Commerce

By nature's law, every man has a right to seize and retake by force his own property taken from him by another, by force of fraud. Nor is this natural right among the first which is taken into the hands of regular government after it is instituted. It was long retained by our ancestors. It was a part of their common law, laid down in their books, recognized by all the authorities, and regulated as to circumstances of practice.

For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.

I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.

Most bad government has grown out of too much government.

The abolition of domestic slavery is the greatest object of desire in these colonies, where it was unhappily introduced in their infant state.

The Christian god can easily be pictured as virtually the same god as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster cruel vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging three headed beast like god one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes fools and hypocrites.

The several states composing the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes [and] delegated to that government certain definite powers and whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force. To this compact each state acceded as a state, and is an integral party, its co-states forming, as to itself, the other party. The government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution the measure of its powers.

The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.

The true alternative to the outworn magic of primitive peoples is not the modern magic of persons disciplined in the applied sciences or the “new thought.” It is no solution of the ultimate moral and intellectual problem to trade self-will from the left hand of primitive magic to the right hand of applied science. What matters is a changed disposition and reference in this whole final commerce of man with his universe. Call it pure religion or pure science, the name does not matter. The one thing needful is that temper and disposition towards the will of God which we find in Jesus, Bernard, Pascal and Lister alike.

The men who returned from the third attempt to climb Mount Everest, made in the summer of 1924, have told us that from now on the character of the endeavor is clearly defined in advance. One of them has recently said that the higher altitudes, from 22,000 to 28,000 feet, reached by the last party, were attained not by sportsmen and scientists break­ing the mountain to their intention, but by men who had come to feel towards the mountain an almost mystical relationship. He said that the mountain itself, with its tremendous appeal, must take men to the top, and that only a spirit, which for the want of any other accurate word must be called religion, would ever carry men the last exacting two thousand feet.

What he seems to mean is that, in the presence of that imperious and majestic reality, the cheap coercive attempt to conquer the world must always break down, and that only something like the spirit of worship can draw and lift men at the last. The climbing of Mount Everest has ceased to be purely a geographical, political, and physiological problem. It has passed, as every great human endeavor must finally pass, into the realm of religion. And only the man whose peace is found in the imperious will of that terrific reality will ever stand upon its summit.

After he had dragged the blankets out of the empty tent at Camp VI, high up on the shoulder of Everest, and had laid them in a “T” on the snow to tell the watchers below that there was no trace of Mallory and Irvine, Odell closed the flap of the tent and began the third retreat to India. “I glanced up,” he says, “at the mighty summit above me, which ever and anon deigned to reveal its cloud-wreathed features. It seemed to look down with cold indiffer­ence on me, mere puny man, and to howl derision in wind gusts at my petition to yield up its secret—the mystery of my friends. What right had we to ven­ture thus far into the holy presence of the Supreme Goddess, or much more to sling at her our blasphe­mous challenges. If it were indeed the sacred ground of Chomo Lungma—the Goddess Mother of the Mountain Snows—had we violated it, was I now violating it? Had we approached her with due rev­erence and singleness of heart and purpose?”

That, in modern parable, is the crux of the tempta­tion in the wilderness. Magic in us dies and religion is born with that question which, if rightly answered, prefaces the true reference of the soul to God. What right have I to make trial of my God? Have I vio­lated his holy being with my self-will? Have I ap­proached him with due reverence and singleness of mind and heart?

Man is not yet so transfigured that he has ceased to keep the window of his mind and heart open towards Jerusalem, Galilee, Mecca, Canterbury, or Plymouth. The abstract proposal that we worship at any place where God lets down the ladder is not yet an adequate substitute for the deep desire to go up to some central sanctuary where the religious artist vindicates a concrete universal in the realm of the spirit.

When Sir Joshua Reynolds died all nature was degraded; the king dropped a tear in the queen's ear, and all his pictures faded.

I started out by believing God for a newer car than the one I was driving. I started out believing God for a nicer apartment than I had. Then I moved up.

As contemplation [of a work of art or literature] enters upon a more serious stage, the human being is driven by the whole economy of what it is to be man to find opposite himself, in that which he contemplates, a person capable of reacting in turn. This drive is primordial and will not be denied.

There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse! As I have often found in traveling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position, and be bruised in a new place.

In a time of disorder [Laertes] has returned to the care of the earth, the foundation of life and hope. And Odysseus finds him in an act emblematic of the best and most responsible kind of agriculture: an old man caring for a young tree.

A single part of physics occupies the lives of many men, and often leaves them dying in uncertainty.

That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.

A dogma is a dark chamber.

The American Civil War was the first modern war. It is true that the Crimean War, some eight years earlier, has resemblances with the American conflict. There is the awakening of public concern for the care of casualties, a concern which had grown with medical knowledge. But the Crimean War was fought in a small area. It was fought by professional soldiers--the British commander-in-chief directed operations from his private yacht to which he returned to dine and sleep every night--and the casualties, though heavy, were than half of those suffered in America, where a million men died in the field, the hospitals and the prison camps. The Civil War involved everyone, the armies became conscript armies almost at once. The professional soldiers were put to the task of training the man in the street.