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WE surpass the ancients in almost every department of literature, science, mechanics, and art. Among the Greeks and Romans, not more than one in a hundred could read and write, and among the ancient Jews still fewer. Charlemagne of France, the greatest of Christian kings, about a thousand years ago, never knew how to write. Very few of the French clergy knew how to read, and scarcely any to write; and, in England, the condition of the people was no better. Now a man so ignorant in this country is a rarity. Where there was one author two thousand years ago, there are a hundred now; and our schools and colleges contain thousands in the embryo. Then a book as large as Shakspeare's works could only be written by the unremitting labor of a year; now a dozen men will turn out a thousand in a day. Six hundred and fifty thousand "New-York Tribunes" are printed every week; each containing as much matter as the New Testament: to write them as they did then would require the labor of a thousand men for twelve years. It took a fortune in those days to buy a few manuscripts; now a peasant has a library that a Roman emperor would have envied.



In astronomy, we have advanced from the childish guesses of the Hebrews, and the only less wild conjectures of the Greeks, to the magnificent works of the Herschels, and the splendid and all but demonstrated theories of La Place. The little world made by the Jewish Jehovah in six days; that had ends, and was flat; that rested on pillars, and was established so that it could not be moved, is gone; and in its place we have the grand old earth, born of the sun in the eternity of the past, rushing through space sixty times faster than a ball from the mouth of a cannoǹ. place of the stars that were made on the fourth day after the creation of the earth, to assist in giving light upon it, and that occasionally fell when Jehovah shook the heavens, we have millions of blazing suns, some of them a thousand times larger than the centre of our system; and, compared with them, we find our planet to be but a drop in an infinite ocean. We have deciphered the hieroglyphics on the rocks, in which the history of our planet is inscribed (a history all unknown to the men of the past); have called up from their long sleep the hosts of organic forms which flourished during the geologic ages; and wrested from Nature her deep secrets, hidden for so long from the most scrutinizing gaze. Physiology, phrenology, chemistry, sciences unknown to the world two thousand years ago, are blessing us daily with their beautiful and useful revelations; and the future is big with promise of new sciences to be born, new realms yet to be discovered, explored, and appropriated.

I am told that the Pyramids of Egypt are superior to all modern structures, and that they demonstrate how much the art of the ancients was superior to that

of the moderns. But let a hundred thousand men be employed for thirty years, as they were to make the great Pyramid, with the appliances of modern mechanics and art, and they would pile up a mountain like Chimborazo, whose giant crest the traveller views at a distance of a hundred miles. For every art supposed to be lost, we have made a hundred; and new ones are starting up daily.

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We have to-day better houses, better heads, consequently better brains and better minds, better books, better governments, than the ancients, and why not a better religion? Having advanced in every other direction, why not in this? Are we to march forward in science with excelsior for our motto, looking upward, and ever climbing to the untrodden heights; and, in religion, are we to be constantly looking over our shoulders, or groping in some mummy-pit over the musty records of the past, deciphering mouldy parchments, and mourning over mutilated manuscripts, as if God had left his word to the mercy of some spreading fungus or nibbling rat?

"Why should we see with dead men's eyes,
Looking at Was from morn till night?
When the beauteous Now, the divine To be,
Woo with their charms the living sight?'


As the race has advanced from its primitive barbarism, it has made for itself better and better religious forms, corresponding with its advancement. chism was once the best form of religion, when men worshipped trees, stones, beetles, snakes, and more disgusting objects still.

"Then a crocodile served as a reverend lord,

And the leeks that we eat were the gods they adored.”

The soul of man could not always thus grovel: some primitive Moses, Jesus, or Luther, denounced, doubtless, as a heretic and infidel, scouted the snaky gods, and turned men's attention to the heavens. "There," said he, "is the beautiful sun: what more glorious object of worship can you have? This makes our day; its absence, gloomy night; under its benignant reign spring up grasses, flowers, fruits, and all hearts are cheered." Listening to him, they abandoned the old gods, danced in circles at early morn, and chanted hymns of praise to the god of day. Heroes who had slain wild beasts, and destroyed neighboring tribes who were their enemies, in turn also became gods to be adored: their deeds were emulated by their worshippers; and the exaggerated stories of their exploits were handed down from generation to generation.

Judaism at length became possible, better than some of its predecessors; for it gave to its adherents the unseen God, the Creator of the heavens and earth," in whose name a valuable moral code was inculcated, and the more flagrant crimes sternly denounced. But this God, though invisible, was in human shape; stern, revengeful, passionate, and, at times, terribly cruel. The Jews were his children beloved; the Gentiles, his illegitimate offspring, whom the Jews were commissioned by him to destroy whenever they interfered with their convenience or pleasure.

As men's minds expanded, the Jewish God, and the ritual founded in his name, could no longer command

their respect. Jesus inaugurates a new era, and supersedes Judaism, as the dawn does the light of the stars. God is the Father of the human race: the sun that shines on all, the rain that drops so impartially on all, are the fit emblems of his unbiassed love. The burden of superstitious rites and ceremonies, the offering of sacrifices, the sabbaths, and the yearly pilgrimages, are abolished. Faith in Jesus, and obedience. to his simple doctrine, are all that the new religion demands.

But is Christianity, even as Jesus taught it, a finality? Did this Galilean mechanic exhaust the Infinite? Has Nature no deeper secrets than he revealed? Did he climb higher than mortal can ever again rise? Did he alone know the way of life, and are we doomed to walk implicitly in his footsteps, or forever go astray? So thought the Jew of Moses; so thinks the Turk of Mohammed, and the Mormon of Joseph Smith.

We dream not that we have approached the Infinite in any other direction. Ask the best musician if he has exhausted the possibilities of his science and art, and he will tell you that we have but ascended to the clouds; and the infinite heaven of harmony lies beyond, yet to be scaled, and yet to be enjoyed. The geologist knows that we have but deciphered a few torn leaves of a mighty volume, whose unread lore will feast explorers for ages to come. Ask the astronomer if the last star in the firmament has yielded to him its secrets, and the heavens have no more to reveal, and he will tell you that he is but a babe, who has made the acquaintance of a few pebbles on the shore of the ocean, whose unfathomable waters spread illimitably around him. What would be thought of the man who should

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