enough in the Providence
of God, to catch, earlier than the present generation, the dawn of the day that he was to inaugurate.
This is my idea of Puritan principles.
Nothing new in them.
How are we to vindicate them?
Eminent historians and patriots have told us that the pens of the Puritans are their best witnesses.
It does not seem to me so. We are their witnesses.
If they lived to any purpose, they produced a generation better than themselves.
The true man always makes himself to be outdone by his child.
The vindication of Puritanism is a New England
bound to be better than Puritanism; bound to look back and see its faults, and meet the exigencies of the present day, not with stupid imitation, but with that essential disinterestedness with which they met the exigencies of their time.
Take an illustration.
When our fathers stood in London
, under the corporation charter of Charles, the question was, “Have we a right to remove to Massachusetts
The lawyers said, “No.”
The fathers said, “Yes; we will remove to Massachusetts
, and let law find the reason fifty years hence.”
They knew they had the substantial right.
Their motto was not “Law and order;” it was “God and justice,” -a much better motto.
Unless you take law and order in the highest meaning of the words, it is a base motto,--if it means only recognizing the majority.
Crime comes to history gilded and crowned, and says, “I am not crime, I am success.”
And history, written by a soul girded with parchments and stunned with half-a-dozen languages, says, “Yes, thou art success
; we accept thee.”
But the faithful soul below cries out, “Thou art crime!
Avaunt” There is so much in words.
This is the lesson of Puritanism,--how shall we meet it to-day?
Every age stereotypes its ideas into forms.