« VorigeDoorgaan »
a difference which underlay all the troubles at Antioch College, and cost him fearful trials, even the sacrifice of his life.
There has been great misapprehension as to the attitude held by the Christian Denomination, and their conduct towards Antioch College. It is only fair to consider it from their point of view. They founded the school because they felt their own ignorance, and desired to possess within themselves such institutions as all other denominations possess, to educate their young people, and especially to train young men for their pulpits. They desired and sought a school which should be unsectarian only in so far as they themselves are so. They had no thought of a school which should not be strictly evangelical; which should not expect revivals in winter, as regularly as vacations in summer. They were founding a school for their own denominational purposes, which should aid civilization through their sect; they expected to see their own ministers and young people, as soon as possible, the sole teachers in it; to see a theological school connected with it; to see it thus as strictly a denominational organ as one of their own newspapers. Their want of scholarly men compelled them either to start the school on a grade fatally low, or to look outside their own borders for a leader and head; and, in choosing the latter alternative, they showed a good sense and good feeling worthy of all praise.
But, in choosing Mr. Mann, they made as grave a mistake as he did in accepting their invitation. Dazzled by his brilliant reputation and great power, rejoiced at his endorsement of their sentiments, fired with the hope of powerfully re-enforcing their denominational strength through him, they failed to see that he, in all good faith, was accepting their unsectarian pledges and battle-cries in a sense utterly hateful to them,he meaning freedom within the bar of conscience only, or at least within that of unchallenged private interpretation; they meaning freedom within the bar of the infallible Book, and that too under a set of opinions not avowed or formally stated, but perfectly well understood. They desired the school to aid civilization by serving their sect; he desired it to aid their sect only as it served civilization. He and they were thus,
at the outset, in feeling and purpose fatally at variance. If he had his wish, they must fail of theirs; and he probably never would have set foot within those walls, had he known how their meaning of the words "Christian character" differed from his.
In Christology, they were for the most part Arians, denying alike the humanity and the supreme divinity of Jesus; and, in their religious methods and ideals, their views of conversion, salvation, and Christian character, they bore more resemblance to the Methodists than to any body of people with whom Mr. Mann had been wont to worship. They have indeed so little denominational coherence and uniformity, that there are many, especially in New England and New York, to whom these remarks do not apply; and, throughout the body, there are men of genuine liberality, breadth of view, heartiness of feeling, and great force of character. But that misconception, on their part, of Mr. Mann's theological status, and his misconception of the ground and nature of their liberality, worked mischief with their relation and with Antioch College. It was too much to ask of them to change their whole denominational character, accepting an ideal and a method foreign to all their habits and thoughts. It was too much to ask of them to give a cordial support to a college which seemed to them to be robbing them of their young men altogether, instead of training them for the denominational work. And, under the circumstances, we claim that they manifested commendable forbearance and charitableness, and should not suffer in the estimation of those considering them from without. With no experience in such enterprises, with no organic unity, it was natural that they should miscalculate, and financially go to the wall, and that they should be greatly discouraged by such a misadventure. It was natural then, that the great sensible body, perceiving this, and that they were theologically on the wrong tack, should keep a grieved silence, the best men withdrawing from the scene, while the poorest, the most narrow and captious, should take up their complaints, assail Mr. Mann, and thus bring odium on themselves, and, most unjustly, on the body they so unwor
thily represented. But all this, and all talk of broken faith, pledges unredeemed, boasts of liberty made ridiculous by illiberality, — which, if true of the few, is false of the many,— should not blind the eye to that great misconception which arose naturally, and, without involving unworthy motives or dealing on the part of anybody, made success with the original undertaking an impossibility.
And we may be sure of this, that Mr. Mann's memory is nowhere more reverently cherished than amongst brethren of the Christian Denomination to-day. There was, despite all difference, a vital adoption of him into fellowship. He has become a part of their denominational history. Their young people, who saw his face at Antioch, who are counted by hundreds, and scattered through all the States, cherish it as their most precious reminiscence. And the best men in the body feel that, if Antioch, in origin and idea, was theirs, not alone her failure, but her glory and success, are also theirs. Theirs too must be her future glory and success. If they maintain other schools, and they should have one in every State,the teachers of them will be graduates of Antioch, their pupils will always look toward Antioch, and she will hold the place of the mother-institution over them all. Whatever anybody may purpose or wish, this will be found inevitable. And her influence will continually raise the grade of their pulpit ministrations and intellectual life, and bring them to a truer freedom than they have ever known.
It must greatly comfort all friends of Horace Mann, that Antioch is to have a future. His martyrdom is to bring forth other fruit besides its quickening of individual devotion and hope. Antioch was an educational Gettysburg. The sacrifices and struggles there made the spot sacred to liberty, ground to be hallowed by fit monument for ever, not to be surrendered to any unworthy tread. It was a painful scene, his struggle there with ignorance, with bigotry, with prejudice of creed and caste, with financial complications, and the personal hate of disappointed, petty ambition. It was a painful, though glorious sight, his six years' struggle with those foes, before whom he would not yield an inch, nor quit the
field, nor spare himself any personal exposure, any care of watching, or wearing labor of detail, maintaining his regal attitude till he fell. When he fell, it seemed as though his life were thrown away. But the great sacrifice is doubly redeemed from barrenness, if his hopes are now fulfilled in the institution, and it is made a centre of New-England influence there for ever.
It has a natural constituency, such as no other college can appeal to. Its classes always contained representatives from all sections of the country, and all ranks in society. There were young men and women from the South, bringing their prejudices with them. There were women from New England, going thither to secure a privilege, or a right, denied them here. There were husbands and wives entering school together, in one or two cases graduating side by side. There were the children of families which removed thither from distant States, that they might educate their sons and daughters together, and under the restraints of home. There were the sons of wealth, sent thither by anxious parents as to a city of refuge; and the aspiring children of poverty able to attend where subsistence was inexpensive, and where the college bills were less than forty dollars a year. And, better than all, there were representatives of that wronged race, to whose education the whole North must now turn its hand, the colored loyalists of the South. All this constituency remains, scattered throughout the country, and growing with its growth. The newly issued circular of the Trustee Board intimates no change in any of the great features of the school. And, if the present hopes of many come to fruit, Antioch has a future greater than the expectation of her warmest friends, under a president of whom any college in America would be proud. Rising to greet the new light of peace, keeping all that was good in her past, and having triumphed over what was evil, she enters on a future whose promise of beneficence we contemplate with joy and pride.
ART. VII.- SPENCER'S SOCIAL STATICS.
Social Statics; or, the Conditions essential to Human Happiness specified, and the first of them developed. By HERBERT SPENCER. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1865. "
MR. HERBERT SPENCER is a clear reasoner. He writes good English; and, for an Englishman, he is brave in following out an idea to its consequences, and accepting the legitimate results of his own principles. These mental and moral quali ties are enough to give the collection of his rather hasty reviews a good deal of deserved popularity. That popularity will be rather increased than lessened by the republication of "Social Statics."
It is, however, rather a pity, if you can help it, to rake out a book fifteen years old, and reprint it, when those fifteen years have all been engaged in experiments and discussions upon the subject involved. Excepting books of pure speculation or of high genius, every generation has to write its own books; and there are indeed many books of pure speculation and high genius which do not deserve to outlive the generation of men in which they were born. There is nothing in "Social Statics" to make it one of the exceptions. Counting a generation at thirty-three years then, fifteen thirty-thirds of this book, at the least, have to be floated up by what is left. The illustrations borrowed from English politics and English scandal of 1848 and 1849, are not very piquant now, and, being mostly forgotten in themselves, do not illustrate a great deal. And so the author has to explain, in a prefatory note, that the book must not be taken as a literal expression of his present views. All we have got, therefore, is an authoritative document as to what Mr. Spencer thought in December, 1850. He does not think the same things now. Thus "the bases of morality," as explained here, " are but adumbrations of what he holds to be the truth now." "They form but a moiety of the groundwork of a scientific
VOL. LXXIX.-5TH 8. VOL XVII. NO. II.