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The fruits of Puritanism

The developments of the present day ought to satisfy any honest admirer of Puritanism that that thing, as a religious system, is completely ‘"played out."’ If we judge the tree by its fruits, or the fountain by its waters — and that is the Scriptures standard — Puritanism has now shown its true character in such an unmistakable light that we do not know how its own disciples can longer make it an object of idolatry. That many of its early founders were sincere in their fanaticism, is probable enough; but fanaticism is not religion — in fact, is a more dangerous foe to it than open infidelity. The last is an enemy outside the fortress, the first, an enemy within, who delivers up to the enemy outside the key of a citadel which he could never by his own energies have entered and overcome. Fanaticism almost always ends in infidelity. That has been its invariable termination in Germany and New England. The honest zealots of primitive Puritanism would be astounded. Could they rise from the dead, to behold the shipwreck of faith and morals which has been worked by their own religious system. The present war is claimed by New England philosophers as the result of Puritan ideas. a grand step in the march of Puritan progress. No one can doubt the fact. and by such fruits let the world judge the line which has borne them — It is a war of aggression of interference with other people's business, of wholesale spoliation, robbing, and murder in fine, the Round head war of Oliver Gromwell over again, and no war ever had in it less of the principles of Christianity, or even common humanity.--If any Turk or heretic of modern times has conducted a warfare on principles more antagonistical to the Gospel than the present Puritan crusade, we do not know where to look for his record. Such exhibitions as these ought to satisfy all true Christian men of the danger of fanaticism, in whatever shape it may present itself. Moderation in all things is the true Christian rule. When men undertake like the Puritans, to be wiser and holier than Revelation itself, they generally end by proving themselves both imbeciles and demoralized

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