The Moral And Religious Value Of Our National Union -- By: Barnas Sears
BSac 20:77 (Jan 1863) p. 124
The Moral And Religious Value Of Our National Union
Though it is not the usual practice of this journal, devoted to theological sciences, to turn aside from its main purpose to discuss topics connected with passing events, there is something so extraordinary and so momentous in the state of public affairs at this moment, that we cannot well refrain from giving it the consideration which, from its great importance, it deserves. We propose, therefore, in the present Article, to hold up to view, and to present in various lights, the subject of the moral and religious value of our national union.
Preliminary to all other inquiries on the general topic, is this fundamental one: What are we, the people of these United States, historically? What, in respect to us, are the tendencies of all past history?
We are too apt to consider our history as beginning with the landing of the Pilgrim fathers. We must go far back of that event, if we would apprehend our history in all its vast extent. For the existence of this nation there were preparations in the past, too distant in the view to be seen even by the wisest of the founders of our National Union; and there were reserved for the future, developments affecting the destiny of our country which no human wisdom could foresee. Our present remarkable condition is oweing more to the great laws of historical development, than to the designs of men. The force of the accumulated wisdom and experience which moves the great mass of humanity in its progress, advances also individual nations in their career, unless they put themselves out of the line of progress. Not only the present age in general, but the present position of our country in particular, is a result which it required all the
BSac 20:77 (Jan 1863) p. 125
past to produce. Our government, which may be regarded politically as the purest and truest exponent of what is peculiar to modern civilization, could never have come into existence but for the elaboration, by all the historic nations that have preceded us, of those processes for advancing the race which it was their province severally to work out. We could not have attained to what we now are, without the preliminary work of the primeval ages, and the industrial improvements inaugurated by the great empires of the East; without the treasures of literature and art bequeathed to us by Athens and Rome; without the renovating and invigorating influence of primitive Christianity; without the tumult, the strife, and the fermentation of the Middle Ages; without the great Reformation of the sixteenth century; without the maintenance of the Protestant faith in England; and without that remarkable training and discipline which made the English colonists of No...
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