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cians who have denied the existence of their bodies, and of any outward world. These exceptions prove the rule.
The Bible, then, takes its stand on human nature—on common sense-on the universal reason of man, when it uses the term soul, and the idea it designates. It assumes a fact which the intellect of the race had already established—that there is something in man, which, for want of a better word, we may call his soul.
But now, if you ask what this soul is; meaning, what is its nature, what its essence; we must at once admit our ignorance. I neither know its essence, that of any thing else. I only know its qualities. Within me, I perceive the phenomena of thought and emotion; I refer them necessarily and inevitably to a subject-to something which thinks and feels. Without I perceive the phenomena of color, hardness, extension, form; I refer them necessarily and inevitably to a subject, to something which is hard, solid, colored. These phenomena are broadly distinguished from each other, by the manner in which they are perceived. The former are perceived by the senses—the latter by consciousness. The subject of the former I call body, of the latter soul.
I consider therefore that it is just as certain that we have a soul, as that we have a body. What we know of either are only qualities, not the essence. But we are as certain that we think and love, as we are that we see and hear. And by an original law of the mind which acts inevitably and universally, we conclude on perceiving color, that there is something colored, on perceiving thought, that there is something which thinks.
In our seventh number we have an article to which we would direct the attention of readers who wish for further light on this topic. This article is headed “Souls and Bodies,” and numbered XVI. on the cover.
ART. VI.-CHANNING ON SLAVERY.
We heard of this book from all quarters before we saw it. First we heard that an edition of three thousand copies had been sold immediately. Then we saw some remarks of Mr. Leigh in the United States Senate, in which he expressed his surprise, that the amiable and eloquent author should have written a work which appeared to him to contain abolition doctrines. Directly after, we saw the book violently attacked, and its author shamefully abused in the Boston States
Abuse from that quarter, however, has by thoughtful men been considered as praise. Then we saw it spoken of with unqualified approbation by the Boston Register, and Recorder. The first being an Unitarian paper, might be expected to praise whatever came from Dr. Channing—but the other being the Calvinistic print, was an unimpeachable witness. The editor of this last speaks of the book as a neutral ground, a point of union for those who were opposed to slavery, and also opposed to Abolitionism, agitation, and immediate Emancipation. It seems to lay aside all party feelings, and speaks of the book and its author with a generous and noble spirit of respect and sympathy.
After this, we met with a Reply to the work, written, it was said, by the chief prosecuting officer of the State of Massachusetts. The substance of this reply seemed to be—“Dr. Channing is a divine-therefore, a mere theorist—therefore, he had no business to write on this subject. I am a practical man-I judge of things by my five senses. In theory, slavery is no doubt bad-bnt in practice it is very good. No doubt it is all wrong—who denies it? But then it gives us sugar and cotton. It came to us from the Past, let us send it on to the Future. Let us leave it to our children to attend to-if there is danger and evil in it—let it fall on their heads. Let Dr. Channing keep to his preaching, and not inoddle with these matters.” Such censure as this must, no doubt, have been highly gratifying to Dr. Channing. We once heard a very wise man say, “I never read a book till I have seen it commended by a sensible person, or censured by a fool.”
Of course, we felt a strong desire to get at the work itself. And now, having read it, we pronounce it in our judgment, the best production of its author. In thought, unanswerable—in expression, clear, concise, and strong—in spirit, not merely religious, but Christian. Springing from the deepest fountain of duty, it flows out in the purest current of love.
Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull;
Strong, without rage; without o'erflowing, full. How many there may be in Massachusetts that would object to such a publication, we know not—but this we know, that in KENTUCKY their number is very small. We are not afraid to discuss this or any other subject; we are not in the habit of using a gag-law; if a man has any thing to say, let him be independent, and say it. We may not agree with him, but we will not shut up his mouth. The people of Kentucky have never been afraid of discussing this subject, or having it discussed before them. We have heard lectures, we have participated in debates, in which every thing was said that could have been spoken in a free State. The excitements which raged through the land during the last summer-the threatened insurrections in the South, may have made it necessary to restrict this liberty in some places. But there was no part of the Union so free from that agitation, so calm, so self-possessed, as Kentucky. Dr. Channing, therefore is in great error with respect to one slave-holding State, at least, when he says, (p. 105,) "In the slave-holding States, freedom of speech is at an end. Whoever should express among them the sentiments respecting slavery which are universally adopted through the civilized world, would put his life in jeopardy, would probably be flogged or hung.” We nowise feel either our back or neck to be jeopardized by writing and printing this article. And we think we may assure Dr. Channing, that when, by the influence of the “Statesman newspaper"—the author of “Remarks on Channing's Slavery,', and other such worthy men, it becomes dangerous for him to speak his mind in Boston, he may come to Kentucky, and say what he will so he keep to his present courteous and gentle manner of expressing himself.
To give an idea of the book and its design, we will extract nearly the whole of its introduction:
“The first question to be proposed by a rational being is, not what is profitable, but what is Right. Duty must be primary, prominent, most conspicuous, among the objects of human thought and pursuit. If we cast it down from its supremacy, if we inquire first for our interests and then for our duties, we shall certainly err. We can never see the Right clearly and fully, but by making it our first concern. No judgment can be just or wise, but that which is built on the conviction of the paramount worth and importance of Duty. This is the fundamental truth, the supreme law of reason; and the mind, which does not start from this in its inquiries into humau affairs, is doomed to great, perhaps fatal error.
“The Right is the supreme good, and includes all other goods. In seeking and adhering to it, we secure our true and only happiness. All prosperity not founded on it, is built on sand. If human affairs are controlled, as we believe, by Almighty Rectitude and Impartial Goodness, then to hope for happiness from wrong doing is as insane as to seek health and prosperity by rebelling against the laws of nature, by sowing our seed on the ocean, or making poison our common food. There is but one unfailing goo:l; and that is, fidelity to the Everlasting Lay written on the heart, and re-written and republished in God's Word.
“Whoever places this faith in the everlasting law of rectitude must of course regard the question of slavery first and chiefly as a moral question. All other considerations will weigh little with him compared with its moral character and moral influ
The following remarks, therefore, are designed to aid the reader in forming a just moral judgment of slavery. Great truth, inalienable rights, everlasting duties, these will form the chief subjects of discussion. There are times when the assertion of great principles is the best service a man can render society. The present is a moment of bewildering excitement, when men's minds are stormed and darkened by strong passions and fierce conflicts; and also a moment of absorbing worldliness, when the moral law is made to bow to expediency, and its high and strict requirements are decried or dismissed as metaphysical abstractions, or impracticable theories. At such a season, to utter great principles without passion, and in the spirit of unfeigned and universal good-will, and to engrave them deeply and durably on men's minds, is to do more for the world than to open mines of wealth, or to frame the most successful schemes of policy.
“Of late our country has been convulsed by the question of slavery; and the people, in proportion as they have felt vehemently, have thought superficially, or hardly thought at all; and we see the results in a singular want of well defined principles,
in a strange vagueness and inconsistency of opinion,
and in the proneness to excess which belongs to unsettled minds.. The multitude have been called, now to contemplate the horrors of slavery; and now to shudder at the ruin and bloodshed which must follow emancipation. The word Massacre has resounded through the land, striking terror into strong as well as tender hearts, and awakening indignation against whatever may seem to threaten such a consummation. The consequence is, that not a few dread all discussion of the subject, and if not reconciled to the continuance of slavery, at least believe that they had no duty to perform, no testimony to bear, no influence to exert, no sentiments to cherish and spread, in relation to this evil. What is still worse, opinions either favoring or extenuating it are heard with little or no disapprobation. Concessions are made to it which would once have shocked the community; whilst to assail it is pronounced unwise and perilous. No stronger reason for a calm exposition of its true character can be given, than this very state of the public mind. A community can suffer no greater calamity than the loss of its principles. Lofty and pure sentiment is the life and hope of a people. There was never such an obligation to discuss slavery as at this moment, when recent events have done much to unsettle and obscure men's minds in regard to it. This result is to be a cribed in part to the injudicious vehemence of those who have taken into their hands the care of the slave. Such ought to remember, that to espouse a good cause is not enough. We must maintain it in a spirit answering to its dignity. Let no man touch the great interests of humanity, who does not strive to sanctify himself for the work by cleansing his heart of all wrath and uncharitableness, who cannot hope that he is in a measure baptized into the spirit of universal love. Even sympathy with the injured and oppressed may do harm, by being partial, exclusive, and bitterly indignant. How far the declension of the spirit of freedom is to be ascribed to the cause now suggested
The effect is plain, and whoever sees and laments the evil should strive to arrest it.
“Slavery ought to be discussed. We ought to think, feel, speak, and write about it. But whatever we do in regard to it should be done with a deep feeling of responsibility, and so done as not to put in jeopardy the peace of the slave-holding States. On this point public opinion has not been and cannot be too strongly pronounced. Slavery, indeed, from its very nature, must be a ground of alarm wherever it exists. Slavery and security can by no device be joined together. But we may not, must not, by rashness and passion increase the peril.
I do not say:
To instigate the slave to insurrection, is a crime for which no rebuke and no punishment can be too severe. This would be to involve slave and master in common ruin. It is not enough to say that the Constitution is violated by any action endangering the slave-holding portion of our country: A higher law than the Constitution forbids this unholy interference. Were our national union dissolved, we ought to reprobate, as sternly as we now do, the slightest manifestation of a disposition to stir up a servile war. Still more, were the free and the slave-holding States not only separated, but engaged in the fiercest hostilities, the former would deserve the abhorrence of the world and the indignation of Heaven, were they to resort to insurrection and massacre as means of victory. Better were it for us to bare our own breasts to the knife of the slave; than to arm him with it against his master.
“It is not by personal, direct action on the mind of the slave that we
ood. Our c cern is with the free. With the free we are to plead his cause, and this is peculiarly our duty, because we have bound ourselves to resist bis efforts for his own emancipation. We suffer him to do nothing for himself. The more, then, should be done for him.
Our physical power is pledged against him in case of revolt. Then our moral power should be exerted for his relief. His weakness, which we increase, gives him a claim to the only aid we can afford, to our moral sympathy, to the free and faithful exposition of his wrongs. As men, as Christians, as citizens, we have duties to the slave, as well as to every other member of the community. On this point we have no liberty. The Eternal Law binds us to take the side of the injured; and this law is peculiarly obligatory, when we forbid him to lift an arm in his own defence.
“Let it not be said we can do nothing for the slave. We can do much. We have a power mightier than armies, the power of truth, of principle, of virtue,
of right, of religion, of love. We have a power, which is growing with every advance of civilization, before which the slave-trade has fallen, which is mitigating the sternest despotisms, which is spreading education through all ranks of society, which is bearing Christianity to the ends of the earth, which carries in itself the pledge of destruction to every institution which debases humanity. Who can measure the power of Christian philanthropy, of enlightened goodness, pouring itself forth in prayers and persuasions from the press and pulpit, from the lips and hearts of devoted men, and more and more binding together the wise and good in the cause of their race? All other powers