« הקודםהמשך »
And fancy's fond illusions beam
“ Since earth is but a desert shore, and life a weary dream.”
A weary dream indeed is life,
Beset with bitterest woes :
The sepulchre's repose.
He never wakes to weep.
In death's enduring sleep.
Then thrown unheeded by.
And then neglected die.
And ere you turn to tread
Think, think upon the dead.
APPLICATION OF METAPHYSICS TO SCRIPTURE.
“ But Christ's lore and his Apostles twelve
The great object of human existence of rewards and punislıments, still it will should be the regeneration of the heart. leave the subjects of its government in The principle by which this is to be every case, open to the accidental reeffected, must be one which will supply sults of contending passions, or the imnew motives of action, flowing either perfect check of reason. As in the from general laws or generated by par- natnral world we find the dusky twiticular impulses, as well as eradicate light of evening lingering on till it those vicious propensities inherent in gradually melts into the dark gloom of our nature. Whether in his unaided night, while the grey glimmering of strength, an individual submits to the morning springs into the risen light, imperious dictation of passion, or regu
so the influence of gospel grace, by lates his conduct by a rule of mere pouring the light of eternal truth into rationality, he will find that the flash the recesses of the human heart, vigoof the one or the ray of the other, can rously expels all its clouded corrupnever light him far on his road through tions and gloomy passions, while over life. The works of Providence form a the obscure and dismal sanctions of the system; every part of which has some law, those corruptions float in buoyant relation to, and will be affected by, the and dubious suspension. At this eventmovements and condition of other por- ful period of the history of man, when tions; and as it is necessary to have a those who feel that the gospel is the knowledge of the consequences of any power of God unto salvation, are clingaction upon a system, before we can ing to its consolations ; when, with one determine how far that action is likely arm resting in faith and humility upon to be beneficial or detrimental, it fol- the altar, they are called upon to raise lows that the clearer man's views, the the other, in defence of those blessed more extended his knowledge of crea truths which reason demonstrates and tion, and of the Creator's dealings with revelation declares to be the only prinmankind, the more competent is he to ciples for the guidance of man as an estimate the qualites of actions. Pas- immortal being, the analysis of the sion only dwells on the immediate con- operations of those principles of divine sequences; reason and conscience can grace and omnipotent love must be a only determine the proximate results, subject of surpassing interest. The and revelation alone declares the ulti- savage will trace omnipotence in the mate effects of human conduct. But thunder; he will tremble at the howlings revelation goes further; it supplies of the storm, while he marks the avengthe machinery by which the human ing voice of the author of nature : but heart is to be remodelled, and the prin- the Christian's prerogative is to trace ciple by which man's conduct is to be the operations of divine love in the directed, a principle which not only still small voice that whispers carries within it a general and immu “Peace on earth; good will towards man.” table law, but supplies to the particular If, therefore, scriptural truth be a pearl affections of our nature an object for of priceless value, and if the seat of its their beneficial gratification, while it operation be the human heart, and its places a restraint upon their pernicious principal communications be made indulgence. A moral code could not through the medium of language from so operate upon the moral constitution the word of revelation, it cannot be deof man; give it the ordinary sanction nied that the cultivation of metaphysi
cal and moral science may be rendered moral science, it appears that the full powerfully subservient to the great end revelation of God's will, and the maniof inculcating the lessons of divine festation of his character in our Reknowledge. In society there appear deemer, is the only safe guide for a to be three classes of individuals. "The wandering sinner. In order to shew first are those who believe that the with what advantage these sciences may gospel was sent to man as glad tidings be called in aid, in a clear analysis of of great joy. The second (amongst the holy symmetry, the regenerating whom are to be reckoned the sup- influences and the internal evidences porters of the gospel of the govern- of the divine character of the Chrisment) are those who profess to believe tian's creed, it may be important to that a revelation was given, but that give a few examples of the applica"the glad tidings” are not to go to but tion of such principles of these sciences from man to his fellow men. The third as may be considered more peculiarly are atheists, who deny the Creator as adapted to the purposes of such an revealed in his Son. Upon the princi- analysis. ple already established, that a more The operations of matter upon mind, perfect knowledge, which can alone be and the degree in which the latter is had from a more extensive intimacy affected by the former, appears to conwith revelation, leads to a sounder rule stitute the distinction between man and of life, it can at once be proved that man, and man and the inferior animals; the second and third classes are court- and this in reference to the principle ing the darkness of error. The third already stated, that the competence of is more consistent in its blindness than an individual to determine the quality the second. For while the latter can of an action, depends upon the extent not deny the necessity of divine assist- of his acquaintance with that vast sysance, and thereby acknowledge the tem of which he forms an atom. Thus paramount importance of revelation, many of the inferior animals can perthey with a singular fatuity close up ceive and remember; but on examinthe fountains of that living water which ation it will be found, that whatever in alone (as they dare not deny) can them appears to partake of rationality quench the burning thirst of the weary is simply subservient to their temporal pilgrim. They would control man's wants, and thus circumscribed by the licentiousness by a code of decent mo influence of matter. They have parrality, but not awaken his affections by ticular appetites or affections which are a system of grace and reconciliation. at once directed by instinct to the ob. Again, be it remembered that their jects of their gratification. Man in his system, like every system of human natural state, has these particular affeccontrivance, fails in supplying a proper tions, together with a principle by object for the affections of our nature, which he may, at his discretion, conalthough perhaps its sanctions may, in trol their gratification: but in this naparticular cases, prevent the indulgence tural state, (that is independent of of a passion in reference to a perni- revelation) he has not, and cannot have cious object. So that at most such vir- the knowledge requisite to enable him tue can only be negative ; the offspring to exercise a safe and sound discretion; of fear ; the toilsome duty of the gals and furthermore, this discretion is ley slave ; no labour of love, no posi- mainly exercised in prohibition and not tive holiness, no cheerful subservience in the proper developement of those to the divine will. They would read affections to promote the Creator's the great commandment, as if it were glory, by positive acts of obedience and written, “ Thou shalt fear the Lord thy holiness. There is no advancement in God," &c., and even then they would moral excellence. When Saint Paul fear man rather than God; for he who speaks of the natural law of the Genwould compromise the integrity of tiles, it is not that that law is sufficient scripture, rather than offend the preju- for spiritual guidance, but only as a dices of a fellow sinner, betrays a fear branch of that great proposition which of the creature without the love or he demonstrates, and which is the lear of the Creator. Like Saul's com- foundation of all religion, that in every panions, such see the light, but hear condition of man, he has light enough not the voice that speaks. Upon the afforded hinı to convince him that he principles then of metaphysical and is an offender against that light, and
that his own efforts to save himself of God, therefore, cannot be obtained must necessarily be fruitless and un- by the ordinary process of the human availing. Let us now examine the mind ; and, therefore, without the maprocess of the human mind in gene- nifestation of God in Christ, and the ralization. The inherent power of the communication of the Divine Spirit, it infant mind, is but a capacity to receive is clear as demonstration that man canimpressions through the medium of the not know God. If he cannot, without
It must primarily be affected these aids, know Him, he cannot know by individual objects, and hence the His dealings ; and, consequently, cansensations produced, must be single and not, without these aids, determine on unconnected. The mind thus acquires any sound general law of action, or materials, which appear to be only its safely act upon the impulses of passion particular states or affections created by or appetite, or propose any proper qualities of matter. The mind exer- object for the developement of his cising itself on these, acquires a new affections. By the very nature of man, train of ideas. An idea may be pro- time and space are laws of his mind ; perly defined to be that particular con- he cannot, therefore, understand the dition or affection of the mind, when peace of God; he cannot conceive the engaged in contemplating the qualities joys of Christian blessedness ; he canof external, material objects, or the not, unquestionably, on the same prinsensations which they produce. Being ciple, rectify his condition to prepare at one period affected in a certain man- for an eternal dwelling in the world to ner by a definite object, or a definite come, because his thoughts and actions sensation, and being at another period are limited by time and space. Now, affected in a similar manner by a certain as many errors flow from the discussion other object or sensation, the mind of questions wherein general terms are from a feeling of partial resemblance used, and to which different individuals considers these two affections under affix different meanings, according to one head, and thus begins to classify the extent of the abstraction followed and arrange; and so proceeds to the out by each, so the greatest variety of formation of an abstract or general fallacies spring from an inattention to idea. It is material to observe how. this leading truth, that time and space ever that the process is from particu- are laws of the human mind. Thus as lars to generals, as will be of much to the Scripture doctrine of Divine importance when we come to examine omniscience and election. A common the idea of God. The only idea we argument is drawn from what is called can have of a substance is, that the God's forc-knowledge, as creating a mind is affected in a certain way by a necessity, and, therefore, extinguishing number of qualities; and by abstraction, human responsibility. God's knowwe may consider the isolated effect of ledge is not qualified; it is not subject any number of these qualities indepen- to the limitation of time. All events are dently of those which remain unnoticed. at once apprehended by God's omniBy this process we can reduce sub- science, and consequently no argument stances to a general class, by considering can be drawn from for e-knowledge as those qualities which are similar, and contradistinguished to the knowledge of omitting to consider those in which the past events ; or, in other words, there substances differ. On this position the must be error in applying to the eternal Socinian error is founded ; and the and omniscient Creator, a conclusion fallacy is obvious, because Christ is drawn from a quality of knowledge, only therein considered with reference growing out of the limitations or laws to a portion of his nature, and as con- of a fallen and imperfect creature. So, trasted with mankind. The positive again, there must be boundless error nature of a Saviour cannot be deter- when God is not beheld in Christ. mined by that which is founded upon There we have all his attributes reduced comparison and abstraction ; and, con to the comprehension of human capasequently, to determine the true nature city, and subject to the original laws of of that Saviour, we are not to omit any human sympathy. Close the pages of of the Divine attributes of his character. Divine Revelation, and in vain you So with our notion of God. So far as search for Divine sympathy for human we render it comparative or abstract, frailty. Where is there such a God as it must be erroneous. The true notion the God of the Bible, manifested in the
Hesh? · Our fellow-sufferer ; our con- bishop Magee, One apparent error, tinual intercessor.
however, in his views, deserves to be The instrument by which the mind noticed, namely, that resemblance is of man is supplied with the thoughts not the origin of generalization. He of others, is called language, the analyzes the case of a child, designating very nature of which implies that several persons by the name of father. the thoughts which its symbols re He says—“ The child, it is true, may present, must have an existence pre- give the name of father to an individual vious to those symbols; and, conse like to the person it has been taught to quently, general or abstract ideas must call by that name ; but this is from have had an existence before general mistake, not from design ; from a conterms. The feeling of partial resem fusion of the two as the same person, blances causes the formation of the and not from a perception of resemgeneralidea ; conventional arrangement blance between them whilst known to or arbitrary formation creates the gene- be different.” It would appear, howral term ; and, as has been already ever, that, by the term father, a child remarked, great fallacy arises from the expresses the idea produced by seeing impracticability of having the precise an individual who has been in the habit meaning of such terms clearly settled, of caressing or fondling it ; whose acso much is left to individual caprice. tions have thus produced a certain This would solve many apparent para- feeling upon its mind, and, therefore, it doxes and moral enigmas in the writings naturally and correctly applies the term of learned and eminent men. But a father, to every person whose actions different view of the origin of general produce these sensations. But if, in terms has been taken by Smith, and maturer years, it discovers that in the approved of by Dugald Stewart. Ac- received use of the term, other qualities cording to this view, a savage, seeing are comprehended besides those which a particular object, which he designates it supposed the term to include, and a tree, on seeing another object, posses- which additional qualities limit the apsing a resemblance to the former, ap- plicability of the term, it then accomplies to it the same name or appellation, modates its application of the term to, and so on ; and thus the name, which and corrects it by, the received meanwas before a particular denomination, ing attached to the term. The errors becomes a general term. Now, in the of both Smith and Magee appear to instance aduced, the word tree is the result from their assuming the presign, and is used by the savage to de- existence of the sign, and hence the signate a particular object ; that is, to fallacy, because the thing signified must espress the feeling or affection of his be formed before the symbol can be mind, produced by the contemplation applied as a sign to express that thing of that object, or rather by the various so signified. The term is the sign, the qualities of that particular object to idea the thing so signified. And as in which the name is primarily applied. the process of abstraction, the particular That naine, therefore, cannot be applied idea, designated by a particular term, to express the affection of his mind pro- becomes changed, the term must also be duced by any but the same qualities in changed. But it is a manifest fallacy another object : as a sign can only re to suppose and assume the term as present the one thing signified, that is formed, when we analyze the theory the one affection or condition of the of its formation ; in doing so, the mind. A symbol and a sign are very reasoning must be in a circle. In different ; the one being merely an Smith's theory, the general idea is to be arbitrary character ; tbe other being a obtained from a single sensation, which chosen representative. If Sunith’s it manifestly is not ; or it is to be obprinciple be correct, then, in the very tained by comparison. In the latter first application of the term tree, case, the appellation by which the the abstract general idea of a tree is savage designates the first tree, and formed ; and, consequently, we might which includes all its qualities which have an abstract idea of a class of objects affect the mind, would be erroneously or sensations, by only having seen one applied to designate another object not object or experienced a single sensation. possessing all those qualities; and, thereThis subject was handled with con- fore, would not bethe same sign, though siderable acuteness by the late Arch- it might be the same symbol. A learned