Excerpt from The Monthly Religious Magazine, 1865, Vol. 33
But this unconscious submission to the force of circum stances is not enough for the highest ends of a nation's life, nor for the attainment of the best national character. That highest character can be acquired only by a thoughtful, intelligent, conscientious people, a people into whose char acter religious patriotism largely enters, a people capable of keeping steadily in view, century after century, a noble aim, which each generation takes up where the preceding left it, and disregarding temporary and selfish interests, and conscious of its own relations both to the past and to the fu ture, transmits it, somewhat more completely realized, to those who come after it. Such a people will not, however, allow itself to become a slave to the past. It will be wisely conser vative. It will acknowledge the duty of improving, as well as perpetuating, its institutions. It will heed the instructions of experience. By reason of its very faithfulness to the national idea, it will hasten to remove whatever is found to hinder its most perfect fulfilment. Each generation will aim to do, not precisely what their fathers did, but what they would have done in the light of better knowledge. Thus only can a nation achieve the purpose for which God raised it up, and help on human progress, by successfully develop ing the type of manhood which God has impressed upon it by the education afforded by the circumstances in which he has placed it.
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