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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by
LIPPINCOTT, GRAMBO & CO.,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
EVERY year of our national existence brings increasing proof of the importance of the relations of Christianity with our political institutions. We began our history by extending Christian toleration to all: the value of that principle was evinced in our Colonial period. Such toleration as our fathers incorporated in our laws and constitutions having never before been tried, every year of experience under its operation becomes fraught with instruction to the philosopher, statesman, and Christian. It was, perhaps, difficult in the origin and outset of this experiment, to determine the exact bearings of such a policy on Christianity itself. Up to this time, our experience has shown not only the safety, but the wisdom of religious toleration. The whole Christian population of the country admire and approve it. It was not intended, however, in the establishment of this principle, that toleration should be an active policy, and Christianity a mere negative power. Christianity
was not to be weakened, but made stronger by this proper exercise of its true spirit. It became important therefore from the beginning, and urgent that the true position of Christianity in the United States should be defined with that precision which, while it would, on the one hand, enlarge the scope of toleration and define its limits, would, on the other, clearly reveal the great highway of Christian effort and useful
This has never been adequately performed; and of late years the neglect has caused great embarrassment in many public functions, and great confusion of ideas among men of every class of opinion. Truth has lost ground, and is losing ground, for want of light on this subject.
Believing, as we do, that this is a Christian country, inhabited by a Christian people, that our political institutions are the work of a Christian people, designed to be administered in a Christian spirit, we hold that Christianity, instead of being stripped of its just power and influence in this land of toleration, imposes upon its friends the heaviest responsibilities, and expects to witness its greatest triumphs. Christianity here is not a negative, but a positive power. The problem is the starting point, and the path. Christianity, by toleration opened a door for all
people to make their abode here: it is its function now