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F. D. (Frederic Dan) Huntington.

Human society; its providential structure, relations, and offices. Eight lectures delivered at the Brooklyn Institute, Brooklyn, N. Y online

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Human society


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GRAHAM LECTURES.



u m a n ^ c i e t g :

ITS PROVIDENTIAL STRUCTURE, RELATIONS,
AND OFFICES.



EIGHT LECTURES



DELIVERED AT THE BROOKLYN INSTITUTE,
BROOKLYN, N. Y.



BY



F. D. HUNTINGTON, D.D



NEW YORK:
ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS,

530 BROADWAY.

1860.



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by
PETER G . T A Y L ?> ,

President of the Brooklyn Institute,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the
Southern District of New York.



STEIiBOTYI'EDBy PRINTBDIiY

T H O M A S I? . S M I T II & S O N , E . O . J K N K I N 8 ,

82 & 84 Beeknian-street, N. Y. 28 Frankfoit-street, N. Y,



GRAHAM LECTUllES:



ON THE



POWER, WISDOM AND GOODNESS

OF GOD,

AS MANIFESTED IN HIS WORKS.
VOLUME II.

PUBLISHED BY

THE BROOKLYN INSTITUTE



INTRODUCTORY NOTE.



For the sake of convenience and clearness in the
arrangement, what was prej^ared and delivered as
six Lectures, is here, with a few additions, distrib-
uted into eight.

F. D. H.

Cambridge, May ], 1859.



PREFACE.



The Directors of the • Brooklyn Institute have
much pleasure in presenting to the Public, the
Graham Lectures, thus far published, on the Power,
Wisdom, and Goodness of God, as Manifested in
His Works.

This course, by Professor Huntington, was very
fully attended ; so much so, as to make it very
desii'able that we should have a larger room than
the present one for the future lectures of the In-
stitute.

These Lectures were intended by Mr. Graham to
treat of the works of God, separate and apart from
polemic theology, or the peculiar doctrines of the
sects into which the religious world is divided.

The whole of God's works may furnish the sub-
jects of these discourses, whether in their greatest
or most minute forms ; their simple or their com-
plex organizations ; their adaptations, their laws, their
skill, their wisdom, their harmonies, their divine char-
acter. The lecturer, therefore, stands, as it were, in



VI



PREFACE .



the presence of the great Architect, to exj^ound
that portion of the creation which he has chosen
for his theme, and thus to exhibit the " Power,
Wisdom, and Goodness" of the Creator, as teach-
ing the sublime sentiments of justice and benev-
olence to all His creatures, and of love and rev-
erence for the Universal Father.

The Directors feel gratified with the success of
these Lectures, and shaU continue, from time to
time, as funds arise from the noble endowment of
Mr. Graham, to endeavor to procure the requisite
talent and accomplishment for future courses of lec-
tures ; such as shall gradually form a series of
publications of sterling character, eminently useful,
elevating to the public taste and morals, and hon-
orable to our Institute.

Peter G. Taylor, President;
Oliver Hull, Vice President;
John W. Pray, Secretary ;
Thomas Rowe, Treasurer.

Thomas Woodward, William Everdell, Jr., "
Austin Melvin, Duncan Littlejoiin,

Elias Lewis, Jr., George Kissam, \ Directors.

Alfred M. Wood, Charles H. Baxter,
Jesse C. Smith,



Brooklyn, October 1. 1859.



CONTENTS.



PAQES

INTRODUCTORY NOTE, 7

HUMAN SOCIETY,

A DIVINE APPOINTMENT, 1-38

A LIVING INSTRUMENT OF DIVINE THOUGHT, . . 39-74

A DISCIPLINE OF INDIVIDUAL CHARACTER, . . . 75-1 OG

A SCHOOL OF MUTUAL HELP, 107-142

IN RELATION TO SOCIAL THEORIES, 143-190

IN RELATION TO THE INTELLECT, 191-228

SUBJECT TO A LAW OF ADVANCEMENT, . . . . 229-268
THE SPHERE OF THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST ON

EARTH, 269-307



GRAHAM LECTUEE8.



LECTURE I.

SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT.

Here, on the scene of his industrious and be-
neficent life, among his fellow-citizens who knew his
virtues so well, who reap a daily advantage from
his liberal foresight, and who honor his memory
faithfully, it is not for me, a stranger, to eulogize
the man who laid the foundation of these Lec-
tures. When he provided, in his last testament, that
their ever-recurring subject should be the Wisdom,
the Power, the Goodness of our God, he neither
over valued the inexhaustible richness of the theme,
nor mistook the first need of his age. Of all his
enterprise, his integrity, his success, that thought
for his Creator's honor was the crown. In that
provision, according to the terms of it, his laborious
career rose into the region of worship.

In the particular line of thought through which I



2 SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT.

am to attempt to aid in carrying out the noble
purpose of the Founder, it is among my satisfac-
tions that my choice Mis into an orderly connection
with what was so ably and brilliantly presented by
my only predecessor in the series.*

The Lecturer who went before me exhibited the
illustrations of those Divine Attributes as they lie
in the " Constitution of the Human Soul." From
that, what so natural as to proceed outward into
the attitude and offices of human beings toward
each other; to contemplate the wonderful texture,
the manifold elements, the living powers of the
Social Body ; and to trace the marks of a Heavenly
Parentage and Providence in the universal associ-
ation of man with man? Uniting the Founder's
general testamentary precept with my own special
selection, and giving my whole subject an express
statement, it is The Wisdom, Power, and Goodness
OF God as Manifested in the Structure, the Of-
fices, AND THE Relations of Human Society.

It will not be supposed that any formal attempt

* Rev. R. S. Storrs, Jr., D.D., of Brooklyn. Tlic place he occupies in
that community will justify the personal reference, if I express the joy I
feel in adding to many earlier bonds of attachment between him and me,
this coincidence of studies in the common prosecution of one of the
most munificent public designs that any single American benefactor
has initiated. The Lectures of Dr. Storrs were publislied by the "In-
stitute" in 1857.



SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT. 6

is to be made to demonstrate to a sceptical under-
standing the fact that there is a God. Not only
that primary religious truth, which even Revelation
assumes in its first sentence, is supposed to be
granted, but many related and dependent truths
besides. The real infirmity of Christian faith is not
that the being and attributes of the Deity are denied,
but that they lie off from the living apprehension
of the spiritual nature. Much as we distrust the
religious competency of the intellect, the brain does
not play, by any means, the worst part in atheism :
its most frequent error in that respect is, that it
fancies itself an atheist w^hen it is not, but is only
playing atheist, at the instigation of pride, or appe-
tite, or disappointed ambition, or some other dema-
gogue in the rabble of the passions. The grand
necessity of religion at present, I conceive, is not to
find out whether God is, but where he is : that is,
to apprehend his immediate activity and Lordship in
the world of our life, so joined with it as he could
only be through the incarnation. I take one of the
departments of that life, lying midway between the
individual consciousness or personality and outward
nature : — Humanity in its social combinations ; and
with the twofold object of gaining a rational inter-
pretation of society itself, by investigating it from
its only centre, or point of original power, and of



4, SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT.

showing how it lies perpetually within the conscious
presence, and subject to the instant control, of the
Infinite Spirit. So far as my inquiries have ex-
tended, there is not, in any literature, anything like
a systematic or philosophical attempt to trace the
laws, or to unfold the significance of Human Soci-
ety, under this, or indeed any other, very compre-
hensive principle of analysis and combination. I do
not aspire to supply that deficiency. Neither the
original purpose of Mr. Graham, nor your own view
of what would be most useful, as it seems to me,
would lead us here to that more speculative method
of treatment, which would be natural if a pure phi-
losophy of the subject were the object contemjilated.
But you have come together to enter on a study in
that direction with me to-night. I cannot help tell-
ing you how much it adds to my own interest,
beforehand, in the evenings we are to spend together,
that, by the continuity, regularity, and frequency
assigned to these exercises by the judgment of the
" Institute," our assembly takes on something of the
character of a domestic circle, where speaker and
hearers are constantly coming into a more direct and
simple relation with one another, illustrating, in fact,
much belonging to the very theme wc have to
unfold. You will be patient with defects. You
will take pains to notice the distribution and mu-



SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT. 5

tual connection of the parts. And you will remem-
ber how much, both from the necessary restrictions
of time, and from limitations more obstinate than
those, must be left out.

The lectures will be arranged in the following or-
der of subjects. In the 1st, Society will be consid-
ered as a Divine Appointment in itself; in the 2d,
as a Living Instrument of Divine Thought; in the^
3d, as a Discipline of Individual Character; in the
4th, as a School of Mutual Assistance ; in the 5th,
as to Social Theories ; in the 6th, as a Motive
and Incentive to the Intellect; in the 7th, as hold-
ing in itself Laws of its own Progression; and in
the 8th, as the Sphere of the earthly Kingdom of
Christ.

Taking Lord Bacon's division of human knowledge
into History, Philosophy, and Poetry, our subject
cannot be assigned exclusively to the province of
either one, but it touches them all. It opens into
History, for, as Dr. Arnold has so well said, " The
general idea of history seems to be that it is the
biography of a society having a common life." It
has to do with Philosophy, for we are to regard
this Social Life pre-eminently as under laws, laws
that condition and regulate its growth, laws whose
wonderful w^orking, from Eden in the past to the
mysterious issues of the future, furnish to the phi-



6 SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT.

losophic mind its profoimdest problem. It includes
the source of Poetry, because it is out of the rise
and conflict, the ecstacy and suffering, the joy and
agony, of those very passions which form the ele-
ments of social change, that imagination builds its
most august and wondrous visions, and the poet,
tragic, lyric, or epic, sings his immortal song.

Remark that Society, as we are here to consider
it, is not a society formally organized, combined into
a commonwealth, constituted into a political unity.
Universal society has not as yet taken that shape.
Whether such a subhme consummation is ever to
be; whether the nations of the earth are yet to be
drawn under a single outward economy, not only
moral but civil, and the golden index of old pro-
phecy be seen pointing to a Fold which shall be also
a State, — the Law going forth from some central Je-
rusalem, and all nations flowing into it, — this may be
a question for faith, a dream for hope. The prin-
ciples now to be discussed are independent of that
speculation. They stand even in society as it now
is, broken, of diverse races, of warring tribes, —
a multitude, but not a proper union : inasmuch as
beneath all its variety of polities, and all its diver-
sity of culture, and all its hostility of interests,
there runs, deep down, a mighty bond of oneness
after all, best expressed by the simple word human,



SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT. 7

making each man, despite every difference, brother
to every other man; just as one comprehensive
principle encircles and pervades all varieties of veg-
etable production, from hyssop to cedar, or one ar-
tistic design winds into a profound harmony all the
unequal keys and notes and instruments of an
orchestra, and all the measures, themes, voices, and
even pauses, of an oratorio. For, as a scholar in
the oldest English university* has finely said: "Uni-
versal history has enriched our language with a
word that never passed the hps of Plato, Socrates,
or Aristotle, — the word mankind. Where the Greek
saw barbarians, we see brethren. Where he saw
heroes and demigods, we see parents and ancestors.
Where he saw nations, we see mankind many ways
severed, but moving to one destiny, and bearing
one image of God ; as where the ancient astronomic
observer saw separate spheres in the sky, we see
a single system, balanced in itself and harmonized
by one centrahzing attraction."

At present, I ask you to contemplate society,
under a somewhat introductory and general aspect,
as a Divine appointment in itself. And this may
be set forth the more clearly, if we seek the jjroofs,
first, in the nature of the thing. Society ; secondly,

* A. P. Stanley, now " Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History" at
Oxford, in his Inaugural Address.



8 SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT.

in its origin; and thirdly, in its historical develop-
ment.

I. To know society, either as to its composition
or its functions, doubtless we must first know man.
Man is the prime material of mankind. Society is
simply human nature existing in its natural combi-
nations. It is all the faculties of man in one
mode of their exhibition, — reason, will, conscience,
affection. Only, consider, the combination is such,
that the humanity itself could not be complete with-
out it. There are capacities in man to which so-
ciety is just as necessary as light to the eye or
food to the body. You cannot do your best, put
forth your strongest, live out your noblest, save in
a social state, where every other man is free to do
the same. In one sense, man is greater than so-
ciety; as the simple personality is greater in itself
than in any one of its modes of being and acting.
Yet, society is a grander interest than the inter-
est of any one man. If there must be a conflict
of rights or privileges, those of many are dearer
than those of one. But, when we come to duties,
or the right, the collision is an impossibility. No
public duty can be made up of any bundle where-
of one stick is a broken conscience. So that no
social advantage can ever override one man's sacred
integrity. Private wrong can never be an ingredi-



SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT, 9

ent of public right. Privileges may be waived ;
conveniences sacrificed. This hurts nobody ; it is
the glory of heroic hearts ; and society cannot live
richly without it. But duties are inalienable and
inviolable. Society, like all God's workmanship, ex-
ists to preserve and to multiply them.

One writer defines Society as a system of mer-
cantile exchanges, evidently on the same low con-
ceptions of humanity, and the same materialistic
maxims of philosophy, that w^ould limit the ends
of Government to the protection of property. The
fatal flaw of both notions is, that they ignore the
whole upper register of human sentiments, mistake
comfort for well-being, and degrade the lofty com-
merce of spirit with spirit into the vulgar bargain-
ing of political selfishness.

What, then, is our definition of Society ? It is
the co-existence of men, and families of men, on
terms of mutual intercourse, for certain common
ends, under the Providence of God. Other crea-
tures are gregarious. Mankind, alone, are social.
There are herds of cattle, flocks of birds, shoals of
fishes"; but in none of these, society. If mankind
were associated only to eat, sleep, hunt, and secure
animal protection, those brute terms would apply.
As they forget their destiny, they do degenerate
into droves. But, for society, there must be some-



10 SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT.

thing more than an affinity for living together. The
object of the congregating must be the educating,
maturing, completing, of a human nature ; rational,
affectional, immortal. Go back to the beginning.
Given, the planet in a raw state, centuries of time,
and man undeveloped or apostatized ; required, to
make the earth the abode of a civilized. Christian
brotherhood. These are the conditions of the prob-
lem. Human society is ordained to give it a prac-
tical solution.

To elucidate further the doctrine of society, as
we are here to consider it, refer to the nomencla-
ture of science, and so disengage it from other
things with which it might possibly be confounded.
This doctrine of society is distinct from Anthropol-
ogy : Anthropology deals with man simply in his
relation to other parts of the animal kingdom, — as
a member of the zoological system, — marks the
points of difference between him and the creatures
below him; a branch of natural history. It is dis-
tinct, too, from Ethnology : Ethnology deals with the
races of men, marks their difference from one an-
other, and notices individuals only as belonging to
one or another of these races. It is distinct from
Ethics : Ethics is the science of duties, the social
duties being considered, but not exclusively ; besides,
we have other things in society to notice here be-



SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT. 11

sides its morality. It is distinct from Theology,
of course : Theology deals with the nature and
methods of God, and thus of the relations of man
with the Divine Life above him ; while our subject,
though immersed altogether in the truths of religion,
touches Theology proper only on one of its sides,
or one section of its circle. Finally, it is distinct
from Political Economy: Political Economy is the
science of those laws which regulate the produc-
tion, distribution, and consumption of the things in
men's possession which have an exchangeable value ;
in the Adew of Political Economy alone, the great
threefold object of social existence would be "secu-
rity of property, freedom of industry, and modera-
tion in public expenditure." These are actual social
interests, essentials of social welfare. But society
exists for something beyond its own possessions.

Let us not hesitate, then, to plant our feet
firmly, even by definition, on the broad position
that Society is a Divine Appointment. The Former
who made us, made us to be social. In the orig-
inal plan of his constitution, man was not meant
to live alone. Though it were possible for every
individual of the species to reach the perfection of
his private nature in a solitary state, — which it is
not, — still, the purposes of God, in his creation,
would not be answered. Not so many isolated



12 SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT.

units, but a Social Body, was clearly the thought
that lay in the mind of God when he said, " Let
us make man in our own image." Association is
not an accident befolling man on his way. It is
an inherent promise, want, fact, put into his com-
plex organization at the start. The social state is
not a circumstance, but a law : not an economy,
but a principle.

Accordingly, as we might expect, in a social state
forms of human energy and character come to light
which never could be found in the separate per-
son. I have said that to know society, we must first
know man. Let it be now remembered, however,
that by knowing an isolated specimen of man, we
do not know all that belongs to the generic idea of
man, or man absolute. Put with that first truth
this also, — that as we must study societ}^ through
man, so we must study man through society. Not
only his outward institutions, like Seats of Learning,
Institutes of Science, Houses of Mercy, Systems of
Commerce, which are themselves a positive good to
the individual, but inward traits of the soul, apper-
tain to this social i)ro vision of his nature. It is
enough to name here affection, conscience, self-sacri-
fice, sympathy, pity, the loftiest attributes of Hu-
manity, most resembling man to his Maker, — of which
more is to be said further on. Thus, while each per-



SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT. 13

son may be a specimen of the general capacities of
the whole, yet in the social union, which is a com-
pound more complex than any mixed by science,
new and independent witnesses come forth to de-
clare the glory of God; just as in chemistry, it
has been beautifully shown, that while the combin-
ing attraction is between particle and particle, there
are yet results, — phenomena, colors, uses, and even
forces, — in the combination, not found in the seve-
ral atoms at all. What was latent in the ele-
ments becomes apparent in the compound; and what
was dormant in the parts, is active in the whole.

II. Secondly, the social body bears the stamp
of its Maker on its origin. This has been denied.
On both sides, the question has been argued and
learnedly reasoned, — by thinkers, however, whose con-
clusions have been generally much influenced either
by their philosophical or political doctrines, instead
of being purely evolved from the elements, and de-
termined by the merits, of the case. Indeed, the
origin of society has hardly been considered inde-
pendently of the origin of political institutions.

One theory of society makes it to spring, not
from the Divine will, but out of a mutual league
between man and man, — purely human in its scope,
purely conventional in its principles, purely acci-
dental in its ultimate destination, — God dethroned



14 SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT.

from its control, and all Divine signatures swept
away from its face. Of this theory the ablest ad-
vocate is Thomas Hohbes/'' "the philosopher of
Malmesbnry," born 1588, and writing chiefly about
the middle of the seventeenth century. By his
system, man finds himself separate from his kind,
existing for his own pleasure, "a solitary, selfish
animal." As soon as he meets his fellow-man, there
springs up a conflict of interests ; and, as interest
is the only object, they fight. Hostility is the
first impulse, — repulsion without attraction. Univer-
sal and incessant war is the state of nature. This
notion Ilobbes supports by such sophistical asser-
tions as that men everywhere arm themselves when
they take journeys, — which they do not; that they
lock their chests and bolt their doors at night, —
which they do, only not against the community
generally, but against a few thieves and burglars
wdiom Law has not yet succeeded in overtaking
and getting arrested. This fighting savage, how-
ever, says Hobbes, finds the universal combat in-
convenient and unprofitable. lie must eat when
he is hungry, and so prepare his food ; rest when
he is tired, and so prepare his shelter. Industry

* " Leviathan ; or the Matter, Form and Power of a Commoiiwealtli."
See also Encyclopedia Britannica, Preliminary Dissertation I., by Duifald
Stewart; Cousin's critique in his Cows de la Histoire de la Philo-
sophie; and JouSVoy's " Ethics."



SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT. 15

and comfort require a suspension of strife. All
parties bethink themselves of a mutual agreement
to let each other alone, and respect each other's
property, so far and so long as self-interest pre-
scribes. Hence the restraints and bonds of social
and political being. The next step is to guard
against new confusions by committing the supreme
authority to a single head. An absolute sovereignty,
with indefeasible powers, is the result; for any dis-
turbance of these would throw back the whole Body
into the primitive discord. The will of the ruler is
the standard of right and wrong. Despotism for
the State, Atheism for the Soul, Slavery for the
People ; — legitimate results of a system that starts
with making a godless selfishness the fundamental
motive of Social Union. Personal traits often throw
light on intellectual conclusions. Hobbes was con-
stitutionally a victim of fear, frightened all his life ;
— the spirit of terror, he says, born with him.*
And his biographer says, as he lay dying, he re-
marked to an attendant, " I shall be glad to find
a hole to creep out of the world at." To be sure,
his theory of the world was constructed as if it
were a place to be crept out of.

Rousseau, whose erratic genius was doubtless one
of the efficient causes of the French Revolution

* " Meque metumque simul," are his words.



16 SOCIETY A DIVINE APPOINTMENT.

and of modern individualism, a writer more pene-
trating than comprehensive, and more brilUant than
profound, starts with mucli the same ideas as
Hobbes, but carries them out to totally opposite
consequences. With him, too, orderly society, though
nominally required by the pure reason, is little else


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