« הקודםהמשך »
same manner, although one has lost his first integrity and innocence, he need only excite the good that remains, use pains and industry and he will infallibly arrive at the highest virtue.
The state of the wise is called “the Reason of Heaven,” or the first rule which heaven has equally distributed to all men, and which the saints have always observed, without turning either on the right hand, or on the left."
The wise man is always pleased, and he alone_Virtue renders his spirit quiet, nothing troubles him, nothing disquiets him, because he practises not virtue for a reward—the practice of virtue is the sole recompense he expects.
The natural light, is only a perpetual conformity of our soul with the laws of heavenmen never can lose this light. It is true, that the heart of man being inconstant and wavering, it is sometimes covered over with so many clouds, that it seems wholly extinguished. The wise man experiences it himself; for he may fall into small errors and commit light offences: yet the man cannot be virtuous, while he is in this state ; it would be a contradiction to say it.”
Menu, who lived near a thousand years before the Christian era, and who is looked upon in Indostan, as Confucius in China ; left behind
him writings which form the basis of the Hin. doo law; they were translated by William Jones, and the author of his life, speaking of them says, “ that a spirit of sublime devotion, of benevolence to mankind, and of amiable tenderness to all creatures, pervades the whole work, and that the sentiments of independence upon all beings but God are truly noble. And the many panegyrics upon Gayatri, the mother as it is called of the Veda, prove the author to have adored, not the visible sun, but that divine and greater light, to use the words of the most venerable Indian scripture, “ which illumines all, delights all, from which all proceed, to which all must return, and which can alone irradiate."
In what Christian country can we find a more pointed and explicit public recognition of the Divine law in man, than that contained in the following address, which the judges in the Hindoo courts, are directed to make to the witness? " The soul itself is its own witness: the soul itself is its own refuge: offend not thy conscious soul, the supreme internal witness of man! The sinful have said in their hearts, none see us ; yes
the gods distinctly see them, and so does the spirit within their breasts."*
. Graham's Letters,
As in Asia so in the western Hemisphere, the same eternal principle is every where spoken of and acknowledged. The American Indians have had no writers among them, to leave behind them records of the feelings of other times ; they have been considered as more the children of nature, than almost any other people; yet in our intercourse with them, they always refer to the agency of the “Great Spirit ;” and it is doing them only common justice to say, that many of those virtues which are thought to adorn the Christian character, are more conspicuously displayed among them, than in most civilized nations. General Wilkinson, whose long official intercourse with the Indians, is well known, has stated, that he never knew them first to break a treaty; the aggression always com. menced with white men.
Heckewelder who resided forty years among the Indians, commends in high terms their probity and justice; he states that they consider themselves to be a purer race of people than the whites; that they say,
they have no need of any book to teach them the will of their maker, they find it engraved on their own hearts, they have had sufficient discernment given them to distinguish good from evil, and that
by following that guide they are sure not to
But though I have stated the sentiments of a few men, and could produce many others, I am so far from appealing to them as any authority, that I believe, dwelling upon their testimony, for the knowledge of revelation, would tend to divert the mind from that evidence, which alone can bring conviction of it. I
appeal not to books or men, but to the feelings within the breast. Where is the person that can say, that he has not been shown good from evil by intuitive feelings. To attempt to prove that the principle exists within us, would be, to unbiassed minds, as unnecessary as to prove that God exists without us--and because it is obscured by our selfish feelings, it is no more proof of its non-existence, than that the sun does not shine, because we do not always see it; yet such is the prevalence of priest-craft statitas.cl and in this term I never mean to refer to the price contrivances of those called priests in particu. lar, but to every scheme which does, in principle or fact, attempt to beguile men, by diverting them from the simplicity of that religion, which is pure and spiritual ; to the Bible or any
* Historical and Literary Transactions.
other thing, as the rule of their lives it is not men that I am speaking of, but principles.
The Christians have their Bible, the Mahomedans their Koran, the Hindoo the writings of Menu and their own Scriptures, and the Chinese the precepts of Confucius: they all have their particular merits, and so far as each may have its basis in the unchangable and everlasting truth, they are entitled to the same consi. deration; and it is no less extraordinary that one people should pay divine honours to the Ko. ran, than another to the Bible.
The Bible is one of the great Idols of Christians, no man that keeps a single eye unto God, can look upon it as a rule of life; in proportion as it is exalted in the minds of men, it holds the place of the principle of eternal truth; it usurps the place of God, it fills his throne, and takes his glory— The Bible is in no manner or way whatever, a pary rule for the life of man; it never was designed as such, and is perverted from its only proper use, when it is made so. I have no wish to derogate from its real merits; as the re. cord of the sentiments of pious men, it is entitled to respectful attention; but the real and true use of the Bible, is to lead men to the light : when it ceases to do this, it is an Idol indeed, and from which the pious man would as certainly