his case and that of others was simply that he practised what he believed.
He believed God. He actually believed him,--just
as much as if he saw demonstrated before his eyes the truth of the principle.
For it is a very easy thing to say
; the difficulty is to do
. If you will tell a man the absolute truth, that if he will plunge into the ocean, and only keep his eyes fixed on heaven, he will never sink,--you can demonstrate it to him, you can prove it to him by weight and measure,--each man of a thousand will believe you, as they say; and then they will plunge into the water, and nine hundred and ninety-nine will throw up their arms to clasp some straw or neighbor, and sink; the thousandth will keep his hands by his body, believing God, and float,--and he is the Puritan
Every other man wants to get hold of something to stay himself; not on faith in God's eternal principle of natural or religious law, but on his neighbor; he wants to lean on somebody; he wants to catch hold of something.
The Puritan puts his hands to his side, and his eyes upon heaven, and floats down the centuries, -faith personified.
These two elements of Puritanism are, it seems to me, those which made New England
what she is. You see them everywhere developing into institutions.
For instance, if there is anything that makes us, and that made Scotland
, it is common schools.
We got them from Geneva
Luther said, “A wicked tyrant is better than a wicked war.”
It was the essence of aristocracy.
“Better submit to any evil from above than trust the masses.”
Calvin no sooner set his foot in Geneva
than he organized the people into a constituent element of public affairs.
He planted education at the root of the Republic
The Puritans borrowed it in Holland
, and brought it to New England
, and it is the sheet-anchor that has held us amid the storms and the temptations of