THESE are stirring times; but it does not follow from this that you are stirred by the developments of the times. It has frequently happened in this world that the most stirring and momentous periods of history were undiscerned as such by the generations then living, and the people of those times were indifferent and unconcerned right at the time when they should have been aroused to the greatest activity. The forces of good and evil, of despotism and of liberty, are being marshaled for the final conflict, which will center around the principles of liberty of conscience. To compel the conscience, will be the effort made on the one hand; while to maintain it in full freedom as a guide of individual conduct, will be the resolution taken on the other.
Just now, there is a lull in those acts of religious persecution which were a mark of apostasy on the part of the church; and our attention is drawn to the spectacle of apostasy on the part of the state. We see the state renouncing the principles of free government, and the spectacle is no less significant than was the other, when the church was laying the hand of intolerance upon dissenters. Both these apostasies are preparatory steps to the union of church and state which the SENTINEL has foretold in this country. And apostate church could not join hands with any other than an apostate state.
In the industrial world, we see conditions arising which are the enemy of individual independence; and he who would retain that independence necessary to self-respecting manhood, must be prepared to contend for it against powerful opposition. This is the day of combinations and federations, every one of which is for the express purpose of carrying individualism out of sight, and of exalting the doctrine that human rights are inherent not in individuals, but only in majorities.
These are some of the developments that should engage the attention of people to-day and arouse them to the fact that they are facing a crisis. Now, the voice of duty calls every one who has understanding of the times, to bestir himself in seeking to enlighten others and to rally the people round the principles of truth and righteousness. We trust that among the readers of the SENTINEL, there may be many to whom this call of duty will not come in vain.