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powers and character given him with an intention on the Creator's part that this sense of duty should occupy its place in his constitution as an active and thinking being : and that this directive and judiciary principle is a part of the work of the same Author who made the elements to minister to the material functions, and the arrangements of the world to occupy the individual and social affections of his living creatures.
“ This principle of conscience, it may be further observed, does not stand upon the same level as the other impulses of our constitution by which we are prompted or restrained. By its very nature and essence, it possesses a supremacy over all others. 'Your obligation to obey this law is its being the law of your nature. That your conscience approves of and attests such a course of action is itself alone an obligation. Conscience does not only offer itself to show us the way we should walk in, but it likewise carries its own authority with it, that it is our natural guide: the guide assigned us by the author of our nature.'
That we ought to do an action, is of itself a sufficient and ultimate answer to the questions, why we should do it ?-how we are obliged to do it? The conviction of duty implies the soundest reason, the strongest obligation, of which our nature is susceptible.
“We appear then to be using only language which is well capable of being justified, when we speak of this irresistible esteem for what is right, this conviction of a rule of action extending beyond the gratification of our irreflective impulses, as an impress stamped upon the human mind by the Deity himself; a trace of His nature; an indication of His will; an announcement of His purpose ; a promise of His favor : and though this faculty may need to be confirmed and unfolded, instructed and assisted by other aids, it still seems to contain in itself a sufficient intimation that the highest objects of man's existence are to be attained, by means of a direct and intimate reference of his thoughts and actions to the Divine Author of his being.
Such, then, is the Deity to which the researches of natural theology point; and so far is the train of reflections in which we have engaged, from being merely speculative and barren. With the material world we cannot stop. If a superior Intelligence have ordered and adjusted the succession of seasons and the structure of the plants of the field, we must allow far more than this at first sight would seem to imply. We must admit still greater powers, still higher wisdom for the creation of the beasts of the forest with their faculties; and higher wisdom still and more transcendent attributes, for the creation of man. And when we reach this point, we find that it is not knowledge only, not power only, not foresight and beneficence alone, which we
must attribute to the Maker of the World ; but that we must consider him as the Author, in us, of a reverence for moral purity and rectitude ; and, if the author of such emotions in us, how can we conceive of Him otherwise, than that these qualities are parts of his nature ; and that he is not only wise and great, and good, incomparably beyond our highest conceptions, but also conformed in his purposes to the rule which he thus impresses upon us, that is, Holy in the highest degree which we can imagine to ourselves as possible."-pp. 202, et. seq.
“But with sense and consciousness the history of living things only begins. They have instincts, affections, passions, will. How entirely lost and bewildered do we find ourselves when we endeavor to conceive these faculties communicated by means of general laws! Yet they are so communicated from God, and of such laws he is the lawgiver. At what an immeasurable interval is he thus placed above every thing which the creation of the inanimate world alone would imply; and how far must he tran. scend all ideas founded on such laws as we find there!”—p. 278.
To these it will suffice to add a single brief extract; and we do it, partly because it seems indirectly to recognize the truth of the assertion made by some, that our capacity of conceiving of God, is itself a proof of his existence.
“ It would indeed be extravagant to assert that the imagination of the creature, itself the work of God, can invent a higher point of goodness, of justice, of holiness, than the Creator himself possesses : that the Eternal Mind, from whom our notions of good and right are derived, is not himself directed by the rules which these notions imply.”—p. 282.
There are several parts of this work which we would gladly notice ; but we can only commend to the especial attention of our readers the two original chapters, one on inductive, the other on deductive habits. In these the author shows, together with the reason of it, that the great discoverers in the several departments of nature have been theists; and accounts philosophically for the deplorable atheism of such men as Laplace.
INFLUENCE OF MORAL TRUTH ON THE UNDER
The adaptation of the Christian religion to invigorate the human understanding, like its tendency to improve all and each of the other faculties of the soul, has never yet received that attention which it ought, and which it eventually will receive from moral and mental philosophers. We are glad to commit ourselves both in writing and in speaking, upon this subject whenever a fair opportunity occurs, for we firmly believe it to be one of interesting and instructive discovery
At present, we ask the attention of our readers to but one of the aspects in which this subject presents itself to the mind ;—the adaptation of a correct religious faith, when embraced by the understanding, but especially when experimentally felt by the heart—to keep the deductions of the intellect in harmony with facts.
The God of heaven has instituted so intimate a connection between his providence and his word, that we daily meet with facts exhibited in the one, which can only be satisfactorily explained by the truths which are recorded in the other. If a disbeliever in those truths undertakes to reason upon such facts, although he may proceed very well for a little way, by mingling perhaps a little truth forced upon him by conscience, with much error-still he cannot hold out long in the support of his own theory. He will find it to be continually at war with the things which he is constantly meeting, and he will be embarrassed, and he will hesitate; or, finding himself hindered thus by insurmountable difficulties in his apparently eloquent and successful career, he will beg, after the manner of some popular writers of the present day, whom we could designate if required—not to be misunderstood; and without attempting to push his theory to its legitimate consequences, by cutting his way through a huge wall of opposing facts, he will leave that part of the field for better and greater men to clear, and go to some other part of the subject, less at war with what he has been advancing,
and not requiring such close thought, and minute analysis, and clear illustration.
If we take the great and solemn truth of the depravity of the human heart, rightly explained, allowing to men in their natural state, warm social affections, and not asserting that every one is just as bad, in every particular, as he can be, nor affirming that there are no degrees in iniquity ; but maintaining that mankind are not naturally actuated by the emotion of supreme love to God, and impartial love to men, and that therefore all their thoughts, words, and actions, until they experience a moral change, are selfish and therefore sinful If we take this doctrine, and choose from among the multitude two men of acute minds and equal natural talents; one of whom receives it as true, while the other rejects it as false; we shall find that in discussing any question of right and wrong, either in political or civil government, he who recognizes the doctrine as true, will exhibit the greater degree of intellectual power, and the more commanding eloquence. His theory will correspond with facts. He can take up illustrations of the principles he advances from every page in the long history of man, and from the occurrences of common life around him, during each day of his existence. He can thus commend himself to every man's conscience. As he declares his sentiments to his fellowmen, either in writing or in words, their own experience and observation will go along with him ; nature will bear witness for him, and echo back his words of wisdom from every corner of her secret places.
Analyze, with this principle in view, the treatise of Burke on the French revolution; or the speech of Sheridan in the British parliament, in behalf of the Begums of India; or that of the earl of Chatham, in favor of the colonies of America; and it will be found, if we mistake not, that the cause which imparts to these compositions much of their power over mankind, is their general accordance with moral facts, which the consciences and experience of all men testify to be true. Each of them implies the depraved moral character of man, and the necessity of a strong influence over his moral faculties, to make him what he ought to be. If we consult the orators of our own country, we shall find that the same principle is developed. The great cause which gives to them their force, consists not so much in their noble bursts of feeling, and noble sentiments of patriotism, as in the strong lines of moral truth which are interwoven with the warp and woof of their texture. A perusal of the speech of a living orator, delivered in the senate of our country, on a resolution concerning the public lands, will present an interesting illustration of this. In the whole of his lucid exposition of the constitution, there may be traced a striking recognition of the great principles of the law of God, promoting, as it does, the greatest good of each part of the moral system, by a noble and impartial attention to the general welfare of the whole.
İt occurred to us very forcibly while we read it, that the moral influence of New England preaching might there be seen, instilling, imperceptibly, but effectually, the principles of the moral government of God into the mental habits of her children.
We may betake ourselves even to heathen history, and choose from Sallust, or Tacitus, or Livy, the speeches of the mighty of other days; and it will be found that the productions which are calculated to live the longest, and which excite the highest degree of interest and admiration in all succeeding generations, are those in which we find the greatest amount of moral truth expressed or implied. This causes them to accord with facts which are developed in all ages of the world ; and we can therefore conceive of no possible combinations of things in the history of man, where there will not be a niche in the temple of fame to be occupied by them. They will always, as now, be presenting sentiments to be cited and pondered on, as proverbs of wisdom, by thinking men, because they commend themselves to the consciences of men--they show “ the work of the law written in their hearts"—they are the echoes of truths which the voice of nature hath spoken, trumpet-tongued, from the works of God, and they harmonize, throughout all time, with the lessons which are delivered in His word.
Thus, as we analyze the greatest literary productions of past or present times, we find that a correct moral theory is essential to the permanent effects of the intellect of man. This alone, as it is expressed or implied, can cause the productions of his genius to live, for this alone causes them to harmonize with facts. It is only the righteous, or those who have recorded the principles of the righteous, who shall be had in everlasting remembrance. The name of the wicked shall rot. It is at once interesting and instructing to observe, as we look over those productions of the human understand