Imatges de pÓgina



but because frequent contact with no- these there is a He, their possessor and ble thought begets of itself a desire for director. We too are persons, made in more intimate acquaintance. Any man God's likeness and therefore able to with half an ear, living in the company have thoughts about Him which are of musicians, is sure to think music true, however inadequate. Human rebeautiful and important. Just so the lationships are our best clue to an Puritan youth was drawn, not driven, understanding of Him and his governto the study of the Bible through asso- ment. Indeed, so near is God to man, ciation with the biblically minded. Be- that a finite person, perfect within his fore he was aware what processes were

human limits, would be the fullest posgoing on, he found himself in possession sible revelation of God and a fit object of something priceless. He understood of worship. Loyalty to such a being good English, and pretty generally saves us from sin and vicariously respoke it.

deems the sinner. Vicariousness is a

principle throughout the personal uniVIII

verse. The modern Socialist finds that Of the doctrines which the Puritans my wrongdoing afflicts my group and derived from their sacred volume, or by it must be healed. Individualistic read into it, I have no need to write at Puritanism puts perfect manhood, the any length. Their general tenor is well suffering Christ, in the place of the reknown, and this paper is not a treatise deeming group. on theology, but an exhibit of Puritan Puritan religion is thus essentially methods of domestic training. Still, personal religion. The Spaniard is highsince that training was based on certain ly religious. So is the Russian, the Hinreligious conceptions, I must briefly du, the very English people from whom summarize these. But it should be the Puritans came out. But the reliborne in mind that there was much di- gion of all these is preëminently social, versity among the Puritans, and never embodying a group-consciousness and any such thing as a Puritan Church largely concerned with the performance or creed. Each little group of be- of sacred ceremonies. Puritan religion lievers had an independent existence, is experienced, not performed. It needs

, and formulated for itself its under- no church, no ritual, no priest. Each standing or creed about things divine believer stands face to face before God, and human, changing this whenever it responsible to Him alone, and through could be brought into closer conformity his witnesses - conscience, right reato the mind of the majority. During son, the Bible ‘as spiritually discerned' my life my country church has rewrit- - is directly instructed what to do. ten its entire creed three times.

Obligation is minute and perpetual. The distinctive feature of Puritan re- All things are full of duty. Each sitligion is the stress that it lays on per- uation in life presents a best way of sonality, the duty of preserving it and acting, expressive of God's will, and a keeping it clean. A person is the one worse way, expressive of our childish sacred being in the universe to whom and temporary will. We are incessantly all else is subservient. God Himself is a tempted to some partial good through person, having intelligence, will, love stupor, slackness, caprice, or bodily and aversion, communicability and, allurement. above all, righteousness, or respect for

Human life is a daily strife with sin, other persons. He is no mere abstract .

and drill in duty, bringing home to us mind, force, love, or law. Behind all the futility — the suicide, even - of

[ocr errors]

following any other will than that of speech and bearing, promptitude to our exacting Father. The restrictions, duty, and such excellence to educational the disappointments, the sufferings of and political institutions that the world our existence here become comprehensi- has taken pattern from them ever since, ble when viewed as preliminary educa- why did it decay, and why, even in tion for a perfected existence hereafter. the days of its power, did it awaken anA wise father sets his child tasks some- imosity? Because each human excelwhat beyond his powers. Our athletic lence involves some special limitation, trainers fill our sports with difficulties danger at least, and the unavoidable and dangers, and forbid us to shrink limitations of Puritanism are pecufrom bodily harm. Just so God plans liarly obnoxious to the common man. his world. He makes it a preparatory They stifle him and make him after a school for those destined ever to remain time clamor for ampler air. One needs individual persons, unmerged in any- to be already strong before he can draw thing so meaningless as universal being. strength from Puritanism. For it looks The consequences of such discipline, on all things sub specie æternitatis, and either in enlargement or shrinkage, go takes altogether seriously the saying on forever.

that in God we live and move and have I hope the brevity of this statement our being. In the disorderly and chanstill does sufficient justice to the Puri- ging world, the Puritan is ill at ease. tan faith. Possibly I have over-ration- ' Things of earth are of slender consealized it through the attempt to give quence compared with those of Heaven, unity to a complex body of doctrine. and are to be dealt with only as they Wise beliefs are seldom free from incon- prepare us for the divine life. In this gruities. At almost every point, too, extreme idealism there is danger for the utterance of some eminent divine weak natures. They are apt to grow can be quoted, giving to this or that morbid about themselves, about others, doctrine a coloring different from that and even about God. given here. I have said that Puritan- The miseries attending too great selfism held no authoritative creed. Its consciousness are widely felt and are fellowship was based on general con- peculiarly difficult to cure. To be consent, with room left for individual di- stantly analyzing our motives, in order vergence. A faith that included Prince- to be sure that they are not the promptton and Andover, Jonathan Edwards ings of a temporary impulse but the and Samuel Hopkins, permits no exact veritable voice of God, is safe for not formulation. But I believe my sketch many men, for still fewer women. Of will be sufficient to show where lay the course, we should know what we are strength of Puritanism and to make doing. Blind action is as disastrous as plain its hold on the realities of life. It excessive introspection; but not being fitted its followers to fight Indians, en- painful, it escapes with less censure. dure the hardships of New England, The wise man keeps control of himself found a democracy, and send forth while still looking without more than throughout the land a sturdier folk within. So long as we inhabit this comthan any other single stock can boast. plicated planet, we must give it a large

share of our attention and enjoyment.

How large that share shall be and what IX

proportion it should bear to spiritual But, if Puritan religion was able to interests can, fortunately, never be degive weight to character, dignity to termined. The difficult task of keeping




the two on terms of mutual aid is for person, complete in isolation, is inconeach one of us an important part of ceivable. We exist in relations and are life's discipline.

essentially conjunct. But while society It is often charged that Puritanism and the individual are mutual factors, was lop-sided, other-worldly, over-em- meaningless apart, I think Puritanism phatic in the care of one's own soul; drew attention to that side of the dual and that through this tendency it ex- fact which is the more important for posed its followers to self-deception and human welfare. The initiation of achypocrisy. That there was danger in tion is an individual function. Too this direction is obvious. But danger often it is forgotten that society has no that leads to such high results is worth central consciousness. That is lodged while. I believe the danger grossly ex- in individuals, who alone, therefore, aggerated; and it is only fair to remem- have the power to criticize, on which ber that the Puritan world was a far power all progress is dependent. Withless interesting, a less spiritual place out personal goading, society remains than it has become since the rise of blind and inert. It cannot reform itmodern science and the study of the self. A Garrison, a Phillips, a Mrs. conditions under which mind and Stowe, a Whittier, a Lincoln must first morals are planned to coöperate. appear, before American slavery is

On account, too, of its slender com- overthrown. While then the meagre prehension of the relation between per- Puritan conception of personality was sons, Puritanism has been badly shaken destined to perish and to carry with it a and now looks a good deal out of date. pretty large superstructure, it trained Its insistence on personality and the strong men as the equally one-sided eternal worth of the individual, we philosophy of to-day cannot. Socialism have already seen. Self-respect might begets enthusiastic followers. Leaders be called the central Puritan virtue. are fashioned where honor is paid to Certainly the omnipresent sense of sin personality. that brooded over Puritanism con- If the Puritan notion of personality, cerned itself far more with personal however, was too small for man, stain than with social damage. Society, doubly belittling when applied to God. with its obligations, is something al- Yet He, too, was imagined as an individmost accidental. God has seen fit to ual, contrasted, on the one hand, with create a multitude, each a person, and physical objects, and on the other, with has called on us, as we respect ourselves, human beings. He easily became picto respect others. Equality is the high- tured as an old man in the clouds, tryest point reached by Puritan sociology, ing, not very successfully, to manage with democracy as its natural expres- his obstreperous world. It is true, such sion. But the thought of our time has concrete representation has its uses taken a lurch in a different direction. and is unhesitatingly employed by the Individualism, the liberal creed for at Psalmist and most religious teachers. least four centuries, is now disparaged, Stated baldly, it seems irreverent to Socialism is exalted. Instead of viewing speak of God as a hen. But when we society as formed by the addition of in- read that 'He covers us with his feathers dividuals, we now incline to look upon

and under his wings we may trust,' society as primordial and an individual how true and comforting is the comas its derivative. Socialism, though by parison! itself no less false than its opposite, has Just so with the Puritan humanizaat least shown that a single detached tion of God. If we are to speak to Him

it was

[ocr errors]

in prayer, hear his voice in duty, find humanity, and as the general power, Him our supporting companion in pri- not ourselves, which makes for rightvation and sorrow, the object of our eousness, -all these being manifestagratitude in happiness; if, indeed, we tions of the same person. This proare sincere in our hopes of individual found doctrine should, especially in its immortality, we must detect in our own third phase, have checked the attempt personality something too precious to to think of God as an empty individual be lacking in Him whom we worship. unit. The Trinity makes Him, not a Only to a person will love go forth. unit, but a unity. Like all other perThe danger is that personality may be- sons, his nature involves differentiation come an empty form, excluding all con- and forthgoing. But popular associatents. As in ourselves, it should be an tions with the word person were hard organizing principle, rich in relations to overcome, and the puzzling docand powers, and capable of the utmost trine easily slipped down into tritheism. self-diversification. But for the Puri- When so held, it offered as troublesome tans the world was somewhat aloof perplexities in the reconcilement of its from God. They knew Him as its orig. members as the Greeks and Romans inal and arbitrary creator, but not as felt in harmonizing their polytheistic its present indwelling life, as

pantheon. Something deeply interfused,

While, then, I believe that American Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns

civilization owes more to Puritanism And the round ocean and the living air than to any other single agency, I have And the blue sky and in the heart of man.

no desire to see it reëstablished. That In like manner the human body, with is plainly impossible. We must rethink its multifarious joys, instincts, invigora- its problems in our own terms and even tions and seductions, was looked on, remould its beautiful home-training, not as a temple of God, but as a prison- if we would not be blind to what the house of the Spirit. No monotheism, world has learned since the Pilgrims however, can be permanent which ig- landed. nores the massive truths of polytheism. Each age has what may be called Puritanism tried to and failed.

its holy passions. Those of Puritan No doubt I magnify these faults by times were rationality, order, duty reabstract statement. Practical life usu- garded as personal loyalty; those of ally finds its way to facts, even through to-day, humanitarianism, social service, restrictive theories. And it would be scientific pursuit of ever-developing unfair not to recognize the enlarged truth. These later ideals, though slenscope offered to Puritan thought about derly regarded by the Puritans, are quite God by the doctrine of the Trinity. as needful as their own in the fulfillAccording to this, God presents Himself ment of Christ's moral law. Through to us in three contrasted ways, them the spirit of Puritanism acquires the ground of all existence, as perfected a richer significance.





The Duchess of Pontecorvo left her swelling of her feet, the Duchess automobile at the bottom of the hill on moved with a certain sprightly youthwhich the village of Roquebrune is sit- fulness that had been passed on to her uated, and, leaning on the arm of a old age by the impatient, nervous lackey, began the ascent of the steep, energy of her mind. narrow, winding roads leading through A majestic, a Junoesque beauty, she that fortress-town of the Maritime must have been in her younger days. Alps. A visit to Roquebrune had be 'A Marie Antoinette all over again,' her come something habitual with the old flatterers were still saying, even now, lady on afternoons when the sky was when she was old. Nevertheless, two bright and cloudless. She had found deep lines fell from her sharp, aquiline this picturesque nook - where the

nose upon

the corners of her mouth, and streets, paved with blue cobblestones, her blue eyes were faded and watery. are often tunnels some weeks before, She habitually dressed in black, with and had advertised its beauties enthusi- an impressive, aristocratic sobriety. astically among all her friends. Every Curls of white hair, far too thick and day she herself would go up from her lustrous to be genuine, strayed from villa to the esplanade in front of the under her bonnet. What at once struck village church, to enjoy a magnificent the eye, however, the thing that had view of the sunset.

made her famous along the whole coast, There was an element of vanity in was a necklace, the 'Necklace of the this daily climb. The duchess had dis- Duchess,' as it was familiarly called — covered something unknown to the five hundred thousand dollars' worth of ordinary resident of the Mediterranean pearls, according to the estimates of shore; and pride in her achievement people who were supposed to know! made her quite forget the fatigue im- This necklace - a 'dog-collar,' in the posed upon her eighty years by the jargon of the fashionable world walk up those perpendicular streets of a veritable corset for her neck and the mediæval town, too narrow for a throat, flaming like one great jewel, and cart, and familiar with no other means hiding in a blaze of glory any defects of locomotion than the donkey or the there may have been in the complexion mule used by visitors to the church. of her wrinkly skin.

The duchess was a decidedly flaccid, The duchess entered the church, obese person. She could get along only which was quite deserted at that hour. with the help of a gold-headed bamboo The lackey left her side and stood at cane bequeathed by her deceased hus- respectful attention near a little door, band, the Duke of Pontecorvo. On swung out from one side of the building, this walk, however, despite the chronic and casting over the tiles a rectangle of


« AnteriorContinua »