ePub 版

to use whip and spur again the moment it finds its servants capable of action. If any one doubt this, let him only strongly resolve, at going to sleep, to wake at a particular hour or a particular sound; and without any other known cause than the will, behold the man wakes, though, in any other case, he would have slept to a much later hour, or continued asleep through much louder sounds. This is a thing of too common occurrence to require particular instances to be given. Finally, in death itself, the last symptom of life that we see, is usually an ineffectual effort to do or say something which the dying person evidently thinks of importance; disappointment at being unable to do it, is visible, and the man dies.

We have traced the body from helplessness to death; it varies in its powers: first some instincts prevail, then others; then the faculties are developed, and then they fail. We can easily conceive that this waxing and waning power may return to its elements and be recompounded in a fresh form: but the unchanged individuality, which neither grows nor decays, how is this to perish? What seeds of mortality can we find in that? The anatomist traces nerves of sensation, influencing in their turn the nerves of voluntary action, and shows a beautiful arrangement thus made for the preservation of the animal; but the individual power steps in, says to sensation, "You may stimulate the nerves of voluntary action, but I forbid it;" and to the nerves of voluntary action, " You shall not wait for the stimulus of sensation; I command, and you shall do my bidding." In what part of bodily organization then is this power seated? The philosophical seeker of the truth must answer. It is not a part of bodily organization: it shares not in the growth or decay of the body; then by analogy, neither does it share


in its death ;* it sighs for other joys, despises what the body offers, spurns at the limited span of life. What is this but an indication of its destiny? Happiness consists in the full development of all the powers of Nature: no animal seeks that which it is unable to enjoy the fish remains quiet in the water without seeking to quit it to share the pleasures of the quadruped or the fowl. Man sighs for the felicity of the deity; then man is of a kindred nature. We proceed therefore to the final question.

III. What, with reference to the two powers already treated of, is the nature of the good which man ought to propose to himself as his aim and object?

Our inquiry here will not be long. Whatever other orders of intelligent beings there may be, there are only two that we can form any judgment of:The One, the subject of our first, the other that of our second question. We assume it as an axiom in philosophy that the felicity of the being must consist in the full development of its natural powers,

* In proportion as science advances, the great truths of Christianity stand forth in a clearer light. In former times the life and the soul were considered as identical, and many a puzzling question arose out of this mistake. Now, physiology has shown that the vital power, inscrutable as its nature has hitherto been found, is nevertheless the same in the animal and the vegetable; consequently that life is not dependent on the soul, but is a perfectly distinct force, acting by its own peculiar laws. But though the soul and the life be different, still the former is an acting force which the physiologist is obliged to acknowledge; for it not unfrequently contends with the vital force, and oocasions much disturbance in the system. One of the most distinguished scientific writers of the present age, when treating of organism, distinctly reckons this disturbing force among the different independent causes of the phenomena of man's being. Thus it is that science and religion, the two great inscriptions on God's fabric of creation, always tell the same tale, though it be written in different characters.

and we see this to be the case with all the inferior grades of animals; we turn to man, and we see that the development of his animal powers does not satisfy him, he asks for more; he asks for knowledge, greatness, immortality, and these are the felicities of the Deity; then, the good which he has to seek can be none other than the development of an intelligent, and not an animal nature. We have already seen that the individuality is concentred in that interior power whose nature we have been examining; that interior power is akin to the Deity: then the felicity of the Deity in kind, though not in degree, may be his, and no rational man will propose to himself any other.

Such are the conclusions of philosophy, such were its conclusions from the time when these questions were first agitated, and wise and good men, long before our era, had suffered exile, imprisonment and death, rather than abstain from promulgating these great truths. Who now will dare to stand forward and say that there is any "just cause or impediment" why philosophy and Christianity should not plight their troth to each other, and bless the world henceforward by their holy union? Once more, "I publish the banns," and defy man to put asunder those whom God has willed should be joined together. "Fecisti nos tibi et manet cor irrequietum donec restat in te,"* was the sentiment of Augustine, “Ex vita ita discedo tanquam ex hospitio non tanquam ex domo," says Cicero in the character of Cato, "O præclarum diem cum ad illum divinum animorum concilium, cœtumque proficiscar; cum


* "Thou hast made us for thyself, and the heart is unquiet till it rests in Thee."

que ex hac turbâ et colluvione discedam !"*


is the difference between the philosopher and the Christian?

I have now gone over the general outline of the classification which I propose to make of intellectual science. I have, I think, proved in answer to the first question that there exists an eternal self-existent, creating Intelligence; all-wise, all-powerful, and benevolent; and the portion of intellectual science which treats of this Being I propose to call Theology.t

I have, I think, proved in answer to the second question, that the individuality of man consists in a restless, undying intelligence, akin in its nature to that of the Deity; and I propose to call the portion of intellectual science which relates to the functions of this intelligent, individual power, Psychology.

I have drawn as a conclusion in answer to the third question, That such being the nature of that individual power, the good it has to seek is, assimi

"O what a delightful day will it be when I shall join that company of divine souls-when I shall quit this throng and this mire!"

+ The term Theology has been so long applied to a peculiar department of literature that the meaning of the word is in great measure forgotten. I reclaim for it the original sense; for as Conchology means the science which tells of the nature of shells, or Geology that which tells of the nature of the earth, so Theology in strictness means the science which tells of the nature of God; and it is misapplied when used to classify works which mix up the moral duties and the prospects of man, with the abstract science of the Divine Essence. The word would be novel, but it would aid us to define the limits and objects of the science much better, if we were to include all that relates to the mission of Christ to man, and the obligations therefrom resulting, under the general term Christology.

lation to the Deity in will and kind of felicity. The titles given to this part of the science have been various. Some have called it Morality, some Religion; but as unfortunately these two terms have been set up as rivals to each other, neither conveys the exact meaning to men's minds which I would wish. It would be easy to coin another Greek compound, and Agathology would not ill express that part of the science which relates to the nature of this " summum bonum" and the means of attaining it; but for a plain man a plain word is better, and I would rather head the last division as the practical result of the two former. In what I have to say further, I shall consider these divisions as applicable no less to the authoritative, than the philosophic system. The external evidence of the former I take for granted; Christianity must have had an origin, and it is far less outrage to common sense to suppose its outset was such as its first promulgators assert, than to allegorize Christ and his apostles into the sun and the signs of the zodiac, or anything else as strange and as improbable. The existence of Christianity is too notorious to be denied; and if, as a system, it offers all that man's best reason has been able to discover, if it offer as a perfect whole, comprehensible to the meanest capacity, what no single man, however great, quite accomplished, then it is no imposture, it is THE TRUTH; that truth which Socrates died for, and which armed Cicero's timid nature to meet his assassins with the courage of a hero. It is in vain that we attempt to reject it; the man who professes to cast aside Revelation altogether, still, if he be not a vicious man, lives as a Christian, has a Christian's benevolence; a Christian's hopes; it is in his nature; his instincts oblige him to love his fellows; his faculties compel him to

« 上一頁繼續 »