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confidence in, free will, free thought, free imagination, and free ideas; and, then, as a sequence of these, to that system of free commerce, or the selfish pursuit, appropriation, and enjoyment, of the world, around the standard of which, the people of all the nations of the world are invoked to meet; being told, and being willing to believe, that, in this sphere of free action, there will be found that by which they are to be raised from a degraded to an elevated condition; that here is contained and offered to them the elements of a new, a forthcoming, and a superior civilisation, a light for the regeneration of men and of nations.
And yet, after all the presumption and assumption with which the principle of free social action has been propounded to the world, has been advocated and supported, here we find that one of its most gifted advocates feels himself so oppressed and appalled, by the prospect which the working of this free principle and system opens to his view, that he cannot look forward upon and contemplate, without doubt and apprehension, that civilisation which must be the natural issue of this free course. He declares the character of the civilisation so issuing to be selfish, mercenary, and sensual; that it stands in direct hostility to the great truth and doctrine of Christianity; and this, too, springing from the people of those nations who profess to be receivers as well as ardent supporters of Christianity. The imaginative thinker and great writer, having delineated the dark, deformed, and deforming characteristics of our growing civilisation, is under the necessity of concluding with the following words, "Such a civilisation cannot, must not, endure for ever; how it is to be supplanted, I know not."
In the admission of weakness here made, there is contained that which I have had to allege against the whole school of writers on Social and Political Science, the difference only
being, that Dr. Channing has openly admitted that which the other schoolmen, one and all, have covertly exhibited; namely, an inability either to supplant that which is false and bad, or to implant that which is true, salutary, and good. And yet it is this very school of false thinkers, and weak and incompetent reasoners, who have presumed to extrude religion from the province of Social and Political Science, and to substitute for it their own falsely-founded principles and system.
The conflicting character of the doctrines of Revealed Religion and the doctrines of the Political Economists. — A strong instance of this confliction afforded by the opposition to Usury Laws. The Political Economists and the Statesmen arguing under the principle of Free Commercial Action, have to denounce all laws against Usury.— Reference to the weak and false position in which Adam Smith, Bentham, and our modern Statesmen, have placed themselves in connection with the subject of Usury. -In default of knowledge, Statesmen have yielded to the doctrines of the Economists. Evidence in favour of laws against Usury, supplied by practical witnesses, examined before the Committee of the House of Commons on the Renewal of the Bank Charter Act. Opportunities afforded to Statesmen for impugning and destroying the false doctrines of the Economists not taken advantage of. The future progress of nations not to be accomplished by the interference of Governments, but by the good social principles and actions of the general body of the people.
A FURTHER careful examination of some of those particular subjects of Social and Political Economy, which, being embraced and interpreted in Revealed Religion, the explication, interpretation, and law, there contained and delivered, have been viewed as false and injurious by our writers on Political Economy, by our statesmen, and by the nation in general, and, hence, have been renounced and rejected, will greatly assist in convincing men who are seeking for courses of truth and honour, that the allegation of a general or national falling away from religion, or the allegation of the prevalence of general infidelity, cannot be denied.
I propose, therefore, to throw additional light upon this important point by reasoning more largely on the subjects of Usury and Usury Laws. In that particular social and economic system which was delivered to mankind under the first
Covenant of Grace, or the first especial Testament of Truth, -amongst the laws and regulations that were given for the purpose of guiding men into courses of just social action, and of preventing or checking bad and injurious courses of social action those bad courses by which many families of men would be deprived of all opportunity and power of procuring a due maintenance and enjoyment, a warning was raised, and a law delivered, against that use of money and property which is prompted by a desire to make the largest increase of it that is possible; this increase and enlargement issuing from the individual dealings of man with man.
On undertaking to treat of the science of Political Economy, it becomes inevitable that the subject of Usury, constituting, as it does, a large and most important department of this science, must be decided in accordance with the great principle, or general truth, that is received as constituting the grounds of the science. So, when the principle of free action, free dealing in general, became the received principle of social movement and progress it issued, as a necessary sequence, that all laws operating as impediments on the free use of money, would have to be denounced, as derived from an ignorant treatment of Social and Political Economy, as having no solid practical foundation; instead of being useful and beneficial, as being useless and injurious. Thus, there arose a trial of faith. It was put before all men, whether they would put faith in that declared source of social action, social conduct, or truth, from which revealed religion is derived; or whether they would put faith in that declared source of social action, and conduct, or truth, from which our system of Political Economy is derived; and so, by the question thus raised, the divine and the human intelligence were brought into active practical competition, the human judgment assuming to itself the privilege of giving a decision.
The result of this competition, as presented in the choice and election made, is now before the world. It has been decided, under the authority of our own nation, that the revealed principle is false, and that the free principle, as announced by our writers on Political Economy, and sanctioned by our statesmen, is true. By this judgment, the nation has declared that he who conceived, delivered, and enjoined, the law against usury, as it is conveyed to us in the Mosaic economy, was ignorant of social principle, was not conversant with science or general truth, and that our writers on Political Economy, and our statesmen, by whom laws against usury have been denounced, are the only men to be looked up to as having acquired scientific knowledge, within the province of human social conduct and life, and as being fit to be accepted as guides.
We have, then, to review the grounds on which our writers on Political Economy, and our statesmen, have built their case; the grounds on which they have assumed themselves to be so far superior in knowledge to him by whom the divine law was enunciated, as to declare that this law is founded on false views of Social and Political Economy; for it has to be remembered, that the law affecting usury is not a law possessing a fleeting character, or a law subject to variation and change in accordance with the varying and changing circumstances of nations. It is built upon an eternal principle of action: a principle that must have been right or wrong at the beginning of its application; right or wrong at every stage of its application; and which must be right or wrong throughout any given period of time. It must have been, and it must be, either beneficial or injurious, throughout the whole course of its influence and action.
A very large part of my labour in the field of Economic science has been directed to an examination of that system of