Even way back in 1846, there was no golden age:
It is to be feared, that, in the general reverence now paid to intellect, the affections are undervalued, the moral life held in low esteem, the greatness of a pure, true, loving heart depressed far beneath its true place in the regard of society at large. We may trace alarming moral deficiencies in the spirit of our times. Ours is not an age of reverence. Its great men, its strong men, are too often mere Titans, children of the earth, who renew their vigor from their parent soil, and not by converse with a higher sphere of being.
There is too much of self-reliance, too little of faith and trust. Even philanthropy, instead of laying one hand on the eternal throne, and with the other scattering gifts for men, with suicidal madness divorces herself from the altar, and welcomes to her service those that blaspheme as cordially as those that pray. This is an age of skepticism, — not, indeed, of avowed and scoffing infidelity, but of feeble faith in whatever transcends the scope of the individual's own senses and intuitions. Men are too prone, in the pride of intellect, to imagine that they have in their own minds the metes and bounds of eternal truth, and need no teaching from without. There is a prevalent reluctance to receive truth on authority, no matter how venerable, or how distinctly marked by the attestation of Heaven.