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we have seen taking place, they are pregnant with others still greater which must soon follow. They are only “the beginning of the end,” and there may be many fluctuations between good and evil before that end can be reached. The fates of empires seem to be governed by new laws which baffle the wisdom of the wise, and turn “the counsels of Ahithophels into foolishness.” Every institution that has sprung from the ambition or the policy of man, seems tending toward a general wreck; and the efforts of statesmen to prevent the catastrophe, seem only to accelerate it. The gigantic strength of the popular will is, Samson-like, heaving at the pillars of a tyranny that has long doomed men to blindness as well as to bondage; but it too often threatens, in its maddened violence, to bring ruin both on the oppressed and the oppressors; while the “Lords of the Philistines” infatuated with the love of power, and bewildered by the dread of losing it, are running into measures that must render their overthrow the more fearful when the day of retribution comes. Nor are the commotions and changes of our day confined to the political world. The fountains of every great deep, whether in church or state, are fast being broken up, as if to issue in another deluge that shall overthrow every thing that has been heretofore viewed as high
and stable. The corrupting alliances with worldly pomp and power, which have long burdened Christianity, are beginning to give way; but we fear they must be wrenched by many a rude, if not bloody hand, before they can be finally severed. Gross superstitions, which have degraded Christianity down to the verge of Paganism, and the blind idolatries of Paganism itself, are sinking into decrepitude and discredit. Mahomedanism can no longer claim the Crescent as its emblem. Its moon is also on the wane. But, although the forms of irreligion and error are losing their sway, we must not believe that they can be finally overthrown without further struggle; and in the mean time the spirit of change which at first may have been an ambition for healthful reform, too often degenerates into a blasphemous impiety; and instead of a meretricious faith, embraces a licentious infidelity, that mocks at truth and at the God of truth. s Nor should we in this brief review pass by in silence disquieting indications which we find at home. We have here “the largest liberty for the largest number;” but it is too often perverted and abused by men who display a lawless and rabid hostility against many of our best institutions, both civil and religious. “Deceiving and being deceived, despising dominion, and speaking evil of dignities,”
they carry with them a hardened and unblushing ambition to pull down every thing which is built up, to unsettle every thing that has been settled either by the authority of God or the matured wisdom of man; and under the guise of a benevolence that promises to render all men free and equal, they would subvert every obligation of justice which binds society together, and every sense of truth and duty that should bind us all in reverence to our Creator. It should not be denied that these “signs of the times,” which are so widely spread, are the ominous mutterings of a coming tempest. They are notes of preparation for a war which, as we are told in the Sriptures, is to convulse our world previous to the millenial reign of Him who is Prince of Peace and Saviour of our fallen race. In the language of prophecy, “the angel” seems to be “pouring out his vial into the air,” and it is followed by “voices, and thunders, and lightnings.” Opposing hosts are fast becoming marshalled for what may well be called “the battle of the great day,” great in reference both to the magnitude of the interests involved and the forces engaged; and when infidelity may perhaps be found in strange alliance with superstition and tyranny against Christianity and freedom. It will not be a strife for some portion of territory or
Some conventional point of national honor; but for the unalienable rights that belong to man created in the image of his Maker. It will be a war between the oppressors and the oppressed, between the doers of wrong and the sufferers of wrong, between the long established usages which bind men to the chariot wheels of civil and ecclesiastical domination, and their fresh born and holy purpose, to see for themselves and act for themselves in the momentous concerns “of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.” - With such a crisis impending, it is both natural and dutiful that we should set ourselves to survey with care the tenure by which we, as a people, hold the privileges which we enjoy, and which are so soon to be put at stake. How far we may be hereafter drawn into the coming struggle time must show. But the subject at present comes home to us in an aspect by no means equivocal. The duty and the destiny of America seem to have been written in a book that is yet but partially unsealed. Enough is known, however, to indicate that she is to act no subordinate part in the great events
“casting their shadows before them.” It is ob
Il OW vious that there are two great powers which now stand prominently before the world as the distinct impersonations of despotism on the one hand, and of
liberty on the other. They are the Russian Empire in the Old World, and the United States of America in the New. They are both constantly widening their borders, and augmenting their resources, as if gathering fresh accessions of strength for some gigantic conflict. Recent events too are bringing them more fully upon the confines of each other; and in these times remarkable for setting at defiance the ordinary calculations of politicians, some colli. sion of interests on our own continent may yet place the two Powers in open hostility.” But although
such an event may be counted among bare possibi.
* It is now fifteen years since the following observations were made by M. De Tocqueville in his work entitled “Democracy in America.” Events which have since transpired tend to show how well he understood the position and character of the two countries.
“There are,” he remarks, “at the present time, two great nations in the world, which seem to tend towards the same end, although they started from different points s allude to the Russians and Americans. Both of them have grown up unnoticed: and whilst the attention of mankind was directed elsewhere, they have suddenly assumed a most prominent place amongst the nations; and the world learned their greatness and existence at almost the same time.
“All other nations seem to have nearly reached their natural limits, and only to be charged with the maintenance of their power; but these are still in the act of their growth: all the others are stopped, or continue to advance with extreme difficulty; these are proceeding with ease and with celerity along a path to which the human eye can assign no term.—The Anglo-American relies upon