Page images

something which we intuitively disrelish-something despotically forced upon us-something which we are to receive from an austere sense of duty, while we all the time regret that duty imposes so unwelcome a burden upon us. The Gospel does not, either directly or by implication, justify a notion so dishonorable to human nature. On the contrary, it presumes that the prospect of ultimate purity is in natural agreement with the heart of man; and that when presented to him as a final attainment which he may reasonably expect, it will also present itself to him as an attainment which he will ardently desire.

It is not, indeed, to be denied, nobody can deny, that men naturally love, in some particulars, the fruits of evil. The gratification of any desire of course brings pleasure. If the desire be evil it still remains true, that the gratification of it is pleasant. No doubt it brings, for the time at least, pleasure to the wretched inebriate, when his terrible thirst is gratified. If our tempers are naturally irritable, and quickly stirred when provocation presents itself, it will give a thrill of pleasure if we can glut our revenge. If our pride is excessive and our spirit autocratic, we shall doubtless take a base delight in filling places of power where we may domineer over our fellow creatures. But in all these and kindred particulars, it does not follow that the love of evil is natural to us; for we may, all the while, mourn over the fact, that such evil inclinations have power over us. No doubt the inebriate loves the cup; but it may be to him the occasion of deep sorrow that he should have so debasing an appetite. Being the slave of a base habit, he of course wants to gratify it; but he would, at the same moment, give the world, were it his to give, to be delivered from so terrible a thraldom.

We never had the acquaintance of a person having a naturally strong and irritable temper, who was really glad that he had such a temper. He always feels and confesses that such a temperament is a serious misfortune. And why not presume the same with regard to all the evil impulses which have control over men? If they have desires that are sinful, of course they love to gratify them; but they may, at the same time, be sorry that they have any such desires-it might be to them an occasion of sincere rejoicing, to be assured that some day they shall be delivered from them.


This, it seems to us, is the Christian doctrine. fact is clearer in the pages of the Bible, than that sinful men will seek sinful indulgences. But the Bible does not teach that sinful men are glad that they are sinful. On the contrary it assumes, that, in so far as they suffer themselves to think on the subject at all, the fact of their sinfulness is painful to them; that the prospect of deliverance from every evil desire is naturally agreeable to man; that the certainty of at last attaining unto the purity of Christ, is consonant with the deepest desires-that it assumes in the believer's soul, the nature of a hope.

In the third and last place, the passage teaches that the hope of ultimate purity-the purity of Christ-becomes a working principle; that it is a power in the believer instigating him to exertion in the way of well-doing. How significant are the words, "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself!"

The promise of ultimate holiness is not given us, that we may sit down and exult over the prospect; nor is it the natural consequence, that if men receive such a promise, they will do nothing but anticipate and exult. On the contrary, the promise of ultimate purity is given that we may be incited to work all the harder in order to hasten the attainment of an object so deeply to be desired; and it is presumed to be the natural effect of such a promise, to incite an increased energy in the struggle after good. It is but acting out the natural impulse of the soul of man, that whenever he comes to possess so cheering a hope, instead of giving way to indolence and indifference, he shall at once proceed to the work of purification. It is a law of human nature that finds expression in the words, "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."

Let it not be said, that the hope of good will cool the ardor and relax the energies of men in the pursuit of good. On the contrary, no other working power has in it so much of vigor, and such persistent application. Indeed, without hope to keep his spirits up, and cheer him onward in the path of duty, man could accomplish very little in this world. Why, on the eve of political election, do partisan writers and orators affect so much of certainty that their particular side will triumph? Why are they so earnest to fill their

[ocr errors]

followers with the hope of victory? Assuredly it is not with a view to cool their zeal, or diminish their toil. They know that of all spurs to cheerful and unremitting exertion, no other incentive is equal to hope.

In the struggle of life-in the Christian's toil for the purity of his Master-men want no other thing so much as hope. Take not from the toiling pilgrim the prospect of finally reaching his goal; dishearten not the warrior with prophecies of defeat; discourage not the Christian with any doubt of ultimate purity. Hope is his strong reliance; and having this he is nerved for the blessed work, and will at once strive to "purify himself," and so hasten the promised deliverance.

E. H. G.


Olmsted's Cotton Kingdom.

The Cotton Kingdom: a Traveller's Observations on Cotton and Slavery in the American Slave States. Based upon three former volumes of Journeys and Investigations by the same Author. By Frederic Law Olmsted. In two vols. New York: Mason Brothers. 1861.

THE former volumes to which the author refers as the basis of the two entitled "The Cotton Kingdom," are the "Seaboard Slave States," "Texas Journey," and "Journey in the Back Country." As the volumes severally appeared, they elicited discriminating encomiums from the conservative press, for their evident truthfulness of statement, freedom from partisan prejudice, and indications of shrewd observation and judicious reflections. The tone and general style of the volumes give internal evidence, that the author is entitled to full confidence in all his statements of fact. None of his readers can fail to be assured, that he took pains to see things and events as they really were, and that he was conscientious and impartial in his published records of observations. The distinguishing characteristics of Southern society,-in manners, customs, intelligence, industry, religion, legislation,—are portrayed

in his pages with a graphic pen. graphic pen. But there is no gall in his ink. His pictures are indeed colored with feeling, but never with passion. And in every respectable quarter he is received as an established authority in the matters of fact which he has stated.

The two volumes on "The Cotton Kingdom" comprise such matter from the former volumes as more directly bear upon the cotton interest; and they omit, for the most part, such details as do not serve to throw light upon this particular subject. The occasion of the work is sufficiently obvious. The nation is now engaged in a contest to determine whether the supreme law shall be "Cotton or the Constitution." Whatever serves to make the public better acquainted with the real claims and strength of the local interest which has precipitated upon the land the horror of civil war, will be acknowledged as peculiarly opportune

and welcome.

Mr. Olmsted's book is not a treatise on the general Cotton Question; it deals but little in statistics; does not formally and systematically discuss the political and financial bearings of the general subject. It gives, for the most part, the results of his observations in the Cotton States with such reflections as these seem to warrant-gives them, too, in a narrative way, with a large and entertaining mixture of personal incident and anecdote. The natural adaptation of the soil for the cotton-culture; the extent to which it is under cultivation; the bearing of the particular form of industry on public improvements, such as roads, railroads, schools, and religious institutions-on the relations between the poor whites and the slave-holders-the social arrangements and customs,-these and similar matters of local importance find elucidation in the book ;-while there will be found occasional and incidental statements of the political bearings of the facts on record.

Mr. Olmsted is of the party who believe the Union to be both a political and moral necessity. The contiguity of territory, the course of rivers, the mutual dependence growing out of diversity of productions, and the inevitable social relations, all require that the several States shall live under one general government. In his opening paragraph he well


"The mountain ranges, the valleys, and the great waters of

[ocr errors]

America, all tend north and south, not east and west. An arbitrary political line may divide the north part from the south part, but there is no such line in nature: there can be none, socially. While water runs downhill, the currents and counter currents of trade, of love, of consanguinity, and fellowship, will flow north and south. The unavoidable comminglings of the people in a land like this, upon the conditions which the slavery of a portion of the population imposes, make it necessary to peace that we should all live under the same laws and respect the same flag. No government could long control its own people, no government could long exist, that would allow its citizens to be subject to such indignities under a foreign government as those to which the citizens of the United States heretofore have been required to submit under their own, for the sake of the tranquillity of the South. Nor could the South, with its present purposes, live on terms of peace with any foreign nation, between whose people and its own there was no division, except such an one as might be maintained by means of forts, frontier-guards and custom-houses, edicts, passports and spies. Scotland, Wales, and Ireland are much better adapted for an independent government, and under an independent government would be far more likely to live at peace with England, than the South to remain peaceably separated from the North of this country."

Our author fully appreciates the magnitude of the issues now to be settled. One section must be conquered. Freedom must conquer or be conquered: there is no other alternative.

"It is said that the South can never be subjugated. It must be, or we must. It must be, or not only our American republic is a failure, but our English justice and our English law, and our English freedom are failures. This Southern repudiation of obligations upon the result of an election is but a clearer warning than we have had before, that these cannot be maintained in this land any longer in such intimate association with slavery as we have hitherto tried to hope that they might. We now know that we must give them up, or give up trying to accommodate ourselves to what the South has declared, and demonstrated, to be the necessities of its state of society. Those necessities would not be less, but, on the contrary, far more imperative, were the South an independent people. If the South has reason to declare itself independent of our long-honored constitution, and of our common court of our common laws, on account of a past want of invariable tenderness on the part of each one of our people towards its necessities, how long could

« PreviousContinue »