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of their origin; and, from a grovelling pride, suppressed the heroic songs of their old bards. The base affectation of an intellect and refinement they did not possess, forced them to ape every thing Grecian; they eagerly appropriated her poetry, philosophy, and sculpture; and, as they were incapable, by nature, of producing any thing equal to Greece, in these departments, they crowded into Rome, in confused mass, philosophers, poets, and sculptors; and, forgetting ancient dignity and national pride, they lost their individuality; and, as mere awkward imitators, became the puppets of a foreign slave.
The consequence of all this was what might have been expected: a pestilential flood of moral death poured from the theatres of Attica ; and like a burning lava food, scathed, and blasted, and burned up every vestige of the soul's greenness. The beautiful and graceful inspirations of the old Greeks, could not be translated into the stiff and harsh Latin of the age without losing much of their original sublimity; indeed, the more pure and elevated writers of Greece would not have been understood at Rome, even had it been possible to translate them; for the themes, thoughts, and illustrations were such as the majority of the Romans knew nothing of: every thing in these splendid works was completely new and altogether uninteresting to them; but, as impurity has a language every where, the low comedy, in which ribaldry, licentiousness, and malicious satire were prominent, was eagerly called for, and had the most desolating effect upon the morals of the people. A vain and deceitful-an inflated and atheistical philosophy, materially aided this terrible corruption, and made Rome a great charnel-house of moral putridity and rottenness.
So far, at length, had Rome descended from her original elevation, so completely did she deliver herself into the power of sophists, buffoons, and mountebanks, that we are told the affairs of state were interrupted, and its members embroiled, by the conflicts of different parties who furiously contended for the pre-eminence of their favourite actors and philosophers. So shamelessly indecent had the theatres, in which the pantomime and mimic were enacted, become, that a decree of the Senate was found necessary to prohibit the young Patricians from attending these riotous assemblies, and the philosophers were twice banished from the metropolis.
But the passion for excitement, when once engendered, is
strong as death, and rarely, if ever, does it become extinct. Rome had imbibed deeply of the drunken draught, and was she going to be curbed by the laws of a Senate which was as drunken as herself? No; the evil became worse, and the gladiatorial amphitheatre capped the climax by adding a brutal ferocity to the lowest grade of disgusting licentious
All Rome attended these bloody shows; even tender and delicate females were introduced to them, and became more wildly excited, and seemed more interested than roughhearted warriors, whose profession made them love the sight of blood. Trained gladiators fought with wild beasts. Sylla, during his prætorship, exhibited a combat in which one hundred men fought with one hundred lions. Julius Cesar, during his ædileship, presented a show in which six hundred gladiators fought at once; and in some of the shows of Pompey five hundred lions were slaughtered at a time. If we add to this mournful picture, the effeminacy, luxury, and wild extravagance of every class that had the power, and then compare
Rome before and after the conquest of Greece, we can estimate how much the literature, science, arts, and manners of the most polished nations of antiquity, did for the “ Mistress of the World.”
All history exemplifies the great truths so rarely insisted upon— that the government of a country may deteriorate, and the mass of the people remain comparatively elevatedthat even public morals may be tainted, there
may remain a large amount of purity and truth in the private circle; but it also speaks in a voice that might cause the deaf to attend, as the startling thunder arouses them, that when the popular literature of a reading people descends from its high station, and becomes a pander to base lusts and vile affections, demoralization, as far as the influence, immediately and remotely extends, must follow, as the effect must follow the cause.
CONVERSION.-A REAL CHANGE. MR. and Mrs. S. of the city of Vs, were a very polite and accomplished pair. They were amongst the elite of the city, and fashionable to a scruple. Their children were ever and anon thrumming it away on the piano, and taking lessons at the dancing school. They were genteelly hypocri. tical; could smile without good humour ; laugh without being pleased; sigh without being sad ; and could be polite without affection or esteem. The parents held a very honorable pew in a fifty thousand dollar church, and sabbatically listened to a superb literary performance, in which the parson, the choir, and the clerk, handsomly performed their respective parts. The sermon was always delightfully short, rhetorically composed, and elegantly read. The prayerwas pompously august, and admirably adapted to the chaste ears of a literary and philosophic audience. The choir were accomplished theatricals; the organ cost a thousand dollars, and consequently, the music was superbly sacred. The amateurs were in ecstacies during the grave sweet melodies of their devotions.
But Mr. and Mrs. S. happened to hear a proclaimer of the old fashioned gospel of Christ, who, in his itinerations, visited a watering-place for health, to which they had resorted for pleasure. The plain, pathetic, and intelligent orator, knew well how to do his Master's work. He stated the gospel facts, developed their import, urged the precepts, and stored away the proinises in the minds of his hearers. Those who came for amusement waited to pray—and amongst those were found the visitors from V
Their hearts were pierced; their consciences awoke. They became deeply interested, and were constant attendants on the ministry of brother P. In a few evenings they made the good confession; renounced the world, the flesh, and the devil; put un Christ, and united themselves to the church of Antioch in their own city
They were found the next Lord's day in the plain garb of the new brotherhood. Their fineries were put off when they put on Christ. Their children were immediately taken from the dancing school. They continued to perfect the science of music, but it was, indeed, sacred music. The Bible became the burden of the morn and of even, and the standing topic of the day. Hymn singing, and social rejoicings, occupied the hours of frivolous gossiping; and, indeed, ihe house of our new convert, from being the resort of fashion and noisy merriment, becanie a Bethel, a house where prayer was wont to be made, and hymns to be sung.
Surely, said all who knew the family, there is a power in religion yet, and conversion is in truth, a change of heart and a change of life.
FIFTH REPLY TO JETHRO. First. It devolves upon me now briefly to review the last article of Jethro. He has declared that there are three essential elements in the government of a kingdom : the king, the laws, and the prime ministers, or chief executive officers. Seriously let me appeal to Jethro and the reader. Who ever heard of the coronation of a king, the promulgation of laws, or the appointment of executive officers, unless that prime indispensable element previously existed, namely, a society ? In thinking over the subject we are led irresistibly to that auspicious period when one hundred and twenty disciples came together in a devout position, waiting for the realization of the grand promise. The divine energy came down
upon them in fulness when the Lord was crowned and glorified, that his people might participate in his glory, and share in his royal triumph. On that memorable day the apostles were qualified to assume their distinctive position, as the governors and teachers of a society already in existence.
I have no hesitation in affirming, that before there could be any solemn appointment of a king, or promulgation of distinctive laws, or recognition of prime official dignitaries, it behooved that, first, there be a society awakened and gathered from the world, as the prime element which demanded all the conservative and aggressive machinery which came into operation. Whatever might have been deliberated and predetermined in the divine counsel bears not on the argument. Hence the course of heaven was in harmony with the conviction and procedure of the earth, and revelation sanctions the voice of human reason.
Second. Jethro states that I do not seem to understand the succession for which he pleads; and yet in the context he would make me guilty of a crime in misrepresentation. He ought to be aware that, even if I were convicted of misrepresentation, yet guilt and crime are things which always require deliberate design, and are not compatible with misapprehension. But to let Jethro into a secret, I beg leave to state that I have neither misunderstood nor misrepresented him. I have not stated that Jethro teaches the theory of all power passing into the hands of the travelling evangelists, but have avowed my own conviction that such would be the ultimate result. Taking a comprehensive survey of the principle and practice for which he pleads, in connexion with some knowledge of human nature, and the history of the church and the world, I have formed and uttered the conclusion. It requires no prophetic power, but only a small portion of natural sagacity, to discern the priestly issue of the contemplated measure. Nor have I misrepresented Jethro concerning the materials which might constitute a chain of succession; I have only given my own convictions respecting the chain which has made most noise in the world, and is always rattling in our ears. My own views of apostolical succession were fully given in a review of Gladstone's celebrated book; and it is pleasant to me to find Jethro uttering the same convictions. But as in connexion with this subject Jethro asks a question with much earnestness, and requires an answer very explicit, he shall have one as unequivocal as the nature of the case admits. Well, friend Jethro, you have first given us an exquisite moral painting, in which men are portrayed remarkable for mind, holiness, and prudence; and after gazing on the picture with strong emotion, you then proposed your question : " When did such men ever shed blood, or carry faggots, or resort to any violence ?” So that now if I bring before you the great men of theology and morals, from every age, you will be ready to exclaim, These are not the pure men whom I described ! their conduct proves the contrary. But the mist and fog may be dissipated from this subject, by simply making an affirmation capable of moral and historical proof, namely, That irresponsible, or even inordinate power, has corrupted and hardened some of the wisest and best men of every age, and would do the same now, seeing that human nature remains the same in its radical eleinents. If tben Jethro's question may be answered by a list of men who became arrogant and sanguinary by the congregations delivering their rights into their hands, I am ready to furnish him with a long and impressive catalogue ; but at present must pause for an explanation. I suppose by this time my crime is reduced to very narrow dimensions. It was fortunate that Jethro did not attempt to measure its magnitude, but left that work to the readers. In his hands it might have expanded until it rivalled a strange thing previously described, “ The unlimited universality of whose dimensionless proportions never entered the conceptacle," Two things