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that there are numerous mysteries, which are beyond the power of man in his most perfect state, with the full enjoyment of his corporeal and mental faculties, to disclose; and it is likewise manifest, that an inquiry into these things, which are in their elucidation, superior to the efforts of the most energetic reason, must be highly improper: for this rash endeavour only serves to mislead the mind of man, and excite, either doubts to shake his faith, or a belief in the truth of those mistaken precepts which declare him to be equal to the angels of light; and consequently produces the most arrogant and supercilious conduct. He can, nevertheless, by a contrary line; by endeavouring to investigate the nature of objects that are within the narrow sphere around him, gain accurate, as well as enlarged and comprehensive information; such a degree of knowledge at least, as may render him useful in life: this, indeed, ought to be the purpose for which he seeks it; vain is every other intention! hence it will be sufficiently extended, if it is commensurate with this noble end. Investigations into the nature of future events, therefore, must be criminal and absurd; for we possess no data which may serve to direct them: and to refrain from them, our reason, limited as it is, informs us is proper: for into His hands, who sways the sceptre of infinite power, are all things to be delivered.....to His mercy, must every thing be confided!.....And whatsoever the great and comprehensive plan may be, by which He rules the natural and moral universe, whatsoever wise purpose His intention serves to fulfil, in secreting from our eyes certain events which it concerns us not to know, let us endeavour to act consistently with it, by consulting those feelings which have been placed within our bosoms: a resistance renders us guilty; and as such, will surely attract the lightnings of eternal majesty, and draw down the vengeance of heaven, to burst
like terrific thunder o'er our heads. Let us, with pious resignation to that will which is guided by LOVE, and uncontroulable by the weak attempts of man, with stedfast confidence in the execution of justice tempered by mercy, and with a rigid fidelity in performing our moral, civil, and religious obligations, refrain from seeking to inquire too deeply into those truths, on the nature of which our reason owns itself incompetent to decide; and which inquiry, it declares to be rash, culpable, presumptuous! The duty of man is known to man: if he performs it, every event will coincide in a good, though incomprehensible design; if a rejection is persevered in, the opposite consequences will likewise be inevitable, nor will that benevolent design be frustrated: "Providence is not counteracted by any means, which Providence puts into our power*;" and it may please Him, in order to preserve the general good, to inflict particular evil.
The present is a changeable state of being, but the future, permanent. Yet on this varying scene of existence, depends the ultimate condition, to which we are all hastening with rapid steps. Who, then, can dare to lift the voice of censure to the Omnipotent....to arraign His wisdom, His justice, or His benevolence, while here He affords man, free agency.
Suffer, then, ye sophists of the age, who delight to pervert your faculties to the most base purposes, suffer Reason, your boasted divinity, to evince her decision: and though unaided.....unillumined by that light, whose guidance you will not permit her to follow, she will declare the truth; and present to your averted eyes the black catalcgue of crimes, which in a future day shall, by the power of conscience, be made to glow as a furnace in your breasts: when imagination, distempered and frantic, shall be forced by that inward mo
nitor, to conjure up in your view, scenes, the terrors of which she is now unable and unwilling to conceive.
Presume not, then, to scan the intricate and unsearchable designs of Providence; nor impiously dare to trace the dark events of futurity: these are enveloped in a shade, which human reason can never be able to illuminate; their recesses no one can describe with any degree of certainty, notwithstanding those aids which we possess in the sacred writings. The ordainment of the Deity, in secreting them from our narrow conceptions, is, no doubt, in the highest degree, wise and benevolent; and from this consideration, which is verified by daily experience, it is made manifest, that the whole duty of man in the present state of existence, is a performance of that, which the witness within his breast declares to be right, in opposition to the vain wisdom of this world; and to leave to the providence and direction of a superior being, those events, which he neither can prevent, hasten, nor postpone.
When we view objects around us in their proper light, we find that the prospects of a pleasing futurity may be blasted, and our expecta tions be disappointed, long before the time in which the mind supposes they would have been realised.... Were a certain knowledge of circumstances,the occurrence of which is now in the womb of future times, given to us, how miserably would life slide on!....for, on the one hand, if it presented a perspective replete with unutterable horror, what previous pleasure could balance the sad condition, and afford any satisfaction?...on the other, if happiness should dwell in the mental eye, how would impatience to seize it, continually prevent us from the due and rational enjoyment of this life?..... But, if this anticipated state was, nevertheless, liable to be changed through our own misconduct, what multiplied dangers surround, and threaten it with irreparable ruin!
VOL. I....NO. 11.
This last is our situation; and reason declares it to be stamped with the seal of divine wisdom: for as we know the consequences resulting from our evil actions, their operation is given into our hands, either to remove the effect by destroying the cause, or let it act, unopposed. In this, as well as in other instances which press with vigour on the mind, the intentions of the Author of Good are elucidated in their purest lustre, to the prejudiced, and the dissatisfied.
To a mind which professes to be actuated by principles deduced from reflection, man appears a candidate for an office of high calling; and according with the conduct which he pursues in this life, will his unalterable portion be allotted to him, from the hands of Eternal Justice; which, as governed by an infinitely wise, though inscrutable spirit, must be stretched forth, uncontrouled by any power which dares to act in opposition to it; yet let us also recollect, that the eye of Mercy views, her influence modifies, the decision. Here, therefore, a noble, glorious prospect opens to the mind, in beauty unparalleled!......in simplicity unequaled!....Adoration of the disposer of this system, will be the inseparable attendant of a just view of its tendency: and a coincidence with the plan of creation, the pleas◄ ing result. Will man, with bright, realities before him, reject these, to accept others far inferior in their natures and ends? Will he permit that heavenly spark, wisdom...that clear, though limited illumination of the mind, reason, to be reduced to an ignoble subjection to his pas sions, and his prejudices? Surely, No!....If ever he sinks to so great a depth.....if ever he acts so oppo sitely to the intention of his creator, which is the advancement and promotion of his glory, by the exercise of these agents in conjunction with religion, what hope can remain of his refraining from the frustation of that principle, implanted in human bosoms for the support of civil and moral society, order? That
expectation wears, indeed, but the semblance of reality! it is vain...it is presumptuous!
Can we not, therefore, allow reason and religion, "those heavenly guards that round us wait," to assume their proper dominion over us? If the former is not perverted, it will invariably act in coincidence with the latter....the bright, unsullied emanation from the Creator.... the delightful communion, whose nature cannot be described!
MEMOIRS OF CARWIN THE BII.0
I was the second son of a farmer, whose place of residence was a western district of Pennsylvania. My eldest brother seemed fitted by nature for the employment to which he was destined. His wishes never led him astray from the hay-stack and the furrow. His ideas never ranged beyond the sphere of his vision, or suggested the possibility that to-morrow could differ from today. He could read and write, because he had no alternative between learning the lesson prescribed to him, and punishment. He was diligent, as long as fear urged him forward, but his exertions ceased with the cessation of this motive. The limits of his acquirements consisted in signing his name, and spelling out a chapter in the bible.
My character was the reverse of his. My thirst of knowledge was augmented in proportion as it was supplied with gratification. The more I heard or read, the more restless and unconquerable my curiosity became. My senses were perpetually alive to novelty, my fancy teemed with visions of the future, and my attention fastened upon every thing mysterious or unknown.
My father intended that my knowledge should keep pace with that of my brother, but conceived that all beyond the mere capacity
to write and read was useless or pernicious. He took as much pains to keep me within these limits, as to make the acquisitions of my brother come up to them, but his efforts were not equally successful in both cases. The most vigilant and jealous scrutiny was exerted in vain: Reproaches and blows, painful privations and ignominious penances had no power to slacken my zeal and abate my perseverance. He might enjoin upon me the most laborious tasks, set the envy of my brother to watch me during the performance, make the most diligent search after my books, and destroy them without mercy, when they were found; but he could not outroot my darling propensity. I exerted all my powers to elude his watchfulness. Censures and stripes were sufficiently unpleasing to make me strive to avoid them. To affect this desirable end, I was incessantly employed in the invention of stratagems and the execution of expedients.
My passion was surely not deserving of blame, and I have frequently lamented the hardships to which it subjected me; yet, perhaps, the claims which were made upon my ingenuity and fortitude were not without beneficial effects upon my character.
This contention lasted from the sixth to the fourteenth year of my age. My father's opposition to my schemes was incited by a sincere though unenlightened desire for my happiness. That all his efforts were secretly eluded or obstinately repeiled, was a source of the bitterest regret. He has often lamented, with tears, what he called my incorrigible depravity, and encou raged himself to perseverance by the notion of the ruin that would inevitably overtake me if I were allowed to persist in my present career. Perhaps the sufferings which arose to him from the disappointment, were equal to those which he inflicted on me.
In my fourteenth year, events happened which ascertained my
future destiny. One evening I had been sent to bring cows from a meadow, some miles distant from my father's mansion. My time was limited, and I was menaced with severe chastisement if, according to my custom, I should stay beyond the period assigned.
For some time these menaces rung in my ears, and I went on my way with speed. I arrived at the meadow, but the cattle had broken the fence and escaped. It was my duty to carry home the earliest tidings of this accident, but the first suggestion was to examine the cause and manner of this escape. The field was bounded by cedar railing. Five of these rails were laid horizontally from post to post. The upper one had been broken in the middle, but the rest had merely been drawn out of the holes on one side, and rested with their ends on the ground. The means which had been used for this end, the reason why one only was broken, and that one the uppermost, how a pair of horns could be so managed as to effect that which the hands of man would have found difficult, supplied a theme of meditation.
Some accident recalled me from this reverie, and reminded me how much time had thus been consumed. I was terrified at the consequences of my delay, and sought with eagerness how they might be obviated. I asked myself if there were not a way back shorter than that by which I had come. The beaten road was rendered circuitous by a precipice that projected into a neighbouring stream, and closed up a passage by which the length of the way would have been diminished one half: at the foot of the cliff the water was of considerable depth, and agitated by an eddy. I could not estimate the danger which I should incur by plunging into it, but I was resolved to make the attempt. I have reason to think, that this experiment, if it had been tried, would have proved fatal, and my father, while he la
mented my untimely fate, would have been wholly unconscious that his own unreasonable demands had occasioned it.
I turned my steps towards the spot. To reach the edge of the stream was by no means an easy undertaking, so many abrupt points and gloomy hollows were interposed. I had frequently skirted and penetrated this tract, but had never been so completely entangled in the maze as now: hence I had remained unacquainted with a narrow pass, which, at the distance of an hundred yards from the river, would conduct me, though not without danger and toil, to the opposite side of the ridge.
This glen was now discovered, and this discovery induced me to change my plan. If a passage could be here effected, it would be shorter and safer than that which led through the stream, and its practicability was to be known only by experiment. The path was narrow, steep, and overshadowed by rocks. The sun was nearly set, and the shadow of the cliff above, obscured the passage almost as much as midnight would have done: I was accustomed to despise danger when it presented itself in a sensible form, but, by a defect common in every one's education, goblins and spectres were to me the objects of the most violent apprehensions. These were unavoidably connected with solitude and darkness, and were present to my fears when I entered this gloomy recess.
These errors are always lessened by calling the attention away to some indifferent object. I now made use of this expedient, and began to amuse myself by hallowing as loud as organs of unusual compass and vigour would enable me. Iutterred the words which chanced to occur to me, and repeated in the shril tones of a Mohock savage..." Cow! cow! come home! home!"...These notes were of course reverberated from the rocks which on either side
towered aloft, but the echo was confused and indistinct.
I continued, for some time, thus to beguile the way, till I reached a space more than commonly abrupt, and which required all my attention. My rude ditty was suspended till I had surmounted this impediment. In a few minutes I was at leisure to renew it. After finishing the strain, I paused. In a few seconds a voice as I then imagined, uttered the same cry from the point of a rock some hundred feet behind me; the same words, with equal distinctness and deliberation, and in the same tone, appeared to be spoken. I was startled by this incident, and cast a fearful glance behind, to discover by whom it was uttered. The spot where I stood was buried in dusk, but the eminences were still invested with a luminous and vivid twilight. The speaker, however, was concealed from my view.
I had scarely begun to wonder at this occurrence, when a new occasion for wonder, was afforded me. A few seconds, in like manner, elapsed, when my ditty was again rehearsed, with a no less perfect imitation, in a different quarter..... To this quarter I eagerly turned my eyes, but no one was visible.... The station, indeed, which this new speaker seemed to occupy, was inaccessible to man or beast.
If I were surprized at this second repetition of my words, judge how much my surprise must have been augmented, when the same calls were a third time repeated, and coming still in a new direction. Five times was this ditty successively resounded, at intervals nearly equal, always from a new quarter, and with little abatement of its original distinctness and force.
A little reflection was sufficient to shew that this was no more than an echo of an extraordinary kind. My terrors were quickly supplanted by delight. The motives to dispatch were forgotten, and I amused myself for an hour, with talking to
these cliffs: I placed myself in new positions, and exhausted my lungs and my invention in new cla
The pleasures of this new discovery were an ample compensation for the ill treatment which I expect. ed on my return. By some caprice in my father I escaped merely with a few reproaches. I seized the first opportunity of again visiting this recess, and repeating my amusement; time, and incessant repeti. tion, could scarcely lessen its charms or exhaust the variety produced by new tones and new positions.
The hours in which I was most free from interruption and restraint were those of moonlight. My brother and I occupied a small room above the kitchen, disconnected, in some degree, with the rest of the house. It was the rural custom to retire early to bed and to anticipate the rising of the sun. When the moonlight was strong enough to permit me to read, it was my custom to escape from bed, and hie with my book to some neighbouring eminence, where I would remain stretched on the mossy rock, till the sinking or beclouded moon, forbade me to continue my employment. I was indebted for books to a friendly person in the neighbourhood, whose compliance with my solicitations was prompted partly by benevolence and partly by enmity to my father, whom he could not more egregiously of fend than by gratifying my perverse and pernicious curiosity.
In leaving my chamber I was obliged to use the utmost caution to avoid rousing my brother, whose temper disposed him to thwart me in the least of my gratifications. My purpose was surely laudable, and yet on leaving the house and returning to it, I was obliged to use the vigilance and circumspection of a thief.
One night I left my bed with this view. I posted first to my vocal glen, and thence scrambling up a neighbouring steep, which overlook