Religious tendencies in the United States

Amory Dwight Mayo

Berry Street Lecture, 1869

 

Read before the Ministerial Conference

Boston, Massachusetts

May 25, 1869

 

A few months ago, one of the most cultivated, religious, and truly venerable of the judges of the courts of the United States said to a Unitarian clergyman:"This country is now passing through a religious revolution, no less decisive in its character than the great social and political revolution through which we have lately passed.”  It was more than a happy illustration that coupled the religious and political state of our nation in this remark.  In a country where thought is free and all human institutions are perpetually reconstructed by the will of the people, we can never understand the drift of one, without careful comparison with all.  Our industrial, intellectual, social, political affairs are surging along the same channels as our turbid religious life.  Indeed, all these tendencies are the natural outcome of the actual religious faith or unbelief of the American people.  In revolutionary periods, like the present, the political life of the country is the best mirror in which its religious life can be reflected.  Looking into that national mirror, we plainly see three political tendencies, so decisively marked that they cast all others into subordinate shadow.  The political turmoil of the war has now subsided, leaving these three tendencies so distinctly defined that there can be little hope of their extinction or union.

 

            First, we see in every community an increasing class, who believe republican institutions and government a failure.  Differing in many questions of detail, not yet thoroughly organized for political action, cutting across the lines of the great rival parties, this class is a unit in its out-and–out denial of the principle of equality of human rights, on which our whole political system is founded.  It believes in the government of the whole people by an aristocracy, and confidently anticipates the day when the Republic will fly to this, as the only refuge from unbearable anarchy.

 

            At the opposite pole of our political life, is a vast, unorganized body of citizens of foreign and native birth, who assert the almost complete right of the individual against all government, order and law.  In the continued ravings of that class of suppressed rebels, North and South, who went to war to vindicate individual, plantation, and State rights, against governmental order itself; in the defiant attitude of large numbers of workmen, of several occupations, who assert rights utterly impossible in any peaceable community; in the scandalous prostitution of judicial power to shield the vilest criminals; in the wholesale and blatant corruption that threatens every region of municipal, State, and national government; in a general spirit of brutality that has more than once risen in appalling strife, to trample out civilized society itself, we behold the gathering together of this organization of anarchy.

 

            Both these tendencies are in the field as national agitators; and, while they confine their operations to agitation, and violation of law and order, they assume fearful proportions, and overwhelm the patriot with apprehensions for the future.  But whenever the whole people is aroused to some great expression of its convictions on one of the test questions of national life, both instantly subside into secondary and sometimes contemptible positions.  Then comes up that wonderful, compact, and many-sided manhood, which has made the Germanic, British, and American people, the guardians of the most sacred interests of humanity and a progressive civilization.  You never know a North German, Englishman, Scotchman, or an American sprung of these antecedents, as long as you judge him by his speech or opinions, or even conduct, under the ordinary circumstances of life.  While they are going smoothly even until the decisive hour in a revolution, he is a creature proverbially self-asserting, obstinate, disputatious, given to provoking controversy, and playing with startling theories on the most sacred themes.  But when the mighty question fairly confronts him, this spiritual drapery falls, as the fantastic cloud-world above the Vale of Chamonix dissolves; and he stands in his peerless, practical manhood, the Mont Blanc of all orders of men.

 

In the most disheartening years of our past struggle, the whole American people has always struck the keynote of faith in a republican order of society, and a civilization safely and surely advancing towards the emancipation and exaltation of man and society.  The leaders of despotism and the leaders of anarchy learn, to their amazement, that when the people is brought to the ballot-box, or Congress brought to a national emergency, men do not act logically, or consistently with previous opinions or words.  They elect Lincoln; they do not impeach Johnson; they rally upon Grant; they keep the peace with foreign nations defiant alike of the logic of Mill, or the rhetoric of Sumner.  They do not confess that as men, acting in critical national emergencies, they are bound by previous speculations or speeches which only represent the intellectual faculties of their manhood.  This great, overpowering majority of the American people can be entrusted with the cause of a progressive civilization towards the summit of the golden rule; for any organized party that proposes despotism or anarchy will be powerless to hold its own followers when this mighty standard is lifted up as the signal to the solid, realizing manhood of the American Republic.

 

It needs but moderate observation to behold the same tendencies to despotism, anarchy, and a progressive Christian faith, in the present religious mind of our land.

 

Never has the claim of a despotic, infallible priesthood to govern the religious affairs of the American people been more distinctly put forth and vigorously pushed than to-day.  To a certain order of the clerical mind, this pretension of a divine calling and election to rule God’s heritage comes with a fatal charm.  So much is it a matter of spiritual constitution, that no liberality of creed can greatly modify it; while the most stringent dogmas and extravagant ceremonies are oftenest its offspring.  It is the great aggressive power in the Catholic Church; and even American Episcopacy is more vitally touched by it than it cares to confess.  It breeds constant war in the great Methodist, Presbyterian, and congregational Orthodox bodies; and most of their bitter dissensions are the result of an untamable lust of spiritual dominion in a small but implacable division of their ministry.  And no man has lived through the last twenty years of Liberal Christianity, radicalism, materialistic atheism, even the most extreme forms of religious or anti-religious agitation, without recognizing this old Devil of priestly assumption of infallibility, masquerading under every disguise of humanity, spirituality, skepticism, or outright mockery of religion itself.  It is never an easy thing for a strong man to become the venerated spiritual adviser and guide of men, without falling into the insane fancy that to him has been given, in some peculiar way, the keys of heaven and hell; and whatever fine logical or sentimental names our divinity students inscribe on their new banners, as they issue upon the world, their hardest fight will always be against this terrible old roaring lion of priestly arrogance, and blasphemous assumption of power to bind and loose the souls of their fellow-men.  Through all the denominations of American religion, we see this order of priestly men, drawing near to one another; and with no formal co-operation, nay, often unconscious of their own tendencies, they have become a formidable power in the country.

 

Equally well defined is the opposite tendency to that exclusive individuality in religion, whose last results are social and religious anarchy.  Perhaps there was never so large a proportion of the American people as now, who honestly believe that religion is a strictly private affair, with which no outside influence should presume to intermeddle.  Each man is a universe in himself, solely capable of recognizing or repudiating a Creator, a code of morals, a career in life.  The very yeaning for spiritual communion to such a mind is a temptation to be resisted.  The claim of society for religious example or activity is scornfully repelled.  All the ordinary modes of promoting religious fellowship or organizing Christian work are rejected, as an intrusion upon the sanctity of the individual realm where alone divinity is enshrined.

 

This excessive tendency to individualism in religion is often found in connection with a traditional faith in Christianity; or it may be loosely held as a mental theory, while the deep places of the nature are consecrated by a profound belief in God and humanity.  In transitional periods, we must not hold men severely to logical systems of belief.  Many a sincere disciple of this habit of thought and life would feel shocked and insulted, on being held responsible for the inevitable results of his own darling speculative and personal preferences.  We do not judge the religious or Christian character of men in this essay, or assume to hold the balance between conflicting tendencies in the same mind; but we believe the final outcome of this whole ideal of excessive individualism in religious thought and practice, in our own and other Christian denominations is self-deification; and out of this spring flows selfishness in morals, solitude in faith, and the severance of the lateral arteries through which courses that life-blood which makes all men "members of one body.”  Indeed, this form of religion is essential paganism; the opposite pole of the Christianity of Jesus, whose law is universal love and the union of all created beings in one family, bound up in Christ and God.  In numberless forms does this new paganism confront us; in the materialistic atheist, making his own senses the god of his life; in the student who enthrones the logical intellect, and worships his own mental processes as the only deity; in the airy sentimentalist, who follows the flitting gleam of his own moods with a fidelity worthy of a nobler religion; in the artistic adorer of his own all-beautiful self as reflected in colossal proportions against the colored mist of his own imagination; in the philanthropist, who lifts himself to the awful summit where all earthly institutions and men pass in endless review before his final bar of judgment, - a self-organized court of appeals for the universe; in forms whose name is legion, does this American self-worship, the heathenism of the New Republic, prevail.

 

   Every religious body holds well-known party of its disciples, under the peculiar garb of its creed and ecclesiasticism, busily engaged in the work of disorganization.  There is a destruction in religious affairs that comes from the resistible might of a higher faith, whose end is the creation of " a new heaven and a new earth.”  A freshet of love, surging out of the celestial realms, often carries off the works of generations of earthly policy, and strews an age with costly ruins; but only that the air kingdom of God may appear in ampler boundaries on deeper soil.  But this spirit of self-deification is essential disorganization; a dry-rot in the centre of the soul, that makes all human society impossible.  Nothing can take root and grow on this blasted soil but pale and ghostly shadow-plants; mushroom theories that cover the ground in a night, and blacken when struck by the sun that wakes creation to life.  The most brilliant man, once sequestered in this exhausted spiritual receiver, only spins round on his own axis, and finally goes off, through spiritual convulsions, into spiritual inanity.  the most promising church, once seduced into this ethereal form, finds itself curtained off from our common humanity by a film too fine to be seen, too invincible to be rent, wherein it falls away into spiritual and moral languor, and dies so quietly that Christendom does not know when it breathes its last.  This spirit is everywhere at work in American affairs, especially among the classes whose culture has just attained that perilous edge of magnificent self-consciousness, where it remains poised for evermore.  But it rules in the densest realms of barbarism as well.  Indeed, it is not a culture, but a diseased tendency of the manhood that underlies all culture and circumstances, - in a Comte or a cobbler, reducing the universe to the scenery of one all-comprehending self.

 

            If we look at these two tendencies only as agitating forces in the country, we may easily, according to our style of temperament, fall into a panic, and believe the religion of America is ebbing toward Rome, or is wasting itself amid the barren sands of atheism.  In ht city of New York, a fervent Protestant minister can hardly resist the conviction that we are coming to be enclosed in an iron dynasty of priestly government.  In the great cities of the West, it needs a mighty faith to overcome the apprehension that religion itself is passing out of the recognition of the people.  But theological estimates of such a people as ours are rarely correct, since they deal chiefly with creeds, theories, and words, and rarely descend to the deeps of the individual or national character.  The American people is, perhaps, the most undemonstrative race on the earth, as far as concerns the outward expression of its real faith.  It exercises the national privilege of personal independence and boundless talk, up to the extreme verge of actual peril to the practical religion of the land.  But when this crisis appears, the manhood and womanhood that have slept so long in the background rise with a majesty that dwarfs the whole theoretical and rhetorical demonstrations of the past.  This sudden change does not mean that these people have fallen away from an advanced principle into compromise with despotism, and treason to spiritual freedom.  When occasion demands, they will die for this: but now, something is to be done of great use to man in his present state: and American people has not reached that sublimity of self-abnegation that it will dissolve human society, or annihilate the Church of Christ, to vindicate its perfect logical consistency to a theory of the millennium.

 

            So, when there comes a period of reconstruction in the church, like that since the war in the United States, the people, as represented by the practical, influential majority, survey the ground, estimate the elements already at hand, cast a hopeful glance towards the future, and begin to combine and consolidate, through all the churches, for a great tendency to a powerful, healthy, working Christianity.  We are sometimes told, that the most striking thing in the popular churches is their falling away from the old theologies.  Doubtless, there is a cast theological fermentation through the whole region of our ecclesiastical life.  But we shall greatly mistake, if we regard this as more than negative phenomenon.  The most important fact in our present church life, and one fraught with untold blessings to our country, is the closing up of the masses of Christian people to make the church of Christ a mighty, progressive, religious, and philanthropic power in the national life of future.  This fusillade of theological controversy is only the encounter of flitting cloud of skirmishers; sometimes nothing better than the pranks of a squad of ecclesiastical "bummers;” while the great army of a redeeming Christianity, organized in powerful divisions, led by veteran commanders, moves like a providence from the valleys to the sea, -- terrible only to the foes of man, a redeeming angel to all who lie in the prison-camps of sin and the dungeons of unbelief.

 

            Contemplate the tremendous forces represented during the last two weeks’ review of the religious and philanthropic bodies of the country.  From the Catholics to the Hebrews every denomination furnishes an eager, influential party, that drives at practical American form of the religion of Jesus Christ.  The Episcopal Church (least American of any composed of native-born people) is silently gathering its energies for the trial that awaits it; and when the day of schism is precipitated by its High Churchmen, the vast majority of its moderate clergy and laity will be found in possession of the organization, ready to offer the hand of fellowship to the progressive Christianity of the land.  While the smaller clerical lights of the Methodist Church are wrangling over the admission of lay representation in the Conferences, the powerful laymen of that vast denomination have virtually taken possession of the whole concern, by the weight of money, social and civic influence and personal character, leading the really influential preachers and bishops in the road to progress.  They are filling the land with costly churches, and doing a work of social and spiritual regeneration, incomprehensible to a mere student of philosophical theology.  The Presbyterian Churches, always in Europe the vanguard of civil and religious reform are drawing nearer one another, not to fashion new catechism, but to help the New Republic towards higher religious life.  The congregational bodies, Calvinistic and Baptist, were never so vigorous and rapidly increasing in numbers and the efficiency that rejoices all good men.  The Liberal Christian Churches, Unitarian, Universalist, "Christian” of both divisions, are full of a new life; and that life is on the same plane as the bodies already describe.  The Reformed Hebrews, Theists, Spiritualist, religious reformers and agitators of every epoch, are compelled more and more to forget their criticism and protest, to meet the calls of kind of work that is drifting them towards a practical Christianity.  For  the drift through all these powerful organizations that they contain the people who saved the country and will govern it, is not towards a philanthropy that ignores God and Christ and the gospel of love; but towards the highest form of Christianity represented by the person, gospel, and life of Jesus Christ.

 

It may be said, that thousands of the people engaged in these church movements are not in sympathy with their creeds and forms.  But here is the very point of the matter:  this great, united, progressive, Christian tendency is the real Church, including all these creeds, forms divisions, marching, and countermarchings.  It is everywhere felt that only secondary men are absorbed to-day in criticism, the splicing out of creeds, and ecclesiastical upholstering.  The people who will rule every division of the grand army of Lord in the United States of America, are not greatly interested in these theological or ecclesiastical questions, but are toiling among their fellows to awaken the new flame of hopeful consecration and thoughtful love, which alone can bear them through the great days before us.  We perpetually underrate the effects of Christian public spirit in lifting masses of men out of the little cells of their private conceits, and inspiring them with aburning zeal in a good cause.  Individualism in religion says,” Let each man cultivate himself, alone, up to the heights of manhood, and then all will be well.”  Christianity says, "You can never become a man at all, until you forget your individuality in the glorious sense of brotherhood to man, discipleship of Christ, and sonship to God; and, lifted upon the rising tide of a providential public opinion, sweep on to the conquest of error and sin, and the exaltation of holiness and truth.”

 

Here, indeed, is the peculiar method by which the religion of Christ has changed the civilized world.  Paganism can boast its lofty group of marvelous men, worthy to be enrolled among the chosen of the race; and it is easy to cull from their lofty words maxims that do not contradict, yea, often confirm, the sayings of Christ.  But the Christian religion, first of all, professed to regenerate individuals by bringing them into the inspiring atmosphere of a refreshing public opinion.  It appealed to the social, civil, family instincts of men; set before them not an alien God, but a Saviour, at once the companion of Deity and the brother of every soul; and a spirit of self-sacrifice for the common good, whose symbol is the cross.  It does not go about cultivating exotic and rare specimens of sainthood, but awakes such a marvelous enthusiasm in communities, peoples, nations, that every man is compelled to respect the right, and is lifted off his feet, spite of the gravitation of his elegant or vulgar selfishness.  All the great reformations of Christianity have come from this rising tide of an inspired public opinion, which floated off great minds that otherwise would have lain stranded for life on the sand-bars of private conceit or degrading sins.  If we wait till every soul is a saint, we shall never get any thing good.  God’s mighty works are achieved by inspiring vast masses of very ordinary people, and hurling them, like the incoming of the Atlantic surge, right against some obstinate wrong.  It is just in this way, that the mass of American Christians, in all the great denominations, are being inspired with a new zeal for a vital Christian religion, deep and simple and obstinate and practical enough to fight the combined armies of despotism, anarchy, and sin.

 

This growing Christian public opinion, which is uniting and fusing all the progressive elements in every church, is, of course, felt most strongly in those parts of the country where Christian influences have longest prevailed, and society is most homogeneous.  It is a great mistake to speak of the West as the land of religious liberty, in contrast to New England.  The force of Christianized public opinion is incomparably stronger in the East, than the West.  It compels skeptical and wicked men to conform to a civilization higher than themselves.  It supplies the conditions of a speedy and safe moral judgment on private character or public affairs.  Its makes the great religious bodies ashamed and afraid of bigotry, and perpetually draws together the most vital elements of a practical, spiritual, progressive religion.  The West is still a country where settlement has far outstripped civilization, in the sense of the organization of a sensitive, elevated, Christian public spirit. It has already produced, and is producing, individual men and women whom the country delights to lift to the highest posts of honor, especially in industrial, military, and civic affairs.  But it is a land, too, where great bad men can do untold mischief; where any folly, eccentricity, rascality, if it only be strong and shrewd enough, can get on its legs, assail and insult the most sacred faith and institutions, vilify the noblest men and keep its ground till a slow and uncertain public opinion can be rallied with prodigious effort to cast it down.  So religious exclusiveness and bigotry reign there with a brutality and violence scarcely to be conceived until experienced; while multitudes of people, held in their Eastern associations by the pressure of a Christian civilization, fall below their higher selves on coming to us, and forget all for which they were most esteemed in their old home.  Yet even in the West, especially the North-West, where society is more united under the leading influence of the New-England and New-York mind, the same tendency appears; although Catholicism and copperhead Episcopacy rear their heads in insolent pretension in these cities, and every form of skepticism, even to a scoffing atheism, desolates the land.  Yet every church is alive with the gathering together of the American brotherhood of religion, which with faith in God and man, under the banner of Christ the Lord, is marching on to possess the country, and slowly lift it tot that only civilization which can insure the life of the Republic.

 

The formal union of the really Christian bodies or people of the United States comes slowly.  The people in all the churches who feel this inspiration are multiplying occasions to unite with one another in all semi-religious work, and they drag along these huge, ungainly ecclesiasticisms faster than such machinery was ever trundled before.  All changes in creeds or organizations are in the interest of union and liberty.  The Young Men’s Christian Association is becoming a new church, including the most vital elements of all the old churches of orthodox proclivities; and already the more reactionary clergy distrust and try to suppress its influence.  Were it clearly understood that the National Conference of Unitarian and other Christian Churches could hold itself firmly planted on its present most catholic platform ever yet attained by a Christian body, and would not be coaxed or forced off into an ignoring of the Christian religion in any form, we should behold a facing towards it from all quarters of the land, by all the friends of progressive Christianity.  If that goes by in some gush of amiable optimism, its place will be taken instantly by anew set of men, perchance less gifted with mental wealth and refinement and a morbid conscience, but with broader shoulders, better spines, and more stalwart limbs, able to "fight it out on the line” of a religion that beholds in the faith of Christ the uttermost liberty consistent with a manhood consecrated to the immutable verities of the eternal life.

 

Unless all the present signs are delusive, the most vital elements in all the Christian bodies of the United States are now tending towards a virtual union of religious life in a not far-distant future.  What are to be the principles of that American form of the church of Jesus Christ?

 

1.     It will be a church founded on a religion.  High Church ecclesiasticism centres on the authority of a class of men to represent God to the world, - a pretension essentially secular.  Individualism in religion centres on a worship of self, in which there is no religion.  There can be no genuine religious faith until the soul has given itself away in self-surrender and perpetual sacrifice to the one infinite love; to man, the child of God; to truth and duty.  Its very essence is the going out in quest of something grander than self; and the new tendency in the churches is all in that direction. It is utterly vain to attempt to move this great country by any power that begins and ends in a self-evolved speculation or morality.  What can a young man do with such a creed in a great Western city, - a seething multitude of all the races, tribes, and tongues on earth, in every state of brutality, ignorance, vice, up to the loftiest intelligence and virtue; unfused, often with hardly a common idea of life on which to stand together, with sensuality, dishonesty, public crime and social infidelity weltering in a chaos all about him? Can any little philosophy of life, spun out of a student’s brain or adopted from an admired leader, make an impression on that crowd, arrest it, and lift it up to newness of spiritual life?  Every preacher of such a type utterly fails among us, and finally comes back to dwell under the shadow of the critical schools, or falls away into a secular occupation.  Our people recognize the real quality of manhood.  They admire intellectual dexterity and appreciate learning, and are curious to hear all the new things under the sun.  but they give their hearts and confidence only to the man who comes in the strength of self-forgetfulness, and takes hold on the deep faiths that underlie their noisy, superficial activities.  It is these few quiet, patient, all-enduring, and ever-toiling people, that are slowly fashioning that civilization to which we all aspire.  America cannot live on a mental or moral philosophy, a science, a sentimentalism, or any thing less mighty and all embracing than a religion; and towards the Christian religion of love to God and man the best mind and heart and hand of the country are tending, beneath the upper conflict of theologies and forms.

2.     This religion must propose the ideal liberty of perfect love, and I all its theories and phases recognize the law of progress.  Perfect freedom there cannot be till the coming of perfect love.  Wherever sin and selfishness-however refined or pretentious- prevail, is bondage under any creed.  Religious freedom is not possible to a soul that cannot flow out in an all-comprehending reverence and love for that which is above itself.  Isolation from the church and Christianity is not necessarily liberty; it may be a sentencing to the gloomiest dungeon of a mind content with itself and incapable of breaking the chain of its own petty conceit.  The way to freedom in American religion lies not in the path of every will-o’-wisp of private speculation, but in the track of inspiration for the union of all good men in a consecration to God and man; and this religion bears and forbears with the narrowness and infirmity of real men, glad to secure any vantage ground of practical deliverance from old prejudice, content to lead men as fast as they can safely be led up to those airy heights where only a soul filled with truth and holiness can abide.  The idea that any freedom is really gained faster than men grow into the manhood of which Jesus Christ is the type, is a fallacy very captivating to certain orders of minds, but exploded by every new experience of human life.

3.     And this religion of love, in its progress to liberty, always centres on a personal faith in God, in man, in Christ, as the best historical and ideal representative of both.  Impersonal religion is a thing often praised, but so rarely seen that it may well be reckoned among the fancies of mankind.  There are plenty of people who have dispensed with a personal God and Saviour, and suppose themselves founded upon a lofty idea; yet any wise observer can see they have only cast out the highest personalities from their society to follow some leader of the hour, or perhaps the most unreliable of all leaders, - their infallible self.  When we begin to make creeds about that personality in God and Christ which can become the centre of such a union, we fall into intellectual confusion and spiritual distraction; and why should we be surprised at this?  Is any great and good man the same to any two of his lovers?  Does not every soul that follows him build up an ideal man upon the corner-stone of his character and life, perchance assailable to criticism at every point?  Do not the estimates of all his friends differ so curiously, that it can be proved by logical process that the existence of his personality is a myth?  And yet does all this affect the real man?  There he stands to be revered and followed by every loving spirit, the strongest bond of union to multitudes of people who, but for him, would have dwelt for ever apart.  So does the glorious personality of the Christ attract, charm, inspire, and bring together in sublime accord all the families of earth; and in this New Republic, where races hitherto only tied together by force and fraud must live in the harmony of equal rights, what power less potent than that matchless divine manhood of his can bring men of every clime, of opposing orders of mind, of hostile temperament, together into the unity of spirit in the bond of peace?  To say that a religion which casts out that personality can lift up and unite such a mass of contending peoples, is to repudiate all the experience of men.  The American people followed Washington and Lincoln through the two revolutions that landed them on the shore of civil liberty.  Every church in America is built around a group of saintly men.  The religion that can save us now will centre upon that Christ the Lord, who never was defined aright, who has been expelled from existence or deposed from his offices in every age, but who abides to-day, -yea, to-day seems first emerging in his real glory from out the cloudland of the creeds, in full sight of all mankind.

4.     And this religion must be an organized church of Christ to unite the people in saving the New Republic.  A man who cannot work religiously with other men either lingers in the pettiness of the first, or is declining into the decrepitude of the second, childhood.  Our individuality is the lower side of our manhood; and no man dreams of what he really is capable till he feels himself a wave leaping up to the sun with the whole ocean of humanity thrilling the very spray that fringes its edge.  That church which obstinately holds aloof from the best attainable fellowship bears the seed of death in its bosom, or lives at all only by the privilege of an active fellowship it perpetually disowns.  These sects, like the Friends and the Swedenborgians, that draw off in dainty separation from the best religious life of their age and time, may be praised in literature, but are out of account in the forces that move the world.  It is high time that American Unitarianism should choose its destiny in this regard; for only that section of it will abide which is able to offer practical, organized, working fellowship to all of Christendom that will gather about a Christian religion of liberty and love and increasing service of God and man.

 

Such we believe that American Church of Christ will be,-- the church that shall finally include the people who are the responsible supporters of our American order of society, its defenders in peril, its protectors in peace.  And into that church will come all religious men who are not smitten with the insanity of spiritual dominion, or paralyzed with the cold palsy of the adoration of self.  All of the High Church in whom self-sacrificing love overpowers the lust of power will come, bringing the best of their symbolism, which is the type of the union of all men to Christ an God.  All of the radical schools will come, in whom self-sacrificing love for any thing higher than self at last prevails.  There will be left an aristocracy of despotic priest, and guild of philosophers and savans in whom the literary and scientific tendency has conquered the religious life; and they will only be left out because they will not come in.  But as the years go on, and our national life evolves in grander relations to the life of mankind, it will be more profoundly realized that only one central force can hold us united, and shape all our diversities into graceful variations on the themes of liberty and order, love and law.  Blessed be God that we can prophesy this new coming of Christ, with no reservation for ourselves; ready to be taken up just as we are by the incoming wave, and mingled with the mighty waters that shall ebb and flow around the earth till this world shall be called the Kingdom of Heaven.