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When the question, “What is truth?” was asked Christ, he answered not a word. If he had, Pilate would not have understood it. But we aver that the question was answered by the very silence maintained upon it, and the din and roar of the maddening excitement caused by it. On one side were ranged the fierce multitude, the lawless mob, who, mad with the reprovings of their own conscience, were clamorous for the blood of Him whose life to them was a standing rebuke. There was the noisy, tumultuous error, to accomplish the destruction of their victim. On the other side were calmness, charity, innocence, conscious rectitude, and a firmness of purpose that partook of majesty and power. The contrast answered the question. He had taught the truth, and lived out its requirements. With his advent, the truth was introduced, although truth itself had been co-existent with, and constituted the essential principle of the great I AM.
Now the question comes home, “What is man's duty in relation to truth that he is required to perform by some independently of circumstances?” This is a perplexing question, urged as it is by every believer and advocate of the principle of every 'ist, 'ism, and 'ology, in politics, morals, and religion. Under conceived ideas of duty, the advocate of science has been imprisoned ; the witch been drowned ; man has quarrelled with his fellow-man ; father been set against son, and son against father; the Catholic has tortured the Protestant, the Protestant has tortured the Dissenter, who in his turn has whipped and hung the Quaker. The dreadful enginery of gibbet, rack, and stake, has crushed human mind, and sent thousands from the world whom it could the least afford to lose. Millions of victims have been immolated upon Superstition's bloody altar, and the battle-field has been strewed with the bodies of the dead—yea, whole nations been involved in bloody strife. These are awful ministerings; but to the true inquirer may form, perhaps, the key to the question. They may lead us, at least, in all cases to put on the mantle of charity; for in no other garb should the question be asked, or can it be solved. In politics, the Democrat tells me I must come out of the Whig ranks, and be a Democrat; the Whig tells me I must cast off my ultra notions, and become a Whig ; the Native American disparages both parties, and urges the duty upon me of becoming an opponent of foreign influence; and if I do not, charges me with the defection of liberal principles, the loss of patriotism, and threatens the annihilation of republican institutions, and the overthrow of the liberties of our country. The Abolitionist tells me to belong to none of these, but come out and form a separate organization, the weight of whose influence in the cause of freedom shall be felt to the remotest corners of the Union. The advocate of Peace declaims against war, and declares it my duty to remain passive under insult and non
resistant under injury; that by exercising the right of suffrage at town and state elections, I sanction all the acts of the government, and am directly responsible for the * evils which flow or may flow from the mal-administration of justice and law, and indirectly all the evils which follow from the organization of men into states, kingdoms, and empires. The Abolitionist says it is my duty to advocate antislavery measures and anti-slavery principles; that so long as I am merely opposed to, and do not oppose slaveholding, I am on the side of slavery against freedom, and consequently am indirectly supporting a system that steals
men and women, destroys human intellect, and damns souls. . The Temperance advocate contends that the duty of every man is, to discontinue the use, the sale, or the making, of intoxicating drinks; that by making it, fountains of human destruction are opened up, whose poisonous streams flow over the land, filling it with pestilence, famine, and death; that so long as man uses it, he is within the outer circle of a Maelstrom whirlpool, every day contracting the circles, and that, before he be aware of his danger, he may be drawn, amid shrieks of wo, to the centre, and engulfed for ever in its dreadful vortex; also that by selling-it, man furnishes the poorhouse, jail, and the * gallows, with victims, and is answerable for the agony * > is constantly ascending to the skies from the disgraced and
broken-hearted. The advocate of the Graham diet believes it to be the
duty of men to change their diet and their habits generally, and live in compliance with the stringent demands of the principles which he inculcates; that all stimulants are injurious to health and long life; and that the health and strength of both body and mind are depending upon man's living according to the physical and moral laws of his being. The Social Reformers advocate the principles of association: some the Fourier system, and others the ultracommunity system. Each of these believes and preaches that the final destiny of the human race, either for good or evil, is depending upon the success or the failure of the principles of the new social science; that the social, physical, and moral condition of the toiling millions will never be improved until the various relations which now exist between the employer and the employed, the capitalist and the laborer, are changed—the new social system introduced that shall harmonize the conflicting elements of the moral world, and reconcile the seemingly opposite principles of man's moral nature, and make them subservient to his highest interests—socially, physically, and morally. The Phrenologist also presents his science for men's regard. He desires to be heard in defence of the principles which he thinks are right and true. Human action, and various mental phenomena, he accounts for by temperament and crania development. He tells me, that as the various organs of the mind are seen developed upon the head, so is the character of the individual either good : or bad; and that upon such external manifestations must I base my confidence and business calculation. Yea, some go one step higher, and tell me that, in choosing my companion for life, the discovery of a head with the intellectual and moral organs well-developed, should be the primary, object; and that love and beauty, with all their delightful influences, should be but of secondary importance. The Mesmerizer, in passes wondrously strange, puts his patient to sleep; and then, in visions of clairvoyance, the sleeper descends into the tomb and traverses the regions of the dead; comes back again to earth, and discovers the secrets of the living ; extends thought to distant places, and appears familiar with the state and place of distant friend and relative. Occasionally one ascends into the future world, to discover spiritual arcana; and in his searchings, if his faith be orthodow, can find a place of eternal misery for the damned: but if a heterodow believer in universal salvation, in vain are his searchings Sectarians of every creed, from the lowest order of Mormons and Millerites, to high Protestant Episcopacy, urge the peculiar tenets of their respective churches; and each declare it necessary for me to believe, and my duty to practise them, in order to the saving of my soul; also, that such peculiar principles are those which were originally taught by the world's Redeemer. The ultra orthodox back up their declarations by organizing a local hell, with material fire, wherein dwells a horned and a tailed mon