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lost their faith in the popular religion, although the conservative among them refrained from open contempt of the estab lished rites. Yet Cicero, the gravest of conservatives, in his work, De Divinatione, argues with Quintus, his brother, against the possibility of any such knowledge of the future as superstition ascribed to the haruspices. He would have the function maintained as a part of the established religion for religion's and the republic's sake; but "between ourselves,” he says, "I don't believe in it."-" Quam ego reipublicæ causa, communisque religionis, colendam censeo, sed, soli sumus; licet verum exquirere sine invidia, mihi præsertim de plerisque dubitanti." Yet, though he denied for himself the validity of their vaticinations, he condemned the consuls, P. Claudius and L. Junius, for disregarding them: "Parendum enim fuit religioni, nec patrius mos tam contumaciter repudiandus." Yet this cautious conservative could say, in the Senate, that only in poetry and on the stage did the gods intermeddle in human affairs. Other writers of the time concurred with Cicero in relegating traditional religion to the region of popular superstition, reserving for philosophy the natural interpretation or critical elimination of the ancient beliefs. Livy coolly speaks of Numa's religious institutions as excellent devices for influencing, in those days, the ignorant multitude. Quintus Curtius thought nothing so efficacious for the governance of the rude rabble as superstition. Fill their minds with religious nonsense, he says, and they will mind the priest, if they do not obey their secular leaders: "Melius vatibus quam ducibus suis paret." Varro distinguished three kinds of religion, the mythological, for poets and the stage; the natural (naturalism), for philosophers and wise men; and the ceremonial, for the people. The learned could not accept the crude religion of the stage and the State: they must have a religion of their own. Whereupon St. Augustine exclaims in the "City of God," "O Marcus Varro! thou most acute of men, and without doubt the most learned, thou art still but a man and no god, and hast not been led by the spirit of God to the seeing and proclaiming of things divine, to the furtherance of truth and of freedom. Thou

seest that things divine should be separated from human folly and lies, but thou fearest to offend popular opinion and custom in the matter of public superstitions. Thou desirest to worship the God of Nature, but art forced to worship the God of the State."


Already Lucretius had made atheism popular, — had commended it by the charm of his immortal verse. Enlightened Rome no longer believed in the gods. Even the unlearned, according to the testimony of Juvenal, had outgrown the traditional faith in a future retributory state. Cicero himself says that no old woman could be found so inept as to tremble at what was once universally received. A philosophic observer, from the time of Sulla to the time of Vespasian, would have said that the old religion was utterly effete; that the Flamens must presently doff their fillets, and grave haruspices, for very shame, confess and renounce the solemn joke. But religions die hard: altars that once have burned with the sacrifices of faith do not go out until new altars are ready to receive the flame. Although, fifty years before the Christian era, Epicurus was praised at Rome for delivering mankind from the fear of the gods, and Cicero and Varro and others had promulgated naturalism; though theism and naturalism divided intelligent minds, a half-century before Christ, four centuries after, the Roman Senate, through the lips of her ablest representative, pleaded for liberty to worship those gods whose empire was now invaded by a far more formidable enemy than theism or atheism, the only foe that could ever dispossess them, a new revelation, a new ecclesiasticism.

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To take an example from Christian ages. The revival of letters in Europe was followed by a similar divorce of the intellectual and spiritual life of the age from the ecclesiastical. A courtier of Leo X., or a reader of the Epistola Obscurorum Virorum, might have fancied, not merely that the Church as a polity was tumbling, but that Christianity as a form of faith had sunk into hopeless decline. And again, toward the close of the eighteenth century in France, the encyclopædists and the men of letters deemed Christianity

outgrown, and made enlightenment synonymous with unbelief. Voltaire was tired of the name of Christ; but Voltaire patronized theism, commending the Almighty in sounding verse. Robespierre undertook, with a coup de théâtre, to place it on the throne of a desecrated, disevangelized world. You know the result, with what refluent zeal, with what fierce regurgitation, the repulsed and insulted faiths came trooping in the wake of the allied armies; with what re-assured consciousness they presided at the treaty of Vienna; and how in France of the Restoration ecclesiastical continuity resumed its sway.

Some thirty years ago, a club was formed of young men, mostly preachers of the Unitarian connection, with a sprinkling of elect ladies, — all fired with the hope of a new era in philosophy and religion, which seemed to them about to dawn upon the world. There was something in the air, -a boding of some great revolution,- some new avatar of the Spirit, at whose birth these expectants were called to assist.

"Of old things, all are over old;

Of good things, none are good enough :
We'll show that we can help to frame

A world of other stuff."

For myself, though I hugely enjoyed the sessions, and shared many of the ideas which ruled the conclave, and the ferment they engendered, I had no belief in ecclesiastical revolutions to be accomplished with set purpose; and I seemed to discern a power and meaning in the old, which the more impassioned would not allow. I had even then made up my mind, that the method of revolution in theology is not discession, but development. My historical conscience, then as since, balanced my neology, and kept me ecclesiastically conservative, though intellectually radical. There haunted me that verse in Goethe's bright song, "The General Confession," as applicable to ecclesiastical incendiarism as it is to political:

"Came a man would fain renew me,

Made a botch and missed his shot,
Shoulder shrugging, prospects gloomy:
He was called a patriot.

And I cursed the senseless drizzle,
Kept my proper goal in view;
Blockhead! when it burns, let sizzle;
When all's burned, then build anew."

Others judged differently: they saw in every case of dissent, and in every new dissentient, the harbinger of the New Jerusalem. "The present Church rattles ominously," they said: "it must vanish presently, and we shall have a real one." There have been some vanishings since then. Ah me! how much has vanished! Of that goodly company what heroes and heroines have vanished from the earth! Thrones have toppled, dynasties have crumbled, institutions that seemed fast rooted in the everlasting hills have withered away. But the Church that was present then, and was judged moribund by transcendental zeal, and rattled so ominously in transcendental ears, is present still.

It was finally resolved to start a journal that should represent the ideas which had mainly influenced the association already tending to dissolution. How to procure the requisite funds was a question of some difficulty, seeing how hardly philosophic and commercial speculation conspire. An appeal was made. Would Mammon have the goodness to aid an enterprise whose spirit rebuked his methods and imperilled his assets? The prudent God disclaimed the imputed verdure; and the organ of American Transcendentalism, with no pecuniary basis, committed to the chance and gratuitous efforts and editing of friends, if intellectually and spiritually prosperous, had no statistical success. It struggled, through four years, with all the difficulties of eleemosynary journalism; and then, significantly enough, with a word concerning the "Millennial Church," sighed its last breath, and gave up the ghost. I prize the four volumes among the choicest treasures of my library. They contain some of Emerson's, of Theodore Parker's, of Margaret Fuller's, of Thoreau's best things; not to speak of writers less absolute and less famous.

Meanwhile, the association, if so it could be termed, had gradually dissolved. Some of the members turned papists, I should say sought refuge in the bosom of the Catholic



Church. A few of the preachers pursued their calling, and perhaps have contributed somewhat to liberalize and enlarge the theology of their day. Some have slipped their moorings on this bank and shoal of time. One sank beneath the wave, whose queenly soul had no peer among the women of this land. Of one

"A strange and distant mould
Wraps the mortal relics cold."

Finally, a fragment of this strangely compounded body lodged in a neighboring town, and became the nucleus of an agricultural enterprise in which the harvest truly was not plenteous, and the competent laborers few; and of which, the root being rottenness, the blossom soon went up as dust.

What is the lesson of history and private experience concerning revolutions in religion? Ecclesiastical continuity, that we are under tutelage. The Church does not exist by the will of man, but by his constitution. It cannot be abolished by the will of man; it cannot perish by disaffection. Only a new Church can supplant the old. And the new Church will not be an association of thinkers and critics, with correct and rational theories of God, discarding supernaturalism, and planting themselves on abstract theism. Such associations exist under all dispensations; but they have never succeeded in planting a Church, or supplanting one. In India, at this moment, in the midst of the popular polytheism, there exists a flourishing association of this description, the sect of "Brahmas," pure theists. I received, not long since, a clever discourse from one of this body, entitled "Man the Son of God," in which Jesus Christ and Theodore Parker are coupled together as the two great lights of human kind. Theism is a theory of the universe which may or may not be true, but will never constitute a Church, and will never supplant one. A Church is the embodiment of a spiritual force, which, sallying from the heart of God, creates a vortex in human society that compels the kingdoms, compels the æons, in its conquering wake, and tracks its way through the world with a shining pyschopomp of saintly souls.

It seems to me somewhat important to understand this dif

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