網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

1523 BE .95M

1
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SECOND

EDITION.

When the Pariah first published his lucubrations to the world, he scarcely expected that they would meet with so favorable a reception as to call for a second edition: in this, it appears, he had deceived himself; and he now sends his “small book” to the press a second time, with the gratified feeling that he has not labored altogether in vain. He does not, in the guise of writers on lesser subjects, return thanks to the public for its liberal patronage, for profit and fame were no part of his object; but he rejoices in the thought that he may perhaps have contributed somewhat towards the advance of that kingdom of Christ on earth, which has hitherto been the object of our wishes rather than our expectations.

The success of his small work seems to indicate that many are beginning to feel the want of something which should teach them, not only the Christian faith,—for of such there are abundance, but its rational grounds; something which by showing how deeply it is rooted in, and entwined with everything about and within us, may prove that the Framer of the world and its Lawgiver are the same; and thus lead them to the cross of the Redeemer, with the full conviction that the lesson to be learned there is no “cunningly devised fable," but that in truth “the wisdom of God” no less than “ the power of God” was there manifested to the world.

This was the object which the writer proposed to himself when he first attempted to put into a porta

a fair

ble form the result of many years' thought, and experience gained through suffering. Faith, without rational conviction, is but like the seed which fell in dry places; it withers when the hour of trial comes; for it has not rooted itself deeply enough in the mind to draw thence wholesome nourishment; and hence perhaps arises much of that" falling away" as it is technically termed, which occasionally scandalizes the world among professing Christians. The man, on the contrary, who has cleared and worked the soil beforehand, for the reception of the seed sown by the Divine Husbandman, is at least in

way of seeing it bear good fruit. To handle the spade, and root up weeds, is a toil permitted, and indeed appropriated to the lowest caste in society, though to turn up the ground to make it ready for the heavenly seed, be a task which angels might be proud of. Humbly, and yet boldly, therefore, as becomes one of a despised and oppressed caste on a noble mission, he has addressed himself to his work; and, like a wiser and better man,* has bent his knee to the Throne of all grace, and asked for a blessing on his attempt. If any success has attended his endeavors, he feels that it is to the sanctifying effect of such a prayer on his own mind that he owes it: may the reader, like the writer, gain, while turning up the soil, the treasure of a firm faith in Him who is THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, and who is always found by those who seek Him.

And with this heartfelt good wish, kind reader, the writer takes his leave of thee for the present.

[ocr errors]

November 10, 1844.

* Joseph Mede.

PHILOSOPHICAL THEORIES.

THERE was a time when none dared profane the name of philosophy by its mention, whose lips had not been touched with hallowed flame by Alma Mater, and who had not dozens of honorary letters following his name, like the tail of a Highland chieftain in olden days: but that time is past: men have at last discovered that the conferring a degree does not always confer sense, and that among the undignified names which go with neither a footman behind, nor a coachman before them, there may be found some who have a nobility of their own; and who, amid disadvantages and difficulties, have contrived to assert their right to the peerage of Intellect.

The writer of this work, as the title-page shows, is below even this; he is a Pariah, of a despised caste; unthought of even when the ten pounds householders of Stroud or Tamworth have the honor of hearing speeches from, and asking questions of, the great men who in this country are seized with a periodical fit of humility about once in four or five years. He has no pretensions to academical honors, lectures to no institution, is no hereditary legislator, no limb of representative wisdom: but he has known poverty, sickness, and sorrow; he has bent over the graves of those he loved, and turned again to life to struggle for his own existence, and in this rude school he has learned a lesson which, perhaps, may be not unuseful to his fellow-creatures ; he has learned that happiness may be attained under circumstances which seem to forbid it; wrongs borne

[ocr errors]

patiently without losing dignity ; privations endured with a gay heart. The philosophy which has done this has made its last and best step,—it has become practical. It is no longer the barren speculation of the metaphysician, or the idle logic of the schools, but healthy intellectual science, grounded on the great facts of human nature, and available in all the circumstances of our varied existence.

There was a time too,-how much of late has sunk in the troubled ocean of human affairs even in the space of one not very long life !—there was a time when intellectual science under the name of metaphysics, was the mark for every witling to try his young jests on, sure of a favorable reception from the great body of his hearers. It is one of the singular facts of our social state, that there are always some few things which no one who pretends to enter good society ought to know; and if all these pet ignorances had had their tombstones erected, and epitaphs duly written by their admirers, it would be hard to conceive a more amusing, though in truth melancholy record of human folly. In the days of Addison, no well-bred lady would venture to know how to spell; in later times the prohibition only extended to any cultivation of the intellectual powers, which for a long time was most religiously attended to by all the fair votaries of fashion. In the days of Fielding, it would seem that a very pretty gentleman indeed, might gain a grace by misquoting Latin sufficiently to show that he despised the dull routine of school education. Later yet, a mineralogist or a botanist walked a few inches higher, if he could avow himself ignorant of metaphysics, and make some clever jest on the cobweb speculations of its admirers; and all, learned or ignorant, wise or foolish, still unite in thinking it the properest thing in

« 上一頁繼續 »