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mauling every boss and brickler of its mightiness, at last like a champion of the Mid Ages full knightly fell lie on his shield. No moan for him be made. Against a banded world, against catastrophe inevitable, he fought the fight, and found the death, of the brave. As against the scorn of the world on much of what, later, he became, let clash the cymbals, shrill the fife, and roll the drum, abuve the grave where droops the Memory of what once he was.
Rev. A. G. Laurie.
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Hosea Ballou.
SCARCELY two contemporaneous New Englanders could be more unlike than these in environment. Yet when brought into association we find their kinship vital.
In outward fortune and personal relations they were extremely different.
Emerson's heritage was the best New England in his day. could give. Born in wonderful, enviable, self-conceited Boston, of blue-red blood ; a son of a clergyman, yet, strange to say, inheriting a worldly competency ; in early manhood a Unitarian, hence an idolator of literary culture ; a graduate of Harvard ; successor of Henry Ware in a Boston pulpit; a student of various literatures and of art in its masterpieces; an observant and favored traveller in countries of the old world ; possessing from first to. last, and especially in his later years, the grace of cultured leisure, there would seem to be nothing wanting in his external life-school for his round self-development.
Hosea Ballou was born in an obscure country town, Riclimond, N. H., the thirteenth child of a poverty-stricken Bap• tast pretcher. Fear of hunger for his family kept him in his boyliood at hard manual labor in the field. At nineteen he NEW SERIES.
had not attended school one day; he had then barely learned to read. The only book with which he became familiar in his boyhood was the Bible. Destitute of means of literary culture, the scope of his early mental vision was necessarily narrow.
But rooted even in this unlikeness are some points of resemblance.
Fifty years ago Unitarianism was Puritanism slightly modified. It broke from the so-called Orthodoxy of the previous age on the single doctrine of the Trinity. It ventured no denial of the old reputed orthodox doctrine of total depravity, both as applied to human nature and the Divine Character. It regarded the Bible, not as a human liistory of divine inspirations, but as every word a literally direct utterance of God. In commou with the older sects, which it sought to propitiate, it worshipped a God who, it was virtually imagined, had retired from active participation in the affairs of the universe. It expected of its preachers only a parrot-like repetition of dead phrases. It aimed to save the elect by conjuring up a inild fright over“ belated ghosts.” Its little company of the elect was all to be selected from graduates of Harvard Col. lege ; it was even an undecided question whether any one wlio had not pursued the full course of the Harvard Divinity School could be worth saving.
Against this tendency, this repression, this narrowness, Ralph Waldo Emerson at the age of thirty made a brave protest. He did not have, and he never had, the scholar's spirit of patient research. He made no thorough study of the letter of the Bible. He did not, like the inore conservative Channing, attempt to sound its spiritual deeps. Like Theodore Parker, he hastily assumed the Bible taught of God's chronic anger and a medieval inferno. From such a New Testament and such an Old Testament, he turned to the Older Testament written in human nature. He did what was manly for him to do under the circumstances - he left the pulpit. He discarded all external authority; he hushed all other voices that he might listen for what his own soul
had to say to him. He became an exponent of the unsystematic philosophy we have known as Transcendentalism. From his meditative seclusion at Concord lie sent forth, one after the other, his carefully elaborated essays, which, if mystical and rhapsodic to a degree, are at least candid endeavors after truth, and wondrous testimonies to the native divineness of the human soul. Hosea Ballou was born into a far drearier religious atmosphere than that which Emerson first breathed. Calvinism in that insulated town was not then, as it is now, the dead letter of a creed. It was actually believed. It turned human life into a disgust and made the prospect of death a nightmare. Mirth it frowned upon; a smile upon the Sabbath it sluddered at as a crime; it sought to drive laughter and joy out of the world, and turn the earth into a great charnel house, and make the march of the generations a vast funeral procession.
Hosea Ballou early began to feel that things in the universe were out of joint with this theology. His life became an inward far more than an outward struggle. Through the prescribed agony he became at nineteen a member of the Calvinist Baptist Church. Persuaded he himself was now one of the elect, his spiritual struggles, according to the religious spirit then prevalent, ought to have ended. What more could he desire than his own safety? But being, in a higher sense than even he then knew, one of God's elect, his struggles then intensified in severity. Why should some be elect, and others reprobate ? Queries arose within him in his lonely musings he could not answer.
It has been said of him that in this period he had no teachers. In reality he had three. One was nature, of which he was a loving learner, from which he received suggestions of a Benefice:t all-enfolding Providence. Another was his own soul, with its irrepressible cry for a larger hope. He had also the Bible. This latter, obscured by false teachings and wrong translations, wa to him for a season an insoluble puzzle. Not doubting its divine authority, his question was, What does the Bible really teach? The first gleam of light
he received through its pages was its clear inculcation of a world-wide charity. Should man, he asked, be better than God ?
In these investigations he had, it is true, no appreciable human help. Murray had been for some years preaching a world-wide hope in the sea-board cities, but his influence did not reach to that inland town. Hosea Ballou 1:ad, we should gratefully remember, some sympathy from his older brother David, also groping for the light, but with less thoroughness of investigation ; yet, humanly speaking, he was virtually alone in his good fight of faith.
But he had clear native insight, large spiritual sympathy, an almost peerless logical faculty, and unusual comprehen. siveness of mental grasp, and he wronight with the persevering faith before which mountainous difficulties are reinored. At last the doctrine that God is the Universal Father and his nature Love came into clear revealment to his inner eyes through the sacred page. He unhesitatingly accepted it as the central uth of the universe. He at once saw that with this stupendous truth all divine punishments and providences must be harmonized. Ravishing now was the rapture of his soul. He lived in a new world and under a new liearen ; the former shadowed world and lowering hcaren had passed away. He had found the truth to which all his authoritative teachers, Nature, the Inner Voice, and the Holy Scriptures, gave accordant testimony.
He became possessed of an overpowering desire to tell the good news to his fellow-men. He now became an carnest student, with the ministry in view. Soon he essayed to preach to his neighbors. But he could not, in the presence of critical eyes, command either his words or thoughts. In the light of his later years we marvel he should completely fail, once, twice, thrice, in his attempts to preach. Yet there was such stuff in him, such deep conviction, such native genius, that these failures were only stepping stones to a larger
He set hinself more heroically to sell culture. It has been contemptuously said he did not study the English
graminar till after he was a preacher. But it is a small soul will sneer at liis endeavor for self-emancipation from his early enforred illiteracy. With such earnest purpose and natural powers as lie possessed, it was inevitable he should improve in facility of utterance. While yet a young man crowds were attracted by his fres! and original method of treating religious subjects. In the school of hard experience he had learned some lessons a College could not have taught him. He was specifically a man of the people. He knew how to engage and convince the common heart. No American unless it Ve Abraham Lincoln, who came to eminence through a like experience in another field of endeavor — had more of the instinctive power which wins cominon sympathy and trust. When Hosea Ballou, in 1817, at forty six years of age, came to fulfill his final ministry of thirty-five years in Boston, hic was widely recognized as the most effectual and convincing popular preacher in the American pulpit.
The coincident points in the careers of Einerson and Ballou, as now indicated, are these : Both early felt the thraldom of a dead yet reputed authoritative letter in religion ; both broke away from bondage to their inherited narrow creeds ; both aspired to larger liberty in thought and hope. The points of contrast are: Emerson had alınost unlimited means of culture from the first — Ballou had no help from the schools ; Emerson could range the world as a traveller and look into many literatures for the enlarging of his knowledye — Ballou in early life sa's little of the world and liad only the Bible for his library. Emerson became a partial and fitful disciple of many leaders in thought; of Montaigne the French materialist, Spinoza the Pantheist, Plato the great Grecian, and was for many years a dreaming, placid, wandering soul; Ballou became a specialist in biblical interpretation ; his early faith in the Book grow brighter and more intense to the last; he had no thought of growth save in the profound deeps and heights of revelation. To him fel. lowship of Christ, t!ıc supreme witness of God's Love, stood for fellowship with all the good and truc in earth and heaven.