on this principle. Theology is essentially scholastic and dogmatic, and not practical in its character. From the pulpit and the clerical press we receive no scientific expositions of the elementary qualities of human and physical nature, and of the effects of developing these, under the guidance of intelligence, and moral and religious principle. We are not encouraged to found our practical conduct on the basis of nature, and to look for enjoyment as the legitimate result of following out her institutions. The general system of religious teaching is adverse to such principles. Nature stands condemned; it is regarded as debased; it is despised and neglected. If there shall be error in this sentence, it must be one of momentous magnitude, in regard to man's duty, both to his Creator and himself.

If, on the other hand, we assume that man and the external world, such as they now exist, are both direct emanations from the will of the Creator ; that the elements of both bear the impress of his wisdom and benevolence; and that the constitution of man, as a rational being, necessarily implies that it is his duty to develope his own powers, to apply them by his intelligence, and to direct them by his morality, as the means of attaining to enjoyment; then a different style of clerical teaching is imperatively called for. According to this view, the foundation of all improvement must be laid in a knowledge of the elements of human and physical nature; and the advancement of man must be accomplished by the proper application and direction of these elements; which application will become possible exactly in proportion to the discovery of the powers of the elements, and of their relationship. If we have reason farther to believe that the human mind itself is susceptible of great improvement in its moral and intellectual capacities, by physiological causes, cognisable by human intelligence, the obligation imposed on us to study our own nature, and improve it will be still more deeply felt and readily acknowledged.

It is a shallow objection to the latter views, that they arrogate to man the power of improving his own condition, which properly belongs only to God. The Creator displays equal power and goodness in conferring on a rational being faculties capable of developing themselves, as in applying from day to day spiritual influences to produce this effect. The full grown fruit is as much a gift of the Creator, as the seed from which it sprung; because its capacity to ripen was conferred by him, and he instituted all the agents by means of which it arrives at maturity. So is it in regard to man.

It is obvious that phrenology affords some assistance in determining which of these views of human qualities is most consonant to nature. The advocates of the depravity of man, refer to his violent passions, his limited understanding, his perverse will, and his countless crimes, as triumphant evidences of his inherent worthlessness and weakness. On the other side, the meekness and benevolence, the love of order, justice, elegance and refinement, the acute observation, the profound reflection, and the splendid monuments of art, science, and social life, which man has exhibited in his past career, are adduced as proofs of his possessing a superior nature. Phrenology shows and we hold the point to be positively demonstrable) that human beings exhibiting the former qualities, are endowed with organs of animal feeling disproportionately large in relation to their organs of intellect and moral sentiment; that those displaying the latter qualities, possess a developement of brain exactly the reverse in the proportions of its parts ; and that, by due attention to the laws of physiology, it is possible to diminish the numbers of the former, and increase those of the latter, to an extent of which the limits are not at present conjectured. Not only so; but there is reason to believe, that even the best qualities of the highest order of minds are still susceptible of great improvement.

If, then, these be physical facts, existing or operating, whether believed in or not, abiding in their nature, and irresistible in their consequences, it is clear that it is unwise to sound an alarm against them, without inquiring into their truth, on the bare assumption that they are adverse to Scripture ; especially when we consider that Christians are by no means unanimously agreed in regard to the extent of man's depravity, and that the unfavourable interpretations were put upon Scripture by divines who were utterly ignorant of the momentous truths now adverted to.

Phrenology gives a degree of clearness and precision to our views of the human constitution which was never before enjoyed; and it forces us, by the palpable nature of the facts which it presents to our consideration, to reason on ethical questions whether we will or not.

Again, all existing interpretations of Scripture have been adopted in ignorance of the fact, that, cæteris paribus, a brain preponderating greatly in the size of the animal organs over the moral and intellectual organs, has a native and instinctive tendency to immoral conduct, and vice versa ; and that the influence of the organisation is fundamental ; that is to say, that no means are yet known in nature, by which a brain of the inferior combination may be made to manifest the moral and intellectual faculties with equal success as a brain of the superior combination. Only phrenologists, who have observed, for many years, in various situations, and under different influences, the practical conduct of individuals constituted in these different ways, can conceive the importance of the combinations of the organs; but after it is discovered, the inferences from it are irresistible. The religious teachers of mankind are yet ignorant of the most momentous fact in


regard to the moral and intellectual improvement of the race which nature contains. We have heard it said that Christianity affords a better and a more instantaneous remedy for human depravity, than improvement in the cerebral organisation ; because the moment a man is penetrated by the love of God in Christ, his moral affections and intellect become far more elevated, whatever his brain may be, than those of any individual without that love, however high his cerebral developement may be, and however much he may be instructed in natural knowledge If the case were as here represented, there would be a power in operation on the human mind, which acted not in accordance with, but independently of, organisation; and, accord ingly, many excellent persons believe this to be Scriptural truth, and matter of fact also; but so far as our observations extend, we are compelled to dissent from the conclusion. We cannot doubt that the influence of the brain is established by the Creator, because he gave it all its qualities and effects; and as he is perfect wisdom and goodness, we cannot conceive one part of his works contradicting another. Farther, we have observed men in whom the moral and intellectual organs were large, proving themselves by their whole conduct on earth to be excellent Christians, which goes to support phrenology ; but we have never seen an individual with large animal, and small moral and intellectual organs, whose conduct was steadily moral, under the ordinary temptations of life, however high his religious professions might be. Indeed, we have seen several striking instances of person, who, after making a great profession of religion, ultimately disgraced its cause; and we have observed, without one exception, that in all these instances the organs of the inferior propensities were large, and those of one or more of the moral sentiments deficient; and we are convinced that the same conclusion, after sufficiently accurate and extensive observation, will force itself upon all candid and reflecting minds.

Our inference, therefore, is, that the Divine Spirit, revealed in Scripture as a power influencing the human mind, invariably acts in harmony with the laws of organisation ; and that a well constituted brain is a condition essential to the due manifestation of Christian dispositions. If this be really the fact, and if the constitution of the brain be in any degree regulated by the laws of physiology, it is impossible to doubt that phrenology is destined to exercise a vast influence on practical Christianity.

An admirable portion of Christianity is that in which the supremaey of the moral sentiments is explained and enforced as a practical doctrine, “ Love thy neighbour as thyself;" all mankind are thy neigh. bours. Blessed are the meek and the merciful; love those that hate you and despitefully use you ; seek that which is pure and holy, and of good report ;—these are precepts of Scripture. Now, phrenology enables us to demonstrate, that the human faculties, and external nature, are so constituted as to admit of this becoming a practical doctrine on earth, which it has rarely entered into the heart of man to conceive as a possibility without miraculous interference.

If phrenology shall carry home to the conviction of rational men, that the order of nature fairly admits of the practical exemplification of these precepts by the developement of its inherent resources, a new direction must necessarily be given to the pursuits of the religious instructors of mankind. In the dark ages which followed the subversion of the Roman Empire, men, through ignorance, converted Christianity into a vast system of superstition; in proportion as learning revived, the barbarous superstructures which had been raised on the simple foundations of the Gospel were cleared away; but the period from the revival of letters to the present day, has been the age of scholastic learning, as contradistinguished from that of philosophy and science. Christianity stands before us at present, as interpreted by men who knew extremely little of the science, either of external nature or of the human mind. They have conceived it to be a system of spiritual influences, of internal operations on the soul, and of repentant preparation for another world, rather than an exposition of pure and lofty principles inherent in human nature itself, capable of being largely developed and rendered practical in this world. It is a common accusation against philosophy, that the study of it renders men infidels; and this alleged fact is brought forward as a proof that human nature is corrupt, blind, and perverse, turning what ought to be its proper food into mortal poison. But if this were really a well founded charge, the conclusion which we would draw from it would be, that there must be essential errors in the popular interpretations of revelation, when the effect of a knowledge of nature on the mind is to lead to disbelief of its truth. Science is of modern growth, and, down to the present hour, the mass of Christians of every country have embraced their faith without the possibility of comparing it with the revelation of the Divine Will contained in the constitution of external nature, which, philosophically speaking, was unknown to them. For example: The brain is capable of being greatly improved by attention to the laws of physiology; and improvement in the brain will be accompanied by enlargement of the moral and intellectual capacities, and diminution of the animal propensities of the mind. These facts have been unknown by divines, who have denied the capability of mankind to attain, by the developement of their natural powers, to a higher moral condition than they have hitherto exhibited, and hence their decision against the capabilities of human nature has been pronounced causa non cognita, and must be open for reconsideration. If Christianity was freed from many errors by the revival and spread of mere scholastic learning in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, much more may we expect that the interpretations of it will be farther purified, corrected, and elucidated, by the flood of light which the sciences of human and physical nature, now in the course of cultivation, will one day shed upon it.

According to our view, the study of the human constitution, and of external nature, and of their relations, will become an object of paramount importance with reference to a just appreciation of the true meaning of Scripture. Civilised man sees infinitely more true and practical wisdom in Scripture than the savage of the wilderness, even supposing that the latter could read and understand the words of the sacred volume; and, in like manner, we humbly think that man, when thoroughly instructed in his own constitution, and in that of external nature, will discover still profounder truth, and more admirable precepts in that record, than ignorant, contentious, blind, and conceited man, such as he has hitherto existed. These observations may perhaps appear presumptuous to those who do not admit phrenology to be a true exposition of the Divine Law in the constitution of man. To such persons we are able to offer no apology. We have done our best to ascertain the truth of what we teach, and that truth appears to us to be too momentous to be hidden. If they, without submitting the question to investigation, as we have done, choose to condemn us on the strength of their own preconceived opinions, we appeal from their sentence to men better imbued with philosophy, and more thoroughly acquainted with practical Christianity, and conclude in the words of Dr. Whately, that " we are bound to use our own natural faculties in the search after all that is within the reach of these faculties, and that most especially ought we to try, by their own proper evidence, questions which form no part of revelation properly so called, but which are incidentally alluded to in the Sacred Writings."



Professor Tiedeman says that the average weight of European brains is from 3 lbs. 2 oz. to 4 lbs. 6 oz., troy ; but the average of four Negro brains, from which he drew his conclusions, will be found

« VorigeDoorgaan »