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sense is to be diffused through all the laboring classes, and that labor is to be made not only consistent with civilization, but one of the leading instrumentalities by which it is to be extended, is generally understood. How can this, end ever be secured, while all who are favored with the means of improvement beyond the mass, drop their implements of labor and separate themselves, if not in sympathy, at least in form from the many? The impression has been made that it is a waste of power for an educated man to devote himself to agriculture or the mechanic arts. This impression must be removed, or the world will be filled with educated men, and they will unlearn their lesson in a school of starvation. Another impression, an off-shoot of self-complacent aristocracy, is that labor is inconsistent with true refinement and elevation of character, or as Cicero expresses it, that nothing noble can be found in a work-shop. This sentiment has marred our literature. It began with European writers who find their shelter under the branches of a mighty aristocracy, and has been copied by the servile imitators of our own land. Even our children must be taught in their primary books that vulgarity and labor are inseparable. The idea is at present seldom expressed in this country, but it is felt and works its consequences.To meet such a notion with argument is unncessary. It is not a thought but a feeling-blind and unreasonable, like every low prejudice, but disastrous in its results. The only cure for it is to elevate labor and give it the place which God assigned it as the great business of life. Let it be demonstrated that man's highest natural elevation consists not in knowledge alone, but in knowledge and labor united—that each of these elements improves the other and that their combined influence will give to human virtue a beauty, and to human happiness a zest never yet attained. Is not such a consummation to be desired? And who shall take the first step towards it, if not the educated men of the present day? We would not persuade them to throw aside their proper employment as educated men; but we would have them believe that their
powers could not be devoted to a nobler end. However true it may have been, it is not true now that the influence and usefulness of men are to be estimated by their prominence and notoriety. If such be the case the vast majority of men must be comparatively useless; for they must remain unknown. It is hard to estimate usefulness in such a bustling world. An influence which seems mighty for good to-day, passes and leaves no trace to-morrow; while the unobtrusive effort of some humble
one may widen in its influence like the ripple on the lake, until it reaches the outmost verge of existence. Suppose we know not whence the influence came: there are those who know, and we may one day hear the name of our benefactor celebrated in the songs of angels
. The work proposed is no public work. It calls for those who are willing to live and die unknown—whose reward shall be simply the consciousness of doing good. Yet unknown though they be, the good they do shall not be "buried with their bones." Great moral revolutions are not the work of a day or a year. They are protracted in proportion to their importance. "Yet it is forever true that “ he that goeth forth and weepeth bearing precious seed shall come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him."
But let us look more particularly at the advantages which would result from such a union of learning and labor.
1. The interests of labor would be protected, and this underlies all other human interests. The history of the world presents a constant struggle between power and labor. On the side of the oppressor have been arrayed the elements of nobility, wealth, learning and religion, so called. On the side of the oppressed there has been no helper. Though labor has triumphed at times, its triumph has been brief; for it has lacked the skill to regulate itself." Like a blind Polyphemus, it is helpless in its greatness. The most that it can do is to choose between its masters. If it rise in its might and crush one, its only alternative is to yield to another. The labor of the world has been successively controlled by princes and priests, by the rich and the learned, and it has suffered equally from each. If it has been called to the tented field, it has had no power to resist. Its mighty energies have been controlled by another will than its own.. The blood and dust of battle have been its only recompense, and “those who have remained at home have divided the spoil." When commanded to bear on its shoulders a corrupt and corrupting priesthood, it has bowed to the burden like the brute of the desert. It has prostrated its unwieldy length in the presence of the high-born and their learned menials, and licked the very dust of their feet. It has stretched out its huge limbs to receive fetters of gold which the rich have forged, and has been amused with the tinkling of its symbols of bondage. Give eyes to the blind giant and he will laugh at his foes. We ask for him no weapons but the implements of his craft. If he can but see, the united efforts of popes and princes, of the rich and the learned, shall not hinder his work.
In our own country, labor has been more independent than in any other, chicfly because it has had room to wander beyond the reach of its foes. But there is no safety in such freedom. Even now in our manufacturing towns the conflict has begun between capital and labor. There can be no question as to the result, unless knowledge be added to labor, so, that it shall learn its real strength and its true interests. And how shall knowledge and labor combine while every man who begins to understand the conflict leaves the field? If two-thirds of the educated men of the land felt that their interests were identified with the great interests of labor, oppression would be impossible. No doubt they feel an interest as they look upon it from a distance; but they need to come in contact with its heart, so that the same sympathies shall move them, and the same blood shall flow through their veins. They need to feel that they are laborers themselves, and that their children are to be laborers. Then with Argus eyes they will watch over the heritage they are about to leave them. Before such an influence the oppressor will quail, whether he depend for his control upon learning or wealth, or birth or color. He
“may as well go stand upon the beach
And bid the main flood bate its usual height,” as say to the tide of civilization, “thus far shalt thou come and no farther." He will no more dream of bringing labor thus directed to do his bidding than he would lay his hand upon leviathan and bind him for his maidens. The mighty Samson with a child to guide him would pluck from their foundation the pillars of his temple. Such a result is anticipated from the spread of knowledge by all who are looking for better things. But knowledge separated from labor, is as often found on the side of the oppressor as of the oppressed. Even when its intentions are honest its blunders are ruinous. Knowledge, unmodified by labor, is not civilization. It may do much for science, but it is weak for good. The two elements must be combined to benefit the race. Neither can be trusted without the other.
2. Hence, not labor alone and its interests would be elevated, but literature and science too. Our literature now is comparatively inane. It has sprung from humanity distorted. It makes its appeal to a part of our nature, not to our whole being in its symmetrical development. It does not meet a cordial response from the whole human soul. Many of the great interests of mankind it does not represent and can not, until hearts have felt those interests, and found words to express
them. Think you there are no richer mines of thought and feeling than those have opened who are the Apolloes of literature in these latter days? Is the human soul such a withered, barren thing that no richer fruit can be gathered from its branches? Believe it not. Let the hand of skillful labor but renew the soil, and even the leaves of that tree of life “shall be for the healing of the nations." There are hidden treasures which mere learning can not reach, and which can never be brought to light until the aid of labor-serious, hearty, earnest toil
, shall be secured. The thought and feeling and imagination which should result from such a union would be worthy of enfranchised humanity, and by the side of the weak and juvenile efforts of the present day would be like the firm commanding tone of manhood compared with the prattle of infancy. If such a statement needs proof, compare the literature of a country enjoying a free government with the literature which is found in connection with despotism. Compare English and Chinese literature. Yet the day of liberty has but just dawned on England. Her crushed millions are yet to rise; and when that mighty thought and feeling shall take to themselves words, it will be forgotten that such men as Dickens and Bulwer and Sue ever lived. Such a day remains for literature and those who are willing for the present to exchange the pen for the implement of labor may be permitted like the prophet of old, ere they die, to gaze
from some mountain top upon the promised land.
3. The interests of Religion would be secured in such an arrangement. “Paul may plant and Apollos water;" but unless the soil be rightly tempered, the cherished vine will produce the grapes of Sodom. The first fruits may be wholesome and beautiful; but the precious exotic gathers poison from the earth and air, and even under the eye of the skillful vine-dresser it yields corruption. Such was the result even while the apostles lived, and such it is to-day. . From time to time some servant of God has been baptized with the spirit of true reform. The effect is as certain and as mighty as if the angel of the everlasting gospel had descended in person through the opened heavens. He may speak the simple truth as it was spoken by the great Author of salyation. Multitudes listen and are saved. But as that truth works its way through society, mark the result. It passes up through the ranks of learning and aristocracy and finds its only expression in empty creeds and formularies, and in spiritual usurpation and proscription--all in the name of the new
revelation. It goes down through the ranks of labor, and degenerates into a wild fanaticism divorced alike from common sense and common honesty. The fanaticism soon exhausts itself, but leaves blighting and desolation along its trackhopeless stupidity and infidelity. The formality and spiritual despotism are more enduring, and constitute the chief barrier to the next wave of salvation which shall roll across the earth. Thus in a few years the precious seed has become corrupted. I would not say that no permanent good has been secured. It is a permanent good that one soul has embraced the truth. Permanent good always results from such conflicts of truth with error. Error loses confidence in itself, and yields more readily in the next struggle; yet it is sad to see the work so marred—to see a principle fresh from heaven so soon perverted, and even the man who lately spoke “as the oracle of God," led astray under the reflex influence of his own teaching, building with gross materials on his true foundation, himself saved as through the fire which tries his work.
Must such be the history of every religious reform? May not society be restored to an equilibrium, so that truth shall not produce such extravagancies? May there not be a symmetrical development of the human faculties which shall adapt the soul to the reception and retention of truth. True, there is no salvation for the world but in the gospel, yet the gospel is to operate by instrumentalities. It often prepares its own way. It lifts the drunkard from the ditch and then whispers in his ear the promise of life. It strikes the fetter from the trembling slave, then bids him aspire to the liberty of the sons of God. So now let it remove from society the greatest obstacle to its progress; then shall it triumph, and a triumph it will be, to break down the partition walls of society which time has not been able to demolish, and bring the children of earth to look up to one common Father and receive a common salvation, and have a common interest.
Of all aristocracies, an aristocracy in religion is the most absurd as well as the most disastrous. Men may contend for divine rights in other matters; but distinctions among sinners saved by grace, are preposterous. Those who have had most to do in making such distinctions should be the first to discard them. Let educated men throw aside the distinction which their learning may have given and ask to be esteemed simply
Let them ask for no authority which the gospel does not grant, and claim no prerogatives which do not belong to our common humanity. Men have sought to give religion dignity by connecting with it pompous titles, and to