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with the complexity of its proceedings, to exact the connexion. The blow may and the jealousy of its principles. On be long delayed which strikes down the every side, there are its inquisitions and oppressor ; but his first act of injustice its menaces. It clothes itself with pomp. smote him. The punishment which apIt is full of stir and ferment. There is pears slow has already fallen. The deal. parade and obtrusion. It loves cere- ing is summary. The punishment has monial and emblem. It holds court and begun. The wicked flee when no man erects tribunal. It constantly publishes pursueth. There are arrows which drink itself. Its sword is always paked. Its up the spirit. The transgressor may balance is always raised. It “bringeth vaunt boldly; he may be the object of the wheel over the wicked.” It is pal- general envy; all may flatter him; yet pable through all its workings and all shall he be the drift of an inward temits checks. It imposes itself with pageant pest, the wreck of the soul's own sea. and state. It cries aloud. Yet in all « Al darkness is hid in his secret places.” this apparatus there is the effort of a con- " In the fulness of his sufficiency he is scious feebleness. It is display to make in straits.” To cause the mind to punish up the want of power. It rebounds to itself, to work a retribution out of ourits own strokes. It bends under its own selves, to secure it by fixed nature, to in. burdens. There is an unceasing con- flict it by inflexible necessity, to convert fession of its impotence. There is per- the capacity of sin into the instrument petual sign of suspicion and self-distrust. of suffering, is the prerogative of divine Little can it punish. Little can it pre. rule. It is unlike any other, though invent. Its inefficiency is in a close pro- ferior jurisdiction may be helped by this portion to its external magnificence. But its conduct. The feelings which it the dominion of the Most High moves in awakens may subserve far lower admia far different course. « The law of the nistrations. In the prison-house of earth Lord is perfect.” It seeks and needs no there may be mental anguish: but man badge and observance. It disdains mi. there trembles under the original liabinistry and instrument. Its sword is lity. He agonizes in his troubled thoughts “ bathed in heaven.” Its balance is as a subject of God. There is, indeed, that in which the hills are weighed. It the sense of social guilt, unworthiness, is noiseless and unseen in its mechanism. and shame; but unless he had first felt It has access to mind. Its power is in that he was the subject of God, little had conscience. By inscrutable influences it his mind suffered for anything he had enforces itself. There can be no par- done as the subject of man. It is in tiality, no indecision, no resistance. It this infinite ease, and repose, and omnicannot be turned aside,—warped by in- presence, of the “ kingdom which ruleth dulgence, or intimidated by danger. Vain over all,” that we learn its unparalleled is every hope to elude and defeat it. It and inimitable excellence. It is uniallows no difficulty. Silent as time, formly, and it is universally, administraserene as a star, it keeps its way. Obe. tive and executing. “ There is no darkdience is attended by happiness, trans- ness where the workers of iniquity may gression by woe. So linked together are hide themselves.” Its design is direct, offence and suffering, that the
and its effects sure. This is true mamentors are ever waiting and ever ready jesty! (Page 89.)
The important and strongly-marked distinction between the term law as used in its subordinate, and in its proper, sense, is well stated. We quote it, both as teaching some valuable lessons, and as exposing, and thus destroying, some false and mischievous analogies.
We are wont to speak of certain laws will freeze or evaporate, and when retals as subsisting in physics. We tell of the will fuse or volatilize ; when bodies will laws of matter and of mind; the laws of become precipitates, and atoms crystals. mechanism, electricity, and heat; the Yet all these phenomena reveal no law : laws of relation, of suggestive thought, at most are they seen in obedience to of reasoning judgment. Such a use of one. They prove, in Aristotelian phrase, language is arbitrary and unjust. In a universal. They lie within uninterthese instances
suppose and can rupted experience. Their sequence has conceive no proper rule. We understand never been known or reported to fail. these things, they being found in given But when we speak of law in reference to states, conditions, successions. We know a responsible agent, the application is what are electrical affinities, and that strictly correct. It is the only use which they invariably act : we know when water is
proper and true,
At best is it, in any.
other employment, an accommodated tions must be, therefore, very remote and term. In this, it stands up to the idea. strained. They involve perfectly different It promises authority rather than power subjects of influence. They oppose to It asserts its right over intelligent nature. each other the relations which are borne It is a grand exhibition of moral prin- towards those subjects. They respecciples. It binds all in justice; but that tively present uninformed and irresponjustice addresses all in inducements. A sible matter, impelled by a foreign and law, whatever it be, which moves matter, resistless will of pleasure, and rational can never describe a law which operates and amenable mind, governed by an in
dependent but legislative will of right. Any parallelism between material ne
(Page 90.) cessary effects and moral contingent ac
And yet, we would scarcely say that the subordinate use of the term is “ unjust.” Few languages are so copious as to have a separate word for every aspect of the same grand idea. Only let the primary and subordinate notions be preserved in their proper distinctness, and no great mischief will be done : perhaps some good will result. These unalterable sequences proceed from power not only always acting in the same manner, but doing so in adherence to a system laid down previously in infinite wisdom, by Him who had the right thus-shall we say ?—to prescribe to himself his own modes of operation. The term, thus employed, conveys the notion of a system, according to which dominion is exercised, and to the effects of which we may always point in illustration of the inexpressible advantage issuing from successfully-administered rule, among whatever existences may be its subjects. Order, beauty, usefulness, shine throughout creation with dazzling splendour. Might we say that all this is the result of law obeyed? God undeviatingly observes his own rules. It requires no other imagination than that which the Scriptures awaken when they describe the outgoings of the morning and evening as rejoicing, the little hills as rejoicing on every side, and the valleys as shouting and singing for joy,– to conceive of all nature, masses and atoms, living and unliving, as obedient to Him whose throne is heaven, whose footstool is earth, and who sways the sceptre of the universe. Most glowing and animating is that psalm in which all the subjects of this great King are invoked to proclaim and celebrate his greatness. “ Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all deeps : fire and hail ; snow and vapours; stormy wind, fulfilling his word !" And such loveliness and harmony, such enjoyment and gladness, such joy and praise would there be throughout the wide domain of created intelligence, were all the subjects of law as issued to them, submissively engaged in
fulfilling his word.” It is thus shown what would be the blessedness of the reign of obeyed law. Let the admirer of creation remember, that it is thus worthy of his admiration because the will of God is done throughout; and if he be a patriot and philanthropist, and would promote his own well-being, and the well-being of his country, and of mankind, let him obey, and seek to bring others to obey, that divinelypromulgated law, which, because expressing the will of God, the holy, and just, and good, is itself holy, and just, and good. Let the Christian saint, who desires heaven, desire it yet more intensely, desire it chiefly, because the will of God is done there; and let him seek for heaven on earth, by submissive obedience to the law of God's will while he dwells there. For ourselves, we cannot help approving, and even admiring, the term generally appropriated to the great classifications of nature for the purposes of science. There is the kingdom of minerals, the vegetable kingdom, the animal kingdom. They are the royal portions of that great empire whose Sovereign is God, whose will is done, and whose name ought to be hallowed, in them all.
We are thus almost naturally led to give the following extracts, as just in sentiment as they are beautiful in expression. They especially deserve attention at the present day, when so many mischievous theories on the subject are put forth by a plausibly-disguised but real infidelity :
We cannot be too strongly impressed benign must be the universal regulation, with the goodness or benevolence of the all whose acquirements, learning, condivine law. Right and good are corre- sequences, motives, aims, are fulfilled by lative ideas; but we are not equally love! And the same reflections are apaffected by them. More spontaneously propriate to the law which respects the can we conclude that all good is right, claims of Deity. (Page 94.) than that all right is good. And we more The celebration of Him who made slowly confess the good of law, because heaven and earth, the sea, and all that we more commonly regard law itself as in them is, must elevate the mind torestraint rather than as protection. We wards him, purify its feelings, and calm forget that it is far more restraint upon its cares; will bring a respite from laothers than upon ourselves, and that our bour aud a solace to grief; tends to awaprotection is in that restraint. Every in. ken the soul to its true portion and rest. terdict is upon all, and each one obtains The reversal of these rules, or their the benefit. Every obligation binds the mere absence, would draw down upon whole race to the security and welfare of us evils which it appals the heart to forethe individual. The best description of shadow. Anarchy would rage with unliberty is, protection from wrong. And appeasable malignity. The contest would if we inspect the great social law, what not be of interest, but of listed minds. is it but a fence and safeguard thrown It would be the unrestrained grapple of around our dearest, most precious in- spirits. Chaos has been painted to us terests ? Its heed holds back that which by poetry : however wild, it works itself receives every denouncement, when we to quiescence, and its fury stills. Not call it lawless. Its observance defends such the end of the intellectual elements the allegiance of our household, the when in their strife and uproar. They sanctity of our life, the legitimacy of cannot rock themselves to peace. Theirs our offspring, the possession of our store, is ever-rising surge.
Where all power the reputation of our character, even to is ill, and all motive is selfishness, there the proscription, and to the driving from can be no controlling principle, no atthe heart, of any secret wish that might tempering pause. That sea, self-wrought, seek to injure us. It sets a seal upon cannot rest. There is no voice to bid its all. Our forbearance to aggrieve others, proud waves stay! Let us honour law which must be harmful to oneself, is re- as the crowning blessing of blessings. paid by forbidding any grievance against Let us remember that intellectual creaour welfare from the millions upon mile tureship without it is as inconceivable as lions who might otherwise inflict it. The it would be insupportable. Let us acduty which every man owes to love us as knowledge it as the most sublime of himself, is a blessed and rich return of ideas, the true exponent of happiness, our duty thus ourselves to love every the proper basis of dignity, the exclu
The rule commands and obliges sive shield of freedom, the pure fountain every man to love me, to uphold me, of good-will,-inaugurating truth in its invests him as my brother, authorizes state, decking benevolence in its majesty, him as my keeper, arms him as my de- lifting right to its throne, and then profender, pledges him as my surety, adorns claiming with imperial authority that all him as my example, couples him as my this is but God, and that, therefore, there co-heir. It is the law of love. It is is none good but one, and that is God. the perfect commutative justice. How
(Page 96.) The writer of this splendid but most truthful passage will never censure us for expressing our fear of danger, when we find notions seeking to prevail, which, not in the mind of their authors, yet in the form of their enunciation, seem, at least, if not to oppose liberty to law, yet to dissociate the one from the other. The admirers and champions of liberty should always so order their speech, that no mistake can arise, and that their scholars should not infer, but most evidently hear, that the liberty advo
cated is a liberty founded on law, and by law guarded. In the same proportion in which true liberty is a blessing, false liberty is a curse.
In tracing “the administration of divine law,” in what he terms “its ordinary and silent course,” (p. 97,) Dr. Hamilton marks, as produced by it in the sphere of man's moral nature and agency, “three peculiarities.” These are, habit, character, and consequence. Had we room, we should be glad to quote his judicious, his very instructive and admonitory, declarations upon them all. All are so important, that we really feel a difficulty in making our choice. On the whole, however, we are inclined to fix upon the last. By the divine appointment, from actions habits grow; out of these character is formed ; and character is awfully connected with consequence. On this the Lecturer observes :The third peculiarity which our argu
stemmed. Prudence must be falsified. ment, concerning the operation of the Probability must be destroyed. Analogy divine government, suggests, is, conse- must be annulled. Experience must be quence. Since habit has moulded cha- frustrated. But we have the proof of racter, that definite bearing of the whole it in ourselves. We know that all is mind, and thus in a measure a conse- under our control by being at our choice. quence itself, every consequence of which We can place it before us. we now speak is something, not neces- look into the seed of time and things. sarily external, but future, however proxi- We possess a power of infallible fore. mating,-something successive to the sight. We can, with perfect sureness, act. It may be that our conduct is fol- determine what will impart dissatisfaclowed by pleasurable feeling, honourable tion and inspire complacency, what will esteem, the health of body, and the excite uneasiness and secure peace. And strength of mind. It may bring re- we believe that these are evidences that morse, disease, the wounded fame, the God judgeth in the earth. It is his heavy-laden heart. We are expectant doing. He has not originated, which of all these issues. We are aware of were impossible, eternal laws of right, but the order in which they will occur. It he has enacted them in his government is no difficult prediction of what intem- of us, and has created us in reference and perance must induce. It is as easy to subordination to them. He has caused foretell the result of evil in the mind. us to feel the influence of conformity to Experience attests what is the entail of them, or of departure from them, at vice upon the circumstances of the pre- every point.
He has honoured them, sent life. “ The seed of evil-doers shall and established his own perfect excelnever be renowned.” That which we lence by reflecting them in his law. must seek distinctly to trace is the affi- " For the work of a man will he rennity between such conduct and effects. der unto him, and cause every man to In many instances this is too obvious to find according to his ways.” That the need a remark. The fall from a moun- contrary cannot be, that the contrary tain-precipice is not a plainer cause of cannot be conceived, is only an example destruction. But even in more remote which might find numberless parallels, and entangled consequences, study and and derogates in nowise from the holy reflection will convince us that a inoral and legislative rectitude of the Infinite antecedent accounts for all. The recom- Will. The principles of right and goodpence is meet. Like follows like. The are unconditionally and eternally philosophy of medicines and poisons necessary; but the consequences of which cannot be better understood. The ordi- we speak are only relatively necessary to nances of seed-time and harvest cannot a system which might not, and need not, be more perfectly developed. It is thus have been, to a particular condition of that the divine government can promise divine government and creatural respongood and forewarn evil. It is thus that sibility. As that rule is based, as that we can anticipate, as in any secular responsibility is imposed, consequence is affairs, what must flow froin virtue and not only due effect, the result of the na. vice. These are events which must pro- ture of things, what we most feel in any ceed, which only can ensue. To arrest circumstances,—it rises into moral rethem, all things must be obeyed. Out- quital. Its undeviating uniformity only ward and inward nature must be inverted. better confirms the fact, and glorifies the There must be a dissolution of every law which finds in it so constant and so social tie and bond. Tendency must be exact a retribution. (Page 105.)
Will the reader allow us to remind him, that here (as, indeed, throughout) we do not quote for the mere purpose of giving specimens of style, or curious exhibitions of thought; our object is practical ? Losing sight of Dr. Hamilton and his authorship, here are facts and principles which concern every-day life, and ought never to be overlooked ; can never be overlooked with safety, nor without some painful experience of their truth. They say to all, and especially to the young, “ Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness."
Before we pass on to the next lecture, we quote, chiefly for the sake of the argument suggested in the concluding one, the two following paragraphs. Our feeling upon it is precisely that which Dr. Hamilton expresses; and, the longer we live, the more intently we peruse the sacred volume, the more carefully, both as to penetration and breadth, we survey mankind, the stronger it becomes. We never contemplate the facts of the case under this aspect, without the conviction, not merely that the Bible is true, both as to statements and authorship,true, as containing truth divine, and divinely given,—but that it cannot be otherwise. Its falsehood is inconceivable. The physical constitution of the world is not more directly demonstrative against atheism, than is its moral constitution against Deism.
We have thus endeavoured to build This “glorious Gospel of the blessed wide and strong the foundations of moral
God” we possess.
We verify it by science, or rather of natural theology. abundance of authenticating proofs. For if there be a revealed religion, it can Miracle and prophecy surround it with only be addressed to man, as already (in an external divinity. Yet were it our the constitution of his nature) a religious business now to arrange its evidences, we being. It must come from Him who is would willingly forsake the prouder signs, previously known to be the Creator and the more trophied monuments, dwelling Ruler of man. It must take its place upon that intrinsic credibility which it among relations antecedently established presents in its contrivance and adaptaand ascertained. But if this revelation tion to engage the faculties, and reach convey a restorative means, it can only the wants, of man. He who was its be addressed to this religious being as Author “knew what was in man;" all fallen. It must, therefore, in both cases, the motives by which he can be affected, be subsequent to such a state of man as all the relations in which he stands. supposes his responsibility, and to such
(Page 112.) a state of man as supposes his defection.
And can that book possibly be other than divine, which does really and truly, and in their proper direction and object, state“ all the motives by which man can be affected ;” and describe clearly, in their just order, subordination, harmony, and practical requirements, “all the relations in which he stands?”
In the third lecture, Dr. Hamilton establishes the “ Harmony of Revelation with Natural Religion.” The argument is eloquently expanded, brightly illustrated; but its substance may be stated in few words. Revelation speaks to man as we have found that actually he is. He is a creature composed of body and spirit; and as such it addresses him. He is a moral agent; and such the Scriptures suppose him to be. He is immortal; and to his immortality continual and most impressive reference is made. There are likewise announcements arising out of these subjects, relating to the original constitution of man, which properly deserve the name of discoveries ; such are the resurrection of the dead, and the judgment both of the soul, immediately on its departure from the body, and of the whole man in that great and final account-day, whose sentences extend forward into this measureless eternity. But all these subjects, distinctly contained in the volume of inspiration, evidently suppose man to be just as we find