politicians and liberal clergymen believed the church to be of God, to be a Divine Institution, they would regard as evil whatever tended to break its unity, and for the very reason, that, in breaking its unity, they weakened its power, and impeded its operations. They would see and feel, that, the more they extended the power of the church, the further would they extend the kingdom of God on earth; for they would understand by the church the visible instrument, in the hands of the Redeemer and Saviour, of extending and consolidating his moral dominion over the hearts and consciences of men. Their jealousy of church dominion, and their friendship for sectarianism, both go to prove that they are no believers in the church, that they hold that the church has no office to perform in the affairs of mankind, that it is not needed for their moral progress, but is itself a moral disease, of which it would be desirable to be cured altogether, if possible. And yet, these men would be thought to be pious men, and would take it as a proof of our extreme illiherality, nay, of our utter want of Christian charity, if we questioned their right to be called and treated as Christians !

One hardly knows what to think.    Infidelity, incredulity, indifference, and, what is worse than all, a cold, freezing rationalism, which can hardly claim to be as near to faith in Christ as the old-fashioned Deism, but which nevertheless is baptized, christened, with the Christian name, and claims to be Christianity in its greatest purity and simplicity, have taken so deep and so strong a hold on the community, that one hardly dares speak in the name of Christ, and for Christ's church, lest men straightway propose that he should be put into a strait jacket, or sent to the lunatic asylum.
We read, the other day, the speeches and proceedings of a Pourierist convention in the city of New York. Its president was an old and intimate friend of ours; several of the speakers were individuals with whom we have been often associated, and for whose sincerity we would vouch with our life. These men have, no doubt, high and benevolent aims, and really believe they are pursuing a course likely to benefit humanity. There these men met and repelled, with great indignation, the charge of infidelity, or of unfriendliness to Christianity, brought against Fourierism, and resolved that Pourierism is Christian, and that whoso says to the contrary is a slanderer. All very fine, Gentlemen, but who has constituted you judges of what is Christianity, and who will vouch for your own Christian faith, or be our surety that you yourselves are not, under the name of Christianity, setting forth as rank infidelity as was ever set forth by Paine, Volney, or Baron d' Holbach ? We see in your speeches nothing but a subtle Pantheism, or a disguised Epicureanism. Your very starting point is at the opposite pole from Christianity, and your method is directly the reverse of that enjoined by the ever-blessed Son of God. You assume the perfection of human nature, the essential holiness of all man's instincts, passions, and tendencies, and contend that the evil in the world comes from causes extraneous to man ; from causes which restrain, repress, his natural instincts and passions, and hinder their free, full, and harmonious development. This is your starting-point. Christianity, all the world knows, teaches that evil comes from within, from man's abuse of the freedom essential to his being as man, and that, in consequence of this abuse, man's nature has become exceedingly disordered, his appetites and afFections depraved, his moral tastes vitiated, so that he craves and relishes the meat that perisheth, rather than the meat that endureth unto everlasting life. This is its starting point, and yet, though you directly contradict it, we must not question your soundness as Christian believers, lest we be guilty of slander!
Christianity, again, is a system of means divinely devised and instituted for the recovery of man from sin, his restoration to justice and sanctity, and his growth in knowledge and love. This system of means you reject, and substitute therefor the discoveries of Fourier, and for the Christian Church, its ministries, sacraments, and disciplines, the Fourier phalanx, with groups, series, and alternations of labor. Not the Son of God has disclosed the law of life, not prophets and apostles have discovered the laws by which man is to be recovered, and social harmony produced, — but one Charles Fourier, a merchant, or merchant's clerk, of Lyons. And yet, you are good Christians, and it is a slander to question the eminently Christian character of Fourierism !

Christianity assumes that the evil originates in man's abuse of his freedom, that here is the cause of that evil in nature and outward circumstances, which reacts upon him with such terrible vengeance ; it therefore proposes, as its method of recovery, to lay the axe at the root of the tree, to cut off the evil in its source, by purifying the heart, out of which are the issues of life. Teaching that our appetites, passions, and affections are disordered, depraved, and therefore not to be trusted, it lays down, as its first and great command, Deny thyself, take up the cross, and follow the Master. It would correct the outward by first correcting the inward, bring man into universal harmony by bringing him spiritually into union with God. Let man be right internally, and nothing in the outward will be evil to him, for all things work together for good to them that Jove the Lord. You reverse this; the natural instincts, appetites, passions, and affections of man, you hold, are all only so many revelations of the will of the Creator, and the fact that man possesses these is a sure indication that it was the will of God that they should be gratified. Instead of saying, DENY THYSELF ; you say, very properly, taking your point of departure, PLEASE THYSELF; and if thou canst not do it in society as it is, then reform, remodel, reorganize society, so thou canst please thyself, gratify, to the fullest, each and all of thy passions. If thou art inclined to chastity, and canst satisfy thyself with being the husband of one wife, or the wife of one husband, well and good,—join the group of the constant ; if not, if thou hast a craving after change and variety, and wouldst have a wide experience, pass on to another group, instituted expressly for such as thou, and in which thou mayest, without fear or reproach, indulge thy taste for variety and change, to thy heart's content.*(footnote: We do not overstate the matter.    See Popular View of the Doctrines of Chnrles Fourier, By Parke Godwin, New York, J. S. Red-field, 1844, chapter VIII.    Mr. Godwin, it is true, dissents from Fourier, for whom, however, he makes an elaborate apology ; but Mr. Godwin is too able a reasoner, too clear-sighted, nnd too well acquainted with Fourier's doctrines, not to see, that Fourier, in what he says of the relation of the sexes, ia perfectly consistent with his fundamental principles.   Both Fourier and his disciple, Godwin, feel that their principles require them to make ample provision, within the phalanx, for satisfying the cravings and passions of the inconstant and disorderly, and both feel that the moral conscience of Christendom revolts at the bare thought of such a provision.    They assume that all which man is naturally prompted to do it is right for him to do, and their study is to devise a method whereby man may easily, without let or hindrance, do whatever he is inwardly prompted to do.    In other words, all man's desires are holy, and should have their legitimate satisfaction ; the desires of individuals differ, nnd the object of the groups and series is to provide for this difference.    If, then, a number of men and women are found in a phalanx, whose desires stretch beyond the Christian rule, why, they must form a group especially for the gratification of their inconstancy. The whole Fourier theory demands this, and our Fourierists should boldly avow it, or else abandon Fourierism itself.    We have no respect for the man who timidly recoils before the consequences of his own system.    If he cannot look all these consequences in the face without quailing, be they what they may, let him abandon his system.   Fourierism is all summed up in these few  words, " Please thyself; and as thou canst not, in society as it is, — reorganize society, so that thou canst." This is its great ethical rule, and whoso is not prepared to adopt it, in its fullest extent, should not undertake to be a Fourierist.--end of footnote)

Yet we are slanderers, if we question at all your Christian character!

"But these are all pure-minded, pure-hearted, spiritual, lofty, all but saintly men ; admitting that they may err in some of their views, you must own that they are Christians, at least, in their lives." What mean you by men's lives ? The whole of what they think, say, and do ? If so, how can you call that man a Christian in his life, who uses the whole weight of his character and talents to bring Christianity into disrepute, and who proclaims boldly, in tones of earnestness, and of apparent philanthropy, doctrines which legitimate, nay, sanctify, the foulest lust, and the grossest passions of our corrupt and fallen nature? The man, who, in his private life, in secret, breaks every commandment in the decalogue, is a saint in comparison with him who corrupts the public conscience, perverts the principles of men and women, and under cover of morality, of a Divine Law, authorizes all that the revealed law of God forbids. We hold no man to be a Christian man in his life, who promulgates anti-Christian or immoral doctrines. God has revealed to us the truth ; he has instituted an interpreter of his Word; and error of doctrine is without excuse. A man may always know, if he will, what is the truth. If he will not, if he will not suffer himself to learn of God, and to be decided by God's Word, it is from the pride of his own heart, it is from moral depravity, it is from setting himself up against God; and no man who sets himself up against God is or can be a Christian.

Then, again, this Fourierism is nothing but a disguised Epicureanism. The chief end of man is, according to it, pleasure, or happiness. The end proposed is, simply, to enable man to enjoy all his natural instincts and passions, so that he shall experience no evil, be exposed to no jar or discord, and never find any cross; and this, not by purifying his heart, and bringing him into harmony with nature and with God, but by bringing all out of man into harmony with man. What, according to Fourierism, is duty ? Simply to enjoy, to provide for satisfying the passions. What is it to obey God ? To constitute the town or parish so that man shall find, in its organization, no restraint on any of his passions or desires. Where, we demand, is duty in the Christian sense, — duty to love man, to love God, to live for God, and give one's self up to the commands of God ? Nowhere. I find in your teaching nothing which appeals to any other motive in man than interest, or love of pleasure. I see nothing incompatible with the most perfect Epicureanism, save that the individuals who are seeking to introduce the reform are not necessarily selfish, but may be disinterested. But what, save Epicurean motives, do they hold out to induce us to join them ? What in us do they address ? Do they appeal to our sense of duty ? No. They undertake to show the capitalist that it will be a profitable investment of capital, and the laborer that it will be a profitable investment of labor, and the voluptuary that he will there find a pleasing gratification for all his senses. The devil has grown bold, in very sooth, and no longer takes even the trouble to put on a disguise. It ceases to be necessary for him to put on the guise of an angel of light ; he may venture forth in his own person, with his cloven foot and trident tail and all, and men will follow him in crowds, and swear he is a Divinity; nay, the Divinity ; and cry, " All hail, great Prince of Darkness! Welcome, thrice welcome among us! " Wealth and pleasure are the baits with which the devil allures us to our ruin, and wealth and pleasure are the attractions held out by our Fourierists. Yet, in the face and eyes of the command, " Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth," and of what our Lord says, " If a man seek to save his life he shall lose it," they are good Christians, and we are slanderers if we intimate any discrepancy between Fourierism and Christianity.

We know very well that Fourierists speak of God, of Christ, of revelation, and even of the Church; but what do they mean by these awful, sublime words ?    Mean ? Why, God is the force acting in our passions and instincts, blossoming in the trees, glowing in the stars, and constituting the sum and substance of what is ; Christ is the ideal of perfect manhood, which, at the same time, is the ideal of perfect Godhood, and his significance is the identity of the human nature with the Divine ; and revelation means, that, inasmuch as the force acting in us, in our instincts, passions, &c, is God, what these crave must needs be the revelation or manifestation of the will of God.    The Church is the house which man builds for God, not the house which God builds for man.    Some men are to promenade their eyes over all existing sects, select out the true, and mould it into one complete and harmonious whole.    Thus you will have the one faith ; this one faith, working in the minds and hearts of men, will gradually gather around it, or rather build up around it, an institution which will represent or express it to the world, and that will be the one Catholic Church !  So they are not only Christians, but Catholics ; who, then, shall dare, henceforth, to question their orthodoxy, or hesitate to receive them as competent witnesses and judges of the orthodoxy of Fourierism ? 

Fourierism is Christian in their sense, and if they are Christians.   But, my good friends, the Church, that is, the Church of God, if it be any thing, is an institution founded by God himself for man, not an institution developed from man, or gradually formed through the workings of men's notions of Christian truth.    The one Catholic Church is this divinely founded and sustained institution, and if you do not mean this institution by your Church, then call your Church by another name ; if you are not Catholics, in the sense defined by the Catholic Church herself, then, do not deceive yourselves and others by calling yourselves Catholics.

But we did not intend to go so fully into the religious, or rather, irreligious, character of Fourierism. We referred to it, merely as one of the evidences of how completely the sense of religion has been lost; so completely,— and we say it with deep humiliation, for the charge we imply might but a few years since have been brought with equal justice against ourselves,—that men of no mean intelligence, and of honest intentions, and even benevolent aims, fancy themselves firm believers in the Gospel of our blessed Lord, when rejecting it entirely as the kingdom of mediatorial Grace, when denying its fundamental dogmas and precepts, and admitting it at all only as a bungling statement of the veriest Naturalism. The patient is never in a more dangerous condition than when he believes himself to be in perfect health. The last century was characterized by open, avowed, unblushing infidelity ; the present century, thus far, has to no inconsiderable degree been characterized by an infidelity equally intense, and all the more dangerous from its believing itself to be faith. The German Rationalism of Paulus, Ro'hr, and others, is worse than the Deism of Voltaire, or the Atheism of d' Holbach; and Rationalism itself is comparatively orthodox by the side of the mawkish Senti-mentalism of De Wette, the pantheistic Spiritualism of Schleiermacher, and the Naturalism of Strauss and his feeble echoes in this country. Infidelity, using, and with apparent sincerity, the language of faith and piety, is the most dangerous species of infidelity the devil has as yet succeeded in inventing. Our age is full of this species of infidelity. Our literature is full of it; our speculations overflow with it; it drops from the sanctuary; it flows out in the political oration, and penetrates even the decision of the judge. We are all good believers; we are all enlightened, liberal believers; we believe in all sacred books; we hold the sacred books of all nations to have been inspired, — all religions to be of God; for they are of man, and man is God; and wherefore, then, call us unbelievers ? Sure enough. Nevertheless, a great work is to be done, not merely to bring men back to the simplicity of the Gospel, but to make them perceive even a fundamental difference between the New Testament and the Koran, the Christian Church and the institutions of the Arabian impostor.

The worst feature of our age is its miserable eclecticism.    It reads all, collects and accepts all, and comprehends nothing.    It  starts   with   the  notion,   that  all religions, all worships, all symbols, all rites, are symbols of facts, of partial truths ; or, in other words, that each represents a correct, but partial, view of truth. Thus, Paganism has its truth ; Mahometanism its truth ; Christianity its truth; Catholicism its truth; Protestantism its truth ; Calvinism its truth ; Arminianism its truth ; Trinitarianism its truth ; Unitarianism its truth ; but no one is the truth, the whole truth.    Christianity is a special department of religion in general, and of course can comprehend only a part of what is essential to religion.   Alas!   Where is this to end ?   Did not Jesus say, " I am the way, THE TRUTH, and the life ?"  Do you credit him ?    Then how dare you say that Paganism or Mahometanism has a truth which is not in all its integrity in Christianity?    Are all the so called Christian denominations merely sects ?    Or shall we say, that, in point of fact, among these, after all, is the one true Catholic Apostolic Church ?    Does the true Apostolic Church still subsist ?    If you say it does not, you give the lie to Christ, who declared that he would build his Church upon a rock, and the gates of hell should not prevail against it;  if you say it does exist, can you conceive it possible for there to be any truth, in any of the sects, which it has not in its purity and in its integrity ?    Do, then, take some position ; either accept the Son of God, or reject him ; either accept the Church as it is, or reject it altogether.    For if it has become corrupt, it is a false Church, was always a false Church, and always must be a false Church ; and if it be not corrupt, but the true Church, then to refuse to accept it is to refuse to submit to God.

We press this point upon those who are demanding social ameliorations. We showed in the article in our April number, headed, No Church, No Reform, that there is no reform possible without the ministry of the Church, which not only represents our faith in the supernatural, but which actually embodies supernatural power, and brings down the Holy Ghost to the aid of human effort. We now say, and proceed to show, that this Church must be ONE and CATHOLIC, or still it can afford us no aid. No Church, no Reform, we began by saying ; we now say, No Reform under Sectarianism. With the Christian world cut up into hostile sects, each with its special idea, special point of view, special law, no scheme of reform, however wisely devised, or however just and practicable in itself, can avail any thing.

This position we could demonstrate from history, and we hold it not difficult to prove that the general condition of society, in a temporal as well as in a spiritual point of view, has deteriorated, and been steadily deteriorating, ever since the great schism in the sixteenth century; but we choose, for the present, to take a shorter course, and to demonstrate it by considerations which all can appreciate, and which none can gainsay.

We will add here, however, that we may avoid all occasion for misapprehension, that we are not opposed to industrial associations, nor do we at all question the importance — if you will, the necessity — of organizing industry on new and better principles; but we are decidedly opposed to all associations for reform in any case, or in any department, not founded on the principles, and under the sanction and control, of the Church. Either God has established the Church as the medium of the good he designs us to receive or to work out, or he has not. The Church either is this medium, or it is not. If it is not, then we have nothing more to say, and nothing to do but to fold our hands and remain inactive, till Providence interferes anew in our behalf; if it is this medium, the divinely appointed instrument of human regeneration, of social as well as individual progress, then we should be contented with it, and confine ourselves to its principles, and to such modes of action as it ordains. A multitude of associations have sprung up in our midst, that we shall one day see cause to regret. The Church is superseded in the affections of a great majority of our church-going people, by Abolition Societies, Moral Reform Societies, Temperance Societies, and the like. Temperance is, no doubt, a cardinal virtue ; but associations out of the Church, for the suppression of intemperance, ought not to be tolerated, can be tolerated, by no consistent Churchman ; for they say at once, the Church is inadequate to the work of maintaining the morals of the community, which is to condemn the Church in the severest terms, and to declare it utterly unworthy of our support.

Associations within the bosom of the Church, authorized and controlled by it, as a part of its own ministry, as it were, may be very proper, and of the highest utility. So associations formed for the purpose of ameliorating our social condition, of rendering more just and equal our industrial relations, to remove the great disparity of conditions which now obtains, to elevate the poorer and more numerous classes, physically as well as morally and intellectually, — formed, not on Fourier principles, but on those of the Gospel, under the express sanction and control of the Church, we are far from believing would be mischievous; nay, we believe they might do much, very much, towards realizing the kingdom of God on the earth, and hastening forward the time when the whole earth shall be the Lord's, and all its inhabitants, filled with his spirit, and sealed for immortality. But these associations, by whatever name they are called, must look not to Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, or to Robert Owen, for the theory of life on which they must build, and the exposition of the principles after which they must organize the human race; but to Christ the Son of God, and to the authorized interpreters of his will; and moreover, they must associate, not because they would gain more in wealth and pleasure, but because they would make greater sacrifices for God, and attain to higher degrees o£ Christian sanctity. The feelings, the convictions, which carry men into the association, must be those which led to the establishment of monasteries and convents, although the rules may be different. Yet we have some doubts, whether the associations which do not recognize celibacy, as one of the fundamental rules, will ever succeed. The experiment of a married order, which was tried in the thirteenth century, failed, became so corrupt that it was suppressed by the authority of the Church ; and the miserable remains of the party concerned are now known only as an heretical sect, which passes generally under the name of Beghards, — the forerunners, as some term them, of Protestantism, — really so, we may believe, of the Anabaptists. But be all this as it may, we mean to offer no objections to such associations, for industrial reforms, or the reorganization of industry, as may be formed, as we have said, on the principles of the Gospel, and under the sanction and control of the Church.

But here comes up a serious difficulty. What do you mean by the Church ? Do you mean that the association should be formed on the principles, and under the sanction and control, of some one of the religious sects ? If so, which sect ? And why that sect rather than another ? Here we are. We have proved that we can accomplish nothing without the Church ; but we see now that we can accomplish nothing with it, if it be but a mere aggregate of conflicting and hostile sects. Suppose we get the phalanx established. While we are working to get it established, zeal for association, the excitement of the labor itself, sustains us, and we do not feel very deeply the absence of religious faith and worship. We satisfy ourselves with the idolatrous worship we offer to Association. But we will suppose this labor over, that the phalanx, or township, is organized, the groups and series all constituted, the music-box wound up, and set ft) playing the tunes it is constructed to play. Well, one of two consequences must necessarily follow : 1. Either total indifference to all religious matters, and then the association must fall to pieces for the want of an organic principle; or, 2. Sectarian controversies will arise, and the phalanx will be dissolved through the bitterness and alienation of the members.

Fourierism proposes to organize families into the phalanx or township; townships into counties; counties into states; and states into one grand harmonic association for the race. The phalanx, in its grand scheme of association, is the unit, of which groups, series, and individuals are the fractions. Now this unity, or integer, that is to say, this whole number, is composed of say some fifteen hundred or two thousand individuals, distributed into groups and series according to their natural temperaments, aptitudes, and attractions ; and of course, unless perfect harmony can be maintained between the individuals in the series, and between the series in the group, and the groups in the phalanx, there can be no phalansterian harmony, the whole plan fail, and Foiirierisrn fall to the ground. Fourier and his disciples seek the guaranty of this harmony in human nature. They say, man and nature are constructed originally in harmony, that one is adapted to the other. The principles of this harmony Fourier has discovered ; he has ascertained all the original passions of human nature, and, by the rule of permutations and combinations, determined the number of changes and variations it is possible to introduce; then he has passed from man to nature, and ascertained the same in regard to that, and has given the result of the whole in his Theory of Association, or Doctrine of Universal Unity. Now, once arrange all the outward circumstances which are to affect men, according to the ascertained laws and possible changes and variations of man and of nature, and, of necessity, the desired harmony is produced and secured. So a Fourierist cannot comprehend the necessity of any thing to preserve the harmony of the phalanx, when once it is established. The security is in the phalansterian arrangement itself, and cannot fail, unless either man or nature shall undergo a fundamental change.

But this, plausible as it may seem, is not conclusive. If man and nature were originally created in harmony, if one was perfectly adapted to the other, and started, so to say, in tune, whence the present discord ? And if, notwithstanding the original harmony and perfect mutual adaptation, this discord has been possible, what shall hinder it from being still possible after the organization of the phalanx ?

The Fourierist must assume one of two things; either that man is free, or that he is not. If he is not free, and is only a sort of musical box, he may again get out of harmony, for he has nothing to keep him in harmony, which he had not at first; if he is free, therefore capable of abusing his freedom, what shall guaranty us that he will not abuse it again, as he did in Eden ? The Fourierists resolve that they are Christian believers ; then they must own that man had in Eden every desire gratified as perfectly as will be the case in the phalanx, and yet he abused his freedom, sinned, and involved all humanity in the guilt of his transgression. Shall we be told that there will be no temptation to sin ? Why not, and as much as there was in Eden ? Why may not the serpent find his AVay into the phalanx, and a new Eve, moved by curiosity or wantonness, put forth her hand and pluck the forbidden fruit ? More than all this, is it certain that no man can sin without an external temptation or solicitation to sin ? Nay, do our Fourierists need to be told, that the very prosperity they promise would be itself a source of sin, that man under it would wax proud, rebellious, and therefore sinful ? " Jeshuron waxed fat and kicked." When men grow fat, we must expect them to kick, and against all laws, human and divine.
We say, then, that you cannot find in human nature the organic principle you need, nor the necessary guaranties of harmony, even if once introduced. This organic principle and these guaranties can be found only in religion, in the life of the Gospel. If this life, which is the life of love and sacrifice, be suffered to die out, and men become indifferent to all spiritual matters, with their thoughts and affections confined to this life and to this planet, with all their appetites and passions gratified, they become too near akin to the brutes that perish, to be able to maintain any thing like social order, or a communal arrangement. The phalanx would have no bond, no principle which would hold it together, even as to its form.

But, on the other hand, suppose the members to be deeply interested in religious matters, but belonging to different and hostile sects, would there be harmony in the phalanx ? O, they would tolerate each other's differences ! Toleration is, however, the very thing which is impossible to a sincere and earnest mind, for any thing which is not held to be indifferent. Now, you must either make the members more interested in something else than they are in religion, so much so, that they become indifferent to religion, and then the phalanx fails through religious indifference; or you must suffer them to hold religion to be the paramount consideration, the one thing needful, and then toleration is out of the question. Sincere, earnest individuals, members of different communions, will not, cannot, have that warm, cordial fellow-feeling without which the Fourier phalanx cannot operate. So again, differences of faith and worship would alienate one phalanx from another. The Protestant phalanx will hold no intercourse with the Catholic, and the Calvinistic phalanx and the Unitarian will be merely two phalanxes drawn up for battle. The same remarks are applicable to all other divisions. If, then, we are to have association at all, under any circumstances which can promise any thing, we must get rid of sectarianism, and have one only Catholic Church.
In our view, contrary to the views of the associa-tionists, the Church is the highest, the paramount association ; and without unity, harmony, in that, it is in vain to look for it in any thing below it. We can never consent to an order of things which would raise industrial associations above the Church, or render our interest in what concerns our industrial relations superior to our interest in what pertains to our relations to the eternal God, and to the world to come. The religious interests, represented by the Church, must always be, in every normal state of society, the great and engrossing interests ; if they are so, you can effect nothing in subordinate interests, while in relation to these religious interests you are divided, separated, alienated, and hostile. Our first duty, then, is, if we would effect any thing by way of association, to return to the unity of the Church, through which we may come to one faith, one baptism, one calling, one spirit. Having, thus, unity in that which is highest, we may easily obtain it in that which is lowest. We pray our associationists to consider this, and learn that the Church question is the first and paramount question. Return to the unity and catholicity of the Church, — and then?

And then, what ? Perhaps then it will be found that the phalanstorian organization of society will not be necessary; perhaps then it will be found that to organize society, with a special view to wealth and enjoyment, is not, after all, either the Christian method, or that which man's highest good here or hereafter demands. But be this as it may, we shall.have then an authority competent to resolve our doubts and to direct our labors.

It is strange how slow we are to believe Him who rebuked us for being troubled about many things, and declared that "one thing only is needful." If we would diminish the poverty and suffering of the world, we should not labor to multiply material riches, or to facilitate the acquisition of this world's goods, but to restrict men's bodily wants, and turn their activity in a moral and spiritual direction. St. Bernard, living on the water in which pulse had been boiled, laboring at the head of his monks, is more to be envied than Api-cius at his feast; and far better was it for Lazarus, who begged the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table, than for the rich man who fared sumptuously every day. On wishes, wishes grow ; one desire gratified, a stronger takes its place ; one demand answered, another and a greater is made. The richest man in this world's goods has more wants he cannot satisfy, than has the poorest beggar himself; and to die of starvation is not more terrible, view the matter rightly, than to die of a surfeit. You must once more make voluntary poverty honorable, and canonize anew, not your rich old sinner, gorged with the spoils of the widow and orphan,—whose eyes stand out with fatness, whose heart vaunts itself against the Lord, —but the man who voluntarily submits to poverty, that he may lay up riches in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal. You cannot serve God and mammon ; and the Fourier attempt to reconcile the service of the one with that of the other will turn out a miserable failure, and cover with merited disgrace all concerned in making it.

God has told us what is the kingdom of heaven, in what it consists, and how we may enter therein. He has not left us to the dim, uncertain light of our own unillumined minds, but has himself pointed out the way ; has himself given us the law which is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. We must follow his law, walk in his way, or all our efforts, however well meant, however sincere and earnest, will be worse than vain. O, why can we not consent to believe that God is wiser than man, and that his thoughts are above our thoughts, and his ways better than our ways ? Believe me, my friends, we show more wisdom in adhering to God's word, in following his Church, than we do in leaving the fountain of living waters, and hewing out cisterns for ourselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Raise man above the world, if you would make him blessed while in the world.