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want of space, there is little to countenance the notion of an irresponsible democracy in the church.

We think every impartial reader of the New Testament must be convinced that the apostles and elders exercised a general superintendence over the primitive churches. On no other ground can the above passages of Scripture be satisfactorily explained. These elders, variously styled presbyters and bishops, were not “lords over the heritage of God”-did not claim the prerogatives of our present diocesan bishops—but were accredited and authorized ministers of Jesus Christ, traveling extensively and overseeing the general interests of the church.

Mr. Watson, (Institutes, vol. ii, pp. 586, 587,) after quoting Mosheim on the "independence" of "each Christian assembly," and refering to the usurpations of the bishop of Rome,' remarks: “The independence of the early Christian churches does not, however, appear to have resembled that of the churches which in modern times are called independent. During the lives of the apostles and evangelists, they were certainly subject to their counsel and control, which proves that the independency of separate societies was not the first form of the church."

On account of our position we have received a constant fire, on the one hand from “ diocesan episcopacy," with whose doctrines on that subject we have little fellowship; and, on the other, from Congregational writers, whose system of church government we have never admired. The former we regard as a usurpation; the latter, as a tame surrender to the people" of rights and prerogatives inherent in the ministry of Christ's appointment. The one may become oppressive; the other is weak and inefficient. In proof of the correctness of this remark, we refer to the history of the two systems respectively.

Notwithstanding the ad captandum appeals constantly made to the “ dear people," on their “rights”—the great hobby of every demagogue in church and state-Congregationalism, as a system of church government, does not rapidly spread. All important secessions from our own church, whatever may be their views respecting our government, do not adopt the Congregational form for their own. And it is conceded, and may be noticed as a remarkable fact, that fifteen hundred Presbyterian churches were Congregational in their origin. Our Congregational brethren will mourn over this departure from the “old paths," while our Presbyterian friends will rejoice to see their brethren walking in the “good way."

We had marked a number of passages in this work, that we designed to notice. Our article, however, has reached its prescribed length. We must, therefore, take our leave of our author; but we do it reluctantly. The great candor with which he expresses himself on the “Puritans and their principles,” and the questions incidentally introduced, have only tended to increase the esteem in which we before held him. And, though we do not subscribe to all his views of church polity, nor to his opinions respecting Arminianism and Calvinism, and the influence which they exert on the cause of civil liberty, yet we can most cheerfully recommend his book. And if our criticisms are considered free, they are so only out of compliment to the claims of the work. Norwalk Conn., July 1, 1846.

H.

Art. IV.-Phædon ; or, a Dialogue on the Immortality of the

Soul. By Plato. Translated from the original Greek by MADAM Dacier. With Notes and Emendations. To which is prefixed the Life of the Author by Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray. First American, from the rare London edition.

We are told by St. Paul, that the heathen “world by wisdom knew not God.” And it is equally clear they knew not man, but speculated most wildly upon his nature and destiny. It is true, they were not strangers to the idea of the soul's immortality; but it was so obscured and distorted by their fantastic imaginings, that its moral influence was almost wholly lost. Nor were they uniform in their speculations. Each philosopher struck out a new path, and confidently claimed the admiration of the world for the discovery of truths before unknown.

The fragments of Pythagorean philosophy which have come down to us are so wrapped up in fanciful motions and the mysteries of symbolical numbers, that it is difficult to extract from them any consistent view of the theory of this philosopher. In regard to the human soul, however, it is evident that he taught the notion of transmigration, and of consequence had no rational conceptions of its immortality. Anaxagoras and Archelaus, the instructors of Socrates, taught that animals and men had theirorigin in the action of the natural elements on each other. Fire acted on water; the earth was hardened by the process; the motion of water gave birth to air; air was held together by fire, and the earth by air. In the mean time the particles of matter being acted upon by the united influence of air, fire, and water, began to stir and form strange combinations : the product was various grades of animals among the rest men, who were distinct from all other kinds, and became the ruling race. The mind, or soul, was inborn in all animals alike; and, in all, subject to the same laws and vicissitudes. Socrates seemed in a good degree to disenthrall himself from the prevailing darkness and confusion, and to enjoy a glimpse of the true light. And yet his mind appeared incapable of grasping, retaining, or adequately defining, the truths it seemed to perceive, and finally fell back upon the admission of principles irreconcilable with the elevated views that have been claimed for him. On the immortality of the soul, however, it must be conceded, he approached nearer the truth than any other heathen philosopher.

In some respects the writings of Aristotle present a contrast to the doctrines of Socrates. His ideas of God divested him of those attributes with which Socrates and Plato had clothed him; making his agency mechanical and necessary, if not depriving him of existence. And what he says of the soul is so low and unworthy of that elevated subject, as to render him obnoxious to the charge of materialism. The philosophy of Epicurus is still more gross and sensual, insomuch, that it becomes a question, whether his doctrine of “atoms," and their varied motions and combinations, does not embrace all he acknowledges of agency, or existence, as to gods and men. This diversity in their philosophy of God and nature, is also a prominent characteristic of their teachings upon the subject of ethics. Some placed the rule of virtue in the will of the gods; others, in expediency; others, in the result of human actions; and others still, in present gratifications-making it the “summum bonum" of man, to endeavor to the utmost to increase his pleasures and diminish his pains. Thus we see there was little or no agreement among the sages of antiquity upon the first principles of religion and morals; which clearly enough evinces the necessity of an authoritative standard of doctrine and morals, to which an appeal might be made for a settlement of questions of this kind. The same fact shows the inadequacy of the light of nature to lead to just notions of God and virtue, while it demonstrates most clearly the defectibility and insufficiency of human reason. Without the aid of supernatural light, there is a point in the investigation of divine philosophy beyond which the human mind cannot proceed. There

may be a sublime effort to advance, but exhausted by over exertion, and disappointed by the failure to grasp truths beyond its natural reach, the mind falls back to take low and unworthy views of the subjects it cannot comprehend. Failing to raise itself to the elevation necessary to penetrate the sublime mysteries of natural and religious truth, it drags these subjects down to the groveling standard of its own comprehension. For this reason the philosophy of antiquity made no improvement for ages. If it moved at all, it was in a circle; which, instead of being spiral, became more prone and sensual at every turn.

And the same uncertainty and diversity are still seen in the reasonings of men, who, out of sheer vanity, or intellectual pride, or both, discard the aid of revelation in the pursuits of science and philosophy. The constitution of man, and the end of his existence, are subjects on which reason has repeatedly made demonstrations in proof of her weakness. And nothing can exceed the variety and wildness of the conclusions reached by those who have depended solely upon her deductions. Each one has struck out his own path, and pursued it long enough to involve himself and his followers in the grossest darkness. Some have made man all material-others, all immaterial. Some have degraded him to the meanness of a brute-others have invested him with the prerogatives and attributes of God. And others would make the death of his body the end of his being: while others, still, will allow him (if he can) to survive his physical dissolution, and live on beyond the tomb. And this is no more than might be expected where men either do not possess, or possessing, will not improve, the light of revelation. We might as well expect the moon to give light without the sun, as that reason should be a safe and sufficient guide in relation to such subjects. The philosophers of antiquity searched the productions of human lore: they traveled much, studied much, and wrote much; and yet their views of God and man, of the constitution of nature, of morality and religion, are weak and childish when compared with the consistent faith of even the illiterate Christian of a Christian land.

The above reflections have been suggested, for the most part, by reading the production which stands at the head of this article. We propose, in this paper, a brief review of the argument of the “Phædon" on the immateriality and immortality of the soul. We shall attempt, also, to point out wherein the proofs are inconclusive and defective; and then exhibit in contrast the clear and triumphant arguments which reason, rectified and strengthened by revelation, presents in support of this doctrine, connected with the decisive testimony of revelation itself.

It certainly cannot be otherwise than gratifying, even to the Christian, to know what unenlightened reason can say in proof of a doctrine so closely connected with man's highest aspirations. We can have no motive for undervaluing testimony of this kind, but should rather rejoice that reason, though corrupted and erratic, has nevertheless struggled after truth amidst prevailing darkness. And we may safely allow her teachings all the force their intrinsic merit can justly claim. The Phædon of Plato embraces, without doubt, the concentrated wisdom of antiquity on the immateriality and immortality of the soul. Its author possessed peculiar advantages for collecting the most enlightened views within reach of the human mind, unenlightened by revelation. He was, if not the most able, yet certainly the most fortunate, of the ancient sages. Descended of a noble family, and born at a time which made him cotemporary with the wisest philosophers of the age, and gave him the benefit of their instructions, he was able to take a commanding view of the whole field of philosophy. Besides this, he was for eight years a pupil of the justly celebrated Socrates, and was allowed to be present and listen to the discourses with which he entertained his friends, during the confinement which preceded his execution. He also traveled extensively in Greece, Italy, Africa, and Egypt, consulting all the oracles of wisdom, and drinking from every intellectual and philosophical fountain. When to this we add the natural strength of his intellect, trained and improved by a long and rigid course of study and mental discipline, we need not wonder that he became “princeps philosophorum,” and presented more consistent and exalted ideas of God, of nature, and of the human soul, than are found in the writings of his cotemporaries. The Phædon contains the summing up of all he had been able to learn from all the sources of information within his reach. We may be confident, therefore, that we have in this production the "ne plus ultra" of heathenism upon this interesting subject.

The style of Plato is truly captivating. It is placed by the judgment of Aristotle at an equal distance from the elevation of poesy and the simplicity of prose. Cicero was so pleased with it, that he remarked, “If Jupiter should converse like men, he would clothe his ideas in the language of Plato.” Much of the grace and elegance of his style are lost in the process of translation, yet sufficient remains to indicate the ease and flowing eloquence with which he expressed his thoughts.

But though this book contains many just sentiments most beautifully expressed, and the perusal of it is a source of real pleasure to a correct taste, yet if we trace its pages with the expectation of finding those arguments which the mind

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