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the jail, and he was conveyed home in a barouche. During his persecution in prison, liberal sums of money have been sent to him. How much has Christianity gained by this foul blot on the escutcheon of Massachusetts?”
It is, however, worthy of remark, that those States that have enforced religion and morality, and have punished infidelityfi“ are now the most virtuous, the most refined, and the most intellectual, and are quoted as such by American authors, like Mr. Carey, who by the help of Massachusetts alone can bring out his statistics to anything near the mark requisite to support his theories.
It is my opinion that the voluntary system will never work well under any form of government, and still less so under a democracy.
“ Miss Martineau complains of this as contrary to the unalienable rights of man:--“ Instead of this we find laws framed against speculative atheists; opprobrium directed against such as embrace natural religion otherwise than through Christianity, and a yet more bitter oppression exercised by those who view Christianity in one way over those who regard it in another.”
Those who live under a democracy have but one pursuit, but one object to gain, which is wealth. No one can serve God and Mammon. To suppose that a man who has been in such ardent pursuit of wealth, as is the American for six days in the week, can recall his attention and thoughts to serious points on the seventh, is absurd; you might as well expect him to for get his tobacco on Sunday.
Under a democracy, therefore, you must look for religion among the women, not among the men, and such is found to be the case in the United States. As Sam Slick very truly says, “ It’s only women who attend meeting; the men folks have their politics and trade to talk over and havn’t time.” Even an established church would not make people as religious under a democratic form of government as it would under any other.*
* Mrs. Trollope observes, “ A stranger taking up his residence in any city in America must think the natives the most religious people upon earth.” This is very true; the outward Observances are very strict; why so will be better comprehended when the reader has world, and at the same time go through the forms of religion, is covetousness,
I have yet to point out how slander and defamation flourish under a democracy. Now, this voluntary system, from the interference of the laity, who judge not only the minister, but the congregation, gives what appears to be a legitimate sanction to this tyrannical surveillance over the conduct and behaviour of others. I really believe that the majority of men who go to church in America do so not from zeal towards God, but from fear of their neighbours; and this very tyranny in the more established persuasions, is the cause of thousands turning away to other sects which are not subjected to scrutiny. The Unitarian is in this point the most convenient, and is therefore fast gaining ground. Mr. Colton observes, “ Nothing can be more clear, than that scripture authority against meddling, tattling, slander, scandal, or in any way interfering with the finished my remarks upon the country. The author of Mammon very truly observes, that the only vice which we can practise without being arraigned for it in this
private concerns, conduct, and character of our neighbours, except as civil or ecclesiastical authority has clothed us with legitimate powers, is specific, abundant, decided, emphatic. It is founded in human nature; it is essential to the peace of society ; a departure from it would be ruinous to social comfort. If therefore it is proper to introduce any rule on this point into a mutual church‘ covenant, it seems to me that the converse of that which is usually found in that place ought to be substituted. Even the apostles, as we have seen, found it necessary to rebuke the disposition prevalent in their time to meddle with the affairs, and to make inquisition into the conduct of others. But it should be recollected, that the condition of Christians and the state of society then were widely different from the same things with us. Christianity was a new religion, and its disciples were generally obnoxious. They were compelled by their circumstances to associate most intimately; they were bound together by those sympathies and
VOL. III. H
ties, which a persecuted and sufl'ering class always feel, independent of Christian affection. Hence in part we account for the holy and exemplary ardour of their attachments to their religion and to each other. But even in these circumstances, and under these especial intimacies, or rather, perhaps, on account of them, the apostles found it necessary to admonish them against the abuse of that confidence so generally felt and recipocrated by those who confessed Christ in those unhappy times; an abuse so naturally developed in the form of meddling and private inquisition.”
I quote the above passage, as, in the United States, the variety of sects, the continual splitting and breaking up of those sects, and their occasional violent altercations, have all proved most injurious to society, and to the cause of religion itself. Indeed religion in the States may be said to have been a source of continual discord and the unhinging of society, instead of that peace
and good-will inculcated by our divine Legis_