“The Failure of ‘Civic Reform’” American Sentinel 12, 25, pp. 386, 387.

DR. PARKHURST, the noted apostle of civic reformation, has announced his retirement from active service in that line, on account of failing health. Upon is departure to seek its restoration in a foreign clime, he announced to his congregation that henceforth “my on devotion will be to my pulpit, to the life and work of this church, and to the interests of its families and individual members.”

In a review of the work accomplished by this prominent clergyman as a civic reformer, the Independent (N.Y.) says: “It has been a great thing for the city that our people have been taught that religion has a right to meddle with its politics, to fight with and to master it.”

A “great thing” it is, undoubtedly, for the chief city of this free commonwealth; but not a good thing. What religion is it that has this “right”? Is it the papal religion, or the Protestant? and if the Protestant, is it the Methodist, the Presbyterian, the Lutheran, Episcopalian, Quaker, or Adventist religion, or some other? When this point comes to be settled, will the controversy which must ensue be another “great thing” for this city? We are afraid it will.

But what religion has fought with and mastered the politics of New York City? Now a very good religion, evidently, if those politics are now obedient to their master.

In short, the result of this meddling of religion with city politics, is such as plainly to stamp the project of reform by such means as a total failure. “Tammany,” so far from being eliminated from New York’s politics, [387] is as big a factor in them as ever. And while some changes have been made in the features of civic life in this city, there has been no real elimination of immorality. And the simple reason for this is that immorality cannot be eliminated in that way. That result can be accomplished only by the grace of God.

The earnest and no doubt sincere efforts of Dr. Parkhurst to inject Christianity into the civic life of a great city have failed, as all such efforts must fail. But Christianity has not failed. That is as powerful to-day as it ever was, to triumph over sin in the individual heart.

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