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suggestions, still, in despite of himself, acknowledges her rights. It is a mighty argument for the virtue of the Governor above, that all the laws and injunctions of the governor below are on the side of virtue. It seems as if He had left this representative, or remaining witness, for Himself, in a world that had cast off its allegiance; and that, from the voice of the judge within the breast, we may learn the will and the character of Him who hath invested with such authority His dictates. It 8 this which speaks as much more demonstratively jor the presidency of a righteous God in human affairs, than for that of impure or unrighteous demons, as did the rod of Aaron, when it swallowed the rods of the enchanters and magicians in Egypt. In the wildest anarchy of man's insurgent appetites and sins, there is still a reclaiming voicema voice which, even when in practice disregarded, it is impossible not to own; and to which, at the very moment that we refuse our obedience, we find that we cannot refuse the homage of what we ourselves do feel and acknowledge to be the best, the highest principles of our nature.
12. The question then is, would any other than a God of righteousness have made creatures of such a moral constitution at the first-and, however inexplicable its subsequent derangement may be, would He have left a conscience in every breast which gave such powerful testimony to the worth and the permanent importance of morality ? Shaded in all its original lineaments as the character of man now is, and dethroned although virtue be from the actual sovereignty, is there not still amongst us a general and abiding sense of her rightful sovereignty ?, Would even this imperfect but universal homage continue to be given, were it a wicked Being who presided over the great family of Nature, or breathed life and spirit and sentiment into the human framework?. Would He have placed so deeply within us that faculty by which as if with moral compulsion we are constrained to hold in supreme reverence, the goodness which in all its characteristics is the reverse and the counterpart of his own nature ? Would He have endowed the creatures which himself hath made with an admiration of all that is most opposite to himself and how, if He be unrighteous hath He put into every bosom such an indelible sense of the obligation and precedency of righteousness ? Righteousness does not bear actual and unexcepted rule in the world—but there is a conscience in every man which proclaims that this rule it ought to have, and that though wrested from it, it is by the force of principles which are felt to be in their own nature inferior to Conscience. Had there been no Conscience in man, each propensity may at times have had its own temporary sway—as if gods of unequal strength shared the dominion over them. But there being a Conscience, invested with a rightful if not with an actual ascendancy which still keeps a remaining hold of our nature, and within the recesses of a Moral System, in evident disorder still causes its voice to be heard—this phenomenon, of itself, gives a blow to impure Polytheism, or at least degrades each member thereof to the rank of an inferior deity. The question is whether He be a good or an evil spirit who presides over the destinies of our species. Were he an unrighteous God who has full sway over us, why is Conscience, that faculty which disowns unrighteousness and outlaws it, permitted by him to assume the rank of an arbiter and not only to speak but to speak as one having authority? If the actual Artificer of man's moral mechanism be a wicked or a malignant spirit, it seems inexplicable that he should have placed such a judge and arbiter within usone who bore constant testimony against the wrongness and the worthlessness of his own character. Thus to have written reproach against himself in every heart is just as inexplicable as if he had legibly written his own disgrace upon every forehead. It is true on the other hand, that if he be a righteous God who governs our world, Humanity is in a state of revolt against him—the result however not of the principles but of the passions, or of what Humanity itself judges and feels to be the inferior of its faculties still He is borne witness to by that within the breast which claims to be the superior, the supreme faculty, and which obviously announces itself to be if not de facto, at least de jure the ruling power. i
13. However difficult from the very simplicity of the subject it may be, to state or to reason the argument for a God, which is founded on the supremacy of Conscience, still historically and experimentally, it will be found, that it is of more force than all other arguments put together, for originating and upholding the natural theism which there is in the world. The theology of Conscience
is not only of wider diffusion, but of far more practical influence than the theology of academic demonstration, The ratiocination by which this theology is established, is not the less firm or the less impressive, that, instead of a lengthened process, there is but one step between the premises and the conclusion-or, that the felt presence of a judge within the breast, powerfully and immediately suggests the notion of a Supreme Judge and Sovereign, who placed it there. Upon this question, the mind does not stop short at mere abstraction; but, passing at once from the abstract to the concrete, from the law of the heart it makes the rapid inference of a lawgiver. It is the very rapidity of this inference which makes it appear like intuition; and which has given birth to the mystic theology of innate ideas. Yet the theology of Conscience disclaims such mysticism, built, as it is, on a foundation of sure and sound reasoning; for the strength of an argumentation in nowise depends upon the length of it. The sense of a governing principle within, begets in all men the sentiment of a living Governor without and above them, and it does so with all the speed of an instantaneous feeling; yet it is not an impression, it is an inference notwithstanding—and as much so as any inference from that which is seen, to that which is unseen. There is, in the first instance, cognizance taken of a fact if not by the outward eye, yet as good, by the eye of consciousness which has been termed the faculty of internal observation. And the consequent belief of a God, instead of being an instinetive sense of the Divinity, is the fruit of an inference grounded on that fact. There is instant transition made, from the sense of a Monitor within to the faith of a living Sovereign above; and this argument, described by all, but with such speed as almost to warrant the expression of its being felt by all, may be regarded, notwithstanding the force and fertility of other considerations, as the great prop of natural religion among men.
14. At all events it is of the utmost value in Theology—that there should be so much of Truth and of supremely important Truth placed so near us as to be laid hold of immediately by the mind; without the intervention of reasoning and without any sensible exertion on the part of the discursive faculty, or of that faculty by which it is, that we arrive at some distant conclusion by a train of inferences. Such for example are those truths which are seen, not merely in the light of the external senses but in the light of consciousness, and which instantly become manifest on the attention of the mind being turned towards them.
There needs in these instances no lengthened argumentation to carry the belief—for the thing in question becomes palpable by our own vivid and intimate consciousness of our own nature. The supremacy of Conscience is one of those truths not come at by a series of stepping-stones—but seen at once, in the light of what may be termed an instant manifestation. Now certain it is, that this Fact or Phenomenon in our nature, depones strongly both for a God and for the supreme righteousness of His Nature. But it depones to