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Political Preaching

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Frona the Boston Couricr. Our genhil and amiable cotemporary, the Saturday Evening Oazette, says : " The faot is, frotn soine cause oí" other, there seems to be falling a off among our people at cLurcli service; as compariag the uumberof our population with the seatinga in our . churehes, the preponderance of the former over the latter is very marked. Soinu oí the clergy are trying to solvc the question, but have not yet fouud the remedy." It is not reniaikablö that the elergy are not competent to solve this questiou ; a man is not able to seo anythiug which is on the top of his own head. The fact is tree bcyond all controversy, and a melanoholy fact it is, too. Not only in this city, but fehrougliout thia State, aud wc fear, throughout most of the New England - the interest in religión, and in the observauee of religión, is dccliuing. - The attendance upon churdi services is conxpanttively meagre Practical if not theo retical infidelity is spreading like dry rot through the land. The number of meo who aro living virtually without God is on the increase. The heathen virtues of pride, self-esteem, se'.f-reliauee, active courage are rising in eítimation, and the Christian virtues, uioekuess, gentleness, patieuce, long sufferiug are decliuing - Among young persona, especially, of bolh sexes, there is a nuirked want of vital and practical Christianity acd a provailing lack of interest in its miüi.ïtrations and obaorvances. The general charaotcristics of youug persona are impatieooa of discipline, resístanos to authority,a fierce assertiou cf assumed rights. To exact obüdience is a wtfctkuegs. Restraiut of all kiuds is resented as a wrong; au unchocked liberty- the power to do any thing and everything that the natural and uuregeiierate hoart prompts without let or hindrance - is valued as the highest good of man. And what is the cause of this unhappy state of things ? The clergy of New Eogland have been offering utraage firc before the Lord,'' and the inevitable retribution h:is followed. And thia "strange fire" is t he vulgar üre of worldly passions - which wastes and consumes the hoart on which it feeds. In sueh a heart the Uhristian graco eau no more take root than rosos aud liles wül fiouriih in the slag aud rcl'uso of a furnace. Pulilics ara usurpinj the place qJ religión to a deplorable extent in thé pulptt of Nte England. Sermous have degenerated into stump speeches. The clergy are taking i more and uiore active part in politieul niovements. You wül bard ly find a political conveution iu which one or nioro of the most active and noisy members are not clergymen. Ii you enter a New Eugland churgh any Sun day in the year the ehauoes are at lea.-t even that you will hear a political har angue, which part of the audience will be moved to applaud and part to hbs What wo have been saying has partioulaar referenee to the subject of slaven', ou which this country, on which this country has been growing stark wad for the past few years. The elergymen of New Ëngland are all, or uearly all, antislavery 'm sentiment aud feeding, - We dou't object to this; it needs no ghost froui the grave to teil us that slavery is a great social and economical evil, aud that evcry patriot and every Christiau sliould be glad to see it removed.. - But most of the New England clergymen are also republicaus, and here tho trouble bogins. liepublicauisnj iuvolveü two very distluot elementa; first, thüt slavery is an evil, wheivin we all agreed; and seaond, that the repubnoau method of dealing with slavery is the true oue, wherein we are not agreed by any means. Hut the republican clergyman cannot or will not sce the distinction. In this view, the man who is not a republican is not opposed to slavery-is pro slavery, in short Aud this uarrowuciás aud mtolerauce comes from the fact that bc inistakes emotion for insight - uioral instincts for intellectual perceptious; - a ujiataije under which the universal New üngland mind is now sufl'ering. A religious cougregatioD is not and ought not to be formed. on the grouud of uuity in political faith. The same religious truths - the same warnings, éxpostulations, encouragements, GOijsolations - are to be addressed to whigs, deuiocrats, republicans or native Amcricans. Beforo the throno of God these distiucUoas n-U away like those of station, wealth or dress. It is one of the must beautiful elementa in the Christian faith, that it briugs together men who on secular topics dlffer most widely. In the cougn-gatiou of the over zealous republieau cleriryman there wül be, some persons who ure not republicans. They are just_ as' conscientiuus in their anti republicanism as be in bis republicanism. But theij ara tovttantty exposed to the chances of hearing their convictions denounced, their mottivi tin pugned, and their hlood slirred by insulting insinuations. TJiey are obliged to sil still and hear a clerical dogmatist, from his vai.lmje y round of the pulpit, allack them with flonsy argumenta, whose fallacy they have long since detected, and could easily show, if it wero a proper place for discussion. They are sent homo in a frame of mind anything but sabbatical, if not muttering half supprossed curses between their teeth. The natural result i fbttom; th-;i rfuse to go to church where they are vimted by deduncialion and exaspsraUd by tfifMA The general sentiment of the public wculd (]i?couutenanoe a olergyman, wLo, it'Slead of sermons, sbould give essays on banking or agricultura or political economy, on dittotics, on tbe use and abuse of medicines; - wliy eliould sacli peculiar latitud bo given to partisaa politics ? Laymen do not wish on Sunday to liavc tbcir thoughts disturbed and tlieir tempers tried by tho licating disoussions and jarring conflicta of tho past hs day. íbey go into the houso of God to escape tbem. " Sle?p, s]pf to duy tormentiiig cares, Of curtli aad luily horn," is the heart's natura! lanimaffe. Ou day a mm geekl to tlie soul of the dust and soil üf tlie earth, and to gurnish it with pure thought, traouuil aspirations, ctlieriul hopcs, - fiower.s tiüithavo suL'kcd tbc dows of heaven, - and how can he do tbat il iiis spiritual guide insists on ïnixing it with the rufcbtsh . of politics Y ïhe effect upoti the clergy themselvos of tli h liubit. of preaehina politics ia most injurious. It acts upon tho luiud in much tlie game way as diam-drinkiiisr acts upon tho büdy. It bbgktS a ckavinö for I, VDLOAB LA'.lTIi.MENT, UTÏKliLY IKOORSIKEMT WiTH A I'KorERINTEIIEST IN T1IB APl'UOiaATE MEPITATIO.NS 01 THE PASTORAL 0RIC1. The moro engaged the clergyïiuui becQmea ia political issues, and the 18 of tfaia or that politieal party, the more eoldly and laoguidly wilt be turn to religiona themes aud spiritual oonteinplatious. Üiice upon a time, a worldlv man, who was wliolly absoibed in the acoumulation of property, wm geutly remonstratud with by bis clergyman, and reminded of tho necessity of' preparing for auothur world, " Dou't talk to me of another world," was the reply ; " ono world at a time is as much as I can atteud to." There is afraukness, a freedoux oi hypocrisy, iu thia answer whieh we like. It includes an obvious truth. No man, be he clergyman or layman, can be vvholly absorbed to tho mterests and issues of this world, aud leave due spaoe iu bis heart for thoae of unother.


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Michigan Argus