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arts and arms, in agriculture and manufactures, and in the science of government, to the ends of the earth, and to the end of ages.
Printing is superior to every other art of a like kind in the perpetuity of its youth. It is not subject like other arts to the baneful influence of time or accident; the works of the sculptor are often broken to fragments and reduced to dust; paintings fade, or are torn to shreds, and finally perish. But printing stamps immortality upon the ideas committed to it, by renewing at will, and without ceasing, exact copies of its work.
In written discourses, images, illustration, variety of language, and power of style are perpetuated, and masterly thoughts are made to live and beget their like. We are made to stand before the living man—and see his reasonings exact, clear, overpowering -his exquisite shadings and the harmonious blending of colors-until we see beneath a transparent and glossy skin, the blood circulate, the veins turn blue, and the muscles assume their strength.
The mere speaker is like a statue placed in an elevated niche, that must be cut somewhat roughly and of a proportioned oversize to produce the proper effect at a distance. The written discourse is the life-like natural size. “ The press is the tribune amplified. Speech is the vehicle of intelligence, and intelligence is the mistress of the material world. *"
Nor is the beneficial influence of the press confined to the useful arts alone, since it is also intimately connected with whatever is ornamental in the arts of man. For it is the faithful register of the refined inventions of the sublimest geniuses in the most polished ages and countries; and, though the productions of elegant artists may be destroyed—though the best contributions of modern civilization should perish, yet the descriptions of the artist's work, and of these institutions being preserved by the press, will serve to raise in future, other artists and other institutions, that shall rival those that have preceded. The press makes immortal the works of elegant authors and artists, and thereby holds up a light and example to guide and assist aspiring minds to superior excellence.
The press and the tribune were the two-edged sword of the old French Revolution, and of all the revolutions of the present year in Europe. It was the press that taught France to think and to act in 1789, and in February, 1848. The written discourses of Foy, Bignon, Lafitte, Constant, Dupont De l'Eure, Royer-Collard, and the impassioned appeals of Mirabeau and his colleagues, accomplished the political education of France. Speeches that produce but little effect in the Senate, often exercise a great influence in print. If they have less influence in the formation of laws, they have more in the formation of public opinion, and it is public opinion that gives sanction, execution, and permanence to the laws, or overturns and remodels them. He, therefore, who has a thousand readers has a greater influence than he who has a thousand hearers. And as this is peculiarly an age of publishing what is spoken, as well as what is written : so the institution of popular liberty, founded and supported in a great degree by the press, must live and flourish so long as liberty has a voice to speak.
* Benjamin Constant: Orators of France, p. 127.
The Heaven-descended right of suffrage, is the mother of all our laws and institutions. It is the foundation of our whole government and of our whole constitution. Our constitution is our body politic at rest. Our elections are our body politic in action. And the great guarantee of the one and trumpet-call of the other is the press. An arbitrary, iniquitous, chaotic aristocracy, may grow up where there is no press, and sit like an incubus for centuries upon the inalienable rights of man. Leagues, alliances, public and secret, may be cemented by charters, monopoly grants, and royal marriages, io enable certain families and classes to consume without producing—to live without laboring, and possess themselves of all the public offices without being qualified to fill them, and to seize upon all the honors of the state, without having merited any—but when the press speaks forth, their days are numbered. There is no power in earth or hell that can prevail over and keep a people in slavery, that are taught by an unfettered press the right of self-government.
The press is more mighty than armies, kings, and senates—as rapid and intelligent as thought. None are too low for it to reach. None can be above its influence. It fascinates, inspires, and forms the masses of society for every effort. The strugglings of the press for liberty, and of the conscience for freedom, have filled all Europe with convulsions. It was the press, aided by the living teacher, that produced the great revolutions of the sixteenth century. It was the press that made England a Protestant country. The press has removed the moss of ages that had covered up the origin and root of things, and discovered their true nature. It has opened the book of inalienable rights to the people, and taught them how to resist the usurpations of force and fraud. It was the press that overthrew the parliaments of the French Restoration. And of the blood and vitals of the press were born the government and monarchy of July, 1830 ; and yet under his majesty, Louis Philippe, the press was fettered and tortured. For seventeen years this press-made monarch compelled the press either to lie or to be silent-compelled it either to abstain from discussing the principles of the government, or to submit to the blows of a gouty senate. It was bound hand and foot, and placed in manacles between the “ruins of confiscation and the burning tombs of Salazie.”
But the day of reckoning came. For the press, like Prometheus, the more it is bound and fettered, the more eloquent, the more inspired, the more indignant, the more tempestuous, and the more Jove-defying it becomes. The very shaking of its chains sent the ungrateful monarch it had made, and all his dynasty, to the “ tomb of all the Capulets,” even before a righteous Providence had given
his body to the worms. “Unlimited liberty of the press," was the exclamation with which General Bertrand closed all his public speeches. And he was right. The bulwarks of all republics are the Bible and the unlimited freedom of the press.
It is true that the press, like every other good thing, may be abused, and be employed to spread error and impiety. It is sometimes the case that Divine Providence permits those very means, which, when well applied, are the most effectually conducive to the best purposes, to be so abused and misapplied as to become the most potent engines of mischief.
Even the Son of Mary was set for the fall and rise of many, and for a sign which shall be spoken against. The result of Messiah's coming among men, depends altogether upon their own spiritual discernment of Him. The gospel is salvation to the believer, but destruction to the unbeliever. Salvation and doom are correlative terms. Heaven and hell are correlative places. Great blessings suppose great evils.
It is impossible for printing to spread errors more baneful than were propagated before its invention, while on the other hand, it enables the friends of truth and religion to pursue the baleful steps of their adversary with an antidote that cannot be nullified, so that this wonderful effort of human skill not only supplies the most sure methods of perpetuating every new discovery in the other arts and sciences, but at the same time affords the ablest assistance in the support of religion, truth, and virtue.
There remains one other out of many more grounds of hope for the perpetuity of Republics, that I cannot wholly omit; and that is-Man's self-consciousness that he is a child of Liberty, and that he is capable of self-government, and of perpetuating the best principles and forms of government. Philosophers and theologians tell us of a moral sense, and a religious sense in man, the existence of which prove that man is a moral and religious being, just as his lungs prove that he was made to breathe. So likewise the political sense, that is a faculty of being conscious that we possess within us the elements of freedom from our Maker, and which also excites all men, in all ages, to desire the fullest enjoyment of civil liberty, is a proof that man is made to be free, and to be happy only in the enjoyment of freedom. The soul's self-consciousness of its own existence, of its own free agency, and of the existence of God, has long been regarded as one of the strongest proofs of a Deity. “ The longing after immortality,” in all men, and in all countries, and the conjectures and hopes, even of the rudest, for a brighter existence after death, is proof almost as strong as demonstration, that there is a future immortal state of being. In like manner, the hopes of mankind, concerning a political millennium, may be deemed a prophecy of its coming. Such hopes have existed from the earliest times, and have grown stronger and stronger, and spread wider and wider, as cycle after cycle rolled down the skies. Have the ardent longings of the
purest and best men, of the wisest and the holiest men of antiquity and of modern times, been raised up merely to be thrown to the ground ! Divine Providence will not thus tantalize the sons of
The longings of our race after freedom have sometimes been embodied in tradition, in song, and in fables; but even the fables were imitations of the truth. The shadow is proof that there is a substance.
The universality of some kind of religious worship or belief-the tenacity with which most men hold to their religious dogmas, and even the excesses committed by religious zeal, bigotry, and superstition, are deemed a strong proof of the reality and vast importance of religion. There is in man a religious sense that recognizes, at the bottom of all this, the earnest desire of his soul for happiness, for communion with God, for participation in the divine nature as its true birthright. This anxious longing of man's spirit to pass the gulf which separates his God-derived soul from its glorious Creator—this ardent wish, even though to himself unconscious of its full import, to secure that union with God, the Father of all spirits, which alone can renew human nature—though ignorant of the way to accomplish it, still struggling forth amidst superincumbent masses of error, delusion, falsehood, superstition, and unbelief, and aspiring after that heart-healing, soul-vitalizing power, which Christianity only reveals, is justly regarded as a proof of the truth of the gospel
The way for the introduction of Christianity was prepared by the co-working of supernatural with natural elements. The natural development of the heathen world had prepared them for the new light which emanated from Judea. The whole history of the Jews was preparatory to the coming of the Messiah. It was emphatically, in every sense, the fullness of time, when God made the highest manifestations of Himself to man by His Son, who was the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and the fullness of the ineffable Godhead. The Messiah was born King of the Jews, whose political life was a theocracy, and a type of the Kingdom of God. He was the culminating point of all Jewish light and glory; and as the particular typifies the universal—the earthly, the celestial-so David, the monarch who had raised the political theocracy of the Jews to the pinnacle of glory, typified that greater monarch, in whom the Kingdom of God was to display its glory.* Christ sprang from the fallen line of royal David, just as the sceptre was departing from Judah, and the lawgiver from between his feet.
In the minds of both Jews and Pagans there were many gross errors about the coming and character of the Messiah, but neither their unbelief nor their erroneous faith, made void the truth of God. The all-wise Creator working good out of evil, sometimes uses men's errors to lead them to a knowledge of the great truths of salvation. Superstition often paves the way for faith, and incre
* See Neander's great work, Life of Christ, p. 19.
dulity itself becomes the handmaid of the sublimest piety. Oppression prepares the way for liberty. Moses came when the tale of bricks was doubled. So He who maketh the wrath of man to praise him, and restraineth the remainder of wrath—who raiseth up one and casteth down another—and whose right it is to reign, has condescended to the plans of men in training them for civil and religious liberty. God has often condescended not merely to the feelings and thoughts of men, but even to their failings and their prejudices, not to approve of them, but to use them as a means of bringing men to the truth. “God,” says Neander, “condescended to the platforms of men in training them for belief in the Redeemer, and meets the aspirations of the truth-seeking soul even in its error.” The longings of the whole world for a Saviourthe earnest expectations of both Jews and Pagans, that a deliverer would come, were rays of light streaming from the invisible world, which on other subjects and in all other ways was unfathomable darkness. These rays found their embodiment in the Star of Bethlehem, which pointed to the Sun of Righteousness then risen upon the world for its universal illumination.
In patriarchial times-in the Hebrew commonwealth-in the earliest forms of Pagan governments--in the best days of Greece and Rome, Divine Providence gave some pledge and earnest of better things to come.
The great idea of man is redemption-from sin-through the Messiah, and from ignorance, slavery, and every evil, as a fruit and consequence of his redemption from sin. The two greatest days in the annals of the human race, are the day of the Incarnation of the Son of God, and the day of Representative Republicanism. And as all the previous history of the world was a preparation for the one, so also it was for the other. The longings of mankind for republican institutions, whether embodied in poetry, devotion, or romance, whether uttered by Plato or Sir Thomas Moore, were streamlets of light foretelling the luminary that was to appear in the fullness of time. All past history—the thousands of years, and the hundreds of generations that have passed, have all been in order to and co-laborers for the present. The results of their labors in their best form, are the representative republics of our day. The way for the development of the model of representative republicanism, was most wondrously prepared by the traditions, longings, and aspirations of the ancients, by the discovery of this continent, and by the precise time of the discovery, and the circumstances, condition, internal and external, civil and religious, of the nations that discovered and colonized in the New World, and especially in the times and characters that Providence ordered for the settlement of the English colonies in America.
As in the original creation, the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, let there be light: and there was "light—there were faint streamings of light over the immense chaos : but no sun until afterwards the