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paper, hath the same relations and properties with the triangle which comprehends any portion however large of immensity. It is enough that what is predicated of the line which extends but a few inches may also be predicated of the same line when prolonged to the outskirts of creation. And thus it is, that after observation hath done its work and collected what may be styled the facts of Astronomy, there is a capability in the human spirit, and upon no other materials than what may lie within the compass of a table, to unravel the principles of its wondrous mechanism-and in the little chamber of thought, to elaborate a doctrine which shall truly represent the universe and is realized in its most distant processes.
19. Now whence were the mathematics by which he made an achievement so marvellous—whence were these mathematics derived ? pose it is a sufficient answer to this question that he had not to go abroad for them. They may have enabled him to scan the cycles of heavenbut most certainly heaven's lofty concave is not the page from which his geometry was drawn. Το obtain the necessary mathematics he has not to travel beyond the limits of his own humble apartment-and though in person he may have never wandered from the secluded valley that bounds his habitation, yet, such is the power of this home instrument, that it can carry him in thought through the remotest provinces of nature, and give him the intellectual mastery over them. He needs not have gone half-a-mile in quest of those conceptions which lie in little room within the receptacle of his
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bosom. There may have been some obscurely initial or rudimental business of observation at the outset of his mental history, ere his notions of a line or a number or a quantity were settled; but it is an observation that might have all been carried on within a cell or a hermitage: And the important thing to be remarked is, that these notions, of homeward growth and origin though they be, are available on the field of the celestial as well as on that of the terrestrial Physics—and that when once by observation the respective data of each are ascertained, the same mathematics are applicable to both.
20. And it is just so in Moral Philosophy. This science hath its objects that are ascertained by observation—and, apart from these, it hath its Ethics, in virtue of which it can assign the moral relations that subsist between these objects. The facts of the science are just as distinct from the ethics of the science, as the facts of Natural Philosophy are from the mathematics of Natural Philosophy. By observation we can know of certain particulars in the state, or of certain passages in the history of two human beings—and, not by means of any further observation, but by certain ethical principles and by these alone, we can pronounce on the moral relationship that is between them, and on the proprieties of that relationship. Let us but know of any two men, that the one is a friendly and disinterested benefactor, and that the other is a dependant on his liberalities
or of the one that he is the generous lender, and of the other that he is the debtor who had promised and
is now in circumstances to repay—or of the one that he is an injured party, and of the other that he is now a prostrate offender honestly offering every reparation, and pouring out from the sincerity of a contrite bosom the acknowledgments and the vows of a deep-felt repentance: these are the facts of so many distinct cases presented to view either by our own observation or by the credible testimony of others; and it is not by means of any further observation, it is not by the aid of any additional facts that we learn what be the moralities which belong to each of them. Observation, whether in Natural or in Moral Philosophy, furnishes only the data. It is by a mathematics in the one case, and by an ethics in the other that we draw our conclusions from these data. The gratitude that we should render to a benefactor, the fidelity that we should observe with a creditor, the forgiveness that we should award to a penitent: these are not the lessons of observation any more than the axioms or the demonstrated truths of geometry. And as in Natural Philosophy we should distinguish between the facts of every question and its mathematics; so is there a similar distinction to be observed between the facts and the ethics of every question in Moral Philosophy.*
While impressing the distinction between the ethics and the objects of Theology, it may be asked whence did our knowledge of the ethics originate—and how is it that they differ in respect of origination from our knowledge of the objects? We have already remarked that some rudimental, some obscurely initial process of observation, may, for aught we know, have been con-cerned in the first evolution whether of our ethical or our mathematical conceptions; but that after these conceptions had been formed, there was no further observation necessary on our part
21. This helps us to understand what the precise nature of the transition is, when we pass from the terrestrial to the celestial of moral science. We pass to other data; but we have the same
for the completion of the respective systems of these two sciences. It is very likely that had we never been in converse either by touch or sight with external substances, we might never have attained our present notions of position or direction or quantity; and so the principles of our mathematical nature might have lain in dormancy and never been evolved. And it is just as likely that, had we never been in converse with other sentient creatures like ourselves, we might never have attained our present notions of equity or of other moral relations; and so the principles of our moral nature might have lain in dormancy too and never been evolved. These principles are ultimate facts in the human constitution, not communicated to us from external objects, but called forth into actual and sensible exercise by the contact as it were and excitement of these objects. It was not the observation of things without us which deposited them in our minds; though, apart from the observation of things without us, the principles, whether ethical or mathematical, night never have been wakened into action and have never been recognised. But whether observation gave these principles at the first or only evolved them, it truly affects not either the reality or the importance of the distinction on which we have been insisting. Enough, that, some how or other, there be a mathematics in Natural Philosophy, which, without the aid of further observation, can, by a peculiar light of its own, guide the investigating spirit from one truth and discovery to another, and elicit doctrines that admit of application to thousands of the known objects in nature, and to an infinity of objects that are yet unknown; and it is in like manner enough, that, some how or other, there be an ethics in Moral Philosophy, which, without the aid of further observation, can, by a peculiar light of its own, guide us from one moral doctrine to another, applicable alike to the existent beings that lie within the sphere of our knowledge, and to those, who, though at present without this sphere, may, on coming forth by revelation to our notice, call out the very regards and moral recognitions that already had long been familiar to us. The difference established by Dr. Whately between the truths which we receive by information and those which we receive by instruction, so far from being placed in opposition to these views, just serves to illustrate and confirm them. The truths of mere information have no logical dependence, the one upon the other; and each is made known to us on a distinct and separate evidence of its own. It follows not because VOL. I.
ethics—just as when in physical science we elevate our regards from the earth we tread upon to the sublime movements of astronomy, we pass to other data but have the same mathematics. He who can resolve a triangle whose angles are indivisible points on the parchment that lies before him, can resolve a triangle whose angles are planets in the firmament—and all that he requires to know are the facts or the objects of the celestial physics, to make his mathematics as available in that Natural Philosophy whose field is the heavens, as he may have already made them in that Natural Philosophy whose field is this lower world. In like manner he who can assign the proprieties of that relation which subsists between a dependent family and their earthly benefactor, can assign the proprieties of that relation which subsists between our whole species and their heavenly Benefactor. For this purpose he has no new ethics to learn; and all that he requires to know are the facts or the objects of
there is a Jupiter that there must be a Georgium Sidus; and it requires an additional and independent act of observation to ascertain the existence of the latter. These informational truths, as they may be termed, form the proper objects of the Inductive Philosophy; whereas the truths of instruction are come at, not by separate observations, but by development and deduction from certain primary and comprehensive propositions which virtually contain them; but in which they lie wrapped and uneduced, till, by the processes whether of moral or mathematical reasoning, they are brought out in their own distinct individuality to view. And thus it is, that though it needs a new observation to tell us of that before unknown and existent object the Georgium Sidus -it needs not a new mathematics, to tell either the period of its revolution or the form of its orbit. Thus too though it be by an altogether new information that we come to know of the existent Being Jesus Christ; it is not by a new ethics that we came to acknowledge the services which we owe, or the reverence and gratitude which of right belong to Him.